Video is an important tactic for library marketing. I really believe that. To help you make the leap to video, I’ve created a tutorial to help you set up and run your library’s YouTube channel. This post, and the one published last week, feature tips from Jonathan Stanley, who is the creative manager of online video content and production for Lowe’s. I attended a session led by Jonathan at Content Marketing World. Read part one here. It talks about cleaning up your current YouTube channel and creating a schedule and strategy for your library’s video marketing.

The next step is to decide which of the three basic types of videos you’ll want to create. They are:

Help Content: Also known as the “how-to” video, you can create this kind of video by searching your website analytics to see what your cardholders are looking for when they visit your site. What questions do they have? What services are they using? What web pages do they go to most often and what do they do once they get to those pages? You should also do a check of keywords used in searches in connection with your library, so you can see what people who might be potential customers are searching for. This keyword research will uncover the questions your customers and potential customers have. Then, use video to answer those questions! Help content builds traffic to your YouTube channel and library website. Here’s a great example that could be easily replicated by any library.

Hub Content: These videos are part of an ongoing series. They’re episodic or formulaic and recur consistently. They’re the “must watch” variety of videos we talked about in part one of this tutorial, like the “How to Cake It” series. These videos get people to keep coming back to your YouTube channel to consume more content. You can use hub content to start to build your brand’s voice and to really define what your library stands for. Once you decide on your publication schedule and the formula, these videos are pretty easy to churn out.

My library has an ongoing hub content series, called Virtual Storytime. We publish these once a month. They are have a basic formula and take about an hour to shoot and an hour to edit. They are easily replicated by any library.

Hero Content: These are the big productions that you probably think of when you think of YouTube videos. They should be used for a major launch of a product or service, the opening of a new building, or some other major event. Done really well, these may be the best performing videos on your channel. But they also take the most time (and money) to produce, so save them for major announcements.

Jonathan has a fourth type of video he thinks works well. He calls it Herd Content. To create herd content, ask your library cardholders what kind of videos they want to see from your library and then produce them! Herd content will increase engagement and make your cardholders feel like you’re giving them the help they need. Herd content is video your cardholders will actually use!

And now, after you’ve created your video, Jonathan has the following tips:

Choose the thumbnail picture for your video carefully. The thumbnail picture is the billboard advertisement for your video. Research shows that faces are more likely to be clicked on by YouTube users so choose a face over an object. If you are creating a series of videos, be consistent with the look of your thumbnail pictures (like you’ll notice my library does for our Virtual Storytime series). Settle on a look for the thumbnail and then replicate it for all the videos in the series. For another example of a channel that does a good job choosing thumbnails, check out Adam Ruins Everything.

Be sure to support your video as soon as you post it with promotion to drive traffic to your channel. The first 48 hours are critical to overall success. YouTube will reward you for something called “positive velocity”, which is total number of views your video gets AND the total amount of time your viewers actually spend watching the video in the first 48 hours. A negative number will actually hurt the next video you post, so you have to start supporting your video with promotion as soon as you post.

Stick with it! Most YouTube channels grow slowly at first. Don’t be frustrated by slow growth, as long as you are growing subscribers. Be sure to directly ask viewers to subscribe. Ask for comments too… they’ll drive more traffic to your YouTube channel.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedInInstagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

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