5 (Easy) Ways to Boost Your YouTube Presence
Full disclosure: I am not a YouTube influencer. In fact, I don't even have my own active channel. I have, however, grown stagnant YouTube channels for clients with just a little bit of research and some elbow grease. So why not share the wealth? Here's what I've learned:
In the ever-changing world of marketing, YouTube is an oasis of potential. However, it’s easy to stunt the growth of your channel if you’re underutilizing certain tactics. Here are some simple changes you can make to your YouTube channel that’ll increase subscribers and drive leads.
Add Text to Your Thumbnails
You might have clear and high-quality thumbnails for your videos, but statistics show thumbnails with text overlays drive more clicks. My first impression of this trick was that it might look a little tacky, but I came to a couple of realizations: (1) If you do it right, it can actually enhance the aesthetic of your channel as a whole, and (2) many successful influencers I subscribe to use this strategy.
Before you jump into editing, be sure to establish some basic standards for the look of your thumbnails. Keep to a central theme with fonts, colors, sizing and overall style. That’s not to say each one has to be identical, but there should be consistent elements that tie together to convey a brand.
Be Smart With Titles & Descriptions
There are many questions to ask yourself before titling any video. A few are:
What’s going to hook people?
What will my subscribers think?
What will non-subscribers think?
What ranks well in search?
How does it speak to my brand?
It doesn’t have to be daunting, but it’s also not as simple as slapping something on your video and hitting “publish.” Be bold, be concise, and don’t forget those keywords. There’s a world of difference between “Growing Your YouTube Channel” and “How to Become a YouTube Influencer in 6 Months.”
Another tip to remember: Your title needs to reflect what the viewer will actually see when they click through. This might sound obvious, but some creators come off as click-baity by sensationalizing their video. If a viewer is disappointed by what they find when they click through to your video, they probably won’t be interested in the rest of your content.
When it comes to your descriptions:
Incorporate the same keywords you’re targeting in your title.
Once again, be bold and concise.
If you have important links you want the viewer to click (like a landing page where you’re collecting leads), keep it at the top of your description to be sure people don’t miss it.
Include information that’s helpful to the viewer’s experience (i.e., timestamps for each step in a 10-step how-to video)
One of the most important factors of YouTube success is having videos that rank well in search. Remember, your videos are competing with all the other content on YouTube, but also with the content on Google. The right title, description and set of tags is the way to have great content that people can actually find. Do your research on which keywords pertain to your topic, and be sure to emphasize them in your Tags section.
However, you should also include the words and phrases people might search that don’t directly relate to your topic. For example, you’re selling motorized storage lifts (the kind that make a coffee maker pop up from underneath the kitchen counter at the push of a button). You might be using “storage lift” or “kitchen storage lift” as tags, and that’s great, but you should also consider the people who aren’t specifically looking for that kind of content but would still find it useful. Use key phrases like “kitchen remodel,” “kitchen inspiration” or “kitchen storage,” because those are broader topics that would still attract a relevant audience.
End Screens, End Screens, End Screens
You might have the world’s best video content, but you could still miss out on subscribers and video views if you don’t nudge your audience toward the next call-to-action. There are several directions you can take with End Screens:
Offer a “Subscribe” button
Suggest another video, either:
One that best suits the viewer based on the video they just watched
Your most recent upload
A specific video of your choice
Direct the viewer to a playlist
Direct the viewer to a channel
Offer a link to an external site (eligible once you join the YouTube Partner Program)
Maybe your primary goal is to grow your following, so you always make sure to include that “subscribe” button. Maybe you want people to watch as many of your videos as possible, so you suggest the next video(s) in line. There’s a lot of freedom and room for personalization with End Screens because you’re not limited to one, and you can try different combinations to see what works.
No matter what route you take with your channel’s End Screens, keep the user experience in mind and think about what you’d like to see as a content consumer.
Add a Trailer to Your Homepage
Sometimes, consumers don’t know what they want until you show them. If someone stumbles across your page, you want to give them instant assurance they’ve come to the right place. That’s where a channel trailer comes in.
Channel trailers are videos that play automatically when a user visits your channel’s homepage. Depending on the type of business or channel you have, you might use one (or multiple) of these as a trailer:
“About Us” video
Ongoing promotion or sale
Product compilation or summary of services
Your latest upload
One of the great things about trailers is you can select one for new visitors and one for returning visitors. As a new visitor, I might want a background of the creator/company, so the “About Us” video would be helpful, but as a returning visitor I’d like to learn about new products or watch the latest video content.
There’s certainly a set of best practices when it comes to YouTube. I encourage everyone to try them out, but also be sure to toss in your personal flare and make that channel yours.