If you have a YouTube channel, it should be something you are proud of and something that can be found by your current and future audiences – that means having a solid YouTube strategy in place.
I’ve become very aware that of late, we have not been keeping our own YouTube channel as up to date as we should – and in order to rectify that, we figured we’d look at our presence from the ground up. What does that mean? It means we’re looking at our YouTube strategy in the same way we’d assess that of our clients and work from there. Step one is to ask ourselves a few questions and essentially give the channel a health check.
There are 10 points we usually look at, but it struck me that sharing the first five of these points would be useful to anyone who is managing, setting up or thinking about creating a YouTube channel.
So, here we go…
1. Is your branding on point?
There are two main ways to brand your YouTube channel. Firstly, by adding an appropriate avatar and secondly by adding ‘channel art’ which is essentially a banner across the top of the channel. However, the size of this image is different to most other social media banners or covers, as not only does it need to work on desktop and mobile, it also needs to translate across to gaming devices and TV screens. There’s a lot to consider here from a branding perspective, so talk to your designer if you don’t have the skill in-house – and if you don’t have a designer, give our designer Mark a shout!
2. Have you selected a Trailer video for your channel?
When you look at your channel, do you just see a list of uploaded videos or has one of your videos been showcased ahead of the rest? Your trailer is the first video a viewer sees when they arrive at your channel. There are actually two options here; you can select a specific trailer video for those who have not yet subscribed, and a specific video for returning subscribers.
Choose your videos carefully, pick the video (or videos) that you feel are particularly engaging, or are most clearly communicating the purpose of your YouTube channel. This video will create the first impression as it auto-plays when your channel loads.
3. Have you completed your About Tab?
Have you ever clicked on that about tab? I’ll be honest – I don’t imagine people do very often, but you still need to make sure you have completed it in full including adding an SEO optimised channel description. You want your channel to be found online – here’s your opportunity to improve those chances! (An obvious reminder, but please make sure to add links to your website and social media profiles too!)
4. Are you using Custom Thumbnails as part of your YouTube Strategy?
When you upload a video, YouTube will automatically select a few stills from the video itself that you can use as Thumbnails. (A thumbnail is a small image you see that represents the video itself when it’s not playing.) You have the option of designing and uploading your own thumbnail – and I 100% recommend that you do.
In the thumbnail you create – you need to think about something called human SEO. Without getting too deep into what that means, your thumbnail needs to attract the eyes of your prospective viewer when they see your video in their search results. Keep the image striking and the information easy to read – it’s also a good idea to keep a theme through all your different thumbnails where possible. (The theme might be across your channel as a whole, or it might just run playlist to playlist.)
5. Are your video titles and descriptions optimised for search?
It’s so important to have searchable titles! Your title should ideally contain a phrase that would be used as a search term in Google. Titles worded as questions or that begin ‘How to…’ are excellent examples. Try and avoid using jargon or buzz words – use the everyday language your prospects would use.
After the title, you also need to think about your descriptions. The first three lines of this should be SEO friendly text – don’t include links until further into your description. Your description is essentially a mini-blog. So, after the first three lines, make sure that you are writing something that is readable – don’t over-stuff the text with keywords. It’s important to note that videos with longer descriptions are reported as performing better than those with shorter ones.
On an additional note, remember your hashtags! YouTube is now starting to take hashtags seriously, so you should look to add up to three hashtags within the description of every video.
Is there anything else to think about in terms of YouTube Strategy?
That’s it for now – I can talk to you about organising playlists and how to optimise them or discuss how best to get viewers to engage with your video content, but they are essentially two separate blogs, and I like to try and keep things short and sweet.
One last question though – Do you have a process for the social media distribution of your video content? If you want to have a conversation about how you can truly maximise on this content… well.
You know where to find us!