Greg Jarboe is the president and co-founder of SEO-PR and author of YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day.
You could say he’s the Mari Smith of YouTube (or Mari Smith is the Greg Jarboe of Facebook). I’m not an expert in YouTube, so I asked him to help me explain how to use it to enchant customers.
Provide Intrinsic Value
The first thing that he taught me is that video content that can enchant people must provide intrinsic value to your viewers. This value comes in the four forms:
Inspiration. YouTube has brought to light many inspiring stories of courage and bravery. Example: Jake Olson, a young cancer patient.>
Enlightenment: These are documentaries similar to what you’d see on PBS or the Discovery Channel. Example: Worse Than War, a documentary you can find on YouTube about genocides.
Entertainment: Some videos are plain and simple guffawing funny. Example: the Evian Roller Babies that people have watched twenty-seven million times.
Education: Educational videos show how to do things and use products. Example: how to fold a t-shirt in two seconds.
(Together, I call these concepts "IEEE," which is not to be confused with the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology.)
One important point: The goal of many companies is to create the so-called “viral video.” You know this as the kind that achieves millions of views in a few days such as the Old Spice commercials, which you can see here. This is the kind of video every other company or agency wishes it created.
Don’t make this your goal. The truth is that a viral video is mostly about getting lucky, and that’s a stupid strategy for you. The right goal is a consistent supply of video that is inspiring, entertaining, enlightening, or educating, which over time, enchants people.
Keep It Short
The second thing Jarboe taught me is that the most popular videos are short. According to a study by TubeMogul in December 2008, an average 10.4 percent of viewers click away after ten seconds and 53.6 percent after one minute.
The typical video isn’t enchanting, so look at popular ones if you don’t believe these stats. “Charlie bit my finger--again!” is 0:56 long. “Evian Roller Babies” is 1:01 long.
Documentaries are the exception to this rule, but the dataset is clear: make your videos short and sweet.
Despite its slogan, “Broadcast Yourself,” YouTube isn’t a broadcast medium. Instead, it’s the world’s most popular online video community.
The YouTube community doesn’t sit down during prime time each evening to watch the estimated 34,560 hours of new video content that are uploaded to YouTube every day. You can learn about your audience’s viewing patterns by visiting the “Insight” tab. The reports there will show you how many views your videos are getting, demographics, and geographic locations.
Foster Discovery, Shareability, and Identity
Assuming that you have IEEE content in a short format, then you need to accomplish three tasks to use YouTube to enchant people:
First, help people discover your video. Did you know that the number of searches on YouTube is second only to Google? Here are three ways to make this work for you:
Keywords. Relevant keywords can help get your video content in front of interested users. For help with choosing keywords, use the “auto-fill” suggestion drop down menu on YouTube.
You can also study what other people have used for keywords for similar content and use the same ones. Also, try YouTube’s keyword suggestion tool. Finally, you can use the Discovery Tab in YouTube Insight to access the keywords that people are searching to find your video.
Title, description, and tags. After you’ve come up with new keyword ideas, ensure that your video includes those words within your title, description, and tags. This will help people discover your videos in search results and Related Videos. If you want to include your brand name in the title, it should always go last. Make your description and tags as detailed as possible.
Thumbnails. Once YouTube has processed your video, it generates three representative video thumbnails. You can select one of them as your video thumbnail. As the Grail Knight tells Indiana Jones, “You must choose, but choose wisely.” Think about which thumbnail is the most enchanting. And know that thumbnails that are sexually suggestive, violent, or graphic may cause your video to be age-restricted.
Second, encourage people to share your videos as far, wide, and easily as possible. YouTube provides three powerful ways to make this happen: embedding videos on other websites and blogs, sharing links to videos via updates to services such as Facebook and Twitter, and emailing links to videos to people in one’s address book.
Third, build up a personal following and credibility on YouTube. This visibility will mean that more people will watch your videos. You can accomplish this by leaving insightful, useful, or entertaining comments on other people’s videos and joining YouTube “groups.” This kind of visibility will attract people to your videos.
Finally, you can also use Google Moderator on your YouTube channel. Moderator is a social platform that allows you to solicit ideas or questions on any topic, and have the community vote the best ones up to the top in real-time. Nick Kristof of The New York Times uses Moderator to take questions about his travels around the globe.
Image credit: Ed Barton