Hey, you. Pause that cat-that-looks-like-Justin-Bieber-doing-the-Harlem-Shake video. YouTube is going through some changes, and if you want your brand to keep up, you’ve got some work to do.
Recently, Google rolled out the new YouTube ‘One Channel‘ design to help brands create a unified channel appearance across all platforms. The new features include cover photos, trailers and the ability to contact non-subscribed viewers (to name but a few). Google promises that regular, independent content creators (the users that have made it what it is today) are likely to generate more revenue, but it also claims the new layout will increase new subscribers, channel visits and visibility for brands across mobile web and TV.
Here’s our quick guide to getting the most out of your branded channel, based on a mixture of features available to users both before and after the One Channel re-design.
1. Think multi-platform
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when designing your new channel is that it should look consistent across multiple platforms. You don’t want your brand identity to be compromised by easily avoided sizing errors, and there are specific guidelines and templates available to ensure that your creative time is not wasted. Get started with your channel art here; a simple, consistently attractive design will triumph over a masterpiece that looks rubbish on mobile.
2. Create a customised welcome
You will have both subscribed and unsubscribed viewers landing on your channel, and YouTube has now given you the chance to cater for both of these audiences. When subscribers land on your page they get a customised view that helps them discover what to watch next on your channel. However, unsubscribed viewers can see a channel trailer that pops up on arrival; designed to explain what your channel is about and why you should subscribe as a new viewer. Think of movie trailers you love; if you want people to buy the tickets and the popcorn – or in this case subscribe – then you need to sell them the dream, super-fast. (That doesn’t, however, mean you need to hire this guy.)
3. Nail your SEO
It is essential to optimise your videos for good SEO, which will increase the likeliness of them showing up in organic Google search results. A good starting point for improved SEO is to make sure the video title, description and tag copy are all relatively similar. Repetition is key.
Title: include target SEO keywords and be as descriptive as possible.
Description: only the first 27 characters are displayed (before you click ‘show more’), so try and include the link to your website near the top. You can drive lots of traffic to your home page by simply including a link, so why not add two?
Tags: very important for classifying your video. Use roughly 10 tags per video and remember to mirror the title copy. So if the video title is ‘Justin Bieber Cat Harlem Shake’ then the first five tags will need to be….yep you’ve guessed it.
4. Include video annotations
Annotations are interactive sign posts that can be added to your video after it has been uploaded. By adding linkable annotations to your videos, you can drive traffic between videos on your channel and also external URLs. So the call to action might be to subscribe to the channel, watch a similar video on your channel playlist, or visit a URL that has more information about the content viewed. This means you can build a larger community on branded social networks, drive up video views and even increase product sales. Generally you will be creating more awareness around your brand/channel/campaign.
5. Craft a content strategy
Last but not least, you have to think long and hard about your content strategy. What is going to make someone return to your channel? What is going to make someone want to share and interact with your videos? How are you going to keep someone on your channel for an extended period of time? Are you regularly sharing your videos across other social networks? Do you have an adequate amplification strategy in place once your video is live? Have you looked at what the competition are doing? All of these questions will help you build your YouTube community. A fine balance between quantity and quality needs to be met, along with how YouTube fits into your overall social strategy.
And for homework? Here are some success stories from YouTube which I strongly recommend you take a look at.