I liked Grant Crowell's article, "5 Reasons the Latest Michele Bachmann Political YouTube Video Sucks!” And I want to get on the bandwagon by providing five video SEO tips to help consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren beat US Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts next year.
No, this isn't "fair and balanced.” But, then neither is Fox News. And I'm okay with that.
In 1978, I was the editor of The Concord Journal and Lincoln Journal as well as the political columnist for the chain of newspapers that also included the Lexington Minuteman, Bedford Minuteman, Billerica Minuteman, Acton Minuteman (which later merged with The Beacon, and Burlington Union. And I covered the Massachusetts Senate race between Paul Tsongas and Edward Brooke.
Back then, I tried to stay in the "middle of the road.” But all that did was upset the readers who supported Tsongas or Brooke. As for "the undecideds," they tended to skip over my political column and go straight to the Lifestyle or Sports sections. That's when I learned a hard lesson: The most dangerous place to play in politics is in the middle of the road.
Fast forward to 2010 and, among other things, I had become a member of the faculty at Market Motive. During one training webinar, I analyzed the United States Senate special election in which Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley. If you are interested in seeing how the respective campaigns used video marketing, watch "YouTube & the Scott Brown / Martha Coakley election.”
Elizabeth Warren & Online Video
This brings me to Warren's announcement last week that she is running for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts that's currently held by Brown. She didn't hold a press conference. Instead, her campaign released a video with the vague title, "My Announcement.”
A day later, her campaign release a second video entitled, "Meeting South Boston commuters at the Broadway T station," which tells you where it was shot, but not who is in the video.
Now, I love the content of Warren's first YouTube video. She says, "Middle class families have been chipped at, hacked at, squeezed and hammered for a generation now, and I don't think Washington gets it.” But, I can't hear what's being said in her second video – or the next six videos, which also have unoptimized titles like "Meeting with College Democrat”, "Family Diner”, "Framingham Diner”, "Framingham Diner”, "Springfield”, and "Worcester”.
Since Elizabeth Warren isn't used in any of these titles, none of her videos appeared at the top of the YouTube search results on Saturday when I used this term in a query.
How will that impact Warren's chances of beating Brown next year?
According to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 31 percent of adult internet users went online to watch political videos in the months leading up to the 2010 elections.
This means at least 962,000 out of the 3.1 million Massachusetts voters will go online to watch political videos in the months leading up to the 2012 elections. That means over 4 times more Massachusetts voters will be watching political videos on YouTube than will be reading The Boston Globe. And over 4 times more Massachusetts voters will be watching political videos on YouTube than will be watching the 6 p.m. newscast on WCVB-TV (Channel 5).
5 Video SEO Tips Elizabeth Warren Should Follow
So, someone in the Warren campaign needs to learn how to optimize video for YouTube as soon as possible. Here are five video SEO tips to help get that person started:
- Write optimized Title, Tags, and Descriptions for your content.
- Create great custom thumbnails for your videos.
- Use annotations on your videos to increase viewership, engagement, and subscribers.
- Organize your content into sets of videos using playlists and video responses. Create themed content or curate content using playlists.
- Optimize and design your channel page's metadata, layout, and background.
If you need more instructions, then begin by reading the first edition of the YouTube Creator Playbook. You can download it for free. Then, go to the section on Publishing and Optimization, pages 31-53, which provides an overview, details, examples, and how-to steps for the five video SEO tips above.
Next, start reading Chris Atkinson's series on ReelSEO. So far, he's posted "The YouTube Creator Playbook, Part 1: The First 15 Seconds," "Creating A Call to Action For Your Video – The YouTube Creator Playbook: Part 2," and "The Importance Of A Regular Schedule & Frequent Publishing – YouTube Creator Playbook." And he plans to break down the entire playbook one section at a time in the next few weeks.
Finally, you can read the first edition of my book, YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day, which was published in 2009. Chapter 4 tells you how to optimize your video for YouTube and Google. And Chapter 11 includes an interview with Arun Chaudhary, the New Media Road Director of Obama for America (OFA) in 2008, who explains how the Obama campaign used YouTube to win the Presidency of the United States.
Or, you can read the second edition of YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day when it's published on November 1, 2011. It's fully updated with new information, including the latest changes to YouTube!
Now, there are plenty of other things that the Warren campaign needs to learn in order to beat Brown. As Finely Peter Dunne observed a century ago, "A man that would expect to train lobsters to fly in a year is called a lunatic; but a man that thinks men can be turned into angels by an election is a reformer and remains at large.”
Nevertheless, I'd start by learning the five video SEO tips listed above.