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Creator Playbook Version 2

February 2012


Table of Contents 3 Introduction 4 Playbook Structure 5 Icons & Key Definitions -------6 Prelude: YouTube Analytics  

Programming & Producing

Publishing & Optimization

Community & Social Media

14 18 23 28  31  37

39 44 47 52 57 63 68

70 75 78 84

The First 15 Seconds Calls to Action Regular Schedule and Frequency Tent-pole Programming Cross-promotion and Collaboration Checklist

Metadata Thumbnails Annotations Playlists & Video Responses Channel Page Reaching All Audiences Checklist  

86 87 88  89

Involve Your Audience Blog Outreach Other Social Media Checklist -------Appendix Video Upload Checklist Metadata Keyword Resources Glossary of Terms  

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Introduction Welcome to the second edition of The YouTube Creator Playbook! This version features a new look, brand new sections to reflect the new channel design, and lots of updates to help you optimize for the overall new site layout. We’re excited to provide our partners with a great resource that compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies that will help you build your audience on YouTube. We hope you find the information helpful to your creative process and that we can help you take your channel to the next level. First, we want to address some questions you may have about what kind of information is presented in The Creator Playbook and how you should use this resource as a new tool to achieve your creative goals.

The most important part of what you do on YouTube – the greatest optimization – is to make something great, and to love what you’re making.

There Are No Rules to Making Great Content The Creator Playbook is not a collection of rules or guaranteed ‘tricks’ to get more views. Instead, it presents best practices, optimization tips, and suggested strategies for building audience and engagement on YouTube. We’ve tried to frame our suggestions and tips to encourage a variety of uses and to encourage creators to innovate and develop their own approach. Be Creative in Applying The Playbook to Your Channel We understand that not every strategy or optimization will apply to every creator on YouTube. Each bit of information will apply differently to the myriad of channels, categories, and talented creators that make YouTube so great. The Creator Playbook requires you to be creative in its application. This resource should be a guide for how to think strategically about the content you make, where to focus your optimization efforts, and should inspire you to constantly try new things. Use The Creator Playbook alongside your creativity, passion, and commitment to creating great content; it will not act as a substitute for any of these necessary elements of success. There’s Always More To Know YouTube learns a lot from its partners and we’re constantly finding new tips and trends to share back with you. As the platform evolves and as new features are released, there will be updates to The Creator Playbook with new strategies, tips and optimizations for you to try. Check back with us often to get these updates so you can continue to learn how to build audience and utilize new features to reach more people in meaningful ways.

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Playbook Structure The Creator Playbook is structured into three sections: Programming & Producing, Publishing & Optimization, Community & Social Media. Each section presents several optimizations or strategies for building audience or engagement on YouTube. These ‘best practices’ are each explained in stages to help you understand each point and guide you through taking action.

Overview Page

Details

Includes: •  Strategy: Brief description •  Why It Works: Reasoning or context •  How To Do It: Short explanation of how to implement.

• 

A Visual Key Guide to: •  Time Cost: Estimation of how much time is required. •  Effect: Outlines what metrics are affected by optimization. •  Impact Rating: Estimation of how much effect an optimization or strategy will have on outlined metrics. •  Optimization Type: Denotes if optimization or strategy is production based, achieved during publishing, or something based around community or outreach.

• 

Provides context and further detail on why the best practice is important or how to implement.

Examples Presents examples and/or different methods or variations.

How-to (and Analytics Tip)

•  • 

Once you understand the strategy or optimization, you’re ready to take action. This page outlines basic steps to get you going. The how-to page also contains an ‘Analytics Tip’ which will provide information on how to measure and track changes to your channel’s performance and the metrics that may be affected.

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Icons & Key Definitions Progress Bar

Progress bar appears at the top of the page showing the progress through each best practice explanation.

Time Cost Minimal: 0 – 5 Minutes

Effect

Moderate: Less than 1 Hour

Medium: 1+ Hours

Major: Full Day or More

Metrics the optimization will influence: viewership, subscribers, video ranking, engagement…

Impact Rating

Optimization Type 1 : Moderate 3 : Strong 5 : Major

• 

Implemented before going into production

• 

Implemented during production process

• 

Implemented at the time of video uploading

• 

Implemented after video has been published

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Prelude

YouTube Analytics YouTube Analytics is a powerful tool and valuable resource for all content creators. The tool provides deep insights about your channel, videos, and audience. Analytics should be used in conjunction with The YouTube Creator Playbook to help you prioritize optimizations, measure impact of new strategies, and to assess your channel’s performance.

In addition to this initial overview section of YouTube Analytics, every How-to page of The Playbook includes an ‘Analytics Tip’ to help you use the tool to assess the impact of any changes implemented.

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YouTube Analytics Strategy: Use YouTube Analytics regularly to assess your channel’s performance, and investigate changes or trends across different metrics.

Why It Works: Analytics provides actionable intelligence for creators to make better videos, implement or measure optimizations, and develop strategic programming.

How To Do It: Gain fluency in YouTube Analytics product. Routinely assess channel’s performance and make changes to content or strategies based on findings.

Time Cost

Medium: 1+ Hours

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Engagement •  Subscribers •  Views •  Community Activity 7  


YouTube Analytics YouTube Analytics is a robust tool that provides informative data and insights about your content, your audience, and your programming. What you learn by using YouTube Analytics can help inform programming and production decisions for your channel, and helps every creator be smarter and more strategic with the videos they create. Find the ‘Story’ Behind Peaks and Changes Don’t just use YouTube Analytics for a quick look at your channels performance – explore the tool to gain a deep understanding of your content, audience, and strategies. With the right knowledge and usage, creators can understand causality and correlations between the various metrics and gain insight that will help build an audience. The data will always tell a story, when you know how to read it.

• 

Start ‘macro’ and move into the ‘micro.’ Assess metrics from a top level or expanded time period, and then focus in on areas that show something interesting or unusual. A change or spike in one metric should lead you to investigate other metrics that correlate. For example, a change in viewership should lead you to investigate traffic sources, then maybe a specific video.

• 

Compare the changes for different metrics against each other to understand the relationships between them.

• 

Don’t just analyze your newest videos, use Analytics to learn about what videos from your archive continue to perform well and investigate why they’re top performers.

• 

Prioritize your efforts by starting optimizations on your topperforming videos and work backward.

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YouTube Analytics Viewership

• 

Identify and analyze your most viewed days, weeks, and individual videos to understand why they were so successful. Determine the causes or catalysts for the high performance and build on them: repeat themes or video topics in a new, creative way or shift how you divide up time and resources to focus on types of videos that performed well in the past.

• 

Optimize the videos from your archive that continue to perform well. •  Make sure the video is annotated to gain subscribers, encourage community actions (commenting), and drive the traffic to more of your content or channel. •  Use the old video as a traffic driver to new uploads or initiatives you want to promote.

• 

Use the trends that are happening on your content to set a release schedule, determine a playlist strategy, or organize your channel in a new way.

• 

Compare your views to unique viewers to understand how much content each of your viewers watches and how well you organize and present content to the audience.

Subscribers

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Examine the dates or videos where there was a high gain or loss of subscribers to learn more about what resonates with your audience.

• 

Identify and analyze videos that drove the most subscriptions relative to how many views they received to learn what caused more viewers to become subscribers.

• 

Measure the impact of including a ‘subscribe’ call to action or annotation in videos.

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YouTube Analytics Community Actions: ‘Likes’, ‘Favorites’, Comments, Shares

• 

Measure community actions as a ratio of total views to gain the best understanding of what videos are causing the most actions.

• 

Assess which videos get the most actions relative to how many views they’ve received to better understand which videos increase engagement with your viewers and why.

• 

Measure the impact of including Calls to Action and annotations for comments, ‘likes’, or ‘favorites’ in your videos.

Traffic Sources

• 

There can be different peaks and valleys within each traffic source, so examine the changes in each to better understand overall viewership. Changes in viewership can be caused by a shift in all traffic sources at once, or sometimes just one.

• 

Understand how viewers discover your content at a channel and per-video level so you can make creative or strategic decisions. When examining individual videos, you can see what other specific videos are driving traffic via suggested or related video placement.

• 

The new homepage creates new ways for viewers to discover channels – use traffic sources to identify which of these new sources may be driving views for your videos

• 

Assess the impact from a new metadata strategy, thumbnail optimization, or blog outreach initiative by examining the different traffic sources relevant to each change.

• 

Look at the traffic sources for specific videos to measure the effectiveness of crosspromotions or other actions that drove traffic on your channel.

• 

Determine the level of ‘active subscribers’ on your channel by seeing how many views for new uploads or on the channel come from subscription modules.

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YouTube Analytics Audience Retention

• 

The ‘Relative’ retention graph shows how your video performance compared to other videos on YouTube of the same length. ‘Absolute’ shows you the viewer retention for every 10 seconds of the video.

• 

Improve the format or pacing of your videos and find optimal video length by examining the graphs. Identify the parts of your videos that are most interesting to the audience (peaks), and at what points viewers fast-forward or abandon the video (drops) - these patterns will highlight needed changes to content and/or packaging.

Demographics and Geographics

• 

Learn more about your audience and what particular videos or content resonates with them by analyzing your audience location, gender, and age.

• 

Tailor your strategy and videos to best serve the current audience or to target a new one.

• 

Track changes to your demographics over time or across different types of content you publish to know how your audience evolves.

• 

Optimize for international audiences by identifying the countries where your content is popular. If your content is performing well in a foreign language consider transcribing and enabling captions to subtitle your videos for specific languages.

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YouTube Analytics How-To Steps 4. Make programming or creative decisions based on your data assessment

1. Gain fluency in YouTube Analytics Explore YouTube Analytics and read through documentation to understand what each metric measures and represents.

When you have assessed your channel performance, decide what actions to take based on your findings.

2. Regularly assess performance and track optimizations Make checking your Analytics part of your YouTube workflow to know how your videos and overall channel are performing. Keep a record of when you implement new optimizations or change your strategy. When changes are made, so you can track results and impact days or weeks later.

Find ways to build on your channels ‘peaks of success.’ Understand why certain videos performed well and make programming and creative decisions to build on that previous success. Understand why certain videos or formats performed poorly and adjust your future strategy to avoid drop-offs and low performance.

5. Track results of implemented changes

3. Refer to the ‘Analytics Tip’ in each section Analytics Tips at the end of each section help you use this tool in every area.

When you make changes based on previous data, track relevant metrics to see if the changes cause the desired result.

Track the peaks and valleys of all metrics carefully and set goals for each. Use Analytics, and downloadable reports to keep an ongoing record of your channel’s performance with notes on when new strategies or optimizations were implemented.

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Section One

Programming & Producing 14 18 23 28 31 37

The First 15 Seconds Calls to Action Regular Schedule and Frequency Tent-pole Programming Cross-promotion and Collaboration Checklist

13  


Programming & Producing

The First 15 Seconds Strategy: Make the beginning of your videos compelling to your viewer.

Why It Works: Attentions spans are short. Hook viewers right from the start and increase engagement for the entire length of the video.

How To Do It: Accomplished through production and video structure.

Time Cost

Effect

Moderate: Less than 1 Hour

•  Engagement •  Subscribers •  Video Ranking •  Views

Impact

1

2

3

Optimization Type

4

5

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Programming & Producing

The First 15 Seconds Many viewers decide whether they are going to keep watching your video within the first 10-15 seconds. Attention spans can be short and they are just one click away from abandoning your video. The video’s content - “What am I Watching?” - should also come across in the first few moments and hook them early to give them a reason to stick around.

Compelling Content First…

• 

The first thing the viewer sees should be compelling, whether it is the personality or the content of the video.

• 

Personalities should address and welcome the audience, ask a question, spark the viewer’s curiosity, tease the rest of the video.

• 

Use a ‘teaser’ for the content of the video; start with a quick clip of what’s to come later in the video.

Capture Attention

Brief Branding (Optional)

…Branding and Packaging Later

• 

Branding, flashy intros, and packaging can create a professional quality to your content, but it’s not the star of the video.

• 

Let the content or the personality be the star upfront, then the viewer has a reason to watch past the intro and continue with the video.

• 

Or you can make sure the branding is compelling content that entertains the viewer. (See Examples)

• 

Packaging and branding should be minimal and short. We’ve found 5 seconds to be an optimal length.

What Am I Watching?

• 

In a lot of cases of non-fiction programming, it is important to make it clear to your viewers what your video is, and what they’ll be watching. If the viewer still doesn’t know exactly what they’re watching in the start of the video, they’re gone.

Keep Them Watching with Great Content

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Programming & Producing

The First 15 Seconds Examples Engage First, Brand Second

Branding as Compelling Content

•  /sxephil

•  /CollegeHumor

Compelling Openings

•  /Vsauce (3 openings)

•  /FoodWishes

•  You!

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Programming & Producing

The First 15 Seconds How-To Steps 1. Understand the engagement & viewing trends of your content Use tools available in Analytics to better understand how your videos are performing in terms of engagement and audience retention. Short attention spans or ‘drop-offs’ in attention or retention at the beginning of the video reflect a need to optimize the first 15 seconds of the video(s).

2. Determine the right ‘hook’ or opening for your content and audience

3. Experiment with variations Try different approaches and see what works best to keep people watching your video and decrease early abandonment.

4. Place compelling content first Whatever approach you take, the first 15 seconds of your video needs to be compelling, engrossing, or entertaining enough to get your viewers to commit to continue watching the rest of the video.

All content is different so determine the best use for the beginning of your videos. Depending on your category, content, and current engagement trends, your approach to the beginning of your videos will vary.

Use Audience Retention graphs available in Analytics to track changes in how your audience is viewing your content. Optimizing the beginning of your video should increase viewing time and attention spans, while decreasing drop-offs at the beginning of your videos.

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Programming & Producing

Calls to Action Strategy:

Direct viewers during the video to take actions that can help build audience.

Why It Works: Online video is an interactive experience. Prompting your viewers to take action will lead to more activity and help you build engagement and audience.

How To Do It: Accomplished through production and/or annotations.

Time Cost

Effect

Minimal: 0 – 5 Minutes

•  Engagement •  Subscribers •  Video Ranking •  Views

Impact

Optimization Type

18  


Programming & Producing

Calls to Action Watching content online is an interactive and social experience and content creators rely on the actions of their audience to help them succeed - but the many viewers won’t act unless you prompt them. Videos you produce and publish should have specific Calls to Action (CTA). Depending on the message, you can use the beginning, middle and end of the video to direct the actions of your viewers. CTAs should be minimal and simple. Too many prompts can cause confusion. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for viewers to perform an action

Important Actions to Direct Your Viewers to Take on YouTube Subscribe

Like / Add to Favorites / Share

• 

Videos should have a CTA for the viewer to subscribe to your channel.

• 

Asking viewers to ‘like’, ‘favorite’ or share the video, helps it appear more places across the site.

• 

Give them reasons to subscribe: more great videos every week, never miss an episode, etc.

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‘Likes’ and ‘favorites’ from your viewers get broadcast out to their community, which draws new viewers to your video.

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Viewers sharing your video on social media broadcasts it to all their friends and followers.

Visit Your Channel or Watch More Videos

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Encourage the viewer to watch more content and direct them how to do it.

Comments

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Tell people about your channel and everything that it has to offer.

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Ask your viewers questions about the video and encourage them to leave a comment.

• 

Invite viewers to watch another video or the next episode in a playlist.

• 

Asking a specific question or an ‘A vs. B’ choice will increase the comments. These prompts are a great way to guide the conversation that will take place in the comments.

Remember that it is a violation of YouTube Terms of Service and Community Guidelines to incentivize clicks on video features in any way (i.e. give-aways or prizes for liking or favoriting a video)

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Programming & Producing

Calls to Action There are many ways to communicate with your audience and include Calls to Action in your videos. In many cases, talking to the audience can be the most powerful but there are many effective ways to prompt your viewers to take some action. Methods and Types of Call to Actions in Your Videos To Camera Host-Mentions

In-Video Graphics and ‘End-Cards’

• 

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You can use graphical overlays and other graphics in your videos to prompt for specific CTAs.

• 

Build in graphics for your videos to encourage subscribes, commenting, or shares. You can use the ‘spotlight’ annotation to make these graphics clickable once the video is uploaded.

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Create a video ‘end-card’ to appear at the end of your videos that directs the viewer to more content, encourages them to subscribe, or to visit your channel page. You can create a template that builds consistency for the end of your videos that directs the audience to take specific actions.

Talking directly to the camera in a genuine manner can get the audience to listen and act. Having the talent of the video, the host or a character talking to their audience and prompting them to take some action is important to include in videos.

Annotations

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See the ‘Annotations’ section for more details. (pg. 47)

• 

Use annotations when you don’t want to have your characters ‘break the fourth wall’ of your video.

• 

Annotations are a great way to include CTAs in your video when they aren’t part of the video’s content.

Video Descriptions

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Use annotations to update and add new CTAs to older videos.

• 

See ‘Metadata’ section for more details. (pg. 39)

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Use space available in the video’s description to include messaging and links for your viewers to act on.

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Use links to get your audience to subscribe, go to your channel page, start a playlist, or visit your site and social media.

Annotations can optimize repurposed content to include important CTAs.

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Programming & Producing

Calls to Action Examples Subscribe

•  /MysterGuitarMan

•  /DailyGrace

•  You!

Ask a Specific Question

More Content (Annotations)

•  /KnowYourMeme

•  /eHow

Remember that it is a violation of YouTube Terms of Service and Community Guidelines to incentivize clicks on video features in any way (i.e give-aways or prizes for liking or favoriting a video)

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Programming & Producing

Calls to Action How-To Steps 1. Determine desired actions

3. Include / add call to actions to the video

Decide what actions you want your viewers to take for each video. Prompts for key community actions such as subscribing and watching more content should be included in most videos, but assess the right actions for your content and overall objectives.

Videos should have a call to action. Keep these important elements in mind when shooting the video, creating packaging, writing the video description, and when adding annotations.

2. Choose the right method and placement Depending on your content, decide if talking to camera, host mentions, use of graphics, and/or using annotations is the right method to get your audience to perform actions. Decide where in the video each CTA should appear to be most effective, without distracting the viewer. Keep in mind that you don’t want to direct the viewers away from the video before they finish watching.

Use the Subscription graph and Community Engagement graphs in Analytics to track changes in viewer actions in response to your CTAs. Including CTAs in your video should lead to increased community actions taken by viewers including subscribing to your channel, ‘favoriting’, ‘liking’, and commenting. Remember that it is a violation of YouTube Terms of Service and Community Guidelines to incentivize clicks on video features in any way (i.e give-aways or prizes for liking or favoriting a video)

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Programming & Producing

Regular Schedule & Frequency Strategy:

Release content frequently on a recurring schedule and maintain activity on the channel. React to trending topics with relevant content.

Why It Works: Frequency of uploads and other platform engagement keeps your channel feed active and retains audience interest. To build an audience, “A consistent audience requires consistent content.”

How To Do It: Find the right release schedule for your audience. Maximize content gained from production investment.

Time Cost

Effect

Medium: 1+ Hours

•  Channel Views •  Subscribers •  Video Ranking •  Views

Impact

Optimization Type

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Programming & Producing

Regular Schedule & Frequency There’s a lot of great videos to explore on YouTube, and so remaining relevant, engaging and maintaining the interest and attention of your audience is important. The activity of your channel’s feed is how you keep your audience engaged. ‘Feed’ your Channel’s Feed!

Get the Most from Your Productions

• 

Make the most of your production investments. Be creative and resourceful about how you create content to find ways to be able to publish more regularly. Ways to get more videos from your production investment include creating supplements for your larger productions, and using resource-saving production techniques.

• 

Create videos that make something new and engaging for your audience using current content: making-of, bloopers, behind-thescenes, recaps, best of countdowns, trailers, vlogs, comment videos, and more.

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Create shorter versions of long-form content to act as teasers, trailers, or previews of longer videos. These bite-size versions introduce your longer content to viewers, and get them interested in watching the full-versions.

Frequency of Uploads and Engagement

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Publishing content regularly and often will keep your channel feed active, increase your placements on the site, and help you build viewership. A good level to aim for is a minimum of one video per week, but the right amount of content depends on your audience, your goals, and your content. This frequency will provide your audience with new content regularly, and keep them coming back often.

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Keep your feed active for your audience. An active feed is sustained by uploading videos, but also by your engagement on the platform in the forms of commenting, ‘favoriting’, ‘liking’, and managing your playlists.

• 

Maintain content and engagement with your channel in-between breaks in regularly releasing content. If you have seasons, or have a break in producing regular programming, find ways to maintain your audience during the down time. Your audience’s interest must be sustained between your main videos.

Use annotations, playlists, and other linking to get viewers from the previews to the actual video.

“Consistent audience requires consistent content!” - Freddie W., Top YouTuber

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Programming & Producing

Regular Schedule & Frequency Some of the same trends and viewer interests that drive television viewership are applicable to the web. Regular release schedules, programming, and timely publishing are all important in online video.

Timely Publishing

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‘React’ to trending topics with relevant content when it makes sense for your audience. Don’t be too locked into your schedule. Timing is important in online video and being part of what’s going viral, rising search trends, or breaking news can be critical for certain content. News and politics, sports, commentary, and opinion content can thrive on topicality.

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Adding this reactive and timely supplemental content to your regular programming can help your channel find new audiences.

Set a Schedule

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Release videos on a set day of the week, if possible. Releasing videos on a recurring schedule helps build a structure to your channel that an audience can rely on. It can be easier to retain audiences and keep them coming back to your channel when they know when new episodes will be coming out.

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Support programming with a schedule. If you have varying types of videos on your channel or multiple shows in one place, use a set schedule for each type of series to act as programming for your channels’ various offerings. Use YouTube’s scheduled publishing feature to build your schedule.

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Regular Schedule & Frequency

Programming & Producing

Examples Supplemental Content (Behind-the-Scenes / Teaser)

Maintaining an Active Feed with Uploads and More

•  /TheMomsView

Supplemental Content (Comments Video)

•  /BarelyPolitical

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Regular Schedule & Frequency

Programming & Producing

How-To Steps 1. Find the right schedule for your content

2. Get the most of your production investment

The right schedule depends on your category and content. There may be existing trends that your schedule can be based on. For example, movies typically get released on Fridays, so if you review or provide commentary on films, this calendar may influence the right day of the week for new videos.

Find ways to cull more content from your shoots and production.

If you set a schedule, make it clear to the audience and new viewers when and how often episodes are released. Remind the audience in the videos, in the episode description, or through other branding on your channel.

Use production techniques to minimize production time and maximize the useable content. Create supplemental content for your big projects or videos that are less production intensive. Capture behind-the-scenes footage, keep a log of your bloopers, or create vlog-style update or comment videos.

3. Maximize your frequency More content will lead to more viewership, so release content frequently to build and retain a consistent audience. Use other engagement methods (commenting, playlists, etc.) to keep your channel active for your audience. Maintain content and activity during breaks between regular publishing or seasons of a show.

Find what days your channel sees peaks in views or if your audience follows your schedule by looking at the viewership graphs available in Analytics. Learn about how many views you gain by adding more content to your channel, and find the right balance between production investment and views gained.

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Programming & Producing

Tent-pole Programming Strategy:

Create, release, and/or package content that is themed around tent-pole events.

Why It Works: Tent-pole events drive search trends, editorial opportunities, audience interests, and advertiser campaigns.

How To Do It: Create and publish content according to a programming calendar. Use playlists and other packaging to angle your content for tent-pole events.

Time Cost

Moderate: Less than 1 Hour

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Promotion •  Views •  Discovery •  External Site Traffic 28  


Programming & Producing

Tent-pole Programming Why does Discovery channel have Shark Week every year? Why do a lot sitcoms have a Halloween themed episode at the end of October? Why does the Today Show have relationship experts on the week before Valentine’s Day? The answer to these questions is: Tent-pole Programming. Tent-pole events are the cultural events that promotion, sponsors/ advertisers, and viewing trends orbit around throughout the year. Big movie releases, sports, holidays and niche events should act as guides for the content you produce. This strategy can apply to all partners. Any channel can create or participate in tent-poles relevant to their specific audience.

Program Your Content

• 

Create a programming calendar and identify the tent-pole events that are relevant to your channel and audience.

• 

Create videos around these upcoming events to take advantage of promotional and revenue opportunities, and capitalize on audience and search trends.

• 

Package previous content in new ways for tent-pole events. Reuse older footage with newly created content to create new videos. Create playlists to re-organize your videos to be programmed for upcoming tent-pole events. Titles and tags can help rebrand a video for tent-pole events. Make use of your archives, where it is relevant

Get Ahead of the Buzz

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Release tent-pole related content at least several days prior to the event. Online video is different than television and film because a video posted online has a ‘long-tail.’ The weeks leading up to an event, ‘the pre-buzz,’ is just as important as the date of the actual event, maybe more important. The video will still be there when the event arrives and afterward, but it can have more momentum if it was released early.

• 

The right time to release depends on how much sustained interest there is around any particular event.

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Programming & Producing

Tent-pole Programming How-To Steps 1. Create a programming calendar

3. Perform blog outreach

Create a programming calendar for upcoming months. Identify the key tent-pole events that are relevant to your channel and meaningful to your audience.

Send your tent-pole videos to relevant blogs, sites, and online communities offering them content for their readers.

Identify (or invent your own) tent-pole events where you may want to dedicate more resources, time, or content.

Provide short descriptions of the content and why it would be a great fit with the sites readers. Include links and embed codes in your outreach emails. (see Blog Outreach section, pg. 75)

2. Release videos around tent-pole events Create videos for the tent-pole events and be strategic about when to publish these videos. Apply your extra time and resources, use of talent, or collaborations with other channels to be for tent-pole videos that will benefit wide interest from viewers and search trends. Devote blocks of time to celebrate or produce special content around milestones or ‘signature’ events that you invent for your channel and audience. Make anniversaries special events or assign certain weeks (or months) for special programming.

Track changes in viewership as a result of programming your content by using the viewership data available in Analytics. Use Traffic Sources information to track views coming from search, homepage, featured video, or blogs for the videos you’ve made based on tent-pole events.

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Programming & Producing

Cross-promotion & Collaboration Strategy: Work with other creators and cross-promote content between channels.

Why It Works: Cross-promotion directs viewers to content or channels, and collaboration with other creators can be one of the most powerful ways to reach new audiences and build views.

How To Do It: Create a strategy to cross-promote your content to relevant audiences. Find and reach out to channels with similar audiences to plan creative collaborations.

Time Cost

Major: Full Day or More

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Channel Views •  Subscribers •  Views 31  


Cross-promotion & Collaboration Cross-promotion across channels and collaborations with other online creators are some of the most effective methods of building audience and subscribers. Accessing new audiences on YouTube begins with finding the channels where those audiences are already engaged. No matter what kind of channel you are – vlogger, branded, comedy, music - it should be a priority to identify similar or relevant channels that you could work with on cross-promotion and collaboration in a way that makes sense for both channels. First, you must do the initial work to build your content, your channel, and your audience into something that other channels want to support or be a part of.

MeekaKitty Promotes Her Guest Musicians

Programming & Producing

General Best Practices

• 

Cross-promote and collaborate with other channels that are relevant to your audience or attract similar demographics.

• 

Appear, guest-star, or contribute to other channels’ content and viceversa. Leverage each other’s audience to find new viewers.

• 

Be creative with ‘remote’ collaborations. Record video chats, utilize video-responses, or incorporate video from one another on your channel.

• 

Make it easy for the viewers to get from one place to the other. Use annotations, playlists, links in description, and clear direction within the video on what the viewer needs to do to watch more.

• 

Be active on your channel during any cross-promotion period. Respond to new viewers’ comments. Make a good first impression by showcasing your best content and interacting with the new viewers. For example, brand your channel in a new way or feature your best videos or playlists. (See ‘Channel Optimizations’ in section two, pg. 57)

Weezer and the Muppet Studio 32  


Programming & Producing

Cross-promotion & Collaboration In-video Promotion

Channel Promotion

• 

Guest Star: Appearing or guest starring in other channels’ content is a great way to work with other creators and channels. You can combine elements from each of your channels, or simply fall into another channel’s theme completely.

• 

• 

Shout Out: A shout out can be illustrated with actual clips/ teasers from the channel that’s being promoted or a simple host recommendation can go far. Find clips that are short, surprising, or provide cliff hangers that make people more interested in following the call to action to check out the channel.

Recommendation Activity: ‘Like’, ‘favorite’, or comment on the videos of other channels that you want to promote. This passive promotion will appear in your activity feed for your subscribers.

Subscriber Box Sharing

• 

The “other channels” module on your channel page is a great way to link other channels you manage or want to promote. When users subscribe to your channel they are also offered the opportunity to subscribe to the channels you have listed.

• 

Arrange cross-promotion for yourself by getting placement in other channels’ lists and featuring others in your own..

Make sure to link to the other channel using annotations and links in the description.

Use VidStatsx.com to identify successful channels and compare subscriber growth.

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Cross-promotion & Collaboration

Programming & Producing

Shared Topics

• 

Organize and create videos with other producers that are related, complementary, or supplemental. Focus both sets of content on the same tent-pole event or create complementary videos that have similar tones, subjects, or perspectives.

• 

Make the viewer aware of all channels involved in the cross-promotion through playlists, annotations, mentions, video descriptions, and links.

• 

Consider linking multiple videos in a ‘chain’ that completes a circle. (i.e. producer A ends his or her video with a teaser or recommendation to check out producer B’s video, which in turn links to producer C, and so on back to A.) No matter where a viewer begins, all videos in the loop are in a position to gain new viewers and potential subscribers.

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Programming & Producing

Cross-promotion & Collaboration Examples Guest Star Collaboration and Cross-Promotion

•  /FreddieW and /EpicMealTime

•  /Weezer and /TheMuppetStudio

“Part of making it on the internet is working with a lot of people, that is definitely essential.” - KassemG, Top YouTuber

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Cross-promotion & Collaboration

Programming & Producing

How-To Steps 1. Build your channel’s appeal Before reaching out to collaborate with other channels, build your value with great content and an engaged audience. Create something exceptional, unique, compelling, or special with your channel that will make other channels interested in supporting or working with you. This can extend beyond just content to include production support, access to talent, shoot locations, etc. Having a unique contribution is one way to attract collaborations when starting a channel.

2. Identify relevant creators and channels Know the other channels where similar audiences to your own are spending their time.

3. Create engaging cross-promotion opportunities and collaboration videos Create collaboration videos with channels and creators with similar content and relevant audiences. Set clear objectives of what each creator wants to get out of the crosspromotion. Work closely with each other to ensure each channel is maximizing the opportunity and benefits of working together. Fine tune your channel, content, and engagement during crosspromotions to provide the best experience for new viewers, encouraging them to become subscribed fans. Consistently update and refresh less-intensive promotion strategies such as featuring channels in your “Other Channels” list and promoting with your recommendation activity.

Track the effectiveness and results of cross-promotions by examining viewership graphs and subscriber changes in Analytics. Assess the ‘stickiness’ of your content/channel and the relevancy of the crosspromotion by measuring subscribers gained from the additional views. How many new viewers were retained weeks after the promotion?

36  


Programming & Producing

Programming & Producing

Checklist Create great content that is unique, compelling and entertaining or informative. Optimize the first 15 seconds of your video. Include specific Calls to Action in the video or through annotations. Set a recurring schedule for your channel and maximize your production investments to optimize how often you are able to release content. Create a programming calendar and identify tent-pole events that are relevant to your audience, around which you can create content. Identify channels with similar content and/or relevant audiences and work with them to create meaningful cross-promotion opportunities and collaboration videos. Use Analytics to better understand your audience, improve your content, and help you develop effective programming and production strategies.

37  


Section Two

Publishing & Optimization 39 44 47 52 57 63 68

Metadata Thumbnails Annotations Playlists & Video Responses Channel Page Reaching All Audiences Checklist  

38  


Publishing & Optimization

Metadata Strategy: Write optimized titles, tags, and descriptions for your content.

Why It Works: Metadata helps YouTube index your content and is critical to building views from search and suggested videos.

How To Do It: Use optimized keywords and formatting when writing metadata for your videos.

Time Cost

Minimal: 0 – 5 Minutes

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Video Ranking •  Views •  Search Traffic •  Suggested Video Traffic 39  


Publishing & Optimization

Metadata YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine; optimize your video to take advantage of this fact. Metadata is the information that surrounds your video: Title, Tags, Description, Thumbnail. This set of data informs the YouTube algorithm of a video’s content, indexing it for search, features, related videos, and ad-serving.

Optimization Tips Overview (See appendix for keyword resources) Title •  Compelling •  Keywords first •  Branding at end •  Accurately represents content Description •  Optimize the first 1-2 sentences •  Most compelling info first •  Include keywords, links •  Channel description, helpful information Tags •  Mix of common & specific •  Ordering •  Variations and enough to fully describe content •  Use quotes for keyword phrases: “short film”

Metadata as Packaging Metadata can also be used as packaging or rebranding a video. Adding in relevant keywords to the title of an archive video can help you repurpose the content for new search trends, or tent-pole events.

Remember that it is a violation of YouTube Terms of Service to use misleading metadata on your videos

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Publishing & Optimization

Metadata Title Titles are an important tool to describe the content and compel users to click on your video. Think of them as taglines or magazine headlines that will peak interest of potential viewers, but they need to be formatted and written with keyword optimization in mind.

Tags

• 

Create a set of ‘standard tags’ for your channel that can be applied to any video you publish. These tags should be tags that apply to most of the content your produce (i.e. filmmaking, animation, comedy, “Funny Videos,” “Pet Videos” etc.)

• 

Include relevant, compelling keywords to maximize ‘clickability’ and search traffic, but always accurately portray content.

• 

• 

Write tags that are a mix of specific and general keywords that are relevant to the video’s content.

Place keywords first in the title and branding (such as your show or channel name) at the end.

• 

• 

Select a reasonable number of tags that most closely reflect your video content.

Actively update and optimize titles of catalogue videos to remain relevant and gain views in the ‘long tail’ of a video.

• 

Actively update and optimize archive videos with relevant tags when new search trends emerge. Formatting •  Properly format tags to ensure proper indexing of video. •  Combination of both general and specific keywords. •  Use quotes for phrases: “harry potter” •  Mirror the title of the video, using same word order in tags.

• 

Only add tags to the tag section of your metadata. Adding additional tags to the description of your video constitutes spam and may result in the removal of your video or demotion in search, or account termination.

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Publishing & Optimization

Metadata Description Descriptions provide additional context and information about your video to compel viewers to click. Every video you publish will reach new viewers. Your description is another key opportunity for you to let these new viewers know about your channel and everything it has to offer. Provide links to visit your channel, subscribe or watch more content.

• 

Include a recurring ‘Keyword Tagline’ in episode descriptions. The keyword tagline is a few sentences that describe your channel, but is written to include several search-driven keywords. Repeating this tagline in episode descriptions will inform first-time viewers about your channel, assist with including the right keywords, and increase your videos’ search relevancy.

• 

• 

State what the release schedule of your channel is in episode descriptions.

• 

Follow a structure or template for all your video descriptions to create uniformity for your audience, as well as increase the relevancy of your videos to one another for related video rankings.

Begin your description with the most relevant information and compelling language. Only the first few sentences of your description show up ‘above the fold’ on a video watch page and next to the thumbnail in search results.

• 

Write your description to include the the keywords used in the title and tags as well as additional relevant keywords.

• 

Always include: •  Link to your channel page •  Subscription link •  Links to related content, or to sites/videos/channels/users referenced in the video. •  Links for social media. •  Links should always include the ‘http://’ to make them hyperlinks.

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Publishing & Optimization

Metadata How-To Steps 1. Utilize keyword resource tools

3. Optimize metadata for every new upload (and archives)

Use the keyword generator tools (links available in Appendix) to help you generate and test keywords for your uploads and/or channel.

Create a compelling, accurate, and keyword-driven title. Keywords first, brand or show name after.

2. Create ‘Standard Keywords,’ ‘Keyword Tagline’ and ‘Standard Channel Links’

Fill in as many relevant and appropriate tags as possible. Write a mix of common and specific tags by adding your ‘Standard Keywords’ and specific tags about the episode. Follow proper formatting. Use keyword generator tools.

Based on your channel’s content, theme, and audience, create a list of standard keywords that apply to your channel and most uploads. These keywords should be things that are categorical, genres, broad topics, show name, etc. Write 2-4 sentences that explains your channel and includes keywords that are relevant to your content. Include when new episodes are released and other relevant information.

Write a thorough, helpful, and keyword-driven episode description. Write compelling first sentences of your description. Include relevant or helpful information about the episode or your channel. Include your ‘Keyword Tagline’, list of links. Rebrand or continually optimize archive videos by updating the metadata to reflect new search trends, tent-pole events, or other keywords that may have become relevant to the content.

Create a list of links that can appear in episode descriptions.

Use the Traffic Sources data available in Analytics to track changes in views coming from search traffic and suggested video traffic after you optimize the metadata. Use keyword tools and Google Analytics to better understand what keywords are driving viewers to your content.

Using third-party software or agencies to help with tags, subscribers or view counts may be a violation of Terms of Service.

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Publishing & Optimization

Thumbnail Optimization Strategy:

Create great, high-quality custom thumbnails for your videos that accurately represent the content.

Why It Works: Thumbnails act as mini-marketing posters for your content and are important to attracting clicks on your videos.

How To Do It: Design and upload custom thumbnails for new videos. Update archive video thumbnails.

Time Cost

Moderate: Less than 1 Hour

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Video Ranking •  Views •  Search Traffic •  Suggested Video Traffic 44  


Publishing & Optimization

Thumbnail Optimization Thumbnails, along with your video title, act as mini marketing posters for your content on YouTube. You should always create custom thumbnails to be uploaded along with the video file. There are a few general guidelines to follow, but the right poster-frame depends on what the video is about.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Clear, in-focus, hi-resolution (640px x 360px min., 16:9 aspect ratio) Bright, high-contrast Close-ups of faces Visually compelling imagery Well-framed, good composition Foreground stands out from background Looks great at both small and large sizes. Accurately represents the content

Thumbnails are important for search, related video traffic, and channel page optimization. This visual snapshot of your video is one of the most important optimizations for attracting views on YouTube.

Not Optimal

Optimal

Make sure to upload high-resolution thumbnails so they appear crisp and clear throughout the site.

The thumbnail should accurately represent the content included in your video and should not be overly sexually provocative.

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Publishing & Optimization

Thumbnail Optimization How-To Steps 1. Keep thumbnail optimization in mind when shooting

2. Create a great thumbnail

Shoot your videos to make the content translate into a great thumbnail.

Using images from the video and supplemental images (where relevant/appropriate) to create a custom thumbnail that shows off the best aspects of the video.

Proper lighting, framing the shot, and capturing compelling imagery when you shoot will provide you with better material to work with when creating a thumbnail. Consider taking photographs during your shoots to capture images for thumbnails.

Using photo-editing software to resize, modify, or combine images together in the frame. Apply effects such as adjusting the contrast and brightness of the image to make it stand-out and make the colors brighter. Preview your thumbnail design at the actual size it will appear on the site to know if the image will still be eye-catching at smaller scales.

Track changes in viewership after you optimize your thumbnails. Use the Viewership graph and Traffic Sources information available in Analytics to track any increase in viewership coming from search, homepage feed, or suggested video where thumbnails are important for attracting clicks.

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Publishing & Optimization

Annotations Strategy:

Use annotations on your videos to increase viewership, engagement, and subscribers.

Why It Works: Annotations are a unique feature to YouTube and can help you keep viewers watching more content, increase community actions on your videos, and acquire new subscribers.

How To Do It: Add relevant and helpful annotations to all your videos after upload. Use annotations on archive videos to direct traffic to new initiatives or content.

Time Cost

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Video Ranking •  Engagement Minimal: 0 – 5 Minutes

•  Subscribers •  Views

1

2

3

4

5

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Publishing & Optimization

Annotations Annotations are text overlays that you can place on YouTube videos. There are numerous uses for annotations and producers are constantly finding new, creative, and strategic ways to apply them to their videos.

Types of Annotations

• 

You can customize many different aspects of annotations including: size, color, type, link, and timing of annotations.

Annotations Use Cases

• 

Different types of annotations are useful for different needs and strategies. Find what works best for your videos.

• 

Use spotlight annotations to make areas within the video clickable.

• 

You can customize many different aspects of annotations including: size, color, type, link, and timing of annotations.

• 

When a spotlight annotations is used, the text only appears when the viewers hover over it with their mouse. Only a light outline of the annotation is shown when the viewer does not hover over it. Using this type can be a great way to include unobtrusive annotations that are still easily clickable for the viewer.

• 

Make annotations clickable and link to various places or actions on YouTube. You can also set annotations to open a new window when clicked, keeping the viewer from leaving the original video.

• 

Supply additional information.

• 

Act as a dynamic, editable text layer.

• 

Be used as navigational elements. (to certain timecode, or Next/Previous episode)

• 

Act as subscribe button within the video.

• 

Make areas of your video clickable or interactive.

• 

Link the viewer to your channel page from within the video.

• 

Ask specific questions to the audience to respond to in the comments.

• 

Encourage community activity such as ‘liking’ or ‘favoriting’ the video.

• 

Link to other content: videos, playlists, channels, full-versions.

• 

Dynamically add content to your old videos.

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Publishing & Optimization

Annotations General Best Practices

• 

Avoid annotations in the lower-third of the video. The advertisement overlay can obscure annotations placed there.

• 

Make sure to write and place text so it looks nice and reads well on the screen.

• 

Be careful not to obstruct the actual content.

• 

• 

Use your best judgment to determine timing, placement, style, and how many annotations you should include in your episodes. Don’t bombard the viewer as it will feel ‘spammy’ and will have an adverse effect.

Avoid prompting the viewer or having them click away from the video too early in the video. Depending on what the annotation is being used for or the action you want the viewer to take, there is a proper placement and timing. Consider using the “Open in a new window’ option for annotations that are hyperlinked, so the viewer is not taken away from their current video.

Example ‘End Card’ - Spotlight annotations make graphic clickable.

• 

/Smosh

• 

When linking to a video that you want to play within its playlist add “&list=(playlist ID HERE)” to the end of the url.

/HISHE

Other Uses:

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Publishing & Optimization

Annotations Consistent Annotations for Navigation

Other Annotation Strategies

Some channels have found success in using an annotation template: the same annotations, in the same placement across all of their videos. Such as:

• 

Front of episode call to actions: Ask viewers to ‘like’ or ‘favorite’ the video.

• 

Ask a question. Asking a specific question is often more effective.

• 

Other videos or content that is referenced in the video.

• 

Additional or supplemental information about the content.

• 

Subscribe and other CTAs repeated at the end of the episode.

• 

Be creative! Annotations can be used in many ways and you should always consider how to use this unique feature to make your content better and more strategic.

•  • 

Subscribe Button - Makes it easy for viewers to subscribe right from your videos. When clicked, this annotation adds your channel to the viewers’ subscriptions. Newest / Next / Previous – Links to another video in the series or to newest video. Including an annotation in your videos that links to your newest content will leverage your entire catalogue to drive traffic to your most recent upload.

The YouTube player can sometimes obscure annotations in the extreme bottom of the frame. Avoid annotation placements here.

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Publishing & Optimization

Annotations How-To Steps 1. Learn how to create annotations

3. Update annotations on high-performing archive videos

Understand the different types and uses of annotations, as well as how to create and edit them.

Add and update annotations on high-performing archive videos to help leverage these views to new initiatives or new uploads.

2. Add annotations to new uploads after publishing

Use annotations to repackage old content for new purposes along with updated metadata.

Determine the right use of annotations for your content and audience. Avoid creating distracting annotations or too many. Use annotations for calls to action encouraging the viewers to take certain community actions such as ‘favoriting’, ‘liking’, and sharing the video.

4. Be creative

Decide if any static annotations make sense for your videos. Add a ‘Subscribe’ annotation and/or a ‘Newest Episode’ annotation that is present for the entire video to provide easy navigation for the viewer at any moment.

Experiment with annotations to use them in new ways that will help you increase engagement, build audience, or simply make your content better and more compelling. Include elements in the video with the intention of enhancing with clickable annotations after upload.

Utilize annotations at the end of the video to direct viewers to another video, your channel, or to some other action such as subscribing. Create an ‘End-Card’ to addend your videos and use annotations to make it clickable.

Annotations will affect metrics depending on what you use them for and what actions you’re directing viewers to take. If you use annotations for community actions, subscribers and linking to other videos, track overall growth of these metrics. Focus on one specific action or initiative to measure specific effectiveness.

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Publishing & Optimization

Playlists & Video Responses Strategy:

Organize your content into sets of videos using playlists and video responses. Create show separation, themed content, or curated content using playlists.

Why It Works: Playlists help organize your content into meaningful sets of videos which will increase the number of videos a viewer watches and improve navigation of your content.

How To Do It: Create playlists for different sets of videos. Add new uploads to relevant playlists and set them as video responses to other videos.

Time Cost

Effect

Moderate: Less than 1 Hour

•  Engagement •  Subscribers •  Video Ranking •  Views

Impact

1

2

3

Optimization Type

4

5

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Publishing & Optimization

Playlists & Video Responses You can create playlists using your own content, other channels’ videos, or a combination of both. Playlists can be used as an organizational tool for content, or creators can produce playlists as a viewing experience for an audience. They can be featured on your channel, and they show up in search results and suggested videos. Playlists as Organization Playlists are a great way to organize your videos into groups and viewing sets. If you have multiple shows or themed content on your channel, playlists create organization. Utilize playlists to make your channel easier to navigate.

• 

Separate different shows into their own playlists to feature them on your channel and connect videos together for viewers.

• 

Create sets of videos that are grouped together for a specific theme or tent-pole event. Use the title and thumbnails to brand it.

• 

Build playlists to feature your most viewed content with newest uploads to connect your catalogue views to new videos.

• 

Set a playlist to be a “series playlist” if you want to lock-in a group of videos as a rigid set where the videos will always appear together. This option is ideal for serial content. Videos in a series playlist can NOT be included in other Series playlists.

Playlists as Viewing Experience

• 

Creators can also use playlists to string together videos to create a long viewing experience – long-form content as created by stringing individual videos together.

• 

You can create an intro video specific to your playlist to introduce the set of videos you’ve compiled.

• 

You can also create ‘interstitial’ videos to appear between videos you curate in a playlist to provide context and commentary. Sometimes called a ‘hosted’ playlist. These playlist-specific videos will also show up as standalone videos on the site; consider setting these videos as ‘Unlisted’ or determine how to use annotations, messaging, & metadata to convey to viewers that they are part of a playlist.

• 

Add ‘playlist commentary’ to each video included by commenting on the video while viewing it in playlist mode. The comments appear underneath the video for viewers watching the playlist. Playlist in Search

Playlist on Channel

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Publishing & Optimization

Playlists & Video Responses Optimized Playlists & Video Responses

Promote Your Playlists

• 

Utilize metadata strategies and keywords when titling and writing a description for playlists.

• 

• 

Creating or adding videos to a playlist will be published to your feed, notifying your subscribers. Adding to your playlists is another way to be active on your feed and broadcast your content.

You can reorder videos to create the best linear viewing experience for your audience.

• 

• 

Upload a video to introduce the playlist to your subscribers and use annotations, messaging, and links to get them to watch it.

Attribute videos included in your playlist to their creators by linking to them in your description.

• 

Feature playlists on your channel page and embed on your site.

• 

Manage video responses on your videos. Users can set video response to your content, if you want, or you can restrict to just your own content.

• 

Encourage your audience to comment on your playlists as their comments will include a link to your playlist.

• 

Using Video Responses allows you to populate the space around your videos with your own related content.

• 

Ask viewers to submit video responses as a form of viewer interaction.

(Example of Playlist Experience)

Use the right urls when promoting videos from a playlist or entire playlists. To link to a video in ‘autoplay playlist mode,’ make sure the url includes “&list=”. You can get the right url from your playlist page’s ‘Share’ widget. A video url set to play within a playlist looks something like: youtube.com/watch?v=xxxx&list=xxxx.

Viewer Comment on Playlist

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Playlists & Video Responses

Publishing & Optimization

Examples Playlists on Channel

‘Added to Playlist’ in Feed

‘Hosted’ Playlist Example

55  


Playlists & Video Responses

Publishing & Optimization

How-To Steps 1. Set a strategy or use of playlists for your content and channel Each channel is different, so find the right use of playlists and video responses for your content and audience. Decide if your playlist strategy should or will affect how you produce content or publish it, (i.e. videos produced for a playlist should follow a structure that is tailored for watching a set of connected videos.)

3. Add new videos and maintain playlists Add new videos to relevant playlists at upload and maintain current playlists to keep them fresh, engaging, and relevant to your audience or new viewers. Add new uploads as video responses to relevant videos or to archive videos that can drive a lot of traffic.

2. Create playlists for your channel

4. Organize arrangement and display of playlists on Channel Page

Create different playlists for grouping and organizing your videos into sets or themes.

Arrange and organize playlists on your channel page to make navigation easy for channel visitors.

Follow metadata strategies and optimizations for the playlists. Use keywords for a compelling title, optimize tags of the playlist, and write a keyword-driven and informative description for the playlist. Choose the best thumbnail from the videos in the playlist to act as the playlist’s primary image.

Track changes to total viewership after creating playlists. Use YouTube Analytics, viewership graphs, and channel visit data to assess how your channel visitors are consuming content on your channel page. You can see views happening within playlists for specific videos in Analytics.

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Publishing & Optimization

Channel Page Optimization Strategy: Optimize and design your channel page’s avatar, metadata, layout and background. Set the correct sharing settings for your channel’s Feed.

Why It Works: A well-designed, organized, and search-optimized channel page will attract more viewers, make your channel a richer destination for subscribers, and create a professional look.

How To Do It: Design a custom background, optimize channel metadata, utilize channel templates, and broadcast the right interactions to subscribers through the feed.

Time Cost

Effect

Moderate: Less than 1 Hour

•  Channel Views •  Subscribers •  Time Spent •  Views

Optimization Type

Impact

1

2

3

4

5

57  


Publishing & Optimization

Channel Page Optimization YouTube channel pages can be optimized in a number of ways to help make your channel a discoverable destination that offers consistent, current content. When setting up and optimizing your channel page, you should be thinking about visual branding, channel metadata, and channel organization.

Discoverability

• 

Upload a square high-resolution (1600px x 1600px) avatar that is recognizable at smaller resolutions. This avatar will be your channel’s billboard throughout the site.

Branding

• 

Accurately describe your channel and capture relevant channel keywords when writing the channel description. Include relevant information such as upload schedule and details about the content.

• 

The first 45 characters of the description appears in the channel browser and across the site where viewers discover your channel.

• 

You can edit your Channel Page title to best reflect your brand.

• 

Create a custom, visually-compelling background image for the channel page.

• 

Feature your brand’s personalities. Make the audience feel like they are connecting with a person or character of your show and not just the brand or logo when they come to the channel.

• 

Make use of the image mapping space directly above the channel header. Determine what links are important to display here and design this area to gain the most clicks. Links on this banner image can link to promote any initiative, on YouTube or off.

• 

Feature the channels upload schedule into the background image or in the channel description. Announcing your schedule is specially useful for channels that house multiple content series.

• 

Upload graphics specific to the mobile viewing experience of your channel in the Edit Channel pane.

• 

Connect social media accounts and link to other sites or channels in the right sidebar of the channel.

To maximize channel promotion, concentrate on the channel avatar and first 45 characters of a channel description.

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Channel Page Optimization

Publishing & Optimization

YouTube Channel Pages have two main ways of displaying a channel’s video content: through the Feed or through the Featured Tab (utilizing channel templates and the Featured Video module). The feed is an important promotional tool for your channel – it is displayed on your channel page and can be accessed on the homepage for subscribers. The Feed

• 

The feed broadcasts channel activities to your current subscribers. By default: uploads, ‘liked videos’, videos added to playlists, bulletins, comments you make, channels you subscribe to, and ‘favorited videos’.

• 

For creators who do not upload on a weekly schedule, the feed allows an easy way of creating value for subscribers by broadcasting your other activity on the site. This activity in between uploads can help keep your feed active and relevant.

• 

Consider thinking programmatically with your activity on the site. Broadcast your ‘curation’ activity of other content on a set schedule. Add videos to playlists and ‘Like’ content that your subscribers might enjoy on certain days of the week.

• 

If you upload a high volume of content or are very active on the site, adjust your sharing settings to make your feed the right balance of uploads and activity to be engaging for your audience.. Broadcasting your activity on the site creates an effective platform to curate content for your audience. Your channel can be the source of great content whether or not you upload it!

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Publishing & Optimization

Channel Page Optimization YouTube Channel Pages now come with the ability to organize content into templates. Highlighting playlists, recent uploads, or other channels, templates allow creators to tailor their channel experience around the content that they upload, curate, or want to feature. Templates, Modules, and Layout

• 

Each channel template highlights different types of content. The five different templates are:

• 

Creator – highlights playlists. Best for creators who curate content into playlists often, have multiple shows on one channel, or who upload multiple clips everyday.

• 

Blogger – focuses on recent uploads or a featured playlist. Best for creators who upload one type of serial content on their channel and who want viewers to find their most recent content first.

• 

Network – The network template is best for channels that want to highlight other channels. Network channels may curate content from multiple channels through playlists and other activity.

• 

Everything – a combination of playlists and highlighted channels, the everything template allows creators to highlight, in equal parts, the channel’s own content and other channels’ content that may appeal to subscribers.

• 

Live – exclusively meant to highlight live-streaming content. (limited to live-stream enabled partners)

• 

Choose the right template for your channel to create the best experience for your content and schedule.

• 

Playlists are more prominent in the new channel design, so find the right playlist strategy to optimize your channel layout. (See Playlist and Video Responses section, pg. 52)

• 

The Featured Video module is used to highlight one video within a channel template. This video can either serve as an introduction to your channel’s content, highlight a topical tent-pole event, or surface the latest video in a content series.

• 

You can set your channel to send subscribers to the feed and nonsubscribers to your Featured Video tab. This will create a unique experience for each type of viewer. If you do set your channel in this way, consider using the featured video player to feature a highlight reel or welcome video of your channel and select the best content layout for this audience.

• 

Enable the Other Channels module to promote your other channels or related channels. This module is a great feature to create crosspromotion amongst channels. Channels listed here are also listed as suggested channels when a user subscribes to your channel.

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Publishing & Optimization

Channel Page Optimization Examples Creator Template with Other Channels Module enabled

Blogger Template with Top Branding Enabled

•  /SongsToWearPantsTo

•  /BarelyPolitical

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Publishing & Optimization

Channel Page Optimization How-To Steps 1. Design a great channel background

2. Optimize channel metadata

Design an attractive background for your channel that features the personalities, characters, or content of the channel.

Write an optimized, accurate channel description including: release schedule, show description, and other relevant information. Make your channel’s content clear in the first 45 characters of the description.

The channel banner image can be made clickable, so design it to get viewers to click. Ensure your most important links are image mapped in this section. Branding can click offsite: ensure your most important links are in the image mapped section above the channel. Upload graphics for the mobile viewing experience. Create a great avatar image that is relevant to your channel and will be eye-catching in search results.

Link to your dot com, social media and other relevant sites.

3. Choose template, enable Featured Video and Other Channels modules, manage Feed Explore all available features and modules available for the channel page and use them to highlight the type of content that is most relevant to your audience. Enable the Other Channels module to feature other channels and cross-promote. Enable your recent activity feed and channel comments to increase engagement with your channel. Treat your Feed as another form of content creation, update regularly and ensure highlighted content appeals to subscribers.

Track changes to channel viewership as optimizing your channel metadata and thumbnail can attract more clicks in search and increase percentage of views on the channel page. Track subscriber growth. Install Google Analytics on your channel page to help you track visits and time spent on the page.

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Publishing & Optimization

Reaching All Audiences Strategy:

Optimize videos and create content to reach the widest audience possible.

Why It Works: Overcoming language and/or cultural barriers will allow you to reach untapped audiences, propelling viewership growth.

How To Do It: Use online tools to create captions for your videos and create content that can transcend cultural differences.

Time Cost

Effect

Medium: 1+ Hours

•  Engagement •  Subscribers •  Video Ranking •  Views

Impact

Optimization Type

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Publishing & Optimization

Reaching All Audiences YouTube is a global platform and your audience can exist anywhere. Taking extra steps to optimize your content for any potential audience will help your videos reach as many people as possible. Making your content accessible to foreign language speakers and viewers who are hard-of-hearing provides you with completely new viewers.

Create Content with Global Appeal

• 

Your content may already have global appeal (check analytics), but consider if there is an opportunity to adapt it and appeal to cultures around the world.

• 

Make use of subjects or themes that have cross-cultural and global appeal such as animation, dance, animals, or strong visuals without dialogue.

• 

Focus videos on trends that are popular in specific regions.

• 

Tie-in your regular content to big tent-pole events happening in other countries and apply internationalization strategies around these big events.

• 

If there is a big enough opportunity, consider launching your content on a separate channel targeting new regions or with a new language.

Be Part of the Global Community

• 

Find out what other channels exist around the world that are relevant or similar to your content.

• 

Consider collaborating or cross-promoting with channels in other regions of the world, if your content will translate well.

• 

Invite other language speakers to create new voice-overs or audio for your content.

• 

Use Analytics to find out where your channel already attracts an audience, and focus internationalization efforts in those languages.

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Publishing & Optimization

Reaching All Audiences You can optimize your current content to be able to reach more audiences. YouTube provides several features to help you caption and subtitle your videos for multiple languages and you can use metadata to capture global searches.

Metadata for a Global Audience

• 

Adding captions to your videos will help it show up more places on the site. If your video is captioned for multiple languages it will be searchable in these languages.

Creating Captions

• 

You can provide your own captions and transcripts, or YouTube has several features to help you create and translate transcriptions of the audio in your content. A transcript is a text version of the audio in your video that you can upload to YouTube along with your video. This can be used to create captions for the current language of the video, or subtitles in other languages.

When uploading content that is intended for multiple languages, provide metadata and annotations for both languages, where appropriate.

• 

Using both English & other language metadata – Titles, Tags, and Descriptions – helps discoverability through different search terms.

• 

If you have a caption track for your videos already created, upload them to YouTube.

• 

If you upload a caption track on your video, YouTube can then enable Auto-Translate, allowing it to be automatically translated for users in 58 languages (variable accuracy).

• 

To easily create captions for a video, write out the text of all the audio and upload it. YouTube will auto-sync the timing to match speech in the video. (English, Japanese, Korean speech only)

• 

Use 3rd-party caption creation tools or ask fans to help create captions. Download or edit the machine transcription created by YouTube’s auto-caption as a starting point and edit for accuracy. (More info about captioning your videos in YouTube Support.)

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Publishing & Optimization

Reaching All Audiences Examples Metadata in Two Languages

•  /tartofraises1

•  /megwin

Collaboration with Global Channels

A Global Audience Shown in Analytics

•  /Faireset with /MysteryGuitarMan

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Publishing & Optimization

Reaching All Audiences How-To Steps 1. Consider all audiences when creating content

3. Add captions to your current videos

Identify opportunities to reach a new audience around the globe with your videos. Adapt your most popular videos to be in more languages.

Prioritize languages by looking at your traffic sources from different regions in YouTube Analytics.

Re-edit your current content that is well-suited for translation to have different audio in different languages.

Create captions in target languages by uploading transcriptions to YouTube or by asking your fans to help translate.

Identify relevant tent-pole events in different countries or prioritize your optimization efforts for more languages.

Use YouTube’s CaptionTube to have your fans or subscribers create captions for your videos.

2. Cross-promote and collaborate with global channels

4. Optimize videos with multi-language metadata and annotations

Change the country setting at the bottom of the YouTube homepage to explore worldly videos and channels. Check YouTube Analytics to determine which similar channels have the biggest audiences in different countries.

If your video has captions, let the audience know by using annotations or address it in the video content. If you are creating content intended for multiple languages, write titles and descriptions in both languages. Start with your primary audience’s language. Add and write annotations with both languages represented.

Use traffic sources and regional information to track if captioning videos are helping your channel attract more viewers. Monitor comments on your videos to see if more language speakers are engaged with your content.

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Publishing & Optimization

Publishing & Optimization

Checklist Every channel’s specific approach and strategy to publishing will vary, but below is a simple and useful publishing checklist that covers some of the most important actions required once you upload a video. Making the video is only half the battle, optimizing and engaging with the community after you upload are of equal importance.

Upload Write detailed and comprehensive metadata following keyword strategies and formatting. Create and upload a great, eye-catching thumbnail that is high-resolution. Spot-check the live video and published metadata.

Publish Annotate the video with community CTAs, subscribe button, and links to related content. Set the video as featured video on your channel page based on how you organize your channel page’s uploads. Set video as a video response to a popular and relevant video from your channel. Add the video to a relevant playlist on your channel. Add to YouTube Show season list, where applicable. Engage and Outreach (See Section Three)

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Section Three

Community & Social Media 70 75 78 84

Involve Your Audience Blog Outreach Other Social Media Checklist

69  


Community & Social Media

Involve Your Audience Strategy: Interact with your audience and involve them in your videos or channel.

Why It Works: Viewer interaction builds loyalty to your content and increases viewer engagement. The channel’s involvement can guide conversation in comments and user actions.

How To Do It: Create viewer-centric content, and engage with the audience through social features on the platform.

Time Cost

Medium: 1+ Hours

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Engagement •  Subscribers •  Video Ranking 1

2

3

4

5

70  


Community & Social Media

Involve Your Audience Online Video is social; it is a two-way dialogue. People are drawn to online video and web series because they can interact with the channel in ways that they can’t with television. The ability to interact with your viewers is key to the medium. So, speak to your audience, and listen to what they say.

Ask the Viewers

If you actively engage with your audience through your channel, it will pay off in the long run. An engaged community of viewers often leads to a loyal following. Your fans will become your social army – empower them to grow your brand and they will be your best promoters.

• 

Ask viewers for their opinions, ideas, or feedback on videos. Whenever you try something new, ask for their thoughts.

• 

Include specific questions in the videos, or in your messaging to viewers. Specific questions will encourage more responses and guide the conversations happening around your videos and channel.

• 

Ask fans to actively promote your video through social media and on YouTube by ‘liking’, commenting and ‘favoriting’.

• 

Ask for video responses, remixes, or fan-versions to your video.

Feature the Audience

• 

Feature viewers and their content in your video. Make the audience feel like the star – by featuring comments or user-submitted content in your videos – and they’ll be a fan for life.

• 

Consider setting criteria for what gets featured on your channel such as requiring the user to be a subscriber. This can boost subscriptions.

• 

Devote entire episodes to viewer interaction. Comment Videos (responding to / featuring user comments) and vlogs (speaking directly/conversationally to the audience) are easy ways to create and release extra content and speak to your audience in ways different from regular episodes.

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Community & Social Media

Involve Your Audience Your viewers don’t just want to be an audience, they want to be a community. They want to engage with your channel and interact through comments, messages, and more. Make sure you are a part of that conversation and representing your brand well. If your videos attract a large viewership, a community will emerge with or without you.

Messaging Fans / Subscribers

Interacting with fans and the Community

Reward Your Community and Super-Fans

• 

Respond to comments. This should always be a key part of your social strategy. Comments are the best forum to interact with viewers about specific episodes and will spur more viewers to include their comment when they notice you actively respond.

• 

• 

Respond to comments in the first few hours after you publish a video. These first commenters are your core audience, and building comments early helps increase the video’s ranking in search.

• 

Your own comments on your uploaded videos get pinned to show up at the top of the comments section, prominently featuring your engagement with the fans.

• 

Be an active member of the YouTube community and platform. Comment, ‘favorite’, and be present on the site, outside of your own channel.

• 

Where possible, engage with the commenters on the places outside of YouTube where you’re seeing a lot of new views come from, such as blogs, sites or other online communities.

• 

Make announcements through YouTube Bulletins which will appear in your subscriber feeds.

• 

Where appropriate, include Call To Actions in your responses or messages, but keep it casual. E.g. “If you like the video, don’t forget to share it!”

Find ways to reward your community (both on and off YouTube) for their loyalty and support of the channel. Beyond shout-outs in the videos, think of rewards such as fan merchandise or exclusive content shared through ‘Unlisted’ videos.

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Community & Social Media

Involve Your Audience Examples Featuring the Audience

Featuring Comments / Acknowledging the Viewers

•  /schmoyoho

•  /iJustine

Asking the Audience

Uploader Comments Show Up First

•  /BarelyPolitical

•  /TheIndieMachines

73  


Community & Social Media

Involve Your Audience How-To Steps 1.  Set your own interaction strategy

4. Dedicate time to interact after each upload

In whatever way makes sense for you, your content, and your channel, acknowledge the viewers and make them feel important.

Whenever you upload a new video, dedicate time to interact with your audience. Message them on social media, and be a part of the early conversation that happens around your videos.

2. Create viewer-centric content Decide whether viewer engagement can be included in your regular videos, or if separate videos make more sense for you to interact with and/or involve the audience.

5. Ask your fans for feedback and support

Consider creating videos or segments to your content that feature the audience or are centered around engaging with them.

Ask for feedback when you make changes or try something new. Ask for show ideas or new video concepts.

3. Utilize the social features of the platform

Ask viewers for help achieving benchmarks or with programming initiatives.

Encourage and guide the conversations that happen around your videos by asking specific questions.

Respond to comments, send bulletins, use the moderator tool, and respond to messages from your audience. Don’t just be active on your own content, engage with other videos as well.

Track changes in Analytics for community actions such as commenting, ‘favoriting’, or ‘liking’ of your videos. The viewers will become more engaged as you interact more with them. Track the performance of viewer-interaction segments by using Audience Retention graphs.

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Community & Social Media

Blog Outreach Strategy: Share your content with relevant blogs, sites, and online communities.

Why It Works: Blogs and other sites are always looking for great content to feature that is relevant to their audience. External site traffic can be a significant driver of views for your channel.

How To Do It: Create a blog roll and only share content that is relevant. Target your outreach and build relationships.

Time Cost

Effect

Optimization Type

Impact

•  External Traffic Medium: 1+ Hours

•  Video Ranking •  Views 1

2

3

4

5

75  


Community & Social Media

Blog Outreach Don’t limit your purview to just YouTube. A lot of viewers find content on YouTube through other sites on the Internet. There are tons of sites and blogs that are always looking for great content to write about or feature. Make it easy for these people to promote your videos by reaching out to them with great content that is relevant to their audience.

Build Relationships

• 

Keep track of what blogs and sites are featuring your videos and driving views. Identify the key drivers of views and consider sharing content with those places first, letting them know they are getting the inside scoop.

• 

Build a relationship with the editors of blogs by thanking them when they repost, and only sharing videos that you truly feel they would want to share with their audience.

Get the Word Out

• 

Create a blog roll for your channel or shows as a promotional tool. Your blog roll should be a comprehensive list of sites, blogs, online influencers (twitter users), and niche online communities that are relevant to your content.

• 

Promote new videos to places from your blog roll that you think would be interested in the content. Tent-pole or topical content is typically best suited for targeted outreach to relevant sites.

• 

If you’ve created full playlists of videos related to key tent-pole events, share these curated video sets with blogs, who may be looking for groups of videos about topics currently trending online.

YouTube does not recommend or approve any of the blogs or websites shown. Used as examples.

Track Your Brand

• 

Know where people are talking about your content, or sharing your content. Set Google Alerts for your channel name, show names, character names, and any other keywords specific to your channel that will help you identify places where your content is appearing or being discussed across the web.

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Community & Social Media

Blog Outreach How-To Steps 1. Create a blog roll

2. Send videos to targeted outlets

Use blog directories such as Google Blog Search, Technorati, and Alexa to find blogs and sites that are relevant to the type of content you produce.

Send brief, personalized emails to appropriate contacts and include a short description of the content, why it might be good for their audience, and a link to the video with the embed code. Make a note that they can embed/share if they like it.

Create a list of general blogs with a broad scope in your category. Also, find niche sites that could be relevant to specific episode you produce such as tent-pole event episodes. Locate contact information from the sites and include names of recipients, where possible.

3. Track the pick-up Set Google Alerts for the name of the video or use other ‘online conversation tracking’ to help you track where it gets embedded. Check your discovery stats to find sites that are driving traffic.

Track changes in viewership coming from external sites. You can also use the Traffic Sources metrics to see what % of views is coming from external sites and blogs. Identify key drivers of views and target your outreach there. Track off-site discussions on your content using Google Alerts.

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Community & Social Media

Other Social Media Strategy:

Leverage other social media to build viewership on your channel and engage with your audience in new ways.

Why It Works: Social media is a great way to turn your fans into a social army that will help you broadcast your content out to their personal network.

How To Do It: Engage with your audience and promote your YouTube content on social media platforms.

Time Cost

Effect

Impact

Optimization Type

•  Engagement Moderate: Less Than 1 Hour

•  Video Ranking •  Views •  Subscribers 78  


Community & Social Media

Other Social Media Google+ Creators should establish a Google+ Page to engage with fans and other YouTube creators. Google+ allows you to organize people into different ‘circles’ to help you guide your interactions and tailor your engagement to a circle’s specific interests or needs. Not only can you share videos and other media, you can get face-to-face, live engagement with your audience in Hangouts. Manage Circles

•  • 

Create and organize different circles to correspond with the various audiences you want to reach. Create circles for your collaborators, super-fans, and other YouTube creators. Discover people in other creators’ circles, and add them to your circles.

• 

Post behind-the-scenes photos or provide a sneak preview of your videos.

• 

Endorse other creators or videos you like.

• 

Find ways to repurpose and share videos from your archive in unique ways.

• 

Post content regularly and be consistent about how you engage on your Page.

Engage

• 

Don’t simply push content. Be sure to spend time interacting with fans in your posts.

• 

Ask specific questions about the content you post and solicit feedback.

• 

Keep your posts conversational, informational and casual.

• 

Comment on your posts, on user threads, and respond to direct+ mentions.

Post and Share

• 

Determine your goal for each post. Do you want to spur discussion? Communicate news? Increase your Page’s reach? The way you phrase and format your posts should align with your goals.

• 

Post new YouTube uploads to your Google+ Page, and target your updates to specific circles.

• 

Encourage followers to +1 and share your post if they like what they see.

• 

Provide updates and announcements.

• 

Poll your followers, and let them vote on ideas for your next video.

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Community & Social Media

Other Social Media Google+ (continued) Hangout!

Measure

• 

Host Google+ Hangouts with your fans on a regular basis.

• 

• 

Hangouts are a great way to seek input from your fans and reward your super-fans with personal direct access to you.

Find out what people are saying about you and your videos by using Google+ search. It’s a good way to help you spot super-fans and conversations you can jump into, when it makes sense.

• 

Be creative with Hangouts. You can watch YouTube videos in Hangouts in real-time, which allows you to host regular viewing parties and focus groups.

• 

Use Ripples to keep track of how your posts are spreading across G +. You can find out who is sharing and re-sharing your videos, who are your biggest influencers, and how communities are forming around your content.

• 

Stay tuned for Analytics on a Page for more data about your users and how your +Page is performing. Link up your Google+ Page in the description module of your YouTube Channel to drive more followers to your Page. Also, include a link to your YouTube Channel in the ‘About’ tab on your +Page profile.

Remember to follow all community guidelines and Terms of Service if uploading the video file of a Google+ Hangout to YouTube.

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Community & Social Media

Other Social Media Facebook Creators and Partners should have a Facebook presence for their YouTube channel. It is a great tool to interact with your fans in different ways and build audience. Your activity and the activity of your fans on Facebook get multiplied out to their groups of friends, so it is a great way to rely on your fans to help introduce your show to new viewers. Facebook Best Practices

• 

Post new uploads to your Facebook page. Post updates regularly (at least once a day.)

• 

Find ways to repurpose and share videos from your archive in interesting ways.

• 

Interact with your fans when you post content to your page.

• 

Ask specific questions about the content you post. Asking a questions to build comments on the post that will help you reach a new audience. Every action your fans take on your page gets broadcast out to their friends, helping you reach new viewers. Encouraging comments will also help you learn about the interest of your core audience. Your Facebook fans represent some of your most dedicated viewers.

• 

Vary your updates to be both video-centric and also conversational. Your Facebook fans don’t just want to click links, they want to get something extra, more personal on Facebook.

Disclaimer: These strategies are sample strategies, not endorsed by YouTube and in no way connected to or sponsored by Facebook.

• 

Your Facebook strategy should be unique to that platform and part of the objective should be building audience around your YouTube content. Create a unique viewing experience for your Facebook fans by how you post and how you interact, but center your actions on driving views, increasing subscriber and gaining more Facebook fans.

• 

Turn Facebook fans into viewers and subscribers by consistently directing them to your YouTube content and channel.

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Other Social Media

Community & Social Media

Twitter Twitter is another tool to interact with your fans in a conversational way. Twitter is also a great way to identify your peers, contribute to the conversations that are relevant to you and your audience’s interests, and spot what is trending on the Web. Twitter Best Practices

• 

Twitter updates should be a mix of personal updates as well as promoting your content.

• 

Share links to your newest videos on twitter. You can use URL shorteners to track Click-Through-Rates (CTRs.)

• 

@reply power-users on twitter with links to videos they would be interested in and may re-tweet to their followers. Twitter outreach to relevant users should accompany your blog outreach.

• 

Create unique #hashtags for your channel and always use them in your tweets; encourage your followers to do the same.

• 

Update your twitter feed 1-3 times per day to stay visible in your followers’ feeds.

Disclaimer: These strategies are sample strategies, not endorsed by YouTube and in no way connected to or sponsored by Twitter.

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Community & Social Media

Other Social Media How-To Steps 1. Create and set-up accounts on social media sites

4. Post / share your videos

Create accounts on sites that are relevant to your content and audience. Find niche sites that are specific to your audience.

Make posting your YouTube videos to social media sites part of your YouTube publishing process. Post new uploads, but also find ways to repurpose or reintroduce videos from your archives to your fans on social media sites.

Set up your pages and accounts to reflect your YouTube content and channel. Use similar design or branding to unite the different outlets.

2. Set a social media strategy for your YouTube content

Accompany each post with questions or other ways to encourage comments.

Decide what content to share on the social media sites and how to interact with your audience in the right ways on each.

5. Track and assess

3. Ask your fans for input

Track engagements and traffic happening on social media sites and assess how they are translating into views for your content. Experiment with different strategies to turn your social media followers into viewers and subscribers to your channel.

Ask your fans for ideas on what sort of content they want to see on different social sites.

Monitor your Traffic Sources to track changes coming from external sites and social media sites. Use third-party analytics tools that are available for tracking your keywords or links across social media sites. Investigate the ‘peaks and valleys’ of engagement on social media platforms in the same way you do for YouTube performance. Disclaimer: These strategies are sample strategies, not endorsed by YouTube and in no way connected to or sponsored by other social media sites.

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Community & Social Media

Community & Social Media

Checklist Set up accounts and set specific strategies for all social media sites that are important to your content or audience. Create and maintain a Blog Roll for your channel. Include niche sites or targeted sites for tent-pole related content. Dedicate time and resources to involve and interact with your audience. Perform outreach to blogs, sites and online communities for relevant videos. Create content or segments specifically with your audience in mind. Make sure that you include viewer interaction in your videos by asking specific questions, featuring fans, or by addressing the audience in the videos. Interact with viewers in the first few hours after your upload new content. Respond to comments and be active on social media sites to build engagement around new uploads. Track engagement on social media sites and assess the incoming traffic from those communities to your YouTube content.

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Now, Go Create Something.

85  


Appendix 86  87  88

Video Upload Checklist Metadata Keyword Resources Glossary

86  


Video Upload Checklist Every channel’s specific approach and strategy to publishing will vary, but below is a simple and useful publishing checklist that covers some of the most important actions required once you upload a video. Making the video is only half the battle, optimizing and engaging with the community after you upload are of equal importance.

Upload

Publish

Engage & Outreach

Write detailed and comprehensive metadata following proper formatting and strategies.

Annotate the video with community CTAs, subscribe button, and links to related content.

Update your social media channels.

Create and upload a great, eyecatching thumbnail that is high resolution.

Set the video as featured video on your channel page based on how your organize your channel page’s uploads.

Outreach to relevant blogs, sites and online communities.

Set the video as a video response to a popular and relevant video from your channel. Add the video to a relevant playlist on your channel. Add to YouTube Show season list, where applicable.

Engage with the audience on the comments section in the first few hours of publishing. ‘Like’ and ‘favorite’ the video on your channel in timely increments (e.g. 24hrs later) to have the activity appear in your subscribers feeds.

87  


Metadata Keyword Resources • 

YouTube Keyword Generator / Video Targeting Tool: Identify new keywords for your video. https://ads.youtube.com/keyword_tool

• 

YouTube Trending Topics: Identify trending topics in your category. http://www.youtube.com/videos

• 

Check out the keywords that other successful, similarly themed videos utilize.

• 

Start to type keywords in the YouTube search bar and see what suggested searches come up.

88  


Glossary (Annotations - Feed)

Annotations Video Annotations are an uploader-controlled dynamic overlay you can add to videos that allow you to overlay text on a video and/or make parts of the video ‘clickable.’ You can add, edit and delete annotations to your videos controlling the text, placement, timing, and link URLs. URLs can only be directed to YouTube.com.

Audience Retention The Audience retention report (formerly known as Hot Spots in Insight) is an overall measure of your video's ability to retain its audience. It represents when viewers leave your video, fast-forward, or rewind at different points in the video.

Avatar The square image on your channel page that represents your channel across the site.

Blog Outreach

A strategy of sharing your videos with a targeted list of blogs, sites, and/ or online communities or influencers. Sending your video link and/or embed code with information about it in the hopes of getting blog editors or online users to embed or share the video with their audiences.

Blog Roll A list of blogs, sites, online communities, and influencers relevant to a particular category or type of content, used for Blog Outreach.

Bulletin A message a channel owner can send to their subscribers. Bulletins show up in subscribers’ feeds. You can attach videos to a bulletin.

Call to Action Prompting the viewer to take an action.

Channel or Channel Page YouTube.com/CHANNELNAME. A channel is the public page for a user account on YouTube containing uploaded videos, playlists, ‘liked videos’, ‘favorited videos’, channel comments, and general activity. Some creators manage or create content across multiple channels.

Comment Written comments on videos, channels, playlists, or in response to other comments. Comments may be posted either on the watch page or on a channel page.

Community Actions Any actions taken by a viewer on or around your channel and content. Includes ‘likes’, ‘favorites’, subscribes, comments.

End-Card or End-Slate A graphic that creators can make and include at the end of their videos. End-Cards typically include specific call to actions for the viewer to subscribe, watch more content, visit a channel page, or contain credits for the video. Generally, End-Cards prominently feature annotations.

Engagement Interaction between the creator and the audiences, the viewer and the video, or the creator with the site. Can be measured by the number of interactions (comments, ‘favorites’, ‘likes’, new subscriptions) per view.

Feed A stream of activity either for one channel (via the channel page feed) or for multiple channels (the homepage feed). Feed activities include uploads, updated playlists, video and channel comments, new subscriptions, bulletins, ‘likes’, ‘favorites’, and sharing. Users control which feed activities they choose to broadcast, and the feed activities that are broadcasted to them, depending on which channels they subscribe to.

89  


Glossary (Favorite - Share)

Favorite(s) A user action that adds a video to their channel’s‘favorites’ playlist. This action can also be broadcast out to subscribers.

Hook Content that is meant to keep viewers interested in what happens next. Ideally a video’s hook happens within the first 15 seconds.

Hosted Playlist A collection of videos in a playlist with added video context from the playlist creator. Context is added with ‘hosted’ videos that can act as intros, outros, and/or interstitials. Hosted videos can contain an actual host (person) or creative branding that acts as a host.

Like(s) A user action that shows appreciation for a video. This action can be broadcast out to subscribers in the feed.

Packaging Graphics and or content that adds context to a video. Packaging can build your brand, connect your host with the audience, add relevant context to archived content, or add scripted/annotated Calls to Action.

Playlist A playlist is a collection of videos that can be viewed, shared, and embedded like an individual video. You can create playlists using any videos on YouTube. Videos can be in multiple playlists. Uploaded videos and ‘favorited videos’ are default playlists on your channel.

Pre-Buzz Audience interest in a tent-pole event in the days and weeks leading up to it.

Programming The practice and strategy of organizing videos, shows or channel content and activity in a daily, weekly, or season-long schedule.

Metadata The textual information that describes a video, channel, or playlist. Video Recommendation Activity metadata includes title, tags, and description. Playlist metadata includes A strategy where a channel ‘likes’, ‘favorites’, or comments on a video to title and description. Channel metadata includes a description. promote that video to their subscribers through the feed.

Optimization An action that increases the potential success of a video, channel, playlist, or content strategy.

Other Channels Module An optional module that allows the channel owner to feature other channels on their channel page.

Series Playlist A playlist that locks the videos into one specific playlist. Intended for serial or episodic content that follows a narrative story arc. Videos included in a series playlist cannot be added to other playlists on the channel.

Share Ability to distribute videos via social media, email, or direct links. This action can be broadcast to subscribers.

90  


Glossary (Suggested Videos – YouTube Analytics)

Suggested Videos Thumbnails Video thumbnails that appear in the right hand column of watch pages The image selected to represent your video or playlist on the site. and the homepage, or the tiled thumbnails that appear when a video has finished playing. Traffic Source The referral source of a view for a video. The page, module, or place of a Subscriber / Subscription site that drove a viewer to a video. By subscribing to a channel, users will see that channel’s activity in their homepage feed. Subscribers can also opt into email communication from Video Response the channels they subscribe to on a per-upload and weekly digest basis. A feature that allows users to upload a video comment to a video. Video Responses show up underneath the video they are responding to on Subscriber Box Watch pages. Settings and preferences for video responses can be set See Other Channels Module. under the edit video menu.

Tags Words or phrases used to describe the content of your videos. Added to videos at time of upload. (See Metadata)

Vlog A Video-blog. A casual, conversational video format or genre featuring a person talking directly to the camera.

Teaser A short video that acts as a preview or trailer for longer content. Can be used to promote larger content initiatives or announcements.

Watch Page The page where the majority of video viewing happens. URLs with the format youtube.com/watch?v=[video ID Here] are watch pages.

Templates Different pre-set channel designs that can be used to highlight videos, playlists, and other channels.

YouTube Analytics A tool that provides information across various metrics for videos, channels, and audience. Available in your user account.

Tent-pole Programming and Publishing Content creation and publishing strategy that is meant to leverage the popularity of large cultural events to maximize audience.

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Youtube Creator Playbook