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10 Ways to Create and Optimize Your Video for YouTube

How to Optimize Your Video for YouTubeIf you’ve been to any kind of social media seminar lately, you may have heard that making videos is the next Big Thing in online marketing. Depending on your industry and your business goals, that may or may not be true for you. Of course, if you’re even the tiniest bit familiar with online marketing, you know that making videos does not guarantee that anyone will watch or share them. The competition is brutal. On YouTube alone, people upload more than 48 hours of video every minute and watch over three billion videos every day.

So, without a plan for how to create and optimize your video content, you may end up a Sisyphus. (Just saying that word makes me giggle like a junior high girl.) In Greek mythology, Sisyphus pushes a gigantic boulder up a hill every day only to watch it roll back down again. Every day. For eternity. That’s a rough gig.

Naturally, you don’t want to be a Sisyphus. So, before you run headlong into video production and online posting, consider these 10 tips that can give your video a chance – and perhaps even an edge – online.

  1. Decide where video fits with your business goals.The worst thing you can do is spend lots of time and (if you’re going for quality) lots of money on a video, only to figure out that the topic doesn’t support any of the goals you need and want to accomplish. So, revisit your goals first, and then determine how a video might fit.
  2. Figure out who your target audience is, what they like, what they want to know and what they might share.This is all part of building buyer personas, which is not exactly a new marketing concept. But, it is critical and applies to every aspect of your marketing plan. Creating personas takes time, effort and research, but it will pay off in the end.
  3. Outline what would make your video successful, based on your goals.Guess what? Your video doesn’t need to have a million views to be successful! If it gets the number of shares within your industry that you want, brings potential buyers to your site or generates a certain number of leads, that may be exactly what you’re looking for.
  4. Know your online influencers. Who would be most interested in your content and in a position to help you promote it? You need to do this research before or while you’re making a video. That way when it’s time to post, you’re ready to reach out and ask these influencers to help get the word out.
  5. Create good content. No one has to get hit in the crotch with a baseball or do voice-overs with animals for your video to have success. Yes, humor is helpful, but informative and how-to videos also do extremely well online. After all, people turn to the Internet for information. So, don’t be afraid to give it to them!
  6. When you upload a video, don’t forget to embed it in your blog. According to Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR, 44% of videos are discovered on blogs. (Let me add that I owe Mr. Jarboe thanks for several other great tips in this blog post.) This gives you the best of both worlds. If you upload to YouTube, your videos will be available on the world’s second most searched website, and the content is available and searchable on your own site. Plus, any time someone views the embedded video on your site, you get credit for that view on YouTube (counted as part of total views).
  7. Optimize, optimize, optimize. Video content itself is not visible to search engines. That makes the text that surrounds each video very important.The title of the video becomes the page’s title tag. You have up to 100 characters, so make sure the title is both compelling and contains keywords. But, the sky’s the limit with the description. You’ve got 5,000 characters! Include lots of keyword-rich content, as well as links to other videos, your social media channels, customized landing pages and more. Make sure you use the http:// prefix; otherwise, it won’t become a link.If you’re not sure what keywords you should use, try YouTube’s keyword tool. Or, use the autocomplete algorithm that’s part of YouTube search. Start typing keywords into the YouTube search bar and see what other terms YouTube suggests. Tags should also be as detailed as possible. Be sure to use the keywords you want the video to rank for.

    Consider putting the URL you most want viewers to visit first in your description. That way even when the description is collapsed, the URL can be seen.

    Don’t forget to do all this for your channel settings, as well!

  8. Take advantage of “recency” in YouTube’s algorithm, designed to help good new videos rise to the top. Jarboe says this recency factor lasts for about a week, so, before you post, make sure you’re ready to promote the video on a blog, on social media channels, in a e-newsletter and more. Don’t post and then decide to publicize later.
  9. Experiment with YouTube’s captions and annotation features. They can help your video stand out in the crowd and provide a way to link to other videos, include a call to action and generally be more interactive.
  10. Monitor what’s going on with your channel using YouTube insights. After all, at the end of the day, you need to know if your video accomplished what you wanted it to.

Jen Carroll

Jen Carroll, Pole Position Marketing’s social media and content marketing strategist, brings more than 15 years of business writing and communication experience to Pole Position Marketing. She can also talk your ear off about English lit, history, J.R.R. Tolkien and scads of other captivating topics. Mention them at your own risk. Read Jen’s full bio.

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