Request A Demo

A Marketer’s Guide to Starting Out on YouTube

YouTube has over a billion users (almost one-third of all people on the internet) and, according to Hubspot, reaches more 18+ year-olds during prime time TV hours than any cable TV network. It’s not hard to understand why 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in the next year.

A versatile and highly shareable medium, video is a more effective marketing tool than print and direct mail put together. Content marketing is the new “thing” – and video sits proudly at its helm, steering the great ship of emerging musical artists, dancing babies, and cat compilations. Video captivates: it creates feelings of confidence and curiosity, and more importantly, it boosts conversions and sales.

Content Share Tracking 101

What’s Your Value Proposition?

As a business, your value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors – it’s the promise of a unique and relevant benefit. Chances are, this already forms the basis for much of your existing advertising.

As with all other forms of marketing, when you create a YouTube video you need to keep in mind the following:

  • Who your target audience is
  • What their problems are
  • The unique benefits that only you can provide
  • Why these benefits outrank those of your competitors

In short, creating a YouTube video is no excuse to go off-message. Your communications need to remain consistent across all channels.

Your Video Content Strategy: Hero, Hub, Hygiene

Brands are obsessed with viral videos. By contrast, influencers and YouTubers adopt a different strategy: an “always on” approach that ultimately generates more followers and views because the content is relevant and commented upon, and the audience comes back for return visits, views, and, ultimately, conversions.

You can use Simply Measured Social Analytics to track your video views over time and understand what’s working, what’s not, and how you need to pivot in the future.

The new digital marketing buzz phrase about town is YouTube’s “hero, hub, hygiene”:  three H’s that encourage us to take a different approach to brand storytelling.

Hero, Hub, Hygiene

Audiences don’t live their lives according to campaign schedules: they will only return if you provide regular, useful content for them to enjoy.

Hero Content

This is when you want to aim your content at a big, broad audience. You want showstopping content that pulls in casual browsers and gets your brand noticed, like Hyundai’s “The Chase” or Mountain Dew’s “Puppymonkeybaby“. If your video marketing calendar were a triangle, hero content would sit at the top.

Hub Content

Hub content brings you closer to your target audience: those who are actually in the market for your products or services. This content covers fresh takes on industry trends, or hypes new product lines. This content is for true enthusiasts, and it sits in the middle of the triangle.

Hygiene Content

At the bottom of the triangle we have hygiene content. This is the content that your audience is searching for: product reviews, how-to’s, and tutorials. It’s where your audience is commenting and interacting the most.

Video Promotion: SEO, Social Media, and PPC

Every day, Google gets better at finding the most informative and relevant content for its users. Video content has fantastic SEO value, and there has been a noticeable shift of focus in its favor. Video is now the third tab on Google’s homepage search bar after Images – and that’s not just videos from YouTube. Google can also pull in videos that are embedded in your website.

So how do you ensure that your videos are well-optimized for search engines? Much like with images, Google is not quite sophisticated enough to recognize them without guidance. But you can help it to understand your video’s content by paying attention to the following and optimizing accordingly:

  • Title tag
  • Relevant keywords
  • Video Length
  • Engagement
  • Comments
  • User reactions

Read this helpful guide to video optimization to get a feel for what works and why.

Then, of course, there is social media marketing to think about. One of the truly great things about video content is that you can repurpose it in all sorts of different ways. Just one video can be broken down into snippets, GIFs, stills, quotes, slideshows, transcripts, podcasts, and even audio recordings.

Make sure that in each video you include a call to action that encourages viewers to like, comment, and share if they enjoyed it—or even embark on a deeper relationship with you, like joining your Facebook group.

It goes without saying that your business should already be active on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, so you can leverage that presence to promote your videos and gather feedback. Facebook is making video marketing faster and easier all the time, in several different ways.

Remember to incorporate your videos into your company website. You can promote your YouTube channel via your website and vice versa. What’s more, consider promoting it through your printed sales materials too – there is no harm in reminding people of the perks of connecting with you online.

Lastly, if you can get a good deal, then consider paying for keyword advertising through Google, Bing, and the other big search engines. Particularly if you are just starting out, it can help to boost the visibility of your videos and make sure you still get viewers in the early days.

YouTube Advertising: Beat the Skip

Of course, YouTube can be used for marketing in more ways than one. With over 1 billion users and growing, YouTube offers marketers and business owners the opportunity to get in with their target audience. A YouTube ad can be simple – you don’t need a full-scale movie budget or a visionary director to see results.

There are essentially two types of YouTube ad: skippable and non-skippable.

Non-skippable YouTube ads force people to watch the whole thing, in its entirety – but it can only be 15-20 seconds long.


These ads sometimes get a bad rap, as they don’t allow you to opt out of watching. They see better engagement, but the downside is a higher video abandonment rate (viewers are impatient).

On the other hand, skippable YouTube ads have no maximum length, and they don’t force viewers to watch beyond the first five seconds.

Skippable Ads

As a result, they are generally considered to offer a better user experience (never underestimate the importance of user experience). Past the first five seconds, the viewer is choosing to watch the video, rather than being forced to. But you only have five seconds to beat the skip, so it’s vital to present your most important points right away.

Remember that it’s all about relevance. If your ad relates in some way to the video being watched, it’s much more likely to be effective. Do your keyword research and perform searches on YouTube to see what keywords are popular in your niche.

How Video Fits Within the Rest of Your Marketing

So we know that YouTube videos help brands to rank higher in SERPs, increase time spent on a Web page, and convert searches into leads. If you want to see what video marketing done right looks like, check out these 14 great examples. Small business are often put off by the idea that video marketing will be expensive, but you don’t need something super slick and polished to make an impact. Just look at this example from Mirabeau Wine – this is just a man demonstrating how to open a bottle without a corkscrew. It’s incredibly simple, and it’s had more than 11 million views.

Video marketing is powerful for improving customer experience (CX), particularly if you run an e-commerce business, since it can be used to help customers better understand your products, which in turn leads to higher conversions. Let’s look at an example: Theory 11. This playing cards merchant is a great example of how achievable it is to build an online store yourself and find loyal band of followers through video marketing. Each video is polished and captivating, using the products to tell a story (and showing them off in the process):

Your video marketing campaigns can of course go hand-in-hand with the rest of your marketing strategy – they can be shared on social media, embedded into emails, appear on your website homepage or even your product pages. The key is to think about what your potential customers will really get some benefit from – if you can help them to solve a problem, then that’s half the battle. This medium is only going to grow in popularity, so hop on board sooner rather than later.

Hopefully this article taught you something new about YouTube marketing. If you have anything to add, feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Get everything you need to analyze the metrics that matter

10 Social Marketing Lessons from Forbes Most Valuable Brands


Patrick Foster

Patrick Foster is a freelance writer, ecommerce expert and owner of popular ecommerce blog, Ecommercetips. He loves sharing his expertise with startups and entrepreneurs to help make the most of their marketing, social and video strategies.

Never Miss a Post!

Request a Demo