I’ve been upping my YouTube game over the past several months, and my revenues are starting to take shape in my passive income streams. I wish I got going years ago, but better late than never. Besides, YouTube has only been around for ten years, and it’s just scratching the surface meaning plenty of first mover advantages and opportunities are still available.
YouTube should be a top priority for digital content producers, business owners, and internet marketers alike. For instance, having thousands of students on e-learning platforms such as Udemy is a false equivalence to having just as many subscribers on YouTube. YouTube puts so much more in the control of creators’ hands such as SEO, titles and descriptions, monetization, link placement, and promotional opportunities. Udemy (which I dislike) and Amazon (which I like) yield far less control. The less control you have, the more subject you’re to luck.
A critical part of success on YouTube demands that creators produce engaging, high-quality content that viewers will enjoy. Also, having the correct video/audio equipment and editing software is essential to producing fantastic videos. I use Camtasia, and YouTube offers a basic video editor, but there are many free and paid alternatives including:
- Filmora Video Editor
- HitFilm Express
- AVS Video Editor
- Adobe Premiere
- Pinnacle Studio
- Final Cut Pro (Mac only)
- Sony Vegas Pro
Whatever video editing software you choose, that’s only half the battle. You’ll need to consider how you’re going to succeed in channel development by understanding branding, SEO, analytics, marketing, etc. Here’s a list of popular YouTube tools, services, and resources to help you in these areas.
VidIQ (I use this tool)
VidIQ is the first YouTube audience development and management suite that helps individuals, brands, networks, and agencies grow their views and subscribers through collaborative tools that empower teams at every step of their workflow. Their end-to-end solution includes analytics and reporting, YouTube SEO, influencer identification, comment management, and competitive intelligence tools. VidIQ’s professional services include brand strategy and channel optimization.
I use VidIQ’s Vision Chrome extension which enables me to:
- See video and homepage keywords/tags used by others
- Review search term metrics such as views and keyword scores
- See a snapshot of YouTube, Facebook, and engagement rate (ER) metrics for the top search results
- Track character counts for my titles, descriptions, and tags
- Easily manage, copy, and paste tags from one video to the next
I don’t log into VidIQ’s site very often, but awaiting me is a robust dashboard of channel data and analytics including video demographics, charts, and trends. Much of the information is replicated from your YouTube channel analytics area, but it’s a different (arguably more attractive) way to look at your information.
VidIQ offers free and paid plans. I’m on their free plan which allows connectivity to one YouTube channel. Naturally, their other plans offer more features and can be value added depending on your YouTube strategy.
Hootsuite (I use this tool)
Hootsuite is one of the premium tools I use to run my online business, and they’re the most widely used social media management tool. Users can schedule and post updates to pages and profiles for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, WordPress, and other sites from their dashboard. They offer 160+ free and paid apps through their app directory including YouTube, VK, Tumblr, and other well-established software applications.
With Hootsuite, you can do the following concerning YouTube:
- Upload, edit, schedule, and share YouTube videos across all your social networks
- Manage multiple YouTube accounts without the risk of sharing passwords
- Monitor YouTube activity alongside your teammates
- Schedule and share your YouTube videos
- Measure subscriber growth, analyze engagement levels, and pinpoint traffic sources
Hootsuite offers multiple plans including free, pro (what I use), and enterprise. They offer a free 30-day trial, but I would experiment with their free plan first if you haven’t used them before.
I use Hootsuite to promote my videos across multiple platforms. I usually start with Instagram then proceed from there. Also, I promote my videos around the clock through automated marketing techniques using their bulk scheduling tool.
TubeBuddy’s browser extension adds a layer of incredible functionality right on top of YouTube’s website. They offer features that cover several categories including productivity, workflow, SEO, promotion, and analytics. Some of the many things you can do with TubeBuddy are:
- Bulk updates to your videos such as adding annotations and cards with just a few clicks
- Conduct SEO audits of your videos to find the best opportunities and tags
- Find/replace on your videos just as if you were using a word processor
- Generate professional custom thumbnails using screenshots and branding/text layers
- Engage your audience quicker and more efficiently
- Export your list of subscribers and their social profiles
- Get details and analysis of competitor channels
- Promote your new upload across all other videos
YouTube Tutorials, Insights, Tips, and Tricks
You can read my post for YouTube tricks and tips and check out theses sites as well.
YouTube Creator Hub and Academy
The Creator Hub is a destination for resources to help you make great videos, find your audience, and grow your channel. The Creator Academy has a vast catalog of tutorials to challenge and inspire your creativity. The lessons will give you the inside scoop on how to shoot and edit amazing videos, and make sure your viewers see them too. Also, they have a YouTube channel featuring tips and tricks. This is an excellent place to get well versed regarding all things YouTube channel development.
Tubefilter, Inc., the leading digital entertainment media company covering the online video industry, is the definitive source for industry news, program reviews, and industry events and online entertainment market intelligence services. Of note is their post, Reverse Engineering The YouTube Algorithm, which covers YouTube’s video distribution model. I highly recommend reading this article.
Tubular Insights (formerly ReelSEO) is a leading resource for analysis, tips, and trends for the online video and internet marketing industries. They offer expert advice, guidance, and commentary about the world of online video to guide internet marketers and video content producers towards best practices.
Tubular Insights is the only company that tracks all video content cross-platform, all-device, and globally. They analyze over 2.5 billion videos and the viewing habits of more than 400 million consumers across 30+ platforms to produce actionable insights that result in winning online video strategies. Furthermore, they offer one of the most extensive blogs about video and YouTube topics and provide various guides. Lastly, you can search for the top video creators and publishers on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
SEO, Keywords, and Tags
YouTube isn’t just about reviews and unboxing videos; it’s the second largest search engine on the web behind Google. For instance, I often search and watch how-to videos anytime I want to know something. Like Google, appearing on the first page of search results is critical to attracting clicks and views. To achieve this requires sufficient knowledge of YouTube search engine optimization (SEO) factors to improve your video rank. So far, I have done quite well to get many of my videos listed on the first and second pages of results.
In general, it’s important to understand SEO in its entirety, and I recommend several SEO tutorials and courses here. Also, you can visit SEJ for their advanced guide to YouTube SEO.
For YouTube SEO activities, I recommend the following:
Google Keyword Planner (I use this tool)
Google Keyword Planner is a tool that helps to build new Search Network campaigns or expand existing campaigns. It will help you to get keywords and ad group ideas, historical statistics, keywords trend, etc. See this post for Keyword Planner alternatives.
SEMRush (I use this tool)
SEMRush offers a keyword tool that is driven by its huge dataset of search data from 26 different countries. SEMRush results return keyword ideas, estimated search volume, estimated CPC, keyword difficulty score, and current ranking domains for a keyword.
This tool scrapes and suggests keyword ideas from Google, YouTube, Bing, and even Amazon. You can choose suggested keywords from every Google TLD, language, and location and there are similar options for the other engines they support. For free, you get hundreds of suggested keywords, but you need a paid plan to access search volume estimations.
YouTube’s Autocomplete Feature
As you type into YouTube’s search engine, you see suggestions. These results indicate demand for these topics, for example, “how to increase sales.” I use this method a lot to brainstorm video ideas, create video titles, and for SEO tags.
Channel Data and Analytics
Do you want to understand how your channel is doing through data and analysis? If yes, there are several routes to take.
Nestled within your Creator Studio side panel, you can monitor the performance of your channel and videos with up-to-date metrics and reports in YouTube Analytics. There’s a ton of data available in different reports, like the watch time, traffic sources, and demographics. To learn more about YouTube Analytics, check out these articles published by WordPress plugin and SEO experts Yoast (Yoast Watch Time and Engagement Reports).
Google Analytics is a free web service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. The service is available to anyone with a Google account. It lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
You can integrate your channel with Google Analytics to get a better understanding of visits to your actual channel page. This may be helpful if you use multiple Google products and want to share data across your linked accounts.
BirdSong Analytics is a leading pay as you go social media analytics tool. It’s used by social media practitioners, journalists, publishers, and researchers in 120 countries around the world. With every report, they provide in-depth analysis of audience and activity, with the option to export data for offline analysis. Their mission is to give the world social media data that is simple to use, reasonably priced, and without monthly fees. You can use them to access:
- Over 30 key metrics presented in user-friendly tables and charts
- Details of any public or private videos and channels posted on YouTube
Social Blade is one of the longest running YouTube statistics tracking websites that allow you to see your channels growth with ease. They also offer Instagram and Twitch statistics too, enabling you to track your reach across multiple social media platforms simultaneously. Here’s what they offer:
- Track your YouTube progress with subscriber & views statistics
- Compare YouTube metrics of up to three creators simultaneously
- Discover what multi-channel network or management agency a creator belongs to
- Find out when you might hit a milestone, for example, subscriber count
- Estimate how much money various YouTubers are earning
- Watch your subscriber and view counts update in real-time
- Tutorials for beginners and experienced YouTubers
- Consulting to build your channel
Live Subscriber Count
This is a free tool that displays your channel’s subscriber count in real time. It’s basically a giant ticker that updates every second. If you are running promotions or live streams, it provides instant gratification for your growth efforts. You can adjust the color of the Live Subscriber Count to match your channel and add sound. Also, some creators make it visible to live viewers to encourage channel subscriptions. Surprisingly, YouTube doesn’t offer something similar.
Monetization and Funding
Google AdSense (I use this tool)
Google AdSense is a program run by Google that allows publishers to serve automatic text, image, video, or interactive media advertisements, that are targeted at viewers. These ads are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google. Publishers can generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis.
YouTube earnings are added to your AdSense payments page before the 15th of each month and included in your payment if your total earnings exceed the payment threshold. However, estimated earnings will not be updated to include your YouTube earnings. This is perfectly fine for me since I don’t use AdSense for anything else other than to track my YouTube revenue.
YouTube Fan Funding (YouTube has canceled this feature)
You can use fan funding to let your viewers make voluntary payments to support your channel. When you turn on fan funding, your viewers see a button on your channel that lets them donate money.
YouTube Super Chat (New Feature)
Super Chat is a new way for fans and creators to interact during live streams. Fans can purchase Super Chats to highlight their messages within the live chat stream. Super Chats stand out from other messages in two ways:
- Your Super Chat is highlighted with a color.
- Your Super Chat stays pinned in the ticker for a set period of time.
The color of your Super Chat, the period of time it stays pinned in the ticker, and the maximum message length are determined by the amount of your purchase.
Patreon is a way to get paid for creating the things you already create (videos, songs, whatevs, etc.). Fans pledge a few bucks per month or per item released and the money goes to the creator. It doesn’t matter where creators create, for example, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, blog, etc.
Thumbnails are crucial to capturing the attention of viewers. I’m on my fourth design iteration and like the direction, I’m going. I’ve made bulk changes since I have less than 35 videos, but this will become more problematic as I add videos. I will likely roll out a new thumbnail design template during a quarter and continue with it until changes are warranted.
Pixlr (I use this tool)
Pixlr Editor is an amazing photo editor for all your editing needs. You gain full control over your images, including layers and effects. Their web apps are powerful and let you apply quick fixes, crop, rotate, and add style to make any photo beautiful.
With Canva, you can design presentations, social media graphics, and more with thousands of beautiful layouts. Also, you can enrich your chosen snapshot with text and design elements, or create a clean-cut thumbnail design for a synchronized playlist or channel. With their tools and easy-to-navigate interface, you can easily customize your YouTube thumbnails.
I don’t use Fiverr as much as I used to, but there are many freelancers there that can’t help you with your graphic design needs. Fiverr is the world’s largest marketplace for digital services starting at just five dollars. You can visit their YouTube related services here.
VidIQ, Hootsuite, Tubebuddy, and Socialblade are available in the Chrome Web Store. These extensions are excellent and much better than one-off tools like Tags for YouTube.
If you have a Facebook page, there are countless YouTube “Apps for Pages” which enable you to add a tab to feature your videos. I use the YouTube Tab app (500K+ monthly users), and Woobox is another attractive option.
Channel development and management apps are few and hard to find in both Google Play and Apple stores. What you’ll mostly find are video creation and editing apps such as Flipagram, VivaVideo, and numerous others for mobile video production needs. Your best bet for channel management is YouTube’s Creator Studio app which makes it fast and easy to manage your channel on the go. Features include:
- Monitor channel and video performance with easy-to-use analytics
- Filter and respond to comments
- Get notifications when something important happens
- Update video details and monetization settings
- Manage playlists
Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
I use Grammarly to check my YouTube titles and descriptions for errors automatically. It’s another one of my premium tools I can’t live without regarding blogging and vlogging activities.