Google’s YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world and many campaigns use it to host and share their videos online. It even accounts for a significant share of internet searches making it an important battleground for campaigns.
If uploading a video to YouTube is just an afterthought for your campaign before getting a video file out, read on to learn how to ensure your videos are actually seen on YouTube.
Name Your File
One of the ways that YouTube identifies videos for search results and recommendations is reading the name of the file you upload. Rather than a default string of letters and numbers or an internal name like “TV-Ad-Freedom-v2-1.mp4”, rename the file before you upload it to include your candidate’s name and a few keywords. John-Doe-lower-taxes.mp4, for example, will help YouTube better understand what the video is about.
Customize The Thumbnail Image
Did you know that you can create a custom thumbnail image rather than the default clip YouTube selects for your video? Top YouTube channels use the thumbnail image to entice viewers to click on and watch a video.
The online design platform Canva offers templates for creating custom YouTube thumbnails. Include an image from the video along with easy-to-read text that grabs a viewer’s attention. 90% of the best performing videos on the platform have custom thumbnails.
Upload a Transcript
YouTube also analyzes the transcript associated with the video. Including a transcript not only helps with search but makes your video more accessible via closed captions for those who are hard of hearing or watching on a mobile device without sound on.
You can use an affordable service like Otter.ai to automatically transcribe a video and create the exportable .srt file you need to share with YouTube.
Write A Descriptive Title
It’s simple: the video title should tell a viewer what they’re going to learn from watching. Think of it as a headline – it’s also free real estate to convey a message.
Instead of describing what the video is, name the candidate, the message, and the format. Here’s an easy framework you can use: Candidate Name: + Message + [Format]
- Candidate Name: We need lower prices at the pump [Interview]
- Candidate Name: Parents decide children’s education [Town Hall]
Remember to keep it short. Titles longer than 60 characters get cut off on results pages.
Have a Default Description
Create a default description that will be added to all of your videos. It should include links to your website, donation page, social media links, and other evergreen resources. Add in a biography of the candidate and any pertinent dates.
Have a Specific Description
In addition to the boilerplate description, include a specific description explaining what the video is about, including some keywords that would help someone find the video if they were searching for it.
Most campaigns already make use of YouTube to upload and share online videos, but following these tips will help you reach more voters and earn more views.