When you are scrolling down your Facebook feed, what gets your attention first – a photo or a video?
It is a well proven fact that video gets more attention compared to an image. One of the great things about video is that you can share more of yourself with people. When people see your face and hear your voice, they tend to feel more connected. And working in the fitness and sports industry makes YouTube a powerful tool to get your message out to your target audience. Just look at how wildly successful so many YouTube fitness channels are.
People get a better idea of who you are, what you offer, your personality, your training style, your expertise and experience. And when using videos through social media networks such as Facebook or Instagram, you will always get more traction and engagement.
Video content can help your branding efforts and show off your business expertise plus it’s a great way to entertain, educate, and connect with people.
So to help you get started with video and YouTube, here are my top 10 tips:
1. Before you start, answer some basic questions
Before we get down to the how, you need to answer some questions to help you gain the most success:
What do you want to achieve?
Are you looking at online videos as a vehicle for driving more traffic to your website? Do you want to voice your opinion about an issue that is important to you? Do you want to gain exposure for your business?
What type of videos will you make?
Decide on what you’re going to make videos about – exercise routines, nutrition tips, recipes, client success stories – the possibilities are endless.
However, it’s important to note that when it comes to building a subscriber base it’s best if you stick to a specific topic or niche – like exercise you need to keep it consistent.
What audience are you targeting?
What do you know about your audience? How old are they? What do they enjoy doing? What sort of style do they like? Do a bit of research and create a profile of your average viewer. This will help you cater your content to the people that are most likely to become viewers and fans.
How often do you plan to upload new videos?
Posting regular content is incredibly important when it comes to building a successful YouTube channel and subscriber base. Have you thought about how often you’d like to upload new videos? Twice a week? Once a week? Once every two weeks?
Be realistic with this. Consider how long it will take you to make a video and then jot down a schedule that takes this into account. You don’t want to stress yourself out or feel forced to pull all-nighters in order to get your videos uploaded in time. But at the same time, you want to make sure you’re uploading content often enough that your viewers won’t forget about you so try to find a happy medium.
How are you going to make your videos?
Have you thought at all about format? Will your videos be animated or live action? Will you shoot them with a web cam, on your phone, or do you have a video camera? How will you edit your videos together? Think about what tools you already have at your disposal, and figure out if you can make do with what you’ve got or if you’ll have to invest in any equipment or software.
2. Set up a YouTube Channel
You need a Google account to start your own YouTube channel but this doesn’t cost you anything.
Then you need to think about what to call your channel – the main tip is to make this as simple and as easy to find as possible (simply using your own business name is a safe bet).
Like any social media profile, make sure your profile is properly filled out including your:
- Channel icon (could be your logo)
- Channel art
- About Us so people understand who you are and what you do
3. Start to do some videos!
This is what YouTube is all about – videos. Now this is a topic all on its own but let me give you some tips to start:
- You don’t need to buy an expensive camera, the latest smartphones have amazing cameras. Anything from the iPhone 6 (and similar Samsung models) and later will be good enough quality to use for video. A smartphone is also perfect for on-the-go shooting. Just find an elevated place to position the camera or a tripod and start filming.
- Look at the camera lens while you’re recording. If you look at yourself on-screen, your eyes won’t be directed at viewers.
- Make sure you either use a tripod or if you don’t want to spend the money, find a shelf to place your camera on to stabilise it. A stack of books might also do the trick.
- Hold your camera in landscape orientation, not portrait.
- Place the camera slightly above eye level. Don’t hold it too low or viewers will be looking up at your chin. Similarly, don’t hold it too high or they’ll be looking down from great heights.
- Proper lighting will dramatically increase the quality and professionalism of your video, no matter the situation. Good lighting is crucial for video – a surefire way to make yourself look unprofessional is to have poor lighting for your video.
Natural light is always the best form of light. If possible, try to record in a location with as much natural light as possible. Feel free to use a desk light or any other lamp to add extra light if needed.
- When you’re recording, always face the light source as much as possible so it casts your whole face in light. If the light is behind you, it will cast you in silhouette.
- If you’re going to be investing your time in video, look at putting some money into a good microphone. If you’re using your smartphone to record video, the microphone should provide good audio as long as you stand close to the phone and film in a quiet room with no background noise or wind.
- A nice background can set the scene and tone for your videos. Is it fun and friendly? Corporate and professional? Or does it just make you look amateur? Getting the right setup is important.
- Don’t forget to edit your video – such as the start and the end – there are a heap of software tools to do this or you can do this in YouTube itself.
- If you are going to use the videos on Facebook, don’t forget to add captions so people can read about what you are saying as the sound is initially turned off when appearing on your Newsfeed.
- If you don’t feel you have the time or expertise to shoot your own videos, then look at using a professional – trust me it can make a world of difference to the final result.
4. Create a channel trailer
Channel trailers are usually short and sweet, and are a good introduction for new visitors. You can let your audience know who you are, what your business is all about and what kind of content they can expect to see in the future. Creating your channel trailer will also be good practice leading up to your first video.
5. Create some playlists
Once you’ve created a few videos, group them together into playlists on your channel.
The title you choose for your playlist can help you get ranked higher in Google search results.
Playlists will also encourage people to watch more of your videos because they’ll see a list of the rest of your videos in the series, which makes your content more episodic. Auto-plays do a good job of engaging viewers to watch multiple videos, with no effort on your part.
6. Share your content
While your videos may get some traffic through search alone, you should always promote your videos through your other online networks.
So get your videos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest as they all have facilities to load up videos.
If you hit the share tab underneath a video, you’ll notice that it can be shared across 13 different social platforms – that certainly gives you a lot of options! And let’s not forget the embed tab that allows you to share your video (perhaps on your blog) in custom sizes. If you want to get more views on your videos, don’t just upload them and then forget about them – get social!
And don’t forget about your emails and newsletters – including a video in your next email is a great way to engage your subscribers and drive traffic to your YouTube channel.
7. Analyse your data
Once you’ve started putting your videos out there, take a peek at how people are engaging with them. YouTube Analytics will help you along the way and will guide you in the direction of how you may want to optimise your videos for the future.
Analytics will allow you to get insight on the people who are watching your videos, which allows you to hone into your target demographic even further. It’ll also give you a better idea as to why one video may have performed better than another. It’s a powerful tool for your budding channel.
Ideally, you want people watching your video all the way to the end. YouTube Analytics can show you if people are turning off your video at a certain point through the Audience Retention report. This is a good way to gauge if the length of your videos is right. Shorter and more engaging videos are often the most effective.
8. Stay engaged with your audience
Don’t just upload your video and forget about it. Check in to see if people are commenting. Responding to people’s questions or comments can create conversations that help your audience learn more about your company and the topic of your video.
Not only can they learn from you, but you can learn from them about what you could be doing better to cater to your audience’s needs. Every comment you receive on a video is an opportunity to create a deeper conversation and connection.
9. What about YouTube Ads?
At some point, you may want to look into investing into YouTube advertisements to get your brand out even further. If you’re looking to target a specific age group, gender, interest, or location, YouTube Advertising can help you do it all.
10. Don’t forget to do SEO on your videos
If you want your videos to actually rank on YouTube (which allows viewers to find you), you need to do a bit more than just upload your content.
Filming and editing may be 90% of the work, but it’s the final 10% that’s going to allow people to find you. When uploading a video, you’ll be asked to fill in a title, description, and tags. These are essential components to have your video easily discoverable in YouTube search, so don’t forget about them!
Much like SEO for your own website (how high you rank on Google), YouTube has its own set of parameters for you to optimise your video for search. Fill these sections out to the best of your ability using keywords to describe the video and your business. A keyword-rich (but not heavy) title and description can go a long way and you’ll be able to see what works for your videos as you progress.
Use tags – these are keywords that will help people find your video. Also write a description – this tells people what your video is about. Better yet, tell YouTube what your video is about. That little description box under your video gives you plenty of room to write a search engine-friendly description, so don’t be sparse with your words.
If your video is well optimised for YouTube itself, this can extend to search engines as well. As a Google-owned product, YouTube has tight integration with the search giant. If you play your cards right, you’ll find your videos ranking high on both YouTube and Google.
So as you can see, there are lots of opportunities with video and YouTube that can really help achieve your marketing goals. Video is only going to get bigger so make sure it plays an important role in your marketing and social media strategies.