Using YouTube as a Content Creator

YouTube is a powerful tool for content creation, curation and brand management. Every person is a brand but not every brand is a person, which is a good, and sometimes, challenging thing.

As Journalists and Content Creators, YouTube can be helpful for brand building efforts, specifically tied to the promotion of your staff as subject experts and create a unique brand voice for your audience.

For traditional news organizations, the brand voice on YouTube is one of a publication that vets its sources, presents the facts and allows the audience to form their own conclusions. By creating separate YouTube playlists, you can also use it to build a digital version of the paper and allow each section to cultivate it’s own voice while still building the overall following for the publication or outlet.

For individual journalists and content creators, YouTube presents a unique way to connect with your reader beyond the byline and expand your subject-area level of expertise — for example, if you’re a crime reporter but also LOVE DIY projects, that’s a great piece of content to curate and create on YOUR YouTube channel to bring in new audiences to the brands you are affiliated with (and, in some cases, can even earn you a bit of cash while you’re at it).

CONNECTION, CURATION AND CREDIT

Like all social platforms, YouTube is, well, social! YouTube has a license to distribute content but the USER always owns their content so we do advise that you reach out to the user to ask if you can use their content for commercial use.

For broadcast, it’s important to also verbally cite the user’s name and display their channel URL in a chyron. This is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a great way to continue the cycle of having your followers become brand evangelists and share your content across all platforms. The more you showcase them, the more they will showcase you.

On YouTube, you can both create and curate content. Curation of YouTube content is fairly simple — you can create custom YouTube playlists based on Interest or Contributor and you can even embed certain videos in website content pieces to highlight a source, brand or expert that you think your audience should hear from.

CREATION

The YouTube Creator Academy provides lessons in a single video on a variety of topics. The audience has the power on YouTube — be creative, be human and be YOU. Passionate, real and authentic engagement as part of an on-going series of videos that will be consistently created long-term.

Thumbnails, descriptions and headlines are VERY important when you create your own content on YouTube. A short, snappy opening also does wonders for your content — why? Because it allows you to jump RIGHT into a conversation without a huge explainer of what you’ll be doing, creating a more authentic and engaging video.

Branding here is key — making sure that your videos follow a style that resonates with your audience is important. There’s a lot of what I like to call “guess, test and review.” A six to eight week cycle is best for this — for six to eight weeks, create content based on one or more subjects and use the same tags, thumbnail style and length.

When creating content, try to highlight real audience members as much as possible — think of it as an immediate letters to the Editor response — the audience will feel connected and be more likely to share your content with their audience thereby bringing new eyeballs into the fold.

REPACK, REPURPOSE AND RECONNECT

Need captions for your audience on Facebook? YouTube allows you to download the SRT file (edited or autogenerated) you need to do this.

Need to showcase a particular advertiser or drive to a portion of your site to fulfill a content delivery promise? YouTube allows you to create an annotation for that (the best way to use this is to drive to your newsletter list AND subscribe to view more videos on your channel!!).

You can also download any YouTube file and repackage the content for other platforms. If you’re trying to build your YouTube audience, I wouldn’t recommend uploading the full video anywhere else, but I WOULD recommend using splices of it

GROWING A FOLLOWING

You are a content creator about 5% of the time — original content like articles, blogs, images and videos that you have created by yourself (with or without vetted sources). You are a content curator 95% of the time — link round-ups, articles from colleagues or other sections of your paper, content from your publication or outlet’s brand page and experts in the field who are your sources or sources you feel are properly vetted and reliable.

Using YouTube live allows you to get into a deeper, real-time conversation with your audience and provide real-time feedback via the Q&A feature as well as the ability to allow them to not only learn about an issue or set of issues BUT to actually be part of the experience of understanding an event or subject. By doing this, you cultivate a loyal following, based on trust and shared experiences.

YouTube captions are vitally important to this effort as are tags. Using the right tags will allow you to bring in new audience members organically, as will the right content for your captions. Your captions should also allow users to review the steps, strategies or highlights of the content in your video so that, if they so choose, they can read the content and save the video for future viewing.

Sharing YouTube Live videos also helps grow a following especially when paired with promotion across social media platforms. For example, while you’re preparing for a YouTube Live, share a Snapchat or Instagram Story of the behind-the-scenes view, live Tweet the content from your YouTube video, promote teasers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and do weekly roundups of your video content (Your 5 Picks, Most Requested, Web Exclusives) on your brand, website or on-air.

Check out my YouTube Channel for more — in the month of April, I’ll be giving it a new look and feel. Excited for you to join me on this journey!

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