High quality, relevant YouTube video. Because it’s only your reputation at stake

You know, for public relations and advertising agencies, YouTube is really a golden opportunity, in so many ways, as I’ve discussed in this blog before.

YouTube video allows you to showcase your subject matter experts and impress prospective clients.  And many clients are interested in YouTube video for their own companies or nonprofits, so having quality YouTube video on your agency Channel allows you to show what you can do, and display your agency’s mastery of social media.

Unless you totally screw it up.

How NOT To Do YouTube

Let’s say I’m a client, and like most clients, I have at least a passing interest in making my company or nonprofit visible on the THIRD MOST POPULAR WEBSITE on the Internet (that would be YouTube, by the way).  I Google a local, award-winning agency to see what they can do, and scan the results.  What do I see?

1. The first search engine result is a link to the agency website.  No image, but some text.  The Google entry states, “Agency X is a “Washington D.C. public relations firm founded by two of the PR industry’s leading communications consultants.”  So far, so good.

2. The second search engine result is a link to the agency’s LinkedIn profile.  More text.

3. The third search engine result is a link to a company YouTube video.  But there is an important difference about this result.  The video link jumps out  at me as I scan the results, because, unlike the other entries, there is a video player image, plus text.  YouTube videos in search results are eye-catching and prominent.

I click: Shaky Flip video of junior staffers at Agency X eating a cheesecake in the agency conference room. A quick browse of the agency’s unbranded, generic YouTube Channel reveals this is their sole video.

Am I impressed?  Let me ask you: would you be?

This is not exactly cutting-edge branding, people.  And the problem is widespread.  In fact, researching top public relations and advertising firms, on YouTube, I found that 64% of  a representative sample had uploaded video of unacceptable quality to their agency YouTube Channels.

Why YouTube Video Matters for Search

Now, it’s important to understand why Google starting listing YouTube video results in search engine results with video thumbnail images (back in 2009), while other search results (except images), appear as text.  It’s important to understand why YouTube matters.

For one thing, Google does take consumer preferences into account on the search engine results they generate.  I write a blog post nearly every day, for example, but my blog posts don’t get crawled nearly as frequently as my YouTube videos.  Google knows consumers gravitate to YouTube videos like bees to honey.  And people will look at a video before they read text on a website, any day.  So, consumer preferences account for something in search.

But there is also a financial incentive.  YouTube is a Google property.  YouTube earns lots of money for Google. Last quarter, Google properties like YouTube (being the most popular of the bunch) accounted for 69% of Google’s income.  So, yes, YouTube ranks highly in search engine results.

What to Consider Before You Upload a Video on Your Agency Channel

Fun and creative videos have their place on YouTube, as long as you can manage to also be informative and on-message.  But real effort has to go into a video to pull this off well.

The next time you think about uploading a “fun” and spontaneous — and sloppy — video on your public relations or advertising agency YouTube Channel, keep in mind the search ramifications, and consider:

  • If I didn’t know me or the people at my company, would I want to watch this?  Would I still think it is funny?
  • Would I think this video is worth watching, or does this video get really old after a few seconds, truthfully?
  • Would this video teach my prospective clients anything about our company or industry that is useful, informative, and relevant to them?
  • Do the production values of this video make my agency appear less than professional?
  • Is this video actually a detriment to our brand?

PR agencies that are posting karaoke videos from holiday parties  — and yes, there are multiple ones that do! — take it from me: those videos are only cute and funny to you.

If you want to put karaoke videos up, put them on your personal YouTube Channel.  But deliver on the promise of your brand.  People viewing public relations and advertising videos on YouTube expect to see creative AND informative videos on your Channel.

Step up your game, PR and advertising agencies!

In the last post of this series, I’ll provide some quantitative data to frame this discussion, and you’ll see this is not just a rant — I do have numbers to back this up.  And those numbers will surprise you, so subscribe by email and stay tuned!

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on September 13, 2011, in YouTube Video Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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