You might have just recently created a YouTube channel, or maybe you’re thinking of starting one. The problem is, how to make your channel standout from the many others in your niche, after all there are 500 hours of content posted to YouTube every minute.
Here are the main ways to differentiate your channel:
- Make your content completely unique (or give your unique take on existing topics)
- Deliver more value than anyone else in your videos
- Branding – develop a unique and memorable brand
In this article we’re going to cover how to brand your YouTube channel to give yourself the best chance of building a successful presence on YouTube.
Why branding matters
It goes without saying that first impressions are vitally important, but this is amplified even more on YouTube where you rarely get a second chance at making one. When a new visitor comes to your channel or one of your videos, how you’ve branded it will have a huge impact on whether they watch your videos, subscribe, or leave.
If you create an impactful brand and more memorable experience for your viewers and subscribers, it will bring people back to your channel more often!
Before you get started
Before you start branding your channel, there is a few things you need to work out first:
Create a brand account on YouTube
This is very basic but if you want to create a branded experience on YouTube you first need to create a brand account.
You need to work out some basic elements of your brand and ensure you are consistent with them going forward. This includes things such as fonts, color palettes, and messaging.
Know your audience
Deep dive in to getting to know your audience (or the audience you want to target).
The best channels target a specific audience and create content to help that audience solve their problems. This is the basis of your channel and will feed into how you build and position your brand (and attract your target audience).
Will you be the face?
Are you going to be the face of your brand? Many popular YouTubers get on camera and directly interact with their audience that way. This can be the most powerful part of your brand as people get to know you, recognize your face, and hopefully like your personality.
All this feeds into a strong personal and brand connection. So, if you think you have the personality and presence to be the focus of your brand then put your face on camera.
Give yourself time
Don’t expect to have a perfect brand from day one, remember these things take time, experimentation and evolve as you learn and adapt.
Give yourself a break, you’re allowed to change your ideas over time, but you can start off with a solid foundation, see what works, and let your brand develop from there.
Step 1 – Create a great looking channel icon or logo:
The first step is to make a memorable channel icon or logo. Most YouTube channels will go with one of the following options:
- Their face
- Their brand logo
Both options are fine. If you feel like your face is essentially your brand, then use that. Or if you want to use a logo that will represent your brand on your YouTube channel and across the web then that is a great option too.
Whatever you choose, make sure your channel icon is eye-catching, invokes the emotions you’re after (e.g. fun, welcoming, etc.), and looks clear and uncluttered as it will appear in many spots on YouTube including:
- Search results
- Community tab
- Video comments
- Featured channels
- Related channels
- And more
For a lot of people, your icon or logo will be the first thing they see related to your brand before they come to your channel, so make it look good and people will recognize it and trust it over time.
So, how do you create a channel icon or logo? If you’re using your face, then you simply need to take some photos and try and capture the look and emotions you want to portray.
To create a logo you have a few options, you can:
- Use one of the many online logo makers – Placeit and DesignEvo are good options
- Design it yourself if you have the skills
- Hire a designer through a site live Fiverr to do it for you
Step 2 – Make a professional looking channel page:
Your channel is the home for your content. You’d be embarrassed if you invited a guest into your home but it was a real mess, wouldn’t you? Well, make sure to set up your channel in the right way to make it inviting to visitors.
When your channel page looks professional, a good chunk of the people who visit your channel page will hit that subscribe button.
So how do you create a great looking branded channel page? Here are the most important elements:
Your channel art is the first thing someone is going to see when they arrive on your channel, so it needs to deliver on a couple of elements.
First, it needs to look great to capture the visitors attention and have your brand colors and features such as your logo.
Second (and most importantly), it needs to make it easy for a visitor to understand what your channel is about and the value it offers. Thanks to social media humans have an attention span of around 7 seconds, that’s not a lot of time to capture their attention. Here’s how you can do it:
- Think of a few words and phrases that you can use that really communicate what your channel is about and how you help your viewers.
- Try and get it down a four to seven word phrase.
- The less text you have the better to make it easier for viewers to comprehend. No one wants to read too much, especially on YouTube.
It might take some trial and error – but keep brainstorming ideas and you’ll hopefully be able to come up with a few phrases that reflect your channel topic and show your value proposition.
Here are a couple examples of channel banners that do just that:
To create your channel art, you have the same options as you did with your logo. You can use a banner maker, design it yourself, or hire a designer to do it for you.
About page description
When someone isn’t quite sure if they want to subscribe to your channel or not, oftentimes they will check out your about tab to learn more about you. It’s important to write a thorough and effective description.
Things to include in your about description:
- Who your channel is for
- What types of videos you put out
- When you upload new videos
- Any other details that will make people want to click that subscribe button
The trick is to make it about your viewers and not about you. Focus on what they can get from watching your videos and subscribing to your channel.
Again, this is very basic but make sure that all the external links in your channel page are up to date and working in case people want to click through and see what else you have got going on.
The number of channels that link to broken pages or dead social media accounts would probably surprise you!
Also, whether you’re linking to a landing page, website or your other social profiles, make sure to have the same branding to deliver a consistent feel for the viewer no matter which one of your platforms they visit.
Your channel trailer is a chance to tell your story, and much like your about page description it’s a good place to show your visitors what value they can expect from you but it’s also a chance to introduce them to you and your brand. Things to include:
- Why you started this channel
- Who you want to help with it
- What value your audience can expect
Represent yourself (and your brand) in the best way possible by putting your best performing videos as the feature content on your channel homepage.
This means highlighting the videos you think represent your brand the best (and hopefully these are the videos that convert viewers into subscribers too).
Put your best video in the first video position as this gets the most clicks. To find out which video this should be, go through your YouTube analytics.
Playlists are essentially the sub-topics of your channel. They reflect what your brand offers and organizes your content in packages so viewers can dive into the content you have on a specific area.
This can take them down the ‘rabbit hole’ of your videos and begin to get them to buy into what your brand is offering.
Step 3 – Video designs and experience:
Now that you’ve got the branding of your channel covered. It’s time to look at how you can brand your videos in the best way possible.
There are several parts of a video that can make a big impact in building your brand:
The content of your video is also a representation of your brand, so keep that in mind. Whatever content you push out there into the world defines you and your brand so make sure it’s the best quality possible.
Many so-called YouTube gurus will tell you to post often but the truth is you should focus way more on quality over quantity, especially when you are just starting out with your channel. Keep the quality high and people will associate that level of quality with your channel and, in essence, your brand.
If you develop a consistent and recognizable format for your videos, it is a good opportunity to create a feeling of familiarity with your audience.
People love TV shows because they have a consistent formula. They want surprises and twists, or maybe new lessons in each episode but they keep coming back because they like the consistent format (and quality) of the show.
This applies to your channel and videos and can play a big part in building a loyal fanbase for your brand.
Your on-camera style
If you plan to get on camera a lot, then your on-camera style (and the way you edit your videos) is going to impact how viewers perceive you and your brand. The main features here are:
- How you communicate on camera (e.g. excited, calm, fast, slow, etc.)
- Your personality – does it come across?
- Editing style – edits and animations in your videos or animations unique to your channel that consistently feature in your videos
Video thumbnails are vitally important to get clicks (and more video views) but they also play a big part in building up your brand over time.
This is because as your channel becomes more popular people will begin to recognize your branding (and hopefully associate that with quality content) and therefore will be more likely to click on your video to see the latest content you’re putting out there.
To ensure your thumbnails deliver on both these fronts it’s important to make them eye-catching but also consistent with your brand.
If you’re in the early stages of your YouTube channel development, test different styles to see what works, and then when you find a winner, stick with that style.
A video intro, also called a logo stinger, does a couple of things when it comes to building your brand on YouTube.
First, it introduces it to people who are watching one of your videos for the first time. Second, like your video format and thumbnails, it creates a sense of familiarity (and hopefully trust) to people who have watched your videos before.
Your intro only needs to be a few seconds long and usually contains your logo. Again, make sure it’s consistent with the other graphic elements on your channel. Check out these templates for inspiration.
The last element of your video is the end card. This should contain the elements of your brand such as your logo or icon, fonts, and colors. It’s important to keep it consistent with the rest of your channel.
Get involved in the comments section
Make sure to engage with people in the comments of your videos. This is vitally important to build that engagement and relationships with your audience, and to make them feel part of the community and develop a stronger connection with your brand.
It’s also a great place to ask questions (e.g. in a pinned comment) and to get to know your audience better so you can deliver more of the content they want.
Choose the right partners
There are many ways to make money on Youtube, and one of the best ways is to work with partners and sponsors.
Make sure to only work with partners that fit with your ethos and provide value to your audience too. Otherwise you risk damaging your brand!
Step 4 – Analyze the data and adjust:
Make sure to always look at what’s working – see what’s working and what’s not having the best impact on your channel and your brand. Do more of what works and more of what your audience loves. That way everyone wins!