Create content and build a YouTube channel like a pro Written by a successful YouTube channel producer, YouTubeChannels For Dummies shows you how to create content, establisha channel, build an audience, and successfully monetize videocontent online. Beginning with the basics, it shows you how toestablish a channel, join a partner program, and develop a contentplan. Next, you'll gain insight into how to create content thatbuilds a channel, enhance the viral nature of a video, encouragesubscriptions, and earn repeat views. If that weren't enough,you'll go on even further to learn how to get the word out aboutyour channel and discover ways to enhance your potential profits.That's a lot of info--but it's easily digestible and simple toput into practice when it's provided in the accessible and trustedFor Dummies format. YouTube is the third most-visited website on the Internet,making it prime real estate for anyone seeking customers,celebrity, or education. If you want to harness this irresistibleplatform and reach a global platform, YouTube Channels ForDummies makes it easy. In no time, you'll have the know-how tocreate a YouTube channel with regular subscribers who watch,re-watch, and share your videos. * Includes ten easy tips for growing a raptured YouTubeaudience * Details how to enhance the viral nature of a video * Shows you how to create and maintain a YouTube channel thatgenerates views and revenue * Written by the producer of a leading YouTube channel
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YouTube® Channels For Dummies®
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Copyright © 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey
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Table of Contents
About This Book
How This Book Is Organized
Icons Used in This Book
Beyond the Book
Part I: Getting Started With YouTube Channels
Chapter 1: Making a Home on YouTube
The YouTube Phenomenon – Why You Need To Be on YouTube
Seeing What Makes a YouTube Channel Unique
Managing Channels for Fun and/or Profit
Chapter 2: The Basics of YouTube
What You’ll Find on YouTube
Working with a YouTube Account
Creating a YouTube Channel
Verifying Your YouTube Channel
Setting Up a Custom Channel URL
Joining the YouTube Partner Program
Chapter 3: Building Your Channel from the Ground Up
Navigating Your Channel
Customizing and Branding Your Channel
Part II: Making Good Videos and Not Making Bad Videos
Chapter 4: What Makes a Good Video a Good Video?
Picking the Right Camera for Your Needs
Knowing What Makes a Good Video
Mastering the Genres in Your YouTube Videos
Viral Videos versus Evergreen Content
Chapter 5: Making Plans Both Large and Small
Establishing Your Channel’s Mission
Understanding Your Target Audience
Defining Desired Actions
Planning an Outstanding YouTube Channel
Crafting a Content Strategy
Programming for Success
Planning Doesn’t End
Chapter 6: Acquiring the Tools of the Trade
Checking Out Your Camera Options
Stabilizing the Shot
Seeing Your Way with Light
Chapter 7: Putting It All Together to Capture Some Video
Setting Up for a Shoot
Shooting a Great-Looking Video
Working with Voice
Chapter 8: Fixing It in Post: The Edit
Choosing Editing Software
Where to Get Started with Editing
Editing Your Video
Polishing Your Video
Adding Music to Your Video
Adding Voiceover and Sound Effects
Exporting the Final Version
Chapter 9: Preparing for Upload Day
Preparing Your Channel for Uploads
Tending to Video SEO Matters
Uploading Your Video
Adding Custom Thumbnails
Publishing and Unpublishing Videos
Part III: Growing and Knowing Your Audience
Chapter 10: Building Your Audience
Developing a Community
Understanding Subscribers and Their Value
Configuring Community Settings
Getting Viewers to Engage
Capturing the Captioning Opportunity
Giving Credit Where It’s Due
Producing Live Events
Chapter 11: Knowing Your Audience
Getting Started with YouTube Analytics
Learning about Views
Understanding Your Audience
Making Sure Your Audience Is Engaged
Getting Engagement Reports
Going In-Depth on Annotation Analytics
Beyond YouTube Analytics
Part IV: YouTube Channels Are Serious Business
Chapter 12: How and Why Businesses Use YouTube
Understanding Video and Business
Understanding Your YouTube Business Components
Integrating YouTube with Other Campaigns
Chapter 13: Expanding Your Audience through YouTube Advertising
Understanding YouTube Advertising
Planning for Advertising
Determining Your Ad Targets
Navigating the AdWords for Video Page
Setting Up a YouTube Ad Campaign
Placing and Managing Your Ads
Measuring Clicks and Results
Optimizing Your Campaign
Creating a Call-to-Action Overlay
Chapter 14: Mining the YouTube Goldmine
Analyzing Ad Performance with YouTube Analytics
Managing AdSense for YouTube
Making Monetization Adjustments
Part V: The Part of Tens
Chapter 15: Ten Key Steps to Improving YouTube Search Results
Updating Video Metadata
Managing Video Titles
Understanding Working Titles
Optimizing Thumbnails for Viewer Session Time
Managing Video Descriptions
Adding Closed Captioning
Understanding Channel SEO
Avoiding Misleading Metadata
Chapter 16: Ten Things to Know About Copyright
Remember Who Owns the Copyright
Attribution Does Not Absolve a Copyright Violation
Know the Consequences
The Profit Motive Is Irrelevant
Getting Permission for Using Copyrighted Material
Fair Use Is Complicated
Don’t Let Copyright Issues on YouTube Lead to a Strikeout
Wipe the Slate Clean
YouTube’s Robots Are Good at Finding Copyright Infringements
Copyright Is Not Forever, But It’s Likely Forever Enough for YouTube
Bonus Chapter 1: Quitting Your Day Job
Making a Living on YouTube
Understanding the YouTube ecosystem
Bonus Chapter 2: Going Big with Multichannel Networks
Getting to Know Multichannel Networks
The Good, the Bad, and the Lessons Learned
About the Authors
Connect with Dummies
End User License Agreement
Figure 1-1: Using social media can let people not on YouTube know there’s someth...
Figure 1-2: All the necessary details are included in the description for this m...
Figure 1-3: Epic Rap Battles in History.
Figure 1-4: The Browse Channels menu option.
Figure 1-5: The Subscribe button lets viewers become subscribers with a single c...
Figure 1-6: Empty header waiting to be filled with an image that represents your...
Figure 2-1: The logged-in YouTube home page.
Figure 2-2: The logged-out YouTube home page.
Figure 2-3: The Watch page.
Figure 2-4: The video info section.
Figure 2-5: Sharing videos.
Figure 2-6: The Google login screen.
Figure 2-7: Google wants all your details before you’re granted an account.
Figure 2-8: Verify your account by text message or phone call.
Figure 2-9: Enter your verification code.
Figure 2-10: Signing up for Google+.
Figure 2-11: Welcome to Google!
Figure 2-12: Creating a channel.
Figure 2-13: The Use YouTube As dialog box.
Figure 2-14: Choose your channel name, and make it a good one.
Figure 2-15: The default channel layout, which is boring.
Figure 2-16: Verification, Step 1.
Figure 2-17: Verification, Step 2.
Figure 2-18: Advanced settings, featuring the confusing random URL.
Figure 2-19: Creating a custom URL.
Figure 3-1: The My Channel page.
Figure 3-2: The My Subscriptions page.
Figure 3-3: The Watch History listing.
Figure 3-4: The Manage Subscriptions page.
Figure 3-5: The YouTube Channel Art template.
Figure 3-6: The Upload Photos dialog box.
Figure 3-7: The Channel Art gallery.
Figure 3-8: The Google+ dialog box for adding an icon to your channel.
Figure 3-9: Adding links to your channel art.
Figure 4-1: This Panasonic HD camcorder is far more compact than its predecessor...
Figure 4-2: Mounted directly on the bike with a handlebar mount, the GoPro provi...
Figure 4-3: The peppers come to life as the sun bathes this outdoor market in la...
Figure 4-4: Neither tripods nor cameras need to be big now, as proven with this ...
Figure 4-5: Still frame from the “Beautiful Eyes” video, by Alice Ripley (video ...
Figure 4-6: Still frame from a shoot in California’s Muir Woods.
Figure 4-7: Built-in webcam on a MacBook makes it easy to shoot the next install...
Figure 4-8: A lavalier clipped to a lapel can greatly improve audio quality.
Figure 4-9: Debut Video Capture.
Figure 4-10: Windee the Airedale gets ready to shoot a scene.
Figure 4-11: You can easily attach a GoPro to a skateboard to get a board’s-eye ...
Figure 4-12: Red carpet action, captured at the Toronto International Film Festi...
Figure 5-1: Khan Academy’s mission aligns with its YouTube content.
Figure 5-2: Using YouTube advanced search filters.
Figure 5-3: Important YouTube channel identification using Pixability.
Figure 5-4: The Dulce Candy publishing schedule.
Figure 6-1: Three-point lighting.
Figure 7-1: The imaginary line of the 180-degree rule.
Figure 8-1: The trim function in QuickTime Player.
Figure 8-2: A timeline with a rough cut in an editing program.
Figure 8-3: A cross fade transition.
Figure 9-1: Your YouTube Status and Features page.
Figure 9-2: A well-constructed description field.
Figure 9-3: Effective video thumbnails.
Figure 9-4: The YouTube upload window.
Figure 9-5: Entering metadata through Video Manager.
Figure 9-6: YouTube’s upload monetization section.
Figure 9-7: The YouTube Advanced Settings section.
Figure 9-8: The YouTube Upload Defaults configuration.
Figure 9-9: A YouTube video with no custom thumbnail.
Figure 9-10: Deleting multiple videos from YouTube video manager.
Figure 10-1: Audience engagement through comments.
Figure 10-2: The YouTube button for new subscription requests.
Figure 10-3: YouTube button for existing subscribers.
Figure 10-4: Setting your channel feed.
Figure 10-5: Managing YouTube comments.
Figure 10-6: Removing comments from the Watch page.
Figure 10-7: Managing comments from the Community section of Creator Studio.
Figure 10-8: Moderating YouTube messages.
Figure 10-9: YouTube Community settings.
Figure 10-10: Use of an end-card.
Figure 10-11: Setting up annotations.
Figure 10-12: Using annotations to help viewers decide what to watch next.
Figure 10-13: Video branding options.
Figure 10-14: Adding a branded video intro.
Figure 10-15: Adding a brand overlay watermark.
Figure 10-16: Subtitles and captions.
Figure 10-17: Creator credits.
Figure 11-1: YouTube Analytics overview.
Figure 11-2: An analytics filter.
Figure 11-3: An analytics chart.
Figure 11-4: The Details section of a YouTube Analytics report.
Figure 11-5: Metrics you can show on a YouTube analytics report.
Figure 11-6: Sample line chart.
Figure 11-7: Multi-line chart.
Figure 11-8: Going with a stacked chart.
Figure 11-9: Do you want apple or cherry?
Figure 11-10: Bar chart.
Figure 11-11: An interactive map lets you explore each country.
Figure 11-12: Specifying details for a Views report.
Figure 11-13: YouTube Analytics demographics report.
Figure 11-14: Subscribers report.
Figure 11-15: Viewing your YouTube channel traffic sources.
Figure 11-16: Reporting your embedded-player locations.
Figure 11-17: Subscriber interactive map with accompanying details.
Figure 11-18: An Annotation report with itemized types.
Figure 11-19: Seeing what VidStatsX analytics has to offer.
Figure 11-20: Pixability analytics crunches the beauty numbers.
Figure 12-1: Media consumption by type for all U.S. adults.
Figure 12-2: Brand searches on YouTube are important to business.
Figure 12-3: Using your YouTube channel to channel sales.
Figure 12-4: Audi uses YouTube for customer service and support.
Figure 12-5: American Express delivers audience-centric content on YouTube.
Figure 12-6: Number of YouTube subscribers of top vloggers versus top beauty bra...
Figure 12-7: The NBA uses YouTube to integrate many of its highlights and activi...
Figure 12-8: YouTube and television comparison.
Figure 13-1: YouTube in-display ads appear on top of search-results pages.
Figure 13-2: Setting up an AdWords for Video account.
Figure 13-3: Moving your AdWords customer ID into YouTube.
Figure 13-4: Linking your AdWords account and YouTube channel.
Figure 13-5: Your AdWords for Video demographic targeting options.
Figure 13-6: Your AdWords for Video targeting options.
Figure 13-7: The Campaigns tab for all video campaigns in an AdWords account.
Figure 13-8: AdWords for Video campaign analytics.
Figure 13-9: Precision targeting for YouTube TrueView ads.
Figure 13-10: Adding a new target group.
Figure 13-11: Choosing specific Topics to target for YouTube TrueView ads.
Figure 13-12: Remarketing lists for YouTube TrueView ads.
Figure 13-13: YouTube TrueView in-stream ad configuration.
Figure 13-14: YouTube TrueView in-display ad configuration.
Figure 13-15: Adding earned metrics data to AdWords for video reporting.
Figure 13-16: Configuring a call-to-action overlay.
Figure 14-1: YouTube channel without monetization.
Figure 14-2: This YouTube channel is enabled for monetization.
Figure 14-3: Setting up AdSense through YouTube.
Figure 14-4: Verifying your YouTube channel for AdSense.
Figure 14-5: AdSense approval under YouTube monetization.
Figure 14-6: A YouTube Analytics Ad Performance report with metrics and graph.
Figure 14-7: Looking at ad types and performance details.
Figure 14-8: YouTube Analytics ad bar chart.
Figure 14-9: A YouTube Analytics Estimated Earnings report with metrics and grap...
Figure 14-10: YouTube Analytics estimated earnings with video details.
Figure 14-11: Looking at various metrics options.
Figure 14-12: An AdSense performance report for a YouTube channel and its conten...
Figure 14-13: Estimated earnings used for RPM calculation.
Figure 14-14: Monetizing your content and selecting ad and placement behavior.
Figure 15-1: How YouTube video metadata shows up in search.
Figure 15-2: YouTube video description copy.
Figure 15-3: YouTube channel metadata.
Bonus Chapter 1
Figure BC1-1: A music video on YouTube.
Figure BC1-2: The Video Manager button sits below the video on the lower right ....
Figure BC1-3: Controls are on the left, and your videos are on the right.
Figure BC1-4: The Monetization button and guidelines and information.
Figure BC1-5: The Monetize My Videos screen offers a Product Placement option.
Figure BC2-1: An email invitation to join a network on YouTube.
Figure BC2-2: YouTube dashboard notification.
Figure BC2-3: Success!
Table of Contents
Maybe you’re looking to become a YouTube sensation with your next video or you simply want to share your insights or your particular expertise with the world. Perhaps you’d even like to use YouTube and video to help your business, which could be a local coffee shop or a Fortune 500 company. No matter how you plan to make use of your video-making skills, YouTube has made sharing the results of those skills easy. And with the tips and techniques included within the pages of YouTube Channels For Dummies, you’ll be ready to take full advantage of YouTube’s user-friendly platform when creating your very own YouTube channel.
To get a better sense of how YouTube has changed the entertainment playing field, cast your mind back to ten or so years before the turn of the millennium — if you can remember back that far. Despite an explosion of ever better and ever cheaper video equipment for consumers, sharing a video still meant gathering family and friends around your giant 25-inch, tube-laden television screen so that everyone could watch your latest video masterpiece. Back in those days, someone who wasn’t in the room watching along was clean out of luck.
YouTube changed all that. It globalized the viewing experience, reinventing how people show videos by making it possible to share with audiences considerably larger than that bunch of friends and family gathered around the TV set eating popcorn. Any viewer who wanted to see any video anywhere in the world only had to type www.youtube.com into their favorite browser, search for the video they wanted to see, and click the Play button — and there it was.
As easy as it is for a viewer to take full advantage of YouTube, it’s almost as easy for a contributor to become part of the YouTube mix. After setting up an account, it’s a snap to start uploading video. And, if the video you’re uploading takes off, you could become famous and even earn a good chunk of change from your YouTube exploits.
Notice that we said “if the video you’re uploading takes off.” That can be a very big if. Not just any video will do. The truth of the matter is that the low-quality, badly shot videos that were still popular a few years ago no longer cut the mustard. Viewers expect higher quality these days, which is why you need to step up your game and produce the best possible content. This book can help show you the way.
In some ways, reading a book to find out all about YouTube channels seems a bit odd. Isn’t YouTube the place that specializes in videos designed to teach you about any topic on earth? Why not just stick with the YouTube videos that are all about YouTube?
First off, it’s a bit self-referential and incestuous to get all your information about YouTube channels from YouTube videos. Second, that video purporting to tell you how to strike it rich on YouTube may have been shot and edited by the neighbor kid down the street who has never made a dime from YouTube and who may never move out of Mom and Dad’s basement. In other words, just as you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet, you shouldn’t believe everything you see on YouTube. Sometimes it pays to listen to the true experts (like us) who have a track record in advising folks how to put their best foot forward on YouTube.
We also know that there are only so many hours in a day and that everyone’s schedules seem to be getting more and more hectic each day. That’s why we’ve written a book that doesn’t beat around the bush — in other words, it gets straight to the point so that you can get in and get out with the information you need. In that sense, YouTube Channels For Dummies is the exact opposite of all those wordy instructional manuals that spell out a hundred ways to do something but never get around to telling you the best way. No matter if you’re looking to set up a channel, create an effective header, or figure out ways to maximize your monetization potential, we show you the quickest, most effective way to get the job done.
Whether you’re an experienced videographer or you just bought your first camcorder, you should treat YouTube with an open mind. Just because it’s easy to make a video and upload it to YouTube doesn’t mean that you won’t hit the occasional bump in the road, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need help from time to time.
That goes for pretty much everyone, from pros make a living producing video to ambitious students looking to showcase edgy movie shorts to absolute beginners looking to upload their first video. Regardless of whether you identify with one of these situations or you have a truly unique one, you’ll find content in these pages just for you. See whether you can see yourself in one of these categories:
You shoot lots of videos but have never uploaded one to YouTube. But then the feeling overtook you to upload your best ones and share them with the world. No problem: This book can answer some of your most basic questions.
You want your movies to look really cool so that you can post them on YouTube and all your other favorite social media haunts, and if you use this book to answer your most basic questions, trust us — your movies will be awesome.
This book doesn’t require your fluency in technospeak. Instead, it’s written using a down-to-earth tone. Through clearly written explanations, lists, illustrations, and tips, you’ll find out how to best use your equipment, set up video shoots, and navigate the YouTube upload process.
If making movies is what you do and you’re interested in sharing your work, this book can get you started by helping you set up your own YouTube channel as your stage. Since you already understand the fundamentals of making a movie, you can concentrate on the creation and maintenance of your channel. Before long, you’ll be uploading videos, building a following, and transforming yourself into the next Steven Spielberg.
You’re already comfortable with making movies, you know all about effective editing practices, and you’re ready to share your professional work with the world. You’ll find tons of info in this book to help set up your channel and grow your audience so that you can transform your video page into a moneymaking endeavor. Ripe with tips, this guide puts you in the easy chair, filling in the blanks with the best ways to showcase your videos and effectively monetize your content.
YouTube is great for business because it can help drive awareness and increase sales. These days, consumers turn to YouTube to learn more about the products or services they’re considering. YouTube creators have become trusted advisors for viewers and more frequently collaborate with many of the world’s most famous brands to give buyers (or potential buyers) all the information they need to enhance their product choices.
You may already have a moderate following on YouTube, whereas others are new to the game. Regardless of your level of success, you share the same goal, and that’s to use YouTube as a business tool. Whether you’re looking for the best ways to earn money with your channel or looking at the bigger picture for promoting your business or service, this book has much to offer for finding the most effective strategy.
YouTube Channels For Dummies is divided into five sections, with each section detailing the various phases of setting up and mastering your channel. Each reader will no doubt prefer a particular area. Some may relish the section that pertains to making a home on YouTube, for example, whereas others may skip ahead to the section on growing and knowing your audience or the cool ways you can build a following. Think of it as a smorgasbord of information.
This section provides a swift overview of YouTube and how to set up your channel. Whether you’re a beginner looking to share videos with a global audience, a working video professional looking to take advantage of monetization, a business owner looking to close the distance, or anyone in between, this group of chapters covers all you need to know to get started.
Regardless of the device or camera used, the language of cinema remains the most important aspect of making good videos — and not making bad ones. The chapters in this part cover fundamental moviemaking for YouTube channels, from using the right tools to putting all the pieces together in postproduction.
After understanding how to build your channel and fill it with great content, it’s time to concentrate on building your audience. The chapters in this part can help you find your way to building a healthy following.
This part covers what you need to get started with the business side of YouTube. Whether you’re looking to raise brand awareness or considering collaboration with your fellow YouTubers, the chapters in this part can help you get the job done.
The For Dummies version of a top ten list found in this part of the book provides insight into the common, and the not so common, aspects of mastering your YouTube channel. More specifically, you’ll find out all about the steps you can take to improve your YouTube search results so that viewers are better able to track down your masterpiece. You’ll also find out ten things everyone should know about copyright so that you can keep the lawyers off your back.
What’s a For Dummies book without icons pointing you in the direction of truly helpful information that’s sure to help you along your way? In this section, we briefly describe each icon used in this book.
This icon points out helpful suggestions and useful nuggets of information.
This icon marks a generally interesting and useful fact — something you might want to remember for later use.
When you see this icon, you know that there’s techie stuff nearby. If you’re not feeling techie, feel free to skip it.
The Warning icon highlights lurking danger. With this icon, we’re telling you to pay attention and proceed with caution.
This book isn’t the end of your experience with YouTube channels — it’s just the beginning. We provide online content to make this book more flexible and better able to meet your needs. Look for these cool additions online:
You remember using crib notes in school to make a better mark on a test, don’t you? You do? Well, our cheat sheet is sort of like that. It provides you with some special notes about some YouTube-related tasks that not every other person knows. You can find the cheat sheet for this book at
Dummies.com online articles:
A lot of readers were skipping past the parts pages in
books, so the publisher decided to remedy that problem. You now have a truly good reason to read the parts pages — online content. Every parts page has an article associated with it that provides additional interesting information that wouldn’t fit in this book. You can find the articles for this book at
We had so much to say about YouTube channels that in the end we weren’t able to fit everything within the confines of these pages. Check out the Extras page at
for bonus chapters on YouTube channel income opportunities (“Quitting Your Day Job”) and MCNs, otherwise known as multichannel networks (“Multichannel Networks and Other Opportunities”).
If this book has any updates after printing, they will be posted at
For great online content, check out http://www.dummies.com.
In this part . . .
Find out how to set up a home on YouTube.
Master all the YouTube basics.
See what’s involved in building your own YouTube channel.
In This Chapter
Understanding the importance of being on YouTube
Becoming a viral video star
Making your channel unique
Producing video for fun and profit
YouTube is the new business and entertainment frontier, which means there’s as much excitement and creativity associated with creating and managing a YouTube channel these days as had been the case during the early days of television, when the sky seemed the limit. YouTube — like television before it — is caught up in the same adventure that comes from defining its target audience as well as finding out what audiences are willing to watch.
For television, the adventurous nature of their early endeavors could be traced to the fact that TV was so new that audiences really didn’t know what they wanted. For YouTube, working in today’s market, it’s much more about meeting the diverse interests and needs of an audience that attracts more than a billion people from all over the planet.
Anyone that wants to show off their video prowess or share their vision with the world can hang a virtual shingle on YouTube by starting their own channel. Of course, when television began, we humans had more toes than the TV had channels. These days, you can multiply those stubby digits by 100 million to count the number of YouTube channels. That makes running a successful YouTube channel seem a bit more daunting.
Having more than 500 million channels can make getting noticed on your channel feel like searching for a virtual needle in an online haystack. Yet, regardless of the steep increase in competition, the intention has always been the same — getting people to watch your channel. But it’s not all bad news — you also have an advantage over your counterpart in the 1940s. Back then, it took a great deal of capital to get started on television. Today? Not so much. In fact, if you just want a platform for presenting some of your video work, YouTube can make that possible without you having to fork over one thin dime.
Knowing that YouTube is free should reduce some of your worries — at least from a financial perspective. Couple that with the size and diversity of the YouTube audience — and the endless number of topics that interest them — it’s easy to believe that you have a fair chance of success for your channel. That’s true, up to a point — the point being that, if you want your channel to thrive, you need to provide your viewers with compelling content.
Saying that your channel needs to host solid content that people actually want to see seems as glaringly obvious as saying a hamburger joint must make a good burger in order to survive. But content merely makes up the first part of the equation; the rest depends on how you bring viewers to that content — YouTube is free, video production certainly is not. Unless you want to shell out money from your own pocket, you need to generate some funds to produce content for your channel. In the world of YouTube, one major way to generate such funds is through advertising revenue — and it should come as no surprise that the more viewers you can attract, the greater your potential to generate advertising revenue. How much depends on your needs and ambitions, but increased revenue can lead to better production values, which brings it all back to more revenue.
But before you start worrying about all that money you’re going to make, let’s take a look at what it takes to get started on a YouTube channel for you or your business.
Like snowflakes on a winter day, or episodes of Law and Order, there are more topics that viewers can appreciate on YouTube than any human can count. And since you already love making videos and most likely exhibit some expertise or viewpoint to share with the world, then YouTube may be your best creative outlet.
On the downside, you’re not the only one hoping to get noticed on YouTube. Many others with the very same intention are looking to build an audience for their YouTube channels, too. (“How many?” you ask. The number exceeds the number of those pre-approved credit card applications that plague your mailbox, so we’re talking lots.)
Your journey on YouTube begins with knowing your strengths. Some users relish documenting the quirks of their existence to the gentle amusement of others. Others have some type of expertise to share. Then you have performers who regard the video hosting site as their personal stage — the list could go on and on. Even businesses realize it’s a great place to inform consumers about their products or provide a great level of customer service. Regardless of your passion, a potential audience is waiting for you.
Have you ever noticed the repetitive way people describe what’s the most important thing about a piece of real estate? Yes, we know it’s all about location, so much so that realtors, among others, feel compelled to say it three times, as though saying it once doesn’t get the point across.
Maybe that need for the special emphasis that comes with repetition is justified, because when it comes to success on your YouTube channel, we’re of the opinion that saying the word “audience” just once doesn’t do justice to its importance. Paying homage to our real estate buddies, we can agree that success for your YouTube channel depends on . . . (drum roll, please) audience, audience, audience!
So, what’s a YouTube audience actually like? You’ll find people from all walks of life, and you’ll soon discover that they can spend a great deal of time meandering through YouTube’s seemingly endless virtual walls, sometimes just entertaining themselves, sometimes educating themselves, sometimes engaging quite passionately with what they see, sometimes letting it all just wash over them. Given the amount of time folks spend on the site, there’s a good chance that someone ends up seeing your video. Not a great chance, of course, given the fact that there is so much content on the site and only so many viewers to watch that content, but still a good chance.
So, how do you move from “good” chance to “great chance”? First and foremost, your success depends on the strength of your content. Right behind strong content, though, you’ll find that you need to be a virtual wrangler, capable of bringing people who may not know anything about you to your channel. In order to do that, you need to know what excites your viewers, what they’re looking for in video content, and how they consume what they like. With that information in hand, you can fine-tune your content to better serve your (current or potential) audience.
Gathering information on the viewing habits of your audience is a crucial first step in determining what they want to see and how long they’re willing to do it. YouTube makes it easy to gather lots of information on your viewers — YouTube Analytics, covered in Chapter 11 is a big help here — but sometimes consulting friends and family about their viewing preferences is a good place to start.
Just like cool sheets on a summer evening, YouTube goes perfectly with social media when it comes to your business and marketing needs. Why not? You already know that your presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter keeps you connected with all the right people. Guess what? YouTube can help raise your social media profile as well. (See Figure 1-1.)
By integrating your video content with social media, you can drive interested parties to your channel; your channel, in turn, can point them back to your social media platforms and your contact information. This synergy helps build a strong following, because you can inform potential customers about your business through multiple avenues.
Video is the perfect partner when it comes to showing products, demonstrations, providing tutorials, or other features designed to increase awareness of your brand. And YouTube is the perfect partner to host your videos.
When coming up with a plan to incorporate your YouTube-based video content into your business and marketing plans, here are some areas to consider:
Have effective titles:
Your video should have clear and succinct titles. They should get to the point about your product or service, so that people can easily find your video.
Add more metadata:
Having a strong title is a good place to start, but it doesn’t end there. You should also have a detailed description of the video, as shown in
, and use as many keywords as are appropriate for the content. The more information that’s included with each video makes it easy for viewers to find exactly what you have to offer in a Google search.
Include your contact info on the video:
Always add your business or personal information to the video and its description fields, such as your phone number, email address, and social media sites.
Are you ready for your close up? Or maybe framing one is your thing. It doesn’t matter, because YouTube gives you a platform right up there with radio, film, and television as yet another means of achieving stardom. By doing so, YouTube has created a dedicated community that offers one more way for the world to notice you.
The thought of stardom often leans toward actors and musicians — and the creators behind them. Many have found great success after being discovered on YouTube. (Can you say “Justin Bieber”?) The rock band Journey found its current lead singer on YouTube. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry also found a singer for his other band, The Joe Perry Project.
Actors have also found work by showcasing their clip reel, performances, and auditions. YouTube has even made some stars of its own — personalities offering everything from rap parodies to lip-synching to video game analysis and commentary have made a name for themselves on YouTube. Epic Rap Battles in History, to take one example, has been seen by hundreds of millions of viewers. (See Figure 1-3.)
So, proof positive that YouTube can provide a stage big enough to start, and perhaps sustain, a career.
If you’re a millennial or someone who remembers the world before the turn of the century, the phrase “going viral” could have two different meanings. So, in addition to meaning the spread of a virus, which is a bad thing, the term refers to the rapid spread of a video, and that’s a great thing.
When an uploaded video goes viral in the good sense, it becomes a sensation that users share and share and share — in the process gathering more numbers of viewers than there are grains of sand in an hourglass. Having your video go viral is like releasing a hit record or having your book make the New York Times best seller list, except that you’re unlikely to get anywhere near as rich from going viral even if you get a couple of million hits.
Planning on a video going viral is like planning on winning the lottery. It could happen, but you shouldn’t bet on it. If you are seriously interested in earning some ad revenue from your video content, work on creating a range of compelling content for your channel, rather than hoping on that one-shot, grand slam home run.
While there’s no way of telling if a video will go viral, there are some traits that successful ones share. While we will discuss ways to improve the odds of your video going viral throughout the book, here are some factors that can make a video a runaway success:
There’s a real in-the-moment feel to a viral video that captures a random and decisive moment that you could never repeat. The popular Sneezing Panda and its 200 million clicks comes to mind.
Be light hearted:
People love stuff that’s silly and that makes them laugh and think — or even consider trying something, much like the Coke and Mentos video collection that have drawn hundreds of millions of views.
Get it out on social media:
Yeah, you can rely on chance that someone stumbles across your video, but that’s sort of passive, like waiting by the phone for someone to “find you” for the job. A better tack would be for you to let social media know about your latest masterpiece. Just a few tweets here, a Facebook post there, and then maybe an announcement on Reddit could instantly start turning the wheels of virality.
One person’s waste of time is another’s quest for information, or someone’s need to laugh, or learn about something, so YouTube viewers simply spend a lot of time watching videos.
That’s a good thing, and a win-win situation all around. The audience gets its dose of entertainment, education, and exploration. And your channel benefits because as viewership increases so does the potential for someone to find you, and when that someone finds your channel and you happen to have set it up for receiving advertising revenue (the YouTube term here is monetization), you can earn some money.
Here are some numbers provided by YouTube that indicate how much (potential) time-wasting is really going on:
More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube — almost an hour for every person on Earth.
According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network.
Four walls do not make a home — but it does provide a good start. How you adorn those walls and furnish those halls is what makes it uniquely yours — uniquely your home, in other words. Well, your YouTube channel is not much different.
When you first create a YouTube channel, it’s nothing more than an empty template on a page. Over time, you add videos, make playlists, and create a header with graphics, logo, and other information. Obviously, your video content plays a big part in what make your channel special, but so does the channel’s look and feel. Everything from the layout and font color to the type of content and its subscribers helps set one channel apart from the others.
Though this book takes pride in describing effective ways to create and maintain your YouTube channel for the next couple of hundred pages, let’s look at some basics first:
Have people find your channel. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it fall, does it make a sound? Who knows? More appropriately, if you create a YouTube channel and nobody visits it, it’s a safe bet to say that all your good work has come to nothing.
Viewers have to know that your channel exists before they can visit. The main way you have of letting people know you exist is by making sure your content shows up high in the search results of both Google and YouTube itself. (Don’t forget that YouTube is the second-most-popular search engine, just behind Google.) To get those high rankings, you have upper-left to associate tons of search-engine-friendly keywords with each of your videos — doing that will bring viewers searching for content in contact with your content, rather than someone else’s content. It’s also important that viewers watch, like, comment on, and share your video — yet more indications to the search engines that your content and channel are important. For good measure, use social media to prep your audience for content that’s coming down the pike — just like a movie studio creates a buzz for a big summer blockbuster by teasing you with previews and trailers weeks before release.
Users often take advantage of the Browse Channels feature, which they can access by clicking the drop-down menu to the right of the YouTube TV icon in the upper-left corner of the home screen. (See Figure 1-4 for a view of that drop-down menu.) The more appealing your channel looks at first glance, the more likely a viewer will stop to spend some time exploring your offerings.
Connect with your viewers.
You definitely want to build a community of followers, and for that to happen, you need to actively communicate with them. That means everything from having them subscribe to your channel, engaging with them in your channel’s Comments section, and exposing them to your social media. You can do all this directly on your channel page.
Provide them with a clear description of your channel.
When viewers know what your channel has to offer, and if it appeals to their interests, they’re more likely to visit often, and maybe even subscribe to it. But you need to get the word out.
Viewers who like your content will come back and watch more, but viewers who love your content will want to subscribe. Why not? When you keep reaching for the same magazine whenever you see it, eventually you just subscribe to it so it regularly comes to your door. YouTube offers repeat viewers of your channel the same option. Basically all they have to do is click the Subscribe button, as shown in Figure 1-5, on your channel’s home page.
After viewers subscribe to your channel, you have to make it worth their while to view it, or they’ll unsubscribe faster than you can say Jack Nicholson. Here’s what “making it worth their while” entails:
Stay in touch subscribers.
According to YouTube, viewers subscribe to millions of channels every day, so it’s important to stay in touch if you want to stay uppermost in their minds. Suggest that viewers follow you on social media so that you can let them know when new content is available. This strategy helps your audience grow as you amass a devoted fan base.
Actively upload videos.
It’s difficult to imagine a television station maintaining viewers if it doesn’t add new programs. Even if it were all
all the time, chances are good that viewers would eventually drift off to something else. Well, the same concept applies for your YouTube channel. If you don’t upload new video content, you’ll lose the interest of your subscriber base. The takeaway here? Always provide new content.
Pay close attention to tagging.
Tagging is where you categorize your video after uploading it to YouTube. When a video is properly identified, it increases the possibility of someone else finding it, and that extends to future subscribers.
Whether it’s a consumer or a viewer, a brand makes your product or service immediately identifiable. Imagine that the Coca-Cola logo looked different every time you saw it, or maybe the apple on your PowerBook wasn’t the same apple you saw one embossed on your iPhone. This lack of consistency could shatter your confidence in the product; you may start wondering if what you had was a cheap knock-off of the real thing, rather than the genuine article.
Branding is designed to restore confidence in the product — that familiar logo makes us relax, knowing that we are sure to get the real thing. When it comes to your YouTube channel, branding becomes the identifiable element that lets viewers know who you are and what you’re all about, thus creating a similar feeling of confidence. Just like consumers flock to brands they identify with, your audience will do the same with your brand.
Branding takes on many forms on YouTube:
Before each video runs on your channel, you can insert a three-second clip that acts as a label for your content. The torch-carrying lady wrapped in a flag for Columbia Pictures and the roaring MGM lion are good examples of a branding element. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to come up with an intro of your own that is equally compelling.
This element is the banner on top of your main page, and at first it’s as empty as a blank page. (See
.) You’ll definitely want to click that Add Channel Art button to add a compelling picture or another graphic along with the name of your channel. The channel header can also include your contact info and specify how often you intend to upload new videos.
Companies spend millions on branding when they have to come up with a new logo, because they have to track down and replace every single instance of the old logo. We’re guessing that’s not your problem — you just have to come up with your own logo, perhaps using a simple image and your name. If you feel graphically challenged, you can find places on the web to create one inexpensively. Or just have an artistic friend design a logo for you.
If you have enough videos on your channel, you can create a running order of them. This playlist can provide an overview of your content or a specific sub-topic of your videos. You can name every playlist, and even re-arrange them.
In a YouTube context, a trailer is a video that can automatically play when visitors come to your channel. You can use the video most representative of your content as a kind of advertisement for your offerings, or you could make a short video that shows viewers what your channel is all about and how they can benefit from watching your videos.
Everybody has a reason for making a video, and YouTube doesn’t discriminate as to why you do it. Whether you were influenced a little too much by the silly, everyday situations depicted on television series like America’s Funniest Home Videos, or you want to show off your post-film-school prowess, or you’re looking to educate the masses with a series of how-to videos — there’s a place for you on YouTube, and (you hope!) an audience that’s willing to follow your exploits.
In addition to the pleasure that comes from a job well done, there’s also (potentially) a business side to running a YouTube channel. If you post videos that draw a lot of views, it’s worth your time for you to monetize your channel — generate some income from ad revenue, in other words. But that’s not the only business purpose YouTube channels can help with: They can serve as a great showcase for your particular skills or services, or act as a delivery system for product descriptions, tutorials, and testimonials associated with whatever your business is selling.
Whether you grab a 10-second video of a gathering of friends, have something meaningful to say on your video blog, or plan a highly structured production with sets and actors, you’re creating content.
Almost every topic under the sun is represented on YouTube. That diversity in topics is matched by an equally broad range of production levels. Some videos are quite sophisticated, displaying amazing production values, but many are fairly average. And a great deal are just poorly done and end up getting shown in film classes as examples of what not to do.
Better production values increase your ability to grab viewers’ attention — maybe enough for them to watch the entire video and maybe enough for them to even consider watching whatever else you have to offer. The Holy Grail, of course, is having them feel so enthusiastic about what they see that they then share it with others.
But great video quality doesn’t happen accidentally; rather it’s done consciously, from conception to upload. Though the topic is more thoroughly represented throughout this book, here are some key suggestions to always keep in mind.
Plan before you film. Great videos begin in pre-production. That means having an idea of the shooting location and working with some sort of script (or at least a storyboard of the kind of shots you want for the video).
Great planning leads to great production.
Know your audience.
When you’re just getting started, you try to make solid videos with good descriptions and hope that your audience finds you. After you have attracted a following, it’s still important to understand who they are and whether your content is right for them. For example, if you start an entertainment blog that talks about up-and-coming hip-hop artists, you should use language that’s consistent with a younger demographic. Don’t overlook the importance of being highly aware of your potential audience.
Keep viewers entertained.
Regardless of the subject matter, it’s important for viewers to enjoy the experience so that you hold their attention. Remember that hooking a viewer’s attention starts with the first ten seconds of the video (Why? Because viewers may leave before the good stuff and continues until it’s over).
Let them learn something.
People generally click on a video link in search of information. If they find it quickly and they were entertained, chances are good that they will love you.
After you create great content, you have to find people to watch it. After all, isn’t that the entire purpose of sharing your video with the world? Whether it starts with ten people who run across your student film, or a million people viewing your talking puppy video, building your audience is essential.
YouTube is no different from other media when it comes to emphasizing the importance of building an audience. For example, you may have the catchiest song of all time, but if no one has ever heard it or even knows it exists, then that song cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a success. The same is true for your videos — you need to work at getting as many people as possible to watch them.
Successfully building your audience depends on understanding their needs and making sure you can deliver on what your channel promises. Catering to your audience — whether it consists of one person or ten million — centers on understanding them and satisfying their appetite. (For more on building your audience, check out Chapter 10.)
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