America’s infatuation with YouTube will likely not fade for the foreseeable future, as it continues to enjoy prolific traffic and viewer popularity for an intriguing spectrum of amusing, quirky, educational and sometimes controversial vignettes. Depending on the nature and scope of your organization, YouTube has the potential to be your third-most powerful online marketing channel, assuming your website and Facebook page are your primary and secondary online assets for distributing information to your customers, stakeholders or communities (although, enewsletters may actually be second, but for now I am thinking more of display venues rather than mass distribution).
With the technology available in consumer-grade video cameras and user-appealing functions of YouTube, it is not too daunting to have staff assume the omnipresent “multi-media journalist” role and produce compelling video to bolster your online marketing efforts. Who doesn’t love to spend a few minutes on YouTube anyway? Once your channel is up and running, invest some time to promote and grow it, and your viewer traffic will surge dramatically. Below are seven elements that can enhance your marketing by harnessing existing video or planning future filming within your organization. If you don’t have the budget, resources or personnel to produce video, consider collaborating with a video production agency or local public-access television station; or solicit portfolio-building contributions from a school video production class.
1. Take stock in your inventory – What do you have available without contracting with a video production agency? Do you have amateur-style footage, smart phone recordings, professionally edited B-roll vignettes or full-length programs? All of these formats can have a place on your YouTube channel, provided you organize and label them accordingly.
2. What makes good video for marketing? – If you don’t have a supply of ready-to-air video, consider developing a plan to produce samples gradually, including topics like recaps of groundbreakings or press conferences; video tours of your companies, stores, facilities or expert interviews or renderings of a project (i.e. create buzz with updates or countdown to an opening).
3. Maximize YouTube’s features and display options – Keep your brand and logo consistent on YouTube so it is aligned with your website and social media profiles. Include a brief (about 30 words) description of the agency so it fits nicely in the header box. Similar to Twitter and the new Facebook “cover photo”, you also have the aesthetic option of uploading a customized background (consider a notable company photo or iconic image).
4. Optimize videos for search – For every video, include a short caption and description; this is an opportunity for boilerplate information, website and phone number. You should add tags for each video to target certain demographics for online search optimization.
5. Cross-pollinate videos – Any time you post a new video, cross-promote the link on your website and social media. This is great content to keep your customers interested, informed on the latest news and engaged to share and re-post in their networks.
6. Make regular adjustments to main viewer – Periodically switch the featured video that pops up first; plan your promotional calendar so that the main viewer depicts your next event or program. Once it is over, change the settings to show a more evergreen video, such as a tour of a park or public safety announcement with tips for water safety or youth fitness.
7. Create a “library” with playlists – As your archive grows, you can make separate playlists according to categories, facilities or activities. The benefit of leveraging playlists is to sort content so that it can be distributed accordingly to your different audience interests, including teen programs, aquatics promotions or nature classes.
Do you use YouTube currently as part of your marketing mix? Do you have plans to include video and YouTube in your marketing efforts? What types of videos have you found to be most engaging and successful for your agency? Do you have any tips or success stories to add?
Written By: Liam O'Mahony, MBA, ABC, APR City of Chandler, AZ Community Services Department