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Finding Your Spot on YouTube

YouTube can showcase things in a personal and approachable way that other social media platforms simply can’t.

ValorExcel YouTube Development Services

Isn’t it fascinating how some things start off as novelties, catch on and become wildly popular, then end up morphing into entities that become so influential as to cause a radical shift in the established way of doing things?


And so is the case with YouTube, which can trace its humble beginnings back to February of 2005. This massive platform has an origin story that is linked to nothing more complicated than the simple fact that there was no single repository for hosting videos online. A need existed, and Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, & Jawed Karim were enterprising enough to step forward and provide a solution. At the time of its inception at the mid-way point of the 2000’s, not even YouTube’s founders could have predicted how impactful their enterprise would end up becoming. The very first video ever posted on YouTube was courtesy of co-founder Jawed Karim, and featured a mere 18 seconds of him standing in front of elephants at the San Diego Zoo.


Fast-forward two decades and the YouTube landscape is now home to tens of millions of creators and countless billions of hours of content, covering every conceivable type of subject matter. The most powerful presences on YouTube occupy the coveted role of “influencers”, those whose content is so far-reaching and ravenously consumed that their opinions and perspectives end up shaping how others perceive the world. The whole concept of a video going “viral” speaks to the infectious nature of the platform, and as to just how addictive consuming content can be. As a decided break from the established traditions of what’s known as legacy media, YouTube has now provided an outlet wherein the viewer has complete control of watching exactly what they want, when they want.


And yet, at its very core, there’s still a homespun, DIY aspect to the whole thing. Although it might be lost on anyone born after 1990, the red and white YouTube logo is a subtle homage to the graphic that for decades graced the cover of TV Guide magazine, itself now rendered obsolete in the world of streaming and on-demand content consumption. The golden era of TV Guide was one in which viewers exclusively watched content created by others, by an entire industry devoted specifically to the development of on-air programming. It was very much a world completely outside the reach of the viewer, one in which shows were broadcast at a specific date and time, and usually only once. The entire realm of TV production was such that viewers felt that they were on the outside looking in, and the only possible entry to that world they could ever hope to find was limited to venues such as public access television.


Even the “Tube” in YouTube harkens back to the old TV days, when viewers watched on sets that were huge, heavy, and that had as their main element a cathode ray tube. And so, much of the early appeal of YouTube might have stemmed from the dreams of all those who used to long for a chance to, somehow, actually wind up on TV. Now that YouTube has made that an easy possibility for virtually everyone, it’s become a classic example of the best of times and the worst of times. The best because anyone can start a YouTube channel, and the worst because anyone can start a YouTube channel. The universal access of the platform has definitely swung the door open wide for everyone to participate, but quantity doesn’t necessarily translate into quality.


There’s certainly enjoyment to be had if you want to create a channel for the sake of posting videos of your cat, but there’s a vast potential to YouTube that goes light years beyond the novelty element that was actually the original catalyst for its creation. Especially for the small business owner, YouTube can showcase things in a personal and approachable way that other social media platforms simply can’t. It’s certainly the visual aspect that makes it such an impactful communication medium. Instead of simply reading text, people can actually see and hear you speak about your business, your organization, and your creative exploits – and end up experiencing what you’re about in a way that can help them to feel that they’re somehow coming along on the journey.


If you’ve kicked around the idea of starting your own YouTube channel, there’s never a better time than the present. As with any creative venture, you’ll need to lay some preliminary groundwork before you can start to really get into things. It might seem like drudgery, but the sooner you dive in the sooner you’ll start to tackle the learning curve and begin to master the basics of operating a channel. Maybe you find yourself at the opposite extreme – talking yourself out of even taking the first step because you believe that everyone has already done everything possible on YouTube. Don’t fall into that trap – the truth is that no one has done (or ever could do) what you uniquely can. Your perspective, insights, skills and experience are completely yours and automatically ensure that you have something fresh to offer, even in a seemingly crowded field.


It’s also important to keep in mind that people may discover your channel not because they’re looking for you or even know that you exist, but because they’re seeking out subject matter that happens to align with content that you’ve created. Right behind Google itself, the second most popular search engine is YouTube. People looking for instruction or even just inspiration on a particular topic are actively keying what they’re looking for into the YouTube search box. If you take the time to really think through what you can offer in creating your own channel, you can greatly increase the possibility of finding and connecting with viewers who are interested in what you have to share.


All of this is not to say that jumping into YouTube is something you should casually do. It’s one thing if you just want to upload clips of giving your beagle a bath, and a different thing altogether if you plan on utilizing your channel as an extension of everything that’s embodied in your business or organization.


Not to say this as a deterrent, but a YouTube channel is a big commitment. If you plan on using it in a professional capacity, you have to approach it with the same seriousness and focus that you would any other facet of your business.

Definitely don’t undertake a channel and all that it entails unless you’re sure that you can invest the necessary amount of time and attention and do so without compromising all the other elements of actually running your business.


If you do find yourself at the place where you’re ready to take the plunge, the first thing is to consider what your niche market will be. A channel about everything is, more often than not, a channel about nothing. Take the time to really think through what the core concept of your business is and how you can distill that into something that will draw complete strangers in and bring them back for repeat visits to your channel. Especially if you’re doing this in the context of furthering the reach of your business, your channel should never just be a vanity platform. Make sure that you’re about substance and useful content or you’re not likely to capture anyone’s attention for more than an episode or two.


It’s also important to show your viewers that you value their investment in time as a watcher of the channel. There’s no better advertisement for your business than to use YouTube as a means of giving some of that value back to those who watch you. One of the best ways to do that is via the creation of something you can give for free to those who chose to watch your video instead of someone else’s. A PDF can be the perfect vehicle for this – it costs you nothing to produce, and you can offer it in each of your videos as an expression of gratitude to your viewers. If you can embed the document on your website, and then provide a link in the video description that takes the viewer to a place to request the download, you can capture the person’s email address as part of the process and, by doing so, grow your email list for future campaigns.


Always offer a “call to action” in your videos, something that drives the viewer to your website, another of your social media platforms, or even to a third-party website for something that you referenced in the video. If you can show your viewers that you’re committed to genuinely helping them by providing them with free information and resources, you’ll have dropped out a compelling hook. If people feel that you care about what you can do to genuinely help them, you’ll instantly establish a real credibility for everything you do in your business or organization and you’ll paint the essence of your mission in the best possible light.


And, one of the most extraordinary outcomes of starting your own channel is that you may well end up fostering a unique community of your viewers. When people feel that they can connect with something that interests them in a significant way, and be an active participant rather than an external observer, you’ll have a real chance at building an environment in which other can embrace your vision in a way that would otherwise be difficult, if not downright impossible. By encouraging viewers to comment on your videos, and then taking the time to read and respond to comments as much as it’s practical for you to do so, you can make real connection and help to expand the influence of your business in impactful ways.


If, at the beginning, you find yourself making videos that don’t have much more to offer than the 18 seconds with the elephants, keep at it and don’t lose heart. YouTube has truly provided an opportunity for anyone to have access to a global platform. If you can find out how to connect to it in relevant ways, you’re certain to find your own spot in its vast expanse and lead others to come experience everything you have to give.

 

Would you like some assistance with starting a YouTube channel for your business? If so, visit www.valorexcel.com or call us at 240-329-9387 today to find out how! ValorExcel also offers training and coaching to help organization's THRIVE. Don't forget to check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. Each episode is designed to inspire, empower, and transform you and/or your organization.

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