8 Steps to Planning Your YouTube Strategy for the Next 6 Months
The New Year is all about trying new things and getting plans in place, so whether you have a YouTube strategy already or not, getting a layout of your next 6 months can help you see success. Creating this plan is definitely time consuming, but overall it can help you stick to your videos and help make sure you’re organized enough to be able to market your channel in a way that brings in the most relevant viewers time and time again. Consider the 8 steps to getting started below:
Do research on your videos and your competitors’ videos to create goals.
Just as you would with the content on your blog, you have to understand your audience and understand what it is you want them to do when they visit your video—convert, share, republish, navigate to your website, subscribe, etc. A great way to see what’s working and what’s not in your industry is to look at your competitors’ channels. See what they are posting and what seems to get the most engagement. Once you start having data of your own, you can begin to get more specific with your ideas and the times that work best for you to publish.
Another great way to do this research is to think about your own blog. Think about that topics that your audience engages with most and start making a list from there, which brings us into the next step.
Create topics for videos with your marketing and content team.
Believe it or not, this is going to be the most difficult part of the whole process. Coming up with topic ideas is difficult enough, but you need to be able to now come up with ideas that will also transfer well into a video and keep viewers engaged. This goes back to doing research on your audience and thinking about what you want them to do when they reach your video. See what’s working on your blog and what your competitors are having success with, and get creative to mimic the content styles and topics as best you can. “Creativity” is the key word here. A few options for ideas include:
- Create a demo of a product or service.
- Promote any webinars you’re going to be hosting and explain why they’re great and how viewers can get involved.
- Do a Q&A session with your CEO or another expert in your company. An interview with someone influential in your field also makes for a great video.
- A video infographic uses imagery to make a point. This usually takes a little bit of expertise, so you can outsource this work to marketing agencies or use a tool like Biteable to get started.
- Whiteboard demonstrations. The Moz founders made this famous. Simply use a whiteboard to explain a topic. It’s a great option for even the most boring industries.
You can also come up with video content ideas in the same way that you come up with your blog content ideas such as looking at Quora and other social media sites, using tools like HubSpot Topic Generator, or hosting polls and surveys to ask your audience directly. You can check out a few more ideas here.
Determine how often you want to publish a YouTube video.
Naturally, once you have your research and ideas set to go you have to look at your resources and see how often you can publish a video while still putting out quality. For many companies this will be once per week, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to focus on more or less. It’s a good idea to think about this first before you start creating a schedule. If you have more ideas than you have time, that’s great!
Determine how many channels and campaigns you want to organize.
Keep in mind that many companies have different YouTube channels for different topics and/or for different campaigns they’re trying to run. This is definitely a lot more work, but it can help make your analytics easier to read (more on this later) and it can help you build a stronger following because your videos will be more consistent. As you can see in the example below, HubSpot has a channel for different language and location demographics as well as a channel for those interested in their training sessions:
Whenever you visit a YouTube page, you can click on the Channel tab to see the channels (as shown above). The cool thing here is that viewers can subscribe to just the channel that interests them; thus avoiding having to look at irrelevant videos.
Most small businesses will just have one YouTube channel, but if you offer services that have very different audiences then it may make sense to spend the extra time. Just make sure that if you do decide to create two channels, you have enough content and enough staff to manage them all at once.
Create a schedule of topics, video production days, and team member responsibilities.
The scheduling is actually going to be the easy part once you have your ideas in place and you know how often you want to publish videos (especially based on the resources you have available). You may only have an editorial calendar for your blog and website thus far, so now is the time to create a calendar for your YouTube channel. The two may run together and for some companies it might make sense to include your YouTube schedule on your current calendar (more on this later), but I generally recommend having a separate calendar for each platform.
When you create your calendar, include the title of the video on the day you want it published as well as the employee in charge of publishing that video. It should be up to your team to think ahead and produce the video in enough time to make sure it goes live the day it’s scheduled. You will inevitably move things around as the 6 months go on, but this helps to make all of the video content more manageable.
Unfortunately no tool out there has created a YouTube calendar that can sync with YouTube or work specifically for a YouTube schedule, so the calendar you use for your YouTube videos will likely be the same as you use for your other content. There are of course many editorial calendar choices, which you can check out here, but below is an example from my favorite, CoSchedule:
Extra: Include your videos on your blog after they are live on YouTube.
When you’re creating a schedule for your YouTube channel, you should simultaneously create a calendar for publishing your videos on your blog. You don’t necessarily want to publish every single video because that may deter people from visiting your YouTube account, but if you have a video that is relevant and timely or that is getting a lot of attention, consider adding it to your editorial calendar for your blog. It’s a great way to shake things up and keep your audience interested, not to mention remind your blog readers that you have a YouTube channel they can check out.
Look at data to discuss monetization of your YouTube videos after 2-3 months.
I usually recommend spending one to two months just creating videos and getting a feel for uploading them and reading comments and shares, but after your first few videos you need to look at your YouTube analytics. This will help make sure that you know how to monetize your videos and create more relevant content and market it the right way to get viewers to do what you want (the goals discussed in the first section). Below is a screenshot example of YouTube analytics from UNMetric you might see:
As you can see on the left-hand side, you can of course dig very deep into this data once you’re comfortable with a YouTube strategy in the first place. Some of this data includes earnings reports, devices, traffic sources, engagement reports, and more, so read more here about what data to check and how to use that data to make the right changes.
Repeat for the next 6 months.
6 months is usually a good timeframe to plan because it isn’t too overwhelming. Many companies choose to break up their plans into four month increments as well to help things seem more manageable, so it all really depends on how often you want to create and publish videos. Remember that even if you do plan out your content for 6 months that doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the plan exactly—in fact you should make changes as you go. Whenever you plan something this far in advance it is always a rough plan to help give you an overall direction and accountability, but you’ll make plenty of changes along the way.