How to Make the Most out of YouTube for Your Brand | Part Two

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In part two of our series on utilizing YouTube for your brand, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty and taking a look at all the small factors that add up to make a successful video. If you’ve ever struggled with YouTube titles, descriptions, or any of other customizable elements, our guide will tell you everything you need to know. Haven’t read part one in the series yet? Get started with our YouTube basics and meet us back here!


Create a catchy title

Writing video titles is an opportunity to both catch a potential viewer’s eye and add in keywords to make your video more searchable. For example, instead of including “Cute Cat Videos” as the title, spice it up with “The 10 Cutest Cat Videos on the Internet.” As always, this is not an opportunity for keyword stuffing as that can still lead to an algorithm penalty no matter what the platform. Make sure you keep your video titles to under 60 characters to prevent the title from getting cut off in the search engine results page.  

Write thorough video descriptions

In addition to an eye-catching title, video descriptions need some extra TLC to truly be effective. Fortunately, updating them is simple and can lead to a significant jump in video views. When our client, Simon & Schuster, partnered with us to update their video descriptions, they saw a 19% increase in their video views in just a few weeks time. 

Start by including the most important keywords at the beginning of the description. A good rule of thumb is to include your keyword within the first 25 characters. This indicates to YouTube’s algorithm that these words are what viewers need to know about the video. Including keywords in the first few lines also prevents viewers from having to click “Show More” to get the gist of what the video is about. Unlike other social platforms, YouTube descriptions do not thrive on brevity in their captions. Descriptions should be at least 250 words and the keywords that you included in the first 25 characters should appear two to four times as the description permits. 

Sprinkle in hashtags

Much like any social platform, YouTube has hashtags enabled and can be used as a way to include keywords in your post. Hashtags can appear in three places: above the title, in the title, and in the description. The hashtags above the title will appear if there are hashtags in the description and the first 3 found will then be added above the title. However, if there is already a hashtag in the title, the additional 3 hashtags will not be included above. When incorporating hashtags, it’s best to use ones that are branded, popular, or location-based when a video is tied to a specific place. Keep in mind that while hashtags do make it easier for viewers to find your videos, it also makes it easier for them to leave your channel and look at unrelated videos.

Add your own closed captions

As you may have experienced in your own video watching, YouTube will automatically provide captions for videos, but there are frequently discrepancies between what the captions say and what is actually being said in the video. These differences make it difficult for bots to read your video, which is essential since they’re unable to watch it. Make sure the captions are correct for users and bots by manually editing the captions or by uploading a YouTube supported file (preferably a .scc file extension) into YouTube Studio.

Don’t forget tags...

Another unique feature of YouTube compared to other social platforms is the tagging structure. Video tags allow you to drill down to the purpose of your video and make sure it’s put in front of the people who are interested in your subject matter. This is also another opportunity to add more keywords to your video and tell the platform what your video is about. By adding tags, you’re indicating to the YouTube algorithm which other videos to group your video with, increasing the ease of users finding your video. Similarly to how keywords are used in the description, you should include the most important words first and add in long tail keywords for variety. However, as is the case with any keyword excess, you could potentially be penalized for using irrelevant tags to gain views. Cap the number of tags at 10-12 per video to be effective and protect your video.

… or categories

Much like keywords and tags, categories play a role in the ability for new users to find your videos and tell YouTube the contents of your video. YouTube categories include:

  • Film & Animation

  • Auto & Vehicles

  • Music

  • Pets & Animals

  • Sports 

  • Travel & Events

  • Gaming 

  • People & Blogs

  • Comedy

  • Entertainment

  • News & Politics

  • Howto & Style

  • Education

  • Science & Technology 

  • Nonprofits & Activism 

In some cases, which category your video belongs in might be obvious. However, if you’re struggling to decide which one fits best, check who the top creators in each category are, find out if there are similarities between your video and the ones in the category, and then see if the videos have similar production value. Unfortunately, YouTube presently doesn’t have a simple way to search through different categories, but by clicking on “Show More” in a YouTube video’s description, you will be able to view videos in that specific category. 

Stay tuned for the final blog post in our YouTube series where you’ll learn how to draw more eyes to your YouTube video after it’s been uploaded. Want to learn more marketing tips? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!