In the five short years since YouTube began, it has quickly become one of the hottest destinations on the Internet. It’s search volume is only second to Google, beating out all the other search engines. Once a little-used medium due to slow Internet connections, the widespread use of broadband has made online video a popular attraction. YouTube was one of the first sites to have been built around online video, and its ease of use and variety of videos help maintain it’s lead in the marketplace.

Marketers were quick to catch on to the possibilities presented by YouTube. They began to create “viral videos”, clips that were intended to draw interest and spark widespread distribution. YouTube’s embed feature allows anyone to place videos on his blog or website, so by creating funny or informative videos, marketers could spread their message far and wide. As you can see evidenced in our own website and YouTube channel (well not the funny or viral part – I haven’t figured that part out yet…but to share information and add a personal touch? Absolutely! With much more to come.)

Any small business owner can harness the power of YouTube to promote his products, services and website. Here are some types of videos that tend to do well:

* Popular commercials – If you carry products that have been featured on a television commercial, putting it on your YouTube can get you more mileage out of it. Just be sure that you have the rights to share any video that you upload directly to your channel, otherwise use the share or embed button to the official commercial.

* How-to videos – While some Internet users just want to be entertained, many of them come online looking for information. How-to videos allow them to see how something is done rather than just reading about it. Businesses capitalize on this by producing videos about how to do things that relate to their products or services.

* Video from special events – If you’ve held or participated in a conference, seminar or other special event, posting a video of it on YouTube could get you lots of traffic. So don’t forget to take your video camera along!

* Funny videos – Lots of Internet users visit YouTube when they need a good laugh. If you can whip up a funny video that features your products or services, there’s a good chance that it could be highly rated and go viral.

A frequent mistake of YouTube marketers is just uploading their video and hoping for the best. Here are some simple steps you can take to increase your video’s chances of success.

* Take care to put your video in the right category, and make full use of tags. Add tags that describe your business and products, as well as the video’s subject matter. This will help users find your video more easily.

* Write a good description that contains keywords that one might use to find your video. Also, be sure to include your site’s URL in the description.

* Be sure to allow embedding, comments and ratings. Allowing others to embed your video will give it more exposure. Making it possible for them to comment will generate discussion, which is also good for your video’s success. And allowing ratings could put you higher in YouTube’s search rankings if people like your video.

YouTube is an invaluable marketing tool. It gives businesses the opportunity to use the popularity of online video to their advantage. Anyone can create a video with Windows Movie Maker and upload it to YouTube, so why not give it a try if you haven’t already?

Would you like to learn more about how to use YouTube and other video sharing sites to increase your profile in the Yellowhead East area? Sign up for the Biz Talk Bulletin or book your personal consultation.

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