Igor Shevchenko, the head of the development department at Utify, told what you need to consider when preparing a YouTube channel for promotion, and also gave some tips for beginners.
The header (cover, background) is the first thing that YouTube users see when they visit a channel page. Therefore, the header should show what the channel is about and what content can be found here. Be understandable and attractive to the viewer.
It is important that the cover is displayed correctly on all devices. Smartphone owners will not be able to see small details, so it is better to place several large images against a contrasting background. You can find out how it is displayed on different devices in the preview window after downloading it.
It is not necessary to upload the entire cover at 2560 × 1440 pixels with key illustrations – only those who turn on YouTube on TV can see a picture of this size. It is better to place important information in the middle (within 1546 × 423) – then all users will see it.
Social media icons should not overlap art and text if you plan to add them directly to the cover. When developing it, you should immediately take into account the free space in the lower right corner.
To include links to social networks and the site, you need to go to the channel, click “Customize the channel view” and go to the “Basic information” tab. Then specify the names and the links themselves:
The avatar is not so noticeable, but it flashes in front of your eyes much more often than a hat – both in the comments, and under the videos, and in the feed. But due to the small size, it is difficult to come up with something special. It is enough to put something large and recognizable on the avatar – for example, a company logo or a photo of the author.
You can create a profile header in special services like Canva and Crello . They have special templates and the ability to set unique settings – choose a size, upload your backgrounds and images. And an avatar can be made in FreeLogoDesign , a service for developing logos.
The description is located on a separate tab “About the channel”, so few people get to it. But this text can help the channel appear more often in search results on YouTube and Google, and it can also provide contacts for advertisers.
When compiling a description, it should be borne in mind that:
- links will not be clickable – it is better to leave them under the videos themselves;
- the maximum length is 1,000 characters: the shorter and clearer the description, the better;
- 2-3 keywords that reflect the topic of the channel will do the trick in the text.
Popular bloggers may not use the description at all or leave literally a couple of sentences about themselves there. For example, RVCJ Media, with 5.16 million subscribers, has only four lines.
Popular search queries (keywords) for channel descriptions will help you find services like Yandex.Wordstat or Google Trends . There are also specialized ones, for example, Keyword Tool or VidIQ – a free plugin for Google Chrome.
The easier it is to navigate through the videos on a channel, the more likely a casual viewer will find something interesting and decide to subscribe.
You shouldn’t wait for hundreds of videos: even if you have 10-15 of them so far, you need to think over the navigation.
For example, with the help of playlists, which can be used as a rubricator – to divide videos by certain topics, separate directions.
The bonus will be additional views (due to the fact that the videos are automatically played in turn), as well as the ability to get into the search.
You can also use the home page for navigation. By default, three sections are shown there: the last uploaded videos, all playlists, open subscriptions to other channels. But you can add more sections (up to 10).
For example, this way you can select each playlist in a separate section. Then viewers will see not only the playlist itself, but also the names of the videos in it.
Don’t forget about the navigation tools in the videos themselves.
Trailer – a welcome video on the main page of the channel. It will be seen by everyone who has not yet signed up. For PC and TV users, it will play automatically as soon as they go to the channel page. Smartphone and tablet users will simply see it on the first screen.
The purpose of the trailer, like the covers, is to show what content is waiting for the viewer, why the channel will be interesting and why subscribe to it. As a rule, such a video is dynamic and short.
According to a study by Wistia, a significant drop in engagement can be seen after just two minutes of the video. Ideally, if the trailer will be within 1.5-2 minutes.
In the trailer, you can:
- make a cut of the most interesting moments from previous videos;
- tell the camera what you are filming about and why you should subscribe;
- mention some significant achievements like the golden YouTube button.
Of course, you don’t have to bother, but just use one of the already uploaded videos as a trailer – for example, the most viewed or, conversely, the one with the least views. The main thing is that the content is interesting to potential subscribers.
If you are recording a video separately, first upload it to the channel as a regular video, and then add it to the main page in the settings.
By the way, you can immediately add a video for those who are already subscribed. You need to choose the published video in the same way or record it separately (for example, to announce some interesting direction).
And then add the video to the main page – through the “Recommended video for subscribers” in the settings.
Optimization is a good opportunity to show your content to the right audience. This is important to get more traffic for the same investment.
Research from backlinko and Briggsby shows that there is a direct link between optimization, audience engagement, and rankings.
There are several ways to optimize videos on a YouTube channel (most will work for published videos as well):
- Create an interesting, clickable title that will make you want to watch the video. It is desirable that it also contains a relevant keyword.
- Write detailed descriptions. YouTube takes them into account when determining the subject of videos and looking for an audience. Therefore, it will not be superfluous to tell in detail what will be discussed, using 2-3 keys.
- Add suitable tags. These are themed words that people can use to find your videos.
It is important to add only those keywords and tags that are truly relevant to the topic and content of the video. Otherwise, the video and channel may be poorly promoted, shown to the wrong audience.
Tips for beginners
- Pay attention to the preview. An interesting picture increases click-through rate (CTR), which is one of the ranking factors.
- Make the beginning of your video as interesting as possible. People are more likely to leave in the first minutes, and this has a negative impact on the viewing time.
- Call for activity. Viewers will like and comment more if asked or asked open-ended questions.
- Make navigation easy. Add timecodes to your videos so people jump straight to the interesting moments rather than leaving the channel. Use hints and end screensavers – this way some of the viewers will not leave without a subscription, but will go to watch your next video.