How to optimize your YouTube channel

Five steps to optimizing your YouTube channel

YouTube is a great platform for publishing video content.

But it’s also, in many ways, a very unique social medium.

And just as you need to spend time configuring your Twitter and Facebook profiles, so too does your YouTube channel need some optimization.

Here are five steps you can take right now to optimize your YouTube channel.

1. Channel trailer

Your channel trailer is the video that users see when they first arrive at your profile.

It serves as an introduction to your channel that goes a long way towards influencing whether a visitor will choose to subscribe or not.

Channel trailers usually take on one of two forms:

  1. A video specifically produced to advertise your channel/organization: This is an opportunity to tell users about what your organization does and the sorts of content they’ll see on the channel. Rather than forcing them to thumb through your videos, they can just watch your channel trailer.
  2. A video on your channel: Don’t just tell your users the sorts of content they can expect from you. Show them. This strategy means taking a popular video (or even one that you just really like) and putting it in the channel trailer spot. It can also be updated and changed frequently.

An example of a channel trailer from the Philadelphia 76ers YouTube channel.

A channel trailer for the Philadelphia 76ers YouTube channel.

2. Banner image

Your YouTube channel can’t be customized to quite the same extent that something like a website can.

So it becomes important to help yourself stand out where you can.

Like the channel trailer, a compelling banner image goes a long way toward making your channel trailer look professional and compelling.

If you’re a recognizable and well-known brand, it can also be key for connecting your YouTube presence to the rest of your brand.

Design something that will be eye-catching and help your audience know they’ve arrived at the right place.

An example of a banner image from the National Arts Centre's YouTube channel.

An example of a banner image for the National Arts Centre YouTube channel.

3. Featured playlists

Organizing your videos into playlists can also be a key tool for helping your audience know what they can expect from your channel.

It also lets your audience quickly find what they may be looking for.

When organizing your playlists, think about how to set them up so they’ll make sense to your audience – rather than what makes the most sense from an internal perspective.

An example of playlist organization from the Banfield Agency YouTube account.

Examples of playlists on the Banfield Agency YouTube channel.

4. Completed description

YouTube isn’t just about videos. It also has a significant writing component.

Copy – in the form of video titles and descriptions– goes a long way toward signaling what your videos are about. This helps optimize your appearance in search results and acts as an advertisement for your content in the “suggested videos” column.

For optimizing your channel, a completed description is essential.

Like the channel trailer, this helps to give audiences a sense of what they’ll get if they subscribe to your channel.

A robust channel description is also an ideal way to boost your appearance in search results for desired keywords.

5. Links to other social channels

YouTube provides a place where you can link to your other social channels.

To the user, they appear in the corner of the banner image on your YouTube channel’s home page.

This is a great way to boost engagement beyond encouraging your users to watch your videos.

Mark Brownlee is a Digital Marketing Strategist with Banfield.

Banner image art: Ben Marley

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