25. Create your own compelling video thumbnail – The thumbnail is a quick snapshot that will represent your video on YouTube. In order to attract the most viewers, the thumbnail should be eye-catching. If your channel has been verified and is in good standing, you can (and should) upload your own custom image to make sure the thumbnail is as intriguing/exciting as possible. To upload your own custom thumbnail, click the “edit” button for the corresponding video in the Video Manager section of your account.
But that’s kind of the balance is you’ve got to balance like I’m developing an audience, but I need to make it sustainable. So sometimes it makes great business sense for you to go ahead and use an affiliate. And other times you’re like, you know what? Maybe not on this video because my main goal for this video is just to get it to rank really high.
Optimizing your metadata helps get your videos discovered by a relevant audience more likely to watch your video. The more views a video gets in a short time period of time, the higher it will rank for a variety of key phrases related to its subject. All and all, the first step to your YouTube strategy should be to follow Zappos in the steps described above and optimize your quality video content from the beginning.
Branding your channel helps bring a consistent experience to your viewers and subscribers on YouTube that they would see similarly reflected elsewhere. It’s important to let each marketing channel have its own feel, but also be tied together with other channels as well. Highlighting your most important videos on your channel, alongside your other social networks is a helpful way to help flaunt your digital savvy and help make it as easy as possible for your online advocates to connect with you wherever they’re active.
When you ask your friends which online video platform they use, the answer you probably hear the most is YouTube. YouTube is the largest video hosting platform, the second largest search platform after Google, and the third most visited website in the world. Every single day, people watch over five billion videos on YouTube. It's also free to upload your videos to YouTube and optimize them for search.
Asking people to subscribe to your channel is a must-do — and yes, people will actually subscribe just because you ask! But if you give them a reason to, they’re even more likely to hit that red button. “Subscribe so you get my next video first!” or “My subscribers get exclusive content” and “Subscribe so you can enter my giveaway” are examples of language to try.

In the above example, Zappos chose to title their video 5 Ways to Cuff Your Jeans! as a means of making viewers with style questions aware that Zappos is here to help style your clothing as well as offer some for sale. The title is more likely to be found by someone not searching for Zappos specifically, but more so for someone looking for help styling jeans. Zappos used the title of the video to help illustrate the video’s purpose of providing a service to viewers. In the end, helping bring the video in front of a relevant audience for Zappos.
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For most viewers, only your top section will be visible without scrolling — so make sure your most important videos are included in the section at the top of your channel page. Also, because sections can contain content from other channels, you have a great opportunity to cross-promote with other artists and curate an interesting viewing experience for your audience. To add a section, just click the “Add a Section” button from the bottom of your channel home page.
When it comes time to shoot, clear out unnecessary people from the room and turn off the overhead lights. With your three-point lighting setup, there will be no need for those harsh fluorescents. When — and only when — everything is set up, call in your talent. There's nothing worse than being nervous, and then having to anxiously watch as lights are turned on and the camera is tested.
The spotlight annotation acts similarly to the note annotation in that it allows you to link to various aspects of the YouTube network with or without text, but the only difference is it highlights a section of an existing video. Therefore, you can create aspects of your video that added with the spotlight annotation appear as custom links to your other YouTube assets. By placing the spotlight over a particular item within your video that section now acts a working link to other content.
Optimizing these key sections of your video content will help rank your videos in both Google and YouTube. It’s important to note that content is king – if your video is the type of content your audience wants to see then these optimizations will help further a video’s reach. If your video content stinks, then optimizing your metadata is going to do very little to extend its visibility. For a worthwhile example of optimized metadata on YouTube, we’ll take a look at the Zappos YouTube channel.
Annotations allow for both increased visibility and a way for viewers to interact with your content. Expert Village’s YouTube Valentine’s Day Essentials highlights ten different Valentine’s day videos within one video using the spotlight annotation over built in features of the video. Expert Village incorporated this menu of YouTube content thru annotations in the beginning of the video, during the video and at the end of the video. Annotations used in this way help drive traffic to your content if it’s relevant, especially when highlighting videos in a series. Annotations can also help to give your viewers more ways of watching and interacting with your content as opposed to browsing elsewhere once they’ve finished watching your video.
During the shoot, your job goes beyond pressing record. First and foremost, you need to be a coach. Balance critical feedback with support and be quick to give encouragement after each take. This is why conducting a table read during the scripting process is so important: It's easier to give feedback when there's not a camera in the room. Remember, be a little silly during the shoot or your talent will be on edge and uncomfortable — and it will show in the footage.
If someone has found your videos, you want to encourage them to subscribe and to keep watching. This shows them that you have more great content to offer, and actually increases the chance that they’ll subscribe if they like two or more of your other videos. It also helps users to more efficiently browse your content and find videos that they’re interested in.
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This annotation acts simply as an added function for videos without a title built into the production of the video. Users can customize the color, font and size of the title box they wish to have for their entire video or if they wish to, they can cut their video in various sections with various subtitles. This annotation is more helpful for branding purposes because it helps clarify for the user what the video is and what company is being represented.
This annotation can be especially helpful because it not only allows you to display text, but also the opportunity to add a link to another YouTube video, YouTube playlist, YouTube channel or the ability for a viewer to subscribe to your YouTube channel. Links to other websites can only be displayed in text form, requiring a user to type the URL displayed in an annotation into their browser as opposed to clicking. Unless it relevant, stick with sending traffic to other destinations within YouTube and keep links elsewhere to a minimum.
When you ask your friends which online video platform they use, the answer you probably hear the most is YouTube. YouTube is the largest video hosting platform, the second largest search platform after Google, and the third most visited website in the world. Every single day, people watch over five billion videos on YouTube. It's also free to upload your videos to YouTube and optimize them for search.
There is a heap of sales clutter on the Internet that is actively annoying and repelling your customers. Don’t let your brand be that guy – instead, your video should be centred around the story and not the sale. Remember: the same rules that apply for written content marketing apply for video marketing – concentrate on the value you’re providing for your customers.
A purchase may have been made, but there's still a lot of video can do to leverage the post-conversion stage of your flywheel. During the "delight stage" of the inbound methodology, your goal is to continue providing remarkable content to users that makes their interaction with your product or service as incredible as possible. It's also in hopes that they'll tell their connections about their experience or up-sell themselves. Therefore, the goal of this type of video is to encourage your customers to embrace your brand and become brand evangelists.
Niche-specific challenges: It’s relatively easy to create content for the “tech how-to” niche (like “how to install Windows” or “how to use WinRar) - you just need a screencasting software and a microphone. For niches like DIY plumbing, however, you need significant time, energy and skills. This often compels marketers to flood the easier niches, increasing competition.
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