We use YouTube in fundamentally different ways when we’re using it for fun than when we’re using it for business.
When we watch YouTube videos for fun, we might have a personality we like to follow, or might see an intriguing video embedded in a news article, tweet or Facebook post. We snack on funny videos, curious or intriguing tidbits that get us through a busy day.
But when we’re in project mode, whether for business (B2B purchases) or personal (B2C purchases), we’re using YouTube in a fundamentally different way. Generally, we come to YouTube videos through search. But not YouTube search, at least not at first. Even though YouTube is the biggest search engine after Google, we usually begin our YouTube journey on Google.
Let’s consider a video topic you might not think anyone would want to watch on YouTube: The repair of the range hood fan for your kitchen stove. Nobody’s going to want to watch a video about that, right? Wrong – a lot of people want to watch that, as you will see below.
Most probably, you’ll begin your quest for answers on a topic like this with a Google search that says something like “How to fix fan on top of stove.” A number of blog posts and ecommerce sites come up, but you know what else comes up? A video from YouTube. Because YouTube and Google are part of the same company, YouTube searches are “baked” into the Google results.
Google “bakes” in YouTube video searches into the results.
Since you need to figure out how to do this task, you click the video titled “How to Change Over-the-Stove Fans : Fan Repair & Maintenance,” which is from a content channel called “ehowathomechannel.”
It’s important to note here that this video is from Feb. 2014, more than two years ago. This is a key way in which YouTube video is different than Facebook video. YouTube is an evergreen platform, where topics can earn and retain authority over time, where on Facebook you generally only see the video if it’s in an ad or shared by a friend sometime in the last day or so. Also, interestingly, this video happens to not have many views, just 3,000. This is because YouTube ranks videos by how long people watch, not how many views they have.
In this customer journey example, you’ve clicked on the initial video and watched for a while, but perhaps found it’s not answering the question you had in mind. You will likely do one of two things:
- Do a refined search, but on YouTube now, not on Google, or
- Click on one of the “suggested videos” in the right-hand column of the page.
Overall on YouTube, most people click on the suggested videos, probably because they assume the videos are very relevant and it’s easier to click than type in a search (although YouTube search is the second most likely thing you’ll do at this point).
Suggested videos are the best way of getting traffic. This means that the customer has already watched one video – maybe yours, maybe someone else’s – and YouTube’s algorithm has referred them to you, which confers a bit of credibility.
It may turn out that the second video in the customer’s YouTube session, which has the title, “Under cabinet Range Hood Installation – New version” from manufacturer XtremeAirUsa, is the video that solves their problem. This video is a straightforward how-to video that shows professionals (or do-it-yourselfers) how to install the product. And the way the video is made can help someone regardless of which brand they are installing. Furthermore, it’s a highly commented-on video, and XtremeAirUsa has responded to the comments, which are largely questions about which tools to use.
Note that the XtremeAirUsa video is also more than two years old, and YouTube still ranks it high in the search for this topic because many viewers watch it for a long duration. Its viewership has grown steadily and organically since it was uploaded, and now it’s been seen more than 350,000 times. Remember, this is a video about a stove fan – and it’s been watched 350,000 times! Why? Because using how-to videos on YouTube works.
YouTube content marketing how-to videos can be evergreen and keep getting views indefinitely. This is great long-tail marketing: you make the video once, but keep coming back to make sure it’s optimized for new searches.
Unfortunately, the audio on the XtremeAirUsa how-to video is poor quality and it needs more good close-up shots. It’s clearly the opposite of an exciting commercial for the stove company. But it works extremely well because it is very helpful.
And this video cost almost nothing to produce, edit, upload and host. People keep coming to this video organically, and engaging in the comments section of the video, without any advertising from the manufacturer.
Years after the video was uploaded, lots of people continue to comment. But why don’t they have channel icons? Because these are not users that hang out on YouTube. Rather, they only come to YouTube when on a search-originating mission. They’re not looking for social media friends, they’re looking for answers.
This type of content marketing, where companies give away helpful information for free, is very common on company blogs. But sadly, only a small percentage of companies have unlocked the potential of content marketing on YouTube. There are great advantages for those who can dominate in their niche, any niche. This is particularly true for brands who can produce evergreen or long-tail content – videos that prove helpful to potential customers for months or even years.
Focus on your specialty
Now you’re convinced you should make videos for your company, but about what, exactly? You can decide by asking yourself these questions:
1) What does your business know how to do that many others do not?
There’s something you do in your business that you know better than most other people, or do better than most other companies. Content marketing is about giving away some (but not all) of those secrets to increase your authority, with a soft sell or no sell at all. When people think about your service, they’ll come to you because you have given them something and demonstrated your expertise.
2) What questions are people specifically asking about your products?
People are always asking you questions about your business. They may do this in person to your salespeople, or via email or social media. Why not answer these questions in a video?
3) What are people asking about your business sector?
If you can help people with general tips and tactics they can learn about in your field of business in general – that don’t necessarily have to do with your products – they will be very appreciative and see you as a trustworthy expert, in it to be helpful.
4) In what way can you best demonstrate this on video?
Content marketing videos don’t have to be exciting. They just have to be helpful.
5) Who on your team would best demonstrate this?
Sometimes the best person on the team to do videos is the CEO. Sometimes it’s the intern in the back room. Sometimes it’s both. Experiment with different approaches.
6) How can you shoot and edit these videos as quickly and cheaply as possible?
YouTube content marketing doesn’t have to have high production values. It just has to communicate how to do something helpful. If it takes a lot of time or money to shoot and edit, you probably should think about another approach.
7) Do you have the resources to launch one video every week, on the same day and time? I repeat – every week?
You should be able to release at least one video per week, ideally on the same day. Make it a habit. If it’s too hard or you don’t have enough time or it’s not a priority, this approach may not be for you. The YouTube algorithm rewards consistency.
8) Can you learn about video optimization and social sharing?
You’ve got to learn about video optimization, or get someone to manage your channel for you. The job is only half done when the video is uploaded. The rest is optimization and promotion in the other areas of your marketing funnel.
You can do it!
Do you have comments or questions about content marketing for YouTube? I will respond in the comments section below.