How to Build a Powerful YouTube Channel

YouTube is developing its tools constantly to enable small businesses to get their message out there, so with a few key tips it’s easy to develop brand awareness and begin your own fantastic YouTube channel.

This guide will offer you three essential areas to cover, to help you create and maintain the very best video presence you can.

Optimising Your Videos

Uploading a video is simple enough, but have you thought about ways to make your content easily searchable? If you don’t already know the keywords that are applicable to your business, then use Google Keyword Planner to find out what your customers are looking for.

Keywords are a fundamental building block to creating any kind of discoverable content online and videos are no exception. It’s worth pointing out that Google is far more likely to rank relevant videos above non-video content in its search results so getting this right can really help your brand get discovered.

Video keyword research and optimisation is a vital element of your overarching SEO strategy so look to your website for a framework and think about how your videos feed back into your own service or product pages and the keywords they’ve been optimised for.

With your keywords and video ready, remember to think carefully about the following:

  • Description
    This part of your video is where you can give YouTube users as much information as possible about the content. Don’t hold back, and aim for lengthier descriptions of over 200 words where possible. It’s important to get your keywords in here but don’t stuff them in. Look to use ‘long tail’ keywords as well as synonyms. Search engines are very sophisticated and will pick up on this, whilst penalising you for excessive keyword usage. Remember to add a call to action advising users to visit your website, share the video and subscribe.
  • Tags
    Add ‘tags’ to your video before you hit publish. Just like a hashtag on Twitter, these are searchable and like Instagram you can use plenty to get as much attention as possible for your content. These are simply added in your description, and I’d advise using up to twenty.
  • Title
    A title that is clear, easy to identify and crucially describes your video well, is always the best bet. Try to include your keywords, whilst keeping the title simple and inviting.
  • Metadata
    Before you publish, remember to tick the ‘metadata’ box to enable YouTube to aid discovery of your video and rank your content.

Structuring Your Content

Publishing relevant and regular content is a sure way to attract subscribers. I’ve spoken at length on the Hero, Hub, Help approach to segmenting and planning your content strategy. This will also help you structure the content on your YouTube channel, giving pride of place to your big hitting ‘hero’ videos.

Increasingly the most popular content providers on YouTube are adopting a ‘channel’ like structure, producing regular ‘programmes’ for an emerging digital-TV audience.  Gaining subscribers on YouTube is like gaining followers on other social media, it guarantees you a returning audience of brand supporters, which is why YouTube is such a powerful business tool.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the Rolex and Warner Bros channels and have a look at the way they’ve organised their content. Channel structure might seem like window dressing but it really does play an important part in how people discover your content, and as a result, your brand.

As well as publishing regularly, here are some simple tips for channel structure:

  • Create playlists to organise your content, as your portfolio grows, making your channel easy to navigate and search
  • Tell people constantly to subscribe, like and comment
  • But don’t expect YouTube viewers to click through to your website, this is a stand-alone experience
  • Only publish content that fits with your brand
  • Always keep advertising away from the user experience on YouTube, if you are a B2B and B2C brand, it’s worth separating the two

Keeping On Track

Measuring the success of your content will help you develop and adapt your channel as you grow. YouTube has its own analytics suite which is good enough to start with. It’s important to understand how YouTube plays into your wider online marketing and tools like Google Analytics will help you do this.

Understanding the value of YouTube isn’t as simple as views or click-throughs to your website though. What you’re looking for is subscribers and engagement, which could be through comments or shares.

If you want to build up a comprehensive picture of your YouTube channel marketing you will probably want to track a number of things.

  • Views
    Typically a video’s success would be measure in views, which shows you in simple terms how many people have watched your content. If your content isn’t getting high views, refer back to point 1 and ensure your SEO keywords are in place.
  • Average View
    As well as the number of total views, it’s worth looking at how long the average viewer actually spends watching your content. If it’s only 25-50% of the total playtime then you may want to think about creating shorter videos or cutting them down into smaller segments.
  • Subscribers
    How many subscribers you have can drastically impact your visibility, so building a gradual support base is a crucial aim. Keep an eye on the number, checking for when you get growth spurts or losses, as an indication of which content works for you.
  • Demographics

Knowing your demographics is also key because you can see if you are reaching your target audience. Are your existing subscribers the people you want to reach? If not, and you’re popular somewhere else, perhaps this can send you in a new direction.

  • Engagement
    Remember that YouTube is a social media platform, and so interactions and comments are something you actively want to encourage. Getting your users to interact gives you vital market information, as well as increasing your SEO visibility.

I hope this guide can steer you towards building a powerful and effective YouTube channel. It might seem tempting to just upload videos on an ad hoc basis to YouTube but investing the time to create an easily navigable and enticing channel will pay dividends in the future.

 Evelyn Timson is Managing Director at UK based video marketing company Aspect Film and Video and has worked with well known brands like Coca Cola, Samsung, Microsoft and the British Library and National Trust in the UK. You can connect with Aspect via Facebook or Twitter. To see a selection of their award winning work check out their YouTube Channel.