Adding YouTube to your arsenal? Start with content you've already created. In this post, we'll share how to repurpose blog posts into traffic-driving YouTube videos.
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times over the past 6 months:
“YouTube is HUGE right now! You gotta start repurposing your best blog posts into YouTube videos!”
And if you’re like me, you’re a little sick of everyone telling you what to do…
But here’s the thing: they’re kinda right.
YouTube is hot right now, and there are tons of opportunities available to those like us who create incredible content.
What’s actually involved in repurposing your content, though?
Can you just read your blog post out loud over some slides?
Not if you want to rank in YouTube’s search engine.
You have to somehow create a compelling video with that content (even if the content itself is boring).
I struggled with this exact problem a few months ago with one of our biggest clients at Leverage Creative Group.
And after some trial and error, I finally found a process for repurposing blog posts into compelling YouTube videos that rank.
Our client now ranks #1 in both YouTube AND Google for a high-volume search term that gets him 3,000+ views per day―and this process can help you do the same.
Here is my 4-step process for transforming a blog post into a YouTube video that generates thousands of views on autopilot...
Step 1: Select Your "YouTube Worthy" Blog Posts
This might surprise you…
Just because a blog post topic gets a bunch of pageviews for you doesn’t mean it will do well on YouTube.
These mediums are very different, and certain topics perform better on paper than video (and vice versa).
So, the key to figuring out a blog post’s YouTube potential is searching its target keyword (along with similar keywords) in YouTube to see how many views the top videos have.
If view counts for a particular keyword aren’t in the ten thousand range, you might not want to spend time and resources repurposing that content.
That might sound like a really high threshold, but think about this: the purpose of this entire campaign is generating consistent traffic from YouTube.
If the videos already out there don’t have a lot of views after a few months (or even years), there likely isn’t much of an opportunity with that topic.
Step 2: Turn Your Selected Blog Posts Into Scripts
With a few candidates for repurposing in mind, it’s time to get to work.
This can actually take a bit longer than you think even though you already have the content.
You have to look at that content through a new lens.
You have to translate the written word into the spoken word, and rework your content to make it a compelling video script.
This can be tough, and unfortunately, there isn’t much of a roadmap out there to help you make it happen.
But there are two things I’ve found insanely helpful when converting a blog post into a video script:
Look at some of the top performing YouTube videos out there for inspiration.
There are several brands who absolutely crush YouTube that you can study to see how they structure their videos.
My favorites are:
Focus on these two things above all else...
As you study these brands, you’ll notice they do two things really well with all their videos:
Keep viewers watching as long as possible.
As you know, viewer retention plays a critical role in YouTube’s algorithm, so top brands try to keep you watching as long as possible by:
- Telling viewers what they’ll get/learn throughout the video if they keep watching
- Using different camera angles, backdrops, and on-screen graphics
- Adding a bonus at the end of the video
Provide incredible content.
Several studies have shown that in-depth videos between 15 - 25 minutes long outperform shorter videos in YouTube search results.
Because the longer a video is, in general, the more content it has (and therefore the more valuable it is).
So, focus on making your videos more valuable and in-depth than any other video out there for your topic.
You can do this by providing more strategies, tactics, and examples than your competitors.
Step 3: Produce Engaging Videos
A lot of people overthink this part…
It’s true that you should focus on making the best quality videos possible, but don’t spend $2,000 at Best Buy to make it happen.
You can honestly make great videos with an iPhone, a decent microphone, and iMovie.
The key here is less about the actual recording and editing of your video, and more about making your videos as engaging as possible.
Because, like we’ve already talked about, viewer retention and engagement is the name of the game on YouTube, and you have to design your videos to keep people watching.
How do you do this from a recording perspective?
These strategies have worked wonders for our clients:
Video of yourself talking > talking over a power point.
Talking over a power point might work for courses, but it doesn’t work for YouTube.
People these days have incredibly short attention spans. So, to keep their attention, your videos have to have constant change and motion.
That’s why recording video of yourself talking will work better than talking over a power point (even if the content is 100% the same).
Use different backdrops and angles
Building off the last point, changing backdrops and camera angles every few minutes will help keep your viewers engaged.
It also makes your video look more professional (which is a nice bonus).
Add on-screen graphics (optional)
If you or someone on your team has the skill set to create sharp on-screen graphics, they can help you keep your viewers engaged longer and will make your video seem even more professional.
You can do something as complicated as creating custom graphics to explain a strategy or tactic, or something as simple as flashing main points on the screen as you say them.
Step 4: Upload and Optimize Your Videos
You’ve done all the hard work, now it’s time to cross some t’s and dot some i’s.
Once you upload your video to YouTube, there’s some optimization work you need to do before you hit publish to give your video the best chance of ranking.
There are four main areas to focus on:
Your thumbnail image is just as important as your video’s title.
It plays a huge role in convincing someone to click on your video over the others surrounding it in YouTube’s search results.
That’s why it’s so important to create a custom thumbnail image for each video you create that includes:
- Your video’s title
- Eye-catching graphics that are relevant for your niche
- Vibrant colors
Brian Dean does a fantastic job of this.
Great video titles are: 1) attention-grabbing and 2) optimized around your target keyword.
How can you have the best of both worlds?
Like I describe in this blog post on blog outlines (step 5), one of the easiest ways is creating a benefit-driven title.
Think about what benefit your viewers are looking for when they type in your keyword, then promise that benefit in your title.
You can do this easily with a “benefit clause”.
This is a simple clause you add to the end of a simple title like “How to Write Blog Posts” including the word “that” or phrase “so that” followed by a benefit your viewer desperately wants.
So for example, my benefit clause for this fictional video could be “that generate traffic and leads on autopilot”, making the full title “How to Write Blog Posts That Generate Traffic and Leads on Autopilot.”
That’s much more compelling because it implies that after someone watches your video, they’ll be able to generate traffic and leads on autopilot with their blog posts.
(Warning: you better make sure your video delivers on your promise if you make a benefit-driven title!)
This (along with your title and tags) is where you tell YouTube what your video is about.
But you aren’t solely communicating with YouTube here.
You’re also trying to sell your viewer on watching your video and/or subscribing to your channel.
So, while you do want to add your keywords in your description a few times, the main thing to consider is your audience.
YouTube SEO expert, Brian Dean, recommends writing 150 - 350 word descriptions that tell the viewer what they’ll get from watching the video, and gives them links to follow you on social media or your blog.
He also has a killer YouTube Marketing Hub that covers just about everything you could ever want to know.
This is where you tell YouTube exactly what your video is about.
Include your target keyword first, then add both variations of your target keyword and related long-tail keywords.
If you’re having trouble deciding which tags to include, try using a free tool like TagsYouTube.
Yes– You Can Rank in Google AND YouTube With the Same Content!
I’m not going to lie to you...I was hesitant to try this at first.
It took a lot of time and resources to repurpose blog posts into great YouTube videos, and I ultimately had no idea when our clients would start ranking (or if they would at all).
But after just a few months (and with only two videos) one of our clients started generating 5,000 views and 75-100 subscribers per day with no active promotion.
And since he already ranked #1 in Google for the same terms, he now has a monopoly on certain topics in his niche.
All this to say, take this process, try it out, and adapt it as you see fit.
But whatever you do, don’t sleep on repurposing your blog posts into YouTube videos!
Hunter Branch is the Director of Marketing at Leverage Creative Group. He's an SEO and Content Marketing pro who's helped New York Times best selling authors, personal brands, and small businesses skyrocket their organic traffic and leads.