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YouTube Case Study: How these brands and influencers are generating millions through YouTube marketing

YouTube is one of the world's largest search engines. Here's how to dominate YouTube marketing and drive millions in revenue.
YouTube Case Study: How these brands and influencers are generating millions through YouTube marketing

YouTube is one of the biggest search engines in the world.  

And knowing the ins and outs of YouTube marketing is going to be key for online business success in the coming years.  

The short version of the benefits of marketing your business through YouTube include…

  • A huge platform with a massive active user base
  • A reticence from many professionals to being “on camera”
  • Ability to improve the discoverability, reach, and optimisation of uploads
  • A deliverable that can be used in multiple ways (transcription, audio, video, clips, still images etc.)

I think video marketing is where everyone should be focusing their attention right now.

  • It has a greater impact and more varied use.
  • The tracking of engagement stats is more detailed.
  • The “putting a face to a voice” element helps build trust.

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I’ve spent months looking at what the best YouTubers do well.

Not in the way of generating ad revenue. That’s out of your control and a fool’s goal. YouTube could amend their algorithm or advertising rules and turn a solid 5-figure/month revenue stream to pennies.

No, I’m interested in how smart marketers use YouTube’s organic reach to increase and improve revenue streams they wholly own themselves.

It’s something few are good at, but when the model is used well, it’s one that provides incredible gains for a business.

Why focus on YouTube?

10-Second Summary


  • World’s second largest search engine, also has better engagement stats than Google

  • Video has more opportunity to be repurposed across multiple channels

  • Don’t rely on YouTube for revenue generation. It’s borrowed land.  

30-Second Summary

  • YouTube might be a little further behind Google in terms of raw user numbers, but they massively outperform them in key metrics like time on site and bounce rate. If you’re looking for engagement, YouTube is a better option. 

  • A single YouTube video can be repurposed multiple ways. It can provide several teaser clips, transcription quotes, still images, and more. One piece of content can easily be spun out to multiple assets to dominate other channels.  

  • YouTube is great as an acquisition channel. There are plenty of examples of people seeing their income stream dry up when YouTube changes a rule. Don’t make the mistake of relying on them, and make smart decisions on which videos to optimise for your own revenue stream growth. 

Why focus on YouTube?

The majority of “organic” acquisition fiends are super bullish on Google.

And with good reason. Google is the #1 search engine in the world.

But depending on one channel is never a good idea. While most folk are talking about how to write articles that rank on Google, there are people out there generating 6-figure+ income streams from another source.

YouTube.

According to SimilarWeb, YouTube isn’t just the world’s second most used search engine, but is actually the world’s second most visited website.

It falls far behind Google in terms of raw numbers. Google has around 88B visits a month to YouTube’s 33B.

But there’s more to this than volume.

When you dive into the numbers, you’ll note YouTUbe has far better engagement.

I’m also of the firm belief that YouTube is only going to grow.

If you know any young people (under 20 years old), you’ll know how YouTube is often the first port of call when they’re trying to figure something out.

There’s been a shift to video explanations for a while. But I’d bet my bottom dollar video is going to become the go-to online medium for education and entertainment in the next 5-10 years.

Already it’s much easier to watch a 3 minute video of Gordon Ramsay making Eggs Benedict than sift through multiple written recipes to find the one that…

  • Doesn’t begin with 2000 words of the chef’s thoughts on the origins of eggs
  • Is written in an easy to read style
  • Doesn't link out to other articles that explain things like hollandaise sauce and how to judge whether or not your eggs are bad

Videos streamline the process for many people.

And for more technical tasks ranging from cooking to impress or fixing basic faults with your boiler, having a visual representation makes the process so much easier.

And Google seems to agree.

Google results now include detailed explanations and “chapters” of videos to help you find exactly what you need directly from search.

Video is easier for the consumer. Which means more people will be flocking to video. So you should start producing video content.

And there are very few reasons to not attempt video marketing.  .

If you have a smartphone, you have everything you need to get started.

Before you run off and start recording though, don’t make these mistakes.

The mistakes many make with YouTube

The problem with YouTube is it LOOKS easy.

You might see a kid making $5MM / year doing simple unboxing videos and think “if a 9-year-old can do this, I can totally crush it”.

But YouTube isn’t easy.

Most of the people I know who have tried (and failed) at YouTube made the below mistakes.

Don’t build on someone else’s land

If you’re considering starting on YouTube, or you’re already doing well, do not become dependent on their payments.

This is always a dangerous game.

YouTube (and any other platform that relies on your content) has a history of changing rules for their own benefit.

Here’s an excerpt from a story in 2018.

And here’s what a creator shared more recently.

The question I’d have for any serious marketers is how much money could you generate from an audience of 500,000?

More than $30, right?

YouTube is a great platform to reach your audience. But it should not be relied upon as a monetary channel.

View any ad revenue you receive from YouTube as a bonus, not as the core source of income for your brand.

Understand what metrics to track

I’m not going to say that views and traffic on YouTube are not important.

They are.

But understand where they sit in the journey.

In our GoPro study we talked about the need for a North Star Metric (NSM).

You need to know how YouTube views are feeding into your NSM.

Let’s imagine that you’re a media brand like Morning Brew. And that your revenue model is based on selling ad space within your deliverable.

Your NSM would likely be something along the lines of increasing the size of your engaged audience.

Yes, you’d want views on YouTube, but you want to track how those view levels turn into engaged people in your owned audience.

And what you’ll sometimes find is that the video types with lower views end up contributing more to your key NSM metrics.

In the above, the video with more views contributes less to the NSM.

The top track would work better if you were relying on YouTube’s partner system payouts.

But we don’t want that. We want to turn people into your owned audience so you can continue marketing to them. And for that, the lower track with lower views (and a seemingly lower value) wins.

Short version here is be sure you’re tracking the success of your videos against your NSM.

If you’re not, then you could be optimising for the wrong thing and throwing money away.

Personal vs brand accounts?

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years of watching successful brands is how personal brands often outperform company brands, especially on YouTube.

In fact, in the last few months I saw Ahrefs run a Twitter ad from…

  1. Their brand account
  2. The CMO - Tim Soulo - account

Same ad, different name next to it when running.

The one from Tim’s account outperformed the one from the brand.

Probably because Tim has created a great personal brand and people like to see what he has to say.

People are less likely to immediately judge a post (even if it’s an ad) if it comes from a person instead of a faceless brand.

You see this all the time.

  • Tim Ferriss is the known entity and influencer rather than the “4-Hour Work Week team”.
  • Ramit Sethi is the face of his brand,  not the “I Will Teach You to be Rich crew”.
  • Peep Laja at CXL.
  • Elon Musk.

You can point to hundreds of examples of a brand being driven by the personality of a single person.

It’s obvious when it’s the founder. But what if you work at a large brand where the founder is no longer with us or simply doesn’t have the time/inclination to create videos?

You find someone who is invested in the company’s growth, will be there for a long time, and you get them to be the face and evangelist of the brand.

Let’s once again look at Ahrefs.

Tim is often the person people think of when it comes to the brand, however, it’s Samuel Oh who runs their product education materials.

Sam’s now the face of the majority of Ahrefs’ training videos. And if you head into the Facebook community for the tool, you’ll see him as a frequent receiver and answerer of SEO questions.

The lesson here is that by giving your brand a face, it makes it easier for people to relate, empathise, and grow to love what you do.

A faceless brand is easily dismissed.

But watching the same person week in week out on YouTube is a way to foster greater loyalty.

This alone could keep your audience around and engaged, even if the quality of your content drops in the short term.

Own your audience

It all comes down to this.

Own your audience as a person.

If you’re a current YouTuber looking to increase revenue, the best thing you can do is take your subscribers off the platform into something you own completely, like an email list.

If you’re a marketer looking to start/grow YouTube, use it as an acquisition channel.

And remember to put a friendly face front and center.

Remember that YouTube doesn’t care about you, only how far they can use you to get money off of paying advertisers.

Now, onto the growth.

Attracting people to your YouTube channel

10-Second Summary

  • Niche down and focus on your highest leverage potential to see faster gains. 

  • Start by researching the industry and competitors to understand best video ideas, then complete keyword research for creation.  

  • Use seed, long-tail, and related keywords in the descriptive text. 

30-Second Summary

  • Start small with your video topic focus. If you take a look at most of the successful channels they have a pretty niche focus. 

  • To find out what’s working well, first look at competitors and their top performing videos to get an idea of the best topics. From their define your own video ideas and research keyword volume to validate the idea. 

  • Create your video and make sure that you use seed, long-tail, and related keywords in the headline, descriptive text, tags, and also in the thumbnail.  

Downloads

Check appendix A for...

  • A spreadsheet to help you record video topic research and rank those ideas based on their impact

  • A simple YouTube keyword explanation guide and visual

  • A swipe file of some great keyword placement examples

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Acquisition is one of the hardest parts of driving growth. YouTube is no different.

It’s not easy to ensure your videos are the ones people find and click on.

I’ve been diving deep into people’s channels and various training resources to figure this out.

Below is the basic process that’s both often used and often recommended. Before we get into the written analysis, here’s the basic flow of actions we’re going to cover.

Finding your talking point

It’s easy to get your phone out and start recording what you think your audience wants to watch.

But before any ideation happens, you need to think about the topic you’re going to focus on.

Getting niche here is key. You want to get yourself a reputation as the go-to source of information in that particular niche.

You might not always remain in that niche, but you need something to start you off.

How do you find your perfect niche and talking point?

You should already know what kind of topics you want to focus on. However, you need to take it a step further and find the overlap between your business / its features/skills and what your audience wants to watch.

The easiest way to do that is to look at what’s already doing well.

If you already have content that’s on YouTube, then look at your own channel.

If not, find someone who’s the closest competitor and head to their video list.

If we imagine that I want to grow a channel on business and marketing advice, I might pick someone like Noah Kagan.

Go to the channel and click on videos.

Sort those videos by “most popular” to get a list of the most trafficked videos on that channel.

A quick analysis of Noah’s channel highlights the best video ideas as...

  • Breakdowns of / interviews with profitable businesses
  • Instructional videos on how to make money
  • Business/job ideas

There’s a big overlap between all 3.

These aren’t on the nuts and bolts of marketing and business. We’re not talking about “how to write a great headline” or some other such tactical thing.

This is higher-level stuff.

It’s aspirational for many.

But it could be tied back into something technical later down the line. For example, an email service provider could riff on this and create videos like…

  • How [BRAND X] make’s $100,000 / month through email
  • X 6-figure automation jobs for 2021 and beyond
  • The 7-figure message used by [BIG BRAND]

The core idea - aspirational money making - is the same. It’s just changed slightly to align with the brand doing the research.

Of course, getting this right depends upon you researching the right person.

If you’re doubling down on your own content, then simply use your channel (if there’s enough research material).

If not, you want to find someone who is as close a competitor as possible.

All you’re looking for is the core idea here.

What you want to do is record the idea types in a spreadsheet to get a quick overview of what is doing well on YouTube for channels your target market enjoys.

The more of this research you do, the more patterns you’ll see coming up.

For example, in analysing just the first few from Noah’s channel we can see that the best performing videos are…

  • Financially focused
  • Some case study type videos (on financial success)
  • A couple of listicle based pieces that have “backed by data” in there

From these alone we have a starting point. However, one channel is not enough.

Once you’ve got one channel out of the way, research at least 2 others to get a better view of what’s working and round out your data.

The best way to find those channels is to click through to the most relevant video on the channel you’re researching.

On the right hand side you’ll be able to filter the recommended videos by sub-type.

Once you have a few options, click through to a channel with the best views and restart the process.

Again, look for the archetypes and ideas that have got the most interest by sorting by most popular.

Add new info to your spreadsheet. Rinse and repeat until you’re happy with the data you have.

But be sure to do it at least 3 times.

Why are we researching channels that are already doing well?

Because these people have spent time, money, and effort to figure out what topics get clicks and what videos show up in the “recommended for you” side bar.

Don’t reinvent the wheel here.

Steal it from what’s already working.

All you’re trying to do is find what’s getting recommended and insert yourself into the existing conversation and demand.

Creating video ideas

Years ago, I took a training course on using Google’s Keyword planner to find YouTube video ideas.

The concept is good, but the execution is too laborious.

What we’re going to do is reuse that same idea to refine the overarching ideas and talking points into actual video ideas.

And we’re going to use a super cheap tool called Keywords Everywhere for this.

Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension that simply pulls relevant Google data into your searches.

Let’s continue with the idea of business and marketing ideas.

We already have a start on the potential seed keyword ideas. What we want to do now is activate Keywords Everywhere and type the seed keywords into the YouTube search box.

What you’ll see is something like the below.

The information to the right of the Google auto-complete data is from Keywords Everywhere.

The sweet spot is a search term that has…

  1. At least a few thousand search terms per month
  2. A higher than average CPC (this tells us it’s commercially viable)
  3. A lower competition score (competition is ranked 0-1, with 12 being the “most competitive”)

If you can find something that hits all 3, you have something people are searching for, has the potential to convert into sales, and there’s not a lot of competition.

If that’s not enough information, click through onto one of the best potentials to get the video results page.

Keywords Everywhere adds a bar on the right hand side with more detailed stats.

And if you click the “Find YouTube keywords for ‘[keyword]’” you’ll get even more information.

Just like that we have a couple of new ideas to run with.

Add these to your spreadsheet to get a better spread of ideas.

I’d also use this opportunity to make a note of which ideas have the best search and conversion potential. You only want to focus on the easiest wins right now.

Pick the best potentials in terms of traffic, commercial viability, and ease of ranking and use them to come up with actual video ideas.

When you have some actual video titles, assess them on the ICE framework.

You analyse

  • The Impact the video is likely to have
  • The Confidence you are of its success
  • The Ease of creation and implementation

Rank each out of 10.

The ones with the highest score are your best starting videos.

By going through this multi-stage process you’ll find video ideas that…

  • Have the potential to rank well and get decent traffic
  • Should help you convert watchers to customers
  • Are the best use of your time

But if you’ve been reading our content, you know we’re not going to simply put something up on YouTube and wait for the Google Gods to smile on us.

We have more plans on this later.

For now, let’s move on to YouTube SEO to increase your video’s chance of success.

YouTube SEO

We’re jumping ahead a little here and assuming you’ve created the video and it’s ready for upload.

When it comes time to upload your video, you’ve got to make sure you hit the right SEO elements to increase the vid’s chance of ranking.

Unlike Google, you can’t rely on things like…

  • Keyword density
  • Relevant backlinks

You have to make sure that the handful of written elements tell Google what the video is about.

You also need to make sure that those same written elements are relevant to the search someone would make.

Let’s look at some examples.

We’ll head back to Noah Kagan’s channel here and his video titled “5 Best Money Making Business Ideas You Can START TODAY”.

The seed keyword in the above is Business Ideas.

  • The title
  • The description
  • The video tags

Noah has also included a secondary keyword of “start a business in 2021” in both the description and tags.

This is what you need to do with the keywords you’ve identified.

Much like an article, you need to include the primary keywords you;re targeting in these areas. Without this, Google won’t know what to rank you for.

One thing I would recommend is to use more and longer tail tags that are relevant.

If we look at another YouTuber - Ali Abdaal, you can see what he does with this.

The video is for aspiring YouTubers. And it looks like the seed keyword is “start a YouTUbe channel”.

If you look through his tags, he’s included a lot of long-tail variants of that seed keyword.

This is great because it covers more ground. It tells Google what other kinds of searches your video should rank for.

All you’d have to do here is pick a seed keyword that you identified in your research, head to YouTube and tap it into the search bar.

If we do it again with “Profitable Business Ideas” we’d see the below.

The idea for the video might be “Profitable Business Ideas you can start at home in 2021”.

The Seed Keyword would be Profitable Business Ideas as it has the highest volume.

However, the tags could be some of the relevant longer tail searches like…

  • Profitable business ideas low investment
  • Profitable business ideas 2021
  • Profitable business ideas you can start at home

If you search for these, you might also find other ideas like…

A lot of these searches have too low search volume to justify a full video.

But if they’re relevant to your higher search volume idea, put them in as longer tail tags. This way YouTube has a better chance of ranking your video for the terms other people aren’t optimising for.

Do this enough, and those small 210 searches per month could add up to a couple of thousand extra views.

That’s the core of YouTube SEO from what we’ve been able to analyse.

Now let’s move on to what to do when you’re getting traffic.  

Engaging your YouTube viewers

10-Second Summary

  • There’s a definite common template most successful videos use. Copy it.  

  • Most successful videos open with an open-loop to hook attention. 

  • Make sure you ask your viewers to like, subscribe, and comment within the video.  

  • Thumbnail creative is similarly templated and can be easily copied.  

30-Second Summary

  • Most of the successful videos I analysed use a very similar template format. This template is pretty well set and is tried-and-tested. Copying it until you get your own data to analyse from is the smartest choice.  

  • The template often begins with a teaser to generate interest. This open-loop isn’t closed until the final 3rd of the video. This ensures the majority of viewership remains engaged for a good portion of the vide.  

  • All of the big channels actively ask their users to take the engagement metrics YouTube uses to rank videos. Either with a verbal callout or with a simple on-screen graphic.  Asking people to like, subscribe, and comment helps grow the audience AND boost reach.   

  • Video thumbnails are also very templates. They general consists of a face (as the brain recognises it faster than other images) and copy that reinforces the benefit without copying the headline.  

Downloads

Check appendix B for...

  • A basic YouTube script that aligns with the common best template other YouTubers use

  • A simple checklist for your Thumbnail to help you create high engagement images. 

  • A breakdown of the most popular video headline formulae

Join our Premium Membership now to unlock the downloads mentioned above

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Available from the monthly or yearly plan

Unlike Google search, YouTube doesn’t look at things like backlinks to judge the value of content.

They instead look at metrics related to how long a viewer spends on YouTube.

Specifically they look at…

  • CTR from thumbnail to video
  • Average view duration
  • Video length
  • Views
  • Comments
  • Subscriber count
  • Resolution

And of course the keywords you’ve selected.

In short, if you can create videos that hold user attention and get them to like, comment, and subscribe, you’ll do well in the rankings.

Easier said than done though, right?

After watching a lot of successful videos, I’ve broken down the basic approach to creating something that ranks to the below.

Now, this model isn’t 100% accurate.

The general approach is the same. However, you might find that the “like and subscribe / comment” section works better in your video a little earlier or later.

Maybe you have a key promo point earlier in your video and so will want to pull that forward.

This is not set in stone.

This is intended as a starting template.

Let’s look at it in more detail.

Thumbnail and headline

Earlier on I mentioned the benefit of having a single person to be the face of the videos.

That face should also feature heavily on the YouTube thumbnails.

If you take a look into the psychology behind why this is important, you’ll find studies like this one. It details how faces in marketing are much better at grabbing a user’s attention.

In the above linked study, faces are detected twice as fast as images without faces, and they work to create a greater feeling of community and brand recognition with the customer.

Take a look at anyone who’s using YouTube as a marketing channel well, and you’ll see faces.

Some examples…

Ali Abdaal - Productivity YouTuber

12 out of 15 feature Ali’s face.

Alex Cattoni - Copywriting YouTuber

15 of 15 feature Alex’s face.

Ahrefs - SaaS tool for SEO

15 of 15 feature Sam’s face.

Corridor Crew - VFX studio

15/15 feature some form of face.

What’s interesting is how the Corridor Crew do this.

They could just lead with their faces in each video. However, they also make use of celebrities and recognisable characters they’re featuring in their videos.

This is a great workaround for brands who have a “behind the scenes” staff that might not want their faces featured.

In addition to the use of faces, note the use of language between the headline and thumbnail copy.

The two are related, but aren’t a 1:1 copy.

The copy within the image is often a “quick reference” type piece of copy.  If someone was skimming through the YouTube results for a search, the image copy needs to stand out.

Using the image copy to cover…

  • A major benefit
  • The key lesson
  • Some form of transformation

Is key to grabbing attention.

The actual headline should be optimised for keywords. But pull a short version of the message and include it in the video thumbnail.

Ideally in a way that feeds the search term or question back to the searcher.

Some examples…

Ahrefs video on What makes a backlink “good”?

Primary keywords used in headline:

  1. Backlinks
  2. SEO course by Ahrefs

Query keywords used in thumbnail:

  1. Good vs Bad backlinks

Why it works:

This video is going to rank for searches around good backlink generation, and Ahrefs is an established name in the SEO space.

So the keywords make sense.

The primary questions they’ll be wanting answers to are how to get high quality backlinks.

So the image copy also works to grab attention.

Alex Cattoni’s video on How to build a 7-figure business

Primary keywords used in headline:

  1. Build a business

Query keywords used in thumbnail:

  1. $1,000,000 secrets

Why it works:

Building a business is a common search term. Crafting a video around the topic that appeals to relevant keywords is a no-brainer.

Alex has also put one of the primary benefits of building a successful business - financial reward - in the thumbnail. Not only that, she’s used the magic number that often gets attention. $1,000,000.

Be sure to check the downloads for a checklist for the thumbnail and a big list of headline formulae.

Tease (optional)

Not every channel or video does or needs this. But I personally think it’s a great addition.

Often, when clicking through to a video you’ll be greeted with a very short ~5-10 second segment of something notable from later in the video.

We’re talking something that grabs attention and makes the watcher think “my god, I have to watch this now”.

The Corridor crew guys are great at this.  They lead every video with a ~10 second segment of high-interest point from later in the video.

In this video they tease 2 high-interest points.

  1. The team talking about how good an old-school visual effects shot is
  2. A sneak peek of a call they have with the lead FX guy for The Snyder Cut of Justice League

Of course that intro is super flashy and attention grabbing as well. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Meryl Streep brandishing a shotgun?

I love this as a tactic.

It’s the same concept as an open loop.

You feed the user a tidbit of information that piques their curiosity. Their brain won’t be able to rest until that loop is closed which increases their chance of watching more.

Which, of course, increases your key metrics.

If you want to implement this it seems the best YouTube open loops lead the video with a huge revelation, interesting point, major benefit.

However, be careful not to give too much away.

Intro

With the intro you want to continue on that open loop type approach.

The best intros are super simple. You simply tell the watcher what they’re going to learn, see, or get from your video.

You basically want to give them a reason to watch your video. Tell them why it’s important for them.

Noah Kagan offers a good example in this video on the 9 biggest job opportunities for the next decade.

Within 30 seconds, Noah has outlined why you should watch the video.

The full script from this section is…

“So I made this video to help show you high-paying, cool careers I highly encourage everyone to consider for the next decade so you don’t have to waste your time in a dead-end cubicle job for years like I did”.

Is someone who’s looking to earn a lot of money with a cool job going to be interested in this?

Yes.

Will outlining the above to them within the first 30-seconds help retain their attention?

Yes.

Your intro should be as simple as that.

Value

Whatever the message your video is trying to communicate, the value sections are where you do it.

Doesn’t matter if that value is…

  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Information
  • Something else

Just make sure that you offer the value the user expects from you.

Like & subscribe

One of the golden rules in marketing is to make the CTA easy to understand and obvious.

Button CTAs say things like “Buy now”. They tell the user what they want them to do to progress to the next stage.

It’s no different with your YouTube videos.

As mentioned earlier, your video’s ranking is determined by engagement factors.

2 of those are the number of likes and subscriptions it generates.

So, rather than leave this to chance, you have to ask people to take the action.

It appears that most YouTubers don’t lead with this at the start of the video.

They wait until they’ve provided a little value in their video before asking the user to subscribe.

As for that ask, it happens in one of two ways.

  1. It’s a simple on-screen graphic that pops up as a reminder
  1. They actively call it out by saying something like “if you enjoy this content and want more, please consider subscribing”. JackFrags, a video game YouTuber, does a good job of this as seen below.

Promo / Traffic shaping

This is the difference maker in my opinion.

YouTube is a great medium. And no doubt there are skilled YouTubers out there eating off their ability to craft engaging videos.

However, in my opinion this simply isn’t good enough.

You’re building your business on land you don’t own. If YouTube changes anything to do with their monetisation strategy, you could be left out in the cold and see your revenue fall through the floor.

The best YouTubers use YouTube as an acquisition channel. And they use a promotion or traffic shaping strategy to make money off the YouTube platform.

There are a couple of ways you can do this which I’ll explain shortly.

However, in short what you want to do is recreate what is, in effect, a content upgrade on YouTube.

Basically give a short, relevant tease of your product or offer within YouTube and tell people within the video where they can learn more.

You can do this mid-video with a verbal call out, or simply leave it to the end with YouTube’s end card.

Personally, I’d recommend both.

One other thing to note is that smart marketers generally don’t redirect directly to a sales page though. They’ll redirect to an email sequence that continues to build trust.

If we were to visualise what that might look like, it would be something like this.

The tease is something you’ll have to play around with. However, the most successful teases for traffic shaping follow the same principles as a regular content upgrade for written content.

So you want to engage people with the primary content - in this case the video - and tell people where to go to get…

  1. A downloadable template
  2. The next edition or “editor’s cut” video
  3. A downloadable version

Or something similar.

Anything that would make the act of clicking through form the video to your website a no brainer.

Nurture and grow your viewers

10-Second Summary

  • Consistency wins. Keep publishing content for continued gains. 

  • Set up smart engagement loops to get your existing audience to help grow the reach on YouTube’s rented platform. 

  • Reuse each video in as many ways a possible to increase traffic and reach. 

30-Second Summary

  • Every successful YouTuber has a loose publication schedule that they stick to. WIthout one, you’ll end up being forgotten by your audience. A simple schedule will help growth, and will help you improve at a faster rate.  

  • YouTube should be viewed as an acquisition channel. However, the viewers and subscribers it has already helped you acquire should be used to help you acquire more. Ask current subscribers to your email list or owned assets to boost your next video’s engagement. 

  • YouTube has great discoverability if played correctly. However, you also have to actively promote it in as many places as possible.  Make sure you’re reusing your video everywhere you can. 

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  • A video of one YouTuber’s funnel that should be the model you copy

  • A promotional checklist to ensure each and every video is being reused to maximum effect

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So at this point you have engaging videos that increase the chances of people…

  • Liking
  • Subscribing
  • Watching longer periods of time
  • Checking out your off-YouTube properties

But the whole model here is very one directional.

You’re burning your YouTube bridges in a way by simply using it to funnel traffic to your offers.

And if YouTube is providing you with good leads, you want to keep that going.

The thing I’d recommend here is setting up a very simple engagement loop with the people you’ve directed to your owned audience platform.

There are two steps to dominating YouTube.

Step 1 - Keep it going

I don’t think anyone should rely 100% on a rented audience platform for their revenue.

However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

If YouTube is getting your brand in front of people, keep the momentum going.

If you’re following this guide and…

  • Choosing relevant topics
  • Optimising for high volume keywords
  • Creating optimised videos that increase engagement

YouTube will reward you with greater reach and a growing audience.

You’ll find your videos showing up in search and in the recommended videos section.

Don’t ruin any progress you have made or will make.

The best advice is to keep things going and be consistent on the platform. Check any successful channel and you’ll see that they have consistent upload schedules.

Here’s a look at XiaoMaNYC’s recent uploads.

When it comes to your publication schedule, don’t worry about daily, weekly, monthly etc right now.

Instead, focus on what is a realistic publication schedule for you to churn out quality videos that align with the template above.

Quantity is great, but if the quality isn’t there then it’s useless.

The other action I’d recommend is…

Step 2 - Set up smart engagement loops

I recently wrote about how Eddie Shleyner creates engagement loops to bring his owned audience into the growth of his rented audience.

You should do the same with YouTube.

If you’re directing people off YouTube to your email list, then use those people to ensure each new video gets off to the best start possible.

Yes, YouTube will tell your subs that a new video has been published, but not everyone is sitting around on YouTube waiting for you to hit publish.

The best marketers make sure that each new video is pumped out to their email subs.

Unsurprisingly you’ll see Noah Kagan doing a great job of this.

At the start of his emails he’ll often link to his most recent video on YouTube.

This is a great way to get the initial traction and show YouTube that the video is worth wider promotion.

Your email subscribers are super invested in your brand. Make sure they know about how they can get closer to you.

All it takes is a quick email to say “check out the latest video here”.

If you want to kick this up a notch, you could also incentivise people liking, subscribing, and commenting on your video with some form of giveaway.

Just be aware of the rules YouTube has established for this though.

Again, Noah has a great example of this. He ran a giveaway for his Tesla. And to be in with a chance of winning, you had to be subscribed to him on YouTube.

If you have a relevant giveaway that could drive engagement, use it.

If I was to do this, I’d ask people to like and comment to be in with a chance of winning. Then I’d use something like WooBox to pick a comment at random as the winner.

Basically, you want to ask your email subscribers to check out your latest videos.

And maybe once a month or quarter, do a giveaway that incentivises people to take the engagement actions that boost your video’s reach.

Visualised that might look like this.

With this model you’re getting your owned audience to help boost your reach, thus attracting a greater audience on a rented platform.

This isn’t anything new and is also the model I’d recommend for any social media platform.

Step 3 - Video promotion tips

Waiting on an algorithm to rank your content and drive visitors for you is a fool’s game.

The wonderful thing about video content though is how it can be reused in multiple ways for promotion.

You could quite easily take all the below from one video…

  • A transcript to publish below the video on your site for SEO juice
  • Multiple short clips (10 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes etc) to promote on multiple networks
  • Still images for sharing
  • Audio for a podcast

This can be a lot of work though.

What I’d recommend is simply focusing on pulling multiple promotional clips from each video to be shared across other networks where you have an audience.

If you’ve already edited the video, this is a pretty quick and painless approach.

Just identify short segments that would work well as promotions and share them across multiple networks with the link pointing back to the original video.

Here’s a visualisation.

This clip method works as a teaser. As you can see there’s still enough of the video left that, even if someone saw all your clips, they’d still want to watch the whole thing.  

The full YouTube model

Let’s pull all of the various sections together to create one, complete YouTube model and run through everything quickly.

From a high-level, the model looks something like this.

With a little explanation, that’s…

  • Step 1 - Research high volume, low competition video ideas and the relevant keywords
  • Step 2 - Create and publish a video that uses the researched template and is SEO optimised
  • Step 2.5 - Take multiple clips from that video to promote it across social sites and communities
  • Step 3 - Create an opt-in page for your email list, use a relevant lead magnet upgrade that’s hinted at in your video
  • Step 4 - Send the viewer a welcome email series that promotes your paid asset
  • Step 5 - Add the user into your usual newsletter rotation
  • Step 6 - When you publish a new video, make sure you email your current email subs to check it out
  • Bonust step - If possible, run giveaways on your YouTube channel that require likes/comments. Make sure to promote through the usual channels of social, communities, and your email list.

Let’s also recap the model’s steps with simple bullet points.

Acquisition

Follow this process to publish videos that…

  1. Your audience wants to watch
  2. Is optimised and so will have a better chance of organic rankings

And some more detailed explanations.

  • Step 1 - Identify a niche talking point to help you build authority and an audience faster
  • Step 2 - Research competitor videos to identify topics of high interest
  • Step 3 - Use that research to identify potential video ideas
  • Step 4 - Find the keywords that have high volume, low competition, mid-high CPC
  • Step 5 - Make sure your video uses relevant keywords in the title, thumbnail, description, and tags

This will help give your video the best chance of ranking well and attracting organic traffic on its own.

Engagement

Optimising the video’s topic and basic SEO is one thing. However, YouTube ranks videos based on user engagement.

After watching countless videos of channels that are growing right now, there is a general pattern to the kind of video that gets good watch time and helps to grow a channel.  That basic model is…

Here’s a run down of the steps.

  • Step 1 -  Lead with a tease of an interesting point that comes up later in the video to create an open loop and curiosity
  • Step 2 - An introduction that teases what the viewer will learn or receive as a benefit for watching the video
  • Step 3 - Start delivering value
  • Step 4 - After a little value has been delivered, either ask the user to like & subscribe or put a graphic on screen as a prompt
  • Step 5 - Continue with the value of the video
  • Step 6 - At the point of highest interest for your owned assets, tell the user where they can go to get access to it. This should be to a free lead magnet to secure their email address
  • Step 7 - Continue providing value
  • Step 8 - End card that keeps them engaged with your channel and offers a direct link to your owned asset opt-in

One thing to note here is that there are no hard and fast rules on exactly when you should ask users to like and subscribe or when you should try to shape traffic to your owned audience opt-in.

We can’t say “at exactly 7 minutes and 29 seconds do X.

It depends on your video topic, length, and the script you’ve written for that video.

It’s similar to putting a CTA on a sales page. There is no one best placement.

You have to look at where the intent for action is the highest.

So, where in your video is someone most likely to think “I can’t wait for the next video”? That’s where you push for the like and subscribe.

Find the place in your video where someone would think “I wish I could do that” to push them toward your owned asset opt-in which will set them on the path to solving the problem themselves (and adding them to your email list).

The exact timing of these things will be different for every video you make. And you need to experiment and keep an eye on these to find the best possible location.

Growth

Once you’ve got your videos on topics that people are interested in, and a template that fosters better engagement, it’s time to hit the growth.

The first thing you’ll want to do is increase the ToFu traffic.

And the easiest way to do this is to make sure that your video is being promoted across any and all relevant social platforms, communities, or areas your ideal audience hangs out.

Here’s how I’d recommend doing this.

  • Step 1 - Pull short video clips, still images, or quotes from your video asset
  • Step 2 - Share those short versions across social platforms, communities, and forums where your
  • Step 3 - make sure they all include a link back to the original video
  • Step 4 - Rinse and repeat. Never let your promotion of videos (even old videos) die off

This will help drive new viewers from one rented audience platform to another.

But to kick the growth machine up a notch you need to increase the chance of…

  1. Sales and revenue you control (not YouTube ad revenue)
  2. Engagement that increases the reach of the video

The best way to achieve both of these is through email.

Here’s what the visualisation would look like.

If we break it down, here are the steps.

  • Step 1 - Include a relevant tease and promotion of your owned asset in your video
  • Step 2 - Offer the owned asset as a freebie if they join your email list
  • Step 3 - Send a welcome email series that builds trust whilst also promoting your paid asset (generating revenue you own 100%)
  • Step 4 - When the welcome sequence is done, add them to your normal newsletter rotation
  • Step 5 - Email your newsletter subscribers when you have a new video out to get initial traction in terms of views

With this you’re bringing our owned audience back to the rented audience platform to manually increase the engagement, which helps increase overall reach.

To kick that up another step, you can run a giveaway or competition on YouTube that requires engagement. Promote that through the same channels above (social and email) and you should see a drastic increase in engagement and new views.

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