Ten Tips for First-Time YouTube Marketers

Posted by Drew Hendricks on January 2nd, 2013 at 9:36 am

Ah, YouTube marketing.  The endless potential.  The high hopes.  The dreams of creating the next big viral sensation that grabs a million impressions and the attention of national news shows.  The money!  The success!  The possibility!

Unfortunately, while marketing on YouTube does carry vast potential, it’s also a highly competitive game.  If you’re making your first video, the one thing you should bear in mind is:  you’re not alone.  Right now there are literally tens of thousands of other marketers also making videos.  And they also want theirs to go viral.

How can you improve your odds?  Here are some tips.  First – three things to do.  Second – three things to avoid.  Third – three ways to prepare.  Fourth – one golden rule.

Things to Do

Know Your Market

In this regard, YouTube is no different than any other marketing venue.  It’s just global, with tens of millions of daily visitors.  Craft your video to get the attention of your demographic(s).

Go For Attention

YouTube isn’t exactly the global cornerstone of deep thought and world-changing philosophy.  It’s a lowest-common-denominator attention factory where the only thing that matters is the number of views you get.  Do what you’ve got to do to get those eyeballs.

Leverage Social Connections

You want you video shared.  You want it on Facebook walls.  You want it on Twitter feeds.  You want roads into that video from hundreds of different sources.  People tend to like and share what’s already been liked and shared, so build a social strategy before you even shoot the video.  (For some ideas, check out

Things to Avoid

Brand Conflict

It’s so easy to get so caught up in grabbing attention that the final video becomes a liability for your brand.  If you’re a church, don’t shoot strippers.  If you’re a humanitarian organization, don’t shoot something that looks like a spaghetti Western.  Keep your brand identity (and ideology) at the core of your video.


It will be tempting to try to do what’s already gone viral.  Don’t.  It went viral because it was unique.


Yes, people sit for hours watching cute cat videos.  No, that doesn’t mean that YouTube somehow magically makes boring things entertaining.  If you shoot a boring video, you’re going to have a dud on YouTube.

Ways to Prepare


Just because it’s new and sexy doesn’t mean social marketing of any kind is easy.  You still need to research, know what’s out there, and know what’s been successful in the past.

Create Options

There’s an old adage that the first idea is the best idea.  That’s a good adage…to test every time you embark on a creative endeavor.  Start by coming up with more ideas than you could ever shoot, then narrow them down.  Who knows.  Maybe your first idea actually will be the best one.


A good video comes from a pure vision.  Once you’ve chosen your idea, commit to it.  Don’t water it down.  Don’t second-guess yourself.  Exploit that idea to its fullest potential.

The Golden Rule

Be True to Yourself

Shakespeare said it:  “Be true to yourself, for then…you can be false to no man.”  You can waste a lot of time trying to emulate other people, but the best communication always comes from the heart.

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