Written by A Guest Author April 21st, 2022

How to Use YouTube to Promote Your Writing

By Esther Muchene

When people think about social media to promote their businesses, usually the last thing that comes to mind is YouTube. The thought of being in front of a camera is not everyone’s cup of tea and understandably so. I mean, you probably write to stay behind the scenes, not be in front of it, right? To help you understand why you really need to get on there, let us look at some stats.

YouTube isn’t showing any signs of slowing down and data from the social media management platform, Hootsuite, proves it.

  • As of last year, it remains the second largest search engine in the world after Google, with more than 2 billion logged in monthly subscribers. This without factoring in those who watch videos without an account.
  • Over 70% of the US population use YouTube according to Pew Research in 2019.
  • Unlike other platforms, it has an enviable audience retention rate of over a billion hours of watch hours per day. This means users don’t just check one video and leave because YouTube will recommend related videos keeping them glued.
  • A study carried out in 2020 by TalkShoppe based on 2000 users aged between 18 to 64 revealed that 70% of those who saw an ad on YouTube bought from the brands advertising.
  • Considering most of us are literally addicted to our mobile phones, it is almost as if we cannot function without these gadgets. According to Reviews.org, Americans spend almost an average of 3 hours on their phone per day. Faced with that, it is no wonder YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds on mobile than any cable or TV channel ever would.

Interpretation? YouTube reaches people of all ages from all over the world.

For more statistics about YouTube as of 2021, have a look at Hootsuite.

If you’re thinking like an entrepreneur, you will see numbers and the potential from a promotional point of view. That is where your target audience is and with the right strategy, you can create brand awareness, generate more leads by driving traffic to your website, and improve book sales.

What type of videos should you create?

This is one of the biggest hurdles you may face especially if you have no idea where to begin, how to use a camera, and the last thing you want is to appear on YouTube.

However, it is not that difficult anymore. There are numerous options you can explore without ever showing your face. Screenshare is one. This option allows you to share what is on your screen with other devices. To record the screen, use a simple tool like Camtasia or Screencast-O-Matic. The other option is animated videos. They may require some skills to pull them off but with the help of tools like Toonly, Animaker or even PowerPoint that shouldn’t be a problem.

If your content is captivating enough, explainer videos with free or bought stock images can work too. Podcasts with a static image, say of your new book or published books, is probably the easiest way to go about it so long as you keep your viewers engaged.

Once you have settled on the video type and a niche, for instance, writing manual for busy mums, you can break down the video format. Look at what works for your brand and will also resonate with your audience then give it a go. Examples of video formats include:

  • Interview videos with authors, publishers, agents etc.
  • Screenshare discussing different books or your own work
  • How to (write, edit, pick a genre etc.) tutorials
  • Explainer videos taking about your writing experience etc.
  • Product reviews of other books etc.
  • Q&As
  • Collaborations with other creators in your industry

Once you have this covered, you can now move on to the next step, where the magic happens. With these effective strategies, you will be able to promote and grow your brand.

  1. Create a YouTube channel that has an engaging trailer

Start by creating a YouTube channel which is super easy to do. Sign in to YouTube via mobile or computer, click your profile picture then create a channel. Follow the simple instructions and you should be able to create or upload videos in no time.

That done, create a short one-minute trailer explaining what your channel is all about. This gives viewers a sneak peak of what to expect.

  1. Take advantage of YouTube shorts

Launched in September 2020, YouTube shorts are short form videos pretty much like Tik-Tok videos. These vertical videos that last for a minute or less have already amassed over 5 trillion views in under two years.

What this means for you is, by pivoting the right content your channel, will blow up in subscribers and views. They are super easy to make no thumbnails needed upload the video in its raw format.

  1. Use paid ads

Considering 500 hours of videos are uploaded on YouTube worldwide every minute, the competition is fierce. While you work on growing your channel organically by creating quality videos, targeted ads will help push your brand. These are very effective especially when you’re launching a new book. It will help create the necessary awareness and generate sales early.

Remarketing ads on the other hand are also great because they let your existing viewers know of a new book you are dropping.

Ad costs vary starting from $10 per day. Read through the guidelines to see the requirements before launching a campaign in case you get flagged for using copyrighted music.

  1. Branded series

You need to do all you can to keep your viewers glued to your content. And this is where a branded series takes the prize. Leverage your watch time by borrowing Netflix’s binge-worthy shows concept. You could do this by documenting your new book project. From the idea generation, drafting, editing, publishing to the launch.

Break down the steps and create interesting videos around the process. If you provide value, people will religiously watch and look forward to new episodes thus bringing them back every other day or week you drop a new video.

Package your videos in such a way that you offer writing solutions around your watcher’s problems and your channel will grow.

  1. Collaborations

One of the fastest ways you can build trust and amass loyal followers is by working with other content creators in your niche. In this case, YouTubers. This will be a win-win for both brands as you gain momentum riding on their success while you pay them to help you promote and market your books.

Depending on what your budget is, you may want to stick to micro-influencers who have less than 100K followers. Usually, pricing starts from $10 to $20 per 1,000 followers, however, this is not always the case. Some charge based on views the video will garner after they upload it.

Final Thoughts

Tempting as it may be, don’t think of reinventing the wheel. Copy what works by going through videos related to writing and see what they are doing right, then borrow that and make it your own. Tutorials about video creation help too if you choose to do it yourself. In the event you’re unable to commit due to time or lack of skills, hire a professional on Fiverr or Upwork. It will set you back anywhere from $5 to $200 upwards depending on the service.

Bio: Esther Muchene majored in Accounts and Business Finance but writing stole her heart. She soon realized she came from a family of authors and that explained her love for the pen and she found her purpose. Connect with her directly on Instagram @esthermuchene


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