Creating a YouTube Content Strategy

When was the last time you deliberately went to a corporate website to learn how to do something?

If you can’t remember the last time (and I can’t), then you’ve probably done a lot of your research and learning on YouTube.

YouTube has become the first destination for anyone who wants to learn anything, from fixing a pipe to beating a video game. This means that if you’re not using YouTube to reach your customers, then you’re missing a huge portion of your potential audience.

This idea often meets with skepticism inside companies, especially from over-40s. But the fact is that young people are now turning to YouTube personalities as authorities and guides. YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. So you need to invest your dollars where your users are, not where your CEO is.

At any rate, YouTube videos don’t have to be terribly expensive to produce, especially if you develop the expertise in-house. Most companies that spend money at trade shows can reach a far wider audience on YouTube for the same amount of money that they would dish out for a booth, airfare, and hotel rooms.

Developing a Strategy

Developing a YouTube content strategy does require a little creative thinking, but it’s not an arcane subject. The key thing to remember is that one or two videos alone probably won’t make an impression. Instead, you need a steady pulse of content that meets a few different kinds of needs.

There are three basic kinds of videos that make up a YouTube content strategy: Hub, Help, and Hero.

Hub Videos

Hub videos are the backbone of your strategy. They are regular, scheduled videos that provide a reason for people to subscribe and return on a regular basis. Episodic series work best as hub content.

Examples: An airline could make a series about travel destinations. A software company could make a series of how-to videos about new features in a product.

Help Videos

Help videos are evergreen content that answer commonly-asked questions. Are your customers always searching your website for certain topics? Help videos answer these questions directly. And if you base the topics on phrases that people are already searching for, the videos will be easy for people to find on Google.

Examples: A bank could answer perennial questions about when to contribute to retirement savings. A pet store could answer common questions about feeding animals.

Hero Videos

Hero videos are for a big event, a Super Bowl moment designed to improve your visibility. They are for product launches or large-scale awareness campaigns.

Example: Hero content could be a live-streamed event, or a viral video, or a live Q&A with top talent, or even a made-for-YouTube ad.

These three types of videos interlock to create a web of content that will encourage people to keep coming back.

The Qualities of a Great Video

Each of these kinds of videos needs to have some qualities in common if they are going to attract viewers and encourage sharing on social media.

First, they must be conversational and authentic. They must have a human voice and a point of view on the subject matter. People are instantly turned off by corporate speak or promotional puff pieces.

Second, they should be consistent. They should have a consistent tone and style, and be released on a predictable schedule. Pick a reasonable, achievable timetable, and stick to it.

And third, they should be discoverable. The greatest video in the world will never be seen by anyone if people are not actively searching for the subject matter. Be relevant and topical, and it’s more likely that people will find you.

Google has prepared extensive materials on the Hub / Hero / Help model. Check out the YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands for more details.

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