Does Your Publication Need a YouTube Strategy?

When Seventeen magazine stopped publishing its monthly print edition last year, media insiders questioned whether the publication would be able to withstand the change. But Seventeen’s editors didn’t just continue using the same strategies while the media landscape shifted under their feet. Thanks to ramped up digital efforts and an innovative YouTube strategy, Seventeen magazine is seeing tremendous growth.

Seventeen magazine now has more than 1.5 million subscribers on its YouTube channel, and a 404% increase in watch time year-over-year. The publication is also seeing a 205% increase in YouTube views year-over-year.

Seventeen’s successes on YouTube has spilled over onto other digital channels, as well. The publication has more than 9 million unique monthly visitors on its flagship website, Seventeen.com, with many of those visitors arriving through links on YouTube. On social media, Seventeen has more than 1.6 million followers on Instagram and 2.7 million followers on TikTok.

Seventeen’s success on YouTube, in particular, is the result of an innovative strategy and a dedication to catering to the publication’s core audience. Other publishers can replicate Seventeen’s YouTube strategy when they follow these steps.

How to Create a YouTube Strategy

Step 1: Start a YouTube channel. Every digital publication should have its own YouTube channel. Having a YouTube channel ensures that your publication has a presence on the platform, and it’s necessary if you want to start uploading videos and making playlists.

To create a YouTube channel with your publication’s name, you’ll need to setup a Brand Account specifically for your publication. With your brand account, you’ll be able to quickly create a new YouTube channel with multiple managers or owners.

Step 2: Launch a show (or two). Do you employ any reporters or editors with quirky personalities? Put them in front of a camera and let them shine. Seventeen’s successful YouTube strategy has been largely driven by the popularity of its own shows, like “Bestie Picks Bae” and “Lyric Challenge.”

Thinking outside the box is usually rewarded on YouTube. The more innovative the shows you have on your publication’s channel, the greater the viewership.

Don’t worry about too much about production value. The best shows on YouTube are ones that aren’t overly manufactured or produced. What matters more than production value is the personalities of your hosts and guests. It’s equally important to have a great idea for a show and a great personality who can host your YouTube programming.

If you run a local news publication, then consider these ideas for YouTube shows:

  • Interviews with local notables or city government figures
  • A daily weather or traffic update
  • Video reviews of stage productions and other local events
  • A weekly events calendar for the community
  • Local sports wrap ups

Step 3: Promote YouTube content across all your channels. As a digital publisher, you already have a built-in audience. Make sure that your existing subscribers know about all the great content that’s being posted on your publication’s YouTube channel. In addition to re-posting content on your webpage and Facebook accounts, consider launching accounts on Instagram and TikTok as a way to market your YouTube programming.

Step 4: Turn viewers into a community. Seventeen’s YouTube strategy involves turning loyal viewers into an online community. The publication is encouraging viewers to share comments, suggest ideas for future episodes, and even pitch themselves to be on Seventeen’s shows. These techniques should be easy to follow for digital news publishers. Interacting with viewers, and encouraging them to engage, is a strategic move that lets viewers know the publication’s staff is listening.

Step 5: Take a data-driven approach. Creativity is important in crafting viral YouTube content, but so is data. Taking a data-driven approach to YouTube content lets the publication’s video team know which topics the audience wants and how they prefer seeing content presented. Looking at website analytics, you may discover that viewers are more likely to click over to your website or engage on certain topics, or that viewers prefer videos that are certain lengths. Using this information to craft the content that viewers really want will result in a greater numbers of views, and you’ll have an easier time selling pre-roll inventory to advertisers as a result.

Step 6: Turn YouTube viewers into paying subscribers. Posting regular content on YouTube should make viewers more likely to subscribe to your online publication. Remembering to bring viewers back to your existing website is an important part of a successful YouTube strategy. Extra content, such as transcripts and photos, can be published exclusively on your website as a way to bring over viewers from YouTube.

To learn more about how digital publishers are generating revenue through YouTube, click here.

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