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How to Promote Your Videos The Right Way (Ep. 61)

by TODD HARTLEY, on Feb 7, 2017 9:08:00 PM


There’s a big problem I’ve noticed with video marketers today...

They’re stuck in the past.

They still act like all you need to grow a massive audience and attract loyal customers is to create a great video and share it on social media.

But if you’ve taken a peek at your business’s analytics recently, then you probably already know that’s not the case.

Free Bonus: Discover how to create videos that generate ROI with this free, 5-part video course. Click here for instant access!

Yes, video will get more engagement than text alone. But unless you already have a significant audience, your video likely isn’t getting the exposure it deserves.

Fortunately, it's possible to stimulate a viral sharing effect, even if you don't have a massive audience or budget!

In this episode, Marcus Krieg joins me to discuss how to promote videos effectively in 2017. 

Get the episode on iTunes: http://apple.co/2luqZDI

If you like the show, please leave us an honest rating and review on iTunes. You’d really be helping me out!

NOTE: You can also listen to the episode here, or download the episode to your device (right click and save).

Why Video Promotion is Critical for Getting ROI

If you’ve been following WireBuzz for long, then you already know that the formula for video marketing ROI is to create videos with a high business impact and high exposure.

High Business Impact x High Exposure = ROI

After years of working in the video industry, I’ve discovered that many companies prioritize the wrong types of videos and rarely promote them effectively.

We’ve already discussed topic selection a great deal, including in episode 28 and episode 50.

You may have even downloaded our free topic selection worksheet, which walks you through a series of questions designed to help you choose profitable video topics that will have an immediate impact in your business. 

But choosing high-impact topics is only half the battle.

[clickToTweet tweet="Your video still needs exposure to thrive — even the best video won’t generate ROI if nobody sees it." quote="Your video still needs exposure to thrive — even the best video won’t generate ROI if nobody sees it."]

And that's why this blog post and podcast episode are dedicated entirely to the topic of video promotion.

3 Mistakes Marketers Make When Promoting Videos

3 Mistakes Marketers Make When Promoting Videos

The root of the promotion problem is that most marketers fundamentally misunderstand what "content promotion" means.

And frankly, it's not even your fault.

Marketing "gurus" have been leading the entire industry astray for years now. They peddle tactics like candy, but never tie it all back into the larger strategy (which they make you pay for).

These folks talk about social media like it’s the end-all-be-all for your business' digital marketing strategy. But really, they're just playing the traffic game and want you to engage with their content. It's a novelty play.

They’re leveraging FOMO and shiny object syndrome to drive traffic and clicks to their website, without any regard for how misleading that content is to the people who trust them to provide smart, actionable advice. The tactical content they create is so far removed from strategy, that it’s practically unethical.

As a result of this perverse incentive, real-world marketers are now faced with a TON of practical misunderstandings about what it takes to promote content. In particular, I see three big mistakes that most businesses fall into when promoting their videos.

We'll explore those mistakes in greater detail in a moment, but let's take a step back for a second and talk about where they come from. In particular, I see three big major sources of bad marketing advice:

  • First Mover Advantage: Many marketing "experts" got started when everything was new and built their audiences as each respective platform grew. What worked for them in 2005, probably won't work for you in 2017 and beyond.
  • Large Audience Fallacy: Experts who already have a large audience (email list, social following, recurring traffic, etc.) making recommendations based on what works for them, without considering how the strategy would need to change if your audience is small. Many tactics, like posting on social media, are only effective at scale.
  • Virtually Unlimited Time: Influencers in the marketing industry almost always have a team helping them to execute various aspects of their marketing strategy and can easily afford to hire help, because they're already successful. As marketers themselves, they don't face the same corporate budget constraints that most real-world marketers are forced to deal with. Severe time and budget restrictions make investing in lower return-on-time activities a major distraction.

Now to be clear, there are also a ton of great marketers out there with a lot of value to share. But I wanted to share these specific limitations so you can be mindful and selective when deciding where you get your marketing advice online.

So without further ado, here are three biggest mistakes I see marketers making in their video promotion strategies...

Promotion Mistake #1: Relying on Your Videos to Create Their Own Traffic

The most fundamental video promotion mistake involves posting your video in places where it won't get adequate exposure.

This could include:

  • Putting your video below-the-fold on your website
  • Burying videos on web pages that don't get much traffic
  • Posting your videos on YouTube without a specific growth strategy

Even in 2017, most marketers treat all types of content like a silver bullet — if you build it, traffic will come. That might have been the case 10 years ago, but as we discussed in episode 48, it's definitely not true anymore.

[clickToTweet tweet="There's simply too much competition today for your videos to get results without promoting them." quote="There's simply too much competition today for your videos to get results without promoting them."]

In episode 48 of the podcast, Marcus and I discussed how YouTube Vlogger Shay Carl doesn't believe he would be able to replicate his success in 2017. He recognizes that he was an early adopter to the YouTube platform and it was relatively easy to stand out back when he got started. Keep in mind, this guy went on to sell his production studio to DISNEY.

I've also experienced the same dynamic myself. Back when I started the Breast Cancer Answers YouTube Channel, all I really needed to do to grow the channel was crank out videos and use keywords intelligently. That no-promotion strategy doesn't work anymore...as competition has increased, both people and discovery algorithms have become more selective about the content they share.

And since you can’t expect people to automatically find your videos anymore, you need to promote and place them in places where they can get the exposure they need to drive ROI.

I suspect that marketers are beginning to understand that they need to do something with their videos. The problem is that the two most common strategies are also our next two mistakes...

Promotion Mistake #2: Relying on Your Audience to Promote Your Video

This mistake is undoubtedly the result of the large audience fallacy we discussed earlier.

When you hear marketing expert talk about "promotion," most of them still focus on the commonsense tactics:

  • Emailing your subscribers
  • Posting links on social media
  • Embedding the video on your blog

Okay, so let's talk about that strategy, which we'll call an "internal promotion strategy," because you're only promoting it to your current audience.

Regardless of the content format (video, audio, text, infographic, etc.), this is the most common "strategy" (if you can even call it that).

The defining characteristic of this approach is trying to build your "audience" so that you have someone to promote your content to. There are two huge problems with this:

  1. Building an engaged audience is very resource-intensive (time and money)
  2. Even after you have a large audience, only a small percentage will actually click on your links

For most businesses, your own audience simply won't be large enough for your video to get the exposure it needs to be profitable.

That's just how the math works out!

On Facebook, for example, less than 5% of your followers will even see your video, let alone watch it. And that’s because Facebook’s algorithm keeps dialing back how much organic reach brand pages have with their audience. You can bet it’ll only get worse over time.

With Twitter you get even less exposure, maybe around 2% of your followers will see the video in their feed. So you need a huge audience if your content is going to get any engagement, right?

But what if your followers share your video? Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

Unfortunately, no.

In order for your content to spread on social media, each person who shares your video needs at least two of the people who follow them to share as well. Otherwise, it doesn't go anywhere.

Viral Math and why influencers are important

Marcus and I both have 10x more followers on social media than the average person, and even we don't average more than 2 shares when we post something.

So why would you expect your audience of (mostly) average people to stimulate a "viral" sharing effect?

This is the reason why most brands grow SUPER slowly with content marketing. You spend hours creating great content, but only grow by tiny trickles each time you publish.

Long story short, marketers are overly fixated on the super basic promotion tactics. As a result, their entire content strategy is ineffective. 

Note: Just to be clear, I'm not saying that you shouldn't share your links on social or with your email list. I'm simply pointing out that it's not enough.

Promotion Mistake #3: Relying on Search Engines to Drive Traffic to Your Videos

The third major promotion mistake I see marketers make is relying their videos ranking in search engines like YouTube and Google.

As I mentioned previously, that strategy was effective back in the day. But that's not the case anymore.

Consider YouTube SEO, for example. Yes, depending on your topic and video style, YouTube can drive long-term exposure for your video.

But the disconnect is that YouTube’s #1 ranking factor is “Watch Time.” That means your video needs to get a lot of total watch time before it can climb the rankings. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to promote your videos in another way to drive your watch time up. 

In other words, you need either:

  • A large audience to promote your videos to


  • A smart promotion strategy

There is no other path to high YouTube rankings.

If you're like most businesses, your audience is far too small to compete with the more established YouTube videos that already have high engagement signals. That means promotion is your only path to YouTube success.

The same dynamic is true with Google and posting videos on your website.

If you’re not already getting traffic and have a high authority website, then your videos won't get the exposure you want.

Yes, videos can substantially improve your search rankings, but you still need SOME traffic to those pages so Google can see your engagement signals and move you up the rankings. You need real people to engage with your web page in order for it to rank, and that means you need some traffic to get everything started. 

YouTube and Google might be the biggest video search engines, but let's not forget about video podcasts too.

Just like with YouTube, the first-mover advantage is HUGE. In order to get exposure in iTunes, you’ll need lots of ratings, reviews, and downloads. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to find you.

And I could on...

The big takeaway here is that videos aren’t a silver bullet. They’re the most engaging form of content, but still content nonetheless. And ranking algorithms all look to promote quality, which is measured by engagement.

No engagement, no rankings. It's as simple as that.

If you already have a lot of traffic, a big email list, or a large audience on social media, getting eyeballs on your video is easy. But if that’s not the case, you’ll need to hustle more and promote your videos directly. 

Effective Video Promotion Strategies (and When to Use Them)

Adobe Spark (8)

At this point, it's my hope that you appreciate the importance of video promotion.

When you promote your videos, you'll build an audience faster, create recurring streams of traffic to your YouTube channel or website, and generate measurable ROI.

But how do you actually do it? What are the most effective ways to promote your videos?

Well as with most things in the marketing discipline, there are no one-size-fits-all strategies that work every business or every video.

So let's talk about some of your options and when it makes sense to use them...

Sales Process Videos: How to Promote Videos Designed to Sell Your Product or Service

Fundamentally, there are two major "types" of videos you might create for your business. The first (and where we recommend starting), are videos for your sales process.

The purpose of this type of video is to move your prospects through the buying process more quickly and efficiently. And because they're closer to the point of sale, their "business impact" is higher and they won't require as much exposure to generate ROI.

But that doesn't mean they don't require a smart promotion strategy.

Depending on the video and where it fits into your sales process, you may want to promote your sales videos using one or all of the following strategies:

  1. Place them on highly-trafficked pages on your website
  2. Include them in your email autoresponders
  3. Create templates for your sales team to use your videos routinely
  4. Set up paid ads to promote them to your existing audience via retargeting

The first promotion strategy should be obvious, although I continually see businesses burying videos deep in their website, placed below the fold, or not used at all. For shame!

This should go without saying, but when you create videos designed to help you sell more efficiently, make it easy for your website visitors to find them.

The second strategy is slightly more advanced, because many companies still aren't using email automation to move prospects through the buying process. When producing a video, you should already have a clear vision of where it fits into the buying process and what the purpose of each video is.

Assuming that's all true, then you can sequence your videos to go out automatically when people join your email list. This is a massive force multiplier for your business and will dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team.

Which brings me to sales enablement — many of your sales process videos are PERFECT tools for your sales team to send to prospects, either to re-engage them or in response to specific questions or objections.

We typically recommend setting those videos up as templates in your email tool, so it's easy for your team to use them routinely (HubSpot Sales Pro does this and integrates with both Gmail and Outlook).

And last, but not least, sales process videos can be used effectively as part of your paid retargeting strategy. If you're very strategic about it, you can even set up entire sales funnels using nothing more than your videos and retargeting ads (I prefer YouTube, because the views are higher quality than on Facebook).

So those are the best ways to promote sales videos and get them in front of your warm prospects.

But what about your top-of-funnel marketing videos?

Marketing Videos: How to Promote Videos Designed to Drive Traffic & Leads

While sales process videos simply need to be delivered to the right prospect in the right order, marketing videos present a completely different challenge.

Why? Because they're so far removed from the point of sale!

Think about it — the vast majority of people who visit your website will never return. Then on top of that, you have all the people who do come back, but never become customers.

In other words, the top-of-the-funnel is leakier than the bottom. That means they need a lot more exposure to generate ROI.

That's the #1 reason why we almost always recommend that clients prioritize sales process videos. Once you've plugged the leaks in your sales funnel, your marketing videos will generate far more ROI.

Make sense?

So the question is, how do you get huge exposure for your top-of-funnel video content?

In our experience, the two best options are:

  1. Influencer outreach (for shares or links)
  2. Advertising

Video advertising is amazingly effective (especially on Facebook and YouTube), but as I mentioned, you need your sales funnel working properly to generate ROI with advertising. I highly recommend it, but that's a whole other topic.

The more relevant approach for the purposes of this blog post is influencer outreach. 

Why Influencer Outreach Is the Video Marketing Secret Weapon

As I mentioned earlier in the post, the average person doesn't have much impact on your content spreading. And that's because viral math requires that each person who shares your content gets at least 2 shares as well, otherwise it fizzles out.

That's why influencers are so important. The data shows that having even just one influencer share your content results in nearly 32% more social media shares overall. And there’s a multiplier effect as more influencers get involved.

effect of influencers on share countsLong story short, influencers are the secret weapon for spreading your content.

But here's the thing — influencers won't share just any video. It needs to be relevant to their fans and they need to trust that it's high quality.

On top of that, it can't be about your product or service. Would you share a salesy video with your fans, just because the creator asked you nicely? Of course not!

So you need the right kind of video for the job.

Here's what I recommend:

  1. Choose a video topic that's genuinely helpful to your target customers (and not salesy...even a little)
  2. Make that video super high quality (or nobody will share it)
  3. Embed the final video at the top of a blog post and write the most comprehensive and helpful article EVER on that topic
  4. Promote that post and video to influencers using the "Ladder Technique"

Using the "Ladder Technique" for Influencer Outreach

influencer outreach

The more influential someone is, the harder it will be to reach them and convince them to share.

But if your post already has a ton of shares from less-influential people, then your odds of getting a big-name influencer to share goes up. It’s based on the principle of social proof, which is that people are more likely to do what other people have already done.

I don't want to go too deep here, because Marcus has already created a super in-depth guide all about the Ladder Technique and how to use it to stimulate a viral sharing effect.

But briefly, here's how it works...

"[The Ladder Technique is] the process of promoting your content to the people most likely to share it. Then, as your share count and traffic numbers increase, you accumulate 'social proof' that your content is valuable and high quality.

As you 'climb the ladder' and reach out to increasingly influential people, your success rate will be higher as a result of the social proof you've built along the way. And after enough influencers share, you'll have stimulated a viral effect."

In other words, don't just reach out to A-list influencers right out the gate. Most of them will simply ignore you and it'll be a huge waste of time.

Instead, focus on building social proof by targeting the people who are most likely to share your content first, then circle back to big-name influencers when your chances of success are higher.

To make the strategy work, you'll need just a couple things:

  1. Moz Pro (offers a free 30-day trial)
  2. A best-in-class video to promote
  3. Patience

I mention patience specifically, because this strategy is like building a snowman. At first, when you're just packing the snowball, it feels like a lot of work with very little pay-off. But eventually, all you need to do is roll it around and everything starts coming together.

When you're starting with the non-influencers, your entire goal is to drive your total share count up for social proof, not necessarily to drive significant traffic. That eventually comes once you start promoting to the thought leaders in your niche.

Why We Recommend Moz Pro

There are a lot of really good SEO tools, but we use Moz Pro because it also includes Followerwonk, a Twitter tool that helps you identify influencers who have a relevant audience.

Inside Followerwonk, you’ll use the Twitter Bio Search tool and look for keywords related to your topic. If someone mentions those keywords in their Twitter bio, then that’s a strong indicator that they have a relevant audience and might be interested in sharing your video.

followerwonk screenshot

Next, you’ll sort those people by “social authority,” which is an approximate measure of how likely their followers are to retweet them and how influential THEIR followers are as well. So it's basically the perfect tool for measuring viral potential.

social authority screenshot

You’re going to build a big list of these influencers. I recommend hundreds. You can basically do this for weeks and still get more value out of it than you would get by creating another piece of content, so take your time with promotion. 

What If You Can't Get Moz Pro?

You can do roughly the same thing using Twitter’s advanced search feature, but you won’t get the social authority score and it takes much longer to build your list. If that’s the way you go, then you’ll use follower count as a proxy for social authority, but it’s really not as accurate.

For example, someone with 1000 really rabid fans could get more engagement and spark more shares than someone else, like Neil Patel for example, who doesn’t really use Twitter like a human being (he just shares his headline and link, only retweets one person, and never replies to commenters). 

All he does is blast his own articles out...there’s no conversation and his engagement rate is relatively low compared to people who use social media, well...socially.

Make sense?

How to Get Influencers to Share

You have two options:

  1. Send them the link on Twitter, something like: “@TheToddHartley Thought you may like this video I made on [topic]. It’s the [objective reason why it’s the best].” Some people don’t reply on Twitter, so keep that in mind.
  2. Send them an email and include click-to-share links for both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is going to get you more traffic per share and be more valuable, but not everyone who’s influential on Twitter will also have an audience on Facebook. So again, you need to use your judgment here.

So I would start with your friends and family, get them to share. Then reach out to people in your professional network.

Then to B-list influencers, or people who can make an impact, but aren’t the biggest names in your industry.

And lastly, target those big names. Because even if just one or two of them share your video, the upside is immense.


Ultimately, it's my hope that your biggest takeaway from this conversation is that "internal promotion" is highly ineffective for all but the largest brands.

You simply can't rely on your existing audience sharing your videos enough for them to make a big impact. But neither can you rely on search engines to do the job for you!

It's not 2005 anymore, so you're going to have to hustle more and get strategic about your video promotion strategy.

If you're creating a video designed to help you sell, then make sure it's accessible on your website, to your sales team, and in your email automation system. Plus, if you have the resources, retargeting with sales-focused content can also make a big impact.

Conversely, videos designed to drive traffic and leads need an even bigger push. Simply creating opportunities for your existing audience to discover it isn't enough. That's where influencer outreach and the Ladder Technique come into play.

If you're interesting in taking your video promotion strategy to the next level, be sure to the check out the Ladder Technique for step-by-step instructions.

Video Marketing Mastery Show Notes

News Updates

  • We all know that Facebook is going all-in on video, but during Facebook’s Q4 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg sees video as a “mega trend
  • Snapchat is making a big and yesterday, the company submitted the paperwork to go public
  • GoPro’s poor-performing 4th quarter results have caused their shares to drop 14%
  • There’s some speculation on a new Google algorithm change to target spam
  • Learn how some of the world’s largest companies are using video to onboard employees in my latest Huffington Post article

Links & Resources Mentioned on the Show

  • Download your free copy of my Topics Selection Worksheet to help you make the right videos for your business
  • Listen to Episode 50 to learn more about using video to drive traffic and close sales
  • Find out how to guarantee video ROI in Episode 28

Thanks for Listening!

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