How to Get Started with Video Marketing: A Beginners Guide to YouTube

March 30, 2017
By Forge and Smith

If you’ve never made a video for your business, figuring out where to begin with video marketing can feel like a mission impossible. How do you get YouTube subscribers, views, and all those things you need to be successful at video marketing?

Here’s the thing: before you start worrying about how to get more views, you need to be creating solid content. Views, likes, shares, comments, and everything else start with quality videos.

Like any other search engine, YouTube tries to reward amazing content. The algorithm takes into account not only how many views a video has, but also the engagement levels (likes, comments, shares), duration of viewing sessions, descriptions, keywords, and a whole lot more. Just like with your regular website SEO, quality is the driving force that help you climb those search results.

Great video content has to start somewhere. Let’s begin.

Getting started with video marketing: YouTube basics

Like any new marketing tactic, it’s important to do the initial legwork of building up your skills and understanding the platform. YouTube has its own Creator Academy where you can learn everything you need, from pre-production and building your brand to reading your video analytics.

Here are some of YouTube’s lessons that can help you out:

  1. Creating Great Content
  2. Pre-production: Things to do Before pressing record
  3. Enhancing Your Production Skills
  4. Growing Your Audience
  5. Measure Your Success & Learn From Your Youtube Analytics 

If you’re ready to jump into making those videos, let’s get started!

Research topic ideas

Much like researching blog topic ideas, you need to thoroughly plan your video topics. Here are some great places to start:

  • Answering questions about your industry, business, or products
  • Creating how-to guides from start to finish
  • Showing your audience how to use something
  • Providing tips and tricks on how to do something better
  • Creating a step-by-step tutorial

Bonus tip: Use YouTube and Google search bars to come up with ideas and questions, based on common searches. Type in the first few words of your idea or term, and see the suggested items on the drop-down menu.

Once you have a topic idea, check out the other videos that are ranking for the idea. Take note of how your business can do it differently, or offer something that others missed and your audience would love to see.

Publish that content

This might sound obvious, but actually getting content out there for your audience is the single most important thing you should be focused on. It’s common for businesses that are new to video marketing to worry about content length and production quality, and get hung up releasing their content.

Remember: value is the key. If your hour-long video offers exceptional information, people will watch it. The same is true if your video is two minutes long. 

As for production quality, keep in mind that the YouTube community can be fairly forgiving, and values information over studio-quality content. When your videos start to gain some traction, you can think about investing in fancy new camera equipment and devoting more time and resources to scripting, locations, sound, lighting, and editing.

If you’re just getting started, it’s okay to use what you have available to get your helpful, relevant content out there.

Gain subscribers

When someone subscribes to your YouTube channel, all of your new videos will show up on their homepage. This is, without a doubt, a powerful way to get more views on your videos and build your community.

But how can you get more subscribers when you’re just starting out?

  • Start simple: ask people to subscribe through annotations and callouts added during editing.
  • Create content that your target audience cares about. Avoid content that’s just an advertisement for your business.
  • Post fresh content on a regular basis. Try to be consistent, so your audience learns to expect and look forward to your new videos.
  • Engage with your audience (and even with the YouTube accounts they follow). Consider it a community that you keep in touch with every day, even if you aren’t logged in to upload a video.
  • Use email to elevate your video’s reach. Add links to your channel and your new videos in any emails you send to your subscriber database.
  • Promote everywhere! Regularly share links to your YouTube content on all of your social media channels, and encourage subscribers by sharing your channel.
  • Add your videos to your website or blog. Embedding your videos on websites can also help your video rank higher with both YouTube and Google.
  • Tap into trends. If you’re striving for reach and engagement, create content around something current to take advantage of searches.

YouTube is a massive, engaged community. Once you post your first video, spend some time commenting on videos that are relevant to your target audience, and subscribing to other channels. This not only increases brand awareness, but it encourages viewers to check out your page.

Make use of extra YouTube features

YouTube is constantly adapting to user demand, and adding all kinds of extras to the in-platform publishing options.

  • End screens: You can insert one of your videos at the end of the current video to keep the viewer watching. 
  • Annotations: You can also insert text over your video at key points to promote your channel, website, playlists of your own videos, or anything else you want to call out.
  • Cards: As you create more video content, you can recommend your own videos through the current video the viewer is watching.

Create playlists

Speaking of keeping those viewers engaged: a YouTube playlist is a group of videos that will play in order, one video after another. For example, if you create a playlist of software tutorials, your viewers can watch your video about one use case for your product, and be taken right into the next video that shows another use for the same product, or a different related product.

Playlists come up separately from individual videos and channels in search results. Because your videos automatically play consecutively, viewers typically watch more of your videos, which helps increase views across your entire channel. From CPG products to technology and beyond, almost any industry with video content can create unique, helpful playlists that your customers will appreciate. 

Optimize your videos

Much like website content, video optimization is a must, and YouTube SEO is important.

This can be achieved by ensuring you have a strong title, tags, description, and a thumbnail. If you’ve created your video around a keyword, make sure that your title clearly explains what your video covers. Don’t overcomplicate your title or try to be clever. As for the description, it should simply outline what people will learn as a result of watching it.

Taking the time to optimize your video is important for your video’s ongoing success. The title, tags, and description can help your video appear in regular online queries — and Google shows videos above web pages in search results. Your content will also have a greater chance of being chosen from among those search results with a well-written and researched title and description, because users will immediately understand what your content is about and if it will solve their problem. 


The most important thing to remember is that your video marketing goal should be to deliver a helpful solution to something your customers actually need and want. It’s not an ad for your product or service; it’s about drawing people into your brand by being useful. 

Forge and Smith

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