For many producers, finalizing content is not the end of the job. The most amazing content has little chance of getting a big audience if all you do is upload it to YouTube and hope for the best. You have to put in the work to ensure that people can find it online. That’s where discoverability factors into this picture.

Discoverability, simply put, is how easy it is for viewers to find your video on hosting platforms like Youtube, Twitch, Instagram, Facebook and Vimeo. In order to optimize your video’s chances of being found and then watched, you’ll first need to determine what audiences your video appeals to and which platforms are best suited for the content.

Matching the platform

Having your project match its targeted platform may be the most important step to ensuring your video’s discoverability. There is more content on YouTube than any other platform. This is a blessing but also a curse. Discoverability can be challenging on YouTube because there is so much content. However, YouTube draws more viewers than any other platform, and you don’t need to be a YouTube devotee to discover your work.

For example, if you do a broad search for a topic with Google’s video filter, the first few pages of content will be projects on YouTube. Don’t believe me? Type in “ducks swimming” and see what you get. While many watchers are routed from Google to YouTube, viewers do also search directly through YouTube, specifically for short-form content. Comedy, animals, music, How-to and DIY videos do well on the platform, especially when it comes to discoverability. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s the best match for your video. For example, longer scripted dramatic content still seems to get buried.

It’s important to consider the types of videos viewers normally search for and watch on a specific platform. Content on Twitch, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Vimeo tend to draw more distinct audiences. Viewers will typically go to these websites first to search for specific content. However, this distinction is not just limited to subject matter. Some platforms skew towards certain age and gender demographics.

Remember, platforms tend to be very fluid these days. Twitch is a great example of this. Although the platform started with and is still focused on live streaming of video games, it has expanded to include non-gaming projects such as music, IRL (in real life) and other creative content. This variety is also drawing more women to the platform.

The power of the right words

Finding the most effective SEO keywords can sometimes be very challenging, especially when dealing with complex subjects and storylines. Let’s look at two very different films as examples of this.

Inspired by a true story, Rocky is an award-winning film about a struggling American boxer who overcomes obstacles to become the world’s heavyweight champion. SEO tags like “Rocky Balboa,” “boxing” and “sports” would be the strongest although “Oscars” and “underdog” might also be good choices.

In contrast is JoJo Rabbit, a recent movie about a young boy living in Nazi German whose imaginary friend is Adolph Hitler. It’s a historical-fantasy, comedy-drama, coming-of-age story. Considering the main elements in this film, distilling the right keywords that will draw people to the movie is much more challenging, making discoverability much harder. However, when you determine the main elements of a project, you’ll be one step closer to selecting the best tags.

Cross promoting

Cross promoting your video work can also increase discoverability. When friends and family like your video on Facebook, be sure to acknowledge the compliment and point them toward your YouTube channel. If you’re friends with someone who has a big following on Twitch, you might want to invite them to participate in your next gaming video. In the latter case, you would definitely use that friend’s gamer tag as a keyword.

Be true to your work

When trying to increase discoverability, it’s important to resist the allure of tags that get large numbers of viewers but don’t really match what your video is about. For example, if your video is about two guys eating pizza in a dorm room, don’t include cats in your SEO just because there’s a Hello Kitty clock in the room. While it may get you a few extra hits, most people aren’t going to watch your whole video much less share it with other people. The recommendations of videos on social media, blogs, and among friends increase discoverability and are some of the most effective ways to raise interest in you and your work.

You can optimize discoverability on your next project by knowing what you created and choosing relevant SEO tags for your work. However, you also need to recognize your audience and the platforms they visit in order to target the best host(s) for your video. Remember, producing your masterpiece is only half the work. Optimizing discoverability is equally as important; in fact, it may be the most important factor in attracting a large audience to your projects.

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