Author: Michael Miller
Aimed at: Businesses new to idea of YouTube marketing
Pros: Well presented, highly readable
Cons: Rarely goes beyond information already available Reviewed by: Lucy Black
This book's cover proclaims BESTSELLER! in a oval that looks like a removable sticker. It is in fact part of the artwork - and also part of the book's problem. It's a popular book on a popular topic and really can't say anything much that isn't already well known. In fact its Introduction starts:
Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few years, you've no doubt heard of YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by Google.
Yes, YouTube is well-known, so to a certain extent it is likely to be preaching to the converted - but the part of its audience that will find it the most valuable are going to be the cave dwellers.
The title of Chapter 1 "How YouTube Can Help You Market Your Business" suggests that we are going to plunge straight into the topic and get all the answers at the start, In fact this chapter looks at the history of YouTube and YouTube demographics and tells you "Everybody's Doing It" before listing several reasons you might want to use it: Brand Awareness; Product Advertising; Retail Promotion; Direct Sales; Product Support; Internal Training; Employee Communications; Recruiting. It then discards some of these by narrowing the focus to promotional videos and states that "the key is to offer a video that YouTube users actually want to watch" and concludes "your video needs to entertain, educate or inform" and looks ahead to three chapters (Chapters 3 to 5) that consider of Informative, Educational and Entertaining videos separately.
Before we get to video content, however, Chapter 2: Developing Your YouTube Marketing Strategy asks us to consider aims, customer and message, how the videos will fit within the overall marketing mix (considered in more detail in Chapter 6) and how to measure the results.
Part II of the book is concerned with producing videos for YouTube and starts in Chapter 7 with a look at audio and video technology covering video resolution and file formats. The next three chapters look at shooting videos at three levels of sophistication - webcam videos in Chapter 8, semi-pro videos in Chapter 9 and Professional videos in Chapter 10. It is the option in the middle of the scale that gets the most coverage including choosing a camcorder and accessories such as a tripod, lighting and a microphone.
Chapter 11:Editing and Enhancing Your Videos looks first at three tiers of video-editing programs: two free ones (Windows Live Movie Maker and Apple iMovie), ten mid-level ones and three high-end ones (Adobe Premiere Pro CS, Elements, Apple Final Cut Studio and Sony Vegas Pro and then covers using a video-editing program.
Chapter 12 has tips for producing effective videos for YouTube. They fall into three categories starting with one for creating better-looking videos such as shoot for the smaller screen, use two cameras and break the rules. Then comes tips for improving video content - including go for the funny, keep it short and keep it simple. The tips for generating sales are to include your website's address in both the video and accompanying text and to link to your website from your channel page.
Part III covers Managing your YouTube videos. Chapter 13 is on uploading them - and also covers removing a video from YouTube. Chapter 14 is on annotations and Chapter 15 is about comments - both positive and negative.
Chapter 16: Establishing Your YouTube Channel starts by explaining that "channel" is a "fancy name for what you might otherwise call a profile page" and goes on to discuss how to customise it to best present your company, brand and products. Chapter 17 then looks at the community aspects of YouTube and how you can engage in social marketing. The same considerations apply as with other social networking - you have to actively participate and its a matter of give and take. It very realistically advises that that this requires real commitment and concludes, "It can be a full time job."
Chapter 18 has the title "Incorporating YouTube Videos on Your Own Website" and its message is to let YouTube host the videos and link to them or embed the code for them on your website and still let YouTube provide the bandwidth necessary to view them.
Part IV is called Promotion and Monetization and for many readers will the section they are most interested in. However it has another topic to cover first, and it too is an important one. Chapter 19: Tracking Performance makes you take stock of how effective your videos are in terms of attracting viewers and achieving sales. It introduces the metrics available via YouTube's Insight tracking tool, including the Demographics tab which provides an audience breakdown by age and gender and the Discovery tab which shows the links viewers followed to find your video. It also briefly mentions the information about engagement on the Community tab, how the HotSpot can be used to identify popular parts of a video and tells you about the Call-to-Action tab - but while this could be a useful handle for marketing it simply says: "This tab is only visible when you've promoted a video and add a Call-to-Action Overlay." If you are interested in this you'll find it fully explained in Chapter 23.
The title of Chapter 20: Marketing Your YouTube Videos raised my expectations. However, the chapter opens with a section Entertain, Inform or Educate which echoed Chapter 1, then had short sections "Target Your Content", "Write a Compelling Title", "Pick the Best Thumbnail Image" all of which advice seemed obvious by this stage. It did eventually get to some new advice showing how to promote your video to YouTube's community, via the "blogosphere", using social media and using traditional media. A short section on running a contest was an idea that probably deserved more space as did the idea of uploading to other video sharing sites which was merely a list followed by "Obviously, you should include your video on your own company website or blog" - valuable advice that seemed denigrated by the inclusion of "obviously" when in fact it's a lot less obvious than other guidance in this book. It was however discussed in an earlier chapter.
Chapter 21: Optimizing Your Videos for Search is very short - fewer than 6 pages but pretty important in the context of the book. It discusses the importance of choosing the right keywords and tags and providing a description that includes keywords. It also mentions the importance of inbound links, views, comments and rating. All good stuff but so brief as to make the reader feel short-changed.
Chapter 22: Advertising Your YouTube Videos tackles a large topic. It starts by explaining Pay-per-Click advertising and YouTube's Promoted Videos program and goes on to how to create an advertising campaign on YouTube. This is very nearly a hands-on walkthrough going from creating an account and setting a budget, through writing your ad and selecting keywords to the metrics displayed on the Promoted Videos dashboard. Once you understand the idea of a Promoted Video you are ready for the next step - that of linking that video to your own website where you can generate sales directly - and this is covered in Chapter 23 which returns to the topic of Call-to-Action overlays and tracking their performance.
The final two chapters further develop the theme of monetization. Chapter 24 looks at generating revenues by converting viewers to become purchasers of your products and Chapter 25 goes slightly off topic to look at using YouTube for BtoB (business-to-business) marketing. They present useful information and good ideas but in a very cursory fashion.
This book does gather together useful ideas and sound advice and and presents them in a logical and readable format. If you are a novice to this form of marketing - and certainly lots of people will be - it will be helpful. But there is little if anything that will seem new or surprising for readers who are already familiar with YouTube and online marketing in general.