Following on from his session at BlogOn Toys, Resident videographer Alex Wing shares his thoughts and experience on making your YouTube channel stand out from the crowd.
A comment I get a lot from PR’s and companies who want to work or have worked with me is “your videos are very polished and professional and your channel looks great”.
Now, this isn’t something that accidentally happened, I suck at YouTube because I am the most inconsistent person I know that is on YouTube!
But, when it comes to my channel and uploading content, I do it to the best of my abilities.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a collaboration, brand work, a simple day out or even a holiday, my videos all get the same treatment.
You don’t have to be a professional videographer to apply these things either, its things that as Bloggers and YouTubers you should be doing already.
It all starts with my branding first and foremost.
So let’s begin with channel art, and when I first started out on YouTube I honestly didn’t care what my channel art looked like, this was my channel art!
I mean it’s an ok picture, but it doesn’t really say what my channel is about or who I am.
But slowly over time, I realised that more than likely people stumbling across my channel, the channel art is the first thing they would see.
This is your first opportunity to sell who you are, what you are about and what people can expect from your channel.
If you don’t care about the channel art, why should people bother checking out what your channel is about? This was my favourite channel art I have done, but I wanted to move away from the flat lay style as that just isn’t me!
In all honesty though, for me channel art is a pain in the arse as you need to make sure that 1 image will perfectly align for people who watch YouTube on TVs, Computers, Tablets and Phones and that’s actually quite hard unless you go the flat lay route.
As I mentioned in my talk, if you are Photoshop user, you can download my PSD templatere from here, https://www.dropbox.com/s/t9wnn9wys27gzgu/Alex-YouTube-Channel-Art-Template.psd?dl=0
This was my main channel art:
And this is the template:
In my opinion, thumbnails are probably the most important aspect when it comes to your channel.
The reason being is that not only is this another opportunity to incorporate your personal branding, but your thumbnails are actually what people are more likely to see first than your channel art.
Whenever you watch a video on YouTube you will always see suggested videos next to what’s being played.
But if you don’t put effort into your thumbnails, no one is going to be interested in watching it from suggested videos, regardless of how good your video is.
Imagine someone is watching an amazing travel video, full of brilliant cinematography and you too have done a video on the same place, and it is featured as a suggested but it has a terrible thumbnail in comparison. No one will click it!
Here is an example of my Maldives I did earlier this year, if I would have let YouTube generate my thumbnail, no one would have watched the video!
The way I see my thumbnails is an extension of my Instagram feed. I have got into the habit of only posting GoPro shots on my feed.
But a lot of times I take photos using my main camera for my wife’s feed. So I use those as thumbnails.
Whenever I go out and film anything I also make sure that I get a photo for the sole purpose of the thumbnail.
If you look at my videos, every single one of my thumbnails follows a theme and that’s for a few reasons.
The main reason is that if my video shows up as a suggested video, anyone familiar with my channel will instantly recognise it as one of my videos because its consistent.
The theme I follow is 1 or 2 words to describe the video i.e. is it a cinematic type video, a tutorial, a review or even a how-to and then I colour code it to differentiate the type of video it is.
Then I give it a title in the same format and font and every time.
Doing this will help your viewers recognise your style and thumbnails and it will also help to attract new subscribers to your channel.
I have seen many many channels thumbnails just do whatever it is that fits with the particular video they are uploading, but it will be a completely different format, font and colouring to the previous video.
So find a theme that works with your branding and stick to it.
There are plenty of FREE resources online that allow you to add text and logos to images, so utilise them.
- Fotor – https://www.fotor.com/
- Canva – https://www.canva.com/
- Befunky – https://www.befunky.com/
- Picfont – https://picfont.com/
Finally, one last tip on thumbs. If you uploaded a video and after a while stopped getting views or slowed down on the views a great way to get the views started again is to change your thumbnail.
It doesn’t always work, but on some of my videos, I regularly change the thumbnail and sometimes it gives it that kick starts again!
Every single one of my videos has an intro but it varies as to which one I use and I am regularly changing mine which isn’t a good thing to do!
Depending on who you ask, an intro that shows off branding, my logo, is very important, some people don’t bother but I personally try to utilise my branding into the video, here is a couple of examples:
I make mine fancy as I am way too much of a perfectionist which is also the reason mine is constantly changing!
But you don’t have to make them fussy or even animated, but a simple logo or your name at the start of the video adds the professional touch.
And if you are really serious about intros, you could invest in getting yourself a proper intro made for you. I used to do a lot of YouTubers intros for them, but I don’t really do them anymore as I don’t have the time… But here is a couple of examples of my previous ones and also for others:
For me, music is the creative part of the process that I am the most passionate about. I love music and I cannot concentrate on anything without having music playing.
So whenever I’m sat at my computer I have music constantly playing and at the same time, it allows me to compile my library of music to use in future YouTube videos.
When it comes to music for your videos this part all depends on how much you care about monetising your videos.
If you aren’t bothered about monetising, then there are some amazing free resources available for music for your videos.
- Vlog No Copyright Music – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEickjZj99-JJIU8_IJ7J-Q
- No Copyright Sounds – https://www.youtube.com/user/NoCopyrightSounds
- Bass Rebels – https://www.youtube.com/user/bassrebelsrecordings
- Audio Library – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCht8qITGkBvXKsR1Byln-wA
The problem with using these places for music is that you run the risk of having a video that sounds exactly the same as 1 million other videos that are on YouTube, so the next step up from this is SoundCloud.
Soundcloud can take a bit of work to find the music, but there are some amazing tracks on there, some paid but a lot are free to use as well.
- Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/
After this, you have the paid-for options. So if you are wanting to take your channel more seriously, and also start monetising your videos, these choices are what you want.
First, you have Epidemic Sound, and they are the ones that I first signed up for when I started to monetise my videos.
Subscriptions start at £10 per month, but that gives you unlimited access to 30,000 plus songs and 60,000 sound effects.
The best part about Epidemic Sounds is if you sign up and use their tracks and then cancel your subscription, you still get to monetise your videos using their songs.
- Epidemic Sound – https://www.epidemicsound.com/
The downside to Epidemic Sounds is that there aren’t that many good songs, and the ones that are good have been used thousands of times before.
Now we move on to what I use and that’s called MusicBed. It costs a similar amount to Epidemic Sound but it doesn’t have any sound effects.
But MusicBed only features proper artists and music that wouldn’t be out of place in any current charts.
A lot of feature films have used MusicBed and they only recently started offering a monthly subscription.
- Music Bed – https://www.musicbed.com/
Their music is hands down some of the best I have ever heard and it’s actually music I listen to and enjoy.
Sponsored / Ad Videos
I know this isn’t technically a creative aspect of YouTube but hear me out!
I know of a lot of people that unless it’s a sponsored or collab video, they won’t mention any brands but that just isn’t me.
The reason being is that I treat every single one of my videos as a showcase of what I can do for a potential new client or brand.
Don’t think of AD videos as just that, think of it as a look at what I can do for you.
Make it as professional as possible. Treat your sponsored videos as an audition for the next company you will be working with.. So go above and beyond!
If you’re working with a brand I.e. sponsored or ad video then include them in your branding. Here are some examples of when I’ve worked with brands and included them in my branding:
I used to try and hide ads as much as possible but now I include them as much as possible and include them in my own style.
Here are a couple of examples of using the brands branding in my videos in my style:
One last tip
Something I really tried to get into the habit of but time just ran away with me, was trying to find ways of building interest in my videos ready for when I uploaded them.
If you are able to do it I would highly suggest you do, as I did it once and the results were amazing!
We were on holiday on a kind of sponsored trip, we were paid to shoot content for TUI and their social channels but were not required to do anything ourselves.
I saw this as an opportunity, my audition opportunity for future companies. So I shot this really short and catchy video to say wait for the main video.
This was the short teaser video:
For the main video here:
They were very impressed with this video and the final video, which then resulted in us working with them a further 2 times last year because of the amount of effort we went to. So moral of the story, go that extra mile as you never know what might come of it!