Have you considered starting a YouTube channel? YouTube stars are influencing generation Z’s buying habits and career ambitions on an astounding level, millennials check YouTube at least once a day on average, and even gen Xers and baby boomers are in on the action, watching videos at least occasionally on the platform.
But why would you start a YouTube channel for your business or personal brand?
There are many possible motivations here, but these are seven of the most important to consider:
1. New content formats. By 2021, it’s estimated that 82 percent of all internet traffic will be for video. And if you think that sounds unrealistic, consider that it accounted for 73 percent of traffic in 2016. If you’re interested in content marketing, you’re going to have to consider more formats than just text-based content. Starting a YouTube channel gives you a powerful medium to produce and distribute video content, which is only going to become more important from here.
2. Audience size. You’ll also be engaged with a massive audience. There are more than 1.57 billion monthly active YouTube users around the world, with 30 million daily active users. Of course, that’s no guarantee that your first video is going to reach 1.57 billion people, but even a fraction of a percent of YouTube’s user base could give you an enormous amount of visibility. Added with your other social channels, YouTube could easily multiply your exposure.
3. Ease of production. It may seem like video production is complicated, and it is — but only if you’re seeking top-of-the-line video and audio quality. For basic forms of video content, like interviews or monologues, you can get away with a basic setup — a few hundred dollars if you want some basic equipment, or nearly free if you rely on your smartphone. Editing isn’t much of a problem with the basic editing software you likely already have on your laptop, and uploading is a cinch. Videos are less expensive and faster to make than you think.
4. Additional syndication. YouTube isn’t the end of your run — it’s the beginning. Any video you upload to YouTube has the potential to be shared across your other social channels as well. If you produce a clip you think is a home run, you can share it on a semi-regular basis across your other social channels, netting thousands of additional impressions (and hopefully, views), and gaining new followers on every channel.
5. On-site integration. It’s also easy to embed YouTube videos into your site — especially if you’re using a template-based website builder. That means you can highlight your best work on-site as a way to promote your YouTube channel, or upload key brand videos on YouTube (such as product demos or explainer content) and spare yourself some hosting costs.
6. Multi-channel dominance. If you engage with your social media followers regularly, they’ll probably start following you on your other channels and platforms. Similarly, if you have existing social followers on platforms like Facebook or Twitter (or email subscribers), it won’t take much convincing for them to subscribe to your YouTube channel as well.
7. Direct revenue. If your channel becomes popular enough, it could become a source of additional revenue for your business. If you enable ads on your videos, you could stand to make a few dollars for every thousand views your videos get. That won’t be enough to justify your company’s entire existence, but if you can rack up several thousand views per video, it could be a nice way to offset your production costs.
What to Do First
Let’s say you’re interested in starting a YouTube channel. What should you do first?
· Identify a target audience. You’ll notice that starting the channel itself doesn’t come up until a few steps further. That’s because you’ll need to plan ahead if you want to be successful. Everything starts with your target audience; who are these videos going to be for? What are their core values? What content do they want, but are currently lacking?
· Declare a specific niche. Figure out what your competitors are doing, and find a way to differentiate yourself. Ideally, you’ll find a niche in which you’re an expert, but one specific enough to stave off the competition. With that niche in mind, you can start crafting your initial content drafts.
· Produce your initial content and start the channel. Now it’s time to start your business’s channel (which is a fairly straightforward process). You’ll want to flesh out the details of your company, and produce your first few videos to upload so your channel has multiple pieces of content to view.
· Create a production schedule. From there, create a production schedule. Ideally, you’ll produce at least one new video every week. You’ll also want a small backlog of videos so you always have something to publish, even if you’re running behind schedule on your latest contributions. Consistency is key to maintain your audience’s loyalty.
· Start optimizing. With all these other ingredients in place, you’ll want to start optimizing your channel, as well as the videos contained within, for search. You’ll follow many of the same considerations that you would for traditional search optimization, such as including your target keywords in the title and description of each video, but you’ll also want to pay attention to how your video is categorized, and pay close attention to your likes and comments. As your subscriber count increases, you’ll learn what’s working and what isn’t.
Are you ready to get started on the video production extension of your brand? It’s going to take a lot of work, but if you have the audience for it, and the high-quality content your viewers crave, you could revitalize your brand — and possibly make some money at the same time.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!