You might still think of YouTube as a place to watch cute cat videos, but in only 15 years, YouTube has become the second most visited website in the world (behind Google, of course).
Because of its popularity, YouTube plays a critical role in successful social media marketing strategies. Writing, shooting and editing videos is no small task — but it’s a huge opportunity. Creating content for YouTube will help you grow your audience and connect with them in new ways.
Each month over 2 billion users log in to their YouTube accounts. (That’s over a quarter of the earth’s population!) That’s a big audience. And how do you reach them? By creating and optimizing a YouTube channel.
Creating a YouTube channel sounds like an involved process, but it’s actually pretty simple. This post demystifies the process, giving you the know-how you’ll need to get started.
Setting up an account
The first thing you need to know is that YouTube is owned by Google. If you already have a Google account, you can use that to log in to YouTube. (If you use Gmail or any Google Workspace apps, you have a Google account — go ahead and skip to the next section!)
If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one. Follow the link and click “Create account” in the lower-left corner of the sign-in screen. You’ll have the option to create either a personal account or a business account — for our purposes, it doesn’t really matter which you choose. Your Google username won’t be associated with your YouTube channel, so choose any username you’d like.
Fill out the rest of the information and click “Next.”
How to create and optimize your YouTube channel
Now that you have a Google account, it’s time to log in to YouTube and actually create your YouTube channel. There are two types of YouTube channels: personal channels and brand channels. A personal YouTube channel uses the name associated with your Google account and can only have one owner or contributor — you. A brand channel can be named whatever you want and can be shared between multiple owners.
By default, the first YouTube channel you create must be your personal channel. To do this, open YouTube and click “Sign In” in the upper right corner. Sign in using your Google account. Once you’ve logged in, click your profile picture (if you haven’t chosen one, Google uses your initials on a colored background) in the upper right corner and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
Click “Create a channel” — this will appear just below your profile picture in the “Your channel” section. Enter your first and last name, and then you’re all set. With that out of the way, you’ll be able to create a brand channel.
Creating a brand YouTube channel
To create a brand channel, you’ll follow the same steps as above with a few slight changes. Once again, click on your profile picture in the upper right corner and select “Settings.” Click “Create a new channel.”
Because you’ve already created a personal channel, your only option is to create a brand channel — and YouTube makes this pretty clear.
Enter a name for your brand account, click “Create” and get customizing!
Creating YouTube channel art
At this point, you’ve got a brand YouTube channel, but it’s not exactly your brand channel. That is to say, it’s a blank slate — it’s time to make it your own.
When you create a brand channel, you’ll be redirected to the channel home page.
To start making some aesthetic changes, click “Customize Channel” in the upper right corner. Navigate to the “Branding” tab (as seen below).
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to add a banner image. This is the first thing viewers see when they visit your channel, and first impressions are everything, so make it count.
If you want to create a banner image yourself, YouTube recommends using an image that is 2048 pixels x 1152 pixels. To avoid headaches, try using Lucidpress’s YouTube banner maker — a free tool that will make your life a whole lot easier. If you’d rather not start from scratch, try our YouTube channel art templates.
Tips for channel growth
So you’ve finally gotten around to creating a YouTube channel for your brand — that’s a great start, but your videos aren’t going to watch themselves. You need viewers; the more, the better. There isn’t one “right” way to reach a wider audience and rack up those views. As with website visits, a combination of factors drives engagement with your videos.
Here are some possible routes you and your team can take to reach a wider audience and get the most from your YouTube Channel:
- Optimize for SEO: YouTube is often called the second largest search engine — and for good reason. To maximize your views, you’ll want to take steps to help your videos rank on Google and within YouTube itself.
Within YouTube, videos are ranked based on how well the title, video content and description matches the search terms, as well as engagement. For an in-depth look at YouTube keyword research, take a look at Ahrefs’s guide.
- Consistent content schedule: One of the easiest things you can do to expand your YouTube channel is post content regularly. Once a week, once a month, every other day — it doesn’t matter. Figure out a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Viewers are more likely to view and engage with your content when it comes in predictable intervals.
And remember: Just because you post a new video every week (or however frequently you choose to) doesn’t mean you have to film every week. If it’s better for your schedule, consider setting aside a day to shoot 5-10 videos and then release them in intervals.
- Cross-promote on your website: This should be a no-brainer. You’ve likely poured more time and effort into your website than your YouTube channel. Maybe it’s already ranking well on Google. Take advantage of the traffic to your website or blog to promote your YouTube channel — it is, after all, another resource site visitors can use to learn about your brand and company.
- Drive engagement: When compared to Facebook and Instagram marketing, YouTube certainly feels like a different beast — so much so that it is easy to forget that YouTube is just another social media platform. So be social! Interact with your viewers, reply to comments and listen to viewers’ requests.
- YouTube ads: If you’ve got the budget for it, your team can also consider paying up for YouTube ads. Through YouTube advertising, you can focus your ads on certain demographics, helping you reach the audience you want for your channel.
Ready to reach a new audience with your own YouTube channel? Looks aren’t everything, but when it comes to marketing, they sure do go a long way. Keep your page professional looking without the price-tag — try our free YouTube banner templates.