Optimising for YouTube: Branding for success

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Once you’ve done everything you can to optimise your videos for YouTube search, it’s time to go back to the future and look at some good old-fashioned branding. A well-branded YouTube channel could mean the difference between someone really enjoying one of your videos and someone becoming a lifelong supporter of your brand. Here’s a few things you can do straight away, straight out of the YouTube Creators Playbook.

1. Add a Watermark with InVideo Programming

InVideo Programming is one of the best lesser-known features that YouTube offers. In addition to being able to implement a nice little clickable watermark, you can add a custom intro to some, or all, of your videos. You can also highlight a featured video you’d like to place as an annotation across your content.

In order to add a watermark, just head over to your Creator Studio and click 'Channel' > 'InVideo Programming'.

InVideo Programming

Once you click 'Add a Watermark', you’ll be asked to upload a transparent one-colour image, and you’re done. Simple!

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2. Use a Channel Trailer

Channel Trailers are the videos you see when you’re browsing a channel on YouTube that you haven’t already subscribed to. It’s the first thing many of your viewers will see when they’re deciding whether or not to sign up to your content for the long haul. Here’s a couple of tips on how to put it to work for you:

  1. Keep it short. Remember Channel Trailers will automatically play when someone lands on your page. They haven’t chosen to watch this video, so don’t ramble on about yourself for too long.
  2. Assume they know nothing about your channel. Make sure you introduce yourself and let your viewer know exactly why they should subscribe to your channel.
  3. Show, don’t tell. there’s no point telling your viewers about how informative, funny, or entertaining you are if they think you’re boring. Include some of the greatest stuff from your page so that they can really get an understanding for what you’re all about.

For more on creating a great Channel Trailer, check out YouTube’s Creator Academy.

3. Use Custom Thumbnails

Now that you have a Channel Trailer, you need to market your individual videos. You might not be able to use a trailer for every video you upload, but you do have control over the poster we send out into the world to promote it. Think of your thumbnail as that poster. Not only should it tell people what your video is all about, it’s needs to be compelling enough to make them want to watch it.

The YouTube Creator Playbook has some great tips on thumbnail optimisation, but it’s also a good idea to think of this as a branding exercise. If your content has really started to build up a following, you want people to identify your videos straight away. Place a logo or some instantly identifiable imagery on all of your thumbnails to take advantage of your great name.

Want a little bit extra?

4. Use Annotations

It might not be the easiest thing to do if you don’t have a video editor in house, but ending your video with a branded and suggested videos page is a great way to drive further engagement with your brand. We’ve all been caught in the YouTube vortex before – if your audience is going to be there, at least try to keep them with you.

That’s the end of our ‘Optimising for YouTube’ series. How do you use branding to engage with your audience? What do you do to keep users on your channel for longer? If you have any great tips, let us know in the comments section!

This is the final part of the Optimising for YouTube 2 part series. Missed part 1? Check out Optimising for Youtube: Using keywords.