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17 sure-fire ways to promote your online videos

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Producing web videos can be a fantastic way of showcasing your business. But, you must also promote your videos properly (if you want them to be watched by a wide audience). In an extract from his VIDEOTASTIC! e-book, Gareth Davies outlines 17 ways to market your online videos.

1) Promote the video to your existing contacts (via your e-newsletter)

This seems obvious, but it’s an option that can so easily be forgotten. If you have an email database of customers and prospects, send them an email to promote your video.

Email often gets a much better response rate than social media. And people who already know you are the most likely to watch your video (and share it). So, email is a great way of kick-starting your promotion.

Putting videos in front of existing customers can also be a great way to cross-sell or upsell them to more profitable products.

2) Contact bloggers

Target a selection of blogs that you think are a good fit for your content. You can easily find relevant blogs using Wordtracker's Link Builder tool

And if the top blogs in your niche don’t respond (often the case), you should try the tier below. Bloggers who are trying to establish themselves are often easier to work with and more grateful for your content ideas.

That said, it's worth investing time to target a few high profile blogs. Achieving coverage on a top industry blog could put your videos in front of a much wider audience and help you to draw in some good backlinks to promote your video pages.

3) Optimize your video to attract search engine traffic

When you begin to work with video search engines, you’ll notice that the interfaces change from time to time, as do the policies that govern them. So attempting to set hard and fast rules around your optimization strategy becomes a tricky task.

But whilst each video search engine and sharing site may differ, most share some common factors that provide a useful focus. Some of these factors are things that a user has control over – for example, metadata – while others are engagement-related and thus influenced more by external promotion.

In my Videotastic e-book we examine the six key elements of video search engine optimization (SEO) where the user has some control:

a. Keyword research
b. Video file name
c. Title of video
d. Description of video
e. Tags
f. Closed captions

a. Keyword research

As with most search engine optimization, begin with keyword research You can manually test some of your target keywords on YouTube for competitiveness (ie, search YouTube to see how much competition there is for your keyword).

A great place to start is either with Wordtracker's Keywords tool or YouTube, which has a keyword suggestion tool.

For example, if you were producing videos about a Ford Mustang, you could use the tools to generate keyword suggestions as well as ideas for the kind of content people are interested in.

First, find relevant keywords. To do this using Wordtracker's Keywords tool, select your data source (eg, Google), your target country (eg, US) and enter your keyword: Ford Mustang.

The keyword tool then generates a list of keywords using your criteria. As you can see from the screenshot of Wordtracker's tool (below) a range of variations appears. So, too, do various themes, including an interest in the GT and Cobra models.

Ford Mustang

Alternatively, a search using Wordtracker's Related tool (within the Keywords tool) produces a broader selection of keywords, which may give you content ideas or suggest themes you hadn't considered:

Related search

Use the 'Keyword Questions' filter to pinpoint the questions people are asking. As you can see there are lots of questions you could answer (particularly if you have mechanical expertise):

Keyword questions Ford

YouTube's keyword suggestion tool can also provide helpful ideas. We cover it in more detail in the VIDEOTASTIC! e-book. But, before you download the book, let's continue looking at how to optimize your video.

Let's suppose you had a video about a Ford GT. You would look for relevant keywords, then use these appropriately in the video file name and title, description and tags.

b. Video file name

Use your keywords to create video file names that are descriptive and relevant to your target audience.

The file name is rarely the most influential factor in video optimization, but nevertheless you should use an appropriate descriptive file name. This will help you in managing your video site map as well as in identifying the file.

You could, for example, call a Ford Mustang video:
ford-mustang-car-video-2012.wmv

If it was a Quicktime movie, the title might instead appear as:
ford-mustang-car-video-2012.mov

c. Title

One of the most influential factors you have control over is the title of your video. It is this name that people will enter into a search engine to find your video. It’s also one of the first things people will see – and it must be easy to remember.

Let's look at an example: when searching on YouTube for the ‘Will It Blend?’ video that blends an iPad®, the relevant video is listed on the first page of results with the title clearly shown in the listing.

When searching for iPad on Google, the same YouTube video appears in the listings and again the title is clearly visible above.

Will it Blend

The ‘Will It Blend?’ video ranks so highly for a competitive single keyphrase search not only because of its title but also because of a range of other factors, including the authority of the YouTube page. Nevertheless, this example illustrates the importance of the title in the way that videos are listed.

Include target keywords in the title. If your video features a Ford Mustang doing a burnout, the title you enter into the video search engine could be as simple as:

Ford Mustang Shelby GT burnout

But since you went to all the trouble of making a great car video, you might want to liven up the title a little, for example:

Watch a crazy Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 burnout

Make sure your title is relevant and engaging so that people are encouraged to click on it when it appears in listings. For more on writing great headlines, check out the Killer Headlines! book by copywriting guru Nick Usborne.

d. Description

The description field can be an important part of video optimization. Include keywords in your video description and use related terms. As with all SEO, avoid the excessive repetition of keywords. Cover the benefits of your product or service, remembering to write primarily for people, not search engines.

Within the description field there’s often the opportunity to link back to your website or the specific web page that hosts your video. Use this function to link back to your website.

Prefix your URL with http:// and aim to include your link in the first line of the description, for example:

Ford Mustang Shelby GT burnout clip as featured on http://www.mywebsite.com/fordmustangs
Watch as a Ford Mustang GT 500 with a 5.4L 4V supercharged aluminum-block V8 engine does battle against a Chevrolet Camaro. Filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada last year.
Video features host Steve Jones and was produced by ABCDEProductions.

e. Tags

Take the time to include around 5-10 tags that relate to your video content. Use relevant keywords as tags, for example:

  • Ford
  • Mustang
  • GT 500
  • Shelby
  • burnout

f. Closed captions

Closed captions are Youtube's subtitles. Since 2010, YouTube has been adding captions to videos. The captions are created by machine (so aren't always very accurate). YouTube uses the content to decide its search rankings.

If you discover that the captions YouTube has created aren't accurate, it's often worth uploading your own transcript. This will be a simple text file and will help you attract relevant traffic.

Share your videos on ...

One of the great benefits of video is that it's possible to share your creation with an audience that may never have heard of you before – by using video-sharing websites. Some of the top video sharing sites include Vimeo, Metacafe and Dailymotion - as well as YouTube, the market leader.

4) YouTube

The growth and popularity of YouTube are immense. Founded in February 2005, YouTube published its first video in April of that year. In October 2006, Google bought the company for $1.65bn.

In May 2011, YouTube released figures claiming that 48 hours-worth of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. 18 months later, there's little doubt that figure will have risen further.

Over the last few years we have seen an explosion in video content. YouTube has even been integrated as a major part of the search function. Since Google’s blended search was launched several years ago, YouTube videos have featured heavily in the results. For any business looking to produce videos and have lots of people see them, YouTube is the obvious choice.

The free upload and sharing system means that a business can create video channels, embed videos into web pages and give permission to other users to embed and stream them. You can also customize the YouTube player and acquire analytics information.

The robust and advanced streaming servers at YouTube’s disposal mean than uploaded videos tend to stream consistently. There’s also the added bonus that the user can select from a choice of bit rates.

When you upload a video to YouTube, you can add titles and descriptions to video content, and tag videos with relevant keywords. It’s also possible to include hyperlinks back to your website.

The main downside to using YouTube is that it now features advertising on videos. A user must close the ads to view videos in full screen mode.

It’s worth remembering that all internal search traffic goes to a YouTube page or YouTube channel page, not to your website. But there are some changes in the pipeline: video site maps can allow users to list what link they’d like search results to return and choose a thumbnail image for that video.

If you still need to be convinced that YouTube is king of video sharing, here are three good reasons to start sharing:

  • YouTube dominates the marketplace, attracting many times more daily traffic than any one of its nearest competitors (Dailymotion, Vimeo, Metacafe) – or the three combined.
  • In October 2011, Compete.com showed reach for YouTube at a staggering 138 million. Dailymotion’s reach was 8.7m, Vimeo 7.6m and Metacafe 6.6m.
  • In the same month, Alexa placed YouTube’s global traffic as third in the world. Its nearest rival, Dailymotion, was placed 96th; Vimeo ranked 118th; and Metacafe 345th.

5) Metacafe

Metacafe was founded in July 2002 in Tel Aviv by Israeli entrepreneurs Eyal Hertzog and Arik Czerniak. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, and the company began its life in a similar way to other video viewing websites such as YouTube and Dailymotion.

Metacafe has transformed itself into a video entertainment site, curating and providing original premium entertainment-related videos. As with YouTube, it’s possible for users to upload and share videos free of charge on the website. Metacafe’s reach is much smaller than YouTube, however.

6) Vimeo

Vimeo was launched by Zach Klein and Jake Lodwick towards the end of 2004. Its technology converted videos to QuickTime, which tended to make them easy to view online, and Vimeo was one of the first video sharing websites to support high definition content.

The name Vimeo is an anagram of the word ‘movie’. The company's head office is in New York and its mission is to “provide the best tools and highest quality video in the universe”.

According to Wikipedia, as at March 2010, Vimeo had more than 3 million members and an average of 16,000-plus new videos uploaded daily.

7) Dailymotion

Dailymotion is a video-sharing service based in Paris, France. According to comScore, it’s the second largest video site in the world after YouTube.

Dailymotion’s website says that it attracts more than 114 million unique visitors each month (Source: comScore, May 2011) and 1.2 billion video views worldwide (Source: DailyMotion).

8) Niche video websites and industry hub websites

Let’s not forget niche websites. You shouldn’t ignore the possibility of promoting videos on smaller niche video sharing websites or industry hub websites. Many such websites that feature video can be an important source of traffic and marketing.

These websites can even sometimes deliver as many views as – if not more than – mainstream video sharing websites. Traffic levels may be a fraction of those attained by YouTube. But, if the video content is topical or specific to that niche, a much higher percentage of users may click on it than would if pitched at a more general audience. These viewers may also be more likely to comment on and share the video, so it’s well worth seeking out niche video websites or industry hub sites to host your video.

If you've had successes on niche sites that cater to your industry, please let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear what's working.

In a moment, I'm going to let you know more about a fantastic 48-hour discount for my VIDEOTASTIC! e-book But first, let's run through some more of the marketing ideas you'll discover when you download it.

9) Burn a DVD to play in your showroom

Not an online solution as such – but a good way to add value to the videos you produce. Videos played back in your showroom or store can attract potential customers’ attention to certain lines, help to promote the product range and enhance credibility, especially if your videos are well produced and feature a presenter.

Surplus copies of the DVD can be mailed to interested parties.

10) Repurpose your video as still images and text

You can repurpose video content in many ways, including making a text transcript, publishing imagery as stills and sharing as PowerPoint files on Slideshare.

Once you've created a text version of your content, you can use it to promote the original video.

Text-rich content can be read by search engines and still images can be embedded in your web pages or uploaded to sites like Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr.

11) Put your top five videos on a page

This can be particularly useful from a search engine optimization perspective. With enough good content on a page, you can promote that page and in turn attract people to link to it (from social media websites, blogs and so on).

By placing a good collection of videos on one page you create a richer online resource. This not only gives more weight to your content, but it also provides more reason for someone to link to your page.

12) Create and distribute an online press release

Online press releases can be a useful way to make more people aware of your videos. An SEO benefit is that by featuring on lots of news web pages, your press release can also generate a number of links to your videos.

Whilst these links tend to be transient, lasting only a few days or weeks, they can help to put your news in front of many web users, including bloggers who may decide to publish the story on their own sites.

There are a few free websites that provide a limited online press release distribution service. At the time of writing, PRWeb offers perhaps the most comprehensive fee-based service.

13) Share with your affiliates

If your online business has affiliates, your videos can also be a useful marketing tool for them.

Contact your affiliates to let them know that they can embed your videos on their web pages. If your promotional videos are good quality and easy to embed, there’s a good chance your affiliates will want to use them. Videos can boost web conversions, which is good news for both you and your affiliates.

If there’s a way to tweak the pre-roll, you have the option to tailor the videos to your affiliate’s website (we discuss this in more detail in VIDEOTASTIC!

14) Add a link to your videos in your email signature

Include a line mentioning your videos in the footer of the emails you send to customers and prospects.

Whether you’re an individual trading out of your own home, or a larger organization with many staff, placing a link to key company profiles in your email signature ensures that everyone you deal with is given an easy way to access your videos.

If many members of staff promote a link in their email signatures, the effect multiplies.

15) Run a competition based on watching your videos

By running a competition that requires people to watch your videos, you encourage viewing and sharing.

A competition that links to a page of videos means that you can indirectly encourage people to share that link. This can potentially gain you more backlinks, again good from an SEO perspective.

You can combine competitions with your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts to achieve the most from your promotion.

16) Promote on Facebook and Google+

Facebook’s influence has grown considerably in the last few years – so much so that search engines like Google have admitted that they use signals from social media sites in their complex ranking algorithm. And Google+ is an increasingly influential social network. If you haven't yet set up a Google+ page, you can learn how, here

And here are a few ways to promote your video through these social media sites ...

a) Promote to your network of friends

An effective way for many people to see your video is simply to post it to your Facebook wall, or to create a Google+ post. If your friends like what they see, they may share it with their friends too.

Don’t assume that all of your friends see everything that you post. If you really want to make sure they see the video, consider sending them a personal message containing the relevant link. That way you’ll increase the chances of your video being watched. This is easily done in Google+ where you can choose to send an email notification to a specific Circle of friends.

b) Post the video to your company page

By doing this, all of the people who ‘like’ or follow your company page will see the link in their feeds.

Google+ is video-friendly. Uploading new videos is really simple:

Google+

c) Reach out to any influential fan pages

Whatever your niche, there’s a good chance that there's a popular page on Google+ or Facebook where you can promote your video.

Some pages can have tens of thousands – even millions – of fans. These pages usually have moderators, so you must prove to this go-between that your video is relevant and interesting. You may then be allowed to post your link on the fan page wall.

This sort of coverage can give your promotion a boost as followers of the fan page can see and share your link.

17) Twitter

If you're new to Twitter, it's worth checking out Wordtracker's Guide to Twitter, which is a comprehensive guide to setting up and using a Twitter account effectively.

If your business already has a Twitter account, even if you've only a few hundred followers, then posting tweets can work well as a marketing tactic.

Less is often more. A smaller Twitter following that contains industry and media contacts can often help your promotion more than 20,000 people who follow you simply because you follow them.

If you have Twitter followers from all over the world, don’t be afraid to tweet the link to your audience more than once, at different times of the day. If you plan to do this two to four times in 24 hours, think about rewording the tweet a little or varying the link shortener so the URL changes.

Download VIDEOTASTIC! today

Videotastic video e-book

Download Gareth Davies' 140-page e-book Videotastic! How to make amazing videos and sell more online today and start producing sales-making videos straight away.

To learn more about “Videotastic!” simply click on the button below:

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About Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies has worked in SEO since 2002 and is now director of the SEO agency GSINC Ltd. As well as client work he also consults for the web retailer group SafeBuy and is editor of Ecommerce Monthly newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @GarethGSINC