We're all about some good branding. We could come up with mood boards, branding guidelines, ideas, and make the whole party come to life all day every day (wait, that is what we do.) Just give me the adobe creative suite, an idea, and a week and you’ve got yourself some official branding that’s actually cool—don’t forget the iced coffee, no sweetener, and a dash of almond milk.
So feeding off of this love of mine, let’s talk about your YouTube channel. How’s it looking? *think about it. If it makes you cringe, keep reading*
Once you’ve determined the type of content you’ll share to set yourself apart and position yourself as a thought leader on YouTube, the next step is to brand your channel with your niche in mind and really make the whole process come full circle.
So what do you need to do to brand your channel?
Channel Cover Banner + Profile Picture
Your channel homepage is the most important thing! This is where all the judgment happens—the colors, the fonts, the graphics, the logos… people who land on your page (aka—potential subscribers) will take the look and feel into consideration before subscribing to your channel. And most subscribers you’ll get will come from this page.
You may debate me saying “the content is the most important thing!” Sure. It is… after you’ve got the subscriber confirmed. How do you expect someone to dive deep into your videos and playlists if they don't visually appeal to them in the first place?
Think about when you first land on a new YouTube channel—what are the things you like to see? The colors, the fonts, the graphics, the logos, the custom video thumbnails, the custom channel art, the video title descriptions… all this bundled together = branding.
People love consistency—so choosing 2-3 specific colors and 2-3 specific fonts you’ll use when creating all visuals, including the channel banners, graphics within the videos, video thumbnails, etc. If your company is legit, your marketing team should have a branding guideline that lists the exact colors and fonts to use to be “on brand”—use that. If you’re starting from scratch, pick the colors and fonts and let’s get going.
A killer feature that YouTube offers is the channel trailer. This is a highlighted video that’s bigger in size and positioned at the top of the channel. It’s a great opportunity to showcase what your channel is about and what subscribers should expect to see. Create a video specifically for the channel trailer—introduce your company, demonstrate the value proposition of your channel, show off your personality, list a couple examples of content people will discover watching your vids. The trailer will help attract new subscribers and could even be the hard closer to a potential subscriber who’s on the fence on clicking the pretty red button.
And even for the trailer—create a custom video thumbnail with cool text/graphics that are in-line with branding standards and really entice a viewer to click.
Create playlists of all the different topics and content you have videos for. Say you’re a fitness youtuber—you could have a playlist for workouts and playlist for cooking—that way people who just want to watch your workouts can go to that playlist to get the goods without having to shuffle through all your amazing other videos to find what they want! Make sense?
The point is to create an easy viewer experience. Subscribers can go to exactly what they want to see. Potential subscribers can easily see what you’re bringing to the table and decide if they want some of that without having to watch hours of your goods. Start by thinking of 3 playlists you can create and clean up shop.
This is near and dear to my heart as I create custom video intro/outros, animations, and motion graphics for clients. Having a branded 5-second video intro that is consistently placed in each video before the footage begins playing is next level. This is what the best of the best is doing, I promise. It’s sleek, it’s professional, it will subliminally give the sense of “these people are legit” to your viewers, and it adds that’s consistency subscribers expect while also beefing up your brand.
When you upload a video, YouTube automatically pulls 3 frames to suggest to you to use as the video thumbnail—don’t do it. Don’t fall victim. It may seem easy, but easy isn’t always pretty #micdrop. Use the power of creative freedom along with the branding guidelines and create your own custom video thumbnails. It’s safe to say YouTube is a superficial environment, and thumbnails are what will get people to click on your video to watch. Get creative with thumbnails, but make sure they’re on brand and consistent in design.
Remember, developing your brand and establishing it takes time—especially on social, but you can do it, and it’s so worth it! Here are some examples of amazingly branded YouTube channels from various niches to get your idea’s generating. Enjoy!