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Visual storytelling in the form of videos is a powerful tool for school marketers. Whether it’s a homepage composite video, student and parent testimonials, a “day-in-the-life” to portray your school’s uniqueness, or another story you want to tell people, videos can transform your school’s enrollment journey.
Incredibly, YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users. That means your target audience of potential families are active on YouTube.
So the question becomes, how do you reach them, and most importantly, how do you position your YouTube video to get discovered and attract new families?
YouTube marketing can be a daunting strategy for schools. It combines SEO with one of the most intensive types of content to create – videos. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help you promote your videos on YouTube.
Here are 15 ways to promote your videos on YouTube.
Set up a YouTube channel
Posting YouTube videos is simple. All you need is a Google account or email address and you can quickly start uploading videos.
However, you don’t want to start randomly posting videos. Why? Because a YouTube channel makes it easier for your audience to quickly see current videos as well as videos uploaded in the past. You want prospective parents to be able to easily see your past videos to get the best picture possible of your school.
When you have a channel, people can subscribe and receive a notification when you upload a new YouTube video. That way, your audience will stay up-to-date on your most recent videos.
Also, once you have a YouTube channel you will have a link you can use to promote your channel on your website and social media channels.
Post to your YouTube channel regularly
Once you have your YouTube channel set up, start publishing content to it. The key to growing your YouTube channel is to post regularly.
Visitors who view your channel and see it is empty, outdated or sparsely populated will not be coming back.
Want video marketing topic ideas for schools? Click here for 27 Video Marketing Ideas for School Marketers
Cross-promote on your other social media channels
If you have a following on other social media channels, they are likely to become loyal YouTube fans if you introduce it in the right way.
- Tease your social media followers with hints about your upcoming YouTube channel
- Once you’re live on YouTube, create a special series to get them excited about the new channel
- Create a special hashtag for your videos
- Organize your videos into YouTube Playlists
Design YouTube thumbnails
Video thumbnails let people see a snapshot of your YouTube video as they’re browsing. You can either choose one YouTube automatically generates or you can upload your own. Designing a professional-looking thumbnail will attract new visitors to your videos.
Canva has templates you can use to create a custom thumbnail graphics.
Conduct keyword research
YouTube is owned by Google, so it uses an algorithm called Search and Discovery. The algorithm is basically a real-time feedback loop that tailors videos to each person’s interests. Keywords are essential in YouTube SEO, just like for Google. Keywords help the YouTube algorithm identify the video’s subject, index the content and associate it with users’ searches.
Here are some tips for performing keyword research for YouTube SEO.
- Use the YouTube search bar autocomplete to get seed keywords
- Conduct competitor research on most searched channels in your niche. To do this, review the terms they use in their most popular YouTube videos.
- Consider using keyword research tools that provide traffic source analysis, such as:
Choose keywords with good reach potential
Once you have created a list of keywords using the tools above you will want to pick the best ones for your videos.
The best choices are usually long-tail keywords that relate to your YouTube video content. Remember you not only want popular keywords that have low competition, but also keywords that will help the right audience find your content. You want people to watch your videos all the way to the end to improve your ranking.
Use attention-getting titles
One place to use the keyword you’ve selected for your YouTube video in your title. This is one of the most important factors the YouTube algorithm uses to index and rank the content. Your goal is to use the keyword as close as possible to the searcher’s query.
There’s a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to YouTube video titles. First of all, try to use your keyword in the first part of your title. Also, keep your titles short. Research has shown shorter titles – less than 100 characters – perform better. Finally, remember the title of the video is often the first contact someone will have with your YouTube video. Make sure it draws them in and “teases” them to want to watch it.
Add tags to your YouTube video
Anyone who’s been following this blog knows that “stuffing” keywords into your content no longer works. As a matter of fact, if you do this your content may be seen as spam and your website may even be blacklisted.
However, tags are essential for ranking a YouTube video. The YouTube algorithm uses tags to help identify the subject of the video as well as index it correctly. It will also be used to recommend related videos. It is suggested you use 6 to 8 tags per YouTube video. Any more and you risk confusing the algorithm.
Write smart descriptions
The video description is another important factor used by the YouTube algorithm. Your goal should be to provide information about the content of the video in a descriptive format.
Here are a few tips for writing YouTube video descriptions:
- The description can be up to 5,000 characters
- The description should be persuasive
- Try to keep the main information at the beginning
- An attractive description can increase your video engagement and improve the ranking of the video
- Add more information (such as relevant links, calls-to-action, certain prominent parts of the video, etc.) to add value to the viewer
- You can use timestamps to direct the viewer to prominent points within the video
- You can use a few hashtags but be careful – if you use more than 15 hashtags in the video description, YouTube will ignore them all
Edit the file name
YouTube will assign a file name full of codes and letters (e.g. VID_12345678910.mp4), which doesn’t have any contextual meaning to YouTube users or the algorithm. Use a descriptive name instead, (e.g. how-to-complete-youtube-seo.mp4).
This will help YouTube identify what the video is about right in the name of the file.
Add transcriptions and captions
The YouTube algorithm is not able to read images and videos – only text and code. Therefore, one tactic you can use is to create transcriptions and code the algorithm will be able to read.
You can add a transcript created manually, by a third-party app or use the YouTube Automated Transcription Service.
By adding timestamps to the transcript, you can also turn it into captions. Captions were originally designed as an accessibility tool for people with hearing impairment.
You can also put the video transcript text in the description to give viewers more information about the video.
Make longer videos
Research shows highly-ranked videos (in the top 5 positions) are, on average, 11 min 44s long. For this reason, it’s worth considering making longer videos. Of course, relevance is more important than duration. So if you invest in quality content, don’t be as concerned about the length of video as the quality and relevance.
Increase CTR in search results
YouTube click-through-rate (CTR) refers to the number of times people click on your video from the YouTube feed. CTR is another factor in the YouTube algorithm. For this reason, CTR is something you should be thinking about. While you can’t directly control CTR, work on increasing the chances people will click on your video by keeping the excerpt that appears in search results attractive and relevant to the topic.
Increase audience engagement
Audience engagement plays a vital role in YouTube rankings. Since link-building is a minimal ranking factor in the YouTube algorithm (unlike Google’s ranking), audience engagement weighs heavily on YouTube’s rankings.
Audience engagement involves:
- Subscribes to the channel
YouTube views engagement as a “vote” your video met or exceeded the viewers’ expectations.
Another ranking factor related to user engagement is adopting strategies to keep the user engaged with the video until the end. This is an important factor YouTube uses to assess the quality of the video and how relevant the topic is to the audience.
For example, you may want to offer a bonus to anyone who watches to the end. If viewers click off the video before the end, it will have a negative impact on the ranking.
Promote your channel and videos
In addition to increasing audience interaction with your videos using visibility tactics within YouTube, you will also need to promote your videos and channel using other marketing tactics.
Here are some places to start:
- Embed videos in related blog posts
- Embed videos on relevant pages on your website
- Advertise your channel using email marketing and signature
- Distribute videos on social media
- Respond to messages and comments from users using a link to your video
- Participate in groups, forums and Q&A sites and respond to users with videos from your channel
Just keep in mind to keep everything relevant and add value to the user. If you drive someone to your video or channel but they really aren’t interested, you will cause frustration for the user and will lower your ranking because they will abandon your video.
Need more ideas for promoting your video and channel? Click here for 17 Promotion Tactics to Include in Your Social Media Strategy
As you determine your YouTube video and channel strategy, always keep in mind YouTube’s and Google’s prime directive – to improve the experience of internet users. Regardless of what SEO and promotion tactics you use, make sure you focus on making people’s lives easier and adding value to them.
Along with a focus on user experience, make sure the YouTube algorithm understands your optimization endeavors.
In order to better understand and use the information provided in this article, it is important to understand how to use SEO. SEO Coach DIY SEO Software will help you optimize your online properties, build an SEO strategy and learn SEO through SEO Academy.
Does your school have a YouTube channel? What YouTube SEO tactic should be included in this article but is not listed? Please comment below…