Optimizing Your YouTube Channel and How To Use It More Effectively

Many times people toss up a video with a few lines of description. This is a missed opportunity if they end it there. When you create a YouTube video through YouTube, you are able to add a detailed description or recap about the video, mention your brand, your key services, add links to get more information. You can also fill it with key words. The initial tags/keywords suggested by YouTube are based on your description. You may also add more.

But is your channel ready? Have you seen it lately? Here is mine. Do you have a channel for your company or brand? If you are active on YouTube personally with silly videos of pies flying, people crashing and kitties, you may want to add a new channel specifically for business that is branded with your logo/message.

How about that banner graphic? It should match your other banners across the other venues such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook COMPANY PAGE, LinkedIn Company page. Drive home your brand.

Time for playlists. As we have covered in various social media venues, the 70/30 rule, or 80/20 rule applies here too. The bulk of what you share on YouTube or playlists you create should link to others, some may be purely for entertainment, some may promote your members, strategic partners, even your competitors to show groundbreaking information that can benefit all. BECOME THE SOURCE of information on your topic of expertise.

You can breakdown your own playlists by various subtopics such as:
Sports – Baseball, Sports – Football, Knitting, Crocheting – you get the idea. This allows you to add a playlist description – also helpful for SEO and your subscribers. Think of playlists as Pinterest boards – group topics. You can add the same video to multiple playlists, too. You can upload the same video to another playlist if you have a differnt title and description. Sometimes one video covers two major topics and you want to target each of those audiences separately.

So far we’ve only talked about pure YouTube uploads. Let’s add in the multi-faceted option of Google+’s live events, Hangouts on Air or HOAs. With an HOA, you are covering G+ by creating a live event, inviting people, promoting across the other venues with a link for people to register, make comments, share ahead of time. Same branding applies – are you doing this on your Google+ profile, your company page or in a community. If these are all foreign terms to you please see this video which is an overview of the features of Google Plus.

When the event is ready and you create your Hangout On Air from the left menu, it is added to your YouTube channel associated with your G+ profile and posted as an upcoming event on YouTube. At that point you have the direct link to the YouTube video in the making and embed code to be able to add this to your own site and additional venues, invite your panel or invite the public. It’s up to you.

After the event, you are not done. It was wildly successful, you had great participation, questions on Twitter, YouTube, G+. Time to recap and edit the video on YouTube. This is optimizing your YouTube channel further. Many times events will divert to directions you hadn’t planned on. Talk about it. Mention participants, add more key words and put this video into one of your playlists. 

Your playlists can be embedded on your website playing a continuous loop. You can promote your playlists to others inviting them to embed your content on their site – this is great for membership organizations, strategic partners.

What about podcasts? Time to get more use out of your content. If you download the video from Youtube and pull out the audio only using your favorite tool. I use Camtasia Studio for this. You can then upload to your podcast channel on iTunes. You can also do this in reverse. I have a monthly radio show. It broadcasts as audio only. Sometimes I’ll record the show in Camtasia to give me video of my guest. If they are audio only, I’ll get their headshot, company logo, etc. The audio file is posted to the radio site and I produce the video inserting in screenshots, images and sometimes video clips to enhance the audio and then I post it to YouTube. This takes more production, but depending on your guest and topic, it can be worth every extra minute.

Another idea for optimizing your YouTube channel – PSAs (public service announcements). How about creating a playlist of PSAs for your favorite charities or causes? Not only does it give people a better picture of your company and your ethics, interests and view of the world, it benefits the charities. Send them a note when you do this. They may also publicize YOUR channel. Everyone wins.

Here is a list of great examples of YouTube channels that will make you smarter, as gathered by Mashable. Visit these to see how it is successfully done. Try not to be intimidated, only inspired!

Lately I seem to be able to focus on one social media venue sprucing up a week. Any more than that and I’m not earning money and my head will explode. This week is YouTube – it will carry into next week. Look for updates to my channel including new intro videos, more playlists and reposting of some hangouts that I’ve participated in.

The following are comments made by Jose Jimenez as feedback and recap to the event. He was originally set to be our Go-To person on this topic, but was unable to attend. Thank you, Jose for the recap. Mark Vang has also created a post on this event from different angles.

Watch and learn.

Hi +Mark Vang and thanks for an interesting session with +Susan Finch and +Sean Grace. Some really interesting points were raised some of which I will look at going forward. Here is some feedback on some of the areas raised as well as other things that came to mind when watching the hangout:

Content – Before making a video its important to identify customer needs/issues and how you can help them. Videos can be used to help existing customers and for reaching out to new customers so they can serve a dual purpose in some cases.

Repurposing content – Some great points such as the one by Susan about a podcast and using it both ways. I’m working on something similar for a client with a presentation on YT, Slideshare and a post on the website. On this hangout for example you can take a snippet for a specific area, say custom thumbnails, and use this to target relevant keywords.

Intros/Outros – Something to consider for adding to your videos. Similar to a thumbnails as this is a way to set the scene for a video and to finish off with a call to action/contact details. You can also use the outro to get people to view other content.

Playlists – Important to use them as they show up in results. You can add a description to the playlist as well as each individual video (as Susan said). From what I understand this helps from an seo point of view. As with anything social media related, use these keywords naturally. Also, you can add your video to more than one playlist targeting different terms. This can potentially expand your reach.

Unique URL – I think I understood this right but YT does not allow you to change the url of your channel. You can, however, choose to display a G+ name instead.

Tags – Add as many as possible relating the video. Add the most important ones first. Also, look at the keywords being used to search for your video (via analytics) and if relevant, add them to your tags. This could include variations of your keywords for example.

Custom thumbnails – Very important as Susan stated and you can also do a screengrab from a part of the video (preferably relating to what video is about if applicable) and then add words on top of it.

External links via annotations – You can do this by verifying your channel followed by adding your main business website. Thereafter, you have to prove you own/have access to the site and there are a few options to do this.