Branding Your YouTube Channel

Video

60 hours of fresh content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. With that amount of information being uploaded, the likelihood of your company or brand being the source of the next “Harlem Shake” craze is not that great. However, that does not mean smart brands can’t use YouTube to garner a significant amount of views and grow engaged followers.

Video content allows companies to present their brand with a sense of passion, enabling them to give a personal look that is simply not possible with static content.

Begin by starting a Branded Channel. Creating a branded channel is essential to building a following on YouTube. You need to complete a few steps to ensure all visitors can quickly see that this is your official channel. A first step is to be sure you change the channel’s layout to the new design. You should next add some channel art, your website, and social network links. Every channel has an “About Us” section which should be completed so visitors can learn more about your brand. If your video content will feature humorous or whimsical content, then consider inserting some fun into your company description, don’t simply user your PR boilerplate.

Don’t Neglect the Search Benefits. While every brand wants their video content to go viral, it’s just not going to happen on its own. An overlooked benefit of your average video is how it can help SEO by building out a company’s organic content.

Rankings in Google can especially be improved by the presence of YouTube content because it fundamentally sees videos with a lot of views as being more important than others, and its algorithms give a higher rank to sites that contain video.

Make sure to encourage User Participation. Many companies invest an inordinate amount of time and financial resources to create professionally produced videos. While such videos might be warranted for complex and lucrative initiatives they can be a waste of money when the video is intended for individual consumers. A smart approach to produce some of this content is to encourage user-generated videos as responses.

A traditional method of attracting such content is through a contest offering with a “show the world how you use our product,” kind of pitch. Beyond contests, brands should think of other incentives that can drive users to create engaging content, such as group adulation or the enticement of building the user’s own channel.

All of this content does the best when it is driven organically, where the user really enjoys a brand and is able to make related videos without restrictions. One caveat – not all users will want to produce content that is positive towards your brand. If you encourage users to help you with YouTube marketing, then you need to actively manage the account to either remove or interact with negative content. Also be aware of bots that maliciously spam your videos with “dislikes” and negative or offensive comments.

Unless the content is offensive, then it might be a good tactic to create a rebuttal response or at the very least create comment entries to dispel any misconceptions or incorrect statements.

It’s hard to produce the qualities of a video that will make it appeal to a broad audience. You need some humor, but capturing a certain spark requires some luck and the ability to capture the essence of what the viewing public currently desires. And remember there are hundreds of millions of YouTube users, so appealing to a niche audience can still represent a massive amount of individuals.

Produce Quality Content Regularly. Mastering YouTube marketing takes time and regularity. It really is a marketing strategy that deserves attention from marketing in order for it to be successful.

Companies should formalize their plans for YouTube, with a schedule for the creation of content, distribution methods, and eventual comparisons of ROI. Building a group of channel followers can require a considerable amount of work, but the payoffs can be immense once a critical mass is reached.

Brands should not put all of their work and finances in one video with high production values, but focus on producing multiple pieces of content released over time that look presentable but don’t have the expense of commercial-quality productions.

For companies that are just starting out, a good first step is to simply share other popular videos in order to gain some channel followers. It’s important to only share content that depicts what you want and still has some sort of value for your brand presence. Sharing other’s content does not carry the same weight as your own productions, but it does begin to set the stage for your brand’s characteristics and gives a glimpse into the style of your upcoming proprietary content.

Keeping an Eye on Your Channel. Using analytics and testing videos against each other can bring formal marketing tactics to your YouTube channel. As testing sheds light on trends and the types of content with the best ROI, then you can adjust your tactics to invest more time and resources in the top performers. You should attach a real budget to YouTube marketing efforts so it can be included in broader marketing channel comparisons and become another metric for management.

YouTube can be a very powerful tool to help build awareness for your company. That said, the odds of having a viral video on YouTube about your brand are very, very slim. A better approach is to use YouTube the way you’d use any other platform — set objectives, develop a strategy and execute the tactics. By using this approach, you have a much better chance of success than by simply uploading a video in the hopes it goes viral.

I welcome you to watch this video from one of my favorite business marketing minds, Seth Godin, on how to get your ideas to spread:

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2 thoughts on “Branding Your YouTube Channel

  1. Thanks Courtney. This was a main personal marketing effort of my website a few years ago. I am going produce more instructional pieces over the summer. Next ski season I will be doing a weekly video featuring my students and the surroundings of Copper Mountain and other Colorado ski resorts.
    Keep the ideas coming,

    • There are so many tools available now through YouTube and Google+ that I’m sure you can create a great channel. I know we’ve talked about your instructional videos in the past…let me know if there is any way I can help!

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