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Why should I have a YouTube channel?

Second to Google, YouTube is the most-used search engine. You want to be searchable here: You want to be found.

How do I create a YouTube channel?

When you sign up for YouTube, you automatically get your own channel. Go to and click sign up. Fill in your information.
Name: This name will show up at the top of your channel’s page
Username: This name will show up in the URL
For example, visit You see that the Username was no1getzs0da because it’s in the URL, but the Name of the channel is Ladled Theory Productions. It is recommended to have them match, like if you visit, you can see that musicproguides was the Username, while Music Pro Guides was the Name.
After creating your account, you can customize the look of your channel a little by adding a background and decide if you want to have a featured video that always shows up first (and if you want it to play automatically, like at musicproguides).

Upload a video

Click “upload” and click on the arrow to select the file. While it’s uploading, enter in a title, description, and keywords. These are extremely important to being searchable. The more specific keywords (which can be full phrases), the better.
If you have an important link, post it in the first three lines of your description so that it’s above the fold. Include the http:// to make it clickable.
Also, note there are three settings: private, unlisted, and public. Private means only you can see it when you are logged in, unlisted means people with the URL can see it but it’s not searchable, and public means people can stumble across it and share it.

What to upload

YouTube can support most video file types like .mov, .avi, .wmv, etc. You cannot upload anything you don’t own because it could get flagged and taken down. They could even suspend your account. Unless it’s a lesson or seminar, try to keep it under 3 or 4 minutes because attention spans are short. If it’s a book trailer, 1 minute is best.
More of my advice on driving traffic to your book and what to create for your channel found in my other video posts on this blog.

Make a plan

What are your goals? There are multiple ways to use a YouTube channel. One is just so that you have a place to host your video content online for free. I do this on my no1getzs0da YouTube channel. I make no attempt to get subscribers. It’s just a place to host my videos so that I can embed them on my Journal Snaps blog. However, you may want to make your channel like a TV show or even a TV channel (except, of course, not on TV). If the latter, then create a plan: how often do you want to post new content? How do you want to spread the word? How do you want to get viewers to interact with you and with each other? And WHAT DO YOU WANT TO POST? Do you want to make it a fictional drama (that reflects your book)? A series of interviews? Documentary? Vlog?
Did you just ask, “What’s a vlog?” If so, a vlog is a video blog. It’s a video journal for the public to watch and engage with. Charlie McDonnell and Alex Day have two of the most popular YouTube blogs. Some people share a channel, like the VlogBrothers, and there are even fictional vlogs (in the way that you can have a mockumentary, you can have a mock-vlog). Vlogs are the most-subscribed-to channels on YouTube because they are consistent in timing, style, character, and content.

Useful Links

Tips for getting your YouTube channel and videos found by search engines:

1. Use metadata: Search engines will use your title, descriptive text, and keywords to rank your channel/videos.

2. Link to, not

3. Create playlists that also have carefully chosen titles, keywords, and descriptions. These are searchable on search engines, too. The more links that point to your video, the better the SEO. Playlists are essentially links. It’s also an opportunity for your playlist to show up on the “related playlist” bar. And playlists are ranked highly in search engines, according to this article.

webcamIf you have a YouTube channel, you will want a high number of video views. But you also may want people to subscribe to your “channel.” This means that when they log onto YouTube, any new video you’ve posted that they have not watched yet will show up on their main screen.

1. Content, as always, is king. If you don’t have high quality video and high quality content, then all else is futile.

2. Post your videos to social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc. Put your videos on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever you think your potential viewers hang out.

3. Invite your YouTube friends to subscribe to your video if they haven’t already. And don’t be ashamed to invite your favorite YouTubers to subscribe to you if you’ve subscribed to them.

4. Title your video with something not only relevant to the video’s content but also interesting, shocking, mysterious, or controversial. Also use Title Case and don’t make it a long sentence–get to the point.

5. Use keywords not only in your title, but in that handy keyword box YouTube has you fill in. Be specific, often using multiple words or even short sentences as keywords if you think people will be searching for that exact phrase or sentence. If you have a video on how to play the harmonic underwater, if you just put “harmonica” and “underwater” your video will appear on all searches for “harmonic” or “underwater” but because they are popular phrases, your video could be at the very bottom. If your keywords are “harmonica underwater” and “playing harmonica under water” your video is more likely to be number one on the list for when people search those. You may also want to include things like “strange talents” and “weird instrument.” Also use keywords in the description, but avoid key word stuffing.

6. Don’t make the description too short (or too long for that matter). Include any relevant links, the most important “above the fold”. Ask them to subscribe.

7. You can even embed a little “subscribe” or “click to subscribe” button into your video once you’ve uploaded it, so it will actually show up on your screen. Some people like to pick out something that is talked about and focus on that to get people to either subscribe or thumbs-up their video. (The thumbs up gives the video a better rating and gives it a chance at being featured on YouTube’s front pageĀ or at least being higher on the searches, so you might want to ask your viewers to do this if they are not ready to commit to subscribing.) For example, if in part of the video you talk about zombie caribou, you might embed a little thing that says “Click thumbs up if you like zombie caribou!”

8. Be part of the YouTube community (communities). Subscribe, comment, and friend. People often will look at your channel if you are talking to them on YouTube or have requested to be their friends. But don’t be a spammer!

9. Be consistent. Let people know what to expect from you. Doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later on if you want to have a new feature that posts every day for a month and then goes back to posting just once a week on the old feature, but let your viewers know this is going on. Don’t disappear off the face of the Earth for four months and then come back to YouTube expecting everyone to remember you.

10. Be a YouTube partner. You get to pick your thumbnail, which is important for when people are scrolling through videos (otherwise, try to put your select thumbnail at the halfway point of your video). You also get a nice banner on your channel and lots of other fun stuff that lets you stand out.

11. Don’t use copyrighted material. If you’re using a song, for example, owned by someone else, YouTube could prevent you from having a high-ranking, delete the audio track to your video, or delete your video all together.

12. Some people disable the comments and rating ability, which is maybe because they don’t want to have to answer questions and delete spam, etc., but if you don’t want to answer questions, then don’t answer questions. It doesn’t mean you can’t let your fans post comments and talk among themselves. Allow them to build a community around being your fan. However, the more you are involved and respond to your viewers, the more affection toward you they will have.

13. Instead of leaving comments, you can leave a video comment. Try leaving a video comment to similar videos or creating videos in direct response to someone else’s video.

14. Best face forward. On your channel, the default will show your most recent video in the player. But you can change this. Pick the best video (you can use free YouTube insights to see which video has the most interest or you can just look at number of views) and put that on the front. Or maybe you have an introductory video. You can also choose to have the video automatically start playing. Personally I find this annoying but it probably has its advantages too.

15. Fill out your profile (be sure to include your website) and customize the appearance of your channel for branding purposes.

A lot of people will buy software that will generate comments and views on your YouTube videos. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But either way, I personally find this to be a dishonest way of gaining interest. If your videos are good and you know how to market yourself well enough using the tips above, you shouldn’t have to stoop that low. But you will need patience. It usually doesn’t happen over night. Don’t expect to be a viral hit. Just aim for having loyal followers.

Useful Links:
Top Tips to Get More YouTube Subscribers (Squidoo)

Create a YouTube Traffic Jam (KissMetrics)

Optimising your YouTube Channel for SEO (SEOptimise)