How to use YouTube annotations as a marketing tool

A YouTube annotation is a caption that is added after you’ve uploaded your video. It could be a promotional message or a link to another of your videos.

If used wisely and sparingly, annotations can work as a powerful marketing tool.

YouTube annotation exampleHere’s an example I set up for East Glos Club. They’ve had a promotional video on their site for some time and the club was holding an open day. >>

I simply added an annotation which appeared on the video at 00:12 seconds and again at 00:50.

It appears this quickly to ensure people see the message soon after video has started.

In this case the annotation is quite large but it was only going to be on the video for a month so we were not too bothered about this!

It is possible to make the annotations smaller to avoid the viewer becoming distracted. You can also link the annotation to another YouTube video. Below is a good example on the viral video “Charlie Bit my Finger”. They’re promoting a new video and also an iPhone app.

EDIT: If you want to get really creative, Suraj Sodha of Rapid Leverage Marketing has a great video tutorial on how to add an interactive “outro” video  to an existing YouTube video.

If you need some help on adding annotations to your YouTube videos do get in touch.

YouTube annotation

How to improve your SEO with a You Tube channel

YouTubeCreating a YouTube channel for your business is a great way of expanding your “e-footprint” and boosting your SEO (search engine optimisation).

Here are some tips on how improve your SEO using You Tube.

1. Ensure your video title is descriptive and contains key words.
For example your business name, location and what you do along with the product or service featured in the video.

2. In the video description include a link to your website and keywords.
Again include the keywords and repeat them. For example if your video is about how to choose a tennis racket, weave that phrase into the description at least two or three times.
Top tip: Ensure you include the http:// bit in your website address otherwise it won’t be clickable. Eg.

3. In the tags section include no more than 10-15 phrases including variants.
So for a video on choosing a tennis racket also include the alternative spelling of “racquet”. And just as you do for website keywords include phrases of two words of more in inverted commas, eg “tennis racket”.

4. Drive traffic to your channel.
The more views your channel gets the higher the impact on SEO. Mention your channel wherever you can and give people a reason to click through. Mention it on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, web forums and in your email signature.

I recently created a series of tennis coaching tips for East Glos Club. Below is an example of how one of the videos appears in a YouTube search at position number two.  This is due to implementing all the above.

YouTube SEO

YouTube: How to add customised thumbnails to your videos

What we mean by a customised thumbnail is the still image which displays before the video is played.  The problem is those images might not be what you want to illustrate your video, particularly if you want to use your branding.

YouTube customised images

Now YouTube has made it possible to upload your own still image for your videos.Until now YouTube gave you a choice of just three images to choose during the upload process, like the example on the right >

Here’s how to set up a customised thumbnail

1. In your YouTube account select Video Manager.

2. Find the video you want and choose Edit. Example below.

 YouTube customised images

3. You’ll then see an option for Customised Thumbnail. Example below.  Nb. This option only becomes available when the uploaded video has finished processing.

YouTube customised images

4. Click and upload your chosen image.
The maximum file size is 2Mb. The recommended minimum width is 640 pixels but for HD videos you could go up to 1920 pixels wide. You also need an image which is 16:9 (widescreen) resolution. To calculate the image height multiply your image width by 0.5625.

5. You can change the customised thumbnail any time by repeating the above steps.