In the fifteen years since YouTube was created, it has grown into not just a source for millions of videos on everything from education to entertainment, but it’s also the second most popular search engine on the internet. It also happens to be a social and video hosting platform. Today, millions of video producers, filmmakers, and content creators use YouTube to promote their products, their brand, or build an audience that can monetize your YouTube channel. Today I want to share four tactics you can use in your marketing strategy as a YouTube creator.
1. Social media
It goes without saying that you should be on all the major social media platforms. As visual artists, Instagram and TikTok are probably non-negotiables, with 1 billion and 800 million users respectively. Facebook is also an obvious choice with nearly 2.5 billion users. I also recommend Twitter, even though it seems its influence is shrinking. It has a fraction of the user base (just over 330 million). It is getting more common for creatives to not even put their Twitter handle on their website.
But it’s not enough just to be on these channels. You need to maximize your use of video and imagery.
- Using short clips as teasers for longer videos
- Consistency is key. Establish a routine and cadence for posting content regularly.
- Know how to market to the appropriate social media audience. What you put on Facebook should be different than what you do on Instagram. This is for content creators producing longer-form content. If you’re a TikTok creator (or something similar) you could put the same video on each platform.
Blogging may seem like an outdated form of promotion, but it is still one of the best ways to get ranked on Google and other search engines. Many YouTubers only use their YouTube channel as their online presence. From a marketing strategy perspective, this is a mistake. Blogs allow you to put not only your video content but provide context behind the making of it. All those extra words and content is “food” for search engines. Feed them!
- Create BTS blog posts
- Do interviews with the cast and crews for your projects
- Make sure you use an SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math. These plugins will analyze your blog posts to make sure they maximize the SEO (e.g. keyword usage; inbound and outbound links; meta descriptions; etc.)
Podcasting has really taken off since the popularity of the show “Serial” which launched back in 2015. Of course, podcasting dates back much further than that (I started my first podcast back in 2007). But the recent acquisitions by Spotify of companies like Gimlet (which produce the popular podcasts Startup, Reply All, Homecoming, and many more) illustrates how much more this area will grow. Even despite its popularity, podcast download and advertising numbers are a small fraction of radio and even TV. That means there is still room for growth.
As a YouTube creator, you could make podcasts similar to the kinds of blog posts you’d create, like BTS shows and interviews with your cast and crew. Depending on the kind of YouTube content you create, your podcast could just be the audio version of your YouTube show. This works great for news and interview style shows.
Another great show idea is interviewing other popular YouTubers. This accomplishes two things. First, it could give you exposure to their audience when they share their episode, and second, it will create content your subscribers will be excited to hear and download.
What’s nice about podcasting is that it’s easier than ever to get started for free. A service like Anchor.fm makes it easy to record with your Smartphone voice memo feature and then upload. All of the major podcast services will handle distribution to the major podcatchers (e.g. Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc.)
4. Collaborating with other YouTubers with large audiences
The last tactic is probably the one that could have the most profound impact. Similar to the idea of interviewing another YouTuber is collaborating with them. This has been a practice done for a long time. Larger channels like Freddie W’s RocketJump (9 million subscribers), or Corridor Digital (8+ million subscribers), have frequently had guest YouTubers on their shows. The collaboration could be as simple as you being a DP or editor on a project, or as big as you “starring” on camera.
Obviously, getting to collaborate with YouTube stars as big as Freddie Wong or the team at RocketJump might be too high a goal to shoot for. But there are significantly smaller channels you might aim for. If you have 2,500 subscribers, you might want to collaborate with other YouTube creators with 50 to 100,000 subscribers.
Whenever you form this kind of collaboration, it’s very important to do two things:
- Go into the collaboration knowing what your personal objectives are, and
- Make it clear what each of you is contributing and any credit is properly given
Ideally, you would have such a good relationship that you would do future collaborations together as well.
How to find them
I’m a big fan of digital marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, and one of the strategies he often talks about when it comes to reaching influencers is getting in their Instagram DMs and reaching out. He talks about contacting 100, 200 and more influencers you’d want to work with. On the YouTube side of things, if they have an email address in their “About” section, email them too. However, you contact them, make sure it’s clear in your communication that you want to offer your services or whatever else you think would be valuable to them.
For nearly 20 years, Ron has been a professional video producer, content marketer, and influencer in the visual arts industry. Most recently was managing editor of the Frame.io blog and currently managing editor of Film Riot. He helps brands and creative artists tell their stories using video, content, and words. You can learn more about him at https://bladeronner.media.