A month ago I started a YouTube gaming channel where I upload gameplay, commentaries, and guides on video games I play. Although my channel isn’t business-oriented, I’ve learned a couple of things that any individual or brand should be aware of when starting a YouTube channel. My examples will come from the gaming community, but the applications are universal.
Are you providing value?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager sitting your basement or a multinational brand, your videos have to provide entertainment / educational value or viewers won’t watch them. Think about it – who would spend half an hour watching Old Spice commercials if they weren’t funny? In this example, Xbox Ahoy has a channel dedicated to gaming guides.
If you build it (correctly), they will come.
Organic and viral growth occurs when people stumble upon your videos without any marketing effort on your part. However, there are ways of positioning your videos to obtain organic views. This is especially vital if you’ve got no marketing budget. YouTube search drives a lot of traffic, so title, tag, categorize, and describe your videos with key words that people are likely to search for. Likes and comments also factor into the algorithm. Here’s an example from one of my own videos:
Interaction is key.
Like most online platforms, YouTube is not a one-way street. You can instantly gauge each video by its rating and comments. Many brands are starting to understand the importance of interaction on Facebook and Twitter, but not many realize that the same concept applies on YouTube as well. In this example, the gamer known as “Hutch” starts a series of videos aimed at interacting with his fans.
Making good content is harder than it looks.
It’s easy to upload pre-made videos, but creating videos from scratch takes a lot of time. I spend an hour or two to edit a video, about 10 minutes to render every 1 minute of video, and then another hour to upload it to YouTube. This is what a typical video looks like through Live Movie Maker:
YouTube is serious business.
The YouTube gaming community is enormous; the largest channel, Machinima, is one of the 10 most subscribed channels on YouTube and has a combined 6 billion(!) video views. Machinima has enough clout with gamers that Treyarch, the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops ($1+ billion in sales), went into Machinima’s offices and conducted an interview with them. Speaking of Klout – @SeaNanners, a popular YouTube gamer, has a Klout score of 78. In comparison, Zappos has a Klout score of 67, the White House has a Klout score of 79, and Mashable has a Klout score of 87.
If you’d like to support my YouTube endeavors, subscribe to my channel!