Jamie Jean Schneider Domm
Digital Strategist, Social Media + Big Data, North American Division
Digital Missionary, "I’m Listening with Justin Khoe; Life. Faith. And the things that matter."
Before subscribing to your channel, most people visit your channel page to get a bird’s-eye-view of what to expect. It is the number-one place where people will decide to subscribe to your channel and, therefore, requires careful thought.
It’s important to understand visitor behavior on the platform. Often, people will watch and like a video that has come up in their suggested videos. Then they click on the name of the creator, which directs them to the channel page. What they find will influence whether they decide to subscribe to the channel to receive that content in their regular feed of videos. Many times, they’re looking for a few specific things, such as: How many videos has this creator uploaded? (after all, what’s the point of subscribing to a channel with only two videos?); how often do they upload? (once a week, twice a week?); what types of videos are they offering? They may also check out your most popular videos. Spend time organizing your channel page to help answer these questions and create a brand look that appeals to the target audience you are trying to reach. Work with a professional designer, if necessary.
To start, consider your channel name and how it can tie into your ministry’s branding and goals for being on the platform. Refer to the previous section of this guide on branding to help you identify which direction you would like to go. The name “That Christian Vlogger” immediately communicates to the viewer that they can expect video blogs of Christian content, making the value of the channel instantly apparent. The more common route is to choose the name of a personality or organization. However, this may make it more difficult to communicate purpose and value. Ask, “Does this channel name make a person want to subscribe to the channel?” When an individual uses his or her name, it implies that the channel contains content that is more personal and relatable to the viewer.
Be careful to avoid names that only have internal meaning and don’t convey a clear message or value to the broader public. This is especially important for evangelistic channels seeking to reach people outside the faith who may not be familiar with Christian terms. People may misinterpret your content as not being for them.
Next, develop strong copy for your YouTube channel’s “About” page. The first sentences are the most important, as this copy will pop up in the hovercard for your channel in several places around YouTube, such as the comment and suggested channels sections, as well as the snippet text in the YouTube search results. Therefore, it’s very important that you are intentional with how you craft this copy. These first few sentences should call out your target audience, helping the reader identify that this content is for them. Also, pitch the value of your channel for that target audience. Ask yourself, “Why should they prioritize my content over another similar channel?” or “How will they be affected by my content?” Assume that the reader has never heard about you before and has no idea what your channel is about. Then take the next paragraph to describe what your channel is about and what a person can expect if they were to subscribe to your channel, including your posting schedule. Additionally, weave keywords that are relevant to your channel into the copy and the content you’re creating. Avoid just listing keywords at the end of your “About” page. Finally, you can include links at the bottom of the “About” page that direct to your website and other social media profiles.
The channel trailer is a video that is shown very prominently at the top of your channel page for prospective new audience members. Once they hit “subscribe,” they will no longer see that video. Therefore, create a short channel trailer that speaks directly new people, letting them know what your channel is about or what your goal is, how often they can expect new content (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly), and what kind of content they can expect on a regular basis (e.g., vlogs, comedy, inspirational, etc.). Your channel trailer should feature you addressing the camera directly. If possible, give them visual demonstrations of what your channel will show them with quick clips (i.e., your b-roll) while you speak. These elements combined help create an engaging trailer that sets clear expectations, enabling the viewer to better decide if this channel is for them.
The channel header is found at the very top of your channel and is an opportunity for you to set your brand apart from other channels. Branding helps communicate a greater perceived value. Make sure your branded look is professional, clean, and modern. Include your upload schedule in your header, and use graphics and text to communicate what the channel is about. Consider including a close-up of your face (if you are the “face” of your ministry) that enables the viewer to see the whites of your eyes on a small screen. Be sure to also include relevant social media links to your ministry’s other platforms.
Consider which videos you want people to see first. One strategy is to highlight your most popular videos in a playlist. By featuring your highest-viewed videos, people are more likely to give them a chance because a significant number of other people have already watched them, indicating they are worth your time. This is called social proofing. Another strategy is to feature your highest-converting videos. These can be identified by looking at your channel analytics to see which videos convert viewers into subscribers the most often. Your most-viewed videos may not effectively convert viewers to subscribers.
Spend time organizing your videos into additional playlists based on related topics, choosing your best-performing videos for each topic. This can help create a string of binge-worthy content, increasing the time people spend watching and engaging with your content. You may even want to create a playlist dedicated to new subscribers titled something like “New Here?” or “New to the Channel?” This will allow a newcomer to get to know you and your channel through a curated playlist of videos designed to introduce them to your personality and content. Humans connect better with other humans and stories, so share some of your back story here.
Checklist for next steps