Getting Started with YouTube

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Digital marketing can take many forms. One of the things that organizations have learned over time is that multi-channel marketing can be important to digital marketing campaigns. One digital marketing channel that can be particularly impactful is YouTube. Yet, it can be highly important to understand how YouTube works in order to get the most out of this potentially impactful platform. 

We’ll discuss some ways you can aim for organic growth on the platform, which can create a sustainable way for you to engage with valued audiences, and we’ll also discuss how some of Youtube’s specific features and tools enable businesses to create compelling content that fosters engagement among their intended audiences. 

Creating and perfecting your Youtube channel

Importantly, you should create a dedicated Youtube channel for your company. While Youtube accounts are easy enough to set up, it’s worth the effort to create a dedicated, optimized Youtube channel for your business with a profile picture, channel art, and informative channel description. Let’s explore some of the steps you can take to create one:

  • Sign-in to Youtube: You’ll need to navigate to and sign in with your account if you already have one for your business. If not, you’ll need to create a new Youtube account first. 
  • Once you’ve signed in, navigate to your channel list, and click on “Create a new channel.” If you have an existing brand account that you want to use, you can alternatively create a channel for it by selecting that account from the list if that account doesn’t already have a channel. 

Next, you’ll want to make sure that your brand’s Youtube channel is optimized to make it attractive to your target audience. In order to make changes to your Youtube channel:

  • Navigate to Youtube Studio. From there, you’ll be able to make important changes to your channel. 
  • On the left-hand ribbon, select “customization.” There, you’ll see three tabs labeled “Layout,” “Branding,” and “Basic info.” 
  • Under “Basic info,” set your name, handle, and description. Your name should tell potential viewers exactly who your brand is, while your handle is a unique moniker used to differentiate your channels from others, online. Your description should be concise yet informative and let potential viewers know what they can expect to see on your channel, as well as who your company is. 
  • Under “Branding,” set your profile picture, banner image, and video watermark. For your profile picture, choose something simple that works well in a small format that lets viewers know who you are, easily. For example, a small company logo, if you have one. Your banner image should say something about your brand. If you pride yourself in your workplace community, for example, you might choose a panorama image of your team members. Your video watermark is used to signify that videos are from you. A small brand logo, or something similar can suffice. 

Youtube Shorts

Youtube shorts are a special type of Youtube video, notable for their short format. Youtube shorts are limited in length to only 1 minute. Though they impose certain content creation limitations, they can nonetheless be an important part of your Youtube strategy. Shorts can be highly popular with viewers, and their inherent short-form nature makes them less of a commitment for viewers. For some viewers, this might make them more attractive. 

Since shorts are limited to only a minute, it’s important to consider how you’ll best make use of that time. Shorts will generally give you enough time to cover one or two topics briefly. However, this can be a powerful format, as in a minute, you might be able to get in a few interesting facts, set up the punchline to a joke, or let viewers know about an upcoming event or piece of content. 

Identifying your target audience on Youtube

Even if you have the most polished, well-produced video in the world, it might not mean much to you if you’re not reaching the right audience. In order to reach the right audience, you need to know as much as possible about who they are. By better understanding your audience, you can inform your strategy when it comes to creating content that specifically appeals to them. 

As you get to better understand your target audience, you might start to understand what resonates with them, and why. You can use this information to lean into topics and formats that resonate with your target audience. 

Some formats that can be used to create engaging content include how-to videos, behind-the-scenes videos that look at how organizations operate, interviews with guests who interest your target audience, and product reviews. 

Producing high-quality, engaging content

Finding your target audience and understanding what types of content drive engagement are important. However, once you’ve determined what types of content drive engagement, you’ll need to deliver quality content in order to seize that opportunity. 

Some of the considerations you should take when creating Youtube content are the same for many consumer-facing facets of a business; utilize branding that represents your brand well, use storytelling as a means to craft compelling narratives that help consumers better understand what you have to offer them, and aim to inform, entertain, and connect. 

It’s also important to take considerations specific to video content; investing in lighting, cameras, microphones, and other essential recording tools can pay off and enable you to create higher-quality, more appealing videos. Think of your brand presence on Youtube as a potential indicator to consumers about how much pride you take in your work, even if your brand’s primary focus isn’t content creation. 

To achieve this level of quality in your video content, it’s recommended to use video editing tools. These tools provide creators features like a trimmer and cutter, background remover, audio converter, video downloader, and speed controller. Most tools have free and paid versions, so it’s important to understand what features you need and whether you require a tool upgrade to polish your content.

SEO and Youtube

If you think of SEO as only for websites that are primarily search engines, you may want to reconsider. Importantly, YouTube has a search engine built right in, and many YouTube videos are found through search engines such as Bing and Google. As such, it can be highly important to ensure that your channel follows SEO best practices, some of which are specific to YouTube, in order to reach your target audience. 

  • Create compelling thumbnails: These, combined with a video title, can be the first thing a potential viewer sees. While video titles are also important, images have a way of grabbing peoples’ attention, so use this to your advantage. Think of images that make you compelled to watch a video and why. 
  • Create compelling (and accurate) titles: Youtube might use information such as how long people tend to watch your videos in order to rank them–so it’s important that your titles match your content. That way, you attract viewers more likely to stick around and watch more of each video. You’ll also want to get to the point and make titles compelling: why do your viewers want to watch? Explain in the title, if possible. 
  • Create relevant descriptions and tags for your videos: These are here to help people find videos like yours that they’re interested in. In order for them to work, it can be helpful to include relevant tags and descriptions that help communicate what your videos offer. 

Fostering engagement and community

Building a community of viewers on Youtube and garnering engagement might be one of your cornerstone goals in implementing a Youtube marketing strategy. If so, you’re likely concerned with how to systematically do that. There are a number of steps you can take to encourage engagement and a community of viewers. Some of these include:

  • Lead engagement by example: You can hardly expect viewers to engage if you never give anything in return. Be sure to respond (positively) to comments, ask viewers for feedback (and use that feedback), and collaborate with other content creators when possible. 
  • Make use of Youtube’s features: Youtube allows you to do things such as create playlists and add screen cards to your videos. Cards link viewers to other pages or videos, while playlists can be used to drive viewers to your videos. These types of features can boost your efforts to drive engagement. 

Collaborating with other creators

One of the ways you can boost your reach is by becoming an active part of the Youtube community. If there are other content creators with similar interests and audiences, consider reaching out to see if they’d be interested in collaboration. If so, you may be able to reach more viewers and establish yourself better as a content creator. If you’re wondering who you might collaborate with, be sure to remain mindful of your target audience and brand persona to ensure that they’re a compatible fit on both fronts. 

Promoting across other (non-Youtube) channels

As Youtube likely isn’t your only digital marketing channel, be sure to utilize your other channels to support your Youtube channel and vice versa. As it’s unlikely that 100% of your audience will always overlap across different channels, promoting your content across marketing channels can help you grow your reach. You may even be able to repurpose Youtube content for other marketing channels and even embed Youtube videos in other online spaces. 

Measuring and analyzing your Youtube performance

It’s essential to define your success metrics and define important key performance indicators that you’ll use to gauge your success over time. Whether you use Youtube’s built-in analytics tools or utilize third-party analytics to gain deeper insights into your performance, it’s important to verify that you’re acting on accurate data and understanding what you can and can’t attribute success to. 

You may notice trends that help you understand the factors driving organic growth. Some KPIs you might look at might include how long viewers watch your videos or how many subscribers you receive during a certain window of time after a video was published. Over time, you’ll be able to sharpen your approach, so it’s important to continually measure and analyze your performance. 

The bottom line

YouTube can be a powerful component in your digital marketing strategy. In order to best use YouTube as a sustainable platform that can be used to engage with consumers, you might utilize organic growth strategies to help you foster a community of viewers. Importantly, you’ll want to understand your target audience, utilize different video formats, including shorts, collaborate with other content creators when possible and applicable, optimize your channel, use SEO best practices, create high-quality videos, and continually measure and analyze your performance in order to optimize your YouTube strategy. By utilizing YouTube’s unique platform, you might find that you can engage with audiences in entirely new ways.

About The Author

Masha Mahdavi

Masha Mahdavi

Masha Mahdavi has over ten years of experience in digital marketing. She has worked with clients across a variety of industries including legal, medical, retail, and local businesses. Her focus is on working with clients in highly competitive niches and generating ROI through data-driven strategies, search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and paid social media.