Until recently the best way to launch a new video was to: (1) create content that was unique, compelling, and entertaining or informative; (2) write optimized titles, tags and descriptions for your content; and (3) share your content with relevant blogs, sites, and online communities. Today, that’s simply not enough to ensure that your new video gets more than 10,000 views.

YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands – Read and Learn 

The first indication that the best practices for launching videos were changing was the debut of the YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands on March 31, 2014. For example, when it comes to optimizing your content, the Playbook for Brands advises:

  • Write optimized titles, tags and descriptions for your content.
  • Create high-quality, custom thumbnails for your videos that accurately represent the content and are consistent with your brand identity.
  • Use annotations on your videos to increase viewership, engagement and subscribers.
  • Create and manage playlists to organize your videos and provide an extended viewing experience.
  • Create a coherent channel experience to build your audience and turn non-subscribed viewers into subscribed fans.

None of this advice will come as a surprise to regular readers of ReelSEO.

But, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And there are more than a million creators in the YouTube Partner Program from over 30 countries around the world who probably know as much about video SEO as the next person. So, it’s probably getting harder by the minute for you to rank very high for popular keywords or shorter phrases.

That’s why the Playbook for Brands also recommends that you “Use paid media to accelerate your audience-building efforts and promote discovery of your content.” It goes on to say:

Given the abundance of videos on the web, it’s risky to assume that your content will be organically discovered by a large audience. It is key to design a solid plan to promote your content and ensure it’s viewed by your target audience. Virality plays a key role in building your audience on YouTube, but unless you already have millions of subscribers, you’ll need to seed your content when it launches. Indeed, when they don’t have an existing subscriber base or engaged social following, many brands use paid advertising on YouTube to ignite sharing and accelerate audience building.

YouTube is Changing: What That Means for Brands TODAY

And the Playbook for Brands shared these new insights:

Over the last six months, we’ve seen over 6,000 campaigns generate at least one earned view as a result of every two paid views. And we know the YouTube audience isn’t shy about sharing brand content: Three in four YouTube users agree that ‘If there is a brand I love, I tend to tell everyone about it. Indeed hundreds of campaigns get more than two earned views per paid view.

Now, most YouTube Partners are trying to earn money from their YouTube videos. But YouTube now recommends that brands spend money “to seed your content when it launches.” This is a big change in the best practices for launching videos and significantly shifts everyone’s launch strategies.

Blogger Outreach: Time to Stop This Tactic?

There’s also the curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark. I want to call your attention to something that’s missing from the Playbook for Brands. In Version 1 of the YouTube Creator Playbook, which was published in 2011, there was a section on Blog Outreach that said, “Share your content with relevant blogs, sites, and online communities.” This Blog Outreach section remained in Versions 2 and 3 of the Creator Playbook, which were published in 2012, and in Version 4, which was published in 2013. But, In the Playbook for Brands, which was published two months ago, this section does not appear. That is the curious incident.

The Blog Outreach section in Version 2, which was published in February 2012, and Version 3, which was published in November 2012, said, “Don’t limit your purview to YouTube. A lot of viewers find content on YouTube through other sites on the Internet. There are tons of sites and blogs that are always looking for great content to write about or to feature. Make it easy for these people to promote yourvideos by reaching out to them with high quality, tailored content that is relevant to their audience.” By Version 4 of the Creator Playbook, which was published last year, that Blog Outreach language had been modified to read:

Don’t limit your purview to YouTube. A lot of viewers encounter videos on other sites, and websites and blogs are always looking for great content to feature. Make it easy for them! Reach out with your most brilliant videos.

And now the Playbook for Brands doesn’t include a Blog Outreach section at all. So, what happened? Well, some bloggers have stopped blogging. Others have started embedding videos from sources other than YouTube. Others are now asking for a share of ad revenue for the videos “distributed” on their blog. And the dwindling number of blogs that continue to embed YouTube videos are now dwarfed by the growing number of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that share YouTube videos. As the Playbook for Brands points out:

  • 500 years of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook per day.
  • 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter per minute.

So, times change, the market evolves, best practices have to be updated, and strategies need to shift. I’m okay with all that – although I wish that I’d realized that without having to go back for a second look.