Defined Desired Actions
Your channel planning blueprint must spell out the type of action you want your audience to take, That’s activation. It goes beyond just watching to include sub- scribing, commenting, collaborating, and so much more. You need clarity around the type of action you want, because it influences the type of content you create and the steps you want your audience to take. (We cover all of these topics in detail in Chapter 10, but you definitely should identify these actions during the planning phase.)
No matter how intelligent and independent your fan base, you need to guide them through the experience with your channel and its contents. Believe it or not, your viewers want you to tell them what to do. Some of that supervision may be as explicit as a Subscribe button, or more implicit with the automated viewing of a playlist.
This guidance is an area where many people and organizations struggle. Define what you want the viewer to do and determine how you’ll help them do it. If your audience is aligned with your mission, they entrust you to guide them through your channel and give them a call to action (CTA, for short). Look at the following CTA options and determine which one sums up what you want your viewers to do:
» Subscribe to your channel. Subscribers are much more valuable viewers
because they statistically consume more content and engage more on YouTube and social media.
Don’t be shy! Always ask viewers to subscribe.
» Watch more of your videos. Content is often related. If a viewer has just
watched a video of yours on house painting, chances are good that they’ll watch a video on paint options or brush selection if you ask them to. See how playlists (Chapter 3) and end screens (Chapter 9) can help you guide viewers to watch more.
» Do something. What do you want your viewers to do? Vote? Volunteer? Run
marathons? Cook Thai food from your recipes? Video is a strong motivator, so use that factor to drive your viewers to take action.
» Make a purchase. YouTube is now one of the places that people go to make buying decisions. If you’re selling something, ask them to buy what you’re
selling, and be sure to let them know where they can close the sale — whether it’s a physical location or a “virtual” store on the web.
» Follow you on social media channels. Once a viewer becomes a fan, he or she will likely want to see what you’re doing on your other digital destinations.
» Share their experience. If a viewer enjoyed your channel or content, help
them tell others about it in person, through email, or on social media. It’s another helpful way to attract subscribers and views.
Planning an Outstanding YouTube Channel
YouTube rewards you with higher search rankings and supplementary video rec- ommendations based first and foremost on your channel and individual video watch times. In addition, YouTube looks at factors such as viewer engagement and video sharing rates. Your job in the planning process is to identify and coordinate each component so that you’re in a position to keep your channel active.
Having a spokesperson
Okay, you’ve analyzed your target fan base and figured out what motivates them on YouTube. Now you need to determine whether a specific channel spokesperson would be the right fit for your target fan base. This is a critical decision for both independent creators and organizations.
Typically, an audience gravitates toward either a personality or content, but not toward any old personality or content. Whatever you choose to prioritize, it has to have a high level of authenticity. If the viewers in your topic area engage more with personality, for example, be sure to choose a spokesperson with credibility and appeal. This might be you, the creator and channel owner, or someone you hire to be a part of your YouTube production team for a small business or large brand.
Aim for the style or content across your channel to be consistent. Make it all high end or all vlogger style, for example. You choose what is right for your audience and stay authentic in whatever you choose.
A good example of a brand with a consistent voice throughout its entire channel is Aveda (www.youtube.com/user/aveda), a hair care company focused on beauty, wellness, and the environment. Every video the company creates for each segment of its audience has a specific look and feel. For example, it makes high-quality, polished ad spots to introduce new products, and it creates vlogger-hosted con- tent with popular YouTube creators using their favorite Aveda products. This gives the company a nice variety of content on the channel and appeals to customers and beauty professionals alike.