YouTube is the second–largest search engine in the world, right behind its parent, Google. That is because, from how-tos to funny videos, serious advice to recipes, a video is often much more useful than just words and pictures. Every year, more people access those videos on their mobile devices, making a YouTube presence almost a necessity if you want to be financially successful online.
Of course, the first step is to make a business YouTube account, one that can be run by and is connected to your personal account but is branded appropriately. This is partly to help people who are searching for your company find your channel rather than your personal one and partly for your own privacy. You don’t want your viewers to know what you watched, liked, and subscribe too. Especially if you are checking out your competition (you should be).
Once you have your channel set up, what do you do to make it successful? There are some simple steps to get you started on the path to YouTube success and stardom.
Create Appealing, Relevant Content
The key to any YouTube account being successful is to have a theme and a purpose. Think of this as your “why” for being on YouTube. If you are a business, this why might be to reach more customers with unique information in a new way. This might mean instructional videos about your product or services, reviews, interviews of industry experts, or other content related to your company.
If your goal is to become a YouTube sensation on your own, you still need to have a theme. German Shepherd Man’s YouTube channel is filled with all kinds of information on German Shepherd dogs and his training methods. Smosh, a channel that has been around since 2005, focuses on Comedy sketches and has an international following. The Red Bull channel shows Red Bull drinkers doing daring things that the energy drink gives them the oomph to do.
What do all of these channels have in common? They have a theme, a topic, and they present related material that will appeal to their viewers. Remember, millenials are making a huge impact on businesses and how they approach the market, and audiences and channels on YouTube reflect that influence. Your channel will need to embrace this inclusive attitude in order to have wide appeal.
So what should you post? What does your company do, and how can you turn that into video content? If you want to be a YouTube sensation, what hobbies or activities do you have that will appeal to either a wide or a niche audience that has enough of a following to get you substantial views?
The answer to these questions might not be immediately clear, and it may take some experimentation to get it right. Your ideas might not be right the first time. Don’t be afraid to play around while you build your channel, and ask your early subscribers for honest feedback. Once you hit the sweet spot, you will be able to tell by the increase in views, shares, and subscribers.
SEO and Social Media
The number one problem new YouTubers have is not deciding what to post; instead it is how to get their content discovered once they start posting. The key is to reach your target audience and let them know about your content.
There are a few ways to rank on YouTube and turn your channel into a growth machine. The first is what we have already talked about, ranking in Google search. The second is ranking in YouTube internal searches for the keywords you focus on. The final way is through YouTube suggested, or “Up Next,” videos.
The three keys to this are targeting your videos, optimizing them, and promoting them. Here is a quick look at each.
- Targeting: This means knowing searcher intent, doing keyword research to know what your potential viewers are searching for, and understanding how to create videos that will appeal to them.
- Optimizing Video: This means using the right titles, keywords, and Google analytics to make sure that when people search for what your videos are related to, they find them. The same optimization works for both Google and internal YouTube searches.
- Promoting Video: This includes boosting social media posts, paid ads, and sharing your videos often with all of your followers.
The last bit is where your other social media channels come in. Whether you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or elsewhere, you can use those places to promote your YouTube videos and channel. Referrals from social media will probably be some of the most traffic you will get apart from Google search. Use your own website too, and embed videos whenever practical. Those who follow your blog will likely also follow your videos.
Show Me the Money
Once you are past the stages of creating your channel and theme and optimizing posts for discoverability with SEO and social media shares, it is time to make some money. There are some simple and essential ways to monetize your channel. You can choose more than one if that works for you and your brand.
- AdSense: You can make money from the ads shown on your channel as soon as you hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within 12 months by setting up a Google AdSense account.
- Fill Sales Funnels: If you have an established business, you can create videos to support nearly every step in your sales funnel.
- Affiliate Marketing: This is when you plug a product you have tried and liked. You get paid whenever anyone purchases it using a unique link. Product reviews are a great place for these.
- Brand Sponsors: Get a certain brand that is related to your channel to sponsor your videos. Just be sure you follow the Google paid product placement guidelines.
- Community Sponsors: Available on gaming channels first, you will see these logos from time to time on YouTube. This program has been expanded to testing on other channels, where for only $4.99 a member of your community can sponsor your content.
- YouTube Red Subscribers: You can get paid for every YouTube Red subscriber who views your content. These are users who pay to watch YouTube ad-free.
- Sell Merchandise: Another common way to make money on YouTube, once you are popular enough, is to can sell merchandise related to your channel. YouTube creators can often make a great deal of money that way.
Want your YouTube channel to be a financial success? Start with the basics of building an audience, and then work at monetizing it as your audience grows. The time and effort you put into establishing a good foundation will go a long way toward making you real money in the long run.
This guest post was authored by Brooke Faulkner
Brooke Faulkner is a writer, mom and adventurer in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader. And then dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons, without getting groans and eye rolls in response.