In an era where social media reigns king, you can ask just about anyone what their favorite social platform is, and chances are the top answers will be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, depending on the demographic, Snapchat. But rarely do people think about YouTube as a social media platform.
The truth is though, YouTube, and online video content, is only growing in popularity and demand. With over one billion active YouTube users, vloggers and video content creators are quickly gaining notoriety and a massive social following. In fact, in the last couple of months there have been several articles written on the influence of Youtubers vs. traditional A-list celebrities, and the odds were definitely trending toward the Youtubers. Basically, that means that a uber popular YouTuber – take Zoella for instance – has about the same amount of influence in pop culture as an A-list celeb. All because she creates and uploads videos from the comfort of her own house!
So, no matter if you’re a dedicated blogger looking for a new challenge and a fresh way to present your content, or a newbie looking to drive as much exposure as possible to your blossoming website, don’t forget about the power of video marketing and the possibilities that await! So as bloggers and creative content curators, how do you leverage the powerful influence of YouTube to boost your content and engage your audience? And when taking a leap into the world of video, where should you even start?
Before You Begin: Invest in a Quality Camera
Chances are the camera you use to shoot blog photos already has video capabilities. Most newer cameras are equipped with decent video software and OK microphones. No matter if you’re looking to invest in a new camera or just content to use your blogging one, there are a few important features to skim through the user guide for:
- Shooting in 1080p. Just like you don’t want low quality photos on your blog, you’re also not going to want low quality video on your blog or YouTube channel. By ensuring your camera shoots in 1080p means that you will be capturing HD-quality video. HD video equals crisp, sharp images in your video that will capture all of the details of your next lookbook or tutorial.
- Good optical stabilization. Have you ever gotten a bit seasick trying to watch someone walk down the street and vlog at the same time? If you have, chances are their camera didn’t have a built-in stabilization feature. This won’t matter as much if you’re planning on doing primarily tripod-based shoots, but anything done freehanded without a stabilized camera, your audience will hit the back button pretty quickly. Stabilization is a fairly common feature on cameras, but if you’re in the market anyway it’s a great thing to look for.
- Built-in microphone. A good quality microphone is really dependent on what type of videos you’re planning on shooting. Silent lookbooks with inserted music will rarely need microphone capacity, but if you’re ever planning to film tutorials, how-tos, or just personal chats about life with your viewers, a good, built-in mic will allow you to save on the cost of an external microphone.
Creating the Content: Find Your Passion
I’m a big fan of watching lookbook videos on YouTube. I’ll find a blogger who has posted a great outfit on her blog and then they’ll also have posted a 1:00-1:30 video about that outfit on their YouTube channel. While I love a beautiful photo as much as the next person, there’s something about seeing the outfits move and flow in person that makes you get a really good feeling of the style and pieces.
While you’re brainstorming creative content ideas, make sure to note which videos can stand alone and which ones would be best suited as a supporting piece for your blog post. However, just keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to repeat content just for the sake of posting another video. Your dedicated viewers will start to get bored with the repetition and you run the risk of losing them to a more creative channel.
There are so many great ideas for YouTube content because of the highly engaging nature video. When you start speaking on topics that you are genuinely passionate about, you will begin to gain a following of individuals who respect you for the voice and interest behind the video – no matter the subject! Don’t be afraid to hide your true self because speaking to a camera is intimidating. The great thing about video content is the ability to edit. Remember, this is not a live video. If you need 15 takes of your introduction before you feel comfortable, go on and get those 15 takes! My advice, however, is don’t give up even if you feel like a failure in the 14 tries before. Find your voice and start speaking! It will only get easier over time.
*Tip: Utilizing Snapchat and Instagram Stories will help you get more comfortable speaking to a camera.
Marketing Your Channel: Get Yourself Out There
- Let Your Loyal Followers Know
Some of my favorite bloggers are just starting to make their way onto YouTube and they have no problem letting their loyal readers know they’re making videos. Just like you promote your latest blog post on Instagram, don’t be afraid to cross-promote your new channel! Let your social community and readers know you’re posting quality content on YouTube. They may not all flock over and hit the subscribe button, but if you’re posting consistently about your newfound platform, readers will get the hint!
Because video is such a dynamic medium, if you're uploading unique, well-shot and well-edited content, your community will love checking out the video version of you. It will really give them a glimpse of the person behind the screen, and nowadays we’re all about getting as personal as we possibly can with personalities and bloggers!
- Creating an Optimized Channel
Starting right off the bat with a complete, well-optimized YouTube channel will set you apart from your peers. Before you even upload your first video, make sure to update both your profile and header photo, write a description about your channel, and make sure the link to your blog is prominent.
After you upload your first video, and subsequent videos, complete a couple key items to ensure your video receives the most organic YouTube traffic as possible:
- Titles will draw your viewers in, so make sure it’s a relevant, well-written title.
- Write a good description and include links to your mentioned content and blog!
- Create a custom thumbnail. If you want to get fancy, feel free to design a custom graphic with a photo and some teaser text.
So that’s YouTube in a nutshell. I truly believe this platform is only going grow in the next year or so, so jump on in while it’s still a developing community and I think you’ll find it exciting and full of possibilities!