Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

yt-creator-playbook by HipThaiStep


									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    The First 15 Seconds                39   Metadata                      70    Involve Your Audience
18    Calls to Action                     44   Thumbnails                    75    Blog Outreach
23    Regular Schedule and Frequency      47   Annotations                   78    Other Social Media
28    Tent-pole Programming               52   Playlists & Video Responses   84    Checklist
31    Cross-promotion and Collaboration   57   Channel Page                         --------
37    Checklist                           63   Reaching All Audiences        86    Appendix
                                          68   Checklist	
                   87    Video Upload Checklist
                                                                             88    Metadata Keyword Resources
                                                                             89    Glossary of Terms	

Welcome to the second edition of The YouTube Creator            There Are No Rules to Making Great Content
Playbook! This version features a new look, brand new           The Creator Playbook is not a collection of rules or guaranteed ‘tricks’
                                                                to get more views. Instead, it presents best practices, optimization tips,
sections to reflect the new channel design, and lots of         and suggested strategies for building audience and engagement on
updates to help you optimize for the overall new site layout.   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
We’re excited to provide our partners with a great resource     own approach.
that compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies
                                                                Be Creative in Applying The Playbook to Your Channel
that will help you build your audience on YouTube. We           We understand that not every strategy or optimization will apply to
hope you find the information helpful to your creative          every creator on YouTube. Each bit of information will apply differently
process and that we can help you take your channel to the       to the myriad of channels, categories, and talented creators that make
next level. First, we want to address some questions you        YouTube so great. The Creator Playbook requires you to be creative in
may have about what kind of information is presented in         its application. This resource should be a guide for how to think
                                                                strategically about the content you make, where to focus your
The Creator Playbook and how you should use this                optimization efforts, and should inspire you to constantly try new things.
resource as a new tool to achieve your creative goals.          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
        The most important part of what you                     tips and trends to share back with you. As the platform evolves and as
 do on YouTube – the greatest optimization                      new features are released, there will be updates to The Creator
                                                                Playbook with new strategies, tips and optimizations for you to try.
 – is to make something great, and to love                      Check back with us often to get these updates so you can continue to
 what you’re making.                                            learn how to build audience and utilize new features to reach more
                                                                people in meaningful ways.

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:                                                                 •    Provides context and further detail on why the best practice is
•  Strategy: Brief description                                                 important or how to implement.
•  Why It Works: Reasoning or context
•  How To Do It: Short explanation of how to implement.                   Examples
A Visual Key Guide to:                                                    •    Presents examples and/or different methods or variations.
•  Time Cost: Estimation of how much time is required.
•  Effect: Outlines what metrics are affected by optimization.            How-to (and Analytics Tip)
•  Impact Rating: Estimation of how much effect an optimization or
   strategy will have on outlined metrics.                                •    Once you understand the strategy or optimization, you’re ready to
•  Optimization Type: Denotes if optimization or strategy is production        take action. This page outlines basic steps to get you going.
   based, achieved during publishing, or something based around           •    The how-to page also contains an ‘Analytics Tip’ which will provide
   community or outreach.                                                      information on how to measure and track changes to your channel’s
                                                                               performance and the metrics that may be affected.

Icons & Key Definitions
                     Progress bar appears at the top of the page showing the progress through
Progress Bar         each best practice explanation.

Time Cost
                                Minimal:         Moderate:                Medium:                 Major:
                             0 – 5 Minutes    Less than 1 Hour            1+ Hours          Full Day or More

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

Impact Rating                          Optimization Type

                1 : Moderate
                                                                     •    Implemented before going into production

                3 : Strong
                                                                     •    Implemented during production process

                5 : Major
                                                                     •    Implemented at the time of video uploading

                                                                     •    Implemented after video has been published


YouTube Analytics
YouTube Analytics is a powerful tool and valuable resource   In addition to this initial overview section of YouTube
for all content creators. The tool provides deep insights    Analytics, every How-to page of The Playbook includes an
about your channel, videos, and audience. Analytics          ‘Analytics Tip’ to help you use the tool to assess the impact
should be used in conjunction with The YouTube Creator       of any changes implemented.
Playbook to help you prioritize optimizations, measure
impact of new strategies, and to assess your channel’s

YouTube Analytics

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                Effect                Impact                 Optimization Type

                        •  Engagement
                        •  Subscribers
                        •  Views
    1+ Hours            •  Community Activity
YouTube Analytics
YouTube Analytics is a robust tool that provides informative               •    Start ‘macro’ and move into the ‘micro.’ Assess metrics from a top
data and insights about your content, your audience, and                        level or expanded time period, and then focus in on areas that show
                                                                                something interesting or unusual. A change or spike in one metric
your programming. What you learn by using YouTube                               should lead you to investigate other metrics that correlate. For
Analytics can help inform programming and production                            example, a change in viewership should lead you to investigate
decisions for your channel, and helps every creator be                          traffic sources, then maybe a specific video.
smarter and more strategic with the videos they create.
                                                                           •    Compare the changes for different metrics against each other to
                                                                                understand the relationships between them.
Find the ‘Story’ Behind Peaks and Changes
                                                                           •    Don’t just analyze your newest videos, use Analytics to learn about
Don’t just use YouTube Analytics for a quick look at your channels              what videos from your archive continue to perform well and
performance – explore the tool to gain a deep understanding of your             investigate why they’re top performers.
content, audience, and strategies. With the right knowledge and usage,
creators can understand causality and correlations between the various     •    Prioritize your efforts by starting optimizations on your top-
metrics and gain insight that will help build an audience. The data will        performing videos and work backward.
always tell a story, when you know how to read it.

YouTube Analytics

•    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

•    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.


•    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.

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

•    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 cross-
     promotions 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.

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.

YouTube Analytics
How-To Steps
1. Gain fluency in YouTube Analytics                                        4. Make programming or creative decisions based on your
Explore YouTube Analytics and read through documentation to
                                                                            data assessment
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                     Find ways to build on your channels ‘peaks of success.’ Understand
                                                                            why certain videos performed well and make programming and creative
Make checking your Analytics part of your YouTube workflow to know          decisions to build on that previous success.
how your videos and overall channel are performing.
                                                                            Understand why certain videos or formats performed poorly and adjust
Keep a record of when you implement new optimizations or change             your future strategy to avoid drop-offs and low performance.
your strategy. When changes are made, so you can track results and
impact days or weeks later.
                                                                            5. Track results of implemented changes
3. Refer to the ‘Analytics Tip’ in each section
                                                                            When you make changes based on previous data, track relevant
Analytics Tips at the end of each section help you use this tool in every   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.

Section One

Programming & Producing
14   The First 15 Seconds
18   Calls to Action
23   Regular Schedule and Frequency
28   Tent-pole Programming
31   Cross-promotion and Collaboration
37   Checklist

                                                                        Programming & Producing
The First 15 Seconds

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                   Impact             Optimization Type

                       •  Engagement
                       •  Subscribers
                       •  Video Ranking
 Less than 1 Hour      •  Views              1   2     3      4   5

                                                                                                                          Programming & Producing
The First 15 Seconds
Many viewers decide whether they are going to keep watching your               …Branding and Packaging Later
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           •    Branding, flashy intros, and packaging can create a professional
content - “What am I Watching?” - should also come across in the first              quality to your content, but it’s not the star of the video.
few moments and hook them early to give them a reason to stick
around.                                                                        •    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
Compelling Content First…                                                           entertains the viewer. (See Examples)

•    The first thing the viewer sees should be compelling, whether it is       •    Packaging and branding should be minimal and short. We’ve found
     the personality or the content of the video.                                   5 seconds to be an optimal length.

•    Personalities should address and welcome the audience, ask a
     question, spark the viewer’s curiosity, tease the rest of the video.
                                                                               What Am I Watching?
•    Use a ‘teaser’ for the content of the video; start with a quick clip of
                                                                               •    In a lot of cases of non-fiction programming, it is important to make it
     what’s to come later in the video.
                                                                                    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.

Capture Attention                         Brief Branding (Optional)            Keep Them Watching with Great Content

                                                                          Programming & Producing
The First 15 Seconds
Engage First, Brand Second                    Branding as Compelling Content
•  /sxephil                                   •  /CollegeHumor

Compelling Openings
•  /Vsauce (3 openings)      •  /FoodWishes                 •  You!

                                                                                                                     Programming & Producing
The First 15 Seconds
How-To Steps
1. Understand the engagement & viewing trends of your                          3. Experiment with variations
content                                                                        Try different approaches and see what works best to keep people
Use tools available in Analytics to better understand how your videos          watching your video and decrease early abandonment.
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               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
2. Determine the right ‘hook’ or opening for your content                      viewers to commit to continue watching the rest of the video.
and audience
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

                                                                     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.

                                                                         Programming & Producing
Calls to Action

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               Impact                 Optimization Type

                        •  Engagement
                        •  Subscribers
                        •  Video Ranking
   0 – 5 Minutes        •  Views
                                                                                                                           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              •    Asking viewers to ‘like’, ‘favorite’ or share the video, helps it appear
     channel.                                                                       more places across the site.

•    Give them reasons to subscribe: more great videos every week,             •    ‘Likes’ and ‘favorites’ from your viewers get broadcast out to their
     never miss an episode, etc.                                                    community, which draws new viewers to your video.

                                                                               •    Viewers sharing your video on social media broadcasts it to all their
Visit Your Channel or Watch More Videos                                             friends and followers.

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

•    Tell people about your channel and everything that it has to offer.       •    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
                                                                               •    Asking a specific question or an ‘A vs. B’ choice will increase the

                                                                                                  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)                                                                                 19	
                                                                                                                          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’

•    Talking directly to the camera in a genuine manner can get the            •    You can use graphical overlays and other graphics in your videos to
     audience to listen and act. Having the talent of the video, the host or        prompt for specific CTAs.
     a character talking to their audience and prompting them to take
     some action is important to include in videos.                            •    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.

•    See the ‘Annotations’ section for more details. (pg. 47)
                                                                               •    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
•    Use annotations when you don’t want to have your characters ‘break
                                                                                    consistency for the end of your videos that directs the audience to
     the fourth wall’ of your video.
                                                                                    take specific actions.
•    Annotations are a great way to include CTAs in your video when
     they aren’t part of the video’s content.                                  Video Descriptions

•    Use annotations to update and add new CTAs to older videos.               •    See ‘Metadata’ section for more details. (pg. 39)

                                                                               •    Use space available in the video’s description to include messaging
                                                                                    and links for your viewers to act on.
                Annotations can optimize repurposed content to
                include important CTAs.                                        •    Use links to get your audience to subscribe, go to your channel
                                                                                    page, start a playlist, or visit your site and social media.

                                                                                                                      Programming & Producing
Calls to Action
•  /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)                                    21	
                                                                                                                                 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.                       Videos should have a call to action. Keep these important elements in
Prompts for key community actions such as subscribing and watching                      mind when shooting the video, creating packaging, writing the video
more content should be included in most videos, but assess the right                    description, and when adding annotations.
actions for your content and overall objectives.

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

                                                                             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)                                                         22	
                                                                       Programming & Producing
Regular Schedule & Frequency

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               Impact                 Optimization Type

                       •  Channel Views
                       •  Subscribers
                       •  Video Ranking
    1+ Hours           •  Views
                                                                                                                       Programming & Producing
Regular Schedule & Frequency
There’s a lot of great videos to explore on YouTube, and so                  Get the Most from Your Productions
remaining relevant, engaging and maintaining the interest
and attention of your audience is important. The activity of
                                                                             •    Make the most of your production investments. Be creative and
                                                                                  resourceful about how you create content to find ways to be able to
your channel’s feed is how you keep your audience                                 publish more regularly. Ways to get more videos from your
engaged. ‘Feed’ your Channel’s Feed!                                              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-the-
Frequency of Uploads and Engagement                                               scenes, recaps, best of countdowns, trailers, vlogs, comment
                                                                                  videos, and more.
•    Publishing content regularly and often will keep your channel feed
     active, increase your placements on the site, and help you build        •    Create shorter versions of long-form content to act as teasers,
     viewership. A good level to aim for is a minimum of one video per            trailers, or previews of longer videos. These bite-size versions
     week, but the right amount of content depends on your audience,              introduce your longer content to viewers, and get them interested in
     your goals, and your content. This frequency will provide your               watching the full-versions.
     audience with new content regularly, and keep them coming back
                                                                                                Use annotations, playlists, and other linking to get
•    Keep your feed active for your audience. An active feed is sustained                       viewers from the previews to the actual video.
     by uploading videos, but also by your engagement on the platform in
     the forms of commenting, ‘favoriting’, ‘liking’, and managing your
                                                                                                           “Consistent audience
•    Maintain content and engagement with your channel in-between
                                                                                                           requires consistent content!”
     breaks in regularly releasing content. If you have seasons, or have a
                                                                                                           - Freddie W., Top YouTuber
     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.

                                                                                                                   Programming & Producing
Regular Schedule & Frequency
Some of the same trends and viewer interests that drive television       Timely Publishing
viewership are applicable to the web. Regular release schedules,
programming, and timely publishing are all important in online video.    •    ‘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.
Set a Schedule                                                                News and politics, sports, commentary, and opinion content can
                                                                              thrive on topicality.
•    Release videos on a set day of the week, if possible. Releasing
                                                                         •    Adding this reactive and timely supplemental content to your regular
     videos on a recurring schedule helps build a structure to your
     channel that an audience can rely on. It can be easier to retain         programming can help your channel find new audiences.
     audiences and keep them coming back to your channel when they
     know when new episodes will be coming out.

•    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.

                                                                                 Programming & Producing
Regular Schedule & Frequency
Supplemental Content (Behind-the-Scenes / Teaser)   Maintaining an Active Feed with Uploads and More
•  /TheMomsView

Supplemental Content (Comments Video)
•  /BarelyPolitical

                                                                                                                 Programming & Producing
Regular Schedule & Frequency
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        Find ways to cull more content from your shoots and production.
be existing trends that your schedule can be based on. For example,
                                                                          Use production techniques to minimize production time and maximize
movies typically get released on Fridays, so if you review or provide
                                                                          the useable content.
commentary on films, this calendar may influence the right day of the
week for new videos.                                                      Create supplemental content for your big projects or videos that are
                                                                          less production intensive. Capture behind-the-scenes footage, keep a
If you set a schedule, make it clear to the audience and new viewers
                                                                          log of your bloopers, or create vlog-style update or comment videos.
when and how often episodes are released. Remind the audience in
the videos, in the episode description, or through other branding on
your channel.
                                                                          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.

                                                                          Programming & Producing
Tent-pole Programming

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

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                 Effect               Impact                 Optimization Type

                        •  Promotion
                        •  Views
                        •  Discovery
 Less than 1 Hour       •  External Site Traffic
                                                                                                                       Programming & Producing
Tent-pole Programming
Why does Discovery channel have Shark Week every year? Why do a              Program Your Content
lot sitcoms have a Halloween themed episode at the end of October?
Why does the Today Show have relationship experts on the week                •    Create a programming calendar and identify the tent-pole events
before Valentine’s Day? The answer to these questions is: Tent-pole               that are relevant to your channel and audience.
                                                                             •    Create videos around these upcoming events to take advantage of
Tent-pole events are the cultural events that promotion, sponsors/                promotional and revenue opportunities, and capitalize on audience
advertisers, and viewing trends orbit around throughout the year. Big             and search trends.
movie releases, sports, holidays and niche events should act as guides
for the content you produce. This strategy can apply to all partners. Any    •    Package previous content in new ways for tent-pole events. Reuse
channel can create or participate in tent-poles relevant to their specific        older footage with newly created content to create new videos.
audience.                                                                         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

                                                                             •    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.

                                                                                                                    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        Send your tent-pole videos to relevant blogs, sites, and online
tent-pole events that are relevant to your channel and meaningful to       communities offering them content for their readers.
your audience.
                                                                           Provide short descriptions of the content and why it would be a great fit
Identify (or invent your own) tent-pole events where you may want to       with the sites readers. Include links and embed codes in your outreach
dedicate more resources, time, or content.                                 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.

                                                                       Programming & Producing
Cross-promotion & Collaboration

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

    Time Cost               Effect               Impact                Optimization Type

                       •  Channel Views
                       •  Subscribers
                       •  Views
 Full Day or More
                                                                                                                            Programming & Producing
Cross-promotion & Collaboration
Cross-promotion across channels and collaborations with other online            General Best Practices
creators are some of the most effective methods of building audience
and subscribers. Accessing new audiences on YouTube begins with                 •    Cross-promote and collaborate with other channels that are relevant
finding the channels where those audiences are already engaged.                      to your audience or attract similar demographics.

No matter what kind of channel you are – vlogger, branded, comedy,              •    Appear, guest-star, or contribute to other channels’ content and vice-
music - it should be a priority to identify similar or relevant channels that        versa. Leverage each other’s audience to find new viewers.
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           •    Be creative with ‘remote’ collaborations. Record video chats, utilize
build your content, your channel, and your audience into something that              video-responses, or incorporate video from one another on your
other channels want to support or be a part of.                                      channel.

                                                                                •    Make it easy for the viewers to get from one place to the other. Use
MeekaKitty Promotes Her Guest Musicians                                              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

                                                                                                                      Programming & Producing
Cross-promotion & Collaboration
In-video Promotion                                                          Channel Promotion

•    Guest Star: Appearing or guest starring in other channels’ content     •    Recommendation Activity: ‘Like’, ‘favorite’, or comment on the
     is a great way to work with other creators and channels. You can            videos of other channels that you want to promote. This passive
     combine elements from each of your channels, or simply fall into            promotion will appear in your activity feed for your subscribers.
     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                Subscriber Box Sharing
     recommendation can go far. Find clips that are short, surprising, or
     provide cliff hangers that make people more interested in following    •    The “other channels” module
     the call to action to check out the channel.                                on your channel page is a
                                                                                 great way to link other
Make sure to link to the other channel using annotations and links in            channels you manage or want
the description.                                                                 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..

                                                                                             Use to identify successful channels and
                                                                                             compare subscriber growth.

                                                                                                                     Programming & Producing
Cross-promotion & Collaboration
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.

                                                                                     Programming & Producing
Cross-promotion & Collaboration
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

                                                                                                                   Programming & Producing
Cross-promotion & Collaboration
How-To Steps
1. Build your channel’s appeal                                             3. Create engaging cross-promotion opportunities and
Before reaching out to collaborate with other channels, build your value   collaboration videos
with great content and an engaged audience.                                Create collaboration videos with channels and creators with similar
Create something exceptional, unique, compelling, or special with your     content and relevant audiences.
channel that will make other channels interested in supporting or          Set clear objectives of what each creator wants to get out of the cross-
working with you. This can extend beyond just content to include           promotion. Work closely with each other to ensure each channel is
production support, access to talent, shoot locations, etc.                maximizing the opportunity and benefits of working together.
                                                                           Fine tune your channel, content, and engagement during cross-
                 Having a unique contribution is one way to attract
                                                                           promotions to provide the best experience for new viewers,
                 collaborations when starting a channel.
                                                                           encouraging them to become subscribed fans.
                                                                           Consistently update and refresh less-intensive promotion strategies
2. Identify relevant creators and channels                                 such as featuring channels in your “Other Channels” list and promoting
Know the other channels where similar audiences to your own are            with your recommendation activity.
spending their time.

                                                                  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 cross-
                                                                  promotion by measuring subscribers gained from the additional views.
                                                                  How many new viewers were retained weeks after the promotion?

                                                                                                           Programming & Producing
Programming & Producing
            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.

Section Two

Publishing & Optimization
39   Metadata
44   Thumbnails
47   Annotations
52   Playlists & Video Responses
57   Channel Page
63   Reaching All Audiences
68   Checklist	

                                                                        Publishing & Optimization

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                Effect                  Impact             Optimization Type

                        •  Video Ranking
                        •  Views
                        •  Search Traffic
   0 – 5 Minutes        •  Suggested Video Traffic
                                                                                                                   Publishing & Optimization
YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine; optimize your video      Optimization Tips Overview
to take advantage of this fact. Metadata is the information that
surrounds your video: Title, Tags, Description, Thumbnail. This set of     (See appendix for keyword resources)
data informs the YouTube algorithm of a video’s content, indexing it for
search, features, related videos, and ad-serving.
                                                                           •  Compelling
                                                                           •  Keywords first
                                                                           •  Branding at end
                                                                           •  Accurately represents content
                                                                           •  Optimize the first 1-2 sentences
                                                                           •  Most compelling info first
                                                                           •  Include keywords, links
                                                                           •  Channel description, helpful information
                                                                           •  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                                                                                   40	
                                                                                                                        Publishing & Optimization
Title                                                                       Tags
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        •    Create a set of ‘standard tags’ for your channel that can be applied
that will peak interest of potential viewers, but they need to be                to any video you publish. These tags should be tags that apply to
formatted and written with keyword optimization in mind.                         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.

                                                                                      •  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

                                                                                                                       Publishing & Optimization
Description                                                                 •    Include a recurring ‘Keyword Tagline’ in episode descriptions. The
Descriptions provide additional context and information about your               keyword tagline is a few sentences that describe your channel, but
video to compel viewers to click. Every video you publish will reach new         is written to include several search-driven keywords. Repeating this
viewers. Your description is another key opportunity for you to let these        tagline in episode descriptions will inform first-time viewers about
new viewers know about your channel and everything it has to offer.              your channel, assist with including the right keywords, and increase
Provide links to visit your channel, subscribe or watch more content.            your videos’ search relevancy.

•    Begin your description with the most relevant information and          •    State what the release schedule of your channel is in episode
     compelling language. Only the first few sentences of your                   descriptions.
     description show up ‘above the fold’ on a video watch page and next
     to the thumbnail in search results.                                    •    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.

•    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

                                                                                                                                    Publishing & Optimization
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                     Create a compelling, accurate, and keyword-driven title. Keywords first,
you generate and test keywords for your uploads and/or channel.                           brand or show name after.
                                                                                          Fill in as many relevant and appropriate tags as possible. Write a mix of
2. Create ‘Standard Keywords,’ ‘Keyword Tagline’ and                                      common and specific tags by adding your ‘Standard Keywords’ and
                                                                                          specific tags about the episode. Follow proper formatting. Use keyword
‘Standard Channel Links’
                                                                                          generator tools.
Based on your channel’s content, theme, and audience, create a list of
                                                                                          Write a thorough, helpful, and keyword-driven episode description.
standard keywords that apply to your channel and most uploads. These
                                                                                          Write compelling first sentences of your description. Include relevant or
keywords should be things that are categorical, genres, broad topics,
                                                                                          helpful information about the episode or your channel. Include your
show name, etc.
                                                                                          ‘Keyword Tagline’, list of links.
Write 2-4 sentences that explains your channel and includes keywords
                                                                                          Rebrand or continually optimize archive videos by updating the
that are relevant to your content. Include when new episodes are
                                                                                          metadata to reflect new search trends, tent-pole events, or other
released and other relevant information.
                                                                                          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.                                                                                                                     43	
                                                                        Publishing & Optimization
Thumbnail Optimization

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

    Time Cost               Effect                  Impact              Optimization Type

                       •  Video Ranking
                       •  Views
                       •  Search Traffic
 Less than 1 Hour      •  Suggested Video Traffic
                                                                                            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       Not Optimal        Optimal
page optimization. This visual snapshot of your video is one of the most
important optimizations for attracting views on YouTube.

                 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.                                            45	
                                                                                                                    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
Proper lighting, framing the shot, and capturing compelling imagery
                                                                          best aspects of the video.
when you shoot will provide you with better material to work with when
creating a thumbnail.                                                     Using photo-editing software to resize, modify, or combine images
                                                                          together in the frame.
Consider taking photographs during your shoots to capture images for
thumbnails.                                                               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.

                                                                            Publishing & Optimization

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

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:           •  Subscribers
                                               1   2     3      4   5
   0 – 5 Minutes
                         •  Views
                                                                                                                         Publishing & Optimization
Annotations are text overlays that you can place on YouTube videos.        Types of Annotations
There are numerous uses for annotations and producers are constantly
finding new, creative, and strategic ways to apply them to their videos.   •    You can customize many different
                                                                                aspects of annotations including:
                                                                                size, color, type, link, and timing of
Annotations Use Cases
                                                                           •    Different types of annotations are
•    Supply additional information.                                             useful for different needs and
                                                                                strategies. Find what works best for
•    Act as a dynamic, editable text                                            your videos.
                                                                           •    Use spotlight annotations to make
•    Be used as navigational                                                    areas within the video clickable.
     elements. (to certain time-
     code, or Next/Previous                                                •    You can customize many different aspects of annotations including:
     episode)                                                                   size, color, type, link, and timing of annotations.

•    Act as subscribe button within                                        •    When a spotlight annotations is used, the text only appears when
     the video.                                                                 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
•    Make areas of your video clickable or interactive.                         this type can be a great way to include unobtrusive annotations that
                                                                                are still easily clickable for the viewer.
•    Link the viewer to your channel page from within the video.
                                                                           •    Make annotations clickable and link to various places or actions on
•    Ask specific questions to the audience to respond to in the                YouTube. You can also set annotations to open a new window when
     comments.                                                                  clicked, keeping the viewer from leaving the original video.

•    Encourage community activity such as ‘liking’ or ‘favoriting’ the

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

•    Dynamically add content to your old videos.

                                                                                                                        Publishing & Optimization
General Best Practices

•    Avoid annotations in the lower-third of the video. The advertisement   •    Make sure to write and place text so it looks nice and reads well on
     overlay can obscure annotations placed there.                               the screen.

•    Be careful not to obstruct the actual content.                         •    Avoid prompting the viewer or having them click away from the
                                                                                 video too early in the video. Depending on what the annotation is
•    Use your best judgment to determine timing, placement, style, and           being used for or the action you want the viewer to take, there is a
     how many annotations you should include in your episodes. Don’t             proper placement and timing. Consider using the “Open in a new
     bombard the viewer as it will feel ‘spammy’ and will have an adverse        window’ option for annotations that are hyperlinked, so the viewer is
     effect.                                                                     not taken away from their current video.

                                                                                           When linking to a video that you want to play within its
Example ‘End Card’ - Spotlight annotations make graphic clickable.                         playlist add “&list=(playlist ID HERE)” to the end of the url.
•    /Smosh                                                 •    /HISHE

Other Uses:

                                                                                                                                    Publishing & Optimization
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.               •    Front of episode call to actions: Ask viewers to ‘like’ or ‘favorite’ the
Such as:                                                                                   video.

                                                                                      •    Ask a question. Asking a specific question is often more effective.
•    Subscribe Button - Makes it easy for viewers to subscribe right from
     your videos. When clicked, this annotation adds your channel to the              •    Other videos or content that is referenced in the video.
     viewers’ subscriptions.
                                                                                      •    Additional or supplemental information about the content.
•    Newest / Next / Previous – Links to another video in the series or to
     newest video. Including an annotation in your videos that links to               •    Subscribe and other CTAs repeated at the end of the episode.
     your newest content will leverage your entire catalogue to drive
     traffic to your most recent upload.                                              •    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.

         The YouTube player can sometimes obscure annotations in the extreme bottom
         of the frame. Avoid annotation placements here.                                                                                                         50	
                                                                                                                      Publishing & Optimization
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      Add and update annotations on high-performing archive videos to help
to create and edit them.                                                    leverage these views to new initiatives or new uploads.
                                                                            Use annotations to repackage old content for new purposes along with
2. Add annotations to new uploads after publishing                          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           4. Be creative
actions such as ‘favoriting’, ‘liking’, and sharing the video.              Experiment with annotations to use them in new ways that will help you
Decide if any static annotations make sense for your videos. Add a          increase engagement, build audience, or simply make your content
‘Subscribe’ annotation and/or a ‘Newest Episode’ annotation that is         better and more compelling.
present for the entire video to provide easy navigation for the viewer at   Include elements in the video with the intention of enhancing with
any moment.                                                                 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.

                                                                             Publishing & Optimization
Playlists & Video Responses

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

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                   Impact                 Optimization Type

                        •  Engagement
                        •  Subscribers
                        •  Video Ranking
 Less than 1 Hour       •  Views              1   2     3      4   5

                                                                                                                              Publishing & Optimization
Playlists & Video Responses
You can create playlists using your own content, other channels’ videos,          Playlists as Viewing Experience
or a combination of both. Playlists can be used as an organizational tool
for content, or creators can produce playlists as a viewing experience            •    Creators can also use playlists to string together videos to create a
for an audience. They can be featured on your channel, and they show                   long viewing experience – long-form content as created by stringing
up in search results and suggested videos.                                             individual videos together.

Playlists as Organization                                                         •    You can create an intro video specific to your playlist to introduce the
                                                                                       set of videos you’ve compiled.
Playlists are a great way to organize your videos into groups and
viewing sets. If you have multiple shows or themed content on your                •    You can also create ‘interstitial’ videos to appear between videos
channel, playlists create organization. Utilize playlists to make your                 you curate in a playlist to provide context and commentary.
channel easier to navigate.                                                            Sometimes called a ‘hosted’ playlist.

•    Separate different shows into their own playlists to feature them on                        These playlist-specific videos will also show up as stand-
     your channel and connect videos together for viewers.                                       alone videos on the site; consider setting these videos as
                                                                                                 ‘Unlisted’ or determine how to use annotations,
•    Create sets of videos that are grouped together for a specific theme                        messaging, & metadata to convey to viewers that they are
     or tent-pole event. Use the title and thumbnails to brand it.                               part of a playlist.
•    Build playlists to feature your most viewed content with newest
     uploads to connect your catalogue views to new videos.                       •    Add ‘playlist commentary’ to each video included by commenting on
                                                                                       the video while viewing it in playlist mode. The comments appear
•    Set a playlist to be a “series playlist” if you want to lock-in a group of        underneath the video for viewers watching the playlist.
     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                  Playlist in Search
     NOT be included in other Series playlists.

Playlist on Channel

                                                                                                                              Publishing & Optimization
Playlists & Video Responses
Optimized Playlists & Video Responses                                             Promote Your Playlists

•    Utilize metadata strategies and keywords when titling and writing a          •    Creating or adding videos to a playlist will be published to your feed,
     description for playlists.                                                        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                   •    Encourage your audience to comment on your playlists as their
     response to your content, if you want, or you can restrict to just your           comments will include a link to your playlist.
     own content.
                                                                                                 Use the right urls when promoting videos from a playlist or
•    Using Video Responses allows you to populate the space around
                                                                                                 entire playlists. To link to a video in ‘autoplay playlist
     your videos with your own related content.
                                                                                                 mode,’ make sure the url includes “&list=”. You can get
                                                                                                 the right url from your playlist page’s ‘Share’ widget. A
•    Ask viewers to submit video responses as a form of viewer
                                                                                                 video url set to play within a playlist looks something like:

(Example of Playlist Experience)                                                  Viewer Comment on Playlist

                                                          Publishing & Optimization
Playlists & Video Responses
Playlists on Channel        ‘Added to Playlist’ in Feed

‘Hosted’ Playlist Example

                                                                                                                      Publishing & Optimization
Playlists & Video Responses
How-To Steps
1. Set a strategy or use of playlists for your content and                    3. Add new videos and maintain playlists
channel                                                                       Add new videos to relevant playlists at upload and maintain current
Each channel is different, so find the right use of playlists and video       playlists to keep them fresh, engaging, and relevant to your audience or
responses for your content and audience.                                      new viewers.

Decide if your playlist strategy should or will affect how you produce        Add new uploads as video responses to relevant videos or to archive
content or publish it, (i.e. videos produced for a playlist should follow a   videos that can drive a lot of traffic.
structure that is tailored for watching a set of connected videos.)

                                                                              4. Organize arrangement and display of playlists on
2. Create playlists for your channel                                          Channel Page
Create different playlists for grouping and organizing your videos into       Arrange and organize playlists on your channel page to make
sets or themes.                                                               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.

                                                                         Publishing & Optimization
Channel Page Optimization

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                   Impact              Optimization Type

                       •  Channel Views
                       •  Subscribers
                       •  Time Spent
 Less than 1 Hour      •  Views              1   2     3      4   5

                                                                                                                       Publishing & Optimization
Channel Page Optimization
YouTube channel pages can be optimized in a number of ways to help          Discoverability
make your channel a discoverable destination that offers consistent,
current content. When setting up and optimizing your channel page, you      •    Upload a square high-resolution (1600px x 1600px) avatar that is
should be thinking about visual branding, channel metadata, and                  recognizable at smaller resolutions. This avatar will be your
channel organization.                                                            channel’s billboard throughout the site.

Branding                                                                    •    Accurately describe your channel and capture relevant channel
                                                                                 keywords when writing the channel description. Include relevant
•    Create a custom, visually-compelling background image for the               information such as upload schedule and details about the content.
     channel page.
                                                                            •    The first 45 characters of the description appears in the channel
•    Feature your brand’s personalities. Make the audience feel like they        browser and across the site where viewers discover your channel.
     are connecting with a person or character of your show and not just
     the brand or logo when they come to the channel.                       •    You can edit your Channel Page title to best reflect your brand.

•    Make use of the image mapping space directly above the channel                          To maximize channel promotion, concentrate on the
     header. Determine what links are important to display here and                          channel avatar and first 45 characters of a channel
     design this area to gain the most clicks. Links on this banner image                    description.
     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.

                                                                              Publishing & Optimization
Channel Page 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!

                                                                                                                           Publishing & Optimization
Channel Page Optimization
YouTube Channel Pages now come with the ability to organize content            •    Choose the right template for your channel to create the best
into templates. Highlighting playlists, recent uploads, or other channels,          experience for your content and schedule.
templates allow creators to tailor their channel experience around the
content that they upload, curate, or want to feature.                          •    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)
Templates, Modules, and Layout
                                                                               •    The Featured Video module is used to highlight one video within a
•    Each channel template highlights different types of content. The five          channel template. This video can either serve as an introduction to
     different templates are:                                                       your channel’s content, highlight a topical tent-pole event, or surface
                                                                                    the latest video in a content series.
          •    Creator – highlights playlists. Best for creators who curate
               content into playlists often, have multiple shows on one        •    You can set your channel to send subscribers to the feed and non-
               channel, or who upload multiple clips everyday.                      subscribers to your Featured Video tab. This will create a unique
                                                                                    experience for each type of viewer. If you do set your channel in this
          •    Blogger – focuses on recent uploads or a featured playlist.          way, consider using the featured video player to feature a highlight
               Best for creators who upload one type of serial content on           reel or welcome video of your channel and select the best content
               their channel and who want viewers to find their most recent         layout for this audience.
               content first.
                                                                               •    Enable the Other Channels module to promote your other channels
          •    Network – The network template is best for channels that             or related channels. This module is a great feature to create cross-
               want to highlight other channels. Network channels may               promotion amongst channels.
               curate content from multiple channels through playlists and
               other activity.
                                                                                                Channels listed here are also listed as suggested
          •    Everything – a combination of playlists and highlighted                          channels when a user subscribes to your channel.
               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)

                                                                                   Publishing & Optimization
Channel Page Optimization
Creator Template with Other Channels Module enabled   Blogger Template with Top Branding Enabled
•  /SongsToWearPantsTo                                •  /BarelyPolitical

                                                                                                                     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          Write an optimized, accurate channel description including: release
personalities, characters, or content of the channel.                       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      Link to your dot com, social media and other relevant sites.
this section.
Branding can click offsite: ensure your most important links are in the
image mapped section above the channel.                                     3. Choose template, enable Featured Video and Other
                                                                            Channels modules, manage Feed
Upload graphics for the mobile viewing experience.
                                                                            Explore all available features and modules available for the channel
Create a great avatar image that is relevant to your channel and will be    page and use them to highlight the type of content that is most relevant
eye-catching in search results.                                             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.

                                                                         Publishing & Optimization
Reaching All Audiences

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                Impact                 Optimization Type

                       •  Engagement
                       •  Subscribers
                       •  Video Ranking
    1+ Hours           •  Views
                                                                                                                         Publishing & Optimization
Reaching All Audiences
YouTube is a global platform and your audience can exist anywhere.            Be Part of the Global Community
Taking extra steps to optimize your content for any potential audience
will help your videos reach as many people as possible. Making your           •    Find out what other channels exist around the world that are
content accessible to foreign language speakers and viewers who are                relevant or similar to your content.
hard-of-hearing provides you with completely new viewers.
                                                                              •    Consider collaborating or cross-promoting with channels in other
                                                                                   regions of the world, if your content will translate well.

Create Content with Global Appeal                                             •    Invite other language speakers to create new voice-overs or audio
                                                                                   for your content.
•    Your content may already have global appeal (check analytics), but
     consider if there is an opportunity to adapt it and appeal to cultures   •    Use Analytics to find out where your channel already attracts an
     around the world.                                                             audience, and focus internationalization efforts in those languages.

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

•    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

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

                                                                                                                         Publishing & Optimization
Reaching All Audiences
You can optimize your current content to be able to reach more               Metadata for a Global Audience
audiences. YouTube provides several features to help you caption and
subtitle your videos for multiple languages and you can use metadata to      •    Adding captions to your videos will help it show up more places on
capture global searches.                                                          the site. If your video is captioned for multiple languages it will be
                                                                                  searchable in these languages.

Creating Captions                                                            •    When uploading content that is intended for multiple languages,
                                                                                  provide metadata and annotations for both languages, where
You can provide your own captions and transcripts, or YouTube has                 appropriate.
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   •    Using both English & other language metadata – Titles, Tags, and
video that you can upload to YouTube along with your video. This can              Descriptions – helps discoverability through different search terms.
be used to create captions for the current language of the video, or
subtitles in other languages.

•    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

              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.)

                                                                   Publishing & Optimization
Reaching All Audiences
Metadata in Two Languages
•  /tartofraises1                     •  /megwin

Collaboration with Global Channels    A Global Audience Shown in Analytics
•  /Faireset with /MysteryGuitarMan

                                                                                                                          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           Prioritize languages by looking at your traffic sources from different
your videos. Adapt your most popular videos to be in more languages.           regions in YouTube Analytics.
Re-edit your current content that is well-suited for translation to have       Create captions in target languages by uploading transcriptions to
different audio in different languages.                                        YouTube or by asking your fans to help translate.
Identify relevant tent-pole events in different countries or prioritize your   Use YouTube’s CaptionTube to have your fans or subscribers create
optimization efforts for more languages.                                       captions for your videos.

2. Cross-promote and collaborate with global channels                          4. Optimize videos with multi-language metadata and
Change the country setting at the bottom of the YouTube homepage to            annotations
explore worldly videos and channels.                                           If your video has captions, let the audience know by using annotations
Check YouTube Analytics to determine which similar channels have the           or address it in the video content.
biggest audiences in different countries.                                      If you are creating content intended for multiple languages, write titles
                                                                               and descriptions in both languages. Start with your primary audience’s
                                                                               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

                                                                                                                 Publishing & Optimization
Publishing & Optimization
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.

                  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.


                  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

                  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)

Section Three

Community & Social Media
70   Involve Your Audience
75   Blog Outreach
78   Other Social Media
84   Checklist

                                                                          Community & Social Media
Involve Your Audience

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               Effect                  Impact                 Optimization Type

                       •  Engagement
                       •  Subscribers
                       •  Video Ranking
                                            1   2     3      4   5
    1+ Hours
                                                                                                           Community & Social Media
Involve Your Audience
Online Video is social; it is a two-way dialogue. People are      Ask the Viewers
drawn to online video and web series because they can
interact with the channel in ways that they can’t with            •    Ask viewers for their opinions, ideas, or feedback on videos.
                                                                       Whenever you try something new, ask for their thoughts.
television. The ability to interact with your viewers is key to
the medium. So, speak to your audience, and listen to what        •    Include specific questions in the videos, or in your messaging to
they say.                                                              viewers. Specific questions will encourage more responses and
                                                                       guide the conversations happening around your videos and channel.
If you actively engage with your audience through your            •    Ask fans to actively promote your video through social media and on
channel, it will pay off in the long run. An engaged                   YouTube by ‘liking’, commenting and ‘favoriting’.
community of viewers often leads to a loyal following. Your
fans will become your social army – empower them to grow          •    Ask for video responses, remixes, or fan-versions to your video.
your brand and they will be your best promoters.
                                                                  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

                                                                  •    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.

                                                                                                                      Community & Social Media
Involve Your Audience
Your viewers don’t just want to be an audience, they want to                Messaging Fans / Subscribers
be a community. They want to engage with your channel
and interact through comments, messages, and more.                          •    Make announcements through YouTube Bulletins which will appear
                                                                                 in your subscriber feeds.
Make sure you are a part of that conversation and
representing your brand well. If your videos attract a large                •    Where appropriate, include Call To Actions in your responses or
viewership, a community will emerge with or without you.                         messages, but keep it casual. E.g. “If you like the video, don’t forget
                                                                                 to share it!”

Interacting with fans and the Community                                     Reward Your Community and Super-Fans

•    Respond to comments. This should always be a key part of your          •    Find ways to reward your community (both on and off YouTube) for
     social strategy. Comments are the best forum to interact with               their loyalty and support of the channel. Beyond shout-outs in the
     viewers about specific episodes and will spur more viewers to               videos, think of rewards such as fan merchandise or exclusive
     include their comment when they notice you actively respond.                content shared through ‘Unlisted’ videos.

•    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

•    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.

                                                    Community & Social Media
Involve Your Audience
Featuring the Audience   Featuring Comments / Acknowledging the Viewers
•  /schmoyoho            •  /iJustine

Asking the Audience      Uploader Comments Show Up First
•  /BarelyPolitical      •  /TheIndieMachines

                                                                                                                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,      Whenever you upload a new video, dedicate time to interact with your
acknowledge the viewers and make them feel important.                     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          5. Ask your fans for feedback and support
videos, or if separate videos make more sense for you to interact with    Encourage and guide the conversations that happen around your
and/or involve the audience.                                              videos by asking specific questions.
Consider creating videos or segments to your content that feature the     Ask for feedback when you make changes or try something new. Ask
audience or are centered around engaging with them.                       for show ideas or new video concepts.
                                                                          Ask viewers for help achieving benchmarks or with programming
3. Utilize the social features of the platform                            initiatives.
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.

                                                                            Community & Social Media
Blog Outreach

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                   Impact               Optimization Type

                         •  External Traffic
                         •  Video Ranking
                         •  Views
                                                1   2     3      4   5
     1+ Hours
                                                                                                                                Community & Social Media
Blog Outreach
Don’t limit your purview to just YouTube. A lot of viewers                            Build Relationships
find content on YouTube through other sites on the Internet.
There are tons of sites and blogs that are always looking                             •    Keep track of what blogs and sites are featuring your videos and
                                                                                           driving views. Identify the key drivers of views and consider sharing
for great content to write about or feature. Make it easy for                              content with those places first, letting them know they are getting the
these people to promote your videos by reaching out to                                     inside scoop.
them with great content that is relevant to their audience.
                                                                                      •    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
                                                                                      Track Your Brand
•    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
                                                                                      •    Know where people are talking about your content, or sharing your
                                                                                           content. Set Google Alerts for your channel name, show names,
     relevant to your content.
                                                                                           character names, and any other keywords specific to your channel
                                                                                           that will help you identify places where your content is appearing or
•    Promote new videos to places from your blog roll that you think
                                                                                           being discussed across the web.
     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.                                                                                                                                  76	
                                                                                                                     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             Send brief, personalized emails to appropriate contacts and include a
Alexa to find blogs and sites that are relevant to the type of content you   short description of the content, why it might be good for their audience,
produce.                                                                     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.
                                                                             3. Track the pick-up
Locate contact information from the sites and include names of
                                                                             Set Google Alerts for the name of the video or use other ‘online
recipients, where possible.
                                                                             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

                                                                          Community & Social Media
Other Social Media

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

    Time Cost                Effect                Impact                  Optimization Type

                        •  Engagement
                        •  Video Ranking
                        •  Views
 Less Than 1 Hour       •  Subscribers
                                                                                                                      Community & Social Media
Other Social Media
          Creators should establish a Google+ Page to engage with            •    Post behind-the-scenes photos or provide a sneak preview of your
          fans and other YouTube creators. Google+ allows you to                  videos.
          organize people into different ‘circles’ to help you guide your
          interactions and tailor your engagement to a circle’s specific     •    Endorse other creators or videos you like.
          interests or needs. Not only can you share videos and other
          media, you can get face-to-face, live engagement with your         •    Find ways to repurpose and share videos from your archive in
          audience in Hangouts.                                                   unique ways.

Manage Circles                                                               •    Post content regularly and be consistent about how you engage on
                                                                                  your Page.
•    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
                                                                             •    Don’t simply push content. Be sure to spend time interacting with
     creators. Discover people in other creators’ circles, and add them to
                                                                                  fans in your posts.
     your circles.
                                                                             •    Ask specific questions about the content you post and solicit
Post and Share

•    Determine your goal for each post. Do you want to spur discussion?
                                                                             •    Keep your posts conversational, informational and casual.
     Communicate news? Increase your Page’s reach? The way you
     phrase and format your posts should align with your goals.
                                                                             •    Comment on your posts, on user threads, and respond to direct+
•    Post new YouTube uploads to your Google+ Page, and target your
                                                                             •    Encourage followers to +1 and share your post if they like what they
     updates to specific circles.
•    Provide updates and announcements.
                                                                             •    Poll your followers, and let them vote on ideas for your next video.

                                                                                                                                 Community & Social Media
Other Social Media
Google+ (continued)
Hangout!                                                                                 Measure

•    Host Google+ Hangouts with your fans on a regular basis.                            •    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
•    Hangouts are a great way to seek input from your fans and reward                         conversations you can jump into, when it makes sense.
     your super-fans with personal direct access to you.
                                                                                         •    Use Ripples to keep track of how your posts are spreading across G
•    Be creative with Hangouts. You can watch YouTube videos in                               +. You can find out who is sharing and re-sharing your videos, who
     Hangouts in real-time, which allows you to host regular viewing                          are your biggest influencers, and how communities are forming
     parties and focus groups.                                                                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.                                                                                                     80	
                                                                                                                               Community & Social Media
Other Social Media
          Creators and Partners should have a Facebook presence for                    •    Your Facebook strategy should be unique to that platform and part
          their YouTube channel. It is a great tool to interact with your                   of the objective should be building audience around your YouTube
          fans in different ways and build audience. Your activity and the                  content. Create a unique viewing experience for your Facebook fans
          activity of your fans on Facebook get multiplied out to their                     by how you post and how you interact, but center your actions on
          groups of friends, so it is a great way to rely on your fans to                   driving views, increasing subscriber and gaining more Facebook
          help introduce your show to new viewers.                                          fans.

Facebook Best Practices                                                                •    Turn Facebook fans into viewers and subscribers by consistently
                                                                                            directing them to your YouTube content and channel.
•    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.                                                                                             81	
                                                                                       Community & Social Media
Other Social Media
          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

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.                                               82	
                                                                                                                              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                       Make posting your YouTube videos to social media sites part of your
audience. Find niche sites that are specific to your audience.                       YouTube publishing process. Post new uploads, but also find ways to
                                                                                     repurpose or reintroduce videos from your archives to your fans on
Set up your pages and accounts to reflect your YouTube content and
                                                                                     social media sites.
channel. Use similar design or branding to unite the different outlets.
                                                                                     Accompany each post with questions or other ways to encourage
2. Set a social media strategy for your YouTube content
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
                                                                                     Track engagements and traffic happening on social media sites and
                                                                                     assess how they are translating into views for your content. Experiment
3. Ask your fans for input                                                           with different strategies to turn your social media followers into viewers
Ask your fans for ideas on what sort of content they want to see on                  and subscribers to your channel.
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.                                                                                  83	
                                                                                                              Community & Social Media
Community & Social Media
            Set up accounts and set specific strategies for all social media sites that are important to your content or

            Create and maintain a Blog Roll for your channel. Include niche sites or targeted sites for tent-pole related

            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

            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.

Now, Go Create Something.

86    Video Upload Checklist
87    Metadata Keyword Resources
88    Glossary

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                  Annotate the video with community                  Update your social media
          metadata following proper                         CTAs, subscribe button, and links to               channels.
          formatting and strategies.                        related content.

         Create and upload a great, eye-                    Set the video as featured video on                 Outreach to relevant blogs,
         catching thumbnail that is high                    your channel page based on how                     sites and online communities.
         resolution.                                        your organize your channel page’s
                                                                                                               Engage with the audience on
                                                            Set the video as a video response to               the comments section in the
                                                            a popular and relevant video from                  first few hours of publishing.
                                                            your channel.
                                                                                                               ‘Like’ and ‘favorite’ the video on
                                                            Add the video to a relevant playlist               your channel in timely
                                                            on your channel. Add to YouTube                    increments (e.g. 24hrs later) to
                                                            Show season list, where applicable.                have the activity appear in your
                                                                                                               subscribers feeds.

Metadata Keyword Resources
•    YouTube Keyword Generator / Video Targeting Tool: Identify new keywords for your video.

•    YouTube Trending Topics: Identify trending topics in your category.

•    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.

Glossary (Annotations - Feed)
                                                              Channel or Channel Page       

Video Annotations are an uploader-controlled dynamic overlay you can  A channel is the public page for a user
add to videos that allow you to overlay text on a video and/or make parts      account on YouTube containing uploaded videos, playlists, ‘liked videos’,
of the video ‘clickable.’ You can add, edit and delete annotations to your     ‘favorited videos’, channel comments, and general activity. Some creators
videos controlling the text, placement, timing, and link URLs. URLs can        manage or create content across multiple channels.      

only be directed to

Audience Retention    
                                                        Written comments on videos, channels, playlists, or in response to other
The Audience retention report (formerly known as Hot Spots in Insight) is      comments. Comments may be posted either on the watch page or on a
an overall measure of your video's ability to retain its audience. It          channel page. 

represents when viewers leave your video, fast-forward, or rewind at

different points in the video.                                                 Community Actions     

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

The square image on your channel page that represents your channel             


across the site.                                                               End-Card or End-Slate     

                                                                               A graphic that creators can make and include at the end of their videos.
Blog Outreach
                                                                 End-Cards typically include specific call to actions for the viewer to
A strategy of sharing your videos with a targeted list of blogs, sites, and/   subscribe, watch more content, visit a channel page, or contain credits for
or online communities or influencers. Sending your video link and/or           the video. Generally, End-Cards prominently feature annotations.    

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.    

                                                                               Interaction between the creator and the audiences, the viewer and the
Blog Roll   
                                                                  video, or the creator with the site. Can be measured by the number of
A list of blogs, sites, online communities, and influencers relevant to a      interactions (comments, ‘favorites’, ‘likes’, new subscriptions) per view. 

particular category or type of content, used for Blog Outreach.  


                                                                      A stream of activity either for one channel (via the channel page feed) or
A message a channel owner can send to their subscribers. Bulletins             for multiple channels (the homepage feed). Feed activities include
show up in subscribers’ feeds. You can attach videos to a bulletin.  
         uploads, updated playlists, video and channel comments, new
                                                                               subscriptions, bulletins, ‘likes’, ‘favorites’, and sharing. Users control
Call to Action  
                                                              which feed activities they choose to broadcast, and the feed activities that
Prompting the viewer to take an action.                                        are broadcasted to them, depending on which channels they subscribe to.

Glossary (Favorite - Share)

A user action that adds a video to their channel’s‘favorites’ playlist. This   Graphics and or content that adds context to a video. Packaging can
action can also be broadcast out to subscribers.  
                            build your brand, connect your host with the audience, add relevant
                                                                               context to archived content, or add scripted/annotated Calls to Action.
Content that is meant to keep viewers interested in what happens next.         Playlist    

Ideally a video’s hook happens within the first 15 seconds.                    A playlist is a collection of videos that can be viewed, shared, and
                                                                               embedded like an individual video. You can create playlists using any
Hosted Playlist        
                                                       videos on YouTube. Videos can be in multiple playlists. Uploaded videos
A collection of videos in a playlist with added video context from the         and ‘favorited videos’ are default playlists on your channel.   

playlist creator. Context is added with ‘hosted’ videos that can act as
intros, outros, and/or interstitials. Hosted videos can contain an actual      Pre-Buzz        

host (person) or creative branding that acts as a host. 
                      Audience interest in a tent-pole event in the days and weeks leading up

                                                                               to it.

A user action that shows appreciation for a video. This action can be          Programming             

broadcast out to subscribers in the feed. 
                                    The practice and strategy of organizing videos, shows or channel content
                                                                               and activity in a daily, weekly, or season-long schedule.  


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.      

                                                           Series Playlist         

An action that increases the potential success of a video, channel,            A playlist that locks the videos into one specific playlist. Intended for serial
playlist, or content strategy. 
                                               or episodic content that follows a narrative story arc. Videos included in a
                                                                               series playlist cannot be added to other playlists on the channel.    

Other Channels Module      

An optional module that allows the channel owner to feature other              Share   

channels on their channel page.    
                                           Ability to distribute videos via social media, email, or direct links. This
                                                                               action can be broadcast to subscribers.

Glossary (Suggested Videos – YouTube Analytics)
Suggested Videos     

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.       


Words or phrases used to describe the content of your videos. Added to           A Video-blog. A casual, conversational video format or genre featuring a
videos at time of upload. (See Metadata)  
                                      person talking directly to the camera.

                                                                       Watch Page   

A short video that acts as a preview or trailer for longer content. Can be       The page where the majority of video viewing happens. URLs with the
used to promote larger content initiatives or announcements.   
                 format[video ID Here] are watch pages.

Templates                                                                        YouTube Analytics        

Different pre-set channel designs that can be used to highlight videos,          A tool that provides information across various metrics for videos,
playlists, and other channels.                                                   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.


To top