I interviewed Michael Miller, who just-released the 2nd edition of his book, YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business. Michael talked with me about the biggest developments he’s seen with YouTube in the past couple years; the comparative pros and cons of YouTube brand channels versus partner channels, and what he sees as the future of YouTube in business.

Here are the updates you’ll find in the 2nd edition of this book:

  • 4 new chapters that cover the newly added business-related features on You Tube
  • New case studies – examples of businesses, large and small, who are successfully using YouTube as part of their online marketing mix

You can purchase YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business on Amazon right now for only $16 USD.

YouTube Channel Tips for All Businesses

Michael explains that a YouTube channel page is really a profile page, where others learn more about you and to connect with your business. Michael has an entire chapter in the 2nd edition of his book dedicated specifically on YouTube channels. Here’s a short overview of some of Michael’s recommendations he shares for building an promoting your YouTube channel.

1) Make it Easy For People to Subscribe to Your YouTube Channel

Make it as easy and accessible as possible to let others subscribe to your YouTube channel – whether they’re on your YouTube channel page, your website/blog, your Facebook page, LinkedIn page, or any other social network space that allows it. “When a viewer subscribes to your channel, he/she is automatically notified (via email) when you upload new videos.” Says Michael. (For more on YouTube channel subscription tips, read How to Make the Most of Your YouTube Channel – Part 1)

2) Customize Your YouTube Channel

Because your YouTube channel page is really a profile page, you want to customize your page design to really reflect your business’ image and brand. One simple design tip that everyone can do is upload your company logo as your personal profile picture. “The picture displays next to your user name on the channel page, which is a great place to display your logo,” he says.

Interview with Michael Miller, Author of YouTube for Business

The 1st Edition of your book was originally released in 2008. What are some of biggest developments you’ve seen with YouTube for business since then?

A lot of developments have taken place with YouTube in just two years.  First, they’ve had an amazing audience growth. They’ve doubled the number of viewers that they have online on the site. They’re now up to a 130 million or more. They were less than half of that when I wrote the first edition of the book, and they were pretty big back then.

In terms of what the service offers, I mean they changed a lot on the interface and in the technical capabilities.  When I wrote the 1st edition, you were limited really to the little, small, 320 x 240 pixel videos.  So my recommendation in the first edition of the book was always downsize your videos, because their automatic downsizing didn’t work that well. Now of course, they allow wide screen videos, high definition, up to 1080p.  So my advice is much different now. Now it’s go ahead and shoot in high resolution.

In terms of for businesses, one big thing YouTube has done in the past two years is brought in the capability of being able to promote your videos.  You know, paid advertising with your own YouTube video content right on YouTube and on Google AdSense.  There’s also the overlay ad feature, where you can actually have a link from your video to your website off of YouTube. None of that existed when I wrote the 1st edition. I mean before that, there was really no way to link from a video out off of YouTube.  So these are all some pretty big changes that they’ve implemented, you know, just in terms of the technical capabilities of the site over the past two years.

What do you see are some of the biggest or the most common mistakes today with how businesses are creating and managing their YouTube channels?

First off, I’m going preface this by saying that while channels are important, they’re not the most important thing. I mean, you have to recognize what a channel is.  A channel is really just your homepage on YouTube. It’s where all your videos are assembled, where you kind of put your public face on; and in that regard, it’s important.  However, because of the way YouTube works, and what they let you do with your channels, there’s only so much you can do with it.  There’s only so much customization, personalization, that sort of thing you can do to your channel.  So, I guess in that regard, you can’t screw it up too much; if you want to look at it that way.

In terms of the mistakes that people make with their channels, probably the biggest mistake is simply ignoring it – just using the default settings, and not customizing it to any degree. Now, I said there’s only a limited amount of customization you can do, but you might as well do that.  For example, get the colors right, get the background right, get the content modules that you want up there, choose the videos you want to display. Then, you need to keep it updated. You need to put up new videos on a regular basis, and you want to prioritize those videos on your channel page on a regular basis, also. So, if you’re just trying to ignore your channel page, that’s the biggest mistake you can make.

You show some good examples in your book of what YouTube brand channels are capable of doing with enhanced features –such as with Ford, Kmart and TOM’S Shoes.

Tom has a great “Thank You” video on their home page of their YouTube channel right now.

Yes, with a brand channel on YouTube, you get tings like interactive banners with interactive links – advance design and features that you can with any other other type of channel. You can even use flash or html to put your own gadgets or widgets on your channel page. I just wish YouTube gave that capability to everybody, and not just those spending $200,000 in advertising.  The problem with YouTube’s brand channels is they’re really out there for big advertisers.

For business, how do you compare partner channels versus brand channels on YouTube?

Well, a partner channel, unlike a brand channel, is something you have to qualify for. Basically, YouTube tracks where your views are coming, and if they notice you have enough (whatever “enough” is), and then they invite you to be a YouTube partner.

A partner channel looks just like a brand channel.  It’s got the same capabilities, the extra features.  The disadvantage of being a partner as opposed to doing the brand channel is that when you’re a partner, you have to let YouTube put advertising on your videos. Then you share in that advertising revenue.  Now, as an individual you may be thinking, “hey, YouTube is going to pay me for my videos up there – that’s pretty cool!”  But if you’re a business, that means that advertising YouTube puts on your videos, might and probably, will be from competing businesses.

So as a business, you know, going the partner route is probably not advised.  As an individual, I mean if you get chosen, great.  But you know, to get that increased capability, you really as a business, you only really want to do the brand channel thing, and that’s really for big advertisers. That’s the gap I see with YouTube, is that they’re not offering channel features for businesses with smaller advertising budgets than $200K/year.

What do you see for the future of YouTube in business?

YouTube is constantly changing.  When we talk about some of the major changes made in the past two years; well, they’re making changes on a monthly, or even weekly, basis.  Some of things that we talk about today on YouTube, they might change a month from now. But I believe YouTube is always trying to make a better user experience; and of course, always trying to make more money – always trying to monetize what they’re doing. Writing books about YouTube can be like shooting at a moving target, you know?  You just kind of take a snapshot, and that’s the way it is when I write the book. But knowing that, a couple months later, something is going to change.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller the is founder of the Molehill Group, and  a prolific full-time writer with more than 100 non-fiction books published over the last 2 decades, and over a million copies in print worldwide. His most popular books include: The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide, Facebook for Grown-Ups, Windows 7 Your Way, Selling Online 2.0, Using Google AdWords and AdSense, Sams Teach Yourself Google Analytics in 10 Minutes, and Sams Teach Yourself YouTube in 10 Minutes.

Prior to founding the Molehill Group in 1999, Michael worked for twelve years Macmillan Publishing; with his last position as Vice President of Business Strategy, where he helped guide the strategic direction for the world’s largest reference publisher and influence the shape of today’s computer book publishing market.

Watch Michael Miller’s video profile