12 ways to stand out on YouTube

"There's more content than ever on YouTube. In 2018 there were more than 97 million uploads to the platform.” These are the words of Marcus Wilson, content strategist at media company Jungle Creations, as he describes why it is so hard to stand out on YouTube these days. “With more content comes more noise and competition for viewers, so it's imperative that your brand is cutting through and getting noticed. Succeeding on YouTube is all about understanding and maximising the impact of active and passive viewing. YouTube has positioned itself primarily as an active viewing platform with increasing audiences consciously seeking out content from their favourite creators.”  

Below Wilson and other YouTube experts discuss how to stand out on this video platform. As well as creating great content It is also vital to check how effective your work is – in the panel read about the importance of measurement.  

Top tips for using YouTube  

1. Keep it short
Joe Fernandez, communications manager at recruitment specialist Oleeo: “Keep your content short and sweet to maintain user attention. Consider it more of a movie trailer and not the whole show.   

2. Think about how it is watched
Joe Fernandez: “Make sure you plan how and where it will be used and factor this in the storyboard. If you're taking it to an event for example no one will be able to hear it so more on-screen captions or readable subtitles to adequate speeds are better for buzz than a message that will get lost with so much competing noise.”  

3. Manage internal expectations
Joe Fernandez: “It's very rare that YouTube will drive lead generation. You might have to make it unlisted to monitor clicks to the video or a form to provide the link, but remember that once the link is out there, it can be used by others without this data. Rivals like Wistia are perhaps better if you really want control.

4. Use the right tools
Joe Fernandez: “Make good use of YouTube studio – track average view durations and then consider if your clips need to be made more bitesize because your message is getting lost.”  

5. Be cute and funny

Keren Haynes, joint managing director at agency Shout! Communications: “It's a competitive market, success often dominated by cats, dogs and babies... in fact anything with fluff and/or a cute smile. Funny also ticks the box. Marketing videos may have more serious messages behind them, but they still need to give viewers what they want. Ultimately the audience is there for entertainment.”

7. Consider ‘how to’ videos
Keren Haynes: “YouTube viewers often go to the website looking for instructions on "How to...." do a particular activity. So that's another way to attract them to your channel.

8. Post regularly
Keren Haynes: “It doesn't matter how cute/fantastic your video is, it's pointless if no one clicks on it. We recommend you optimise your video titles to bring in viewers. When it comes to marketing yourself on YouTube, one golden rule stands out above all others and that's volume. The perfect tipping point is quality content but published on a regular basis.”

9. Brand well
Keren Haynes: “To maximise impact think branding. Whilst you are not restricted by the rules and regulations other broadcasters must abide by, you are still governed by how much branding a viewer finds palatable. A compromise could be a logo watermark that runs throughout a video, for example, probably in one corner.”   

10. Think about values
Jungle Creations’ Marcus Wilson: “Align your brand with a current creator who represents the values and voice of your brand.”

11. Consider episodic content
Marcus Wilson: “You could think outside the box to set yourself up as a destination page for planned viewing – think episodic content targeted at a particular market to attract return viewers who will naturally start to build an affinity with your brand. This doesn’t necessarily mean shoehorning your brand into serialised content, but rather creating original content that would interest your targeted audience and aligning this content with your brand. Think how Red Bull created content focused around the extreme sport scene – it’s not directly the brand itself, but by aligning with that niche it is now driving millions of views for a target audience for its product.”

12. Don’t forget SEO
Marcus Wilson: “Never underestimate metadata. As the world’s second biggest search engine (its parent, Google, is #1) it is essential to keep your SEO on point, especially when activating around tentpole moments in the social calendar where there will be a huge peak in frequent searches. Research the current topical climate and always be looking to enhance and maximise your discoverability through the variables you can control – such as titles, tags, descriptions, thumbnails and thematic playlists."  

The importance of measurement  
It’s not just about creating great video on YouTube, you must think about measurement says Matt Sarson, marketing manager, UK and Nordics, at software firm Talkwalker:  

“There's hardly a marketer alive who doesn't understand the benefit of video within their content strategy. Yet, very few are committing the same attention to analysing campaign impact.

“Sure, there's the obvious metrics – number of views, subscriber demographics, audience retention, etc. But one area that continues to be overlooked is social sharing and virality. The reality is that the best video campaigns plant a seed – as opposed to being an end game in themselves. They inspire people, convince viewers to share and compel others to create.   

“It's this last action where measurement falls short. User-generated content is incredibly powerful, hugely engaging and free. It is, however, difficult to monitor – with textual brand and channel mentions often overlooked.   

“Fortunately, as video continues to assert further dominance within digital marketing, new technology is being developed to ensure that the analysis of such content is as comprehensive as its impact.   

“If video is a key part of your content marketing, give it a central role in your analysis too.”

  That’s enough about the serious side of YouTube, I need a break, so I am off to watch some films of dogs and cats, and I if I can find a film about how to write great features, even better!