Originally written for the bewolfish online magazine

Creating a YouTube channel is a great way to reach new audiences and add value to your community. This article walks you through three key elements you should consider before you upload your first video.

First – Get crystal clear on your channel’s objective 

Start by determining what you are aiming to achieve through your YouTube channel. Is your goal to gain exposure and reach a wider audience? Do you want to build a video portfolio? Are you looking for an additional source of revenue? Being clear on why you are starting your channel will help you make the right decisions when it comes to content creation and video editing.  

Now that you are clear on your overall objective, define your target audience, i.e. the type of people you want to attract to your channel. For example, if you want to launch a YouTube channel about running training, your target audience could be women who want to get back in shape after pregnancy. Or it could be middle-aged men who are training for their first ultra marathon. It doesn’t matter which audience you pick but just make sure you are as specific as possible. Think about what challenges your target audience is facing and what type of content they want to consume. Are they looking for entertainment or educational content? 

Finally, pick two to three topics on which your channel will be focused. Having a clear focus means that people visiting your channel will be able to quickly identify what the channel is about. 

Second – Optimise your channel homepage

There are a few simple things you can do to create a high quality homepage for your YouTube channel:

Upload an enticing banner picture

Your cover photo should communicate to a first-time channel visitor what your channel is about. Keep it simple and professional and avoid overcrowding it. To make sure your picture isn’t blurred, stick to the optimal dimensions of 2560 pixels wide by 1440 pixels tall. You can also include a Call-to-Action to get more viewers to sign up to your channel.

Here are a few good channel art examples:

youtube channel art example
youtube channel art example

Choose a great profile picture

Pick a profile picture showing your face rather than an icon or logo. Ideally, choose a picture of you smiling and looking directly into the camera. Make sure the image is high resolution (the profile picture appears very small on the viewers’ screen). 

Create and upload a channel trailer

A channel trailer is a video clip that sits on your homepage and that auto-plays whenever someone visits your channel. It acts a bit like an elevator pitch. So ideally it should convince a first-time viewer to watch your videos and subscribe to your channel. Keep it short (anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds long) and punchy. Make sure your trailer includes the following elements:

  • A brief explanation of who you are
  • Why you are a credible source 
  • How viewers will benefit from your channel 
  • How often you plan to upload new videas
  • A call-to-action 

Add a few featured channels

Select a few high quality channels that cover topics that are related to what you are talking about on your channel.

Third – Optimise your channel for keyword search

A keyword is a word or a short phrase that makes it possible for people to find your channel via the YouTube search engine. For example, if you optimise your channel for the keyword “climbing training” it will make it more likely that your videos will pop up when someone searches for “climbing training” on YouTube.

The first step to keyword optimisation is to select the keyword for which you want your channel to rank. To do that, you need to identify one word or a short phrase (2-3 words maximum) that most accurately describes what your channel is about. Once you have come up with a few options, you can use Google Trends to select the keyword with the highest audience interest. 

Once you have selected your keyword, go to the About section and write a channel description that includes the keyword in the first 48 characters. But make sure you insert the keyword naturally into the text. You can also include your keyword into your channel’s title. 

Congratulations, you’re all set and ready to shoot your first video!

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this YouTube Success blog series where we dive deeper into how to shoot and edit your videos so it stands out on YouTube. 

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