A reader wrote to me with a question about whether YouTube was worth it as a marketing tool.
The shortest answer I could give is that today YouTube is as important as having a blog.
Here is why:
- YouTube, which is owned by Google, is the most used search engine after Google itself.
- When a quality video matches a query that someone searched for on Google, that video will be returned with the rest of the web results… at the top. I don’t have conversion statistics, but I can only assume a sizable percentage of viewers will click on the videos both due to their location in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) and the nature of the content (watching a video takes less effort than reading an article). In other words, YouTube is an easy SEO shortcut to the top.
- Humans are highly visual animals. People are much more likely to watch a video than read an equivalent article.
- YouTube goes out of its way to promote your channel and videos if they consider them to be interesting and engaging. This helps you reach a potentially large audience for free.
- Playlists let you keep the viewer engaged with your content and message.
- Unlike Facebook, which will only allow you to reach a subset of subscribers unless you pay for a broader audience, once you have a YouTube subscriber in place, you can easily reach them every time you post a new video.
- Video can tell so much more about your product and the company behind it (even if there isn’t a product that’s being sold per se).
- With more people canceling their Cable subscriptions in favor of smart TVs, media boxes like the Apple TV or Chromecast, or even tablets, expect to see far greater numbers of folks tuning in to watch video content on such devices.
- Social media is very keen on video, as it works well for people who are in “surfing mode”. Videos also tend to be shared more often than textual content.
- YouTube allows people to link to their external sites on their channel page, in video descriptions, and even within video annotations. So you can certainly send people to your YouTube channel via your blog, but you’ll also get a wider audience to learn about your blog through YouTube.
This blog audience can be broadly divided in the following categories, which at times can overlap:
- Professionals interested in advancing their career via blogging.
- Freelancers interested in finding clients via blogging.
- Startup owners interested in promoting their startup via blogging.
- Company owners or workers interested in promoting products via blogging.
- Non-profit or open source developers, interested in promoting their non-profit projects and initiatives via blogging.
- People interested in making extra money online by sharing their knowledge via blogging.
- People interested in making a full-time income via blogging.
Replace “via blogging” with “via YouTube” and you’ll quickly see how applicable YouTube is to each one of these types of readers.
I would recommend that the same type of content you use for blogging also shows up in your YouTube channel. A freelancer for example, will need to showcase their expertise and offer solutions to problems that their customers might have. That’s as true on their blog as on YouTube. In fact, if available, calling your YouTube channel the same as your blog is definitely not a bad idea either.
You could then leverage the strengths of each type of media and opt for articles about particular problems and videos for others. A screencast is sometimes easier than trying to explain things in writing, for example.
Interestingly, while I have read and studied extensively this subject, I don’t have a personal YouTube channel for this or any of my other blogs. This, however, is something that I intend to fix soon.
On that note, one of the best courses I have ever come across on this subject is this one on Udemy, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to give YouTube a go or to take their channel to the next level.