When successful brands look at the online resources, tools, and platforms they have at their disposal, YouTube always surfaces to the top. For the past 10 years, it has solidified itself as the premier host for visual content and perhaps the single most valuable marketing channel on the web. It can easily be integrated into other existing strategies and is so flexible that businesses can use any number of marketing techniques.

The Power of Video Content

Unless you look at the numbers, it's impossible to fully understand the impact and power of video content. Consider that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, approximately 33 percent of all online activity is spent watching video content, and that 75 percent of users visit a marketer's site after viewing a video. Furthermore, four out of five internet users remember the video ads they watch online and 64 percent are more likely to purchase a product from an ecommerce site after watching a related video.

Those are compelling statistics and show just how powerful video is as a marketing channel in 2015 and beyond. If you aren't currently using video, or don't believe your strategy is effective or appropriate, now is the time to shift your thinking and tap into the incredible power of YouTube.

4 Strategies to Consider

There are literally hundreds of ways to utilize YouTube and monetize your efforts, but four basic strategies stand above the rest. Let's analyze each to give you an understanding of which one(s) could work for your business or brand.

  1. Create Viral Video Content

For new brands, or those struggling to stand out in crowded markets, viral videos can be a great way to increase exposure and drive traffic. However, despite what you may think, creating viral content is a lot harder than it may appear. Everyone's trying to do it and you'll miss the mark a lot more than you succeed. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try. Plenty of brands have cashed in on viral video campaigns. If you do decide to pursue this YouTube marketing strategy, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Simplicity. Viral video content must be short and simple. This is a result of both short attention spans and the way people use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Users want to be able to click on something, quickly consume, share, and move on. For best results, keep videos under two minutes.
  • Unique. Videos must be unique in order to be deemed worthy of being shared; otherwise they have no chance of standing out against the myriad of other videos on newsfeeds and in search results.
  • Timely. Finally, viral videos should be timely and relevant. This is usually the most difficult aspect for marketers, as it requires you to stay up to date on current topics and react quickly.
  1. Build an Engaged Community

While there's nothing wrong with creating viral video content, it's not the kind of sustainable advertising strategy you want to pursue. It's a great way to increase exposure and acquire traffic, but it takes a lot of work--and successes are few and far between. A much better strategy is to build an engaged YouTube community that consistently watches your videos and interacts with you. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Create content for your users. While the number of views a video receives is certainly a valuable metric, it's not the end goal. You ultimately want people to view your videos and follow through with an actionable response. If you're producing videos just for views, you'll end up with very little of the latter. Instead, focus on creating meaningful content by asking yourself the following questions before creating any video: Is this video relevant to my audience? Will they find it exciting or informative? How will the average viewer respond after viewing the video?
  • Consistently produce content. While many brands are good at creating quality videos, few are successful at consistently creating quality videos. Much like you do with your social media accounts and blogs, you need to invest in consistent content if you want to build an engaged community.
  • Use a consistent theme. Consumers respond much better to consistency than they do to new material. They thrive on familiarity and enjoy things like recurring characters and themes. Creating videos around a consistent theme may help people become more comfortable with your brand.
  1. Give Advertising a Shot

When you think of paid advertising, you typically consider Google AdWords or Facebook; however, ignoring YouTube is a big mistake. It's generally a cheaper option, more flexible, and allows for incredibly sophisticated targeting.

There are four different options: in-stream, in-slate, in-search, and in-display. Each has a slightly different purpose, but all are effective at reaching highly segmented groups of users. You can display content based on demographics, interests, contextual keywords, video topics, type of device, and more.

While YouTube advertising is best used in conjunction with a video strategy, you don't even have to have existing video content in order to advertise. All you need is an active account--making it ideal for brands that want to invest in YouTube marketing but don't have the creative team to produce consistent and engaging content.

  1. Get Brand Placements with YouTube Stars

Finally, you may want to consider getting brand placements with YouTube stars to accelerate your efforts and maximize your influence across various channels. The major benefit here is that you can take a completely hands-off approach without compromising results.

Stacey Ferreira, CEO of AdMoar, a company that matches brands with YouTube creators says, "Your aim should be to integrate your products with influencers whose voice aligns with your brand and mission. Brands that integrate their products into highly sought after content get a two-for-one benefit. They get word of mouth marketing while also reaching a much wider and engaged audience."

Choose a Strategy That Works for You

After reviewing these four YouTube marketing strategies, you should be able to tell which is best for your business or brand. While you don't want to copycat the techniques and strategies of major brands, you can certainly learn a few things from studying their successes and failures. Whether it's building a community of engaged users, creating viral video content that's unique and shareable, investing in paid advertising, or securing brand placements with YouTube stars, there's something for every marketer to look into. Which will you choose?