Creating Great Content on YouTube
By Doug Kennedy
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If you’re building an online audience and video content is part of your strategy, you should be publishing to the YouTube platform. It’s your best chance at getting your video content discovered – especially from search results.
In a short series of articles, we’ll take a look at some of the best practices you’ll need to consider when creating content for YouTube in 2019. YouTube Land is a weird, unique world… and here’s what you need to know if you want your content to succeed. I’ve decided to break this YouTube series into three parts:
Part 1: Creating Great Content on YouTube
Part 2: Getting Discovered on YouTube
Part 3: Monetizing your Content on YouTube
A lot of the information you’ll see in these Parts can be found while going through YouTube’s Creator Academy. To quote Philip DeFranco (a hugely successful Creator who follows many of YouTube’s best practices) “Let’s just jump into it”!
You can think of “great content” as meaning “engaging content.” Videos that people seek out, share, comment on, watch more of, etc. YouTube is so diverse, there’s many different types of great content put out by many diverse Creators. These Creators make unique content but follow the same processes and strategies.
As a Creator, your process on YouTube should follow these steps:
1. Create Engaging Content –Yes, one of the most difficult things to do is the very 1st step. You have to make great content if you want to build an audience on YouTube
2. Be Found – Get your content in front of Viewers. This is done by sending your content to your audience yourself (via Twitter, Instagram, FB, etc) and by getting YouTube to surface your content within YouTube’s Recommendation and Browse sections which is done by appeasing YouTube’s Algorithm – more on this later.
3. Keep Your Viewers Watching & Drive Fandom – Get your viewers invested in you and your content so they come back to your channel for more and more.
4. Monetize – Get compensated for your hard work through a number of ways such as running Display Ads on your videos or engaging in Brand Sponsorships.
5. Repeat – Do it all over again.
The very first step, the create-engaging-content part, is difficult. To make it easier, let’s look at YouTube’s “10 Fundamentals of a Creator’s Strategy” as a helpful checklist of elements for you to consider when making your content. Applying these 10 items to your videos and core channel concept will help you make engaging content.
If you don’t have a YouTube concept in mind already, give some time to think of how you can translate your blogging content into a YouTube channel.
YouTube’s 10 Fundamentals of a Creator’s Strategy
Will Viewers share your video? In order to reach the most people possible, you’ll want to design your video to be shareable. Ideally, a viewer will consume your content and share it to their friends. YouTube can identify how many times a video has been shared. The more a video is shared, the more YouTube’s algorithm will identify your content as engaging and as a result, will surface your video in the “Recommended” and “Browse” sections more.
Many things make a video sharable, here a few items from YouTube’s own course:
1. Be topical: When a story is breaking, join the conversation by crafting an episode around it.
2. Be relatable: Strike a chord with viewers on a subject they can relate to, whether it’s a broad topic like cell phone habits, or a niche topic like life in New York.
3. Be valuable: Try to provide practical value to the viewer. Tutorials rank among the most helpful, frequently used videos on YouTube.
4. Be remarkable: Upload a demonstration of exceptional talent or ability.
YouTube audiences crave authenticity and reject phoniness. You have to be authentic on YouTube or else your audience will reject your content.
1. Talk to the audience in your core videos: The entire show can consist of this element, or just a segment of it.
2. Talk to the audience in separate uploads: If you don’t want to have a “video blog” section, consider making supplemental videos to check in with subscribers, say thanks, or respond to comments.
3. Be authentic: It should feel like a conversation because it is. For full effect, it’s critical that the face of the channel comes across as real, honest, and genuine.
In order to convert a new viewer into a loyal fan, you need to engage your audience. This will help create a bond or relationship between you and the viewer. This keeps them coming back to your channel to consume more videos or even seek you out outside of YouTube. Viewers are great, but fans are invaluable.
1. Ask the audience questions directly: Be sure to respond to their answers in a subsequent video or in the comment sections.
2. Ask the audience to submit ideas for future episodes: If you use their idea, be sure to give them a shout-out.
3. Incorporate viewer video submissions: With permission, feature clips your fans have submitted to you.
The most successful channels on YouTube stick to a consistent format and theme. This helps viewers know what to expect when it comes to your channel. Think of your favorite YouTube channels. Chances are, that channel is devoted to one topic. The more consistent you are, the higher the chance that you’ll build a loyal audience that loves your content.
1. Package your show format clearly: Come up with a durable idea that can sustain interest over multiple episodes.
2. Upload on a regular schedule: Stick to delivering videos on a certain day, and communicate this to your audience.
3. Feature a consistent personality: Sometimes a likable and charismatic person can be the “glue” of the channel.
4. Stick to your theme: New show ideas shouldn’t stray too far from the theme and voice already established on the channel.
A major component of planning out a channel is identifying your audience. You want to be sure people can relate to your content and will want to watch it. Consider your ideal audience.
1. Who do you think will be drawn to your videos?
2. Will your channel resonate with a specific group of people?
3. Is there a niche you’re tailoring your content towards, like yoga enthusiasts or action sports fans?
Video production is time and resource intensive. To help maintain consistency in uploading schedule and video style, put some thought into how you can make videos on a regular basis.
1. Think light and nimble: Try to produce in a way that’s less time- and labor-intensive. Typically, the less involved the production, the longer you can sustain it.
2. Be realistic: Understand what it will take to produce the series, and how long it will provide content for your channel.
3. Block shoot: Record several videos in one day to maximize resources.
4. Know what’s next: Have a plan for what you’ll deliver to your audience after the current series is finished.
5. Map out an upload schedule to determine how often can you feasibly produce videos. Pull out your calendar and look to see how much free time you have in the next few months. With that in mind: when will you plan, shoot, and edit your videos?
Consider how your videos will initially get discovered. If you build your channel around educational or trending topics, you may have an easier time being discovered in search results. This may not dictate your overall channel’s theme but it’s something to consider when making individual videos.
1. Build trending topics into your show: Design your series in a way that the episodes can engage trending topics in news or pop culture. Use resources like Google Trends, Twitter Trends, and sites like Trendspottr.com to find out what’s being discussed.
2. Make “evergreen” content: Create videos that answer common questions or solve common problems. Videos like “How to tie a tie” draw continuous traffic, day after day.
3. Be an optimization wizard: Check out our lesson on getting discovered and learn how to best optimize every video with effective titles, tags, and descriptions.
The best channels create videos that stand on their own, so a new viewer can see any 1 video out of a Channel’s library and not feel like they’re missing out or confused.
1. Don’t tie each episode to the pilot: Design the show so that each episode doesn’t rely on a specific backstory that’s only described in Episode 1.
2. Show a brief recap of the situation: Create an intro sequence that reviews what the audience may have missed so they have context for what they’re about to watch.
3. Make a strong Call To Action pointing back to the pilot episode: Let viewers know where they can learn the backstory. Use annotations or links in the description.
A great way to build an audience and expand your channel’s reach is to collaborate with other YouTube creators as your channel will be presented to another channel’s audience. It’s a mutually beneficial promotion for both collaborators and can create some fun videos for both channels.
1. Build a “guest chair” into your show: Design the show in a way that makes it easy and logical to have guest stars.
2. Reach out to partners who fit: Find creators in your genre or niche who serve a similar audience.
3. Be as specific as possible: YouTubers are busy with their own channels, so when reaching out, be as clear and specific as possible. A well-prepared script is often welcome.
4. Take care of your guests: Feature guests prominently and in a positive light. Strive to make sure they’re proud of their role in the video. They’ll promote it more if they love the way it turns out.
Creating content that you’re inspired by is critical being authentic. Don’t design a channel around topics that you don’t care about. How else will you get someone to care about it if you don’t?!
1. Pay attention to what you love to watch: Think about what you enjoy from television, movies, news, or blogs and consider making something in the same vein.
2. Iterate based on what you most enjoy: Try different formats and observe what audiences like best. But also observe what you enjoy doing — hopefully they’ll be the same!
3. Avoid producing videos just because you think they’ll be popular: In the long run, making videos you don’t want to make will lead to frustration.
4. For companies: Brainstorm ideas that are true to brand.
That’s all for now! Up next: How to get discovered on YouTube