Many marketers believe that in the next few years, online video content will be as important and impactful as TV programming. Original video that businesses create—and everyday people film—is becoming just as popular if not more popular than television.
It’s estimated that mobile video will account for 75% of total mobile data traffic in less than 3 years. Neglecting video means you’re missing out on three-fourths of all internet usage.
Because of this shift, more and more marketers are making room for video in their marketing efforts, and nearly every social media platform has integrated some sort of video capability. It’s never been easier for you to take advantage of the power of online video.
While you can consume video pretty much everywhere these days, YouTube is still the best place to get maximum exposure for your videos. In the U.S., YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network, and YouTube does that on mobile alone. -via YouTube Statistics On top of that, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
What does that mean for businesses and entrepreneurs?
As a business owner, using YouTube to get in front of your ideal customer is a no-brainer. People trust a product or someone selling a product more when they can see the face behind it. Videos, statistically, increase sales across the board. It’s been estimated that people are 65–84% more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.
Typical consumers no longer trust traditional TV or print advertising the way they used to. Consumers are turning to word-of-mouth recommendations from people they trust or looking to purchase from a brand they already know. Creating videos allows your audience to really get to know you, your style, and your personality. This feeling of being acquainted makes them comfortable with you and more trusting of what you say and the products you offer.
My name is Kallie and I've been on YouTube for four years at But First, Coffee, and in that time I've amassed nearly 100k subscribers (in fact, by the time this post is live I may have hit it!). I've learned a lot through trial and error, but also from my friends in the YouTube community.
The best part about having a YouTube channel are the people you meet and how supportive everyone is. Now that I've built my channel up, I want to extend that support to you and let you know how you can build your own YouTube channel.
What should my videos cover?
Solve a problem
When you’re creating video content, consider the problems your target audience has and use video to create content that answers these questions for your audience.
Reach a new (to you) audience
You can also think about an audience you haven't tapped into yet, and create videos that they might be searching for. (You’ll make things even easier on yourself if there is an overlap with your current audience so you can retain them while expanding your reach.)
For example, if you’re a beauty influencer who has an audience of mostly makeup-obsessed people and professional makeup artists, think about how you might be able to connect to women who like makeup but aren’t professionals. You could create a “look for less” series recreating red carpet looks with drugstore makeup, or create a “beginners guide to” series walking your new audience members through the basics.
If you’re channel is about food and you want to start getting into more travel content, you might create videos using ingredients you got abroad or vlogging you at a restaurant in a travel destination. You want to gradually expand your niche instead of doing a 180.
How to get people to actually watch your videos
Even with a good plan, getting started with video content can be a daunting task. Often, people sit down, film some awesome videos, and upload them to YouTube only to see that no one is watching them. This usually leaves them feeling defeated.
There's nothing worse than spending a lot of time creating awesome video content and then not having anyone to watch it.
These five tips are ones that will help you get more viewers watching your videos, allowing you to reach your target customer.
1. Write Optimized Description Boxes
Search engine optimization is so important in every aspect of your business. You want Google to be able to find your content...so your audience can find your content.
An optimized description box is your first step to getting in front of the people who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. It's important to understand that YouTube can’t watch your video to determine what it’s about. Instead, it relies solely on your title and description box to understand what you’re sharing.
This is where SEO comes into play. Just like on your website, YouTube uses SEO to determine where videos will show up in the ranking. A combination of your title, video description, engagement on your video, overall channel success, and other factors will help your video rank better.
With that said, if you’re just starting out and haven’t had any channel success yet, that makes your title and description that much more important.
By taking the time to craft an optimized description box with relevant keywords that tell YouTube (and Google) what your video is about and what it offers, you're boosting the chances that your video will show up in searches and helping it get recommended next to related videos.
Remember when I mentioned that YouTube is one of the largest search engines? Well, your audience is searching for the exact content you’re creating and by optimizing your description you’re drastically increasing the chances that your video will show in searches.
Tips for great video description boxes
- Describe what your video is about in detail. Like I said, YouTube can't watch your video and decide where it shows up, it can only read your keywords so make sure you're adding them to the description.
- Add links to other relevant content. To get the most out of your description boxes, make sure you're giving your audience something else of yours to check out.
- Add links to your social channels. Once people are a fan of yours, they're likely going to want to follow you elsewhere and that can only serve to benefit you. Make it easy on your audience and show them exactly where you can be found.
2. Create Awesome Thumbnail Images
The biggest mistake I see nearly all new video creators make is neglecting thumbnail images. They pour hours and hours into creating a great video and then think about the thumbnail as an afterthought.
Thumbnails are the very first thing that your audience will see whne deciding whether or not to click on your video. In a way, they act like the cover of a book, but instead they're the "cover" of your video.
Unfortunately, that's a backward way to do things. Along with a title, the thumbnail is the only thing that is going to convince someone to even watch your video in the first place. Even if your video is the most incredible, high-quality, and informative piece of content on its topic, if your thumbnail is subpar, no one will click on it.
Remember, people scroll through their phones and desktops at an alarmingly quick rate. You need a thumbnail that captures people’s attention and entices them to click. Every time I come up with a new idea for a video, the very next thing I do, before I even start planning the video, is decide on a good thumbnail.
Eye catching doesn't have to mean over the top. Here is an example of Damon and Jo's thumbnails. They are minimal but still striking.
Tips for great video thumbnails:
- Add color. Bright and bold colors tend to help grab people’s eyes and attention
- Add emotion. If you’re including your face, add some emotion to the way you look. People subconsciously connect and react to emotions on other’s faces. Whether you look excited, surprised, shocked, or happy.
- Add known symbols. Commonly recognized symbols like check marks, x’s, and arrows can often grab someone’s attention.
- Don’t overdo the text. Remember your title will offer the description of the thumbnail so don’t feel the need to plaster the thumbnail with a lot of text, most people won’t read it. Keep the text concise (or have none) and make sure it’s a bold, easy-to-read font.
3. Be Consistent
Consistency is key for improving your views and keeping your audience engaged. This is especially true when you’re still trying to establish and get in front your target audience. You want to be consistent in the type of content you're creating, and the cadence of uploading that content.
Being consistent in the type of content you’re creating helps YouTube understand what your channel is about and suggest it next to similar videos and channels.
This consistency also helps you stand out among the audience you’re targeting.
Say, for example, you’re a fitness entrepreneur. By creating consistent content around fitness, you start to position yourself as an expert on this topic. Your audience will begin to know what to expect from you and they’ll see you as an authority in your niche.
Keeping with the fitness entrepreneur example: If you’ve been making workout and healthy cooking videos every Tuesday and Thursday for the past few months and all of the sudden you start throwing up conspiracy theory videos you’re going to confuse your audience.
Also, be consistent in uploading. Your content is great but if you’re only uploading sporadically you’ll have trouble getting much traction. Whether you’re able to upload three times a week or just every Friday, set a schedule and stick with it.
The same way people on Twitter are counting down the moments until the next episode if the Bachelorette goes live, eventually your audience will be looking forward to your content all day once you’ve established and stuck to a schedule.
Lack of consistency means eventually people will stop checking back for new content. If you’ve published top-notch quality three Wednesdays in a row but then don’t post again for 5 weeks, you’ll lose any momentum that you gained.
4. Make Your Videos Engaging
I’m not going to sugar coat it: if your video isn't engaging, animated, or energetic, you'll lose viewers in the first critical moments of your video.
Engaging content will look different for everyone, and it really depends on you, your personality, and the niche you're creating content in. Be passionate about the topic you're creating videos on and be conscious of how you can make your content more engaging for your audience.
This is going to mean different things for every niche and every person. A few key tips though are:
- Have an emotive face. A lot of times nervous newcomers to video will memorize what they're going to say to the point where they're reciting their lines in a clinical fashion. Make sure your face matches what you're saying. You can't tell your audience that you've never been so excited to share something and have a deadpan look on your face.
- Make eye contact with the camera. This is going to make your audience feel like you're making eye contact with them and will make it look like you're more interested in what you're saying.
- Smile. Even if it's just when you're introducing yourself and the days topic, it's going to make your audience believe you're happy to be making this video for them
When creating your videos, look for places that it might be losing momentum or becoming less engaging. Then, think about how you can draw people back in and keep them on the video, enjoying it, and wanting to watch more.
This can be as easy as adding graphics into your videos using a program like final cut or screenflow, or, if it fits your personality and channel, adding jokes or puns into your content at low points.
Personally, I love incorporating my dog into my videos to help liven things up:
You should also be sure to treat the first 10-15 seconds of your video like gold. This is the time where the majority of your viewers will decide if they are going to finish watching your video or not. Try asking a question, giving a preview of the rest of the video, or offer something of value to keep them watching.
For example, when I am planning to film my videos a big portion of my time is set thinking about the first 10–20 seconds of my video. While not every single video has a blockbuster beginning, I always try to think through how I can make the beginning interesting, funny, or engaging. For some videos I like to start with a little intro that might make people laugh. Other times I pose a question that I will answer for them later in the video to keep them watching. And other times I might add in a blooper or some type of authentic candid piece.
You can always tell which of your intros are doing the best on your videos by looking at your audience retention in your YouTube analytics. This tells you at which point of the video people leave. If you are losing half your viewers in the first 15 seconds, it’s time to rethink your intros.
5. Be Yourself!
The final tip is to be yourself in your video. It can be tempting to try to recreate what someone else is doing who you think is "successful." But, at the end of the day what people watch your videos and convert into customers because of YOU and your unique offer and experiences.
There are YouTubers making living in niches from Yoga to Dog Training and while their are more people than you can count making videos on these topics, it's the people who are letting their personalities shine through who are on top.
Showing yourself and your personality allows people to get to know you and relate to you. When your viewers begin to get to know you, that’s when trust is formed.
When someone knows you, they like you, they trust you.
When I started creating videos I almost immediately saw in increase in engagement and interactions across all my social medias. People liked that they could see the more "real" me and they connected with things about me. It easily allowed people to see the more human side of me and in turn helped them to become more engaged and dedicated fans and customers.
Not everyone loves getting in front of the camera, though, and if that's the case for you: practice makes perfect. We've all heard the phrase "fake it 'til you make it." and that's exactly what you should do when you're getting on camera.
Practicing might feel silly, but even if you're just sitting in front of the camera and confidentally talking about what you had for breakfast before you start filming your real content, you're going to start getting more comfortable.
You can also script your video out and run through what you're going to say a few times before you hit record. Once you say anything a few times it's going to be easier to repeat it and you'll be less likely to stumble over your words.
How to make your YouTube videos convert
Once you start getting traction on YouTube, converting can be as easy as adding a call to action in your videos or video descriptions.
Calls to action are simply direct requests for your audience to do whatever it is you want them to do. If you're trying to convert your YouTube subscribers to Instagram followers, at the end of your vidoe you you might say,"Thanks so much for watching, if you haven't already please follow me on Instagram. The link is in the description!" or if you want your subscribers to check out a sales page you can say, "Before I go, I wanted to let you know that I created an online course on _________ and would love if you guys checked it out! There is more info in the description."
Outright asking your audience to take action is a lot more effective than passively adding a link in your description and hoping for the best.
Create a video covering a complimentary topic to what you’re selling, and then tell you audience, “Oh, by the way: If you’re interested in learning all there is to know about this topic and picking my brain during live Q&A’s I’m selling access to my online course through the end of the month. Click the link in my description to check out the sales page.”
You don’t need to be creating video after video dedicated to promoting your product, but just mentioning it in an organic way can go a long way in convincing your audience to click over.
And remember: at the end of the day, if you're not using video marketing...your competitors are.