A Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Marketing

Most of us have spent more time on YouTube than we care to admit. Whether binge watching heartwarming puppy videos or a compilation of funny videos, we are all guilty of wasting time on YouTube.

While this widely popular video platform is an amazing source of entertainment, it can also be leveraged as a powerful marketing tool. YouTube boasts more than a billion active users, and people are spending more and more time on the platform. In fact, we spend a third of our time online watching videos.

Well over 50% of consumers expect to watch more video content from their favorite brands. Video content is great for brand messaging because it draws and keeps our attention more effectively than other media formats.

One of the many benefits of YouTube advertising is that it is a robust and cost-effective marketing strategy.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, which means that it can boost your brand’s SEO.

However, you need to be careful when creating your YouTube marketing strategy.

Advertising on YouTube is a multilayered process that can be intimidating at first glance. That’s why we’ve put together this guide which covers each step of marketing on the platform. 

Different Types of YouTube Videos

As you’re drawing up your marketing strategy, one of the things you should consider is the type of video you want to produce. Each type of video is tailor made for a specific marketing goal, which is why you should be familiar with the different types before you begin the filming process.

There are the most common YouTube video types:

  • Product demonstration videos instruct viewers how to use a product/service correctly
  • Testimonials are short videos that build brand legitimacy by interviewing happy customers
  • Expert interview videos showcase opinions of industry leaders, which is another effective way of building brand credibility
  • Review and Case Studies are used by brands to highlight successfully completed projects
  • Tutorial videos explain in detail how to use a product/service. Include frequently asked questions about your brand to make them more informative and engaging
  • YouTube Live videos are broadcast live, which is a clever way of showing authentic and unscripted glimpses of your brand. They’re great at making your business more relatable
  • Vlogs are videos that show what life at your company looks like. They can also be used to illustrate specific points from a previous blog post, giving your content various formats. Video blogs can also be used as behind-the-scenes videos that humanize the business by showing real people.
  • Event videos are in the moment footage videos from conferences that effectively convey the excitement of the attendees
  • Listicles are a favorite format among marketers and are used both in text-based and video format. Listicles summarize main points that you want your audience to know about your brand.

Now that you know the common types of videos you can upload to YouTube, let’s take a look at steps for creating videos.

Watch Your Favorite YouTube Channels

Before you start with the production process, head over to your favorite videos and take notes. Ask yourself what is it about your favorite videos that you find so interesting and engaging. Why do you regularly watch content from your favorite YouTubers?

It doesn’t matter if your favorite videos are not about your industry – you can still learn from them. You can implement some of their strategies and best practices into your own videos. Look for inspiration from all the different videos.

Study the Competition

Apart from your favorite videos, watch the videos that your competitors are uploading. Look at their most and least viewed videos, and try to find out the reasons for the number of views. Since your competition is in the same field as you, you’ll get insight into what your prospects and audience likes and dislikes. Don’t forget to look at the comment section of their videos and take note of what people are writing. Studying competitors provides you with free valuable information!

The Goal of the Video

Much like with other types of marketing content, you need to map out a goal for your YouTube video. Before you start filming and editing, ask yourself what goal(s) you want to achieve with this particular video?

Do you want you to increase the number of website visitors? Or maybe you want to increase brand awareness? While you can have more than one goal per video, it is best practice to have only on one goal because it will keep you focused during production.

Write a Storyboard

Once you’ve settled on a purpose for the video, the next step is to write an outline for the video commonly referred to as storyboard.

Storyboards are made up of short outlines of each scene and resemble comic strips. Include a brief description of each scene including dialogue and camera angles. While there is no fixed rule about how detailed a storyboard must be, most typically contain the following:

  • Shot description and camera angle
  • Dialogue for each scene
  • Brief description of the setting and mindset of characters in each scene
  • Length: the best performing YouTube videos are under 2 minutes

Plan Out Other Multimedia Components

If your video is going to be elaborate, it will probably include elements like title slides and graphics. Map out what these elements are going to look like and where you’ll place them. Remember, they are meant to enhance the video and make a smooth transition between scenes.

Location Scouting

The last step in planning your video is selecting the place where it’s going to be shot. Don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to one location. The important thing is to look at your storyboard and write down which location is best suited for each scene.

Before you decide on a location, make sure that you see it for yourself. You want to keep an eye out for the lighting conditions. For example, be sure that there is enough light throughout the day. If it gets dark in the latter part of the day, then you should bring lighting equipment.

Also, take note of the level of noise in the location. Audio is an extremely important aspect of a successful and well-produced video. If you leave in ambient noise in the video it could distract viewers from your content so that they stop watching it midway. For example, ensure that there isn’t a construction site or a highway nearby.

A final note on choosing a location: talk to people around you about your video. They can help you come up with great film locations. As you’re starting out, we recommend asking people close to you to help you find locations where to film. Remember to seek permission from owners if you decide to film on private property.

Technical Details to Consider

If you wish to film high-quality videos you need to have the proper equipment. While it’s not necessary to have an expensive camera (newer smartphones have great cameras), there are some technical aspects to keep in mind.


If viewers have trouble listening to your video, then they won’t stay. That’s why investing in a high-quality microphone is important. If you’re using a smartphone to film your video, then check these microphones that you can plug straight into your handset.

Avoid Shakiness

Unless you want to do it for effect, your video must not be shaky. A shaky video is distracting and irritating. So, film using tripod to ensure your video is stable.

Also, if you have a little extra to invest, consider getting a steadicam. This amazing tool allows you to shoot smooth shots even if walk on a bumpy surface.

Angle and Distance

Be prepared to film a lot! Film each scene from different perspectives which will give make your video more dynamic as you cut between frames. If you’re filming an informational video focusing on one subject, like an interview, then technique is very important.

Remember, you can always get rid of footage you don’t want or need. But you can’t add new footage after you’re done filming. Therefore, do multiple takes for each scene.


Each computer typically has a free editing tool installed, like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. You can also use YouTube’s online editing feature to make your videos. While you can perform basic editing tasks like adding basic effects and cutting scenes together, if you want to produce more intricate videos, then you should look into getting proprietary software.

Editing tools like Final Cut Pro X, Filmora 9 and Adobe Premiere Pro CC come at a cost, but offer a great range of features.


Once you’ve made your video, it’s time to upload it. YouTube lets you make your own thumbnail, which is a picture which people see as they scroll down the list of video results. Choosing the right thumbnail is an important because it plays an important role in the amount of clicks and views you get.

If you don’t choose a thumbnail, YouTube will give you a few thumbnail options for your video. But, you should definitely pick a custom thumbnail. According to YouTube, 90% of the best performing videos have custom thumbnails. Make sure that your thumbnail has 1280 x 720 px dimensions so that it looks crystal clear on every screen size.

Note that your channel needs to be verified before you can upload a custom thumbnail image. Click on this link to get your YouTube channel verified.

Pro tip: Marketers are using arrows and circles on their custom thumbnails to draw attention. Another tactic is to place a large logo of the brand in thumbnail for the same reason:

Image Source: Sited

The size of the logo plastered over the thumbnail draws users’ attention even if they don’t click to watch the video.

Optimize YouTube Videos for SEO

YouTube is a search engine, remember? That means that you need to work on search optimization. While valuable content is necessary, it’s not enough to guarantee that your video will gain traction. You have to include the right information in the video’s metadata, which includes things like title, description, tags and captions. Note that if you include incorrect metadata, YouTube can remove your video.

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do to optimize your content.


Titles are the attention grabbers you need to get people to click on your video. Focus on writing a title that will interest your viewers or a concise one that lets them know what problem you’ll help them solve. The title shouldn’t be longer than 60 characters to avoid being cut off in results page. Engage in keyword research to find out what your target audience is looking for.


The description will cut off after about 100 characters, which means that people will have to click “Show More” to continue reading. Therefore, include important information, like calls-to-action in the beginning of the text. YouTube lets you write 5000 descriptions, but you should try to write at least one paragraph.

Pro tip: Take a look at YouTube’s guide on how to write compelling descriptions.

Just like with the title, include the keywords you want to rank well for. You should also mention them in the video. Of course, avoid keyword stuffing.


Tags link the video with similar content, which allows more people to see it. Include a blend of your most important keywords along with common and long-tail keywords.


Once you’ve uploaded a video, you will have to select a category which associates your videos with related content. There is an exhaustive list of possible categories that includes everything from Film & Animation to Gaming and Science & Technology.

Closed Captions

Did you ever hear a song and only remembered some of the lyrics. So you typed them on Google and found the music clip for the song whose name you couldn’t remember? Search engines use captions to find videos. This is why you should have captions on all of your videos.

Enable automatic captioning or make your own.

Get the Word Out

Now that you know how to make an optimized YouTube video, you should know how to promote it. Ranking on the top with many subscribers is difficult to achieve right off the bat. This is why you should market your video on different channels.

Social media is a great way to promote your content, and YouTube has a “Share” tab to make it easy. Add a short description on your social media account explaining the relevancy of the video. Don’t forget to use #hashtags if your video addresses a trend so that you can take part.

If your video solves a problem, then head over to Quora and share the video with users who are looking for your solution.

Finally, don’t forget to interact with your views. Answer questions and kindly request for feedback. Always show gratitude to your viewers. It’s an easy thing to do and your viewers will greatly appreciate it.