By Evelyn Timson

You have likely heard the phrase ‘content is king’ referenced in countless digital marketing articles across the Internet and although it is undeniably important, the reality is that YouTube and other social media platforms are bursting at the seams with excellent video content that simply isn’t getting the views it deserves.

As 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, audiences simply cannot watch it all, despite around 5 billion videos securing views every day. So, while it is essential to create something audiences genuinely want to watch, it is also critical to put in place a comprehensive and well researched activation strategy to ensure that your videos don’t become orphan content.

But what is orphan content and why do so many great videos end up with this fate?

What is Orphan Content?

Orphan video content are videos that may well show huge potential but simply haven’t been promoted in the right way, meaning they stagnate in the dark and unloved parts of YouTube’s servers, rarely getting watched. That might sound like a somewhat dramatic way to phrase it but many of those videos are well-made and only lack the robust methodology of a proper video activation strategy to push them out to the correct audiences, who will then share them with their peers and give them the love they deserve (this is often referred to as content seeding).

You want your content to be loved and appreciated, so let’s take a closer look at what an effective activation strategy could do for your content and your business.

Ensuring Success with your Video Activation Strategy

Successful video activation require a comprehensive understanding of your audience, intricate knowledge of your industry, and a laser-focused approach to deliver meaningful results. In short, the process goes much further than the conventional approach to advertising and promotion that audiences have become so familiar with.

Capturing the attention of audiences in saturated marketplaces is difficult. Activation strategies will deep dive into the specific places your target audience are spending their time in online, understand precisely which types of content they most like to engage with, and identify the forms of communication they are most open to.

Below are some important considerations your activation strategy should consider:


Video optimization really is all about creating genuine presence in the search results (whether that be Google or YouTube’s search engine) and you simply cannot go overboard in this regard. Too many brands inadvertently make their content difficult to find without any regard on who might be searching for it. It’s one thing to push content out to people via social media or other ‘push’ forms of marketing, but having your video appear high up in the search results again and again, will ensure long lasting visibility. There are countless video SEO guides out there but this one by Brian Dean is one of the best, I’ve found.


Ensuring your videos are easy to share is essential. Always include social share buttons, but also explore the potential of email and RSS too. As ensuring visibility is critical, your video activation and email marketing strategies should work together to guarantee that every section of your audience has easy access to your content.

You should be proud of your content and if you are, there are no excuses for not displaying it in a prominent position on your website. You don’t even have to host it yourself as embedding directly from YouTube is a simple process that can be completed in seconds.

Outreach, Relationships and Social Bookmarking

Audiences and fellow industry professionals value brands who want to build genuine relationships and positively contribute to the community both on and offline. Building relationships with key social media influencers and bloggers will help you to build a network of people who will share your content with their audience.

Websites like Reddit can be effective tools to highlight your content. It is crucial to approach this component of your strategy with caution as negative repercussions might occur if you go about things in the wrong way. Focus on providing value and you should see positive results.

Paid Promotion and Advertising

Although there are many organic activation methods to pursue, it would be neglectful not to address the potential of paid promotion. This is certainly not an alternative to organic methods and should never be thought of as a ‘quick fix’ but it can be a valuable supplementary component of a comprehensive strategy.

Maximize the First 7 Days

YouTube’s algorithm gives videos a bit of a boost during the first 7 days. Watch time is one of YouTube’s core ranking metrics however there isn’t enough data generated during the first week for the video giant to utilize. Remember, failing to accrue enough views early enough will likely impact the ultimate efficacy of your video.

Never Neglect Tags

Google Trends is an immensely useful tool to help you to identify the most effective and relevant search terms you should be tagging your video with. As well as seeing how frequently a particular term has been searched, Google Trends also helps you to compare search terms and adjust the results by source, time period, or region.

Contextualize your Content

To maximize your traction, you should present your content in fresh and exciting ways to appeal to different sections of your overall target audience. Although you can of course start by sharing the video itself, but you should also consider the potential benefits of embedding it into a blog post and sharing accompanying content.

Evelyn Timson is the Managing Director of Bristol and London video production company, Aspect Film & Video. She has many years of experience working with national and international brands such as Samsung, the National Trust, Admiral Insurance, Adidas TaylorMade & Etihad Airlines. You can connect with Aspect on Facebook or Twitter or see a selection of their award winning work on their YouTube Channel.

Video stock photo by Stan Fisher/Shutterstock