Leveraging YouTube: How to get your audience to press play

by: Ryan Dobrin

Michael Scott said it best; “When I discovered YouTube, I didn’t work for five days.”


Across the world, people consume more than 1 billion hours of content on YouTube every day. That’s a lot of people and a lot of hours. And with more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute, there is a lot of competition and noise to break through if you want to get in front of a large audience.

Here are 3 simple tips for being successful on YouTube:

1. Optimize for search

The first step to be successful on YouTube is to make sure people can find you. If a video is posted to YouTube and no one watches it, does it even exist? Being a part of the Google network, YouTube clearly runs on an algorithm, so it’s all about optimizing to the core of that formula. Luckily, Google provides tips on how to do this. What you say about your videos and what you say in your videos are extremely important.

Research relevant and popular keywords using Google Trends and other tools, and write your video titles and descriptions using those terms. Then, actually say those things in your videos! Engagement is key when it comes to impressing the algorithm. Work hard to produce high quality content that people enjoy; the longer your view times and the more interactions you have with your videos, the more you will be rewarded in search results. Invest in increasing your number of subscribers and encourage comments, sharing and linking.

2. Optimize your videos for a mobile experience

According to Google and YouTube, 3 out of every 4 videos are viewed on a mobile device, which means your videos need to provide a good user experience for views on a phone or tablet.

First, you want to stand out on mobile; customize your thumbnails with large images so people can see the main theme of the video with titles that are short and to the point. This way, they don’t get truncated and nothing gets cut out. Now that people can do almost everything on their phones, videos need to be relevant and engaging to keep the viewers attention before they decide to swipe over to the next app on their device. Make sure your videos have a point and the viewer is watching what they expected to be watching. Finally, utilize YouTube’s auto-captioning function to provide your viewers with subtitles for those common instances when they can’t have the sound on.

3. Be consistent

Be consistent. Pick a regular cadence for posting content and stick to it. Don’t overwhelm your fans with videos, but also don’t keep them waiting so long for the next piece of content that they lose interest. Scheduling content will allow for viewers to look forward to the next release! Also, be consistent with your message; don’t sway from your brand voice and persona. Viewers will become familiar with who you are and how you communicate, so learn to own and use who you are to build and keep a following.

BONUS TIP — Advertise on YouTube

Even if you optimize for search and do everything you can to engage your viewers, sometimes you need a little bump to maximize your opportunity to be seen. That’s where the beauty of advertising comes in. Within Google Ads, you can set a budget, set your bids and target an audience that you want to reach. Show up in-stream before and after other videos are played, be placed in YouTube search results and be visible when potential viewers are browsing for their next video to watch.

Video isn’t just an emerging form of content anymore. It has arrived, built a home and is here to stay. If you are going to spend the time, energy and money to invest in a video strategy, make sure you follow these practices so you know people are seeing your videos! When you’re brainstorming your next killer content idea, do what Michael Scott would do and “make sure that YouTube comes down to tape this.”