Drones offer an incredible opportunity to create unique videos. The aerial footage created by talented droners is worth sharing – and both hobbyists interested in increasing their community and commercial operators who hope to use videos to highlight their work are looking for ways to increase their video exposure. We’ve seen a lot of success stories and failures. Here are some of the things we’ve learned about getting more views on YouTube:
#1. The Title is important. Like any piece of content, what you title YouTube videos is almost as important as the video content. Spend time considering what people will search on – look at successful videos to learn more – and name your video accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to create titles that meet these 3 criteria: descriptive, enticing, and clear. The title should describe what’s inside: “Amazing views of the California Coast.” It should entice the viewer to click by trying to engage curiosity or provide value: “Amazing Views of the California Coast: You Won’t Believe What We Saw From the Air.” Finally, the title should be clear: if you’re offering views of the California coastline, don’t provide a video that quickly morphs into something else.
#2. Fill in the Description and the Tags. Many people skip this step – but taking the time to fill in the description thoroughly – using keywords – will help your video get more views. Use a full paragraph or two to describe your video. Put in your company name, and use any keywords you can think of: “This video shows amazing aerial footage of the California Coast north of San Francisco. From shots of surfers at Stinson Beach and seals at Point Reyes, if you are planning a trip to California you should see this video. You won’t believe how the coastline changes: see the shift from sands to cliffs as we move up the coast.” Tags are just as important: anything that a viewer might search on should be included, such as “California, San Francisco, Stinson Beach, Point Reyes, Surfers, Seals, Drone Footage, Aerial footage.”
#3. Make Sure Your Video Stays Legal. Once you’ve put the effort into creating your video, you want to make sure that YouTube doesn’t take it down. One of the most common reasons for video to be removed from YouTube – especially drone video, which usually has a soundtrack behind it – is a “DMCA Takedown.” DMCA stands for Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. If you’ve put an audio track behind your video that uses copyrighted music, you may very well find that your video is flagged or taken down by YouTube before you’ve had a chance to brag about it. Purchasing music once on iTunes or another site won’t fix the problem: using it as the background for your video gets you involved in copyright and royalty issues. It’s much safer to make sure that your background track is royalty-free; you can find great audio tracks to use legally on a service like AudioBlocks, which provides inexpensive access to royalty-free tracks from every genre. Need a cool intro or transition image? Don’t be tempted to use a clip from a TV show, movie or cartoon – you’ll quickly find your efforts wasted and your video flagged. You can find royalty-free video or images from services like VideoBlocks, which provide a huge selection of royalty-free stock footage, backgrounds, and After Effects templates to choose from.
#4. Post a video response. One way to get your video seen by more people interested in the topic is to post a video response to a similar, highly viewed video. You can only do this once with your video – so choose wisely, and use this in a place where your video really can add value. Search for videos with a similar topic, choose one that closely complements your piece – like “Northern California Nature Videos,” using our example above – and add your video as a video response.
#5. Share Wisely. It’s not enough to post your video to YouTube and expect viewers to find it – you have to get it out on other channels. Send links to your video to your friends and customers by email, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t already have a following on social media, or an email list to choose from, you’ll have to be brave: send links to your video to bloggers, news sites, and influencers. Keep developing your list of email addresses, and keep sending out videos even if you don’t hear back – you never know when your video may hit a chord or provide needed content or context for a publisher or blogger.
Developing a YouTube following isn’t always quick and easy, but it’s worth doing: a successful YouTube video can provide opportunities to showcase your drone abilities in a way that few other platforms offer.