TechSmith is a pretty small business (around 300 employees), and we develop software. You probably haven’t heard of TechSmith the company, but you may have heard of Snagit and Camtasia, both products we make. We’re not an agency or a YouTube Creator, but a brand. Compared to Mountain Dew, Oracle, Dove, Geico, or to a lot of companies highlighted at the ReelSEO Summit, we’re tiny.
Our presence on YouTube is okay, we’re pushing 9,000 subscribers, and depending on the month over 100,000 estimated minutes watched per month (views are a nice vanity, we track them, but they’re not super important to us). We’re not in every store or the software that everyone must have (although we think everyone should use our tools anyway). So all of that to say, what does a small business take away from a conference like the ReelSEO Summit? A lot more than can be written here, but I’ll leave you with my top 5 takeaways:
#1 Stop Comparing Small Brands to Big Brands
Stop comparing yourself to what the big brands are doing. There enough opportunities and viewers for everyone to be successful.
This is not to say we shouldn’t learn from other brands, or from the big guys, but when we look at what type of content is successful on YouTube right now, it’s not really the brands, it’s definitely the creators. If an individual can achieve success, why shouldn't a small business or brand be able to find success as well. Now granted, TechSmith is not going to start creating 'Let’s Play’ videos or beauty tips to attract more viewers. Both we’re called out as hot areas for YouTube. We do have an opportunity to create more how-to content in the technology space, and drive more subscriptions and minutes viewed.
Right now, YouTube is a pretty level playing field in which the little brands can compete with everyone else. We heard a great story from Peter Medlock, who works for Grainger. Peter has been able to build the Grainger YouTube channel over the last year, and are creating amazing content. He didn’t get a billion views, but his team was able to create a series called Grainger Everyday Heroes, that honors hardworking men and women, that also happen to use Grainger products. Videos from this series were shown at Grainger’s annual national conference, with over 8,000 people in attendance. He’s speaking directly to his audience, and video at the company if building momentum.
Why is video working for Grainger? It’s authentic, it speaks directly to their customers, and they’ve tied in emotion. Try doing that well as huge brand; it can be done but not always easy.
#2 Trends Trump Specific Video Metrics
It’s easy to get caught up in the performance of a particular video. I don’t like seeing one video not succeeding, and on the other hand it’s too easy to get overly excited when one starts taking off. A great take away is to worry and look at the overall trends. One video isn’t going to probably make or break your entire marketing campaign.
Look for the bigger trends; overall is your channel or collection of videos performing well? How about playlists? Are viewers taking the action that you want and need them too? Working off the trend versus a specific video metrics can help eliminate the push for a ‘viral' video. It’s playing the long game, and not trying for a "get rich quick" scheme.
#3 Make Video Content That People Want to Watch
All things considered, it doesn’t matter what you make if no one wants to see it. My take away here is that my potential customers are going to want to know
- What the product can do
- How they can do it themselves
It seems like common sense, but it’s great advice. It’s so easy to get caught up on trying to create something that is viral or funny. If your audience isn’t looking for what you create, then why do it?
#4 Learn from The Experts
There are no “gurus", but there are people that know more than you and you should learn from them.
When it comes to YouTube and online video, there is no magic bullet, no one stop shop for all knowledge, and not a single individual who knows everything. There are, however, a lot of people who have had a lot of experience and have probably tried more things than you or me. So the good news is that if you’re just getting started, there’s a lot to learn, but you’re not so far behind that it’s unmanageable.
Why does this matter? It means that there a lot of people still all learning, and they’re willing to share what they know. And a lot of what they know, comes out of YouTube’s Creator Playbook for Brands, coupled with their own experiences. It means everyone, including you, have an opportunity to grow and find success.
5. Get a Better Strategy, No More Dump and Run
As I sat in sessions, I realized that we were hitting a lot of points I need to hear or am already doing. We optimize titles, add descriptions and tags, create custom thumbnails, and add an interactive annotation. That’s all good stuff that needs to be continued, but what I missed was actually pretty basic. We weren’t really managing things. It was putting on YouTube or our website, and that was it.
No one was telling me exactly what I need to do, but I was able to figure a starting point for doing more, and more need to be broader and more inclusive. For instance, when we create a video, what are the supporting assets? Are we going to create a blog post to promote it? Write tweets, Facebook posts, and messaging for LinkedIn? Is this video tying into a bigger campaign or does it need it’s own mini-campaign to make sure it gets seen? Tying these things together seems obvious now, but getting that execution of all the parts together right is essential.
So while at the Summit, I put together an outline of the things I needed to consider. Since that point, I’ve rolled the ideas out to our social media and video teams. We now are using it for both teams and looking broader at how we work to help our target audience find our videos. Is this the panacea for reaching all of our objectives? Definitely not. But it puts us in a position to continue to make strides forward, so maybe next year, TechSmith will be telling our story at the ReelSEO Summit, just like Peter.