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How to Create a YouTube Channel and Rank Your Videos

Video is an increasingly important marketing tactic. Consumers today have shorter attention spans and are often consuming content on the go. They don’t always have the time to sit and read through a thousand word blog post; they’d much rather catch a four minute video on the topic while they’re riding the train into work or eating a salad on their lunch break.

It’s a great idea to include video wherever you can: on your website, on your social media, and on the biggest online video platform of them all, YouTube.

If you don’t yet have a YouTube channel for your business, now is the time to make one. Here, I’ll walk you through the steps of creating a YouTube channel and producing videos that consistently rank.

Establishing Your Channel

If you don’t have a YouTube channel yet, the first step is to set one up. To do so, log into YouTube using your Google credentials, and select “Your channel” from the dropdown menu on the upper righthand corner.

You’ll be given the opportunity to create a personal account or create one for your brand.

Because you’re creating this for your brand, you’ll want to establish a Brand Account. This also provides you access to other services like Google Photos using your business name rather than a personal account. Plus, Brand Accounts can be managed by multiple people, so additional team members can update and manage your videos.

Once you’ve created your channel, you need to create a description of your business and add images, like your logo and a background photo. Keep your branding consistent with your other online assets, so that it’s easy for people who know you from elsewhere to recognize this as your official YouTube channel.

You can also create a welcome video, which will play when someone visits the home page of your YouTube channel. This is a great way to introduce visitors to what your business does and give them a preview of the type of content they can expect to find on your channel.

How to Find the Right Video Topics

Once you’ve gotten the building blocks of your channel in place, it’s time to start thinking about the content you’re going to create. It’s important to put together an editorial calendar that will keep you on track and help you produce videos that speaks to your audience’s needs and interests.

Deciding on content areas for your videos should start with keyword research. This is the first step to creating content on your website that will generate leads, so the same principles should apply here.

Start by going to YouTube and searching for a term that makes sense for your industry. Let’s say you run a catering business, and you do a lot of weddings. You might go to YouTube and type in “Wedding catering” and see what autocomplete results pop up.

This shows you what real search terms people are entering into YouTube for videos about catering. It looks like cost-effectiveness is on people’s mind, with “wedding catering on a budget” being the most popular result. But people are also looking for ideas, tips, and help with set up on the day of their event.

Once you’ve undertaken that basic keyword research, you can take things a step further and use a tool like vidIQ to get even more detailed information on each video that ranks for your selected search terms.

Understanding how existing videos rank can help you identify popular topics, find gaps in information that you can fill with your own content, and discover topics you might not have thought of on your own, but that would be relevant to your business.

Create an Editorial Calendar

Now that you’ve settled on the right topics for your YouTube videos, you want to create a calendar for creating and releasing these videos. One of the keys to generating subscribers (which not only draws more attention to your brand, but is also a known ranking factor) is releasing new videos on a regular basis.

That’s why it’s so important to put together a content calendar and to stick to it. It’s often easiest to settle on a batch of topics for the coming months and then set aside a few afternoons or one whole day to film the content back-to-back. You can then edit the videos in batches and have the content backlogged so you’re not worried about finding time to film and edit a new video each and every week.

What to Include in Your Video

Two of the biggest ranking factors for videos are retention rate and subscriber rate. If you create videos that hold viewers’ attention for the whole time, and then they click the subscribe button after watching—that’s like the Holy Grail of YouTube videos.

So what are the keys to creating videos that people want to watch, and that inspire people to subscribe to learn more from you in the future? It’s all about creating useful content and cutting right to the chase.

People don’t have all day to sit and listen to a long preamble on your video. Introduce the topic right up front, by including a clear description in the video title and saying right in the first ten seconds what it is you plan to cover in the video. It helps, too, to include a teaser of the big nugget of useful information that you’ll be saving for the end of the video. You know how, on evening newscasts, they always dangle a super interesting story in front of you before the commercial break so you’ll keep watching? You should do the same in your video if you want to entice people to stick around until the end.

After your brief introduction, get right into it! We’ve all watched those videos on YouTube with lots of detours, personal stories, and long sidebars before they actually get to the meat of the content. And we’ve all stopped watching those videos and gone looking for something more succinct. If you want people to like your content enough to keep watching to the end and subscribe to hear more from you in the future, you’ve got to keep it helpful and brief.

Adding Descriptions and Tags

Much like you would on a blog post, you need the supporting materials around the video itself to be engaging and SEO-friendly. Make sure that the title to your video is descriptive and includes relevant keywords. Write a video description that clearly outlines what viewers can expect to learn if they watch, and include an eye-catching thumbnail of the video.

Select the category that makes the most sense for your video, and include even more detailed keywords in your video tags. Use your top keyword in the tags, along with variations on that theme and other related keywords that are relevant for the video content and your business.

Sharing Your Video

Once you’ve created your first video, spread the word! Share the video on other social media channels where you already have a following. Include it in your weekly newsletter or in a blog post. Getting the word out about your videos to your existing audience can help to build up those initial views so that you can start to gain traction in YouTube rankings.

Once you’ve created more than a handful of videos, you can create playlists on your channel. By grouping relevant videos together, you’ll draw even more attention to your content. If you’re a marketing consultant like me, you might create a playlist around SEO, one around paid search, and one around social media marketing.

A viewer sees a particular topic of interest, like SEO, clicks on the playlist, and all of the videos on SEO are automatically queued up, one after the other. This can give you a huge boost in video views, as people are drawn down the content rabbit hole.

Video has become the preferred way for many consumers to interact with content. And YouTube is the biggest video platform in the world, with billions of videos uploaded each and every day. If you want to provide customers and prospects with useful content, you need to meet them where they are. Establishing a YouTube channel and optimizing your content to rank in search results is yet another way to catch the eye of new prospects and stay top-of-mind with existing customers.

What Makes a Video Viral?

Lecteur videoVideo is one of the most engaging forms of digital marketing. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Because video combines visual and audible elements, it brings the best parts of other digital media and combines them in a super-sharable package. That’s why when a piece of media takes the internet by storm and goes viral, more often than not it is a video.

But what makes a video viral? There are plenty of business owners who ask the same question. They’re always looking to be the next viral sensation, gaining a huge amount of notoriety and publicity from just one video. Is there some sort of secret sauce anyone can tap into to make their videos viral?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. There is no checklist you follow in order for your small business video to go viral. Viral videos are the result of a perfect storm of great timing, off-the-wall creativity, pop culture and internet sharing habits. Some videos may even be the result of expensive advertising campaigns, which to many, may seem like cheating.

Even if all of these factors are in your favor, your video may or may not go viral, and there isn’t much you can do about it. But, with a better understanding of why videos go viral, you may have a better chance at it.

What does it mean to go viral?

Viral videos spread through the internet and the collective conscience of our popular culture like a virus. That’s how they earn the label. But what qualifies a video as viral? Is there a certain number of views, shares, comments or news stories written a video has to earn before it can earn the viral label?

The answer is honestly no. It is almost like the famous Supreme Court ruling from 1964, you’ll simply know a viral video “When you see it.”

Probably the best way to tell if a video has truly gone viral is through offline means. If your friends, family, and co-workers are all talking about the same video, its safe to assume that the video has gone viral. Even better is if those people seemingly come from different age groups and have different interests. In that case, the video has truly connected with us on a much deeper level than just the interests of a particular group.

Here are some of the factors that can affect a video, and cause it to go viral.


Timing can be everything with the internet. In many cases, the virality of a video can be fleeting and can be completely dependent upon what is happening in pop culture at the time of its release.

In the case of the “Sad Affleck” video above, the timing of its release could not be better. The video is all about the movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, one of the most hotly anticipated releases of all time, and was released just days before the film hit theaters. It was also posted just after many of the critic reviews were posted online, and most were not kind. There was a fever pitch of fans searching for any word on the film, and any reactions from cast and filmmakers about the poor reviews.

The inclusion of two of the film’s main stars, one of which is a genuine A-list superstar, didn’t hurt, but this video’s popularity is all about timing. When combined with the “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, the seemingly harmless, off-camera glance from Ben Affleck makes it look as if he’s somehow ashamed of the film, and perfectly summed up many fans’ disappointment. I’d imagine the video won’t have much popularity outside of the release of the film, but it garnered over 21 million views in the two weeks around the release of Batman v. Superman. 

Pop-Cultue Expectations

Some of the most popular viral videos these days often feature some of pop-culture’s biggest stars. The main reason for this is that knowledge of these stars and their work is so universal that it plays upon our shared cultural knowledge. This is the same way that some of the best comedians in the world can make so many people laugh, they recognize frustrations or bits of information that everyone has or knows and plays with their expectations.

In the case of the Taylor Swift Goat remix above, seemingly everyone who was in the United States around 2014 has heard the song “I Knew You Were Trouble.” It was the most popular song of the year from one of the most popular singers of the time. In other words, it was inescapable. If you somehow made it through 2014 without hearing the song, here’s the original music video (skip to about 2:00 if you want to get right to the song.)

The video plays with the audience’s expectations of the song’s “Oooh, oooh!” chorus by replacing them with a surprisingly on-key goat scream. The result was an immediate “You have to see this!” reaction and in many cases, uncontrollable laughter.

The bottom line here is that the song’s popularity is partially responsible for the popularity of the video, but the other reason is that it expertly plays with our cultural expectations. If you can tap into pop-culture in this way, your video is much more likely to go viral.

Off-The-Wall Creativity

Sometimes a viral video will make you ask yourself “What did I just watch?”

That is certainly the case with the advertisement from Moutain Dew above. It’s strange. So strange, in fact, that it requires additional viewings just to make sure you didn’t miss something that would make it make sense. You may even show it to your friends or family to ask them if they understood it.

Now, this is not your traditional viral video. This advertisement ran during the Super Bowl, the most-viewed sporting event in America, so millions of people all saw it at once.

But, the ad did become viral as soon as it was done airing. Thousands of people turned to social media to discuss #PuppyMonkeyBaby, and it became the first ad from the Super Bowl people shared. It got a huge kickstart (sorry for the pun) from the money spent on the Super Bowl spot, but it became viral because it was just…so… weird.

The lesson you should take away here is that viral videos are conversation starters. Sometimes it takes some truly off-the-wall creativity to start a conversation. This ad accomplished that in spades.

Internet Sharing Habits

Sometimes, a viral video is popular simply because it plays into previously existing sharing habits. For instance, people love animals. People love sharing funny or cute videos of animals. Pets are easy sources of comedy and because so many of us are pet owners, that comedy plays into our expectations and cultural knowledge. The result is a video, like the “Ultimate Dog Tease” above gets almost 180 million views.

Tapping into this, however, is where a lot of small businesses go wrong when trying to make a viral video. Simply putting a cat or dog into your video for no reason will feel like a cheap ploy. Nothing says “I want you to share this video” more than simply throwing something in that people like to share. It has to feel organic and necessary to the message in some way.

Don’t Try Too Hard

I believe that any video, with the right combination of the factors above can go viral. The key, however, is to capture all of these factors in a way that doesn’t seem forced. No video that goes viral was created with the specific intention of “Going Viral.”

When you create your videos for your marketing plan, focus on the message and strategy first. Don’t just try to go viral. You want your videos to help you achieve your goals. After all, your video could be seen by all of the people in the world, but it won’t matter if it doesn’t compel them to buy from you.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443.jpgAlex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

Must-Use Lead Conversion Tactics for Video Marketing

On SnapChat the other day, one of the live feeds featured was “Farm Life.” Because I have a friend who is building a business in the ag arena, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get the word out about his video production company. It’s free to upload a photo or video to the stream and gets viewed by countless SnapChat users; approximately 16.5 million people look at SnapChat every day. As we discussed options for creating awareness via SnapChat, there was one question that surfaced to the top, “How can we convert leads using SnapChat video?” 

videoVideo isn’t “the next big thing” in marketing. Video is now! If it’s not in your marketing strategy, it needs to be. One article projects that by 2017, videos will account for 67% of all consumer internet traffic. That’s huge, considering the many other ways consumers can consume information on the internet.

Videos make consuming information easy, which is why they are such a hit with consumers. You can get a ton of information into a shorter amount of time, no one has to read anything and the imagination needed is truly minimal. It’s the laziest way to soak in information. Let’s take advantage of the fact that our consumers want their information in the easiest way possible!

There are tons of good articles about how to make videos appealing. Video marketing is another form of content marketing; similar to writing good content, the better and more valuable your video is the more people will watch it.

So back to the question. What is the best way to convert leads using video on SnapChat, Instagram, Vine, or any platform that allows video? How can we take advantage of the fact that customers want to consume our message via video?

So I did some research and came up with six ways that you can steer prospects into leads by using video, to send them to your website or a landing page, or even your social media sites. (Note: Not all of these tactics will work with every medium.) Ready?

Here they are:

1. Create a custom end card

You’ve watched videos where at the end it says, “If you liked this video, subscribe to my YouTube channel.” Now take that idea and instead, have them like your brand on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, or better yet, send them to a landing page to download a free eBook or checklist – where you directly capture their contact information.

2. Include a verbal call to action

You’re making the video, your customers are watching the video, you have their attention, why not use this time to tell them where they can connect with you further? Video is a great way to gain your audience’s trust for you and your brand, so use this trust to further your relationship and engagements. Chances are, if they find you hilarious, intriguing or valuable, they’ll want to follow you for more hilarious, intriguing or valuable updates.

3. Insert the link in the video description

On most platforms where you’re uploading a video, you’re going to have the option to enter a description. Use this space to tell the story of your video and why they should click your link to further connect with your brand. Just posting the link probably isn’t enough to get prospects to click through, but if you add descriptive copy and your video is valuable, this is as good a spot as any to capture your leads.

4. Use an email gate

Capture names and email addresses directly from your video with an email gate. This is the most direct way to capture leads from video marketing. Rather than leading a customer to a page or form, you actually require their contact information before they can watch the video – or before they can see a certain portion of the video.

5. Place the video directly on a landing page

This lead capture tactic doesn’t use a third party to publish your video but instead relies on the fact that your viewer is already on your landing page. Now, the video is simply used to make the push to fill out the lead capture form. This, paired with the verbal call to action, can be a very effective way to use video for lead capture!

6. Use annotations within your videos

For YouTube users, you may notice that some videos you watch have pop-ups throughout the video. They may make comments about the video, add facts or valuable information, or even provide updates to an old version of the video. Use these annotations to push leads to your social media sites, website or landing page! You can add a link with a caption, directions to check out the link in the description or even a phone number to call. This tactic requires no extra effort by the viewer to see how to connect more, much like the verbal call to action, and can be a very effective way to connect with viewers!

Video marketing isn’t new; you’ve been watching commercials on television for decades. Videos on the web aren’t even new, but they are becoming easier to make and more accessible and shareable than ever before. The possibilities with video are endless and sometimes overwhelming. If you use one or many of the above lead capture and call to action tactics above, you can use video to drive in hot leads and quickly grow your business pipeline!

Do you use video currently? Are there any other lead capture tactics you’d recommend using?

Kala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels and tweeting about marketing, coffee, and cats.

Can Your Video Advertisement Reduce Everyone to Tears?

Remember Tears for Fears? They had it right: everybody wants to rule the world.

tears for fears

When you set out to create a video advertisement, you want its influence to span the globe. The best way to accomplish that feat is to leverage something that is universal: like emotion.

Brands that elevate themselves up from the level of simply providing a service, to the heralded plateau of being a facilitator of emotion are the brands most likely to succeed in the global online community.

In the past, the challenge was establishing a genuine human connection with only a 30-second video spot. But online, viewers have “leisure time” in the emergent channels (social timelines, Whatsapp-style group messaging, etc.) to consume content that is much longer in length.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at an advertisement from Google that utilizes this extra available time effectively in order to shoot straight for the heart of the viewer to bring forth the tears.

Google’s “Dear Sophie” Ad Will Break You

Interestingly enough, ‘Tears for Fears’ is a reference to one of the core principals American psychologist and psychotherapist Arthur Janov, who advocates a ‘tears instead of fears’ approach to dealing with (childhood) trauma.

Google’s ‘Dear Sophie’ video is only dealing with the consumer’s fear of the unknown, but their approach is similar: break you down to build you up. Check it out:

(If you don’t have time to view the advertisement, it basically features a man emailing “into the future” his newborn daughter using Google’s services.)

“Dear Sophie” comes from BBH New York & Google Creative Labs. It has over ten million views, and about two seconds into the video you feel why—in your heart. It will get to you emotionally.

For that reason and others, it has won multiple advertising awards, including the People’s Voice at the 2012 Webby Awards.

The advertisement is about 1:30 in length—three times the length of the traditional 30-second slot—but it sustains the viewer’s attention just fine because in part the viewer is probably just browsing the web looking for something to watch.

The Big Takeaway: You Have Time to Tell a Story So Tell One

Notice how “Dear Sophie” is not really about any one service in particular. In simply telling a story, Google succeeds in advertising all of their services—a lifestyle, even. A lifestyle of love.

It sounds somewhat cheesy, but ten million views isn’t cheesy at all.

To sum everything up: the short story format of a couple minutes is made possible by the extra “leisure time” available online.

Depending on the context, there are no rules. (I once watched an online B2C video advertisement that was over an hour long. I don’t even know how long it actually was because I stopped watching!)

Generally, however, most people agree that anywhere from 2–7 minutes is an appropriate range for the short story format.

In the next blog post, we’re going to continue looking at “leisure time” advertising. Taking full advantage of the time available is one aspect, but taking full advantage of the context itself is another, and perhaps more important.

Mike TylerMike Tyler CEO of War Room ranked #1 in online Digital Advertising and reporting. Are you looking for more Video Advertising tips? Check out the Video Advertising Guru