We exhibitors are a fairly visual group of people, and so it makes sense that most of us would want to showcase our products, demos, presentations, etc. on one of the more visual social channels — most notably, on YouTube.
But there’s a vast chasm between a successful YouTube channel and a boring one with slow-paced promotional videos that social media users either can’t find or won’t watch. To ensure that your audience finds and enjoys your video content, consider the following steps when planning, creating, optimizing and promoting your video content.
RESEARCH CONTENT IDEASIt goes without saying that you want to create videos that address your audience’s questions and needs. How do you know what type of content people are looking for online? One way to find out is by researching the keyword phrases that people use when searching Google or YouTube for topics related to your products or services. This type of keyword research can be done using the Keyword Planner inside Google Ads, or by using the Keywords Everywhere extension for the Chrome browser. Both tools will show you common phrases people use when searching for content related to your offerings, as well as how many searches are done each month.
Another way to research viable topics is too look at your YouTube analytics data to see which of your existing videos are most popular, and which search terms people used to find them. Since those videos are bringing in most of your subscribers, it makes sense to create new videos on related topics that build upon your previous successes.
When conducting your keyword research, try to zero in on keyword phrases that begin with “How To” since instructional videos are often the most popular on YouTube. Then, use the channel management tool TubeBuddy to analyze your keyword phrases and to determine which ones you have the best chance of ranking highly for within YouTube search results. If a given search phrase already has many popular videos, TubeBuddy will provide alternate, less competitive phrases you might instead use for your video titles and tags.
Pick enough keyword phrases/titles/topics for at least a month’s worth of content. Most video creators try to create their monthly content all at once, so they can get it out of the way and focus on other aspects of monthly business management and marketing.
PREPARE AN OPTIMIZATION & PROMOTIONAL DOCUMENTNow that you have your keyword information in hand, create a resource document that contains the video title, description and tags that you will use after your record your monthly videos and are ready to upload them. Do this now, when your keyword research is still top of mind, rather than waiting until your monthly video content is completed.
Now is also a good time to plan a calendar of social media posts and email blasts you might use when it comes time to promote your monthly videos. The exact wording of these posts will be determined once you finish production and editing.
WRITE YOUR SCRIPTSNow that your keyword, analytics, and audience research have informed your topic selection, it’s time to write your scripts. Some people like to write word-for-word scripts, others prefer bullet-point cue-cards. Do whatever works best for you. But there are a few key things you MUST make sure you include at key points in your script:
- Right away in your video, “tease” the final result. Think of the way your local TV news anchors “tease” their upcoming new stories, making you stay by your television in anticipation of the promised content. You need to do this on YouTube as well. Whatever the final “payoff” is to your viewer, be sure to tease it at the beginning of the video, and at key transitional moments within your video. That way, you ensure retention – statistics that will help YouTube determine how interesting your video is in comparison to others on the same topic.
- Remember your Calls-to-Action. Encourage engagement by asking for like, shares, and comments near the start of your video, and again at the very end. Many YouTubers include links in the video description to helpful website downloads. Whatever action you want viewers to take, be sure to mention it at the start and end of your script, as well as within your video description.
- Plan out your A-roll and B-roll. A-roll refers to the audio and video that verbally tells your story. This usually consists of interview or news anchor-style footage. In contrast, B-roll is the supplementary and supportive video content that allows you to visually illustrate whatever the interviewee or video host is talking about. In addition to breaking up the boring monotony of “talking head” A-roll footage, B-roll gives you something to cut away to whenever the A-roll contains a flub or boring segment that needs to be edited. B-roll also helps you illustrate specific details of the A-roll narrative. You can either shoot all of your own B-roll, or supplement it with stock footage from sites such as shutterstock.com or pond5.com.
FILM YOUR CONTENTYou don’t need fancy equipment. While many YouTubers can and do use webcams or cell phones to record their videos, the average business channel is much better served by a DSLR or mirrorless camera with at least 1080p video. A USB or lapel microphone will ensure that you get crisp audio. A tripod is usually necessary for a speaker who is seated or standing, while a gimbal stabilizer is critical for preventing shake and bounce while a speaker is being filmed while in motion. A softbox or a ring light can help you light a stationary subject, while on-camera lighting can help you light a moving subject.
EDITINGEditing is what makes or breaks a good video, and it can be the most time-consuming step in the production process. If you’re new to video editing, you’d do much better with simple programs like Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie. These are a lot more user-friendly and are easily downloadable (for free), if you don’t already have them on your computer.
More advanced users typically work with the Adobe Suite: Premiere, After Effects, Audition. Final Cut Pro is also a popular alternative to Premiere.
If you lack the time or skills to edit your own videos, you’re not alone. Many YouTubers outsource this stage of production to professionals. You can find freelance editors on fiverr.com or upwork.com. And rev.com is a great site to use when you are looking for someone to transcribe a video for which you don’t already have an existing script.
Whoever edits your video, make sure they repurpose some of the main video for use with your social feeds. Examples would be small videos for Instagram Stories. Or pull quotes and screen captures for your Facebook or Pinterest channels.
Also consider adding captions to your videos (especially to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Association) compliant. YouTube automatic captions can sometimes be inaccurate, so consider manually adding your own captions. Also be sure to add yt:cc=on to your YouTube tags. This ensures the captions automatically auto play. It might be worth phrasing the rev related content to captioning your videos rather than transcribing, as transcriptions are a different option in rev used for meeting minutes, etc. and are not able to be uploaded to video content.
UPLOAD, OPTIMIZE AND PROMOTEAs soon as you upload your video, title and tag it using the keywords from your keyword research and optimization document. Write a good description with at least 200 words, and make sure your keywords, and their synonyms are in that description. Include a transcription if available.
Then, it’s time to promote your video. Networking and collaborating with complementary YouTube creators is a great way to grow your channel and get free “shout-outs” to the other party’s subscribers. Write and send out the email blasts and social media posts you planned earlier to alert your fans to the new video content.
Lastly, read and respond to all YouTube and social media comments you receive. If you want users to engage with your videos, you need to engage with them! Doing so will make you, your channel, and your videos seem less like a promotional tool, and more of a value-added service that you provide to your market.