Promote Your YouTube Video Like an Expert

recording set up for YouTube

Table of contents

So, you’ve created your video for YouTube. It’s excellent and your audience is going to love it. All you need to do is upload it to YouTube, and everyone will see it, right?


After you’ve created your video, your work hasn’t quite ended. YouTube is an excellent tool for video distribution, but you still need to guide your audience to the video. It isn’t overly difficult but it does take some forethought, planning, and a bit of experience.

Like anything else, the more video promotion you do, the better you become. You’ll start to see what kinds of titles and tags work best, what types of videos to do, and what interests your audience.

Luckily, you don’t have to start at square one. We talked to some video experts about their secrets to successful YouTube promotion and asked them for the best advice to get started.

Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Have a plan to create buzz and video velocity

Before hitting publish on your video, you need to have a plan. How will you let your audience know it exists? While you want to attract new viewers, you also want to be sure you are staying connected with your existing followers who you worked hard to acquire with previous content.

Using your existing communication channels is always a good start. You can share your videos on social media platforms or via newsletters and other existing email communications. Brian Fanzo, founder of iSocialFanz, is an advocate of using FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) to help you generate buzz. Rather than giving your audience instructions, he encourages creators to entice viewers with a teaser without explicitly telling them what to do.

Brian Fanzo on generating buzz through FOMO:

If you tell someone “Go download this app,” or “Go watch me on facebook live,” or “Go to my youtube channel,” our first instinct is “No,” because we’re overwhelmed and none of us like being told what to do. But if you drip something out there all of a sudden we’re like “If I’m not participating in that, now I want to be a part of it.”

As you create a stronger buzz, your views begin to climb through your existing base. Owen Video, YouTube Marketing Consultant, likes to create video velocity by acquiring views before a video is public, and rewarding his followers with exclusive content. Suddenly YouTube will see your video as more valuable and your video will become more likely to appear in searches.

One of Owen Video’s most successful video velocity strategies, outlined below, is one that can be easily adopted. By simply mirroring his strategy with your own videos, you can improve their performance:

Owen Video’s video promotion strategy example:

  • The first day Owen Video publishes a video, he leaves it unlisted (the video can’t be searched our found by the public without a link).
  • The link to the unlisted video is distributed on social channels.
  • The link to the unlisted video is emailed to applicable mailing lists.
  • The audience feels like it has gained access to an exclusive piece of content and feels rewarded for maintaining a relationship with Owen Video.
  • Owen Video makes the video to public. When the video goes live, there are already views which builds traction for the video. This is video velocity, and essentially, you’re getting a head start on YouTube.

Owen Video on video velocity:

So What happens is, you create velocity with your video. This is a very important term: video velocity. So that people are watching it before it’s even public, yet. Having that distribution, or pre-promotion plan is going to set [you] apart from your competitors who are just figuring this stuff out.

Step 2: Make Your Content Discoverable

Outside of reaching your existing audience, you want to make sure your content is discoverable, or easily found, by viewers who are seeking content like yours.

There are a number of ways you can maximize your discoverability. Most of them center around providing indications to Google that your content is valuable so it shows up in specific searches. While Google has not released the algorithm YouTube uses, most experts agree on a few key factors you need to account for:

  • Titles and Tags – Use keywords that are frequently searched and are relevant to your content can help boost your discoverability. YouTube also seems to prefer titles that are 10 words or fewer.
  • Thumbnails – Create thumbnails that the audience can connect with. This will generate more clicks, and therefore, move your content up in searches.
  • Viewing Duration– Make sure your video length makes sense. If you can maintain your viewers for the a larger percentage of the video (measured through a metric YouTube calls audience retention), YouTube is going to assign more value to your videos. If you make your video too long and lose viewers as a result, you’ll also see a decrease in your discoverability. Hubspot found the optimal YouTube video length to be around two minutes, based on audience engagement. Hubspot also points out that the human brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, so using graphics and well-thought-out visuals in your video can help you get the most out of every second.Graphic showing the optimal duration for YouTube videos is two minutes.
  • Group videos in playlists -Create playlists so that all your videos can benefit from the discovery of a single video. It’s a natural way to indicate to your audience, that if they like what they are watching, there is more content of interest available to them. This is the kind of engagement YouTube likes, and will reward with increased discoverability.

Maximizing all these ways to increase your discoverability can seem like a daunting task, so Tim Schmoyer, founder of Video Creators, uses one guiding principle that helps him with all these tactics: think in terms of topics.

Tim Schmoyer on Discoverability:

I recommend that people think in terms of topics. What stories do you need to tell so that target audience would just see that title and that thumbnail and click for no other reason than the value that was pitched or the story that was teased in that title and thumbnail… As soon as there is any sort of confusion and people don’t really know who this is for or why they should care, the bounce rates get really high.

Video Creators Podcast: Strategies for Increasing your Discoverability on YouTube

Step 3: Start with YouTube, then expand

It’s easy to get excited about a new tactic and try to do everything at once. There are so many places your videos can go these days: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Amy Landino, co-founder and owner of Aftermarq, suggests taking a step back and focusing on a single platform. Successfully sharing and promoting your videos on YouTube to start, it is far more valuable than falling short on multiple platforms.

So don’t worry about feeling like you need to be everywhere.

Once you are comfortable creating a buzz and developing your audience on YouTube, you can then begin to strategically expand to other platforms and even market your own videos across those platforms.

Amy Landino on Owning A Platform:

Simply owning one platform would serve you so much better than trying to say we’re going to knock out YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn all at the same time because we need to be everywhere. I would empower anyone who is thinking about it to pick one and not give up on it in the first month, because it’s going to be tough at first.

Step 4: Accept that it will take time

Just like being on camera and editing video, there is a learning curve to promoting video. Honing in your target audience, creating good titles and thumbnails, and determining the right video length for a given video, are all skills that improve with time and experience.

As a recognized video expert, who consults business and provides YouTube training, Roberto Blake, CEO and Creative Director of Create Awesome Media, LLC. has seen a number of people give up on video way to soon. If you are not seeing the results you hoped for right away, stick with it. As you develop a larger catalog of videos and more promotion experience, you’ll be able to see what works well and what doesn’t, and future videos will benefit from that.

Roberto Blake on the Learning Curve:

The first year, or so, that you’re doing anything, you probably aren’t great at it yet, because you don’t have the experience. (When you say) “Oh, I did this five or 10 or 12 times and it’s not working, YouTube is a scam.” It’s like “Oh, I went and played basketball five or 10 or 12 times and I couldn’t dunk on anybody, basketball; is a scam.” That’s absurd.

If you want your video to perform well and gain views, a simple post and forget about it, will not work. To get people watching, you need to have some forethought, and plan out how you are going to promote your video. You’ll need to create buzz for your video, and maximize it’s discoverability before posting, and then once you post your video, you need to accept that getting good at something takes time. To be successful you’ll need to understand the learning curve, and be willing to invest the time necessary to learn and grow as a video creator.

For more information provided by these video experts and others at Video Marketing World 2018, check out the TechSmith Academy.