YouTube Optimization Series Part 3: How to Promote a YouTube Video for More Views and Engagement

How To Promote a YouTube VideoLast week I wrote about the different steps in optimizing a YouTube channel. Now, I’m going to show you how to promote a YouTube video to get more views, likes, and comments. All this engagement will bring you more viewers, increased authority on YouTube, and in turn more traffic to your site.

Having one viewer comment on your video is hard enough, getting that same viewer to do that for your other videos is even more challenging. But you can make that process a little bit easier if you follow these steps

6 Steps to Promote Your YouTube Videos

1. Collaborate with Other Video Creators

Do a collaboration video with another YouTuber on a similar or non-competing niche. In this set-up, you and your collab partner will agree on a topic that serves both of your audiences. Then you will work together on a script, and get together—location and schedule permitting—to film the video. If an in-person collab doesn’t work, you can film each of your segments separately then just work on the edits together online.

Collab videos are a great way to gain exposure to another YouTuber’s audience. Your audience also gets a different point of view, which adds some variety to your video’s content.

Bonus benefit: If your collab partner is has more subscribers than you, ask him for niche-specific strategies on how to promote a YouTube video.

2. Get Active on Social Media

Like blog posts, YouTube videos can use the extra exposure social media brings. Posting your video on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest widens its reach to a different audience and platform.

This process doesn’t need to take too much time. Just use Buffer and IFTT to automatically share your new videos on your social media accounts.

If you belong to online groups in these platforms, you can also post your videos there if the community guidelines allow it.

Posting your videos on Quora or Reddit also works, especially if your video answers a how-to question.

3. Transcribe Your Video

In the first part of this series, I wrote about how transcribing your video makes it easier for YouTube and other search engines to index it. Well, that’s not the only benefit of adding a video transcription.

Not everyone who sees your video will have time to watch it right away. Sometimes, they need the info now but can’t watch the video because they’re at the office or running errands. In this case, you want to make your content accessible by adding a transcription of the video on its description, or via a link to a blog post.

Using your video’s transcript as a blog post is a good cross-promotion technique because it brings people to your website. Some of these viewers will also come back to watch the video itself, a few hours or days after reading the transcript.

Conversely, you can also embed the YouTube videos to the transcript-turned-blog-post, so your current blog readers can see the video and in turn, check out your other YouTube content.

4. Be a Guest on a Different YouTube Channel

Like collabs, guesting on another YouTube video involves reaching out to YouTubers in a similar niche. In guest appearances, another YouTuber will interview you about a specific topic you both agreed on beforehand. This is very similar to appearing as a guest on a talk show or podcast.

Another way to become a YouTube guest star is to contribute a video of your own to another channel, like one blogger would write a guest post for another website. In this case, you will pitch a topic to the host of the YouTube channel where you want to be featured in, and you’ll create the whole video from start to finish. Then the host will just add a short intro about you at the start of the video.

Both strategies work to expose you to a different audience. You’ll also get a link back to your YouTube channel or website, either on the description of the resulting video, or as a call-to-action overlay on the actual video.

Because this strategy works wonders, popular YouTube channels get inundated with guest appearance pitches. So you have to do your research and take time to engage with the host’s channel before sending in your pitch.

Here’s an example of a guest appearance YouTube video, where Tim Ryan Interviews Neil Patel:

5. Use a Customized Thumbnail

You only have a few seconds to catch a viewer’s attention. That’s why you need a good video thumbnail.

Create a thumbnail image that accurately describes your video, while enticing viewers to watch. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Thumbnail image resolution should be 1280 x 720, with at least 640 pixels in width
  • File type must be jpeg, bitmap, PNG, or GIF
  • File should be less than 2 MB
  • Use a 16:9 aspect ratio

Following these guidelines will ensure your thumbnail is clear and works on all devices.

You can use any photo editing app to create a thumbnail image in five minutes or less. Canva, PicMonkey, and YouZign are good options.

Watch this quick video to learn how you can add a thumbnail image to your videos.

6. Add a Call to Action Overlay

In YouTube, a call to action (CTA) is added either via a clickable box somewhere in the video, or as the last slide of your video. The call-to-action can prompt viewers to subscribe to your channel, watch another video, visit your website, or anything else you can think of.

Both strategies—the call to action overlay at the bottom of the video and the final slide—has their own uses and benefits.

  • CTA overlay: works well in directing people to a third party site, like your social accounts, email sign-up, online store, or website. Annotations can also be used as pop-ups on the video.

Below is an example from Fight Medicocrity, the end of this video shows two clickable boxes, one prompting viewers to subscribe and a smaller one prompting them to watch another video.

How To Promote a Youtube Video - Call To Action

  • End slide or final slide: useful for suggesting related videos or channels, and asking viewers to subscribe to your channel.

Use a combination of these two CTA strategies to get better results.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Learning how to promote a YouTube video is just part of the process.

And all these strategies won’t work if you ignore your viewers. So take time to thank people for liking and sharing your video. Answer questions and comments posted in your channel.

Visiting other channels to comment and share their videos also helps you build a relationship with other YouTubers. Leaving insightful comments on their videos adds to your image as an expert on that subject, and it can entice others to find out more about you.

YouTube is a social media community too, so you need to engage with your viewers if you want them to come back.

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