We already know that branding helps you to stand out, show up and share your best self. When it comes to YouTube, showing up as the best, most amazing and compelling version of yourself is what’s going to make people stick around on your channel.
It takes less than a second for people to form an opinion about your brand, so when people land on your YouTube channel, you want them to know immediately that this is somewhere they want to hang around with the kind of content they want to watch.
As someone who has a YouTube channel and has helped a bunch of creatives brand their own channels, I know a thing or two about branding a YouTube channel. Of course, I also watch a heck of a lot of YouTube myself, so I know what attracts me to a channel and makes me want to watch it!
This week, I’m going to take all of that experience and be your guide in why and how you should brand your YouTube channel so that you can get your audience hooked!
When people land on your YouTube channel and see your profile photo, banner and the kind of videos you have, it’s going to take them 50 milliseconds to make a judgment on whether they’re going to watch your content, subscribe or check out your profile. Pretty small window, right?
That’s where your branding comes in. Your branding should make your channel look and feel exciting, so people can’t help but check it out, click on your videos and watch your content.
One of the YouTube channels I helped to brand was Femke van Schoonhoven’s. Before we worked on it, Fem’s brand was very simple, wasn’t very exciting and just didn’t feel like Fem. We rebuilt her whole brand so that now when you land on the page, it’s way more exciting and feels immediately like Fem. Her video thumbnails are so compelling and it’s very clear what they’re about, which makes you want to click on them and watch that content.
Creating a strong brand for your YouTube channel is really powerful because it sets the tone for the type of content that you’re making, the type of person that you are, and the experience somebody is going to get when they start watching or subscribing to your channel.
It’s not just about your YouTube channel. As Jonah Sachs said: “Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touchpoints”. People might find you on YouTube, but then they’re going to click through to your website, social media or anything else you have linked to your channel. Everything that your audience interacts with that’s related and linked to your YouTube channel should be really thoughtfully branded.
Now that we know why it’s so important to brand your YouTube channel, let’s look at the parts of your YouTube channel that you can brand.
All these parts of your channel contribute to the whole brand experience, whether it’s visually, stylistically, or through your brand values, voice or tone.
There are two main things to think about when it comes to determining what your brand is all about.
Choose what your personality on YouTube is all about, and also what it’s not. It might be bold, edgy, energetic, feisty and daring - and maybe it’s not quiet, whimsical, sweet, gentle or cute.
Think about who your audience is and what they want from a YouTube channel like yours.What are their dreams? What do they need to achieve them? What challenges do they have? And of course, what can YOU do to help them achieve those dreams?
Give them what they need and overcome their challenges by providing value in the content you’re creating. You don’t necessarily need to educate them, but you could be providing entertainment, relief or calming energy - whatever it is that’s valuable to your audience.
Decide how you want your audience to feel when they come to your YouTube channel and again, be clear on what you don’t want them to feel as well.
Once you’ve decided on these two things, you can choose colours, fonts, styles and graphics that align with them and represent the energy that you want to communicate.
Now it’s time to start applying that beautiful brand of yours to your YouTube channel!
For this part of your channel, use your logo, brand colours and fonts to state your channel name, topic and a schedule if you have one. Make sure that it’s simple, stands out and tells your story quickly so that people can see what you’re all about straight away, but also that it represents your personality and how you want your audience to feel.
Your video thumbnails are also a big part of your YouTube channel. State the title of the video and use the thumbnail to give your audience a sneak peek of what’s in the video - for example, a photo of you or a screenshot from the video itself.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s clear and punchy so it stands out on the homepage. If you have multiple subtopics or series, you could colour code them so that it’s easy for people to figure out what they’re looking at.
Use your brand colours and fonts, keeping it simple and easy to read so that people can quickly decide that this is what they want to click on, because they know exactly what it’s about and what they’re going to get.
These include things like your introduction, captions, call-outs throughout the video and end cards, which should all use your brand colours and fonts. Make sure that any text on the video is visible and easy to read.
You can use these to encourage engagement and longer watch time by making them things that people want to keep watching, that make your video exciting and that make it easy to follow.
We talked earlier about branding the whole experience, and this applies too when you promote your YouTube videos on other platforms, such as Instagram or Twitter. Create your graphics so that they’re on-brand and align with your YouTube channel. Again, you can use a sneak peek of the video like the thumbnail to encourage people to click through, swipe up or whatever the call to action is to watch your video on YouTube - that’s the aim for your promotional graphics.
You can decide on the content you’re going to make, how you’re going to talk about it and where you want to promote it based on your brand strategy.
Now you have all the goodies you need to apply your brand to your YouTube channel and beyond! I can’t wait to see how you take your YouTube channel to the next level, and make sure you tag me if you do!
September 29, 2021