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How to Make YouTube Your Online Video Platform

For companies creating online video, YouTube is a must. Whether or not you're streaming content with a paid online video platform, such as Kaltura, Brightcove, or Vzaar, you need to also have a channel on YouTube. It's just too big to ignore.

YouTube_LGYouTube is also too big to take lightly. On May 19, YouTube announced that users now upload 100 hours of video every minute. That's a lot of competition. How do you stand out in that kind of crowd?

Speaking at a panel in the Streaming Media East conference currently taking place in New York City, Vanessa Pappas, global head of audience development for YouTube, gave advice on how brands and content creators can use YouTube as an online video platform.

The first step, besides making great content that people will want to watch, is to help viewers find that content. Make sure you're optimizing your video for YouTube, Pappas said. Keep in mind that YouTube is the world's second largest search engine and a massive social networking site. Use metadata to help people find your videos when searching. Format your video pages and channel pages so that people will see them as engaging. Ask yourself, is my content sharable?

You also want to build loyalty in your audience. Having people watch one video is great, but getting them to subscribe and come back for more is far better. Subscribers watch 50 percent more videos than non-subscribers, Pappas said. Encourage viewers to subscribe and come back for more.

Rob Sandie of VidIQ and Vanessa Pappas of YouTube.
Rob Sandie of VidIQ and Vanessa Pappas of YouTube.

When creators and companies begin with online video, one of the first questions they need to answer is should they build an audience on their website and on a YouTube channel, or focus their video efforts on a YouTube channel alone. Pappas recommended that people start with the easier approach and focus on YouTube, a site with a built-in audience. Grow a devoted following on YouTube first, and, once you're successful, think about creating video areas on other sites. It's hard to create two video sites at once, Pappas said, remembering her time working at Next New Networks. Unless your site already has a devoted audience to play off us, think about building up an audience on YouTube first.

Sometimes the transparency of YouTube can frighten brands: They turn off the hit counter or the comments, afraid of viewer feedback. Avoid that kind of thinking and be transparent, urged Pappas. Turning off the comments only limits the ability for a video to grow and spread.

One way of attracting new viewers is to collaborate with other YouTube creators on videos. Make sure you're being authentic if you do this, Pappas said, and find the right match for your content and audience. Understand what your content is all about and work with other video creators with similar profiles.

If your content is popular enough, maybe you can even charge for it. Pappas explained that YouTube recently began offering a paid subscription model for select partners. That means subscribers can pay a monthly fee (generally a couple bucks a month) to view exclusive content. While getting people who already enjoy free online video to pay for it might be an uphill battle, it's another option for content creators.

A simpler way to create revenue from content is to serve ads on it. Turn on advertising for your channel, Pappas said, and don't worry that viewers will mind Today's viewers are used to online video ads, and YouTube's TrueView format, which viewers can easily opt out of, has proven popular.

For more tips on succeeding with YouTube, download the YouTube Creator Playbook.

Watch the full panel discussion below:

Troy Dreier's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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