Citizen Kane is generally seen as a triumph of cinema – a well-made film with an engaging plot and terrific acting. But it was an absolute box office flop. On its release, tickets were as hard to shift as poo-flavoured lollipops. The costs of the film weren’t met, and the producers were left scratching their collective heads.

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Sometimes it happens. For no good reason, a brilliant piece of work is produced that is seen by practically no-one. It’s a situation that has a potential audience missing out on viewing something special, and the creators missing out on sweet dolla dolla bills. There’s no winner.

This isn’t what you want to happen with the cracking piece of cinematography that is your latest content marketing vid. In a world that is blessed with the gift of YouTube, it should be easier than ever to get your work in front of the punters that will appreciate it. But the accessibility and ease of use is also YouTube’s downfall, as you and your clip are but a single raindrop in a raging torrent of teenagers screaming into webcams.

Thankfully, there are a few basic steps that can help toward ensuring you get your video in front of as many eager eyes as you can. And by working through this little checklist, you’ll instantly put yourself above the large majority of YouTube journeymen when it comes to getting those juicy YouTube hits.

Proper Descriptions

  •         You need to accurately name the movie file prior to uploading it to YouTube. If it’s a video about content marketing, name it content_marketing.mp4, not hjiJIOPnjhP908732.mp4 or whatever random/generic name it had when it lobbed onto your computer.
  •         Once uploaded, an accurate, snappy title is the order of the day. Try to use the title as a saucy tease of what the video might contain. Continuing with the example above, something like “Will New Content Marketing Change the World?” might be enough of a suggestive wink to get someone clicking.
  •         YouTube gives you enough space for a video description of a few paragraphs. Use it. This is your chance to sell your video anyone who’s interested enough to “read more”, but not quite convinced to sit through your three minute work of art. Make it sound as interesting as it obviously is.
  •         Use tags. Try to think of key search terms that people would use to find what you’re pushing, and add them in. The more the merrier, as it increases your chances of getting a hit. Don’t bother putting any in the description though, as this won’t aid your search result performance.

Generously Spread It

  •         So you’ve thrown your video up. Congratulations! Now you need eyes on it, and the clock is ticking. YouTube prioritises fresh content, so you need to let others know that your new stuff is up and ready for the couch and popcorn treatment as soon as possible.

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  •         Sharing your video on your social feeds is a great place to start, as they presumably contain an audience that is already interested in what you do. A bulk email to other contacts that allows you to sell the clip is another option.
  •         If your content warrants it, you may want to think about setting up a website that deals exclusively in it. Showcasing your videos in this way allows you to unashamedly promote your videos to anyone who heads to the page.

Increasing Views Organically

  •         Using annotations (clickable pop-ups) within your video to direct the keen viewer to more of your content or your website is a great way of juicing an already interested party for more views, as is putting contact details and social handles at the end of your videos (film credits style).

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  •         Get these suckers to subscribe! It can feel an awkward ask, and a little as though you’re a beggar on the street, but requesting a viewer subscribe at the end of a video is often the only way that they’ll even think to. That little red button can become invisible to hardened YouTube veterans.
  •         In the same way, there’s a reason that idiot 14 year old YouTube sensation yells “LIKE AND SHARE” at the end of his videos. It’s because – for some otherworldly reason – it bloody works. He’s got four million followers before he’s got his gentleman’s foliage. Case closed.
  •         Create playlists. If you’ve got a few videos that work organically and can flow into each other, compile them into a playlist. This means a person might watch seven of your videos instead of their intended one.
  •         The sense of community in YouTube is surprisingly strong, so if you’re an active commenter (and the comments are not those of a jerk) you’ll find that others will reciprocate, and take the time to find out what you’re about. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get your name out there! I’m talking throwing words down on every video you watch.
  •         You’ll notice on video search results as soon as there is some semblance of cleavage on a video’s thumbnail the view count skyrockets. While you don’t need soft porn to do it, make sure your thumbnail is eye-catching. These can be done in Photoshop.

If all else fails…

  •         Inadvisable and disingenuous, buying YouTube views is a real thing. And bugger it, it can work. If you’re happy to sell your soul, you can throw down $20 and rack up a few thousand peeper points. Beware though, if this is the tack you take, it will probably violate YouTube’s terms of service, so only walk the tightrope if you’re happy to fall into the “banned user” canyon.