What makes a great YouTube custom thumbnail image? You want something that’s eye-catching, sure. If you’re using it as part of a marketing strategy, you also want something that’s cohesive and ties into your branding.
Why would you use YouTube and create a Channel to generate fresh leads for your business? Using video, you can share tips and ideas to build trust, credibility and rapport. It can be much, much faster than traditional SEO. It can also bring you more qualified leads, since people get a sense of who you are through your videos before they reach out to you.
Here’s a quick breakdown on how to optimize your YouTube Channel to its full potential using two real YouTube channel’s (College Essay Guy & Tripp Advice) as examples.
The same areas are noted and used for full optimization on both channels: banner/profile picture, Welcome video and description, playlists, and the “About” section. All of these key areas of a YouTube Channel can be used to help improve the growth of the channel and search results.
With your banner and profile picture, you want it to be clear to your audience what they can expect from your channel, but you also want to catch their eye. Make sure to make it attractive and bold enough to be noticed, but relatable and appropriate for your audience.
A “welcome” video is the next element to consider. People see this if they click to visit your channel for the first time(for example, if they click on your profile name after watching one of your YouTube videos). You don’t want to make your Welcome video too long, but definitely don’t miss this opportunity. Make sure to study up and watch other Welcome videos to get ideas. A 2-4 min intro of why you created the channel, what the viewer will get out of watching your videos and what step to take next will work great. Give a clear call-to-action at the end, like guiding them to watch another specific video on your channel.
Playlists are the next juicy component of YouTube Channel optimization. This is what really draws people to your channel and has them spend time reviewing your content. Make sure to take advantage of your keywords and split your videos up into helpful categories that guide your viewers to topics they might find interesting. This builds credit with Google and helps to get your videos recommended either after or next to other videos of related topics. This is a great way to get new viewers, fast!
Lastly, your About section: while you think it should be all about you, it’s not! Make sure you’re keeping in mind that this section is for your audience, not you. Tell them what your channel can bring to them and why they should stick around. Link your social media profiles and give your audience a clear call to action so they know where to go from there.
With all of this in mind, your channel will not only be found more easily through YouTube and Google, but you’ll also get more quality leads. Get not only viewers, but also future clients to see that your YouTube channel is more then videos, but a body of work that’s personal and shows who you are.
YouTube Channel Punchlist
Make it friendly/approachable and clear to understand
Clever Color: for example, Tripp Advisor tied in the color red of the “Subscribe” button into his banner- making it stick out and sending a clear message.
Should tell or show what the viewer is to expect
Optional: link other social media/websites/videos
Profile picture should be relevant to the channel purpose
Watch example “Welcome” videos to get ideas on how to create your Welcome video.
2-4 mins long and really captures what your channel’s about
Show what’s in it for them
Tell a little about you and your credibility
Guide them to another one of your videos, so they have clear direction where to go next
Your description shows on the home page, so make sure to optimize your description as well!
Ways to optimize description:
Link to other videos
Link to other materials/products
Link social medias
Make it relatable/appropriate for your audience!
Playlists are completely managed and customizable by you; and you can choose what playlists are shown on the Homepage of your YouTube channel
Group content into different categories so it’s easier for people to find specific videos
The longer people stay on your channel, the more YouTube ranks your channel as a quality resource, so your videos will be better optimized and will show up first in searches.
Keeps videos organized and more manageable for your audience
You can link playlists with similar content at the end of your other YouTube videos or in descriptions, then people will be led to watch more of your videos that are built in a playlist you create. (This also looks better to Google, who gives you more credit)
Create playlists off of your keywords- this separates your videos into topics, but also drives that optimization and your keywords help how your channels discovered.
Make it about your audience: write a description so that your audience knows what your channel is about and what they’ll get from it
Show how you are credible or what makes you “qualified”
Link in your other social media/websites
Give clear call to action: tell them where to go or what to do next
Optimize for keywords! Add in those keywords to help your SEO.
Look over other successful channels and note their video thumbnails.
Create a thumbnail template that is clean and eye-catching so that your videos can be noticed, and look cohesive on your channel with related thumbnail images.
When I discover a video I like on YouTube, I usually want to know who’s behind it. Often I’ll click on the Channel name to see what else they have in their video library. This takes me to their YouTube Channel page, where I’ll see its channel art — the horizontal banner displayed across the top of the user’s YouTube channel. Ideally, this is well thought out and consistent with good design and clean branding.
A YouTube channel banner will be shown in different dimensions depending on the device where it is being viewed. For example, a banner might have different dimensions when viewed on a TV, desktop, or mobile device.
Google recommends these YouTube banner dimensions:
Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
File size: 4MB or smaller
This can help you visualize how it will display depending on where it’s viewed:
Do you want to make more videos for your marketing and YouTube channel—but feel awkward in front of the camera?
I know from my own experience and working with clients to build YouTube channels, it can be challenging to create a presentation that’s engaging and authentic while also showcasing your expertise for potential new clients.
In this video, I have 4 tips for you to help improve your own video marketing:
2 Make an outline of key talking points, then draw it together at the end for a conclusion
3 Consider using slides for the visual and narrating with your voice
4 Consider having someone else join you, to interview you or to create a dialog so you’re not front-facing directly into the camera
By experimenting with recording yourself, even if you don’t show anyone, you’ll be able to hear and see yourself in a new way. It can greatly (and quickly) improve your speaking cadence, your enunciation and your clarity.
Thank you for watching! I’d love a “thumbs up” if you thought this was helpful. It lets me know what’s most valuable to share to help you do more of the work you love, with the people you want to work with.
Once you determine what your optimal keyword phrases are, you now can optimize YouTube videos to include this.
To optimize a video on YouTube, the keyword phrase needs to be in the title, the description and the keyword for the video. As a bonus, you can also create a playlist for the channel with the same keyword phrase and add the videos to that playlist.
You can have up to 2000 characters in the video description. This optimizes it even further, because Google can see the nature of the content. You want to have the keyword and website URL in the first 2 lines of the description, and then again in the last line of the description.
For example, you can see videos now optimized on the Binge Eating Breakthrough channel. Their titles and descriptions have been optimized for the keyword phrase “how to stop binge eating.” Plus, in the first 1-2 lines of the video description, both the keyword phrase AND the website URL are included.
See here in the title of this video as well as the description (click to view on YouTube to see the description):
On each video on the channel, I posted the same lines at the beginning of the description, in front of what was already there, and then another sentence at the end of the existing description with the keyword phrase once again. Plus, I created a playlist with the keyword phrase and put this video into that playlist.
It can seem redundant, but this is how you optimize for Google’s search algorithm.