Planning the channel layout
Your channel must be visually representative of the video content you create. When viewers first visit your channel, it’s important that they understand what kind of videos you produce or curate. You also want viewers to be in a position to quickly find out when new content is expected from your channel. A helpful design layout makes these tasks a lot easier. Figure 5-4 shows a terrific YouTube home page and a great use of branding by Khan Academy.
YouTube home page for Kahn
When coming up with a design layout, keep these elements in mind:
» Channel art: The banner you see across the top of your YouTube channel’s home page is the welcome mat for your viewer, so make it as appealing as
possible. A good channel art design is device agnostic — it looks good on
mobile devices, desktops, smart TVs, or what-have-you. To help you make the
creation of your channel art easier, you can download a customized graphical template for your YouTube channel at https://support.google. com/youtube.
» Channel trailer: The channel trailer is the fi video that visitors see when
viewing your channel. This is where you need to captivate your new viewers and get them to subscribe to your channel. You can customize the channel trailer for subscribers or nonsubscribers.
» Channel and social media links: The small icons that live in the lower right
corner of your channel art direct viewers to your other digital properties, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. The complete list of digital properties is under the About section of your YouTube channel, and you can choose whether to display icons for some or all of your properties.
» Custom sections: Visually dividing your channel page into sections is a great
way to help your viewers fi the most relevant content on your channel. One way to customize your sections is to create unique playlists or groupings of videos per section.
» Custom thumbnails: Thumbnails are visual snapshots of your video, similar
to a poster for a movie. They are chosen by default by YouTube — three optional frames from the beginning, middle, and end of your video are provided for every video asset that’s uploaded. You can, however, create a custom thumbnail (see Chapter 9) for each video. If you do so, choose a thumbnail that is illustrative of the content in the video.
Thumbnails have a tremendous impact on a video’s view rate. With that fact in mind, always choose or create a good thumbnail, especially for videos shown in sections.
» Featured channels: Channels that you own or like or that are simply relevant for your audience are best included in the Featured Channels section on the
right side of your channel page.
Under Featured Channels, you control the additional section Related Channels, which YouTube populates with channels that it considers to be like yours. Though YouTube doesn’t disclose the exact criteria, it’s likely based on content type and what viewers search for. You can turn off this feature, but by doing so, YouTube won’t put your channel on the Related Channel feeds of other users. You benefi only by keeping it on.
With so many channels on YouTube, viewers may think they’re viewing the appropriate channel for an organization or famous personality. The verifi – tion badge shows up to the right of the channel name and helps alleviate any viewer concerns about the legitimacy of the channel.
Crafting a Content Strategy
Coming up with a mission for your channel is important, as is defining your audi- ence and planning how your channel could best serve your target audience’s needs, but at some point you have to define the content that brings it all together. Well, there’s no time like the present, so get ready to tackle that task.