Michael Rolfe

YouTube Marketing Tips

2nd Sep 2011 Social Media, Video Marketing 6 minutes to read

Picture the scene: You have something great to share with the world.  You put in the effort and record a sensational video.  You hover over the ‘submit’ button before finally releasing your content to the Internet, for all to see! 5 days and 10 views later you’re a bit annoyed that your sweat, blood and tears hasn’t gone viral.  Surely this video was better than ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’? Well, great content is half of the work.  Here’s the other half…

There are many types of videos, and many ways to improve their popularity.  Pick and mix from the list below of which tips are implementable for the particular video you have in mind.

On-Page Optimisation

Marketing is how you make your online videos a success, and the first stage is the ‘on-page optimisation’.  This is done on the ‘video upload page’, or if you’ve already uploaded your video you can also amend these details in-line on the ‘Edit Video Detail’ button at the top of the video page.

Make a great title:

A descriptive title that wants to be clicked, with keywords in.


First add the keywords that you had in your title into your Tags section.  Then add broad keywords that relate to the category of your post (E.G. Cooking, Gardening, etc). Finally, add specific keywords that your video is about, such as ‘stuffed peppers’ or ‘marigold bulbs’.


The description can be 5000 characters, so you may as well include all the relevant content you can, especially including the keywords you used in the title.  Make sure the first 120 characters are super-catchy so that people will click, as this is all that will show in the search results pages, and be sure to add any web addresses you may have.

YouTube Insight

YouTube Insight (in your ‘My Videos’ page) will tell you how people are finding your videos, and how many views certain search terms are bringing in. This may give you ideas on different words you can use to describe your content that better reflect what people are searching for. This can help you optimise your content and increase traffic.

Insight will also help you get to know your viewers – their ages, sex and location primarily. This can help you identify the content they want, what else they might find interesting and products or services they could be looking for.  You can even look at the performance of individual videos and where people are skipping forward because the content is not engaging enough. This data of course can help you improve the quality of your video and the likelihood that it is shared and cross-promoted.

Like a good book or movie, you want to get their attention as soon as possible, if not sooner. Don’t start out with a lengthy brand-intro and jingle, it’s frustrating and drives people away. Tell them up front what to expect  in the video and people should be more likely to stick with the video than search again.

Engage viewers

If you have them, make the most out of them! Ask them questions, feature their thoughts on upcoming videos, mention them in @tweets and respond to their comments. Controversial and risqué statements can be conducive to activity but be careful not to get too many dislikes.


Another way to be controversial is to post videos as responses. If someone has made a video about something and you want to add your video to the discussion, post it as a response. You can post videos as responses to your own videos, therefore linking the two together so viewers of one video might be more likely to discover the other video.


You can also collaborate with other YouTube Channel owners to share audiences; introducing each-other subscribers to relevant, complementary content.  It’s good for you, the collaborator and the audience.


Get users to take an action such as subscribe to your channel or check out another one of your videos using annotations. Don’t be scared, you’ve all seen them – the little speech bubbles that pop up during videos. That could be you! With more people watching videos from mobile devices, try and make your text as legible as possible. Ask people to favourite you or to comment as it appears that interactions are a factor in the ranking algorithm.


Many people will see your profile and if they like you they might add you as a friend. Once added, friends are a great resource for propagating your content so take the time to make an engaging profile – it’s an opportunity to build your ‘brand of one’, which everyone has.


Getting links to your videos, profile and channel from external websites will boost the number of visitors you receive as you make it more likely that people will discover your video. Furthermore, search engines see links as votes of confidence from users and that gives the linked-to content a higher status than lesser-linked content. Therefore your video will be more likely to appear higher in the Google and YouTtube search engine results pages.

Use Bloggers:

Newspaper journalists are bombarded by press releases sent from people with something they want to tell the world about.  Create a BlogRoll for relevant bloggers and send it to them!  Many bloggers are crying out for content… and you’ve just made some that would be perfect for them! Once they post it, other bloggers may find it and you’re starting to get exposure…Share: Use the share button underneath a video to share via social media sites.  Share the link via email or click ’embed’ to get the code to add the video itself to a site that you have access to.

Add friends:

Click the name of the video poster to get their profile. From there you can click ‘Add as Friend’. Then, once you have a big list of friends you can message them when you have a new video out, ask them to subscribe to your channel, etc. It’s a great way to get exposure and build a following, although a bit long winded to invite friends one by one.

Other Video sites:

Now that you have created all this great content, it will be easier to reproduce your efforts on the other video sites such as Vimeo, DailyMotion or Revver.  YouTube is by far the largest site of its kind, but there are still very sizeable followings on competing websites.

So, in conclusion, here are the bullet points that summarise the ways you can quickly make your video campaign more successful:

1. Be genuine and offer high value of the standard you would want to find online

2. Optimise videos for search

3. Build relationships with individuals through engagement

4. Promote within and outside of YouTube.

As a final point, you will do best if you are a user and contributor to the YouTube community yourself.  Learn from your competitors, and other successful YouTube campaigns you come across.  YouTube and the online environment changes daily so these tips might be enough for success today but constant effort should be applied to stay ahead in the ever changing online landscape.  It’s a great time to be involved though and despite any effort required, just think – your video is being shown to the world!

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