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How to create a winning YouTube channel

5 min read

Marketing Strategy

In terms of brand positioning and reaching new consumers, businesses of all sizes and sectors can benefit from a strong online video presence. YouTube, with an estimated 1 billion unique users every month, is too big a potential showcase for any brand to miss out on. What’s more, as the Net’s second-biggest search engine behind parent company Google, YouTube offers those who keep their channel well maintained and search-optimized a near peerless opportunity to reach consumers with their content.

As with company websites, video channels must be attractive to the user, easy to navigate and quickly searchable. This desirable state can only be achieved by organizing both the channel interface and the content that sits on it. Although organizing your YouTube channel isn’t an exact science and can be dependent on your content type and industry sector, there are a number of general guidelines to follow when aiming to get the best out of YouTube’s channel infrastructure.

SEO for your channel and content

To maximize YouTube’s potential as a marketing tool, it is essential to utilize SEO techniques as one would when producing text-based content for websites. Video content is not yet able to influence YouTube’s search and relevancy algorithms in and of itself, and so it needs helping hand from the various text elements within the YouTube video and channel pages. Identifying good keyword choices involves finding keywords that tie in with your brand and the content of your videos for which users of YouTube are likely to search. Good keyword research for YouTube videos is just as important as good keyword research for websites. By studying popular search terms, you can adjust your videos to the needs of consumers. The Keyword Tool for YouTube is undoubtedly the best free tool available for this and can help you to find phrases that are often searched for on YouTube and give you great new keyword ideas.

Deploy your keyword strategy across your video content

Identifying a group of keywords to use throughout your video content is a key organizational technique, as it ensures all of your videos that are relevant to a given search term will be found by YouTube. The three main areas to use keywords are in the title, description and tags sections of videos. The title of your video is crucially important, as it is prominently displayed both to YouTube’s algorithm and to users. Using a keyword or two here helps you to group videos that are meant for similar purposes. Supplementing this with a lengthy keyword-rich description for the benefit of algorithms and users, as well as a variety of well-chosen tags, boosts your videos’ searchability and results in a relevant search term finding multiple videos from your channel.

Create content groups and playlists

Well-organized channels have playlists. This means that videos about similar subjects are kept together, along with their particular keywords. A playlist with a keyword-rich title informs YouTube as to the information contained in the listed videos in the same way that video titles and descriptions give information on the single video in question. As mentioned previously, related videos should already be linked by keywords in their titles, descriptions and tags. Organizing such related material into a playlist improves the search process further and invites the user to navigate through to your other videos with increased ease. Start thinking about play-listing your videos once you have around 10 on your channel.

Get the order right

Though it may be tempting to showcase your most popular videos at the top of your page, this is not a wise move. Not only do you actually draw attention to less popular videos on your channel, but you hamper the chances of lesser-known videos that could still be successful. Content should be organized according to its subject matter and relevance rather than the number of views it has had or the comments it has attracted.

Be an active user

The highest-ranked channels are always those regularly updated with new content, and which have a healthy record of sharing, liking and commenting. This same type of behavior should also be encouraged in users, as channel authority is derived from how people have interacted with the content as well how the algorithm treats it. Interactions can be monitored on YouTube’s extensive analytics suite or a number of other popular social monitoring tools available such as Hootsuite and Simply Measured. If you see a certain aspect of your videos works positively for your channel in terms of user interaction, why not replicate it throughout your subsequent content?

Separating your consumer and commercial content

If your video channel hosts all of your videos, including content aimed at consumers and that made for B2B and even internal viewing, you should endeavor to keep different genres as distinct and separate as possible. Corporate content is sure to truncate the journey of a consumer through your channel. Playlists are a good way of doing this, while some brands have spread videos over two or more channels, depending on content and intended audience.

Nowadays any business can run a YouTube video campaign, but understanding the importance of setting up and then optimizing your YouTube channel and the content on it, is something that is all too often overlooked. If it means the difference between ranking above or below your competition, then surely it’s worth devoting a little bit of time getting it right.

Jon Mowat is Managing Director of British video marketing and production company Hurricane Media and a former BBC cameraman and documentary filmmaker. He is based in Bristol, England. You can visit Hurricane Media’s own fantastically optimized YouTube channel here or connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.