Think Like a Viewer
Do you watch a lot of YouTube videos and wonder how to improve your own YouTube channel? As a consumer of YouTube videos, I have compiled a guide on how to become a better YouTuber in 10 steps.
Step 1: Improve YouTube Video Titles
If you consider how important blog titles are if you want to be found in searches, you need to apply the same amount of attention to YouTube video titles. Because Google owns YouTube, your video content will be ranked on the basis of its title and its tags. Unfortunately, there have been so many spammy clickbait titles scattered around in the hope to generate advertising revenue. Don’t be like that: think like a YouTube consumer and really focus on what would be of interest to your viewers.
Have a look at what is already out there: what titles make you want to click on the thumbnail? The more relevant information you can put in a title, the better.
Step 2: Improve Your Video Description
Simply writing “Welcome to my next video, enjoy!” is pretty much useless to a new viewer and to be found in searches. Use the video description as a mini blog: use the keywords from the title and from the content of your video to add as much detail as possible. Sure, you can use the description to add links to your website and social media profiles, but your priority should be to add information about the content of the video. This is particularly useful if your video does not contain any spoken words but only music.
Step 3: Add Closed Captions to Your YouTube Videos
It’s all about content, content and more content: adding closed captions gives you an additional opportunity to tell Google about the content of your video. Again, this will increase the chances of being found in searches plus it will help non-native speakers coming across your videos to understand what it is being said. You can also ask other YouTubers to contribute translations to your captions. To add closed captions, click on the edit button for a video and select Subtitles and Closed Captions. If your video is in English, it will display automated captions. If there are any mistakes you can edit them and publish them.
Step 4: Clearly State If Your Video Is Sponsored
Stating whether your video has been sponsored by a company is a legal requirement and yet many vloggers are still conveniently “forgetting” to disclose any conflict of interest. Make sure you reveal very early on in the video that you have received payment to talk about a product.
Step 5: Collaborate With Other YouTubers (But Don’t Be Needy)
Collaborations with other YouTubers can really raise your profile but before you approach someone with a collaboration idea, ask yourself what you can do for the other YouTuber. Don’t beg famous YouTubers to collaborate with you. Start with vloggers you already know and who have a similar audience to yours. You can use an interview format or keep things light and chatty.
Step 6: Aim for Longer Videos
When YouTube started, many videos were only a few seconds long, and even today you will find short videos to capture moments in time. The trend now is to have longer vlogs, with 5-10 minutes duration on average. You can experiment with different video lengths and see what works best for you. If you watch leading YouTubers like Casey Neistat you will notice that their videos are likely to be about 10 minutes long. This gives you an opportunity to showcase your creativity and your personality.
Step 7: Keep It Regular
(Insert bowel movements joke here) Yes, vlogging regularly is the key to YouTube success. If your commitments don’t allow you to upload several videos a week, stick to a weekly schedule. Talking of schedule, just in case you don’t know, you can schedule videos in advance: this feature is great if you are going on holiday and you know that you won’t have time to upload a video while you’re away. It is also great if you have filmed a lot of content and you want to break it down into a number of videos that you can plan to go out on different days.
Step 8: Engage With Your Audience
Do you want to be a better YouTuber? Reply to comments. Make your replies as detailed and informative as possible and thank people for watching your videos. YouTube rewards videos that get more interaction by placing them higher in search results.
What if you receive negative feedback? Take this opportunity to explain why you chose to do that particular video and your intentions in your replies. If you have failed to meet people’s expectations, you have an opportunity to improve future videos. On a similar topic, check how many thumbs up and how many thumbs down you are receiving on your videos: if, for example, one video has only thumbs down, that is valuable feedback and it means that you either need to remove the video as it is not relevant for people or turn it into your advantage by doing a reaction video explaining what went wrong. You can entertain people for a few minutes with some self-deprecating comments. If you are really lucky it could even go viral.
Step 9: Support Other YouTubers
Give other YouTubers a shout out in your videos. This point is related to engaging with your audience and to the next point about YouTubers who have inspired you. Most importantly, if you have seen some good content from new YouTubers who could do with more subscribers, tell the world about them.
Among the people worth supporting, small businesses like your local cafes would definitely benefit from a little shout out so share the love and do a vlog about your favourite coffee places (or any other small business that you think would benefit from a bit of publicity).
Step 10: Tell People About the YouTubers That Inspired You
If you have a list of YouTubers who have inspired you, you can do a whole video about them. You can talk about people who have inspired you stylistically, both in terms of editing and equipment, and people whose content you find compelling to watch.
Here are some of the YouTubers that I really enjoy watching and whose work has inspired me to become a better YouTuber:
For example, you can add your favourite channels in the Featured Channels section of your profile: just go to your Dashboard and add links to your favourite channels.
What These YouTubers Are Doing Well
|YouTuber||Description||What They Do Well|
Rachel and Jun
Rachel is American, Jun is Japanese and they live in Japan with their cats
Great interaction with their fans and excellent content, both in terms of their Japan travel vlogs and their day-to-day life as an intercultural couple
Two brothers who make a living travelling the world
The quality of their videos is excellent with superb editing and scripts
The Mezzo Maven
An American opera singer shares her love for opera making it more accessible to a wider audience
Unique content and great personality, recommended if you love opera but also if you are a complete newbie and would like to learn more about classical music in a fun context
Swedish Pro-Skier turned entrepreneur and vlogger with an impossibly high-octane glamorous lifestyle
Visually stunning images, great energy, packed with travelling content and generally very uplifting and inspiring
A young American comedian who started vlogging as a teenager and has become an Internet sensation
His cooking show "Holiday Cooking with Andrew" is too hilarious for words, it's a must watch if you like comedy and cooking
Questions & Answers
Question: What do I do if someone tells me to stop making YouTube videos?
Answer: Do you mean someone in the comments? And why would they ask you that? If you enjoy making videos and other people like them, why should you stop? Unless you are violating YouTube's terms and conditions, I don't see why you should listen to someone who may be wasting your time.
Question: How do I get sponsors for my YouTube channel?
Answer: Good question! You may want to ask a big Youtuber this. I tend to watch experts such as Derral Eves and Brian G. Johnson; they are in a better position to answer this. I would say it's important to build a loyal following first and make sure you get good engagement because these are the metrics sponsors look for. Then, you can start by reviewing a product you really like and contact the manufacturers telling them about your video reviews and asking them if they are open to doing a brand partnership.
Question: I tried it all, but they didn't work. Can you offer any other help?
Answer: I think the YouTube algorithm can penalise small YouTubers so their content isn't shown as much. As long as you're having fun, keep producing!
Paola Bassanese (author) from London on May 14, 2018:
Thank you Ranju!
viewfinders from India on May 13, 2018:
Paola Bassanese (author) from London on December 11, 2017:
Thank you Dale.
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 11, 2017:
cool hub with smart, sensible tips and advice. much thanks.