There's no doubt that getting your video to show up in YouTube and other search engines is important. But when you are first starting out, the search engine isn't going to exactly favor your videos or channel because you aren't popular just yet. Getting people to see your video at first requires building relationships with those who have an audience, and one of the ways you can do this is submitting a link or embed of your video to a blog or an online community such as FARK. Blogs are always looking for content, and luckily, video in particular makes blogs shine. And if you have great content, the decision to post your video on their blog becomes all the easier.
The YouTube Creator Playbook overview:
Strategy: Share your content with relevant blogs, sites, and online communities.
Why It Works: Blogs and other sites are always looking for great content to feature to their own audience. External site traffic can be a significant driver of views for your channel.
How To Do It: Create a Blog Roll and only share content that is relevant. Target your outreach and build relationships.
Building Relationships With Blogs To Distribute Your Videos And Increase Views
At first, you'll need to figure out what blogs, sites, and online communities are best suited to your videos. So it's time to set up a blog roll, or a list of blogs and sites that might be interested in the videos you create. Then, it's a matter of establishing a relationship with those blogs. Personally, I wouldn't greet those blogs with videos right away. Maybe offer some valid comments, especially to blogs where the administrators comment back, and especially blogs where there are a lot of comments and activity. Build some trust first, then contact those administrators with video submissions.
But that's just me. There are blogs just looking for videos and will be willing to post yours, just remember to follow the submission guidelines. It has to be a video that they would find valuable, i.e., a Star Wars site would be likely to post a Star Wars-themed video. You should always be nice, always thank them for their consideration, and should they actually post the video, you should make comments thanking them for posting it. Field comments of their readership. Create discussion. The life of your video outside of YouTube can drive the views up exponentially.
Hopefully, when you build your relationships with blog sites and other places that might show your video, you'll continue to keep in touch if you start to build a larger audience. The ones you want to pay attention to are the ones that drive the most traffic to your videos or channel. You can start giving those sites a "first look" to your new videos. Always give to those who have helped you get to where you are.
There is a fantastic blog post from Freddie Wong entitled, "The Secrets of YouTube Success," which goes over what he did to become a well-known brand on YouTube. Under a sub-heading called, "YouTube Is Big, The Internet Is Bigger," this is what he has to say about posting your videos to other sites:
One of the first things we think about when we put out a new video is "Who else might be interested in this video?" When we made Light Warfare, I made a list of all the photography blogs I thought would be interested in it, and emailed all those blogs with a link to the video off their submission lines. Blogs are always looking for content – if you present an interesting video, they'll be more than happy to put it up and expose you to their audience.
Don't forget online communities. Are you a part of any discussion groups or forums? What about your Facebook friends? What about submitting it to link aggregator sites like Reddit? I have an account on a popular Price is Right forum just because of our Price is Right video. When entering an online community, pay attention to their internal rules – figure out the right forum to post in, follow their guidelines, and be courteous, and stick around for some discussion. You shouldn't be ashamed of promoting your video assuming your video is the kind of thing that forum would want to see, after all. The Internet is the world's greatest time waster, and there's always room for another diversion.
So the next step after you finish a video is to make a list of places outside YouTube that the video might be a good fit for. That means expanding your browsing palette – start reading more blogs, hit up more sites, and start getting a sense as to what kind of videos fit well and where.
Freddie Wong basically found websites eager for video submissions and followed their guidelines, and he's even on a Price Is Right forum, something that doesn't exactly scream, "Freddie Wong" at first, but because he made a Price Is Right-themed video, he posted it to a forum where the video was valuable.
Reviewing the Playbook: Blog Outreach
Don't limit your purview to just YouTube. A lot of viewers find content on YouTube through other sites on the Internet. There are tons of sites and blogs that are always looking for great content to write about or feature. Make it easy for these people to promote your videos by reaching out to them with great content that is relevant to their audience.
Get the Word Out
Create a "blog roll" for your show as a promotional tool. Your blog roll should be a comprehensive list of sites, blogs, online influencers (Twitter users), and niche online communities that are relevant to your show.
Promote new videos to places from your blog roll that you think would be interested in the content.
Keep track of what blogs and sites are featuring your videos and driving views. Identify the key drivers of views and consider sharing content with those places first, letting them know they are getting the inside scoop.
Build a relationship with the editors of blogs by thanking them when they repost, and only sharing videos that you truly feel they would want to share with their audience.
Track Your Brand
Know where people are talking about your content, or sharing your content. Set Google Alerts for your show name, character names, and any other keywords specific to your show that will help you identify places where your content is appearing or being discussed across the web.
The Internet Is Vast: Tools That Can Help
How do you find blogs that are going to be helpful for your videos? The Internet is huge, how do I go about just finding relevant sites? Chances are, you already know a few, but you don't want to limit yourself to a handful of sites. That's why there are great tools for finding what you need without weeding through a whole bunch of irrelevant sites.
One of those is Google Blog Search, where the powerful search engine relegates itself to just blog sites when you type in keywords. Another is Technorati, which keeps track of the top 100 blogs and has a huge database broken down by genres. You can build quite a "Rolodex" of contacts through those sites. And just like with the Freddie Wong "Price Is Right" example, you might have a video that will appeal to a specific audience, so don't limit your search to only the genre.
The other tool you can use when you actually start getting blogs to post your videos is Google Alerts. This tool will help you find who is embedding your videos and will e-mail you the results how ever many times you'd like it. This will allow you to keep track of sites you may not know about who have found your video and have posted it. Like always, it'll be good to make a visit to that site, thank them for their post, and comment on their page where your video is concerned.
Reviewing The Playbook: How-To Steps
Create A Blog-Roll
Use blog directories such as Google Blog Search, Technorati, and Alexa to find blogs and sites that are relevant to the type of content you produce.
Create a list of general blogs with a broad scope in your category. Also, find niche sites that could be relevant to specific episode you produce such as tent-pole event episodes.
Locate contact information from the sites and include names of recipients, where possible.
Send Videos to Targeted Channels
Send brief, personalized e-mails to appropriate contacts and include a short description of the content, why it might be good for their audience, and a link to the video with the embed code. Make a note that they can embed/share if they like it.
Track the Pick-Up
Set Google Alerts for the name of the video or use other "online investigation tracking" to help you track where it gets embedded. Check your discovery stats to find sites that are driving traffic.
Blog Outreach Is One Of Your Best Friends In Getting Noticed
"Blog Outreach" is another phrase that means, "Don't expect others to just find your work by accident." You have to spread the word, find people who want to post your video, something that not only helps you but helps them. Finding communities outside of YouTube that will pass your video along from site to site is good common sense. You don't have to rely on a search engine. You can bring the video to others. Why hope for viewers when you can actually create viewers with submissions of good content to relevant blogs? A lot of the power is in your hands, don't let opportunities slip because you aren't willing to do the work.