YouTube Marketing Explained

By: Richard Michie

For this YouTube Marketing Explained webinar, we’re joined by Greg Preece content creator and YouTube specialist.

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, and as it is part of Google it is a crucial element of any marketing strategy. Video is now a ubiquitous part of life online, and many people use it as the first stage in their discovery of a brand, product or service. Yet so many businesses don’t utilise it fully and are missing out on the potential YouTube and video marketing holds.

Here’s the full transcript of the webinar. so you can ensure you capture all the important detail.

Richard Michie

Welcome to The Marketing Optimist latest webinar. This one is in conjunction with Greg Preece and it’s called YouTube Marketing Explained. I’ll tell you a little bit about Marketing Optimist first. This is our sixth year. We’re just about to celebrate our sixth birthday on the 5th May. Bad timing, I should have sorted the business out on the 4th May, then we could have done a whole Star Wars thing. A day late, nevermind. And we are a digital marketing agency based in, I would say based in Leeds, but actually with the pandemic, we’re based all over Yorkshire, now. With actually one of our colleagues up in Darlington. So actually, we’re covering the North East as well, if you start to think about it like that.

We do website build and design, SEO, social media and paid stuff. We also do a bit of YouTube, but we are not experts in YouTube, but Greg is. So unsurprisingly as you would have guessed, this recording, we’ll be editing when we finished. And we’ll post on YouTube so if you’re not watching this live, if you’re not one of the people in the room, you’ll be able to watch it again. So I’m just going to hand over to Greg now. Greg, do you want to tell us a little bit about you?

Greg Preece

Yeah, sure. So I’ll just start by saying, hi everyone. Good to be here. Thanks for the invite, Richard. Yeah, I’m going to keep it really short and sweet actually, so we can get into the actual value of stuff. So my name’s Greg, I’ve been on YouTube for about five years now. And recently I’ve given myself the label, YouTube Revenue Specialist/YouTube Business Specialist.

My sort of passion and what I’m working to do, is help YouTubers become entrepreneurs. Because I just see so many YouTubers not taking full advantage of the opportunities they have in front of them, and the attention that they have amassed on the platform. So I try and bring in what I’ve learned from formal education, and from my business projects outside my channel, that expertise, onto the platform and help YouTubers level up there. There we go.

Richard

Yeah, thanks. Okay. So, I think most people are aware of YouTube. Anyone not been on YouTube at all? There can’t be anyone who’s not being on YouTube for something, even if it’s to find out to change a plug or something like that, which is what I use it for quite a lot. Because I’m rubbish at things like that. So YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine unsurprisingly because it’s owned by Google. So clearly Google favours it. And it’s the go-to place for all kinds of information, entertainment. My kids watch endless videos of other children playing video games, which I’ve never really understood. But they spend hours doing it.

And then yeah, there’s a whole world out there, there’s a niche for everything. Even, I do know a guy who runs a really boring channel where he basically takes his camera and he’ll record the Thames for four hours. And then post it. And apparently in terms of viewers and everything, he does quite well. I don’t really get the point of that. But YouTube is definitely a really, really useful channel. If you’re not utilizing YouTube, it’s something that you should definitely be considering, and looking at how you can build that into your overall marketing plan.

Obviously Greg’s a YouTube specialist. From our point of view, we use video and YouTube, as part of that whole plan. And a lot of the times we actually use YouTube in a slightly different way, I guess. We like being found on YouTube because that’s useful, but we also use it as almost like a placeholder for videos as well. Because once you’ve got a video, hosting it on your own website, it can be really tricky because you need kind of the server set up and everything to display it properly.

Whereas if your YouTube video’s actually hosted on YouTube, you can just embed them in your website and they’ll play as they are, right in the site, wonderfully, without you having to worry about clever hosting, or bandwidths, or any of those things. So we tend to use it a little bit more like that. But what I’d like to talk about today, and obviously with Greg’s assistance, is talk about using YouTube as a strategy. So for that, I’m going to hand over to Greg. And Greg, if you can give us your thoughts on using YouTube as a strategy for your marketing.

Greg

Yeah, sure. So I’m going to make a assumption here, Richard, that your audience are entrepreneurs, business owners, and have an interest in using YouTube to win more business and grow more revenue. Is that the consensus?

Yeah? Cool. Yeah. Okay. We’re getting a thumbs up. So yeah, YouTube’s a fantastic platform. And I personally still think it’s one of the most underutilized platforms by entrepreneurs. I think maybe there’s a stigma that ROI on YouTube is a bit more deferred, takes longer to start seeing the ROI on YouTube compared to other social platforms. So I can kind of see why it’s still the lesser used platform before the other ones.

But, YouTube is amazing for business. I actually made a few bullet points before this to run through. Yeah, in terms of business in particular, first and foremost, global reach. If you’ve got a business that lends itself to global customers, you’ve got a potential global audience that you can tap into on YouTube. And I think it’s one of the easiest platforms to grow a global reach for businesses. So that’s a great starting point.

It’s also free. So you can build a very large following on YouTube for free. In terms of other social media platforms, Instagram, I think a lot of platforms are leaning more into a pay-to-play pricing structure. If you really want to get any exposure on Instagram these days, you’re going to really be paying to promote your posts to get ads. YouTube, you can still grow tens, if not hundreds of thousands of followers on there for free.

You can build targeted followers and audiences on YouTube fairly easily by sticking to a niche and building a following within a targeted audience. It lends itself to automation too. So like, I’ve done this myself and I see tons of other entrepreneurial YouTubers building automated sales funnels, where YouTube is the traffic source, bringing customers into that funnel.

So it hugely lends itself to automation. It’s evergreen. You can make videos today that will be seen in 2, 3, 4 years that are feeding customers into your sales funnel, that far down the line. And finally, one of the best things in business is it allows us to build a deeper connection with our audience. There’s that saying, people do business with people, not companies. And YouTube is a great place for business owners, or employees of a company, to put their personality and themselves, into their content and put a face behind a product. So yeah, I’m obviously a huge fanboy of YouTube. I’m a bit biased here, but I just do think it’s got huge potential for businesses and it’s still underutilized at this point.

Richard

Cool. Okay. So in terms of people who maybe aren’t heavy users of YouTube, who are maybe just users and they’re not used to putting up actual content. What would you say would be… So let’s say that one of our people on today would like to start a YouTube channel, kind of today, from nothing. What are the kind of basic steps? What would be the process you think that they would take, Greg?

Greg

Sure. Yeah. So I mean, there’s obviously technical stuff, which I can get to if people ask me sort of specific questions later on down the line. But, in terms of just sort of theory and that sort of approach, I’d say the most important thing really, and this is kind of what I teach my students is, to really nail down your branding. So sort of the strategy you’re going to come into YouTube with. So when I say branding, I don’t just mean the logo you’re going to be using, and the colours you’re going to be using in your videos and stuff. I mean, what are people going to be coming to your channel for? What is the value you are going to be providing your viewers?

I see a lot of people come to YouTube that haven’t thought about that. And they end up with just a really unthought through, varied content strategy, where they’re trying to make videos on this, that, and everything. And there’s just no consistency there. And that means that they don’t end up building a targeted audience and they don’t have the leverage later on down the line to make sales. So, I would say it’s really important for people coming to the platform at the start to think, “What’s my topic going to be? What’s my niche going to be that I’m going to sit within? What’s the value people are going to be getting from me?” And to just really nail down that sort of branding when they come onto the platform.

Richard

Okay. And I guess there’s a couple of big worries that a lot of people have about producing YouTube videos, or any type of video. I guess the first one is equipment. Because people have that thing of, “I’m making a video. So I need…” People have large camera in their mind or, whatever. So I guess there’s an equipment thing, and with that comes almost like a quality issue as well.

And then there’s suddenly changing the business or yourself, from being whatever you normally do, into almost like a TV production, if you know what I mean? So you are kind of, you’re filming it. You need to make sure the sound’s okay, that the lighting’s okay. Write a script. Create graphics. Edit it.

So again, going back to that thing of somebody starting today, how would you guide somebody like that?

Greg

Sure. Yeah. And that’s a big sticking point for a lot of people. The reality is you don’t really need to worry about quality at the start. It’s kind of ingrained into the essence of YouTube. People don’t have as high expectations of quality as they do with television, or promotional sales videos. YouTubers started, 10, 15 years ago it was mainly peoples sat in their bedroom talking into a webcam on their laptop. And that’s where…

Yeah. And that’s where the first generation of YouTube celebrities came from, is that sort of like format of video. So it’s always kind of been built into YouTube, this lower expectation of quality. You can get away on YouTube with literally just using your phone and speaking into your phone. I think a lot of entrepreneurs that are new YouTubers overthink it when they come to the platform, and they think, “I need to buy a studio, and get really expensive equipment, and hire a content team, and directors and all this stuff.”

And you really don’t. People connect with, and resonate with, realness and authenticity. It’s meshed into the identity of YouTube. So yeah, at the start I would just say, seriously, don’t overthink it. What’s really important is that you’re providing value to your viewers. The message is there, the value is there. They’ll forgive the fact that you’re filming on an iPhone 10, and that you don’t have a Lapel mic attached to you. It’s all good. So I’d say yeah, nail the fundamentals at the start. Nail connecting with an audience providing value. And then upgrade the other stuff as and when, at a later stage when you’re growing.

Richard

Okay. I mean, to kind of give people an example, the majority of our videos that are on the Marketing Optimist YouTube channel, which I hope you’ll go and visit, are Zoom calls. So, that’s exactly what this is. We’re recording this now. It’s a Zoom call. This will record. I’ve got a fairly decent webcam, it’s not a laptop webcam, I’ve got a fairly decent webcam. And I’ve got a microphone and hopefully I’m coming across clearly. But this is essentially the kit. We’re recording this. This will give me a little file. I’ll edit this and add some kind of starting graphics and some ending graphics. And then I’ll upload it to our YouTube channel.

It’s pretty much as simple as that. So, you can start making content without having to do too much. So from a business point of view, from our point of view, this is why we started doing this. Because we could easily create content for our YouTube channel, and then conversely for our social channels, and for our website as well, really simply. So that’s kind of, effectively as all of you are on this Zoom call, you’ve all got the kit to make a similar video to the one you’re participating in at the moment.

Greg

For sure. I mean, one of the biggest creators on the platform right now, it’s a guy called Mr. Beast. He’s got like 20 million, or something crazy, subscribers. But he always says, he got his first 100,000 subscribers just from talking to an iPhone 5, that was all the gear he had. And I know channels that have millions of subscribers that are still shooting with mobile phones. So seriously, don’t overthink the production value. It’s all about just coming in with value, connecting with an audience, and once you’ve sort of developed that skill, you can worry about the production quality at a later date.

Richard

Okay. And do you have any tips on… I think another sticking point is to get people to appear on camera. I know we’ve got a couple people on here for technical reasons, or for modester reasons, who don’t want to appear on the camera. And that’s fine, that’s not a problem. So if you’ve got staff and you want to get them on camera, or even yourself, I think that can be a sticking point. Because even when I take photographs of clients or staff members, or whatever, they’re like, “Oh, I hate being on camera.” Or they want to see the photographs and they want to edit it, or whatever.

Well, YouTube’s a lot more unforgiving because I can only edit it so much. You kind of look and sound how you look and sound and there’s only so much that can be done. So are there any tips on kind of, people being good on camera? I know that’s a tricky thing because we’re not all actors.

Greg

Yeah. Yeah. That’s a tricky one. I mean, video, that’s YouTube through and through, you can’t ignore that. So if you want to be on YouTube, you have to be in front of the camera. If that’s a hurdle you can’t get past, YouTube’s probably not going to be the platform for you. That’s just the way it is.Yeah. I mean, everyone sucks at the start. If I go back and watch my first videos, I was like a robot. I just didn’t move and it was word, word, word. I was clearly just overthinking everything. All I can say is, it gets easier over time. Practice makes perfect.

But yeah, I mean, I do sometimes wonder if people say to me like, “Yeah, I want to be on YouTube but I don’t want to be on camera.” It’s like, well, what do you expect? It’s a prerequisite to being on YouTube, you can’t get past that.

But yeah, just ask yourself, I guess. Because people have different skill sets, and different talents, and qualities. Whereas some people might be great writers and blogging works really well for them. Other people might love being on camera and having their face shown to the world and YouTube’s the direction I’d send them. And other people might like to spend ages pre-planning a photo, and taking a photo and being an Instagramer. And I think you have to kind of just decide where your passions, and your talents, and your interests lie. And go in a direction that that question leads you.

But if YouTube is the direction you decide to take, and I kind of hope it is, because I know that there’s so much opportunity on YouTube. Yeah, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You’re not going to be amazing at the start. And practice makes perfect. You’ll get better over time.

Richard

Cool. Okay. So I guess one of the things that really… So you’ve gone through all this effort. You’ve created your film, you’ve edited it. It’s done as well as you can do it and you’re really proud of that. How do we get viewers? Because that’s one of the things you see. So many people who’ve created YouTube videos, spent a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of budget. If it’s a business and the MB’s sign it off and they’ve done everything as perfect as it can be.

And then it just sits there on its own, on YouTube, with no viewers, no interaction. And it looks nice, but nobody sees it. It’s like one of those, if a tree trunk got cut down in the woods. If nobody hears it, does it exist? So I guess that’s the next part is, you’ve got a lovely video, how do you get viewers? What’s the process? Once you’ve got your video…

Greg

Yeah. How do you get that initial traction?

Richard

Yeah. Your initial traction. How do you get people to watch it?

Greg

Sure. So the strategy I always recommend people who are brand new to YouTube to take is, to pursue a search engine focus strategy. So I don’t know if people are aware of this statistic, but YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, second to Google. But Google also puts YouTube videos in Google search results, so you could really say YouTube shows up on both of the biggest platforms. But yeah, so I would always recommend new people that don’t have any pre-existing audience to try and make videos that going to appear in search results.

So think what are my target viewers searching for? What are they looking for when they come to the platform? And make videos that are going to come up in those results. Because yeah, when you’ve got no initial audience, that’s kind of really the only way to build traction. And there’s tips later on down the line, when you have built up those initial subscribers from following a search strategy, to then harness other track sources on the platform. But at the start for sure, search would be the way I’d go.

Richard

Okay. And so, where do you begin that search? Do you begin that on Google? Do you begin that on YouTube, itself? What would be the process?

Greg

Yeah. So I’d say if you are on YouTube, you want to have videos on YouTube, so start on YouTube and do your research on YouTube. And this is why, it goes back to what I said about branding and having a clear idea about the target viewer you’re trying to appeal to, the niche that you are sticking within. Because when you have those questions answered, you’re then going to be able to put yourselves into your target viewer shoes, and think, “What are the typical things that these people are going to be looking for?”

So it all does come down to understanding why you’re on the platform and who you’re trying to attract. And there’s things you can do, so I’m working with a… He’s a consultant for coaches. So he’s like a coach’s consultant, but he helps coaches price their products higher. So, one of the most obvious search terms that his target customer might be coming to YouTube for is, how to charge more for your services.

So that was like the first video that we built for him, for him to put out into the world. And what you can do is, when you go to YouTube and you start typing out something that you think your target viewer might be looking for. It does this thing where it kind of predicts the sentence you’re about to type. It’s a thing called Google autocomplete, YouTube autocomplete. So when you’re doing that in YouTube, it will show you, like if you start typing how to price. It’ll show you the rest of the sentence, and common searches that people are already looking for based around what you’re starting to type.

It’s quite hard to explain this without showing it, but play around with the YouTube search bar and see what it kind of, automatically puts in front of you and suggests as what people are already looking for. And just start making videos around those, pre-existing queries that people are looking for in your niche. And you’ll definitely get attention if you start doing that from the start.

Richard

Cool. Okay. So the process sounds very similar to kind of, what I would call, I guess, standard SEO. So that’s a similar way to how we approach that, from a website point of view. So if we’re trying to rank a page for a term, we’ll go and we’ll do the keyword research and find out what the volume is. Look for the terms that are coming up. But the interesting thing from a standard webpage point of view is that Google will look for a copy, and the content that’s in there. So it’ll look for the headline, and the subheads, and all the content, and the copy, and the links in and links out, and images that you can use, that you can tag up, et cetera, et cetera.

But from a YouTube point of view, how on earth does that work? Because all the content is sat in the video. And I’m sure, obviously you can give it a title, so you give it a relevant title. But then, I see so many videos that’ve got an awful title, and a video, and they’ve got no description around it. They don’t seem to have anything else around it. They’ve just kind of got, well it’s a video, and that’s it. So, how do you get the YouTube algorithm, because it’s owned by Google, I guess. The search function works in a similar kind of way to standard Google. So what do you do to the YouTube video to help it be found?

Greg

Yeah. So you are right. You’ve identified some text that we can put into a video. You’ve got the title. We’ve also got a description box that you can fill in when you are uploading your video onto YouTube. And there’s also tags that you can add to a video when you’re uploading your video too. So these are like three written methods that you can use to kind of improve your search ability when you’re doing a video.

But I mean, YouTube is super sophisticated. It goes way further than just interpreting what you’ve written. So to start off with, YouTube’s got voice-to-text technology built into it. So the things that we are saying in our videos, YouTube understands that. And it’s able to build an understanding of what’s actually happening in your video, understanding what the video’s about. And therefore, kind of understanding who are the right people to put this video in front of.

So it doesn’t just come down to what you write on YouTube. It used to back in the day, and people used to be able to find hacks and find little ways of cheating the system. But YouTube’s got a lot more sophisticated than that now. And it’s using stuff that’s actually happening in the video to decide where to put that video on the site, too. I think we’ve got a question from Nadia.

Nadia

Okay. I was going to ask something about that. So like, the voice text…. Oh, don’t do that! The voice to text which generates the subtitles. Do the keywords, which appear in your subtitles, directly contribute to SEO?

Greg

100%. Yeah. So…

Nadia

Right. Okay. So you really need to construct your script with that in mind then?

Greg

Yeah, sure. The same way if you were writing a blog post and you had the title containing the keywords you wanted, you’d also put the keywords throughout the post, the article. It’s the same with YouTube. You’re going to have your keywords in the video title, but you’re going to make sure you are saying your direct keywords, and then also keywords loosely associated with what you’re trying to target to. Yeah, it all gets taken into account.

Nadia

Cool. Thanks.

Greg

And I’ve not got proof of this, but I’m a believer that YouTube kind of front loads it’s understanding of your video. So, what I mean by that is, if you were say your keywords earlier in the video, rather than later, I think that’s going to give you more strength to come up in search results there, too.

Richard

Okay. So are you suggesting that the description that you can put below isn’t necessarily required?

Greg

Yeah. I mean, I would always say use every tool you have at your disposal, so do it. YouTube’s pretty much come out and said they don’t really use tags at all, anymore. Yeah. Because it’s got so good at kind of understanding what is happening in your video, they’ve said that they’re redundant. I mean, I still use them because they’re there and it’s something I can type in. And it might be useless me using them, but I still use them.

But yeah, YouTube just heavily uses what it learns from what’s happening in your video, to decide who to put your video in front of. And title is the next most important thing. After the title, so after what is happening in your video and your title, description and tags kind of really get pushed down in the level of importance of how YouTube makes it decisions.

Richard

Right. Wow. Okay.

Greg

Yeah. I think that surprises a lot of people to hear.

Richard

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I know they’ve got AI technologies to kind of listen in and extract words, but I didn’t realize that they were doing it with that kind of strength, I’ll be honest.

Greg

Yeah. No, it’s kind of mind blowing when you start to peel back the surface of the machine. It goes even one step further than that. They have image recognition technology built into the platform, where they can actually see what’s happening frame by frame in the video, and kind of make an interpretation of what’s happening. So they can understand if a video is of a football game, or if a video is of a dance performance. It’s kind of crazy how good they’ve got at kind of understanding video and deciding who to put videos in front of. Yeah.

Richard

Cool. Rashpal, you have a question?

Rashpal

Yeah. So just going on the back of what you’re saying about getting visibility on search. If you’ve produced a number of videos and you’re not getting as much traction as you would like on YouTube. Would you say go back to the search engine, find out what people are searching for and maybe even rename your videos of your titles in YouTube?

Greg

Sure. I’m trying to think how to tackle this.

Richard

Good question.

Greg

Yeah, it’s a great question. I mean, it’s not going to hurt you. If you think, “I’ve made a video in the past, but the title and the description I used, really didn’t clearly describe, or it didn’t put me in front of my target viewers as well as it could have. I’m going to go back and make it more search friendly.” Do that. But in contradiction to what I’m saying there, you also want to make sure that what you are stating in your title matches up to what’s actually happening in the video.

Rashpal

Of course. Of course. Absolutely.

Greg

Because if there’s that mismatch and people click on a video expecting one thing, and then they quickly realize that that’s not what’s happening in the video, and they click off. That’s going to damage the ranking, or like the quality, that YouTube associates with your video, and it’s going to push down exposure in long term.

Liam

Absolutely. No, I get it. The first thing is to get the click. And once you get the click and people are watching, you want retention. So if it’s clickbaity, or it’s the wrong kind of title and you’re not serving that in the video content, then you’re going to lose your audience. But I’m just thinking if you’re new, you’ve put a load of content out. And obviously the first, I don’t know… People like Ali Abdaal say, 70, 80 videos. I’d love to hear what your opinion is. Is it the first 70, 80 videos you’ve got to just do the grind? Allow YouTube’s algorithms to even realize you’re on YouTube and then you’ll start to get traction? What’s your thoughts there, even the first, I don’t know, 100?

Greg

Yeah, I think when Ali says that, and it’s funny that you just mentioned Ali, because he was an example I was thinking of mentioning later on. He’s a great creator. I think when he says that, he’s kind of describing more like the learning curve that it takes creators to get good at becoming video creators. So that number he puts there is kind of like an abstract number that it’s going to take you, to get to the quality of creator to really see huge results.

So, there’s that. I mean, if you come out the gate and you’re making amazing videos from day one, YouTube’s going to know that and it’s going to… I’ve seen people grow to a million subscribers in their first 10 trial videos because they just know what they’re doing. They, they, the right place, right time, perfect market fit and it explodes, but it’s the same with everything, practice makes perfect.

And yeah, I think Ali referring to there is, that’s the time it’s going to take you to understand how to make good videos. What it takes to make a good video. How to get better in front of camera. How to understand how YouTube works, and what gets people’s attention and what doesn’t. That’s kind of like the training ground of videos that is kind of commonly thrown out there, for sure.

Richard

Yeah. Because one guy I knew, it’s quite a few years ago now, so maybe things have changed. But he did say that you needed like 10,000 hours worth of video on your YouTube channel, not on a individual video. But, to kind of get the volume up, because that would help you be seen more. And that was a few years ago. So potentially it’s all changed.

Greg

I’d say he probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about, by the sound of it.

Richard

Okay. Fair enough!

Greg

Yeah. No, you can put one video on YouTube and it can go viral and get 5 million views, you know?

Richard

Right. Okay.

Greg

There’s no hard and fast figure. If you are not in that 0.1% and you’re where the rest of us, where you’re probably going to have to build up a body of work to have a back catalog. Where if people find you, they can watch that video, then go watch all the other ones. Yeah, quantity is beneficial, but there isn’t a magic number where YouTube waits for you to hit before it decides to make your channel go viral, and push you out to other people.

Richard

Right, okay. Okay. Because I think again, going back to the SEO analogy. When you build a website, you build it on a niche. So ours is about marketing, obviously. And then we add extra marketing content on that, about our services and blogs, et cetera, et cetera. So we build it up into, the way I describe it to SEO clients is, like a business card, or a leaflet. Google doesn’t care about that, there’s no information on it. What Google wants is a book with index and chapters in it, effectively. So to rank a website, it needs a fair bit of content.

So to get your channel ranking, and we’re not just talking about videos now, your whole kind of body of work. Do you think you need a body of work that’s built around that niche? So you are building that… Well, you’re building a channel, aren’t you? That’s about cooking, or YouTube, or marketing, or cups, or whatever it is. Do you think that’s the kind of process, where you need to almost have that channel mentality in mind?

Greg

Yeah, because a lot of people have a background and history with blogging and ranking on SEO there. It’s easy to get sort of fixated and caught up on the technical part of YouTube, because that kind of mindset does work, I guess, when you’re blogging. All that really matters on YouTube is that you’re putting out good videos, good quality videos that people want to watch. And that really ties into what I said at the start, of like providing value in your video. That value could be in the form of education information, that someone’s come to YouTube to learn. Or it could be in the form of entertainment and virality.

But, YouTube is just looking to see if you are putting videos out there that people want to watch and people are enjoying. And if you can nail that, if you can learn that skill, it doesn’t matter if you have one video up, or 10, or 1000. You’ve got opportunity there to blow up and get tons of views.

Now, if we go to sort of sales and marketing theory and business fundamentals. Obviously having quantity, and having as many touch points on the site to get as many opportunities to get people into your funnel, is beneficial. But if we’re purely just talking about growing, getting subscribers and getting a following, it all comes down to just making good quality videos that people watch. Yeah. There’s no magic number that you need to be hitting there.

Richard

Okay. Interesting. Okay.

Greg

Yeah. And I think that’s good, I think that’s an asset to YouTube. It just understands if you’re putting good videos out there and it will reward you for it. You can’t really trick it with quantity, or any other hacks. It all comes down to whether you’re making good content, at the end of the day.

Richard

Yeah. I think it’s obviously developed in the same way as the Google search engine has developed. Because obviously years ago, when I first started on Google search engine, you could kind of hide keywords at the bottom of websites, and colour them white on a white background and get away with it. And it was just really wild west and any old thing could get ranking. But now obviously Google is far cleverer, and using AI, YouTube is obviously a similar kind of thing.

And I guess potentially one of the changes with YouTube is, because YouTube is now competing with Instagram, and TikTok, and Snapchat and everywhere else that’s got a video option. They’re kind of having to play that game, and I guess that’s probably why the introduction of YouTube shorts comes in. Because that’s trying to play against, well, Instagram Reels and TikTok. And one of the things on TikTok is that you can become viral on TikTok up with one video, because that’s how that one works. So I guess YouTube are trying to, well, have got to compete with that kind of hungry video on market. And I suppose that’s where that comes from.

Greg

Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, YouTube’s number one priority is keeping its viewers on its website as long as possible. Because the longer someone is on their website watching videos, the more ads they can put in front of that person. So what that means for us on the other side of it, when we’re creating content is. If I make the best videos possible, that keep people watching for as long as possible and make them want to watch more of my videos after they found me, YouTube’s going to reward me for that. YouTube’s going to put me in front of more people. It’s going to blow me up and get me more subscribers.

And yeah, the fundamental that I always just try and remind people is, it all just comes down to value. If you are making videos that provide the value to the viewer that they want, you’re going to get them watching for longer. You’re going to get all the other things and YouTube’s going to reward you for it. So, yeah. But there’s no magic hack or, like in the wild west of the SEO days, back in the day. Google’s too clever for that.

Richard

And I guess, and that ties back to again, there’s lots of analogies with SEO. So there’s that kind of short versus long thing. And so, is it beneficial to do a longer video, or is it beneficial to do short videos? Or actually, I think I’m going to preempt your answer, is it that the video has to be as long or as short as it needs to be, as long as it’s adding value?

Greg

Yeah. I’ll make a note to answer that. And I think you’re kind of already onto what I’m going to say, but I did see that Nadia put her hand up a second ago. I don’t want to brush [crosstalk 00:36:43].

Nadia

Big, old hands. Talking about hiding text in white and things like that, which used to be all right.

And now you get punished to death for it and tortured. What does YouTube punish us for? What doesn’t it like? And what should we avoid doing?

Greg

Well, there’s things that we can do in our videos that advertisers don’t like. Like I said, YouTube’s number one priority is making money from advertising revenue. So, if we’re doing things in that video, like saying hateful things against people, or swearing, or showing sexual content. Things that are going to upset advertisers, that’s a no, no, and YouTube will limit your exposure on the platform.

Back to what I was saying with Rashpal, if there’s a mismatch between what people expect when they click your videos, and what they actually get when they start watching a video, YouTube hates that. Because they open your video, get immediately disappointed, and the viewer leaves your video. That’s low watch time and that’s not what YouTube wants, at the end of the day.

So sort of false promises, or deceiving viewers. Kind of in the same way that all this keyword stuff was happening back in the day with blog posts. YouTube hates that, too. Yeah. Those are kind of the two big things that stand out to me.

Nadia

So if you just behave with some integrity, really, then you’re not going to get slapped down for anything by the algorithm?

Greg

Pretty much, yeah. Clean content that prioritizes the viewing experience and doesn’t trick the viewer, and you’re on to a winner. Stick to those fundamentals.

Richard

I guess the other side to that question is, what are the things that YouTube kind of rewards? Are there almost like, little sanitary things that you can kind of do and go, “Right. I’ve done that. I’ve done that. I’ve done that. And I’ve matched their expectation.”

Greg

Yeah, sure. So the flip side of the opposite of what I was just saying. An alignment with what people expect from the title and the image… Do you know what a thumbnail is, if I say thumbnail? Do people know that? Yeah. So what the viewer sees in your thumbnail and title, and then when they click and will start watching a video. If what’s been promised at that first stage is what is happening in the video, YouTube loves that. So, we’ve already kind of covered that.

They love long watch time. It’s probably better for me to say long session time. There’s a difference between watch time and session time. So watch time could be interpreted to be how long a viewer watches one single video, like how much of that video they watch. Session time is how long they spend on your content. So it could be watching three, four, five, of your videos.

And with a high session time, so if someone finds my channel and watches one video and thinks, “Oh, that was a great video. Greg’s the creator for me, I’m going to watch more of his stuff.” Watches a second video, watches a third, watches a fourth. YouTube’s got four or five opportunities to put ads in front of that viewer. So YouTube knows that my channel is a good place for capturing viewers, and keeping them on the site and giving opportunities to show ads. So, long session times is another thing YouTube loves.

And just going back to the thumbnail, like I said before as well, and you probably know this if you know about blogging. There’s a metric called click-through rate. So, how many percentages of people see your thumbnail, to then click it. The higher the click-through rate, YouTube loves that too. So that’s where we all have to kind of learn to become semi graphic designers if we’re looking to use YouTube, because it really does matter the images we use there. But those are the three fundamentals. Session time, click-through rate and delivering what’s promised at the first stage of the interaction with the viewers.

Richard

Excellent. Okay. So we’re coming to, it’s what, 10 to one now. So I guess we can move on. Has anybody got any questions for either myself or for Greg? More likely for Greg to honest, he’s the YouTube expert. Anyone got any questions? Rashpal?

Greg

Cool.

Rashpal

Greg, I’ve got a question, but it might not be for this session now because it’s a bit more in depth. I’ll give you a quick overview of it and then tell me if it’s right to answer now or later. I’ve got a client, he’s got quite a healthy YouTube channel with regards to subscribers, approximately 80,000 odd subscribers. However, the views per videos are literally in the 50s or 100s. He’s not getting substantial views.

His goal to subscribers over time, he’s been running this channel for a long time, is in the education space. He tutors maths for GCSE level, so it’s a very specific niche and that’s how he’s built his subscribers. But he’s looking for some, I suppose tactics, or strategies to understand. He’s got such a big subscriber base. He’s got good content. But he’s just not getting the views because all the other revenue opportunities beyond monetization… You know, sponsorships and the rest of it.

Greg

They’re attached to views.

Rashpal

They’re all attached to views. And on such small views, you just can’t get any traction.

Greg

Sure. I mean, I could answer that. Do you want me to answer that, Richard? Is that on topic, or?

Richard

Yeah, feel free. Yeah.

Greg

Yeah? Cool. Yeah, so it sounds like he’s actually having a problem similar to me. So I’ve got 86,000 subscribers now, so around the same size as your creator. And I’m getting like high hundreds, low thousands every time I do video these days. And when you do the percentages there to views to subscribers, it’s not ideal. So the reason I’ve got into this problem is due to lack of consistency in the past. And that goes back to what I said at the start of this talk, is when you come to YouTube, you need to have a clear idea of what niche you’re going to be basing yourself in. And what value you’re going to be providing in every video that you do, and just sticking to that consistency across your journey.

And I didn’t do that, because I didn’t have me telling me what to do back then. So I’ve gravitated and pivoted across so different niches during my time on YouTube. That I now have an audience that might have subscribed to me three years ago when I made a few videos about cryptocurrency, but have no interest in my videos on YouTube revenue and entrepreneurship these days. So there’s a complete disconnect with my existing audience and the content I’m doing now. So I’m not sure if your creator has ever changed and pivoted in the past, but that might be something that’s working against him.

Rashpal

They’ve always been in maths in that niche.

Greg

They’ve always been in math?

Rashpal

Yeah.

Greg

Okay. So it’s potentially then, if there’s not been a consistency issue, it sounds like there’s like a viewer retention thing there. Like, people finding him, subscribing and then dropping off. Probably needs to get better at making videos and just holding viewer interest, delivering what viewers want to see and making entertaining content.

There’s a few top of funnel things he can do. So first off, try and develop the skill of getting his viewers to watch one video and then sending them to another of his videos, to keep people on his channel and watching his ecosystem of videos. I think you said he, I’m sorry if I’m getting the gender wrong. That’s something I really prioritize now is when it gets to the end, I’m saying, “Oh, and if you want more on this or something else that is related, here’s another video I’ve done. Click here to watch that.” And that brings the session time up, it starts giving us positive indicators from YouTube.

That’s one thing. I’d say, and this is something I’ve been doing recently and it’s really helped me start to see an uptake in my channel. Get back to basics and prioritize understanding his viewers better. I’ve really been doing a lot of market research recently of my audience. Putting out surveys, I’ve been inviting them on to one-to-one calls and really seeing why they subscribe to me, what they want to learn from me and what they would love to see in the future. And that’s going to help me kind of align my content strategy with what actually people want to see. So understanding your audience never hurts either.

Rashpal

Yeah. That’s helpful. That’s a good shout, thank you.

Greg

Yeah. No worries.

Nadia

YouTube isn’t a big channel for us, we tend to use Facebook far more. So obviously we embed videos in Facebook, natively. If we don’t use ads in YouTube, how do we increase our exposure? Because we’ve got some really high quality content, but we’ve got a really low following.

Greg

Yeah. I mean, to keep it simple, it comes down to putting out videos that people want to watch, and that they’re going to want to come back to see more of, at the end of the day. I see a lot of businesses making the mistake of just kind of really, putting promotional content on YouTube and just hoping that that’s going to get them attention. But it’s like, who comes to YouTube to see a promotion, or an ad? That’s not what people come to visit the site for.

So it’s really putting the viewer first and really understanding why they’re on the site, what they’re going to want to get from being on YouTube, and putting videos out that hit those metrics. To keep it top level, that’s like a top level answer. Is there any specific challenges you’re having around that? Do you want to provide some context of what you do?

Nadia

Yeah. So we’ve got a plastics recycling company. We make furniture, raised beds, bits and bats like that.

We use YouTube, or we use video content, to supplement our products. So we do like assembly videos, we do case studies on customers, community projects that we’ve been involved in, stuff like that. So in terms of it being stuff that people want to see, we think it is. And when we plug it via newsletters and things like that, we get a lot of clicks. But I don’t necessarily think we get a lot of subscribers. And our customers aren’t… We don’t really have the vibe of like, “Subscribe! Hit the bell!” That’s not our personality.

Greg

Sure. Well, I mean, you don’t have to have that. You only need that personality if that’s what your target viewer is going to respond to. So if you’re making a video for teenagers and children, then that works. But if you’re going for a more older or sophisticated audience, then you don’t need to be doing that stuff. And that sounds really interesting. So, recycling plastics to make other things, is that right?

So yeah, I’m getting ideas already. You can be attracting viewers there that are sustainability and environmentally conscious, and providing that feel-good factor and tapping into that interest there. There’s kind of the informative educational aspect there, like actually how you are doing that process of recycling the plastics and making the new furniture. So I’d really focus on those two value propositions of education of how you do these things. Like looking behind the scenes and kind of seeing the production line, or seeing what happens behind the-

Nadia

Already done it. We’ve already done it!

Greg

And also applying a message around it, of why this is good for the planet. But I mean, I’m making assumptions, I’ve never seen your content. How do I say this?

Nadia

We have high quality content, we have an in-house videographer.

Richard

We do, yeah.

Nadia

We have really high content, don’t we?

Greg

Are you talking about yourselves a lot and about the company a lot, or is it all about like, “Here’s something cool that we’re doing this weekend.” Do you know what I mean? Because if you’re being too pushy and too promotional…

Nadia

No, not at all. Honestly speaking, if we do content like this, it’s always about our customer first. And our product is kind of slotted in at the end. So we’ll concentrate on a community garden and we’ll do a whole load of stuff on the community garden. And then it’ll be like, “Oh, we gave them a few raised beds.”

Richard

I wonder Nadia, whether it is that kind of, that search that SEO thought and maybe going back to your titles as Rashpal talked about earlier.

Nadia

I wonder whether you are right about that.

Richard

Rather than going, Gardening Blackburn, or whatever it might have been. And maybe giving it a better description in the title.

Nadia

I think we might need to focus on that, yeah. Because I think the content’s good, but yeah, we’re not getting the reach.

Richard

Guys, I’ll put you in touch. That’s fine. I know Nadia, she’s the next client, so I’ll connect you. That’s not a problem.

Richard

Cool. So, does anybody else, Bruce, or Steven, or Courtney? Anybody else have any questions while we’re still here? Liam? Anybody have any questions?

Greg

I want to see if Liam’s got any questions, he’s been following me for a while now and we’ve never spoke. Is there any questions that have popped up during this session? If he’s still listening.

Liam

I was searching for the mute button. Nothing that comes to mind, to be honest. I’m just taking away loads of value from what you said there, Greg. I know that YouTube’s something that I’m currently looking at for a project that I’m working on. And I guess the big thing that I’m thinking of at the moment, is just keeping that consistency. We get quite a lot of live… We do some live streams with some guests on a talk that happens. And we’ve got quite a lot of subscribers, and attendees of these live sessions, and they’re quite interactive with the comments. But getting people to come and watch the native videos that we’re putting up is a little bit more tricky. We’re not very consistent with that, so hands up to that one. But I guess just consistency is a big factor, I’d imagine you’d say?

Greg

Yeah, consistency is an issue that a lot of my viewers and my students have problems with. I think it comes back to just not putting too much pressure on yourself. We always try and strive for perfection and to try and put, like Richard was saying, put out things with expensive cameras and really going above and beyond. I think the key to success on YouTube is recognizing our limits, recognizing our time constraints and what our skill set is. And just committing to a format that compliments where we are in life. If we only have two hours a week free to make a video, then make a video in two hours. Don’t try and make a video that’s actually going to take you 10 hours to make when you only have two hours free.

So, find a format that you can make sustainably and consistently long term. Stick to that and see you how it goes. And over time, you’ll get quicker, and more efficient, and get faster workflows and maybe be able to increase the quality that way. Or you might find yourself finding more time, or more interest, to do videos and then having that more time each week to do it. But yeah, don’t bite off more than you can chew at the start.

Bruce

Yeah. Thanks for the contributions, particularly Nadia was very good with her questions. Because as per usual, someone’s asking questions on your behalf. Thank you, Nadia. I can’t say very much about what my motivations are, because I’m under NDA with my businesses and I wasn’t aware that this was going to get recorded. So, I apologize to everybody if I’ve been a little bit quiet, but I would’ve shared a lot more if it wasn’t going to go onto a public platform.

But what I can say is that we’re working on completely from the start of the process of going into YouTube. And our ambition is to establish effectively, a channel. A permanent broadcasting platform which can support our output, our content. That we can build it from nothing to a full blown ongoing broadcasting function.

So I can say that one of the businesses is a treasure finding company. And we’ve got several hundred finds all over the world in different countries, obviously. And we intend to make programs about each of those and curate, and build and broadcast the stories behind all of those.

So we have no equipment. We don’t even have an account. Probably opening an account isn’t that difficult. Probably the equipment isn’t necessarily overly complicated. The content generation structure delivery is probably not overly complicated. But getting it right first time, one of the things that has stuck out is, it’s worth getting it right first time.

So, every single thing that we learn at the moment is brand new to us. And we were going to be working with 21st Century, Netflix, Disney and all that, because they wanted original content. We were even looking at setting our own network up, but obviously what a waste of time that is. It’s too expensive, we need to move a lot quicker. So we’re interested in the whole offering. Monetization is a big key for us, because a lot of the finds that we’ve got around the world, you can’t get to them because they’re in very sensitive jurisdictions. Either conflict zones or not very nice governments, and so on.

So anyway, so I probably will follow up with all of you at some stage, if you get an invite from me anyway. And then if I think there’s something of interest, or if there’s something that any of you guys think that I might be able to help you with, I’m very happy to receive any communications.

Richard

Well, because you registered, I have everyone’s details. So if everyone’s happy, I can share them with Greg. And Greg, you can reach out to people. Or even in the comments, if you want to stick in your LinkedIn information, that’s absolutely fine.

Greg

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, that sounds really exciting, Bruce. And you’re completely right, you want to approach these things the right way from the start.

One, because you don’t want to waste your time and effort and have to make up for it later on down the line. And two, you get the best bang for your buck with YouTube if you come in with the right strategy from day one. If you ever want some guidance through that process and stuff, just hit me up in an email and then we can take it further. But, it’s exciting to hear.

Richard

Okay guys. Well, thank you very much for joining this session. It’s been really enlightening. I know I’ve learned a lot and I hope you guys all have. So unsurprisingly, this video is going to be edited and posted on YouTube very soon, so you can all catch it there.

So thank you very much. And yeah, have a great day everybody. And I’ll speak to you all soon.

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