YouTube video tipsYouTube is the second most popular social media site after Facebook, the most popular search engine after Google, and the largest video network.

The site continues to grow more popular as smartphone technology matures. Today, half of YouTube video views originate on mobile devices. YouTube currently reaches more 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 year-olds than any U.S cable network currently broadcasting. Because of that, YouTube offers a superb way to reach across generational boundaries and engage young people, points out Jeff Bullas.

Effective public relations and marketing through YouTube requires more than shooting and uploading video.

Choosing YouTube Topics

First, do some research on YouTube. Watch many other videos, especially high viewership videos from smaller companies in similar businesses to better understand what works best on YouTube. Model your videos on previous successes.

Then, select your topics and establish your point of view. Sunny Lenarduzzi, a video marketing expert who created her own business on YouTube, recommends:

  • educational content that teaches your audience something,
  • inspirational content that motivates your audience or makes them feel something, and
  • community-building content that focuses on your members and shares user-generated content.

How-to videos, tutorials and reviews typically attract interest, but you don’t necessarily need to focus on your niche, Lenarduzzi says in an interview with Social Media Examiner. For instance, a restaurant could create videos on recipes or wine reviews.

Answer questions from customers in on-camera video commentary (a la Mike Baxter in Last Man Standing). If one person asks a question, many others probably have the same question. You can also find ideas for video topics by examining FAQs on websites of competitors and similar businesses. Consider producing videos that answer FAQs. For additional, suggestions, type the first couple keywords from an FAQ into a search engine and look at the auto-complete form.

Filming a video in sections is faster than trying to record the entire video in one take, Lenarduzzi says. Plus, editing is easier and the video is more professional. First prepare your introduction and a few bullet points for each key piece of your script. Then film your video in sections. Record your intro as many times as you want until you have the right take. Then do your first bullet point in one take, then do the second point, and so on. For editing, each alternate take should be recorded from a different shot perspective (e.g.: medium or long shot vs. close-up). Voice-over narration with illustrative footage is usually more visually interesting than constant talking heads.

Introduce yourself and relay your topic within the first 10 to 20 seconds. Viewers may be unfamiliar with you or your brand.

The first 24 hours of a video’s life are vital in determining how the video will rank. When Lenarduzzi posts a new video, she spends that first day promoting it. Promote the link to the video on every social media channel, newsletters – anywhere you can.

Seek email addresses. Since social media algorithms change, you can’t rely on social media reach. That’s why email lists are valuable. To collect emails, offer free yet valuable content, such as a guide, a checklist or an ebook. Lenarduzzi uses a customized Lead pages link, designed in the same branding as her website, to collect leads.

More Tips for YouTube Video Promotions

Use annotations. YouTube annotations, messages that pop up while the video is running, can be used as subscribe buttons, links to your website, links to other videos, or links to your social profile, says Ernest Thompson, social media strategist, in Social Media Monthly.

Engage your community. Offering viewers prizes, replying to comments and thanking individual viewers in videos will help them feel appreciated and keep them engaged. Proposing a question at the end of videos can spark a discussion.

Comment on other channels. Commenting on other channels can help promote your own videos. However, appearing overly promotional or arrogant can backfire. The last thing you want to do is criticize someone else’s video and say yours is better.

Bottom Line: YouTube remains the premier video channel, especially longer videos that are ideal for educating customers about your products and industry niche. These tips from experts will help get your YouTube PR and marketing efforts started.