20 February 2023


A video or series of videos (in a channel) on YouTube.

Also Known As:

Problem: You want to have a closely-collected group of video content easily accessible to your customers, but with some curation and high "reach" thanks to search engines.

Context: Video content is hard to effectively search--search engines have yet to reach the level of sophistication necessary to pick out spoken words or identify the contents of images present in the video to be picked up. Any search engine result is generally either tied to metadata about the video, or keyed perhaps to the content of any caption or comments on the video.

Additionally, hosting video is not always easy, particularly if there is a desire to retain ownership of the video itself. Simply putting a video file on a web server makes it accessible to the world, but it also makes it vulnerable to "right-click, download", allowing visitors to your website to capture the video for their own purposes (benign or otherwise) and reducing their "stickiness"--their desire or need to remain on your website.

Solution: Take any videos you create or capture and post them to YouTube, ideally captured as part of a YouTube channel tied to your company and/or product/service. Provide informative captions, and make sure to link to other videos that directly relate to (or are talked about within) your video.

Consequences: YouTube has a couple of recommended practices regarding videos uploaded to their site, including creating a unique thumbnail, creating descriptions that match search engine keywords that you'd like to trigger a link to your video, including relevant tags, and choosing the right category for your videos. If you want to make it easily consumable by customers (who don't always have time to watch a long video), consider breaking the video up into smaller, linked, videos, or separate the one video into chapters.

Channels imply a continuous stream of content, and encourage viewers to "subscribe", thus receiving notifications when new videos are posted. The other side of this subscription, however, is an unwritten commitment on the part of the video publisher (that is to say, you) to continue to publish new content every so often. Consider making it clear when subscribers can expect new content ("Thanks for watching, everybody, and stay tuned for next week's installment, when we...."), and then fulfill that promise.

YouTube channels also often have extensive threaded comments, and failing to engage with commenters can often make your channel look either stale or aloof. Consider dedicating some time from your team to respond and answer those comments (perhaps as part of their larger Social Media duties), posting links to Samples/Examples or Gists for larger code samples if necessary.

Blog posts and Social Media can also be used to draw attention to new content on the YouTube channel, increasing your draw. Additionally, Newsletters can be also used to draw those more interested in video content to your YouTube channel, and vice versa. Do not, however, automatically sign up YouTube subscribers to your newsletter, or vice versa--developers always need to opt-in to whatever subscription you are offering, or you risk turning them off to your product/service and company entirely.

YouTube channels can attract advertising and/or sponsors, but in general your emphasis should be on finding like-minded or friendly partners who are willing and interested in cross-linking between your various reach-based efforts (video or otherwise).

Variants: YouTube is arguably a Variant of Webinar and/or Live Streaming, as well as a tool for recording Office Hours and making them available to others, so in many ways this could be a Variant of each of those patterns. In fact, the main reason this is a standalone pattern is because of YouTube's versatility, in that it can be used for a variety of these activities and all can be gathered under the same YouTube channel.

Tags: devrel   patterns