Eight Tips to Use YouTube

This is a reprint from Darcy Pattison’s blog. She asked me to do a guest post about what I’ve learned about Youtube and doing videos. I wish I could fit everything here! But I can at least give you my top eight tips.

Tip #1 – Don’t Fear Failure.
A lot of people don’t do video because they think they’re going to look like an idiot. If I can look like an idiot, you can too! 😎
Seriously, you don’t have to post it if you hate it. Try it, – maybe it’ll have a huge impact on the number of the visits to your site. My attitude is to try it and if it fails, learn from it and move on. The more you try, the better your chances are that you will succeed. I follow Pat Flynn may need software to do it, but you won’t have to be on camera! (I use Screenflow for my videos but Quicktime has the capability to record your screen, too).
Tip #2 – Plan Ahead
Videos are a Black Hole Time Suck. The more you plan, the more smoothly the whole thing will go. I plan because I am reflected when someone comes to my YouTube channel or sees a video I’ve made, I want that reflection to be of quality content. (We’ve all seen the many low quality videos out there that have gone viral, so take this advice for what it’s worth!) Still, the virals have something in common: mass interest for one reason or another. Consider your subject matter and what you want to put out there and how it will reflect upon you and your work.
When I say plan ahead, I mean:

Tip #3 – Consider a Series

I produce a weekly podcast about children’s literature – the craft, the business, the product, etc., but because it’s weekly, I’m obligated to get it out there every week. It’s been a great discipline for me. However, with videos no one expects a series so that is less pressure.
Now I’m going to contradict myself.
Videos are great for SEO, especially if you learn to properly tag them (I’m not always great at that myself, but I’m trying to be better, and to learn how to do it better). I suggest reading this (http://wponlinedesign.site/katiedavis/marketing/2011/04/day-22-shine-the-power-of-youtube-on-you-too/) or listening to this podcast with Darcy.
But there is a reason that the phrase “content is king” is ubiquitous. Videos are content. If you have a series, you’ll be adding great regular content, and the spiders love video. I started a Video FAQ series that, shockingly, don’t take me long at all – that is, compared to something like my book trailer or this kindergarten readiness video.
Tip #4 – Spread the Love
If you are reading this blog of Darcy’s, you know you should start a YouTube channel! People can find your videos all in one spot, and you can double up on getting your videos out there – I have them on my site, and my Youtube channel.
And because most people, by this time, know how to watch a video on a computer, you’ll be getting your name out there to people who otherwise may not have heard about you.
The web is a visual medium, so video is a natural way to show things like your writing process, who you are, where you live, etc., which many fans love to see.
Tip #5 – Set Your Bore Alert on High!
One can easily be tempted to make long videos, which will then fall into the I-Have-No-Time-To-Watch-This category and then production time is wasted. Talking heads are boring. I will watch a one – three minute video. Unless you’re Alec Baldwin, it’s going to be hard to keep my attention for longer than that.
Tip #6 – Have Fun!

Book trailers aren’t the only kind of video you can have on your site. Think of all the visual ways you can relate to your fan base – or, if you’re just starting out, or are not yet published, your future fanbase! Do an animoto book review, interview authors you love, Skype visits with another author – but make sure you don’t end up with talking heads (BORE ALERT), give tips and tricks for others in your field – that would come under informational videos, you could do funny videos parodying books…the list could go on for many virtual pages.
Tip #7 – Use YouTube for All Its Worth!

Don’t forget YouTube is the second biggest search engine, after Google.

  • Do tag searches and use the most searched for words in your description and title of your video.
  • Find another video in your category that has gone viral, and do a video reply to it. You do that by clicking in the response field and then a link pops up next to it that says “make a video reply” and enter the information there.
  • Once you upload your video, did you know you can add links to your videos? It’s under “annotations”. Go here for more info on that.

Tip #8 – Call to Action

At the end of every video, add a call to action. Anything along the lines of:
Check out my other videos!
Visit my site for more info!
Subscribe to my YouTube channel!
And to that last point, I must thank Pat Flynn again for a recent new effort I’ve made with my videos. I created a 10 second call to action clip that I am now adding to every video, in hopes it’ll get people to subscribe to my channel. So far, it’s working like crazy, and by crazy I mean that in the one day since I put it up there, two people have subscribed. Since I had to take my old YouTube channel down and reupload it, losing all my view numbers and subscribers it’s now very new. So maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t.
But remember tip #1? I don’t mind failing a bunch of times in order to succeed once or twice.

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