Next to Google, YouTube is the most popular website in the world. Incidentally, that also makes it the second most popular search engine. And it’s also a social network.
From a marketing standpoint, YouTube is an incredibly unique platform. It’s a place where brands can build a following by regularly creating content their audience loves, but you can also use it to create content people will discover.
So should you use it? Is it worth the effort? Every organization—and every industry—is different. So the answer is: maybe.
Here are some things your organization should consider before investing in a YouTube channel. (And if you already have one . . . well, this should help you decide if it’s worth continuing.)
Is video a valuable way for people to experience your content?
Have you ever gone to Google to figure something out, scanned a few articles, then realized it would be easier to just watch a video? Certain types of content lend themselves much better to videos.
Sometimes it takes hundreds of words just to set the scene and describe a scenario that a video could communicate in seconds.
When you think about the main problems and aspirations people have in your niche, ask yourself: would this be more helpful to explain in an article or a video? Would both be useful?
If there are visual elements that are hard to describe, or that would make your content more engaging, it might be worth investing in video.
Your brand should approach content marketing with the mindset that you’re trying to create something valuable to your audience, and you should think about the most beneficial medium to accomplish your objectives.
Are your competitors on YouTube?
You shouldn’t decide to invest in something just because your competition does. But if your main competitors are already on YouTube—and they’re gaining traction there—that’s a good indicator that you could engage your audience there as well.
It could also be a sign that people are actively searching for videos that address the problems you solve.
Alternatively, you may find that your competition isn’t on YouTube, and other content creators are filling the need. This can also be a good indicator that your organization is well positioned to join the conversation on YouTube.
If other brands in your space are on YouTube, it’s important to think about how you can offer your target audience something unique and more valuable—not just in terms of your product or service, but in terms of the content you create. Maybe you have stronger expertise to showcase, or you can answer your audience’s questions more clearly, or your brand can bring a more interesting personality to the content.
Is your team capable of taking on another marketing channel?
Part of deciding if you should start a YouTube channel is purely practical. Is it doable right now? If you want to do it well (and you don’t want other areas to suffer) YouTube isn’t something you can just “add to someone’s plate.” It might mean making cuts to some of your other content marketing efforts.
It used to be that if you wanted to grow a YouTube channel, the only school of thought was that you had to publish videos on a regular basis. But that’s simply not the case anymore. Experts like Brian Dean have proven that with the right quality content, you can grow your channel without worrying about creating a steady stream of videos.
Especially if you have a small team, you’re better off dedicating a short period of time to creating the most important video content (meaning videos that address the things people are searching for). Then you can grow your channel without making a long-term sacrifice in other areas.
Do you have existing videos that would be valuable?
There are plenty of reasons why your organization may have published videos to a different platform. Maybe you didn’t want your audience to have to deal with ads (or to see risque suggested videos). Or you didn’t want to risk people leaving your website. Or you wanted your videos to live on Facebook, where they get prioritized.
Whatever the reason was, if you already have high-quality videos, it might be easier than you think to grow an audience on YouTube.
Your audience is already here
You certainly don’t have to have a YouTube channel to build a following or show up in search results. But with over 1.9 billion users on YouTube, you can pretty much guarantee that the people you want to reach are here.
So if you’re capable of creating video content, you have the energy to dedicate to it, and your audience is already looking for helpful videos in your space, it’s probably time to launch your channel.