Content Marketing

SMX Overtime: Creating a video-first content strategy

Last month I spoke in two sessions at SMX West about YouTube and video SEO. Here I answer some audience questions I was asked, as well as address some recent questions that have come up around the current situation with social distancing.

What recommendations do you have on getting company buy-in to have a YouTube presence?

There are tons of stats on how video and YouTube are huge platforms with tons of traffic. I like to point out three tangible benefits.

One, with Google putting more emphasis on the video carousel in SERP (55% of searches have video), videos are a great way to jump to the top of your target keyword. Two, it’s a great way to reach a new audience (viewers are 3x more likely to watch a video that relates to their interests over featuring a famous personality). Three, unlike other social networks that are pay to play, YouTube videos have a much greater long tail, especially if their metadata is optimized (70% of what people watch is determined by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm). 

That said, it’s important to set appropriate expectations. YouTube videos don’t have the same direct ROI as running a Facebook ad and seeing how many sales it generated. YouTube is a longer game that requires consistency but can return great dividends.

Is creating auto-generated videos from existing images a viable strategy (for example, creating a virtual tour of a home from realtor photos)?

When creating YouTube content, you want to put yourself in the viewer’s shoes. “Would I watch this if I saw it on YouTube?” Also, ask yourself if video is the right medium.

Probably the only people that would watch a slideshow tour of a house are people that are in the market to buy that house. But they’d probably be watching the video from the listing’s website and not organically through YouTube. In this case, you just need a video hosting platform.

That doesn’t mean there’s no room for home tours on YouTube. You just need to bring value – like a narrated tour of the listing’s benefits or shooting video for higher budget listings (Erik Conover’s channel has luxury listing videos and 1 million subscribers).

Our brand channel on YouTube has about 1,200 videos that haven’t been SEO optimized. Should we prioritize going back and optimizing with keywords or just focus on new videos?

Yes to both – but you want to be smart about it. By having such a huge amount of content you have a great amount of data on what types of content works well and connects with your audience to inform creating future videos.

The back catalog of 1,200 videos is a great problem for the 80/20 rule. Chances are about 20% of your videos are driving most of the views and watch time on your channel. Go to your analytics and find the videos that have a high view count and a high percentage viewed. 

Videos with a high percentage viewed (meaning people watched most of the video) but a lower view count are the best ones to start with because it means the content is really good but people aren’t finding it.

Then focus on optimizing the other high views / high percentage viewed videos. Then expand out to the rest of your content (in some cases with outdated or zero view videos, it might be good just to clean house and remove them).

TubeBuddy and VidIQ both have batch editing features which can also help make metadata changes faster. I have a whole article on bulk updating videos with these tools. 

Does Google look at the self-hosted videos on our site differently than the videos that we keep on YouTube?

If you upload the same video to YouTube and a self-hosted version on your website, Google will look at it as two different videos. Google won’t even identify your page with the self-hosted video as a video unless the page it’s embedded on has the proper video object schema markup.

In most cases, I’d advocate for sticking with one platform for each individual video. However, one beneficial use case would be if your video is targeting a very easy keyword on Google. You could get both your YouTube video and self-hosted video to show up in the video carousel – double win!

What are thoughts on using YouTube as a hosting site for videos behind a paywall for a membership platform?

YouTube works really well for public videos. It is not the best platform for hosting private videos on your own website behind a paywall.

While it’s technically doable by setting privacy settings to unlisted, YouTube offers very little control over how the player looks, what the user can do with the video, and what happens after the video ends. 

For a membership site, you’ll want to use something like Vimeo or Brightcove.

We had to cancel our in-person event due to COVID-19. Should we postpone to next year or use live streaming to create a virtual event?

So SMX West happened in February, which now feels like a different era. We’re facing new realities now, especially when it comes to in-person events, and questions about live streaming virtual events have come up with events I was going to participate in and events I’m helping plan.

The short answer, in my opinion, is you should strongly consider moving forward with a virtual event rather than postpone. 

Virtual events do not have to be a faceless webinar of a slide deck. Everyone can stream from a webcam and there’s a variety of programs out there that can easily produce professional-looking video feeds that create a really dynamic event. I just created a guide detailing every step to producing virtual events. 

Will it be exactly the same as in-person? No.

However, if you reframe some of your goals and ideas of what an online event can be, your virtual event can reach a wider audience through streaming and connect with even more speakers and attendees without being bound by geographic limits.

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