We recently published episode 12 of our This Week In Organic show, looking into:
- Will app content optimization become an essential part of SEO?
- What’s the future of YouTube now that it’s part of a smaller Google?
- Is Pinterest a social media platform or an e-commerce opportunity?
- Are these the 7 Social Media Platforms That Could Explode Before 2016?
Today we’re zeroing in on one of the topics discussed in the episode: What is the future of YouTube and what are some effective video marketing strategies that work now?
Jump straight this topic in the video below:
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Let’s talk about the future of YouTube. It’s now part of a smaller Google. Is YouTube an increasingly integral part of Google’s future success? Is Facebook, video or other video providers going to provide serious competition to YouTube? And in general, should most businesses be using video as part of their overall communications strategy?
I think Bill, you picked up on this first, so do you want to weight in maybe with some general thoughts on the topic, and let’s try and give our listeners some really actionable tips and advice and they’re approaching incorporating video into their content marketing strategy?
BILL HUNT: Yeah, I think with video one of the big things – and I think Rebecca touched on this – the mistakes they make is they decouple the two. One of the things that I’ve done over the years is if we look at query data, we can start to see the type of things people are interested in and the big one, and especially it ties to how Google shows…or Bing especially. I think Bing does a better job around intent. So what is the intent of the query? And if the intent of the query is something related to ‘how to’ – not literally a ‘how to’ question but it has something related to ‘how to’ – videos show up, and Google often prioritise a video for that.
And I think that’s one thing if a business steps back, what kind of material should we put into a video? How do we name it? How might someone look for it? And too many times I see people put out these cutesy videos, behind the scenes video, where nobody unless they’re looking for ‘behind the scenes’ are going to see how you made it, whether it’s behind the scenes on a photoshoot or a magazine or a video or something like that. While it’s interesting content and it’s great supplemental content, especially if you look on YouTube, but I think the number one actionable thing is think about how someone might intersect with this video. What phrases might they actually use? And can we or should we either change our title and most definitely our description for that video to make sure it’s findable in the context that people would be looking for it? So definitely things like ‘how to’, different guides, those things. And each one of these has a different way that you might want to reference that title and description so it is findable both in Google as well as in YouTube.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: And do you have some specific tips for people on how to do that keyword research? Are we talking about just going into AdWords or querying Google Also Suggest?
HILL HUNT: I think all of those are great. So number one is obviously Keyword Planner allows you to see exactly what people are looking for. And one of the things that I tell people to do, and I think both Rebecca and I are on this panel at SMX where we talk to people about this, and the idea is you step in and say, ‘What are they asking? And how many of these are questions?’ Even in things like a lot of people on their website themselves in their site search, what are they looking for on site search and how can that be put into an informational question?
Autosuggest is brilliant. you can use something like Ubersuggest, which is a really cool tool where you simply put in a phrase and it simply appends, just like autosuggest, A through Z and 1 through 10, to see those variations. And it’s very interesting if you actually then go back and put in that intent, ‘how to’ or ‘why’ or any of those type of variations and you can see how the queries skew when you literally introduce a question or some sort of intent modifier into the keyword phrase.
And again, people are doing that, but as Rebecca said, that’s the first place to start for content marketing. Start there, understand the universe of phrases that people are using to find something, and then from there you can decide what is the best asset type for it. Is it a video? Is it a webpage? If it’s a video or a static webpage, is it an app? What is the experience that they should have? And I think start with that, open the lens and really try to understand what they’re looking for and what they’re asking for in those words. Don’t just dump it out into Excel and say, ‘Here’s my words. Build content against it.’ Try to understand what asset type they need and what best serves that particular query.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: That’s perfect. That’s some great advice there, Bill. Does anyone else want to weigh in on that with some additional insights for people?
REBECCA LIEB: One thing that I encourage clients to do is to put transcripts in videos. This is something that people overlook to an embarrassing degree. A video is so much more findable, keyword research aside, if it’s talking heads video or an instructionable video, if you simply transcribe the content of that video and put it on the page that contains the video. Google is obviously developing closed caption technology in order to automate this process but there’s no reason why marketers have to wait for it. Getting this done is something that can be offshored, outsourced and done very, very cheaply and it certainly makes the video much more optimised.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Certainly we do a transcript of this show and I think it doesn’t cost very much to do that every single week, so it’s good content. As you know, we slice and dice it and try and make it actionable for people.
Andrew, what about from your perspective? You work with a lot of local businesses. Should video be an integral part of their local marketing strategy?
ANDREW SHOTLAND: Well of course it totally depends on the type of business they are. Most local service businesses, as an example, run cable TV ads and things like that, so video’s kind of natural. But we see with actually not even just local businesses but media companies we work with, they tend to underinvest in video. They throw a few things up and it gets 100 views and they call it a day. And so I actually think that’s one of the biggest challenges of video, is convincing companies that it’s a programme they need to run like any other investment, like any other. A really good example is moz.com’s Whiteboard Friday video, which is an incredibly inexpensive thing that they produce every Friday in someone’s office and they’ve been doing it now for years and it’s basically a TV show and it’s built up a lot of credibility and brand loyalty. And anybody could do that. And so what I typically see is businesses underinvesting.
What I also see is that there’s an overreliance on Google and on YouTube as platforms and they’re not using it a real customer acquisition channel. They’re just using it to get some kind of ad share from YouTube or just get a tonne of views and they’re kind of trying to build their business on the back of YouTube instead of trying to drive people to their site and watch their video, not YouTube’s video.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Okay, so if I’ve set up my local deli here in Twickenham, I’ve got a little bit of budget and I want to do a great video about all the great pastries I’m making, what do I do? Do I get my local web developer to embed it on my website? Do I put it out on Facebook? Do I distribute it on YouTube? What practical steps and advice can you give the guys once they’ve produced the content to get it out there? And hopefully generate feet through the door.
ANDREW SHOTLAND: Well you want to have a better understanding of where customers are. It’s easy to say they’re all on YouTube or they’re all on Facebook but you want to be a little more targeted than that. Often we see these guys just throw this stuff up. They share it on Facebook, they put it on YouTube and that all might be fine but if you really want to do a marketing programme around your pastry video (‘cause it’s so awesome!), I think you need to be a lot more focused than that. So maybe you wan to run a boost campaign on Facebook that targets specific people who you think are your customers. Maybe you want to do some AdWords campaign around it so you’re not just kind of throwing it out there and waiting for it to kind of land.
I definitely think you should put it on your site, though, and use your own video hosting tools. Don’t rely on YouTube.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Okay, so obviously no one can tell on a video how great the food tastes, but we can do something really great and exciting and hopefully people will share it. What about for bigger companies? Bill, Rebecca, do you have any specific advice for those guys who might have a catalogue? Take a software business like us. We’ve got a lot of content about how to use different tools for different purposes. I think Bill’s advice about really trying to solve customers’ problems and understand what they’re trying to do with the, ‘How do I do this? What steps do I take to achieve this?’ is really useful in terms of getting the research and getting content production ideas, but once you’ve got this catalogue, what do we do? Do we mark up the sites? Video sitemaps? What are the kind of things that you would give the guys as the first three things they should do to get people to watch their content?
BILL HUNT: I’d say one is take Andrew’s advice. Just put it anywhere and everywhere. 1) Let’s get it on my site. No matter what sized company you are. But a bigger company, you often may have a press team. You may have a particular sort of press room or media library or something like that, so you can list them there. So number one, list them. Get them on your website.
Number two, as you said, make sure you’ve got a good XML video sitemap so they can be fed out to the various search engines.
Third, just sort of pointing people to that, and that’s one of the things when you start to look at some of the factors that boost up videos, number one is people embedding it. And that’s a big frustration I see is no one gives the embed code. For a long time, Cisco was touted as one of the best multimedia, social media press release examples and they went as far as actually in the bottom of it, especially in their press room, giving people where they could just right-click, grab the embed code and put it on their page or Facebook or wherever.
Second is make sure you’re promoting it. You could have that brilliant pastry video or one that I see a lot, going back to the keywords. One of the best ecosystem piece that I ever worked on was for DuPont where they make this, ‘We went in, we did this research around granite and Coriancountertops,’ and right there in the keyword it broke out there were 80,000 searches a month for how to clean it, how to seal it, how to maintain it. Everything there was ‘how to’. And every one of those begged for a video, not only showing literally how to do it but how to use their product. Now they don’t sell anything direct so what they did, to answer the original question, is they made sure everybody that sold their product was able to take those videos and then share it on their website. Some people even put them in kiosks in store, so if you went into a DIY store, you could actually push a button and see these videos that were created.
So number one, get it out there. XML sitemaps, links, promotion through social media, and then let the market sort of take it from there.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Perfect.
REBECCA LIEB: Bill’s excellent point moves back to your original question which was, ‘Where do you want videos to live – YouTube or Facebook?’ Facebook doesn’t come with those capabilities. It’s not easy to share a video that is on Facebook outside on Facebook’s walled garden and when you’re talking about ‘how to’ videos for B2B videos, Facebook isn’t necessarily the environment, which is why I advocate hosting the video on YouTube regardless, because YouTube can go into Facebook much more easily of course than the inverse of that equation.
LAURENCE O’TOOLE: Perfect. Okay, well there’s some great advice there and I think we could do a whole show on video alone. So maybe we’ll invite you back at another time to talk about it in greater depth.