Apparently, I was thinking ahead enough to start a YouTube channel shortly after I became a blogger – YouTube says I joined March 2010. I was just never smart enough to do anything with it. Sure. I would upload a screenshot tutorial or webinar I did with an online friend once or twice per year, but I never got serious. Or consistent.
The past three or four years, however, all you hear as a blogger is video, video, video is where things are headed. And the stats back that up.
- Over one-third of all internet users use YouTube.
- 45% of people watch an hour or more of Facebook and YouTube videos each week.
- One-third of online activity is spent watching videos.
- More than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube EACH DAY.
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video marketers.
- Video drives 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs.
These numbers are things that should perk up your ears. In a world that is more and more saturated with text content and where it is increasingly hard to reach followers on social platforms, I’m ready for a challenge if the results pay off. Maybe you are, too.
After returning home from two conferences last fall that included a lot of video marketing sessions, I decided it was time to get serious. As an introvert, this wasn’t easy. Heck. As someone who doesn’t put on makeup or do my hair most days, this wasn’t easy. But, I did it.
Three months in now, I thought I would share with you a few things I have learned that will hopefully make your journey as a YouTube beginner a little easier.
1. If you don’t have a strategy, you don’t have much hope.
My goal as a YouTuber was to reach new people and get them back to my blog. This is where the magic happens. It’s where people sign up for my newsletter list so I can connect with them and market to them over and over again. Attaining a million views on YouTube is irrelevant to me if it doesn’t help me meet my real goals.
Obviously, this end goal requires a few more steps than just shooting a video about whatever I feel like talking about today. I need to research what’s popular on YouTube and will, hopefully, get a lot of views. Then, I need to make sure I’m reminding people to visit my website. Then, I need to make sure I’m sending them to the right places to prompt the result I am hoping for – sign up for my email list.
Every time I create a video, this takes the most time. But, it’s what makes it worth it!
2. You can’t assume your blog readers are interested in video. (But, that’s good!)
Here’s a shocker. The vast majority of people that read my blog and subscribe to my newsletter have no interest in watching my videos. I thought I would be able to just slide on through to my first 1,000 channel subscribers by telling my email subscribers about my new gig. No dice! Even though I still send out links to my new videos each week, only around 3% of people who open my email watch the videos. On a really exciting video, I might hit 8%.
But, that’s a good thing! My goal is to reach new people – people wanting to consume information differently. And that, I’m accomplishing. I’m creeping up on one hundred visits per day from YouTube with just 36 videos published. And that traffic is converting into newsletter subscribers at a rate of 7% right now. That’s WAY higher than I see on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
3. Your videos live and die by SEO.
YouTube is owned by Google. It should come as no surprise search engine optimization is going to be important. And, that as well, is good. The majority of people coming to YouTube are searching for content. It’s a discovery platform. Only a small percentage of the time are they looking only to watch those they already follow as can be the case on Twitter and Facebook.
Take the time to learn how to do keyword research on YouTube and optimize your videos. It will pay off in spades for years to come.
4. So. Much. Spam.
I deal with so much spam already. It was disappointing to find out this would be another place to babysit. But, such is life.
5. Connect everything.
As I mentioned previously, my goal is new traffic to my blog. But these people don’t know you. They probably don’t even know you have a website. A lot of YouTubers don’t. Make sure they can find you later. And make sure you are reminding them to find you.
6. So much better than Facebook Live.
One of the reasons I avoided video for so long was because I get so nervous. I have a fear of public speaking. I’m terrified of live video.
But, once I learned how to edit my videos… fear is gone! I can stumble over my words 97 times. The phone can start ringing mid-video. The cat can jump in front of the camera. None of this matters. I can just wait for the screw-up to subside, continue my video and cut out the blooper later. No harm, no foul.
7. The big bucks are possible.
As someone who has always made money from text content, I didn’t think there was much potential for big revenue on YouTube. I was wrong. Even at 20 videos just two months in, I saw consistent income.
Your YouTube revenue is tied to AdSense. If you are familiar with that monetization avenue, you know your income will be largely dependent on views and the keywords you use. With a little more time and practice, I think I could get this platform earning pretty well. Unfortunately, three months into my YouTube optimization they changed the rules. That put a stop to me earning until I reach 4,000 hours of view time. I’m hoping to hit that by June.
8. Tools rule.
I did not know where the heck to begin when it came to YouTube. I like to think I know where to turn for all things blogging, but here I was lost. Luckily, I was able to find a lot of things to help me out without spending a lot of dough.
I started with what I had – just my laptop. The first video I published someone left me a nasty comment telling me it sounded like crap. (Nice welcome. Eh?) Since it was right around Black Friday when I got rolling, I took the opportunity to buy a few pieces of inexpensive video equipment to start me out. I still wasn’t sure I would stick with this long-term, so I didn’t get much.
My office is very much a sunroom with windows on three sides. As long as I wait until afternoon, I’ve never had to worry about light. That little cube light is so bright anyway. It could blind you. A halo light is on my wishlist next.
Thankfully, I tried a few free trials out before settling on editing software. The first ones I attempted were so overwhelming. I almost gave up. I’m not too tech savvy! Then, I came across Filmora by Wondershare. So simple! I love it. And the business edition was only $119.99 lifetime. They also have an awesome Effects Store where you can pick up professional-looking intros/outros, transitions, and more.
I’m big on optimization and analytics. How are you going to get where you are going if you don’t know where you are at? Luckily, YouTube provides a lot in the way of analytics just as you would expect. Over here, you need to pay attention to things like watch time, completion rate, audience retention. Thankfully, they make that easy.
When it comes to search optimization, however, I didn’t know what was going on. How do you do keyword research? How do you know what other people are optimizing their videos for? What are the best practices? Then I found TubeBuddy.
TubeBuddy provides all of that and more. They have best practices checklists. You can upload videos to Facebook while you are uploading to YouTube. They offer a lot in the way of keyword research. They will show you opportunities to optimize existing videos and more. It has been a lifesaver. TubeBuddy also integrates with 3PlayMedia for video captioning and Star members and above get a discount. A free account is available though I have the Star Plan which comes with bulk editing, canned responses, ranking reports and more.
9. Batch Processing for the WIN!
Publishing one video at a time when you are looking to build out your channel initial is so overwhelming. It may take you forever. Instead, I was an early adopter of batch processing. Lifesaver!
Every time I sit down to film a video, I usually have three or four ready to go. I do all of the keyword research at once. Then, I write the outlines. Then, I write the descriptions, titles and tags. Then, I film them all back-to-back. Next, I edit them all back-to-back. Then, I create all of the graphics for not only the thumbnails but also for sharing on social media. Finally, I upload and schedule them all at once. So much easier.
Batch processing helps with another very important thing over at YouTube – consistency. Just as Google likes frequently updated websites when determining its search results, it also prefers frequently updated channels when deciding on its YouTube search results. Being able to do a few weeks or a month of videos in one sitting can ensure you are making that happen.
I’m still very much a YouTube beginner, but I feel like I’m making process in a big way. And, it’s paying off quickly. That always makes me happy.