9 Things to Commit to Before Starting Your Brand’s YouTube Channel
Last update: 1 March 2023 at 02:48 pm
YouTube seems like that one video platform not yet marred by constant bugs, an existential crisis or paywalls, and that’s why brands naturally still want in. But how do you master your YouTube channel branding?
Besides, it’s probably the strongest platform to create a genuine fan base and also solidify your brand identity, since it needs a higher investment of interest from viewers in the first place.
While it is the individual creator’s playground, there are still ways for brands to find their corners in this perennial party and create videos, but only as long as they create and maintain their YouTube channel branding well. And this goes much further than a catchy banner image, profile picture, and channel description. This can be done with the help of partners, or alone.
It’s a big investment of time, effort, and also money, so before starting a YouTube channel it’s important for any brand planning to commit to a checklist of activities, a lot of which may be just essentially YouTube branding.
Because once that ball gets rolling, it gains momentum like nothing your brand identity has experienced before. Here are some of the more important pointers from that checklist to help you to keep growing your target audience.
Resolve to be a ‘creator’ and not a canvas of ads
Firstly, YouTube is not going to be another platform for you to publish your generically created video content on.
What you create for YouTube should be at the hub of all your content and everything else spokes on the wheel around that hub of YouTube branding. Then you will now have to approach your YouTube content as a creator with a genuine intent to entertain, inform and engage your audience.
Your product or service in fact should feel like a spin-off of your YouTube videos.
The platform can host the ads, but the meat of your brand account will have to be the things that people revisit your YouTube channel for and not those YouTube videos that are pushed to hook them in the first 5 seconds.
But that doesn’t mean you only just upload videos longer than that. Ultimately the quality of what you post dictates your YouTube channel’s branding the most.
If you’re a coffee brand, make them come to your channel for recipes. If you’re an athleisure brand, invent backyard sports and get people to play. If you’re in fintech give people weekly market summarization videos on your brand account.
Don’t be a bot
Brands sometimes lose sight of the ‘human’ aspect of what they do, focusing too much on the product and how to show up on a search engine. But the most conveniently drawn bridge between a brand and its consumer is a face, voice, and personality.
‘People want to see people, not myths with price tags’, is one of the key tenets of YouTube channel branding. This is why brands need to personify themselves when creating videos at scale.
Think impressionable hosts, impressive voices, and this sense of being presented to by a living-breathing human being. You don’t need to hire actors, but people from inside the company can play the part too. In fact, a strong personality and presentation style can make up for other expensive production elements like lights and setups by being the center point of your YouTube branding.
Also, ensure that your channel description and video description follow a human and conversational tone. Think of it as a personal google account but more elaborate.
This should have been the first pointer, but it’s something generally accepted by anybody who’s dabbled with content.
But this also probably needs to be reiterated for YouTube given how easy it is to lose steam here. Every video that you create for YouTube will command a healthy amount of time, and soon it can become overwhelming, that too without much reward. But the secret sauce for a successful YouTube brand is the most boring one, patience.
For the long game, YouTube is probably the most legitimate platform even though it has one of the lowest payouts. One way to ensure that consistency is maintained is sharing this burden – make this not one person’s, but a whole team’s mandate, you anyway shouldn’t be starting a YouTube channel all alone. Your YouTube channel branding is going to happen over at least a year, and not a fortnight.
Being smart and getting smarter
There’s nothing people like more than other people who know what they’re talking about.
As a brand on YouTube, you will anyway be expected to be an expert and/or a trendsetter, a thought leader. So, demonstrating intelligence, action, and the willingness to do research is one of the strongest hooks you can have for your viewers, sealing your YouTube channel brand’s success, at least partially.
A little introspection within your company will help dredge up heaps of knowledge for you to share, or you could even also bring on other experts from your domain, further adding credibility to your brand. Research, reflection, and constant self-education are always going to be one of your strongest sales and also part of your brand identity.
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Rising above bare minimum production
While it’s true you can create a fairly good video with free editing software and an iPhone, your viewers know that you can afford to do better than that.
Your production quality is an extension of your YouTube channel branding – your setup, lighting, audio quality, editing, and profile picture are all directly linked to how audiences perceive you.
So it might help to put agencies or freelancers on your payroll, at least for a while. A lot of vloggers and YouTube influencers in fact happen to share their pipelines with editors and agencies, first shooting and leaving the rest to them.
With time people will also notice your improving production quality and this begins its own virtuous circle of recommendation. The average production value all across YouTube increases every year and as a brand, you’ll have to keep abreast of these changes to maintain your YouTube channel branding. A good starting point might be to consider creating a powerful channel trailer.
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Engaging with your audience
Your social media channels are meant for engagement, but YouTube’s comment section is amongst the most active places on the internet for dialogue, and it’s a brand’s opportunity to convert native viewers to actual fans, capitalizing on that last mile of YouTube channel branding.
YouTube is also the place where you send viewers who’ve already taken to you to follow you on other platforms. The sheer stickiness that YouTube gives you is superior as compared to other platforms.
For your channel page make sure viewers can enter your funnel through your channel description as well, and that your other social media channels are on your channel banner.
Using its other formats
This is on the heel of the last point – use whatever YouTube can offer you to improve your YouTube channel branding.
For instance, YouTube lets creators publish ephemeral video content called Shorts, which is almost exactly like TikTok or Reels. Like any other platform, it will want you to use these sub-formats to help you improve your YouTube channel branding, so it most likely also improves your score on usage.
YouTube will also keep experimenting and creating more such features for creators (like handles) in the future and every YouTube channel will have to be proactive to keep up. Also don’t skip out on using video playlists.
The idea of having a YouTube channel should be incidental to the larger activity you are undertaking and the video content itself may be a sort of high-value documentation of that.
For creating good video content and maintaining your YouTube channel branding, a major effort should not go into handling the camera, but in pre-production.
So maybe you’ll have to travel, conduct experiments, interview people, create music, a nice channel trailer, do primary research, and giveaways, and you’ll have to be original and entertaining the whole time.
Treating ‘YouTube branding’ separately
YouTube branding is its own beast. If you have a brand, odds are you have a graphic charter and you know your brand colors.
But to have a YouTube channel that’s easily distinguishable from other YouTube channels, it’s important to extend it into your YouTube channel branding.
There are tangible and intangible aspects to this. The tangibles include the things that help you maintain brand consistency like the brand colors, video titles, the custom transitions in your edits, logo animations, video watermark, your banner image, video descriptions, video thumbnails, and your physical setup.
The intangibles include the rituals you practice in all your videos, these include catchphrases, call-to-actions, inside jokes, the cat that keeps interrupting recordings, and everything that could make you memorable even off-screen. While these can keep evolving, it is important to have these from the get-go to ensure strong YouTube branding.
Conclusion – ‘YouTube Channel branding takes work’
YouTube does not distinguish between a brand or an individual, keeping the playing field equally rough for both. A short look around different YouTube channels is revealing of this. But brands have the advantage of being able to experiment a little more and have a pre-existing target audience, which gives them an advantage but also creates higher expectations.
If approached correctly, YouTube can become a powerful brand asset only second to a website. So as long as the effort shows in the videos, and you brand your YouTube channel with its channel trailer, presentation, research, effort, writing, and scripting, your brand is ready to create its new YouTube account. And if the road seems daunting, there’s always an agency around the corner to help.