Have you always wanted to be on TV and just never figured out how to make that happen? Maybe it was going to cost you a fortune to work with a PR agency, or maybe you were waiting to be discovered and that never materialized? No worries, because YouTube is truly the next best thing next to your own TV show. It is all the PR you ever wanted, and you get to choose what you wear, what you say, and how you say it.

YouTube is an entertainment and video-sharing site where anyone can post videos for others to watch. And it is very popular.

A new YouTube star is born every day, and you too can become a YouTube star if you follow these simple tips and strategies.

Help Your Google Rankings

Posting videos on YouTube helps you’re your own Web site’s search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Use specific descriptions and tags just as you do for your Web site. That holds a lot of weight with Google when its search engine ranks you against all others.

Differentiate Yourself

Also, as the competition continues to heat up in aesthetics, it’s difficult to be seen as “different” from your competitors. However, in reality nobody is just like you, so use that to your advantage.

I call it personality marketing. The more a patient feels they know you, the more likely they are to feel comfortable enough to call and visit. Also, patients today blur the line between seeing you on TV and seeing you on their computer screen, so you’ll get celebrity status either way.

Possibly Legitimate PR Opportunities

There are a couple of ways you can get even more exposure for your company by posting your ad online. Make a PR effort after your ad is posted. Send press releases to local media outlets announcing that your practice is taking its ad campaign online, with your TV commercial being made available on YouTube. This is a good story for newspapers, magazines, and Web sites that cover local interest stories.

Don’t ignore your TV markets, though. While this may not really be a story that’s a right fit for TV coverage on its own, you never know when a morning show needs a guest to talk about aesthetic enhancement and what you have done (and what you offer).

What Should You Tape?

Today’s technology is so advanced that you no longer need to spend thousands of dollars on a film crew or videographer. You can get the job done with a simple camcorder or just use your iPhone and simple editing software that comes with your computer.

Maybe that sounds too low budget, but remember this is not about making a major motion picture. It is about you being you and portraying yourself as a professional and a real person. Video is a good way to project all of that.

On-screen, it is more important for you to just be yourself rather than try to be an actor. Talk to the camera as you would a new patient to whom you are explaining a procedure. Answer the same questions they would typically ask.

You can sit at your desk and talk directly at the camera, or you can do a mock consultation with the patient. Do what feels natural to you. You can also demonstrate a new procedure or treatment as long as it’s easy to view (and no blood and guts). Since these are typically short, 5-minute videos, you can take a patient education talk you gave live and split it up into short video segments.

You are not going to create an entertainment video. You want to create educational and informative videos so that would-be patients will want to know more details, as well as share with their friends who are also interested. Use props, if appropriate, and include scenes of staff, an office tour, and patient testimonials. (And be certain everyone who appears on-screen has signed a consent form.)

Respond to Popular Videos

Be industrious and “up” on the latest news. In a video, you can piggyback off hot news topics in cosmetic surgery—such as a celebrity’s recent facelift, a new procedure, a new technology, etc.

In this case, you would simply discuss what you think. However, it’s probably better to stay positive and not badmouth anyone. Instead, don’t dwell on the negative, and offer what you would have done if it had been you.

Realistically, you need to create 10 videos over the course of about a month. This amount will get your own show going on YouTube. In the beginning, you will not be all that well known. However, this is only the first step, and it will help your overall Google rankings.

Even if you get a low number of viewers at first, don’t chuck in the towel or think it’s a waste of your time and effort. The number of views will grow over time.

Create a YouTube Account

First, go to YouTube.com and create an account. To do this, click on the Sign Up button at the top of the screen. Fill out all of the requested information. An e-mail will be sent to you asking you to confirm your e-mail address. Click the link in the e-mail to confirm.

Customize Your YouTube Profile

Next, you can customize your profile by clicking on your user name at the top of the screen. You can choose to add photos, video logs, favorite videos, subscribers, and friends. Fill this out as completely as possible, since the more content the better.

Add your logo or headshot as the profile image, adjust the layout, and choose a color scheme that matches your practice.

Fill in the Video Upload Information

If you want to be a YouTube star, your videos have to be seen by the world. First, though, they need to be found. Optimizing your videos with tags and descriptions that match what your fans are looking for will help you become a YouTube star.

To upload a video, click on “Upload” in the upper right corner of the home page. On this page, fill out your video information, including title, description, and tags. Tags are keywords used to describe your video. They help prospective patients search and locate videos on YouTube.

Ask your SEO expert which keywords they are using to get you ranked in Google searches, and use those, as well. It all builds together to give you increased search result rankings. Fill in every conceivable tag you can think of that can be associated with your video. Make sure all of the tags are relevant, as viewers truly hate mistagged videos.

Adjust Video Settings

You can choose to broadcast your video publicly or privately. There are also date and road map options that let viewers know where and when the video was produced.

Customize your sharing options, including comments, video responses, ratings, and embedding.

Upload the Video to YouTube

The next step is to upload your video onto YouTube from your computer. Click on “Upload Video” and locate a video file on your computer. Click the “Browse” button to search for the file you want to upload. Double click on the file name, and it will appear in the YouTube text box. Click on “Upload Video.”

Video Upload Specifications

YouTube will accept the most common vide file formats—AVI, WMV, MOV (QuickTime), and MPG files. However, the video file must be no larger than 100 megabytes and run no longer than 10 minutes. The longer the video, the larger the file will be. Again, the norm is less than 5 minutes per video unless you are presenting a very compelling and complex topic for that viewer, so stick to that time limit.

Watching and Deleting Videos

It may take a few minutes to upload your video or it could take an hour. You can see the progress with the on-screen blue bar. When your video has finished uploading, YouTube will report that it is “processing” your video. Remain patient.

You can access the uploaded video in My Videos. If you want to remove the movie, click “Remove Movie” underneath the video icon in My Videos.

Create a YouTube Channel

A YouTube channel gives you a place to introduce and promote yourself as a YouTube star. Customize your YouTube channel content so it can be quickly found in searches.

If you update your channel regularly with new videos and content, you’ll give your fans a reason to return often, and this will build up your following.

Adjusting Your YouTube Account Profile

Your YouTube account profile contains personal information, such as your profile picture, name, age, company, interests, and more. By filling in these details of your YouTube account, you’ll let other YouTube users know more about who you are.

You also have the option of leaving the profile details of your YouTube account blank if you don’t want others to know that information.

Privacy Settings

The information in your YouTube account can be controlled via privacy settings. You can make it easy or difficult for others to find your YouTube account, as well as control whether your YouTube account activity is visible to others and what kind of advertisements YouTube puts in the videos you’re watching.

How to Get Viewers

Just because you went to the trouble of recording videos doesn’t mean you’re done. Now you need to do more to inform prospective patients the videos are online and how to access them.

The following strategies will work:

  • Get current patients to get the word out—The fastest way to get new viewers is to tell your current patients you’ve posted videos. Encourage them to watch your YouTube videos. Ask them to comment on your videos (if you allow comments) and share them with friends and family. Send an invitation by mail or e-mail to your patients inviting them to watch you on YouTube.
  • Add videos to your Web site and blog—You’ll also want to “embed” your YouTube video links to your site and your blog, if you have one. Embed means a special link supplied by YouTube with each of your video uploads, which can be placed on your own site very easily. Your Web site will not slow down with time-consuming videos buffering, as YouTube hosts all your videos on their site.

Make sure to turn off “Related videos” so that your competitors’ videos don’t appear on-screen after your video finishes. You want your viewers to stay on your site after they are done watching your video(s).

  • Use social media—Post announcements on your Facebook page and in your Twitter feed. Describe the topic of your video, and make it interesting enough to encourage them to click and watch. They can follow you and also tell their friends.

You can even connect your YouTube account with Facebook and Twitter so your “friends” and followers are automatically updated when you upload a new video.

  • Create a YouTube channel

A YouTube channel gives you a place to introduce yourself and promote yourself as a YouTube star.

Customize your YouTube channel content so it can be quickly found in searches. If you update your channel regularly with new videos and content, you’ll give your fans a reason to return often.

  • Be active on YouTube—This is going to be a challenge. Although you are not mounting Hollywood-style productions, making videos is a collaborative venture and you will need help to make them. Once you start releasing more videos, your fan base will grow.

To be truly effective with these new types of media, you have to participate often. You’ll want to log in to YouTube every day—or as often as possible—so your viewers see you are an active “YouTuber.” If you rarely log in, people will not visit your channel as frequently.

  • Build your YouTube network—Your YouTube friends and fans are most likely to watch your videos. If you have a large network, your videos will be viewed and shared more often.

Build your YouTube network by reaching out to others who are producing and watching videos on topics similar to yours. If you watch and comment on other people’s videos, they’ll be more likely to return the favor and watch yours.

Amazing YouTube Statistics

  • Forty-eight hours of video are uploaded every minute (that’s 8 years of content every day).
  • Over 3 billion videos are viewed each day.
  • More video is uploaded to YouTube in 1 month than the three major US networks created in 60 years.
  • YouTube’s demographic is broad—18 to 54 years old.
  • Eight-hundred million unique users visit YouTube every month.
  • Share activity from your YouTube account—A new user has subscribed to you on YouTube. They don’t have a YouTube channel yet, but they will still receive notifications when you upload new videos, create playlists, and so on.

Subscriptions allow you to connect with other people and be notified when they upload new videos or respond to videos (by “favoriting,” commenting, rating, etc). You can control which of your actions are publicly visible by going to your Sharing Settings.

YouTube Pitfalls

Keep a close watch on your YouTube account, the actions being taken by fans and viewers, and who’s viewing your videos.

Control comments to your videos because YouTube site is riddled with viewers who seem to specialize in posting inappropriate or downright rude comments. This is one reason among many for logging into your account regularly, if not daily.

Reviewing and approving video comments is preferable to allowing people to publish their comments immediately. You can manage this function in your YouTube account settings.

You (or designated staff) should control how much information other people can see about your YouTube account.

Catherine Maley, MBA, is president and senior marketing strategist for Cosmetic Image Marketing, which specializes in patient attraction and staff training for aesthetic practices. She can be reached at (877) 339-8833 or .