The combination of visuals and sound has always been a powerful storytelling tool, and there’s no reason we can’t, as businesses, harness that same power to tell our story.

You’d have to be an unplugged hermit not to notice the proliferation of video in marketing over the past few years. As it got easier and cheaper to create videos, it also got easier to share those videos, thanks to tools like YouTube, Vimeo and others. 

The big winner in video hosting is certainly YouTube. Add in the fact that YouTube is owned by Google Inc., and it’s pretty easy to see why it’s the go-to tool for video marketing.  

Not convinced? Try some of these YouTube stats:
• Over 1 billion YouTube users.
• Over 4 billion video views per day.
• 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube per minute.

Sounds kind of crowded, doesn’t it? So how do you make sure your video stands out and connects with the target audience? Follow these YouTube optimization steps and your videos will be on the “must watch” list.

Video Title: Rewrite (or write if you are just uploading the video) each video title to include organic search keywords that are important to your campaign. Don’t overload the title, though – one keyword per title. If possible, put it at the front of the title to take advantage of keyword proximity.

Video Description: Put your full URL at the beginning of each description. Then, go into detail about the video, repeating the same keyword that is in the title. The description should be 50 words or less.

Tags: Fill the tags box for each video with as many relevant keywords as possible. 

Account Settings: Be sure to fill out both the basic and advanced settings as completely as possible.  

Channel Description: Fill out this field with 23 words or less. Include organic keywords because Google will index this content as the meta description (commonly used on search engine result pages to display preview snippets for a given page) for the channel. 

Channel Title: Optimize with keywords in the title field.

Channel Tags: Complete this field with all the organic search keywords that will be covered by your videos. Remember to add new keywords as you upload video with new/unique content.

Transcript: This is the one most people miss, and it’s critical. You have all that great content in your videos, but Google can’t index any of it. By adding a transcript, your video’s content is accessible by all the search engines.

Channel Design: Be sure you add channel art to increase your channel’s professionalism and to communicate your brand. Your profile art should be 250 by 250 pixels. The banner that becomes the header for your channel should be 2,560 by 1,440 pixels, but the file can’t be larger than 2 megabytes. 

With 100 hours of video being uploaded every minute, YouTube is definitely not a “Field of Dreams” sort of thing. You can’t build it thinking that people will flock to your content.

If you take the steps above, you will greatly increase the organic traffic you drive to your videos. But your YouTube channel shouldn’t do all the work. Here are some things you can do beyond your actual YouTube channel to introduce your video content to the right audience.
• Share links to specific videos on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn.
• Use StumbleUpon to boost exposure.
• Ask your network to leave comments on individual videos.
• Send out an email or include an item in your e-newsletter introducing your audience to your educational channel. 
• Encourage people to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Video is a very smart marketing tool, so be smart about optimizing your efforts – on and off YouTube.