YouTube: Comedy Gold or Serious Business Platform?

by Becka Lesieutre

When YouTube was created in 2005, it quickly became the go-to site for online video content. It played a huge role in the rise of the cat video, gave us countless glorious hours of people falling over, and helped to reignite our love for music videos. As well as being home to the weird and wonderful from all over the Internet, YouTube quietly built itself up to be one of the most important search engines at our disposal – second only to Google with a search volume estimated to be greater than Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask combined – making it, potentially, an invaluable source for businesses.
But let’s face it, it’s easy to get lost on the internet – one minute you’re researching top search engines, and next thing you know, you’ve found yourself taking a quiz that’ll tell you what kind of cheese you are. So here are a few tricks to keep your video content out of the cheese quizzes and at the top of the searches …

1. Start With a Descriptive Title
Consider what kind of search terms folks are going to be using in order to find your content. Try to keep things as broad as possible – avoid using specific brand names or part numbers. You want to be as easy to track down as possible. (For those of us who can’t remember 18-digit product codes, generic terms are a godsend.)

2. Remember That Metadata!
When posting to YouTube, be sure to make the most of “Video Details” section. Give your video a category that will make sense to the user and add plenty of keywords as tags. You can get specific here.

That being said, be careful with your keywords. Check out other videos that use the ones you’re considering and be sure that you’re okay with having them pop up as suggestions to your customers.

3. Add a Card
This is another option on the “Video Details” page. Cards allow you to create a link from one video to another, promote another YouTube channel, or engage your viewers in a poll. Use this feature wisely! Think carefully about what viewers might be interested in based on which of your videos they watch and how you can string content together. It’s a tough one, but experiment and pay attention to those viewership numbers – it’ll pay off!

4. Keep It User Friendly
Organizing your videos into playlists is a simple yet very effective way to make your page easy to navigate and look tidy. A painless way to start is to create playlists for people/interviews and special events, for example, and go from there. Playlists help viewers find the content they’re interested in and often encourages them to stick around for longer. There’s no downside.

5. Add subtitles!
It seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked. Adding subtitles to your videos instantly opens them up to deaf or hard of hearing viewers, viewers watching in noisy environments, or those who speak a different language than is used in the video. Subtitles also add another layer of metadata that allows YouTube to better relate your videos to others on the site. Win and win.

6. Think About the Future
Say it with me now: Everything is temporary!

YouTube updated its T&Cs last year to state that: “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access, to all or part of the service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the service to you is no longer commercially viable.”

It’s a good idea to start thinking and acting as though your YouTube content needs to be engaging enough to attract sponsors – should this become a condition of being accepted by the site, which will probably happen eventually.

Now all you need to worry about is creating video YouTubers will want to see. For some insights into making great video, check out the Wall Street post: “Lights, Camera, Action! Tips for Making a Great Video.

And just for fun …