A combination of consumers becoming more sophisticated, faster broadband speeds and fewer barriers to creating rich content mean that the era of content marketing is well and truly upon us.

When pulling together your content strategy, it won’t take long before you start to think about video. And swiftly after that, thoughts will turn to YouTube. Getting this channel working well for you is one of the best things you can do for your content strategy, so here are some tips for YouTube greatness.

The Basics – Channel Set Up:

Every marketing exercise should start with your audience. Who are they? What are their motivations? How and where will they see our content? Answering these questions is not easy but without answering them, your content will not engage them.

You should also spend some time understanding what the function of your YouTube channel – is it somewhere to pop your videos and embed them on your website or are you treating YouTube as a social network? Whether you are using it for this purpose or not, your channel is a social network and you should invest time in creating and nurturing engagement.

Finally, you should create a content plan. Even if it is nothing more than a long list of content ideas, it is better than nothing. The first few videos will seem easy, but what about a video in three months’ time? Having a plan will not only ensure you have ideas, but that they form a wider and more strategic plan.

The Most Important Part – Content:

Once again, you should start with your audience here and with your overall objectives. The cost of making video content has plummeted recently which is great news for marketers. But because of the low cost, it can often be seen as a default channel – but it’s only the right channel if it fits your audience and objective.

You should make your content searchable on YouTube. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world and SEO is pretty simple on this channel: get the title, description and tags aligned to your audience’s search terms and you are there.

With so many videos being produced, stand out is difficult – so make your videos clearly informative or entertaining (or both ideally). And simple talking heads videos for 20 mins will no longer get people excited. Short videos creatively shot are the way forward, so let your creative juices flow. Here is a shameless plug for the University Of Manchester’s Minute Lecture series, a nice example of using animation to communicate research.

What You Should Do Next – Evaluate:

YouTube has a really good analytics package. If you are wondering how long are your videos watched for, whether your audience growing or not, are you getting more thumbs up than thumbs down? As a starting point, you should track these basic measures and over time start to see what the data is telling you.

Hope this helps your video content engage with your audience. What is your YouTube top tip?