Are you using YouTube as part of your marketing and brand awareness strategy and if not why not, as you should be. YouTube’s viewer statistics are nothing short of staggering — over 6 billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube each month, this is outstanding. YouTube’s viewership is actually higher than that of any cable network, and millions of users subscribe every day. Attention is the currency of the Internet, and on YouTube, there is a lot of attention to go around. But how do you get started with maximising awareness? With over a hundred hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every sixty seconds, the competition can seem impossibly huge. How do you get noticed in such a vast sea of video information? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Start a Branded Channel

A good branding effort begins with a branded channel with a personal branded message. You should choose a channel name that reflects what your business or organization is about and customize your channel with colours, links, and other information related to your organization. It is important to add your website’s URL to the description of each video as a reminder to viewers that you have a website, and do learn how to use tags on YouTube to categorize information and annotations to encourage users to subscribe, sign up for your newsletter, or visit your website.

A well-organized channel can be a tremendous resource for viewers. Cancer Research a UK charity is well organised and brand themselves well. For example their charity giving website has a strong message which is clear and represented well in brand colours to their audience. Their YouTube page includes the logo, links to Twitter and the Google+ feed, and videos are organized clearly by topic; cancer information, campaigns, events, our TV ads. CRUK even have individual featured channels for campaigns like Race For Life, this is what gets you in the thousands of subscribers and Cancer Research UK has over 2,016 subscribers at present. Non-profits are a great inspiration to learn from but if you are a larger brand then take inspiration from Red Bull. With 2,871,948 subscribers Red Bull use their YouTube channel to network their brand further and promote their Instagram through a link which connects you to their action packed photos and 892,738 followers; something you could call brand domination!

Create a Call to Action

When creating content for your YouTube channel, make sure to have a call to action in mind. What do you want viewers to do once they’ve watched a video? Do you want them to check out your website or subscribe for more videos or leave a comment or re-share with others? Know what you want from your video, and make your expectations known to the audience. For example, the Cancer Research charity events raise awareness and people contribute to research, cures and treatments by donating money and help the charity funds go up. Their recently released YouTube video is a great example of a call to action, titled “Every Moment Counts” and this message is clear in the first few seconds of video. The video content makes you want to share it so it can help others survive like the people in this video; take inspiration from this in maximizing awareness.

Be Brief, Be Engaging

Getting the attention of viewers can be tough; keeping it can be tougher. Most video watchers tune out or click away in the first ten seconds of playback. For that reason alone, it’s vital to keep your message quick, precise, and fast-moving. While great videos can be made on a budget, brands like Red Bull as discussed earlier have garnered enormous amounts of viewers with their fast-paced imaging and videos. On YouTube their stunt and flying videos have engaged the audience well. Their selection of videos are engaging, bikes, water sports, motor-sports, winter sports, skates and inside the Red Bull Studio takes you further into their world –engaging!

Find a Niche

Finding a specific interest or angle to your content is the best way to set yourself apart from the crowd. The more general or generic the content, the more difficult it will be to get viewers and attention. The best way to find a unique niche for your content is to look at similar content and find a need that isn’t being filled. The more valuable, specific and helpful your information, the more trust you will generate from viewers. The results can be surprising: food reviewer Daymon Patterson rose to fame simply by doing fast-food reviews on YouTube, which led to his own cable television program.

Share on Social Media

Once you’ve created your content, spread the word as much as possible. Re-share your video on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and your website or blog. Don’t be overly aggressive with advertising, but don’t be afraid to ask people to re-share your content.

Join Forces

Thanks to YouTube’s ability to include hyper-links in video annotations, many content creators have started partnering up to get more views and shares of their videos. Engage with other YouTube channels, viewers, and users, either in the comments or on social media networks. Be engaging and outgoing but be careful to avoid arguments, contentious debate, or other online behaviour that could ruin your brand’s reputation.

Once you’ve begun creating content, check YouTube’s metrics to keep track of your views, likes, comments, and other vital information — this will give you valuable insight into which videos are working, and which are not. With some ingenuity and a little luck, your next video could go viral and bring your message to hundreds of thousands. So, may the branded YouTube force be with you, and live long and prosper with your videos.