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YouTube Creator Playbook Offers New Strategies & Best Practices

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YouTube has posted a playbook that compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies for Partners and content creators that go beyond the typical X’s and O’s that you’ll find in YouTube Help. Although some of the information in the 70-page YouTube Creator Playbook has appeared at various times in The Official YouTube Blog or been presented at YouTube Meetups and Gatherings, other tips are brand new.

For example, Page 32 of the YouTube Creator Playbook tells Partners, “Write optimized Title, Tags, and Descriptions for your content.”

Heck, I shared that advice three years ago in “YouTube and Video Marketing with Greg Jarboe at SES San Jose 2008.” And I spelled out the steps in my Search Engine Watch column, “YouTube Keyword Tool and Video Optimization Techniques.”

And Betty, who specializes in Southern homestyle cooking on the YouTube channel known as "bettyskitchen," shared her “Tips for Partners: Betty’s recipe for metadata” last year in “Using Metadata in YouTube Videos.”

So, I’m tempted to say, “Move along, nothing to see here,” just as Chief Wiggum in "The Simpsons" and Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun" have told us for years. But wait, there’s more!

The YouTube Creator Playbook also contains new tips that I’ve never seen before.

Tent-Pole Programming

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For example, I’ve been uploading videos to YouTube since 2006, but I’d never previously heard of “Tent-pole Programming.” On Page 18, the playbook says this strategy aims to: “Create and release content around tent-pole events.”

OK, I’m ready to rush out and get a “tent-pole,” but I still don’t have any idea of what this metaphor means. Fortunately, the YouTube Creator Playbook explains that on Page 19.

It asks, “Why does Discovery channel have ‘Shark Week’ every year? Why do a lot of sitcoms have a Halloween themed episode at the end of October? Why does the Today Show have relationship experts on the week before Valentine’s Day? The answer to these questions is: ‘Tent-pole’ Programming.”

Ah, now I get it. And the playbook adds:

“Tent-pole events are the cultural events that promotion, sponsors/advertisers, and viewing trends orbit around throughout the year. Big movie releases, sports, holidays and niche events should act as guides for the content you produce. This strategy applies to any partners. Any channel can create or participate in ‘tent-pole’ events (that are) relevant to their specific audience. For example, a partner with a food show can create a video about football party snacks that is tied to a big sporting event and is still relevant to a food audience.”

On Page 20, the YouTube Creator Playbook outlines the how-to steps for tent-pole programming:

Create a Program Calendar

  • Create a calendar of upcoming months. Identify the key tent-pole events that are relevant to your show and meaningful to your audience. 
  • Create your own tent-pole events to dedicate resources, time, or content.

Upload Tent-pole Related Videos

  • Create videos for the tent-pole events and be strategic about when to publish them. 
  • Devote blocks of time to produce special content around milestones or ‘signiture’ events that you create for your channel and audience. Make show anniversaries into special events or assign special programming to specific weeks or months.

Conduct Blog Outreach

  • Offer your tent-pole videos to relevant blogs, sites, and online communities.
  • Provide short descriptions of the content and explain why it would be interesting to their readers. Include links and embed codes in your outreach emails.

This is great advice. And there’s lots more where that came from.

Go to the new hub for YouTube Partners and creators and check out the latest news and helpful tutorials. For example, watch DeStorm’s “How To Use Annotations On YouTube – (Adoptafeature).”

If YouTube keeps this up, then there will be less and less need for people like me to talk about the basics of online video. That ground will already have been covered.

So, it’s time to take our game to the next level. Fortunately, there are a lot more topics to tackle at sessions like “Next Gen YouTube Marketing” at events like SES Chicago 2011.


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