For a lot of people, YouTube is a way to while away some time; it’s one of those sites to get sucked into when a friend emails a link for the latest funny email. For businesses though, YouTube can be an amazing marketing channel.

Never thought of YouTube that way? Don’t worry, you’re not the last to wise up. A lot of site owners have fixed the video sharing site in their minds as just some frivolous bit of fun. Since Google gained ownership, YouTube’s place in the scheme of the online world has changed. If you’ve never considered YouTube as an internet marketing avenue, it’s time to change your ideas.

There are a lot of reasons to get on YouTube and I’ll go through them:

1. It’s a search engine. YouTube is really a search engine in its own right. For the last couple of years, YouTube has shown up at the top of lists for most searches. The numbers differ from area to area, but the site is definitely a contender in the search game. The amount of traffic alone makes it worthwhile to pursue, but add to it the fact that internet users are searching for information through the site and you have to take it seriously.

2. The social side. YouTube also has a significant social aspect, one that you can use to build a following just as with any other social network.

3. The SEO angle. It’s strange talking about a video hosting site in connection with search engine optimisation, but SEO is important for YouTube. For one thing, knowledge of SEO tactics can help you get your video noticed on the site itself – the upload process can be optimised as well as the file. Even better, application of SEO on YouTube can get your video featured in Google searches for your keywords, giving you a head start on your competitors if you can hold an organic listing as well as a video listing on the first page for relevant searches.

4. It adds spice to your site. YouTube videos aren’t just for outside hosting to save on your bandwidth usage. One of the major attractions of the site is how easy it is to embed hosted videos on your own site, adding some different content that will catch the eye of your target market and even get them talking.

5. And one more reason – your competitors are doing it. I’ve said that lots of businesses haven’t switched on to the marketing potential of YouTube, but plenty have. It’s easy to get left behind.

How to use this avenue

Even if you’re convinced that YouTube is a valuable marketing avenue, it can be difficult to know what approach to take. Video content seems worlds different from text-based content but it’s not, really. A lot of the ideas that make great text content will also work well in video.

  • How-to videos. These are an easy form of video content, and an interesting one.
  • Graphic-focus. One of the advantages of video content is that it’s image-based. You can use this element to demonstrate complex ideas through graphics, or just create something visually impressive and entertaining.
  • Whiteboard sessions. These are a popular form of video for technical industries. Like graphic-focus videos, they are a good way to explain technical information.
  • Blogs. Don’t underestimate the marketing power of a friendly face. Video blogs enhance the personal side of a business website.

With a decent camera and a little preparation, any business can produce video content for internet marketing purposes. For something that’s not too difficult, it’s a bit of a shame not to pursue it.

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