“Build it and they will come.” It’s wonderful advice for summoning the ghosts of legendary baseball players, awful advice for managing your YouTube channel.
Many companies, particularly those in B2B, launched their YouTube channels during the social media scramble of the early aughts when people said things like, “What’s your Google+ strategy?” without irony. For most of these companies, merely having a YouTube presence didn’t translate into traffic or leads and their channels grew stale and dormant.
Today, we’re going to dust yours off. YouTube has added a few new tools (and mercifully removed others) and it can be a valuable source of website traffic (paired with your video marketing platform) if only you clean it up.
Clean up your YouTube channel in 5 steps
1. Decide your channel’s purpose
Before you go dusting digital shelves, plan. Is your YouTube channel going to build awareness or accelerate leads? Tell brand stories or explain the details of your product? Each approach requires a different strategy, and while your channel can do multiple things, it’s best to do one thing well first.
Not every product or service is a fit for YouTube. If you sell something super niche, YouTube might have trouble finding the right people to recommend your videos to, and any traffic you get will be low quality. If that’s your situation, consider creating a channel that’s of broader interest to your industry. Or, maybe don’t use YouTube.
How to do it:
- Consult your customer research. What personas will the channel influence and at what stages in their journey? Write it down and keep your notes handy
- (Optional) Pick the keywords you’ll target with your channel
2. Give your company its own brand channel
There are two types of YouTube channels: personal channels (for individuals) and brand channels (for companies). Brand channels are created from individual channels, and if an employee created a brand channel from their personal one, it could be a problem. They’re the recovery contact if you ever forget the password. (Yikes if they’re ever sick. Double yikes if they ever leave.)
If you’re not sure who owns your current channel, create a new individual Google Account for the business (name it after the business) and use it to launch a Brand Channel. If you’ve already done this, awesome! Skip this step.
How to do it:
- Sign out of your current Google account
- Create a new Google account
- Name it after your company (or product line)
- Verify the account and click “Done”
- Go to YouTube
- Click your avatar in the top right, and in the dropdown, “My Channel”
- Click the blue button that says “Customize Channel”
- Click your avatar again and click the gear icon, advanced settings, and “Move channel to brand account”
- Begin customizing your brand channel
- Optional: Add yourself and others as managers of the brand channel
- Optional: Link your YouTube brand channel to Vidyard
- Log into Vidyard
- In the Group menu, click “Integrations”
- Select YouTube
- Sign into your YouTube account
3. Brand your channel
Unkempt YouTube channels—especially those with grainy (or no) banner images—scream “nothing to see here, folks.” Brand your YouTube channels just as you do your website, and with the customer journey in mind.
If people will discover it by searching YouTube, use the banner image to explain what your channel is about. If existing customers will find it by searching, “How to do X” in Google, let it be known what your channel is for.
Complete all your channel information: Description, logo, links to your site, and a contact email.
How to do it:
- From your account, click the blue “Customize Channel” button
- Click the gear icon, toggle on “Customize the layout of your channel,” and click “Save” (this opens up more options)
- Add a channel icon (a.k.a. your logo image, 800px x 800px)
- Add a header image (2560px x 1440px)
- Select a featured video for new visitors
- Select a featured video for returning visitors
- Click “About” and add a channel description (there’s no word limit; longer is better, but start off with a hook)
- Add an email for your point of contact
- Add links to your website, social media pages, or product pages (these will appear as icons in the lower right of your banner image)
4. Hide, add, or edit your videos
If this is an old account, hide any videos that aren’t relevant to your customer journey, and make plans to update old ones. Adding consistent intros and outros gives your videos a polished feel, and makes them more bingeable. Also update the video names to be catchier and more clickable.
What content should you post to your YouTube channel? New and different videos that aren’t already on your site, so Google doesn’t penalize the SEO of either. A great strategy, if you want to drive traffic back to your website, is to post teaser videos on YouTube with a call-to-action Card that links back to the full video on your website.
At each stage, consider how your videos support the outcome you want. If you need leads, does your banner and channel description educate potential buyers? Does your video help sell the service? If the viewer is interested, is it clear how to actually buy? If you have lots of videos, organize them into playlists for each customer journey.
How to do it:
- Hide or delete irrelevant videos
- Edit and reupload outdated videos
- Add new videos
- Give each video a catchier name
- Give each video an intriguing thumbnail
- Add CTAs to each video, either in the recording or using YouTube Cards and End Screens
5. Promote your work
What good are YouTube videos if nobody watches? Run a campaign announcing your revitalized YouTube channel and its purpose—to make viewers laugh, to help them solve problems, or to educate them on your product. Let recipients know exactly what to expect, and what you want them to do, such as subscribe, or share.
Beyond pushing your existing audience to YouTube, you can improve your in-YouTube SEO to attract more prospects. YouTube is a search engine (the world’s second-largest, in fact) and your videos can show up in Google search results.
Improve your videos’ chances by using keywords in the titles and descriptions, tagging your videos, and continuously improving your titles and thumbnails to make them ultra-clickable.
YouTube determines which videos are most relevant by total view time, so short, snappy videos that get clicked and keep viewers engaged will help attract new viewers and grow your channel.
Finally, keep it up. If your goal is to grow the channel, post consistently, and continue testing topics, formats, and thumbnails—just as you would any marketing campaign.
How to do it:
- Announce your YouTube channel everywhere
- From your Brand Channel, follow other brands and channels
- Insert keywords into your video titles and descriptions
- Tag your videos
- Add videos at a regular cadence
Looking to take your marketing strategy to the next level? We’ve put together three short guides on how to use video throughout your buyer’s journey, increase email click-through rates, and create better content.