Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Using YouTube to Develop your Platform by Karla Akins

Are you using video to gain interest in your writing and build your platform? Author Karla Akins provides her experience and reasons why you should consider it. -- Sandy

Karla: It’s no mystery why people have been drawn to TV and movies since the 1950s. Video on the web isn’t any different. People love relaxing and pulling up a short video to enjoy. A lot of people I know don’t watch TV anymore. They’re getting their news and entertainment exclusively from YouTube. I’m one of those.

Using video in your marketing strategy is an ingenious way of connecting with users. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon written content. Kristy Cambron is an author who combines both mediums beautifully on her blog. In fact, she is who inspired me to jump on the YouTube bandwagon.

If you want to stand out in today’s competitive book market, consider video. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Video is shared 1200% more often on Facebook than pictures (via

2. Video is the best way for your readers to get to know you personally.

3. Video is more memorable than written copy. Our Internet culture is making us blind to ads. We have learned to ignore them. It’s harder to ignore a good video.

4. Video appears in 70% of the top search engine results.

5. Videos increase the time people spend on your website pages.

It’s relatively easy to start a YouTube channel. Here’s how I did it:

1. I chose a name for my channel other than my own name. Some people advise this. Others don’t. But since I wanted my channel to be more than for promoting myself, I chose a name (Sparrow Song Radio) and Logo. However, I always, always put a link to my website IN the video and in the video description, no matter what the topic.

2. I hired the cool video intro to my channel at Fiverr. It cost me a whopping $25.

3. I decided what topics I would cover on my station. I have many more episodes to be edited that aren’t yet posted.

4. One of the ways I develop video content is by interviewing other authors or people that fascinate me.

5. You don’t have to edit videos or have an expensive camera. You can start with simply talking into your phone’s video camera. Most YouTubers start this way. As my own channel grows, I plan to buy better equipment but for now, I’m using what I have. You have to start somewhere!

6. Later, you can learn to edit videos to make them “fancier.” Explore video editing software. It isn’t as difficult as you think! I started out with Windows Movie Maker and graduated to Camtasia. I love Camtasia. It’s very user friendly, but it’s not for advanced users. Still, for me, it’s perfect. (Price: $299 for PC; $99 for Mac.) One caveat: editing videos is very time consuming. Especially when you’re first learning. At first you may want to block out a substantial amount of time for this. 

7. I embed my videos into my blogs but I also have a dedicated “channel” site for them: 

Really, the possibilities are endless with video! My channel has a talk show launching soon. It’s tons of fun building a platform this way.

If you'd like me to interview you for your book, let me know! We love authors at Sparrow Song Radio!

Yours for writing on and on! Karla

Have you used videos for building your platform? Any questions for Karla?



 Karla Akins is the author of The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots and countless short stories, biographies

and other books for middle grades. She currently serves as President of ACFW-Indiana Chapter and resides in North Manchester with her pastor-husband, twin adult sons with autism, and her mother-in-law with Alzheimer's. Her three dogs and two cats are attentive editors.