We’ve all been trapped in a YouTube spiral at some point, haven’t we? You might have started off searching for information about a brand you like, discovered the founder’s story, and now you’re watching motivational videos that are inspiring you to start your own business.
YouTube is rich with content. In fact, it’s the second largest search engine around, right behind Google. YouTube’s popularity makes it an essential marketing platform — but that doesn’t mean using it is easy. Creating, promoting, and growing a channel to boost your business is hard work. In this article, we’ll tell you how to start a YouTube channel and give you a few pieces of advice for making it big.
Create Your Business Profile
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a channel with a business account, not a personal one. Sign in to YouTube, visit your “Channel list,” and then select “Create new channel.” You can start from scratch or connect it to an existing Google Brand Account.
Fill out every detail as thoroughly and on-brand as possible. Elements of a stand-out YouTube page include:
A Description: Inform channel visitors about your brand and what you do.
Banner Artwork: This part is one of the first things people see when they view your channel page, so make sure yours is intriguing and conveys the mood you want your brand to evoke.
An Icon: Your icon is what appears next to your name, like on any other social media platform. A recognizable icon goes a long way!
Research Your Audience’s Interests & Behaviors
Next, an essential step you should never neglect is researching your target audience. It’s critical to know what will appeal to them before you make any videos — otherwise, you’re wasting your time creating content that no one wants to watch.
Try to answer the following questions:
- What kind of things is your target audience interested in?
- How much time does your audience spend online?
- What kind of content do your competitors create, and what works well for them?
- How often do they upload videos, and how well-produced are they?
Your audience research will provide guidelines for the kind of content you put on YouTube. This process is ongoing, so it’s okay that some trial and error will be involved.
Develop a Content Strategy
Once you have a better idea of what direction to go in, it’s time to devise what kind of content you will create. Here are a few pieces of advice for attracting viewers and reducing bounce rates:
Hook Viewers In
Videos only have a few seconds to capture people’s attention before they click away, so include an enticing intro that encourages viewers to keep watching.
Have Something to Say
We’re talking about growing your channel, not just getting people to watch individual videos. To motivate people to become long-term watchers — i.e., subscribers — every video you produce needs to say something valuable. Apply your audience research and make a point to answer people’s hard-hitting questions or pique their curiosity in an engaging way.
Sequence Videos in a Playlist
Before you sequence videos in a playlist, you’ll need to know how to upload a video to YouTube first. All you need to do is log in to your account, select the video icon at the top right of your screen, and hit “Upload video.” Once you’ve done this enough times, curate playlists by clicking “Save” under the videos you want to include. You’ll be prompted to add them to a new or existing playlist, making it easy for viewers to navigate your channel and watch similar content.
Be Deliberate with Thumbnails
A video’s thumbnail is the bait that entices people to click on it. You can only pick one still image, though, so put thought into what best represents the video’s message without giving too much away. Being deliberate about thumbnails is essential for increasing your channel’s viewership because, without them, YouTube users will skip your content for someone else’s.
Edit a Trailer for Your Channel
Besides your channel’s banner and icon, it helps to have a video on your main page that serves as a “trailer” for your brand. This trailer gives people an idea of what kind of content you produce or what products and services you sell.
If you don’t know how to edit YouTube videos, it’s easy: you can edit them in whatever platform you use before uploading, or you can:
- Go to “Videos” in your left sidebar;
- Select “Uploads;”
- Pick the video you want to edit;
- Click “Editor” in the left sidebar again.
There, you can cut, trim, and reorganize footage as you see fit.
Optimize Your Videos for Searchability
You can apply similar SEO practices to a video the way you do with written content. Create a compelling title and description that incorporates relevant keywords for each upload. Tag your videos to categorize them and make them more discoverable.
However, factors like the number of times viewers share your videos on other platforms influence your content’s ranking too, so your channel’s visibility largely depends on how compelling your videos are. It also helps to embed a YouTube video on your website or a blog post, so it exists in multiple places.
Interact with Viewers in the Comments
Similar to using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, people who post comments beneath videos appreciate acknowledgment from creators. Uploading content and leaving it alone won’t grow your channel nearly as fast as interacting with your viewers and customers. Answer people’s questions, address their complaints and thank them for compliments. Letting your subscribers know you pay attention to them encourages people to continue watching your channel and builds a loyal community.
Creating a YouTube channel that takes off is no easy feat, but producing content your audience wants to see and promoting your brand can help you build a subscriber base loyal to your brand.