Most digital marketers -- and the clients they work with -- have at least a general understanding of the purpose of SEO: to use specific keywords in web content in hopes of boosting a site’s rankings on Google, the largest search engine in the world.

But what about the second largest search engine? It must be Yahoo!, right? Perhaps Bing? Or, maybe you should... Ask Jeeves?

Nope. The search engine that processes the second highest number of searches -- about 3 billion per month, to be exact -- is YouTube.

“But isn’t YouTube just a platform for people to upload videos of their cats?”

No. Well, yes, but it’s also much, much more than that. About 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube each and every minute, making it larger than Bing, Yahoo!, and AOL combined. Frankly, your business is missing out on a major marketing opportunity if you aren’t using it.

So how can you get your foot in the door of the increasingly competitive YouTube marketing game? Here are just a few simple ways.


When your business is new to YouTube, it’s a little unreasonable to expect to go viral right away. What you want to build is a solid base of subscribers to your channel. Sometimes, a simple yet professional video explaining the basics of your company works just fine. Other times, it takes the creative wit of television advertisers who are always testing the waters by airing the the most ridiculous yet attention-grabbing commercials one could ever think of (remember the horror that was puppy monkey baby? The stuff of nightmares, but somehow, it worked.) Of course, you may not want to go that extreme right off the bat, but anything fun that captures and keeps viewers’ attention is bound to make them want to come back, even if they have no interest in your business itself.

Take the advice of Social Media Examiner’s Eric Siu:

“It may be easier to come up with great content ideas if you don’t limit yourself to videos that relate directly to your product or business,” writes Siu. “This is particularly important if you’re in an industry that’s hard to get people excited about (such as asphalt contracting).”

Again, keep in mind that the beginning stages of channel development are always trial and error. If something just doesn’t stick, move on to another idea.

Educate and Engage

Once you’ve built up even a small group of followers/subscribers, you can direct the focus of your video content more toward your business itself. But the key is for viewers to stay engaged long enough for them to hear the call-to-action at the end of the video, which can direct them to subscribe, visit your business’ website, or simply thank them for watching. Ideally, your videos shouldn’t appear as blatant advertisements, nor should they be too long -- many viewers aren’t very patient and may click away after the first minute if they aren’t getting anything from the video. They should simply sound professional, thoughtful, engaging, and informative. If your viewers can’t follow your video or can’t understand its message, you’ve probably gone too far in trying to disguise its advertorial nature. It’s important to find a middle ground.

“Make sure that your videos evoke the emotions you want customers to feel about your company, even if there isn’t a direct connection between your video content and the product you’re ultimately promoting,” writes Siu.

Still not sure how to focus your video content in a way that doesn’t seem too advertorial? Just use an SEO-type approach: choose keywords that are relevant to those who are looking for more information and center your content around educating viewers about those keywords.

Optimize Channel Page

Finally, as your network of subscribers continues to grow, you’ll have to make sure the appearance of your business’ YouTube channel remains professional and is updated often. The information on your channel’s page should provide basic information about your business as well as links to your business’ website and other related social media. You can also take advantage of your banner header, which allows you to insert up to four clickable links -- use them wisely!

Ultimately, these three strategies may not make your channel go viral overnight, but they’ll certainly work in tandem with other digital marketing techniques to give you a leg up in the competitive world of YouTube advertising.