Promote Your Book With Videos on YouTube 

Have you thought about promoting your book using videos, or launched your YouTube channel yet? Read this article to find some helpful tips to get started.
Have you thought about promoting your book using videos, or launched your YouTube channel yet? With the increase in connectivity and bandwidth for the internet, video has become a hugely popular marketing tool and is a great way to get readers interested in buying your books. It’s well suited for visual, kinesthetic and aural or auditory learners, because of the combination of images, movement and sound. However, don’t let the cost or the thought of learning the technology put you off. Since the dramatic rise of online vloggers, user-generated content is perfectly acceptable and we’ve got a few tips from the professionals at Skylark Media to help you out.

First though, why would you bother setting up a YouTube channel? Why not just go live on social media instead? Well, there are lots of reasons (30 million of them!):

Why set up a YouTube channel

  • YouTube has become one of the largest search engines alongside Google, with over 30 million visitors per day. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day.
  • Content is search-friendly and the technology is catching up to text searches. Founder of Skylark Jo Haywood says, "If you’re going to do videos, you need to put the search terms in the title. Then in your opening words, say the phrase again. This helps optimise your content." You can select a long-tail search term or keyword for your video, then use it in your video title, script and description. YouTube also allows you to put up to 15 hashtags in the description.
  • Everything you record on video can be uploaded to YouTube to build relationships with your readers - then you can create playlists to link your content together.
  • A YouTube series is a great way to turn one-time viewers into channel subscribers who stay with you long term and you can promote subsequent books or new services to them. Try starting with a YouTube Premiere, which you schedule to coincide with your book launch or publication day.
  • Your followers on social media will have another way to interact with your content, from your book or your business: you can do readings, presentations and observations from your field. Author Pam Gregory runs an astrology YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers, giving a link to buy her books in the header.
  • Once you reach over 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched hours (within 12 months), you can apply to be part of the YouTube partner program, to benefit from advertising revenues. This gives you an extra income stream alongside book sales.

What content to include in your videos

You can give a summary of the book. For non-fiction, it helps to describe why the book will make a difference to the reader, and what it’s about. For business books, it’s important to describe what they’ll learn from reading it. Then you can create a mini-series, going into a topic in more detail than you did in the book. For fiction books, you can present a character backstory, giving your readers more insight into why a character behaves in the way they do. You could even mock up a trailer of the book, choosing 'actors’ to play each part.

How to be more confident on your videos

We spoke to Becky Holmes, a confidence on camera coach, to find out her top tips. "All confidence issues come from thinking about yourself. When you switch it round to focus on your audience and focus 100% on how they feel, it is possible to be instantly more confident on film. You need to realise how you’ll be helping them and what you're going to leave them with - even if it’s light entertainment and the distraction of a great story."

If you’re struggling to plan your video content, Becky says it’s important to have real people in mind. "Ask your current readers, what else do they want to know about your topic or story and then make the video based on their needs. Think about what questions you always get asked, then turn those FAQs into one video for each."

Lastly, she points out, "You can’t get good at video by thinking about video; the trick is to start and practice often - do videos for your friends and family - and next time you do an update, do a recording or a Facebook live video."

How to make your videos look more professional

As an author, you may want to give readings from your book or talk about the characters. There’s nothing wrong with talking head videos. However, here are a few tools and tips from Skylark to make your videos look more professional.
  • Use a tool like Loom, which enables you to show content - cutaway photos or images - alongside you talking.
  • Add captions to the video, if it’s going on social media, to save people playing the loud version.
  • Use your webcam at eyeline level in good light, so there’s no curious angles or shadows affecting the image.
  • Remember some platforms (LinkedIn for one) take the first frame as a thumbnail, so add a branded image in front of your footage to attract viewers to watch it. (Sorry, but your face might not pull viewers in!)
  • Think about the backdrop behind you; if you are talking, you can dress yourself and/ or create a mini set scene to make the filming more visually appealing.
  • Take a presentation skills course to help you speak confidently and script the video in a professional way.
  • Basic editing capabilities will help you improve the videos, but it’s also possible to shoot them in a single take if your style is more conversational.
If you do decide to hire a professional videographer, look for a local firm with a great reputation rather than paying extra for travel costs. Or consider visiting a specialist studio, where they have all the equipment set up.

How to reach your readers

Once you’ve produced your videos, you’ve got to spend time sharing them on all the platforms where your readers hang out. TikTok has growing audiences now, as well as Twitter, Instagram/Facebook and LinkedIn. One way to reach thousands more people is to find out who the influencers are, who might have an interest in your book - because you might be able to get a guest speaker slot on their programme. Becoming a YouTube influencer yourself takes longer, but is possible with consistent effort over time.

Jo at Skylark suggests you also use analytics to help your efforts. "The data on YouTube will show the watch time of your videos. Obviously, you want people to watch the whole way through your videos, but if viewers drop off before the end, go back and edit your video! YouTube is working hard on their capability to search video content, so content tags and a clear structure are going to be even more important in future years."

If you want a step-by-step guide for how to create a YouTube channel, visit Google’s support pages and more information on the YouTube Partner Programme is here.

For more help, follow Skylark’s blog here.

Looking for ways to promote your book?

Exclusive to SilverWood authors: schedule a Book Marketing Consultation with our Head of Marketing, Debra. Find out more here.

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