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YouTube is the second most popular search engine online. It is used by countless businesses to promote their products and services. With these thousands of channels and videos, how can yours get noticed? There are some simple steps you can take to promote your YouTube channel and get the views your videos deserve!
Firstly we’ll start with how to promote your channel itself and then how to promote individual videos.
Customise Your Channel Graphically
Your YouTube channel should match your personal / your company’s branding. A branded channel looks more professional and will help viewers associate your brand with your YouTube videos.
Set a channel icon - this may be your logo. It’s best if the icon is either a square or rounded image. It’s best to upload a picture that is 800x800 in one of the following formats: JPG, BMP or a PNG.
Upload channel art. Channel art is the banner across the top of your channel. It appears on all platforms where viewers can see your channel (TV, mobile, laptops, etc.). For best results on all devices, it’s best to upload an image that is 2560 x 1440 pixels. This image shows the ‘safe areas’ of your channel art on each device. Your channel art must represent your brand.
Here is Web Together’s channel icon and channel art:
Update Your Channel Title
The title should be the name of your brand or company. You should try to include a relevant keyword if possible. For example, the crisp company ‘O’Donnells’ could have the name ‘O’Donnells Crisps’ instead of just ‘O’Donnells’. Make sure it sounds natural and is relevant to your brand.
Update Your Channel Description
Here you should write a brief paragraph introducing your brand or company. You could mention the type of videos you will be uploading. Remember to include your business’s website. Try to fill this content with as many relevant keywords as possible. Write a captivating first sentence because that will show up in the snippet text in search results. You can edit this description via the ‘About’ tab. The description also shows when users hover over your channel icon on a watch page.
Web Together’s channel description:
NettwerkMusic’s channel description - shown when the user hovers over the channel title on their ‘What to Watch’ page:
Update Your Channel Keywords
Include as many relevant keywords as possible. Do not include any irrelevant ones. Irrelevant keywords do not help you. Use a mix of specific and non-specific tags. For example; ‘web design’ is a generic tag but ‘responsive web design’ is more specific.
Unlike keywords used for video descriptions that you separate using commas, these keywords are space separated. If you have a phrase that you wish to use that includes more than one word, you need to put quotation marks around it to keep those words together. For example ‘make-up tutorial’ is different to makeup tutorial. The first is correct. The second will result in people looking for all sorts of tutorials on the channel but it only has ‘makeup tutorials’. You can access your channel keywords via Channel Settings > Advanced > Channel Keywords.
When you hover on the far right the edit icon will appear. Click it to access the Channel Settings button.
Edit Your Page Layout
YouTube now gives you the option of having a ‘channel trailer’. The trailer is the first video your unsubscribed viewers see they view your YouTube channel. Underneath your channel trailer are ‘sections’ of other videos. You can have as many sections as you like. Your sections may be ‘popular videos’, ‘recent videos’, etc. or they may be playlists that you have created.
Firstly you need to enable this viewer option. Click onto your YouTube channel > hover over the top righthand corner of the box underneath your channel art and an edit icon will appear > click ‘edit channel navigation’ > choose ‘enable’ in the top section called browse. (See images below) Once you have enabled this you can start adding your trailer video and your sections.
Example of a YouTube channel with a trailer (UNITY Summer Camps 2015) and a section below (Unity Charity on Tour):
Watch this video for a step by step tutorial on how to add your ‘trailer video’ and how to add ‘sections.’
Update the Titles of all Your Videos
Just like the channel title, your video titles need to relate strongly to the video content and it’s best to use keywords where possible. Think about what viewers may search for when choosing your title. Choosing suitable keywords will optimise your viewers’ search experience. Use this YouTube keyword tool for further tips on choosing your keywords.
Update the Description of all Your Videos
Write a compelling description to encourage viewers to watch your video. Keywords, keywords, keywords!! Try to squeeze in lots of relevant keywords in this text. Keywords make your video so much more searchable. Make a strong emphasis on the benefits of the video in its description, i.e. what the viewer will learn or gain from watching it.
Use YouTube Tags
YouTube Tags are keywords that you can choose to help YouTube users find your video. For example, if your video is a promotional video for a surfing and sailing event in Dublin, your keywords may be surf, sail, water sports, Dublin, etc. Adding tags to your videos makes them appear on the right sidebar when viewers are watching a different video with the same tag. Tags can have up to 500 characters.
The title, description and tags are all editable in the ‘basic info’ section of ‘info and settings’ for the video. See image below:
Perfect the title of Your Video File Before Uploading to YouTube
An example of a useful title is ‘TogetherVideoShowreel.mp4’. A poor title is ‘FinalEdit.mp4’. A good title will include relevant keywords. YouTube will give preference to videos with titles that include relevant keywords. This means videos with keyword-filled file names will appear more in search results than videos without them.
A playlist is a selection of videos grouped together. You can show your playlists in one of your sections on your homepage. Videos of similar content should be grouped together into playlists. For example, you could have one playlist with videos on Digital Marketing tips and another playlist with videos on Web Design tutorials. The power of the playlist is its Auto-Play feature where the next video starts playing once the current video has finished. This results in longer view time.
You don’t have to stick to your videos for the content in playlists. You can mix your content with other channel’s videos that have similar content to yours. If you allow your videos to be used in other people’s playlists, your videos will have a higher chance of being viewed.
See ‘New Playlist’ button:
Read this for more information on creating and deleting playlists.
Use Compelling YouTube Thumbnails
YouTube thumbnails are the image that shows before you press play on a video. YouTube will select three stills from your video and you can choose one of these as your thumbnail. If you pay for your YouTube account, you can upload a customised image to use as your thumbnail.
If you include text in this image, make sure it is large enough to be eligible on a phone.
Custom thumbnails are a great way to give all of your videos a consistent look. Watch this video to learn how to edit a video’s thumbnail.
A striking thumbnail will result in more views because it will make your video stand out from others in search results.
Cross Promote Your Channel
Use your other social media accounts and your website to promote your YouTube channel. Every time you upload a new video to YouTube you can share it on these channels. Consider including links to your videos in email newsletters. Add a link to your channel in your email signature, in the ‘about’ section on your social media sites and on the ‘contact’ page of your website.
Upload High-Quality Videos
As the old saying goes, quality is better than quantity. Viewers will quickly switch from terribly exposed, grainy footage to HD videos. You may be able to produce cheaply a video with your iPhone, but will people watch it? The answer is probably not. They may click on it but if the visuals and audio are not appealing they won’t stay long. Hire a video agency to produce videos for your company.
Customising your YouTube channel is a timely process at first but once you’re doing it regularly, it won’t be too bad. There’s no point in spending a lot of time and money creating videos for YouTube if no one can find them. If you follow the steps above, your videos will have a much higher reach.