The 5-Video Work Week: How To Build Your Brand On YouTube

In a one-minute video on YouTube, well-known life-hacker Timothy Ferriss describes how to get the shell off a hard-boiled egg without all that annoying peeling.

More than 3 million people have watched the famous author describe how adding baking soda to your boiling water, tapping the shell off both tips, and then blowing through the ends will help to keep your egg in perfect form.

Ferriss is just one of many entrepreneurs who discovered early on that using video is an excellent way to build one's expert brand. In other words, if you're running a small business and have a limited budget, park yourself in front of a camera and produce one short video a day to push out into your various social media channels.

Although the egg how-to is a few years old, I've always used it as the perfect example of a well-branded clip showcasing Ferriss as a life-hacker kind of guy.

Here's what he does right: For starters, it's an ideal length. Businesses, of all sizes, often post YouTube videos that are several minutes long. Not only does this take more time and effort, these long clips are watched and shared less often than shorter videos. I recently asked a friend who works in a senior role at Facebook for insight about the average length of the most-shared videos on the world's largest social network. He replied that the most popular videos are a firm 60 seconds long.

Knowing that your videos should be short and sweet should take away some of the pressure of producing expert content for YouTube.  

The next hurdle is to determine the type of content. When drafting a social media strategy for a small independent tea shop, for example, I advised the owner to create a daily tea tip. This would either be a featured new tea and its heath benefits or a how-to clip explaining perfect brewing methods. Whatever your business, if you're passionate about what you do, you have expert advice that is useful to your audience. Run a small accounting firm? Post video updates explaining how to save money. Looking to build more awareness for your real estate business? Build out a series of videos that focus on home-buying questions and answers.

Once you've set your video length and determined your content goals, commit to a regular schedule. To truly build your brand, posting once a week is not enough (that's what everyone else is doing, so you need to do more). Just take a look back at Gary Vaynerchuk's humble beginnings online. His well-known hustle led him to produce his popular wine podcast on a daily basis. To date, there are still few people who have commit to such a rigourous YouTube schedule. However, Vaynerchuk stuck to these releases for five long years, leading the entrepreneur to a multi-book deal and many other business successes.

With a 5-video work week plan, all that's left to do is to focus on the technical set-up. Once you customize a YouTube channel with your look and feel, it's time to think about distribution. Make sure you post your videos on a regular basis to all your social networks (also, add a digital bug to your videos that includes your URL or business name so they videos are branded when they're embedded).  

Also, put some effort into participating in the YouTube community. Spend a few minutes each day watching other expert videos and leaving comments for the creators. Speaking of comments, yours should be moderated to ensure your channel maintains a professional presence. You will also need to invest in a camera and a mic (audio is key, so don't rely on your in-camera microphone). Fortunately, you can buy all the equipment you need for less than a thousand dollars (if you don't have lights, just remember to face a window or turn towards a light in the room so you're not backlit).

If you're looking for even more YouTube inspiration, think back to a little company called Blendtec. After uploading dozens of "Will It Blend" videos, staring in 2006, retail sales of their high-end blenders increased by over 700 percent.  

Not bad for an investment of just a few hundred dollars, founder's time, and a free video platform.

Get more quick career tips in Fast Company's Work Flow series. 

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[Image: Flickr user ross_tt]

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2 Comments

  • natural glass cleaner

    I think Youtube is the most cost efficient and effective marketing any company can ask for.  It is a matter of being different and creative.

  • Karen

    Amber, thanks for a great article. What would you recommend as a good, relatively inexpensive video platform?