It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, if you’re not using video content to help market and sell your products or services, then your sales aren’t what they should be.
Advertising, product demos, how-to videos, reviews, Q&A sessions, vlogs (video blogs)… these are just some of the ways you could be using video to help boost your sales, engage with your customers, and increase your brand recognition.
Video can boost the CTR on your emails and landing pages, help your site rank higher in a search engine, and help convert customers. If you’re not using video as a part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.
Once you’ve made a video, there’s only one thing to do with it – post it to your YouTube channel. YouTube is the undisputed giant of the video world, reaching over a billion people. No other video hosting site has anywhere near that reach.
Whether you’re new to YouTube or if you’ve been doing it for years, we can help you get the most from your YouTube Channel.
Videos Aren’t the Future, They’re the Now
More people are choosing to watch videos over any other type of content, and that number is only growing. Videos increase brand awareness, CTR, and conversions better than text too, making video a better sales tool.
Video is more cost effective as well. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, so a one minute video is equal to 1.5 million words (60 seconds at 25 frames per second = 1500 frames x 1000 words per frame = 1.5 million words).
A copywriter would need to write 5,000 words a day for an entire year to equal one minute of video (calm down copywriters, we’re kidding!).
Videos Increase Sales
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:
- People spend over 30% of their time online watching videos
- Video consumption is increasing 100% each year
- Marketing emails with video have a 200-300% higher CTR
- 90% of customers say videos help them decide to buy a product
- 64% of people are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it
People are already watching a lot of video, and the number is only growing. They’re not only watching, people are making purchasing decisions based on those views.
From a marketing and sales point of view, incorporating video into your online presence is a necessity if you want to compete for customer’s attention.
Why Are Videos So Popular?
The rise of video can be attributed to several factors:
- People prefer images to text
- It’s easier than ever to record, edit, and post videos to the internet
- Wifi is ubiquitous in most urban and suburban areas (sorry, rural), making data use and connection speed issues disappear
- Sites like YouTube make it easy to curate content (for businesses) and search for that content (for customers)
- Mobile device use is on the rise, and video is the ideal content type for mobile
- Reading a blog on a mobile device can be tricky:
- Longer text content requires too much scrolling
- Formatting can vary from device to device and site to site
- Reading a blog on a mobile device can be tricky:
Videos play the same no matter the device type or screen size, so formatting isn’t an issue, and while some screen sizes are better for watching video than others, all screen sizes work.
As long as you embed videos properly on your site, all mobile devices are able to play them (we’ll discuss how to embed videos on your site a little later).
All of these factors combine to make video the perfect format for content today.
Let’s Talk About YouTube
Since we’ve already decided that you’re going to start making videos (right?), we can start talking about where you’re going to host them. The shortest, easiest, and most popular answer to that question (by a wide margin) is YouTube.
Over one billion people use YouTube, watching a billion hours of video every day in 76 different languages, and there are local versions in over 88 countries.
If this doesn’t cover your demographic, you’re probably marketing your product to undiscovered tribes in the Amazonian rain forest. While they may be dedicated fans, they’re probably not going to launch your company into unicorn status any time soon.
The point is, no matter who or where your audience is, they’re on YouTube – and you should be too.
YouTube videos also have a better chance of appearing on a Google search engine results page (SERP), so posting videos can help your overall SEO. Not only do customers like video better, Google does too.
Can YouTube Compete With the Networks or Cable?
YouTube reaches more 18-to-49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S., so in terms of audience numbers they not only compete, they lead.
Of course that number gets diluted when you account for the massive amounts of content available on YouTube, but it’s still a number that can’t be ignored.
YouTube also has the ability to create celebrities out of its users. The dream used to be moving to Hollywood to become a star. YouTube lets you become a star from your bedroom.
Along with the fame comes some serious money. PewDiePie has made over $15 million since 2010 for letting people watch him play video games. Over 10 million viewers watch Roman Atwood prank people. And Michelle Phan shows you how to do your makeup for around $8 million.
It may even be possible for your company to garner endorsements from YouTube stars, putting your brand in front of millions of eyeballs instantly.
YouTube has more viewers than most cable channels and has the ability to make people celebrities. By any standard, this makes them at least the equals of any television station.
Is YouTube Social Media?
Most people think of YouTube as a video sharing site, ignoring its other functions. Yes, it hosts videos, but it’s so much more than that.
YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the web, and it’s the 2nd largest social media site. These things aren’t normally associated with this site, but YouTube fills both of these rolls well.
If you’re looking for product reviews, how-to videos, or any other number of things, YouTube is the search engine of choice. Billions of people use it this way every day, making it the 2nd largest search engine behind Google.
Those billions of people also connect and interact with each other on YouTube, making it the 2nd largest social media site after Facebook. With subscriptions (followers), likes, and a comments section that allows for real-time conversations, YouTube fulfills all of the requirements of a social media channel.
You need to be on YouTube, but it’s equally important to use it in the proper manner. Not only should you beo posting videos, you should also be interacting with others and optimizing your channel for SEO.
Before we get into how to design your channel, let’s get a video made first.
Get the Right Equipment
You don’t need to spend millions on a professional studio, lighting, camera, and sound recording equipment. If you have all of this lying around, don’t throw it out, but you can get everything you need for less than a hundred dollars if you know where to look.
You’ve Probably Got a Camera Already
If you own a fairly new smartphone, you’ve already got your camera. Samsung Galaxies, Apple iPhones, and Google Pixels have all the camera you’re going to need for simple videos.
There are other smartphones out there with enough camera to do the job, but if you’ve got one of the three above, it’s guaranteed.
Get a Tripod
You’re definitely going to need some way to keep the camera steady. Nobody wants to watch shaky handheld footage – it’s just going to give everyone a headache.
The kickstand accessory isn’t going to be enough either. You’re going to need something that can adjust in all directions and has a level.
We recommend Acuvar’s 50” aluminum tripod. It’s got everything you need at a great price (around $15).
Lighting is Key
You’re going to need lights if you want decent lighting for your videos. Indoor lighting can look yellow on many cameras even after you white adjust them, and outdoor lighting can be uneven in the best of conditions.
The Fancierstudio 3 lighting setup is everything you need for only $50. Lighting stands, umbrella light diffusers, and a carrying case are included. It even comes with lightbulbs!
Testing 1, 2, 3…
Sound quality is important here. This isn’t something you want to trust to your smartphone mic. Don’t panic, good quality microphones can be found for very reasonable prices.
First, you need to decide what type of microphone you need. If you’re doing simple videos, a lapel clip mic works best to reduce surrounding noise.
Try the Movo PM10 – it only costs $15 and gets the job done (phone not included!).
I’m Ready For My Closeup
Ok, now that you’ve got the right equipment, let’s talk about technique! We’ve provided a few pointers to help you create quality videos without having to hire Jean-Luc Godard.
Rule of Thirds
You should (almost) never have the subject of your image in the center of the frame. The rule of thirds helps you properly place the subject. Use this grid to help:
The subject should be aligned with the guidelines or intersections in order to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject.
If you’re doing an interview video (Q&A, vlog, etc…), do not center the speaker in the frame, put them off to one side and have them looking not at the camera but to the opposite side of the screen.
The rule of thirds makes for a much better looking shot, and it makes it feel like the speaker is having a conversation with someone instead of talking to a camera. The video will feel more personable and the speaker will be more likeable.
Of course some rules are made to be broken – if you’re doing product demos or how-tos, centering the subject may be acceptable.
The only consistent rule is that if it looks good, use it.
Choose the Right Background
Your background choice can make or break a video. What type of background you need depends on the type of video you’re shooting, but a good general rule is to keep it simple and uncluttered.
For any interview/speaker type of video, use a subdued, solid colored backdrop. You can also use an office space or office wall as the background, but make sure there isn’t too much motion (for an office space background) or it isn’t too cluttered (for an office wall background).
In order to help with your brand recognition, try putting your logo or company name in the empty space of the frame (the opposite third from the subject).
Whatever background you choose, just make sure that it doesn’t upstage the subject.
How Long Should the Shots Be?
When you’re shooting something that’s dialogue heavy (a vlog, review, etc…) you want to break up the shot with cuts. Long shots lose the viewer’s attention – the longer the shot, the less interesting it becomes.
Keep each shot to 10 seconds at the most. You can break up shots with b-roll, product shots, and cuts (fade-ins/outs work well here). Having the audio continue over b-roll and product shots is a great way to keep the video moving while breaking up the shot.
For live videos this isn’t an option, so be sure to keep the dialogue interesting and on topic.
Ok, now you’re ready to shoot your video, but you still need to put it all together.
Best Editing Programs
Once you’ve got your raw footage, you’re going to need to edit it. There are several tools that will give you professional results without needing a film degree.
Best Overall Editor
Adobe Premiere Pro CC is the best video editing software around. It can handle higher resolutions and multiple file types, but it will take some practice to use it well.
It will cost you, but at $20 per month it won’t eat up your budget.
Best Free Editor
Lightworks is a free program, but don’t think this means it lacks quality. It’s been used to edit Hollywood movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and The King’s Speech.
Like Premiere Pro, Lightworks is a bit more complicated to use, but a few hours of instructional videos can pay real dividends in the editing process.
Most Convenient Editor
YouTube Editor is much simpler to use than Premiere Pro or Lightworks, but it doesn’t have the features that these platforms offer. If you’re only making simple cuts and fades, this is the program for you.
Pro editing tip: Record for 5 seconds before and after each shot to leave room for editing. Nothing’s worse than getting the shot perfect only to discover you didn’t leave room for the fade in/out.
Ok now that you’ve shot and edited your video, let’s take a look at how to post it on YouTube!
Getting Started on YouTube
Starting your own YouTube channel is fairly simple. All you’re going to need is a Gmail address to get started. After that, just sign in to Google and go to YouTube.
In the left column, you’ll see the My Channel tab:
Next, you’ll see a window asking you to confirm your name. Once you do this, your channel is ready to go!
Here’s your new channel’s Home screen:
It’s pretty basic at this point, so you’re going to need to brand it. Your YouTube channel should keep the same basic look as your website and social media outlets. Brand consistency helps your customers recognize your business no matter what site they’re on.
Choose an Image
If you’ve already added your thumbnail image to Google, then it will appear automatically as your default image (of course it can be changed).
When you’re selecting a thumbnail image for your YouTube page (this will also be the default for Google+), you want to choose something that is easily recognizable in thumbnail size and is associated with your business.
Ideally, your company logo should be used here, but many logos don’t lend themselves to thumbnail size. Text over a few characters in length won’t be legible at this size, and detailed images will also be too small to make out clearly.
If your logo doesn’t work (and you can’t redesign your logo), try to use the basic elements of your logo to create a miniature version for your image.
Remember, for brand consistency, this image should be the same as you use in all other social media sites.
Choose Channel Art
This is the banner image for your channel. Brand consistency comes into play again here, so try to use the same image as the Home page banner from your website and your other social media channels.
Write a Description
Don’t forget to let everyone know what your channel is all about. You can use up to 5,000 characters here, but the first two lines should be a good summary (that’s all most people will read, and also all that will show before the “read more” separator).
Upload Your Videos
This is a simple process, but you need to make sure your internet connection can handle this. Video files can be large, so you’re going to want to do this somewhere with a fast upload speed.
Even with a good speed, uploads can take a while. Be prepared to spend 30 minutes to an hour uploading a video (if it takes longer than that, upgrade your upload speed, condense your file, or both).
As for the process itself, all you need to do is click on the upload button on the top right of your channel’s Home screen and select a file to upload:
Once the video is done rendering, it will appear on your channel’s home screen. Congrats! You just uploaded your first video to YouTube!
Don’t Forget the SEO
YouTube is a search engine, remember? You’re going to need to do a little SEO for your channel and each video.
Channel Name and Description
Your channel name should be your business’s name (or as close as possible), and the description of your channel should use your keywords. Only the first two lines (approximately) will appear before a “Read More” separator, but keywords don’t need to appear up front since Google will crawl the whole description.
You do need to provide a good summary in the first two lines to let viewers know what types of videos they can expect on your channel. Writing an accurate description helps provide a better user experience for visitors to your channel by reducing your bounce rate and increasing your CTR.
Choose an Appropriate Thumbnail for Each Video
Each video needs a good thumbnail that is visually appealing and gives the viewer a good idea of the content. This doesn’t help SEO directly, but choosing the right thumbnail will make your video more appealing to viewers, which can affect your CTR.
Each of your videos is going to need SEO in order to be seen, so make sure you cover these areas:
- Title – 70 characters max.
- Description – 160 characters max.
- Tags – Tags act as keywords for YouTube videos. Without proper tags, your videos won’t be seen by your target audience!
- File name – Should include keyword(s) to let YouTube know what the video is about. A shortened version of the video title should work well here.
- Closed Caption – All of your videos need closed captions. This can be done automatically, but for best results you should do it manually. CCs are crawled for keywords, so CCs can add a little extra SEO juice, too! (This doesn’t mean keyword stuff! The same SEO rules apply here – just transcribe the video.)
Additionally, YouTube counts subscriber numbers, comments, and links as authority, so the more of each you have, the better your SEO.
How to Make Friends and Influence People
As we just discussed, subscribers, comments, and links add to your channel’s SEO juice, so building up these areas can be crucial to the success of your channel.
Share on Social Media
The first step is to get subscribers to your channel. Sharing your videos on your social media channels can help with this. You should share videos on all of your social media sites, but Facebook and Google+ are absolute musts.
Facebook has over 2 billion users, so the exposure there is unbeatable, and you should be sharing everything on Google+ (it turns out Google really likes it when you use Google+).
If your content is promoted properly, is well made, and is relevant to your audience, your subscribers list will grow.
Respond to Comments
Comments need to be encouraged as well. Ask viewers for their opinions, questions, or any other comments in your videos, and make sure you respond in a timely manner.
Engagement is a two-way street! Make sure you’re responding to comments when appropriate and developing relationships with your viewers. People want to know that you’re listening to what they have to say.
Link building is one of the trickiest parts of SEO. Luckily, people love sharing videos. If you’re making quality content that your audience finds helpful or entertaining, they’re going to share it.
Embedding Videos is a Breeze
When you’re sharing videos on social media, all you need to do is copy and paste the video URL, but if you want to post the video to your website, you’ll need to embed it in the HTML.
Don’t panic! YouTube makes this process painless, and we’re going to walk you through the process.
When you’re on the video’s page, click on the “Share” button under the video:
Select the “Embed” tab on the box that appears below:
Copy the <iframe> HTML code below the tabs:
Then all you need to do is paste the code to the appropriate spot in your website HTML! Your video should be ready to play on any device!
Cash In With Ads
Once your channel gets more than 10,000 views, it becomes eligible to run ads on your videos. Enabling these ads is simple, and if your channel is popular, it can be a good source of income.
Monetize Your Channel
The steps here are simple:
- Go to your YouTube channel Home page
- Click on your icon on the top right corner:
- Select “Creator Studio” from the box that appears:
- You’ll be taken to the Creator Studio Dashboard. From the left tabs, select “Channel, then “Status and Features”:
- In the “Monetization” box, select “Enable” (the example account can’t be enabled, but once you’ve uploaded a video, enable will appear):
- Follow the instructions to accept YouTube Partner Program Terms.
Sign Up For AdSense
In order to start earning money from ads, you’ll need to use AdSense. Create a new AdSense account or connect an existing account to your channel in order to monetize your channel.
If you already have an account but it has holds on it, these issues will need to be resolved before you’ll get paid.
YouTube has a minimum payment amount ($100), so you’ll need to earn at least that much before any payments are issued.
Choose Your Preferences
You can choose to monetize certain videos or all of your videos, and you can choose which types of ads will display on your videos.
Types of ads:
- Display Ads – Appear in the right column at the top of the suggestions list.
- Overlay Ads – Semi-transparent ads that show up on the lower part of your videos.
- Skippable Ads – Allows viewers to skip ads after 5 seconds. These can be placed before, during, or after the video.
- Non-skippable Ads – Ads that cannot be skipped.
- Bumper Ads – 6 second non-skippable pre-video ads.
- Sponsored Cards – Ads for content relevant to your video. These last only a few seconds and are overlaid on the right side of your video.
Don’t forget to save when you’re done!
YouTube Reviews Your Request
Once your channel hits 10,000 views, YouTube will review your monetization request to ensure that your channel adheres to the Partner Program Policies, Terms of Service, and Community Guidelines.
YouTube will contact you when the review is complete, and you can start earning money from your channel!
From your Creator Studio Dashboard, you can view your channel’s analytics by selecting the Analytics tab in the left column. From there, you can get data on all sorts of viewer behavior, demographics, traffic sources, and more.
You can compare timeframes, export reports, and add filters to the data, making it easy to compare data and see how your channel is improving!
Your business needs to be using video to reach your customers. Video increases engagement, CTR, SEO, and brand recognition, all of which help increase your bottom line.
And once you’ve made videos, there’s really only one place to put them – YouTube. It has the reach to put your videos in front of over a billion people, and it gets your videos noticed by Google.
By making quality videos, setting up your own YouTube channel, optimizing it for SEO, engaging with your viewers, and analyzing your data, you can get the most from your YouTube channel.