A publisher’s guide to an effective YouTube strategy

By: David Arkin
May 22, 2024
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By Grace Denenny 

YouTube has about 2.5 billion monthly active users and is the second most popular social media network in the world. Created in 2005, YouTube has become a favored social channel across the world and had over 100 billion visits in January.

So it’s clearly a platform that media companies should be participating with.

Here’s how to hone in on a YouTube strategy for your media company:

Pew Research: YouTube reaches a younger generation  

There’s no denying how essential YouTube is for brands and companies to reach a younger audience.  Millennials and Gen Z are powerful and persuasive, and it is very important publishers capture their attention.  

YouTube effectively reaches all generations, but seems to reign as a favorite for teens especially.  Data from the Pew Research Center shows:

•  95% of U.S. teens (ages 13-17) say they have used YouTube.

• Of these teens, 97% of boys and 92% of girls say they have used YouTube.

• 94-95% of White, Black, and Hispanic teens say they have used YouTube. And 94-95% also spans across teens from urban, rural, and suburban areas. 

YouTube drives commitment and sponsors community

YouTube is especially beneficial for brands as they gain subscribers and create a community within the platform. Publishers should strategize to turn viewers into an interactive online community through encouraging sharing and commenting.

Techniques such as prompting  subscribers to ask for audience feedback for the channel or share their thoughts and opinions can be very  successful. Asking viewers questions is a great way to get them involved. For example, on a video about the best places to eat when traveling to a specific city, ask viewers their favorite spots.  Similarly, you could just prompt them to tell their own stories and experiences related to the content. 

As a YouTube channel grows, subscribers become more committed to staying updated and loyal  to a brand. Liking and replying to comments on videos and doing shoutouts to recognize commenters also promotes future engagement. 

YouTube Shorts are a growing tactic

Users open their YouTube app for a wide variety of reasons. YouTube’s versatility is unique and  one of the major reasons its content is consumed so massively. From news to video-led podcasts,  there is great opportunity for creators and publishers.  

Traditional video content is still prominent on YouTube, but there is a rise in shorter videos and this may be a golden ticket for younger generations. YouTube Shorts, a space similar to TikTok,  is capturing the attention of those who want quicker content. Publishers should also focus on these formats because they offer a great opportunity to expand content and involve more users by posting  more videos. 

Creating content on Shorts is fun and simple. Start with vertical videos (this is a big way Shorts are different from YouTube’s standard horizontal videos) that run between 15 and 60 seconds. That being said, Shorts on the lower end of that time frame tend to do best. Make thumbnails that grab viewers attention and include keywords in your titles in the captions. 

You could make a short from a news story or podcast to grab your audience’s attention and quickly present the main idea of what happened. 

For example, check out this video from the Albuquerque journal. They created a short with a clip from one of their podcasts, Leading Ladies of Rio Ranchero. This short highlights who is speaking on the podcast, what they are talking about, and shows a piece of significant dialogue from the episode meant to intrigue the listener. 

Watch: Dr. Cleveland Talking Changes and Challenges in Education – YouTube  

Be authentic and include valuable content in your Shorts, and pay attention to how the video loops. For example, this Short transitions from the end back to the beginning, forming a loop that intrigues viewers. 

Watch: This Video is a Seamless Infinite Loop ♾️ #shorts

It is important to create both Shorts and YouTube videos to generate a successful page.

How to get started with YouTube

To get started organizing your account, create a creative channel banner to run across the top of your channel page. Create a channel description that explains what content your viewers should expect from you, including keywords that guide relevant searches to your page. Here’s an example from ABC News

Creating playlists, collections of videos selected by the creator, on your home page can also be very beneficial. This groups your content in a way that allows viewers to find answers to what they’re looking for, or connect them with videos related to their interests. Here’s an example from WRAL

YouTube offers a variety of options for viewing content, separating videos into categories like podcasts, sports, gaming, music, and live. Live videos on YouTube are often live shows, live gaming, watch parties, big sporting events, or news and live trials. Podcasts can be beneficial for storytelling and interviews.

Grace Denenny is an intern for David Arkin Consulting. She is currently a student at the University of North Carolina.

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