YouTube: Capture Your Inner Expert

Imagine you had your own TV channel. That’s right, a channel just for you to share your insights, stories and ideas. People would tune in from around the world to learn from you and your experiences. What a platform that would be! You’d be right there with the biggest names: Oprah, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. You would build a legion of fans across the globe—without ever setting foot on an airplane. Wow!

All those fans would grow your business 24/7/365. I know what you’re thinking: If only that were possible. If only you could get yourself embedded into the No. 1 place people go to find how-to help and experts. Well, it is possible, with the most overlooked global resource: YouTube.

YouTube is, by far, the most undervalued and fastest path to being recognized as an expert, and what’s more, it’s a site you probably already visit often. (You saw that Gangnam Style video, didn’t you? Along with 1,268,063,788 other people!) Using YouTube to your advantage is the subject of my second column in this series, “How to Become a Sought-After Expert.” All it takes to get started is a free account, an open mind and three easy steps. Steady hands for filming are a bonus. (But no cats playing the piano required!)

1. Claim your channel.

The first step to claiming your channel is to open your free YouTube account. Make sure to complete your profile, sharing your expertise and engaging personality. Next, answer these two questions: Who do I want to watch my videos: customers, influencers… the general public? What do I want them to do after they watch: sign up for something, contact me or share the video with others?

2. Show your stuff.

There are three main types of expert videos on YouTube: entertaining, informative and how-to. Just because you’re tackling a serious subject doesn’t mean you have to be serious. Many times the more unexpected your videos, the more people watch and share them. For example, I made a video debunking the top three myths about Gen-Y. The video takes on a serious generational frustration with unexpected humor (and help from a blazer-wearing baby boomer). This one video attracted an entirely new audience to my work because it was insightful, funny and showcased our unorthodox view.

So what do you film first? Yourself! That’s right. Go film your “Three Steps to _____ ” or “Four Things I Learned the Hard Way.” And don’t worry about fancy intros or perfect lighting. The most trusted YouTube videos look homemade and authentic. In fact, if the camera falls over and a light hits you on the head, your video might just go viral. Outstanding!

3. Build your audience.

With your videos live on YouTube, it’s time to drive views. The easiest way is to get your videos mentioned online weekly. Do this by writing a guest blog on as many blogs as possible, dialoguing online with people who already have a following (hello, Justin Bieber!) and writing short intros with headlines people want to read. Maybe start with: “Ten Reasons My Video Will Not Change Your Life, But Will Help You [insert expertise here].”

Once you post your videos, you’ll be amazed at all the business you can drive and the lives you can influence. In fact, you won’t even know all the ways your videos will help people. I remember one of the most important skills I ever learned was from YouTube. I learned it on March 20, 2011—the day my daughter was born. The skill: how to change a diaper. Now go film a video that proves you’re an expert! Your fans—and people like my daughter—will thank you!

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