Friday, November 16, 2012

The Channelization of YouTube: how you can build a cohesive channel experience


This blog post is part of an ongoing series that shares tips from the YouTube Creator Playbook. The Playbook is YouTube’s official resource of best practices for audience development.

You’ve heard about the channel-ization of YouTube. Success is no longer just about getting a one-off viral hit. Now, more than ever, to be successful on YouTube, you need to think about how to create a cohesive channel experience for your audience. You’ve got to take on the role of channel programmer. This means really investing time into your channel, and building your subscriber base. Why? The numbers speak for themselves: subscribers watch nearly twice as long as non-subscribers. In other words, your subscribers are your fan base.  

Here’s a few things you can do to develop your channel:

  1. Promote your channel! Remember, your audience doesn’t know about your channel and all the great content that’s there unless you let them know! So, go ahead and message this out to your audience: invite your viewers to check out your channel through a call to action in the video’s introduction, or a branded end-card. Also, if you haven’t spent time with the new Invideo programming feature, check it out. This new, easy to use feature is a great way to reinforce channel branding across all videos in your library and drive your audience to all your other content.

Another easy way to promote your channel is through your videos’ metadata description. In addition to context around the specific, individual video, add a brief snippet about your channel, and provide links to the channel page, as well as programmed playlists.  

  1. Make playlists a key piece of your channel strategy. Playlists create a programmed, extended viewing experience for your audience, and they’re also a great way to increase watch-time.

Use playlists to program your channel -  separate shows into different playlists, or group content around similar themes or tent-pole events. You can use the ‘start and end time’ feature to set in and out points for all the videos you curate into playlists. And, if you want to go the extra mile, consider creating and optimizing hosted playlists. Hosted playlists have intros and/or interstitial content to provide context in between videos. Once you’ve got your playlists all ready to go, publish full playlists to your subscribers through the channel post feature.

  1. Program the channel feed. Think of your channel’s activity feed as the your main line of communication with your subscribers. Make sure your feed is active so that your audience keeps coming back for more. When you add a video to a playlist, like, or comment on a video, it appears in the feed for your subscribers to see. So, mix up your own uploads with curated content, and be a tastemaker for your audience.

All of the content you upload and promote through the activity feeds collectively tells your audience a story about your channel and what it stands for. Make it count - tell a strong, interesting one!

Those are just a few quick tips to help you start thinking about your channel strategy. As we roll out new features, we’ll be sure to let you know how you can use them to make the most out of your channel.

Lauren Vilders, Audience Development Coordinator, recently watched “Shaun Sperling Bar Mitzvah Dance - Madonna, Vogue - 3/14/92