YouTube is the third-most-visited website and second most used search engine globally. Despite its popularity, YouTube has only been around for eleven years meaning that plenty of opportunities and first mover advantages are still available. For those reasons, rebooting my YouTube channel had been on my radar for a while. I created my account and channel in 2012 and left it inactive since I wasn’t in the online game. I considered working on it last year, but I decided to develop online courses full-time instead. As of this year, developing my channel is a top three priority.
I’m a heavy Facebook user and believe that excluding Facebook from your online marketing plans is a huge mistake. However, Facebook misses on one critical factor that YouTube offers; virality to the tune of thousands to billions of viewers. Facebook, like Twitter and LinkedIn, is very much post today, gone tomorrow platform, for instance, a popular post can attract a lot of engagement, but a day or two later it gets buried by more recent posts. Conversely, the equivalent content uploaded to YouTube can sustain itself for much longer through months and years.
YouTube’s singular focus on video makes it more potent than Facebook which has an ecosystem of many moving parts e.g. pages, groups, profiles, videos, etc. YouTube in the context of the Google network is more search-centric which yields excellent opportunities for SEO planning and strategy.
I also like YouTube over marketplaces such as Udemy and Amazon because you have more control as a publisher; control being an important aspect of influencing outcomes and revenues.
9 Tricks and Tips
I’m not a YouTube “expert” or whatever that means, but I do have a considerable amount of social media experience which I can lean on to build a successful channel. In fact, I’m attracting more views and subscribers faster than previous attempts based on these following tips.
Add Channel Art or Cover
I see a lot of YouTubers waste what is arguably the most valuable real estate on a channel i.e. the cover. Your cover provides an opportunity to call out a website to direct traffic and list a few keywords to capture the spirit of your channel. On the contrary, when you use a generic cover that doesn’t specify anything, for instance, a picture of a park, you fail to position your channel to the viewer. This website is the revenue driver of my business, so I want to direct folks to here. As a result, the cover I use for my YouTube channel is similar to those on my other social media profiles with a focus on calling attention to chadtennant.com.
Add Channel Icon or Profile Picture
No need to belabor this point as you should choose an appropriate and professional channel icon or profile picture (preferably a headshot) for your channel. Consider images that will connect with your viewers.
Complete Your About Description
On the about tab, you should add a description of yourself or channel, for example, I added a short description of myself (which is consistent with my other social media platform bios).
Adding links on your about page will appear on the page and more importantly, just above the subscribe button as an overlay on your channel art. Anywhere from one to ten links is fine, but any more than that can overwhelm a viewer. Before adding links, take the time to consider where you want to direct traffic and which digital assets you want viewers to discover. Additionally, the link title and URL don’t have to be the same, for instance, I inputted “Make Money Online” as the link title for chadtennant.com.
Create a Custom URL
A couple of years ago Google implemented eligibility requirements to get a custom URL. This was before my time when barriers to custom URLs didn’t exist. Nevertheless, the biggest hurdle is getting 100 subscribers, and this will happen for you in lockstep with adding quality content consistently. The main stipulation to remember is that you will be limited to one change request, so spend ample time brainstorming what makes sense for you. I wanted youtube.com/user/ChadTennant, but it’s taken, so I decided on ChadTennantEVO instead. Custom URLs are important because they impact search results and SEO. My chief concern was that “chadtennant” was a part of the URL string as to show up in search results when people search for me (which is the case).
Use Custom Thumbnail Images
Before you upload your first video, you should appreciate the impact custom thumbnails have compared to videos without. Custom thumbnails, if correctly designed, can thwart your competition in search results and here’s why. Let’s say you’re in a bookstore and stop at a shelf. On the shelf are many books without covers except for a few. Those without covers just show text whereas the few with covers stand to make an impression. Many YouTubers allow YouTube to default their thumbnail, but this is a tremendous mistake. You want to stand out from the crowd, and well-conceived thumbnails help you do that.
My thumbnail design strategy is very simple i.e. large text, high contrast, and an image representing the topic covered. I’ve adopted a less is more approach because while using custom thumbnails are the method of choice, overdoing creative elements can yield lower click through rates (CTR).
If you don’t have basic design skills or are not interested in designing your thumbnails, you can outsource design projects to someone at Fiverr or Upwork.
Create a Channel Trailer for New Viewers
YouTube offers a slot for a channel trailer, and it’s in your best interest to take advantage of it. A trailer or promo video helps to set the stage and expectations relating to your channel. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to introduce yourself and start a relationship with the viewer. I recommend creating a talking head video from 30 seconds and two minutes consisting of:
- Who you are
- The channel’s focus or value proposition
- Topics your videos will cover
- Where viewers can learn more about you
- Your uploading schedule e.g. every Wednesday (optional)
If your channel isn’t personal brand focused like mine, then explore what others in your category are using for their trailer videos for some ideas.
Add Keywords to Your Channel
What’s your channel about from a keyword perspective? Google wants to know and this input option is usually missed by new YouTube channel owners. You can access this area via Channel Settings > Advanced > Channel Keywords. Begin with your main keywords followed by your secondary keywords toward the end. These keywords, unlike the keywords you use for your videos, are space separated so if you have a phrase that you want to use that includes one or more words, then these need to be in quotation marks like “passive income” or “online business.” Try to use a mix of specific and generic tags and in keeping with the character count for individuals videos, aim for 200 characters or less.
Group Related Videos
A successful channel requires preplanning regarding video sequence. I only have a few videos uploaded at the moment, but I’ve given a lot of thought to video planning. To start, I wanted to group together related videos regarding WordPress so that someone interested in that topic can find my videos clustered together. My goal is to simplify the search process for the user as opposed to having related videos all over the place, for instance, WordPress videos found in the sequence of #1, #12, #54, #78, etc. I recommend grouping your videos together as much as you can to encourage the viewer to watch similar videos in succession.