15 ways to get more out of YouTube

According to Alexa, YouTube is the world’s third most popular website, with over 1 billion visitors a month.

And, Nielsen reports that the site reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-34 than any television network.

Despite this, many businesses don’t bother with YouTube. Or, they just stick up a few videos and hope for the best.

This means that there are many opportunities for those of us who make a bit of effort on the video-sharing site.

I’ve recently done some research into what you can do to get more out of YouTube as a publisher. Here are 15 (yes, 15) things that you can do once you’ve uploaded your videos.

1. Use properly-formatted channel art

Nintento Youtube Channel Art

An example of YouTube channel art.

This is essentially the header image that people see when they visit your YouTube home page (which is known as your “channel”).

To make sure that your channel art looks good on all devices (TVs, desktop computers, tablets, and phones), you need to upload a 2560 x 1440 pixel image that fits this template.

2. Upload a decent channel icon


The FA’s YouTube channel icon.

This is the icon that shows on the left-side of your channel art, as well as underneath videos when people watch them. YouTube also uses this logo if other users feature your videos on their own channels or on a playlist.

It’s important to note that this icon is also your default icon for your Google account, as well as your Google+ profile if you have one. Bear this in mind if you update it.

YouTube recommends that you upload an 800 x 800 pixel image as your channel icon, so that it renders well on high-definition devices.

3. Link to your YouTube channel from your website

You likely already link to your other social media profiles like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter on your website.

Make sure that you also link to your YouTube channel, and make sure that you encourage your website visitors to visit your channel, where appropriate.

4. Use a welcome video

YouTube gives you the option to use a video to welcome non-subscribed users to your channel. (This doesn’t show for people who have already subscribed to your channel, if they’re logged in to YouTube or Google.)

This is an opportunity to tell people what your business is about, and to let them know what they’ll learn when they watch your videos. You can also encourage them to subscribe to your channel, and tell them where they can find out more about you.

5. Tell people whenever you publish new videos

Some of your subscribers on YouTube will find out when you publish new videos, but this will depend on how often they log in, and how many other channels they’re subscribed to.

Therefore, you also let people know when you’ve published a new video. So include a link to new videos in your email newsletters and in social media updates.

6. Use sections to group videos

Visit Britain Youtube Groupings

How Visit Britain group videos into sections on YouTube.

A great way to help people find relevant videos is by grouping them into sections on your channel home page.

I’ve found that it’s easiest to group videos by labeling them with specific tags, but you can also group them by number of comments or likes, or by upload date.

You can name groups whatever you want, so use something descriptive that will resonate with people who browse your channel.

7. Create playlists

Playlists are handy if you want people to view videos in a specific order. You can also include other people’s videos, which is a great way to build relationships with other YouTube channels and users.

Playlists appear in YouTube search too, so they provide another way for people to discover your brand and your videos.

8. Engage with other YouTube channels

Like all types of social media, YouTube works best when the communication is two-way.

So, be sure to spend some time regularly watching and “liking” other people’s videos, leaving comments, and subscribing to other YouTube channels.

9. Verify your account

This is really easy to do – all you need to do is enter your phone number so that YouTube can send you a verification code.

You then get additional features, such as the ability to add videos longer than 15 minutes and the ability to add custom thumbnails to videos.

10. Optimise video titles

YouTube takes into account many different factors when it decides how to rank videos in its search engine. And, while you can’t get to the top of the rankings using your video title alone, it’s still useful to have a descriptive title to give your videos a boost.

You actually have 80 characters to play with here, so make use of this space – just ensure that you load the most important information at the start of your title. And use words that your audience will search for.

11. Optimise video descriptions

As with videos titles, make sure that you get the most from video descriptions.

Remember that YouTube hides most of your description until people click on the “See more” button. This means that people will need to understand what your video is about from the first 15-20 words.

The first part of your description will also show on YouTube’s search results pages – another reason why the most important words need to be at the start.

You can also put URLs in descriptions if you want to direct people to related pages on your website.

12. Ask for subscribers

According to YouTube expert Gideon Shalwick, the number of subscribers that your channel has is a major ranking factor in YouTube’s search engine. Therefore it’s important that you do all you can to boost your subscribers.

Once you’ve built an audience, one of the best to ways to boost subscribers is to simply ask people to subscribe to your channel.

For example, you could ask people to subscribe when they visit your site. Or you could ask people to subscribe within videos by using annotations (see below), or by simply asking them at the end. (Tip: Explain the benefits of subscribing!)

13. Use annotations

Example of Youtube video annotations.

This video has annotations in the top-left and top-right of the screen. 

Annotations allow you to add additional notes to your videos or make them interactive.

For example, you can insert links to other videos or playlists. You can also use annotations to encourage people to subscribe to your channel or like your videos.

14. Use a watermark to add a logo to videos

One way to add your logo (or any other logo-type image) to videos, without editing them directly, is with InVideo Programming.

With this, you can ask YouTube to feature a specific “watermark” in your videos. This gives your videos a more professional look and boosts brand awareness.

15. Encourage people to engage

The more people who “like” and comment on your videos, the more visibility your channel and videos will have in the YouTube search rankings.

So, do all that you can to encourage people to engage with your videos. For instance, you could use annotations to ask people to like the video that they’re watching, or you could pose questions to people that they can answer when they leave a comment.

Over to you…

So then, what have I missed? Leave a comment below if you have any more tips and strategies.

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