YouTube is the second most-visited site on the web. It has almost 2 billion monthly users, watching videos in more than 80 languages. This growing audience makes mastering YouTube a must for any marketer.
But how do you get started on this booming platform? In this post, we’ll share 14 easy, actionable YouTube tips for beginners.
Bonus: Attract more views and subscribers in minutes with one of our 5 free customizable YouTube channel art templates. Download them now.
14 tips for growing your brand on YouTube
1. Develop a clear vision
A YouTube Channel with a clear focus is easier to subscribe to than one that appears to be doing many different things. Make sure you have a strong vision in place before you start creating content.
Choose something interesting, relatable, and valuable to your target audience. You can offer different kinds of videos, but they should all be relevant to your viewers.
For example, AsapSCIENCE has several go-to content types. In their “What if…” videos, they use research to answer hypothetical questions. In their “VS” series, they compare and contrast related science topics.
Each of these approaches is distinct. But each fulfils AsapSCIENCE’s mission of “making science make sense”.
2. Set up a brand account
To use YouTube professionally, you’ll want a brand account.
Brand accounts include features you can’t use with personal accounts. For example, you’ll get access to valuable audience data through YouTube Analytics. You’ll also be able to collaborate with other team members.
For details on how to start one, check out our post on creating a YouTube channel.
3. Create a strong visual identity
Next, make sure your account looks polished and professional.
Add a channel icon that represents your brand, like a logo. Complement it with an appealing banner image.
Follow YouTube’s recommended images dimensions to avoid any stretching. Preview your channel on multiple devices to check everything looks good.
NASA’s icon and banner image are eye-catching and on-brand.
4. Write a compelling channel description
Always fill in your “About” section. This is the first place potential subscribers will go to learn about your brand.
Start with a brief, clickable description of what your channel’s about. Front-load important information and relevant keywords to make your YouTube channel more discoverable.
5. Add contact information
YouTube is all about creating connections. Make sure your company contact information is easy to find. This will make it simpler to build relationships with your fans.
Start by connecting your other social platforms to your channel banner. (Just click on the pencil icon at the bottom of the “About” section to add your links.)
You can also include email addresses and other contact info in your About section. Some YouTubers, like Shameless Maya, even add a P.O. Box address for fan mail.
6. Verify your account
This step is key! Only verified accounts can post videos longer than 15 minutes. Verification also lets you create custom thumbnails (we’ll get into these later).
Verifying is simple. Just fill in your country and phone number at youtube.com/verify.
7. Check out your competitors
Of all the tips for starting a YouTube channel, competitor research is one of the most valuable.
Find successful creators in your niche and spend some time on their channels. Read their descriptions, watch their content, and check out who their subscribers are.
Ask yourself the following questions as you browse:
- What kinds of videos seem to get the most views, likes, or comments?
- What keywords does the creator use to describe their content?
- How do they respond to negative comments?
- What tools or editing software do they use?
- How do they encourage subscriptions?
Use the answers to plan your own content. Build off of ideas that work well and avoid those that don’t.
8. Set a consistent schedule
Think of your channel like a TV show. Plan to post the same time each day, week, or month. That way, viewers will know when to come back for more. [contenupgrade variant=popup]
Keep these simple vlogging tips in mind as you plan:
- Be consistent. Publish at weekly or daily intervals, like Wednesday mornings or Thursday afternoons.
- Post often. YouTube’s search ranking algorithm prioritizes channels that post frequently. Aim for 3 or more times a week if you can.
- Be realistic. If your schedule is too ambitious, you won’t be able to sustain it. Make sure you can meet your goals and keep creating high quality content.
- Allow some flexibility. If something timely hits, don’t be afraid to go off schedule to share the news.
- Space out your content (rather than publishing it all at once).
- Consider time zones. Are the bulk of your subscribers based on the East Coast or the West Coast? Do you have international fans? Choose a time when your target audience is awake and active.
- Share your schedule. Add your schedule to your About section and channel trailer. You can also promote it in your channel artwork, like Feminist Frequency does.
9. Create a content calendar
Developing a schedule is one thing. Sticking to it is another!
Create a simple content calendar to ensure you have enough fresh content each week. Schedule ideas for YouTube, as well as any other social platforms you manage.
Reference your calendar often. Do you see any patterns? Content calendars can be a great way to learn what videos perform best and when.
To get started, fill in a copy of Hootsuite’s Content Calendar Template. You can adapt your calendar over time to meet your brand’s needs.
10. Be selective
There are tons of simple YouTube tricks for getting more views for your videos. Being selective is one of the most important.
Edit your videos carefully before posting anything. Review all your footage, cutting out any dull moments. Avoid awkward pauses and unprofessional looking shots. Make every second count to keep your audience engaged.
But editing is about more than the viewer experience. It also affects your search rankings. That’s because YouTube’s algorithm favors videos with a high watch time. The longer you can keep fans interested in your content, the more discoverable it will be.
11. Save content for a rainy day
Life is busy, and creating high-quality videos takes time. There will be days or weeks when you don’t have time to produce new content.
Help your future self out by creating extra videos in advance. Stick to timeless “evergreen” content, rather than trending topics. That way, it won’t matter when you publish them.
Chescaleigh’s video on common artist mistakes is less timely than her other content. (Take her spotlight on Black History Month, for example.) She could have posted it any time, with the same great results.
12. Make your videos ‘clickable’
Every day, YouTube users watch more than a billion hours of video. Standing out from the crowd is no small feat!
Luckily, there are tons of YouTube tricks you can use to get noticed. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Create custom thumbnails: The thumbnail is the first part of your video people see. And although YouTube automatically generates thumbnails when you post, these often fall flat. Create your own eye-catching graphics instead to make your content pop.
- Craft compelling descriptions: Make the most of your video descriptions by adding keywords, hashtags, and more. Include the most important information right up front, so people see it first.
- Optimize your title: Choose something short and punchy. Spark curiosity, solve a problem, or make someone laugh. Give viewers a real reason to click, and they will.
13. Build playlists
More than 70% of time on YouTube is spent watching algorithm recommendations. Ensuring your content makes the cut is one of the most important YouTube tips.
That’s where playlists come in. Playlists keep viewers moving from one video to another, boosting total watch time. They’re a simple way to improve your videos’ performance in the algorithm.
Plus, playlists also help viewers discover more of your content. This makes them a great way to encourage YouTube subscriptions.
Check out YouTube’s guide to creating playlists to get started.
AntsCanada is very creative with their playlists, offering viewers lots of different options. Some are organized by topic, like “Termites” or “Asian Marauder Ants.” Others focus on the type of video, like “VIP interviews” or “Relaxing Ant Ambiance.”
14. Cross promote
Finally, remember to share your hard work with the world!
There are lots of free ways to promote your channel. Getting the word out on social media is one of the easiest—and most effective.
That’s because YouTube’s algorithm prioritizes outside traffic. Clicks from Facebook or Twitter are a simple way to boost your video’s discoverability.
Promote new content each time you post. Share updates on your social channels, as well as your website, blog, or newsletter. Craft a unique message for each platform to keep things fresh.
With Hootsuite, you can easily upload, schedule, and promote your YouTube channel and videos across multiple social networks from one dashboard. Try it free today.