Did you know that around 300,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube every single day? That’s a lot of competition. To help you stand out from the crowd, I’ve put together these 20 tips to make better YouTube videos.
Why do you need to make better YouTube videos? Well, better YouTube videos mean longer average view durations, more watch time, higher viewer engagement, and a better chance of turning your YouTube viewers into subscribers. These four things are super important if you’re trying to be successful on YouTube in 2019.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to make good YouTube videos that will help you to build an audience and grow your channel. Just follow the 20 tips below and your videos will move up from amateur to professional in no time.
1. Start With a Strong Hook / Introduction
Most YouTube viewers decide whether or not they’re going to keep watching a video (or click away) within the first 20 seconds. That only gives you a super small window to hook them in and keep them watching. As such, the first 20 seconds of your video is really important.
Start with a ‘hook’— something that the viewer needs to keep watching for. You can think of your hook kind of like a mini-cliffhanger. It might be an unanswered question that they need to keep watching to find the answer to, or an interesting snippet from somewhere later on in your video.
The goal when it comes to making great YouTube videos is to keep your viewers engaged for as long as possible. The higher the ‘watch time’, the more YouTube will promote your video and the more viewers you’ll reach. Make sure you nail the hook to entice your viewers to watch until the end, and your watch time will go through the roof.
2. Don’t Overdo the Opening Credits
For the same reasons as above, you shouldn’t overdo your opening credits. A lot of YouTubers have an opening credit scene to help brand their channel. These can be great and look awesome, but keep them short and sweet— no longer than 5 seconds if you can help it.
Anything longer than that and you run the risk of boring your viewer within that crucial first 20 seconds. I’ve seen so many channels that have a really cool opening credit introduction, but it just goes on for way too long and makes me click away before it’s even finished. This damages your watch time, so avoid it!
3. Use Pattern Interrupts
Pattern interrupts are when you add something to your video to change things up. This might be a sudden jump cut, a change in camera angles, music, an image, text… basically, anything that’s a little different than the previous part of your video.
If I had to pick the biggest single thing separating the amateur YouTubers from the pros, it would be that amateurs just don’t use enough pattern interrupts. Nobody likes a 10-minute static shot of someone talking directly into the camera.
Even if you’re vlogging from one spot with the same camera angle, you can still change things up during editing by zooming in and out, adding music or sound effects, cutting to images of whatever it is you’re talking about… you get the idea.
4. Make Sure Your YouTube Video is At Least 10 Minutes Long
A big part of being successful on YouTube is knowing what the YouTube algorithm likes and what it doesn’t like— and one thing YouTube’s algorithm likes is videos that are around 10 minutes long.
If your video is around 10 minutes long, it’s more likely to be promoted to new viewers through YouTube. It’s also more shareable and better for audience retention.
10 minutes is that sweet spot between not too short and not too long. It’s long enough to rack up some decent watch time, but not so long that your viewers will get bored. Aim to create videos that are 10 to 15 minutes long. If your video is 20 minutes or more, split it up into two separate uploads instead.
5. Clickbait the Thumbnail
‘Clickbait’ is when you create something that your viewers can’t resist clicking. It’s a word that has a bad reputation. The reason for that bad reputation is because most creators don’t deliver on their clickbait. They promise things in the title and thumbnail that they don’t deliver.
You shouldn’t do that, but you should still utilize clickbait to make your videos as clickable as possible. More clicks means more viewers, more watch time, and a better chance of making a video that goes viral. As long as your thumbnail is still relevant and accurate to the topic of your video, go all out.
A great way to make a clickable thumbnail that stands out is to start by searching for your chosen keyword and click the top video. Next, look in the suggested bar at the thumbnails of related videos.
Your video might appear in this suggested bar, so use this to help you to design the most eye-catching thumbnail. You’ll want to make yours as different as the rest of them as possible. If they all use a similar colour palette, mix it up and go for something different.
6. Utilize End Screens & Cards
YouTube’s algorithm likes it when your viewers click through to another video after watching yours. This is called the ‘click-through rate’, and it’s a key YouTube ranking factor. You should aim to have as high a click-through rate as possible if you want to get more views.
To increase your click-through rate, you can add end screens and cards that viewers can click to go to another one of your videos. You can do this through YouTube’s Creator Studio. It only takes a few minutes, so add end screens and cards to every one of your videos!
7. Make Sure It’s Entertaining
Most people watch YouTube videos for entertainment. If your video is boring, your audience retention is going to be poor. Here are some tips for making sure your YouTube video is entertaining:
- Let your personality shine through. Don’t be afraid to be a little ‘extra’.
- Make it funny. Inject a little humour whenever it makes sense to do so.
- Edit out the slow parts. If, after filming, you feel like you’ve been droning on for too long, cut out the boring or irrelevant bits.
- Use pattern interrupts (we’ve talked about this already, but it’s important!)
Another important part of making a video entertaining is making sure it has a ‘story’, which brings me onto the next tip…
8. Give it a narrative structure
Your YouTube video should have an obvious narrative structure. Take your viewer on a journey and give your video a clearly-defined beginning, middle, and end.
Even if you’re doing a dry, informative, how-to style YouTube video, you can give it a structure. For example, you might start by explaining the topic, then move on to the details, then finish with a recap. The important thing is that it makes logical sense and takes your reader on a journey.
9. Don’t be Afraid to Use a Script
Amateur YouTubers often think the best way to make a video is to ‘wing it’. This can work, but it usually takes years of practice to be comfortable enough on camera to really make winging it work.
Most of the time, it’s best to start with a script, or at least jot down notes on what you’re going to talk about. This will help your video to have a better structure, make more sense, and probably be more entertaining.
10. Consider Search Queries
Let’s talk about SEO for a while. There’s no point making a good YouTube video if nobody ever sees it. That’s why it’s important to choose the right keywords. Before you even start making your YouTube videos, consider whether or not anybody is searching for it.
An easy way to do this is to think of a keyword that represents your video idea and start typing it into the YouTube search bar. Whatever keywords pop up in the dropdown list underneath are queries your audience might be searching for and may be good keywords to target. Extensions like TubeBuddy and tools like Google Adwords can also help with keyword research.
You should also consider your competition for any keywords you’re considering targeting. Ask yourself how many other videos are ranking for them. Do you stand a chance of ranking on the first page?
11. Optimize Your Title
Once you’ve chosen your keyword, you can help make sure your video ranks (and gets views) by optimizing the title for search engines. To do this, include your keyword in your title, and then add a few words to make it more ‘clickbaity’.
For example, if I was a gaming vlogger, and my chosen keyword was ‘Nintendo Switch review’, I might make my title ‘You need to hear this Nintendo Switch review before you buy’, or something along those lines.
12. Optimize Your YouTube Video Description
The description is just as important as the title. Aim to write a description around 200 to 300 words long, and include your keyword and related keywords in it a couple of times. Don’t try to ‘keyword stuff’, make it natural and only include it 2 or 3 times.
13. Use the Right Tags
The final part of YouTube video SEO you need to consider is your video tags. The best way to choose video tags that will help you to get more views on YouTube is to copy your competitors. Certain plugins (like TubeBuddy) let you see what tags your competitor’s videos are using. You can then copy them over to yours to help you rank for the same keyword.
14. Use the Right Music
When it comes to making awesome YouTube videos, audio is almost as important as video. If you’re vlogging, something as simple as adding a copyright-free backing track over the video can instantly make your video seem a whole lot more professional.
Think about the ‘mood’ of your YouTube video and choose background music that evokes that mood. For example, if you’re making a scary video, horror music would work best. If you’re making a travel vlog, inspirational music might be the right choice.
15. Make Use of Sound Effects
As well as music, you might want to use sound effects. Sound effects can make your video feel more dynamic and make it seem a little more professional and well-produced. For example, a lot of YouTubers use ‘pop’ sounds to accompany text appearing on-screen. You can add sound effects in post pretty easily.
16. Think About Branding
You should aim to establish your specific YouTube brand through your videos. Use the same kinds of sounds, colours, edits, and credits in every video so that your viewers come to expect a specific look and feel from your videos. This helps you to garner a loyal audience of return viewers.
17. Do Something New
Videos that have the most viral potential are those that do something new. Think outside the box and try to come up with a creative video idea that no one has done before. Don’t just copy everyone else, reinvent the wheel and make your video stand out from the crowd.
18. Use the Right Camera
YouTube viewers like crisp, clear, professional-looking videos, which means your laptop webcam or your iPhone camera just isn’t going to cut it. That’s why a big part of learning how to make good YouTube videos is choosing the right equipment. One of the best cameras for vloggers is the Canon G7X. It’s super high quality and has a flip screen so you can see yourself while filming.
19. Consider Lighting
Another important part of making sure your YouTube video comes out looking crisp and professional is having the right lighting. Aim to film with as much bright natural light as possible. You don’t want bright artificial lights casting deep shadows on your face, or too little light for your viewer to see you clearly.
20. Make Sure Your Set Looks the Part
Making YouTube videos is just like regular filmmaking. You need to consider all aspects of production, including the set you’re going to be filming in. That’s why a final tip worth mentioning is to make sure your set looks the part.
If you’re filming from home, decorate the wall behind you to represent the mood and style you want to put into your videos. I’ve found that stringing fairy lights or neon lights behind you and using a shallow-focus on your camera looks super cool.
If you’re filming outside, choose a nice, scenic location. Your viewers will enjoy your video a lot more if it’s easy on the eye!
You’re Ready to Make Better Youtube Videos
That’s pretty much all there is to it. You now know all there is to know about how to make good YouTube videos; all there is left to do now is to try it out. The next time you make a YouTube video, incorporate the tips above and track your statistics. You might just see an increase in your audience retention and engagement.
Good luck, and let us know your top tips on how to make better YouTube videos in the comments.