Serious marketing requires serious effort. Success of your book (website/music album/business) does not primarily depend on your creativity. It depends on your willingness to work hard.
Shortcuts do exist, true, and creative social media campaign can bring big traffic to your website (see my Reddit experiment as a good example of it happening). But, speaking from long term perspective, you will never build your business on foundations of these campaigns. The traffic from social media campaigns simply doesn’t last. Once the campaign ends, you will end up without any visitors. And you can’t repeat the same thing time and again. It won’t be effective anymore.
Therefore we should primarily focus on long term marketing strategies that will eventually result in recurring traffic to our websites.
I have three such strategies in mind for the University of Solitude. All of them require a lot of effort and patience, but I don’t mind.
Ninety-five out of hundred people are either lazy, or they give up too soon. They will not devote enough time to these long-term strategies, or they will quit too soon. Which means less competition for me and you, so nothing to complain about… I am not lazy and hope you aren’t 🙂
Finding readers on YouTube
One of my three main long-term marketing strategies consists in finding readers on YouTube.com.
Notice that I did not write “building a YouTube channel or gaining YouTube subscribers”. I did not title the strategy this way, because getting YouTube views or YT subscribers is not my goal…
What matters to me is how many people will visit my websites and read the University of Solitude (and other books I may write), based on the videos they see on YouTube. The aim is to find readers.
The diagram below should give you a good idea of my strategy, and I’ll explain it right now step by step.
Starting the channel.
Pretty straightforward. You choose a nice profile photo on Google plus, pick a suitable background for your channel, and write a fitting description. Voila – you have just started your own YouTube Channel!
Making a list of videos to create.
A YouTube channel without videos is like a swimming pool without water- useless, and it won’t attract anyone. You should create a list of videos to make.
I reread my book, and I wrote down plenty of ideas for videos. It mostly goes about short excerpts from various book chapters, or about stand alone philosophical messages. But I got also some creative ideas, e.g. the one below, that I already turned into a video:
Creating and editing videos
Hard work starts here. Planning is fun, but editing not so much. To make a good YouTube video takes time. A lot of time. You will likely need to learn working with video editing program (e.g. Windows movie maker), and you’ll experience a steep learning curve. However, luckily for us, there are plenty of good tutorials that will teach you how to edit your videos.
As I described in one of my other blog posts, you can make a decent YouTube videos without spending a penny, and without recording a single second of a movie. With the help of free music archive, free images, and free video editing software, you will be ready to go. I believe that our book trailer testifies to my claim:
Of course, if you find it fitting, if you have plenty of time, and if you love to shoot movies, you can definitely do it in a more professional way, with voice narration, movie sequences, special effects, and all that comes to your mind. It’s your choice.
How long will it take?
Planning, writing a script, finding fitting pictures and music, putting everything together, adding some effects, testing, polishing, and saving the final video takes me between 3-6 hours. Can you do it faster? Slower? It doesn’t matter after all. Important is that you actually DO IT.
Uploading videos to YouTube
YouTube algorithm favors active channels that add videos on an ongoing basis. So even if you work super fast and manage to create five videos during one long sleepless night, I suggest you uploading one new video a day. After all, the ideas will run out eventually, and you don’t want to end up having ten videos uploaded in a single week and then nothing for a few months.
Optimizing for YouTube.
Title, video description, tags. All of these are important. Try to work a bit with Google Keyword Tool (described in this post) to identify proper titles for your videos. Write long descriptions and don’t forget to add link directing back your website at the end of each video description. One trick I do with tags is that I try to use a couple of universal tags in all my videos, e.g. prison, philosophy, or University of Solitude. This suggests YouTube that my channel is niche oriented, and not very broad. Needless to say, YouTube favors niche oriented channels.
SEO your YouTube videos.
Once you have uploaded at least ten videos, you can start optimizing them for Google. This consists primarily in building backlinks to your videos on various places on the internet (there are dozens of options and thousands of places, and I’ll describe them in detail in one of my next blog posts).
Growing your channel, attracting traffic.
The older your channel gets, the more videos you upload, and the better you optimize them for both Google and YouTube, the more views you will receive on weekly basis. People will find your videos searching for relevant information on YouTube and Google, and you will enjoy this highly targeted traffic…
How many views can you get, let’s say with a channel that has 20 videos?
This depends strongly on your niche, as well as on your competition. I remember uploading a video in a competitive niche, back in 2011. I didn’t expect to rank or get any views for this movie; I did it only because I needed it for some marketing experiments.
But since my channel had some other videos uploaded, and they got some likes and subscribers, and I kept adding new videos all the time, YouTube started to show my particular video among recommended choices for relevant searches on YouTube. Suddenly, about a month after uploading it, the video started getting 1,000 views a day. And it stayed like that for a few months! The funny part is that I made it in 45 minutes and it even contained few typos, since I did not care and never expected to get any views for that particular video…. So as you can see, the possibilities are interesting, if you have a big channel and work on it regularly.
YouTube is not your end goal.
You do not spend time editing videos to amuse people, to get subscribers, or to have millions of views. You do it to get readers, listeners, customers.
This should be on your mind all the time… I finish each video with a picture of the book, and a personal invitation to visit UniversityofSolitude.com.
If people like the video, or find the message interesting, there’s a good chance they will check the website as well, or possibly even buy the book. You should do the same. Invite them to your website, both in the movie and in the video description.
I try to include a meaningful philosophical message, or a personal advice, in each of my videos. It works better with some and worse with some others, but at least I always try.
Therefore, even if people do not head to my website, most of them will still feel satisfied after watching the video. They may actually learn something new, something that will help them in their everyday life.
Helping always feels good, both for the giver and receiver, and I try to remember that anytime I feel tired to do something for the marketing of the University of Solitude :).
- Finding readers on YouTube, with a help of your own, niche-oriented, customized and regularly updated YouTube channel, is one of the best long term marketing strategies.
- Building such a channel requires a lot of planning and work (think hundreds of hours). But this is actually good, since most people are lazy or give up soon, which results in less competition for me and you.
- Once you grow and optimize your channel (which can take anytime from few weeks to a year), it will start bringing highly targeted recurring traffic to your landing pages. Week after week, month after month. You won’t even need to upload new videos anymore (but you surely can, if you still have some ideas left in your pocket).
- Remember your goal – to make people interested in visiting your website. Include call to action at the end of each video.
- Work properly with tags, titles, and video description, to optimize each video for the keyword of your choice. Try to keep your channel niche-oriented, YouTube will recognize it and place you higher in their search results for relevant keywords.
- Do not content yourself with the traffic from YouTube. Build backlinks to your videos and help them to reach top positions in Google search results for the keywords of your choice. This will result in many more views. Ranking a YouTube video in Google is ten times easier than ranking your own website, especially if we talk about thin book landing pages.
- Make meaningful and unique videos. Do not copy other YouTube users. Making a video from scratch takes time, and to watch a video also takes time. Make sure that neither your time, nor the time of your viewers will be wasted.
Some traffic numbers from the last two weeks
So that’s it for today. I’ll update you on the progress with my YouTube channel on a bi-monthly basis.
I hope I motivated some of you to start your own channel, and incorporate it in your marketing strategy as one of the most important tools. I know that nine out of ten people who read this article won’t take any action. But you can be the one who takes action… and succeeds.
P.S. If you like the article, consider subscribing to my regular monthly newsletter. No spam, just a list of new blog posts published in the last thirty days. Always on the 5th. Thank you!