Measure your video content marketing with monetization!

The era of eyeballs alone is slowly coming to a close as more marketers demand tangible results from their efforts. One of the easiest ways to prove the quality of your marketing is to fulfill Jay Baer’s Youtility statement: marketing so good, people would pay for it.

While you may or may not be able to sell your content directly, you can put it up for bid in advertising systems as a proxy for people paying for it. The channel most overlooked for monetization these days is YouTube. That’s unfortunate, since it’s so easy to do. Let’s explore the basic steps.

First, you need to have a channel on YouTube. This is now enabled by default when you set up your YouTube account. The first place you’ll go is the video manager, under YouTube.com/features. From here, find your channel menu [1]:

YouTube.jpg

After you’ve found your channel, choose Status and Features. You’ll need to resolve any outstanding issues with your YouTube account, such as verification or copyright compliance [2].

Let’s assume that you’re good to go and your account is valid. Click the Monetization Enable button [3] and YouTube will give you the option to monetize your videos with a variety of different ads:

Monetize_YoUTube.jpg

The first option puts a lower-third ad in your videos. Bear in mind that a lower-third ad can obscure things like subtitles or your own graphics in videos, so take that into consideration. The second option puts one of those 5-second skippable ads in front of your video. It’s more annoying to the average user (who wants to see the video) but it doesn’t alter the way your content appears. Choose the option that makes the most sense for your video content.

Finally, you’ll be asked to associate your YouTube account with a Google AdSense account (or set one up if you don’t have one):

Google_AdSense__Select_your_Google_Account.jpg

Assuming everything worked, the next time you look in your video manager, you’ll see the $ sign appear next to eligible videos. Note that videos which are unlisted or private will be ineligible for ads:

Videos_-_YouTube.jpg

This is the acid test of whether your video content is appealing or not. If your videos and ads get no views and earn no money, then your content game might need improving. If your content marketing videos are so popular that they generate revenue on their own, then your content game is strong.

Will you make a ton of money? Probably not. At best, you’re likely to make beer money for most of your videos. However, what money you do earn is secondary to the proof that if your content is good enough, people will pay for it one way or another.


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9 simple tools for social media posting

If you want to succeed in social media content today, you’d better have multimedia game. That means being able to generate audio, video, and image content above and beyond simple re-sharing of images. I thought I’d share some of my favorite tools for boosting your game. In full disclosure, where and when I can get an affiliate link in, I will.

Before we dig in, read this piece I wrote over on the SHIFT blog about copyright infringement and what you can and can’t legally use of other peoples’ work. It will help prevent you being sued.

Photos and Images

Visual graphics require visual editing software. Once upon a time, Adobe Photoshop was a massive, expensive purchase. Today it’s a relatively cheap rental at $10/month, paired with Adobe Lightroom. I’d strongly suggest having this software handy. We’ll use this cup of coffee I took a picture of with my iPhone as the starting point for our multimedia tour:

IMG_3151

For the simple production of images with styled text over them, there are two pieces of software I’d recommend. The first is Over, a mobile app that lets you take a photo that you’ve taken and superimpose text on it. Available on iTunes and Google Play.

IMG_3152

If you’d prefer software with similar functionality on the desktop, look to Canva. Canva allows you to use your own images or properly licensed stock photo images and apply decorations of all kinds to them:

Canva

Want to do some screenshots? No better package exists for this than Evernote Skitch. You can take screenshots, annotate them, blur out text, highlight things, and then upload them, or copy and paste any imagery and do the same:

IMG_3151___Flickr_-_Photo_Sharing_

Feeling artistic? Got a boring, boring photo? Mobile apps like Waterlogue for iOS or Photo Painter for Android can turn boring photos into slightly less boring photos:

Painted in Waterlogue

Video

One of the easiest places to start with video is making screencasts, videos of a particular window on your desktop computer (or your entire screen), accompanied by narration. Many meeting software packages like GoToMeeting allow you to dial into a meeting and record your screen as the presenter, so if you work at a company that has GoToMeeting or equivalent, you’re probably already set up. You can also use dedicated screen casting software. One of the more interesting packages out there is the free, open-source Open Broadcaster Software, which lets you record and/or livestream to YouTube:

If you want to do collaborative screensharing, look no further than Google Hangouts on Air, part of Google+. This allows you to record video with one or more participants, share screens, and even do miniature talk shows:

One of my favorites for creating a slideshow video that’s very polished is the free Adobe Voice, part of Creative Cloud. Here’s the photos we just took, turned into a nice show:

Audio

If you want to share audio, hands-down the best platform is Soundcloud for hosting and sharing it. However, for making it, chances are you’ll want to use some audio editing software. My favorite is the old, reliable standby, Audacity. You record your audio, music, etc. into Audacity, then export and save to Soundcloud:

Wrapping Up

These content creation tools are the building blocks for creating great content. Try them out; many are free or very inexpensive, and you’ll immediately be appealing to your audience in new and different ways.


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Reverse your guest blogging strategy

Rusty

Guest blogging as a marketing strategy has been relatively simple up until this point. You write for other blogs, send them your post (which invariably contains one or more links to your website), and if they publish it, you get credit from search engines for an additional link to your website.

The purpose of guest blogging is to generate links. Links create authority which signals Google that your site is worthwhile. Earning Google’s favor means better performance in unpaid search, which in turn means more traffic to your website.

Just about a year ago, Matt Cutts, the webspam emeritus at Google, made the following statement:

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”

The real goal of guest blogging isn’t more links. It isn’t better search engine performance. The real goal of guest blogging is increased traffic to your website, achieved through multiple intermediate steps.

Here’s something to consider. What if, instead of pursuing lots of intermediary steps, you went straight for the final goal of increased traffic? How would your marketing strategy change?

Chances are the few blogs you chose to write for would be highly targeted. They’d be sites that have the audience you want, and the site would be willing to give you relatively free rein to submit content that generates clickthroughs to your site. You’d be behaving as though Google didn’t exist, which is aligned well with Google’s web quality guidelines.

Extend this concept even further. What if you reversed the process of guest blogging? What if, instead of you submitting content on other peoples’ sites, you aimed instead to invite them to your site? You’d reverse the process of placing content other places and instead opened your doors to others. At first glance, this might seem to be self-defeating. It’s not; in fact, it’s an incredible way to build links in a more reliable fashion. Why? If you choose your guest bloggers well, they will bring their own audiences and direct attention to the content they created on your site. Paradoxically, by giving up space and audience on your website to someone else, they can bring you even more audience, not to mention lots of new links.

For example, a few years ago, I invited 11 friends to blog here while I was on an extended leave of absence. Each of those 11 blog posts drove tons of new visitors at the time, and each has dozens of links to them from external sources that continue to feed my website’s SEO value to this day. Was that more impactful than me just getting one link from an external website? You bet.

Here’s the catch: to make this work, you must give more than you get. Promote your guest bloggers’ posts on your blog as rigorously, if not more so, as your own. Shine the spotlight on them. Give them clear, equity-passing links in their posts. Only when you give more than you get will you reap the long term rewards. You can’t approach reverse guest blogging from a scarcity mindset.

Rethink your guest blogging approach. Does it make more sense now to pursue the end goal directly – traffic – than through a series of indirect steps with the hopes of obtaining favor from an algorithm? I’d argue yes.

And if you missed the excellent series, here are the posts:

Other posts in the series:



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