The World Beyond YouTube: Video Sharing Alternatives

YouTube is the quintessential video viewing portal, so I’m sure some wonder about the benefits of uploading their videos to other competing sites. Are they worth the time and effort of setting up an account, encoding, and tagging?

For the decent videos, they can definitely be worth the extra effort. The benefits of promoting your video beyond YouTube can include increased brand authority, brand awareness, backlinks, and traffic.

With the amount of time, work, and expense that can go into a quality video, increasing the return on that piece of content is almost as much of a necessity as it is a benefit.

Make Sure Your Video Content is Worth the Effort

Good, searchable content is what will make your video content marketing successful beyond YouTube.

Sure, you can post up videos of your CEO talking about what they do at work, but it’s not going to gain the traction that a how-to or celebrity-based video will. It’s best to create the video with the intention of promoting it if you intend on promoting it.

If you want to educate, it needs to be something that your peers will respect, but is interesting to people who know little to nothing about your business.

Links will naturally build to your video if it’s great – the next steps will be much easier if there is less outreach to do for your first backlinks.

xDon’t Skimp on Quality
Videos should be an investment – your shaky cell phone interview could go viral for one reason or another, but a well-produced video will have a much higher chance of gaining traction.

Taking the time to learn quality editing and lighting skills will be worth it. Poorly made videos reflect badly on your brand, and will not be as popular.

The added investment of producing a professional video pays off in the presentation and credibility that you will have.

Descriptions Are More Important Than You Think

Videos are so effective because they command active attention from the user, but those reasons also make it harder to get the user to actually watch the video.

That’s where descriptions (and descriptive titles) come in. Let the viewers know exactly what the video is about before they even click on the “play” button. The title and first sentence in the description are going to be the most important – it’s what the viewer sees from the search results page, and it’s probably not necessary to elaborate much beyond that.

Unless a person in your video is publicly recognized, it would be best to have their name in the description, not in the headline. “Interview with a Drug Addiction Counselor” is more descriptive than “Interview with Apple Rehab’s Dr. Smith”. Space is limited, but if you’re concise enough, you won’t need it all.

The description is also a great place to link back to your website. Don’t forget this! It’s okay if it’s a no-follow link – we’re going for traffic and brand visibility, not rankings.

Don’t neglect tags. Tags help determine how videos on YouTube and other sites are related, which can impact the number of times your video shows up in “recommended” or “related” sections on a site.

Besides the video itself, this is where you want your brand to shine. You could link to the front page, but if you have a page that’s relevant to your video with more information (or a purchase page!), that’s even better.

I go back and forth over whether to put the link first in the description or further down. An early link is likely to be seen, but can take focus off the video.

Which Should Dominate: View Count or SERPS?

Most of the time, YouTube will dominate your view count, but if you want to increase your perceived authority on a particular topic, having a couple of your videos on the first page of Google can definitely come in handy.

Alternative sites like Vimeo and Dailymotion, although not as populated, rank well in Google search results. Although these rankings aren’t necessarily going to help your own website’s search results, if someone is looking for a video and they find yours multiple times, they will more likely consider you the authority on the matter.

Having these results as videos are especially nice; although YouTube tends to rank the highest on Google (naturally), video screenshots of sites like Vimeo also show up.

Having a pic on the Google search results is a very nice way to grab attention. This type of ranking may not always happen, depending on how much competition you have. The more interesting and descriptive your video is, the more likely it will show up more often for relevant search terms.

Tags, Tags, Tags

Making your videos searchable is going to be the best way to get people to see your video, especially if you haven’t built up a library of videos and subscribers.

Tags sound old-school, but they are vital. Don’t keyword-stuff these tags, as that can trigger spam actions, but do use relevant words. These tags will help video sites relate videos to each other for recommended viewing modules, which can significantly increase your view count.

Plus, if you do this, and your headline doesn’t really describe the video, then it’s possible your tags aren’t relevant enough. Since most videos are founding through searching, not browsing, you want to appeal to your target audience, not browsers.

Again, video requires much more engagement than other mediums, and if someone isn’t looking for what you’re trying to offer, they’re not going to bother with watching.

xKeys to Great Tags
Think of the tags like you think of your keywords for link building or pay-per-click: they must be relevant and descriptive.

On many of the alternative sites, the number of tags you’re allowed is limited, so you must choose wisely.

If you’re struggling with a good headline, use some of your tags in the headline – that will help make it more descriptive.

Jumping in front of the bandwagon

If you find a site that matches your target audience perfectly (of anything, not just video sites!) it’s a good idea to jump in quickly and get your presence known.

This would seem like a no-brainer, but don’t let the fear of experimenting with new sites get in your way (especially if they’re free). I have had great success uploading videos to sites like Tumblr, which is not specifically video-based, but allows uploading and embedding of videos.

Staying on the edge of newer websites can be extremely beneficial, as you catch the upslope of excited, engaged users. For a video, this is important, as a user that is not engaged is not going to spend the time to watch a video.

YouTube currently dominates the video-viewing market, but with the chaotic nature of the internet, competitors can slip in, especially if they appeal to a niche market.