YouTube videos are incredible for promoting your forum or website. A high quality tutorial, top 10 list, or even just "video blog" style content can bring a lot of traffic to your other online content. I have done it too many times to count, and I want to share some helpful tips with you. Don't worry, we won't just be posting videos to YouTube that advertise our websites. That can actually be a HUGE waste of time! We're going to focus on good content that people can enjoy on YouTube regardless of whether they ever visit your site. That's what we want. I create videos for myself and our clients at my website development company to help them promote their sites, new products, and more. We use these videos around the web on social networks, and even on their own sites to show their existing customers and members. In this brief tutorial, we will not be discussing how to create an account on YouTube, how to edit a video, or how to upload. Instead we'll be focusing on some core concepts such as the type of content, the description and tags, the thumbnail, and some basic marketing to help you get started. This article will help you understand why you should create content for YouTube to help promote your website, and if you need more help in doing that you can always ask me or another contributor! How it Works YouTube is just another platform that you can utilize to gain massive amounts of views on your websites. We use the video as "the hook". It's the content that can get traffic easier than your site because we're piggybacking off of the power of YouTube's search algorithms. In fact, ranking a video on YouTube is so much easier than ranking a website on Google. Just like a search engine, YouTube will look at countless metrics to decide if your video is worth showing users. It's not just about the title or thumbnail, or the tags & description. It's all about the content. Good content keeps viewers watching and that lets YouTube know that the content is worth sharing with other users. A smaller channel has a much bigger chance of receiving thousands of views on a new video than a small/new blog has with a new article. For that reason, creating a video to go WITH your article (ex: for a blog) can have a huge impact on your success. What We Want Informative Entertaining Trending Interesting Specific Unique Follow these guidelines properly. Your video should be informative. It should teach the viewer something they did not already know. When someone learns something they are more likely to tell a friend or share the video than if it's something completely obvious. Entertaining. You should show your personality. Don't make it too serious or long because people will get bored. If this is hard for you, just focus on the other aspects of your video. You'll get better at this over time. Trending: This is one of the most important aspects. You do not want to get bogged down in a list of thousands of related videos. For example, a video about Lebron James' early career would be one of many. However, if Lebron James broke his leg tomorrow and you released a video within the first hour, you have an incredibly larger chance of getting thousands of views for being one of the first videos online. So, we always want our content to be somewhat modern and trendy for the current news or social climate. Interesting... We need our content to not only be informative, but interesting to your target audience. If your website is all about music, you don't want to make a video about hair products. And even if the video is about music, you don't want to pick a topic that is too obscure or boring just for the sake of making a video. Videos should be specific. Let's use our Lebron James example. "Lebron James Playing Basketball" is very generic. "Lebron James Broke His Leg!" is much more specific. Another specific example would be "Lebron James Plays Basketball Against Dave Chapelle". This is because these titles are keyword rich. We have the ranking power of Lebron James there, and the keywords of "broke" and "leg" if that story were true. Additionally if he did play against Dave Chapelle tomorrow, people might be more likely to look up "Lebron james dave chapelle" than just Lebron James, or only Dave Chapelle. So when I say specific, I do not mean make it 'obscure'. Simply pick topics that have a higher chance of ranking due to the multiple keywords your video can rank for. Finally, your video should be unique. Even if the topic is interesting, trendy, entertaining, specific, and informative, you need to create content that isn't overdone. It should relate to your website completely, but also be something you enjoy creating - something you can put your heart and soul into. Don't just follow the trends of YouTube because by then it's too late. Find the trends on reddit, Facebook, the news, and make unique content for YouTube in the first few hours. This has a high chance of meaning you will be one of the first related videos for a current event. It Doesn't Have to be News! Don't worry, you're not going to be creating news videos all day. You need to take all of this advice and apply it to your own content in a unique way. You can look at the news and use it to your advantage without even creating a news article or press release video. If Lebron James broke his leg, you can create a video list of 8 athletes with career ending injuries. This can be a much more interesting video that mentions Lebron, but isn't just a news video. It's a video that people can enjoy for years, and it simply piggybacks or uses the current news cycle to its advantage. So while you want your video to relate to your site, it doesn't have to be news - just understand that creating videos that relate somehow to current news can bring in thousands of more views. The Basics Your title should have multiple keywords related to your content Title should still be readable, short & not click-baity Your thumbnail should use big fonts to make it easy to read Your thumbnail should include at least one image, if not a background image with a darkened overlay to make your text pop out Your tags should not be excessive Make sure your tags are keyword rich & account for different searches (ex: Lebron James, broke, leg, broken, break, injury, hurt) Your description should be accurate & suck the viewer in to your content in the first sentence. Don't be afraid to have a long description with more details and a link to your site, but never include your website link in the first sentence. It appears spammy Use hashtags in your description. This is becoming more trendy and can positively impact your video's ranking power Getting Viewers to Your Website This can be the hardest part. I have found it's easier when my website has more content related to the video. For example, I can say something in the video & description & pinned comment about my site: "Discount codes for these products can be found at ....mylink....", or "For more information about the benefits of Linux, check out my article here...." When I create a video for myself or a client, I always try to make sure the video doesn't cover it all. I always want to link to an article or page that will have more information. For forums, you can say things like, "Follow the discussion here..." or "cast your vote in our site-wide poll here..." When creating video content for forums specifically, I think it's very important to have a dedicated thread for the video. Linking to the forum overall can sometimes work depending on the video content, but you're much more likely to get some visitors if you create a forum thread that discusses the same content as the video, embeds the video itself, has a poll related to the video content, and also provides information that the video did not include. This way your forum members will enjoy the video, and your video watchers will enjoy your forum. It works both ways! One Last Marketing Tip If you want to get more views on your video, you want to embed it or link to it in a variety of places. I highly recommend sharing it on Reddit. You can find a good subreddit (ex: reddit.com/r/gaming) and share the link. Make sure you follow their rules & also contribute to the community with replies and other shares that don't go to your YouTube or website. You can get banned if all you do is share your own content & nothing else. Along with Reddit, you can write content that relates to your video on other forums, blogs and websites. Even if it's just a few paragraphs & the video embed, this can go a long long way. A popular forum can bring in a few hundred views to a new video, so if you do this across multiple forums, getting 1000+ views in the first day on a new video is very easy. When you do this, YouTube sees your content as probably being very interesting and starts to share it. I have found that if I receive 1,000+ views in the first day or two, that video has an extremely high chance of reaching 5-20,000 views in the first month without an issue. I have over 5 million views on YouTube with only 8,000-ish subscribers, and this is because I share my content on reddit, forums, and blogs.