YouTube and Video Marketing with SMX West Speaker Jake Larsen

SMX West is a four-day search marketing conference taking place in San Jose, CA, next Monday 3/11 through Thursday 3/14. If you’ve attended an SMX conference before, there’s a good chance you’re already registered to attend next week’s event – since you know just the kind of first-class information and action you can expect. If you haven’t attended SMX or aren’t sure if you can make it next week, if you’re at all on the fence, or if you’re not sure what the payoff of attendance might be, read on.

This is an interview with Jake Larsen, an SMX West speaker and a brilliant YouTube marketer. I asked Jake to explain the critical components of using YouTube as a marketing channel. As you’ll see, if Jake is any indication of the quality ideas, tactics and advice shared by the hundreds of SMX West speakers next week, well, you just can’t miss it. If you find yourself convinced after reading this interview, be sure to register with discount code SMXW13bruceclay for 10% off. And sign up for Bruce Clay’s SEO workshop for a one-day SEO intensive that will boost your week and Internet marketing skill set.

But right now, let’s think video. Have you created a video for your business? Have you considered the engagement and awareness possibilities of YouTube? Are you wondering where to begin? Jake Larsen is the video marketing manager at ZAGG, an electronics accessories company whose YouTube channel ZAGGtv boasts 23 million channel views and improved online sales 65%. YouTube even asked ZAGG to be a YouTube Ambassador, tasked with helping other businesses use YouTube to best effect. Follow Jake on Twitter, @JakeLarsen7, to access his ever-ready insights into leveraging the opportunity of YouTube and video for business. Case in point…

Jake Larsen
Jake Larsen, SMX West 2013 speaker, online video marketer

Virginia Nussey: What can you tell a general audience of business owners and marketers that’s going to give them the secret to viral videos?

Jake Larsen: The big secret to making a video go viral is to NOT try and make a viral video.  People put too much focus on trying to get one video go viral when they should focus building their channel by creating lots of videos that provide the viewer value.

You need to think of your YouTube Channel like a TV Channel.  You don’t go to your favorite TV station and watch just one video.  When you do find a TV show that you like you go back every week to watch the latest episode.  You’re YouTube Channel should be the same with you, the creator, producing multiple scheduled videos.

If you want more info you can read this article on Viral Tactics.

VN: What is your brainstorm process for video ideas like?

JL: I honestly try and think what would I want to watch.  I look up other videos in the same industry and think what can we create to make our video stand out.  I also think in terms of keywords and trends.  What are people searching for?


VN: In your experience, are there types of videos that work for different business verticals?

JL: All videos fit into three value propositions, I call them “the three i’s”; Informational, Instructional, Intertaining (Entertaining)  Anyone can make videos that fit into these categories regardless of what industry they’re in.

Our scratch test videos have worked well for ZAGG in the past.  When we launched the InvisibleSHIELD EXTREME we decided to up that ante on the video and it ended up paying off.

VN: ZAGG is a YouTube marketing ambassador and in its announcement, YouTube described the brand’s use of TrueView ads to drive traffic as the reason behind the recognition. What advice and tips can you share for businesses considering TrueView ads? Or would you suggest a business just getting started with YouTube start with a different ad type or presence? (!)

JL: First off, there are no Expert Marketers, only experience marketers and expert testers.  So test everything and have fun experimenting.  There are many ways to test videos.  Tweak the length, call to action, tone, color, buttons and script.  You can even change up targeting groups; age, gender, location, interests, keywords etc.

I would suggest building the video around the click.  Try and get the user to click the screen before 30 seconds.  With TrueView instream you don’t get charged for clicks, you get charged for views.  A view is when a user watches for at least half of the Ad or 30 seconds.  Get their attention in the first 10 seconds, show your value proposition, and get them to click before 30 seconds.

ZAGGtv on YouTube
VN: The ZAGGtv YouTube channel  looks pristinely organized and optimized. What recommendations do you have for creating playlists, growing subscribers and otherwise optimizing a YouTube channel?

JL: Playlists:  Divide up your videos into the corresponding groups based on topics.
Subscribers: Create Videos that provide value.  Tell people to Subscribe to your Channel using Annotations.  People are lazy, make subscribing easy and convenient.

A.  Title: Make sure the title is Interesting, Relevant and has the keyword you want to rank for.
B.  Thumbnail:  Create a thumbnail image that is begging to be clicked.
C.  Details:  Make sure you fill in as much detail as you can about your videos.   There are millions of videos   uploaded to YouTube.  The only way YouTube knows what your video is about is what you give them.
D.  Tags:   Make sure you Tag the hell out of the videos too, the more the merrier.
Treat your Title and Thumbnail image the way a music artists treats their Album Name and Cover Art.

VN: What video camera and video editing software would you recommend to a small business wanting to invest in a YouTube presence?

Canon EOS Rebel T2iJL: Start small and build yourself up.  Prices for camera equipment have come down quite a bit in the last couple years.  You know longer need to spend thousands of dollars for video production.  In fact one of our most successful videos (and most hated) was made from the computer camera.  We’ve even made a video that was featured on the Utah Jazz Jumbo Tron and TV commercials all captured from a smartphone.  We wanted to have that look and feel.

Here’s what I recommend;

  • DSLR Camera – Around $600
  • Wireless or Shotgun Mic – $300
  • Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro

If you don’t want to spend money on software you can edit on iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, which comes with any computer.  You can even edit on YouTube itself if you really want to bootstrap it.  If you’re serious about video though, I would recommend Adobe Premier, it works nicely with the rest of the Adobe software.

Don’t skimp out on the microphone.  Nothing screams amatuer and drives people nuts more than poor audio.

VN: What resources are required to maintain a productive and profitable AdWords for Video campaign?

JL: Basically money and time with some creativity.  Since AdWords for Video is so new it’s very cheap to get traffic to your site.  The CPC for keywords on AdWords keeps getting higher and higher, making it harder and harder to get on ROI.  The CPV (Cost Per View) is very cheap on YouTube making buying traffic to your site affordable.

VN: Has the merging of AdWords and YouTube video ads made advertising on YouTube easier or more complex?

JL: Yes.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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