First of all, if you don't have a YouTube channel yet, or you haven't stylized it yet, check out Part 1 to this blog: Free Banner & YouTube in 12 Easy Steps - otherwise you should be good to go to start applying these tips to your YouTube channel and to the way you advertise it.
#1 - Update your YouTube links to have have a query string for subscription.
What does that mean? In short, instead of this:
You should list your channel as:
Do you see the difference? All we do is add "?sub_confirmation=1" at the end of the link, and now when your visitors click on it, they'll get a popup asking "Do you want to subscribe?" The odds are much higher that someone will click "Yes" at that point, or even at a later point if they are asked about it. Plus, if they clicked on your link to begin with, the likelihood is they are interested in what you have on your channel, so do it.
#2 - Add your bio or in-depth channel description in the "About" section.
This one is not very obvious on how to do it, especially since YouTube keeps changing their layouts around, but you should have SOMETHING in the about section of your channel. In part one I described how to get a link on that page, so you should already have that. A link to your website is the first step, but no reason why you can't add your bio on there as well.
- Go to your channel
- Click the big red "Customize Channel" button
- Click "About"
- Click "Channel Description"
- Enter your bio here
You can also list your email here - it's up to you. Remember that listing your email address publicly may increase the amount of spam messages you get, but if you filter everything nicely, spam shouldn't be a problem.
#3 - Add more links to your channel (social links recommended).
While you're editing the "About" section of your channel, lets add your social media links. Now, these don't have to be social media links, could be any links at all, but YouTube will only show the text of your FIRST link as you've entered it, so that's where you should put your domain name. The other links will be converted to icons showing only what's called a "favicon" of the website, so if people don't recognize the icon, they may not click on it, that's why social links are recommended here.
- Hover over the link section
- Click on the pen icon that shows on the right-hand side
- Allow up to 5 links to be shown
- List your social media accounts (I only listed Twitter, Stage 32 and Instagram)
- Click "Done"
#4 - Showcasing your reel? Add timestamps.
Okay, so we all know that Casting Directors and filmmakers who look at your reel have very little patience and want to get to the good part as quickly as possible. Let's say you need to share a link to your reel, but your reel starts with 3 seconds of a black screen, followed by 4 seconds of your headshot, followed by 2 seconds of the movie poster, followed by 3 seconds of somebody else talking on your reel, then YOU. If it takes full 12 seconds to show your pretty mug, have the links jump straight to that time by adding "?t=12s" at the end of your share link.
#5 - Add a transcript
Your reel may not need it, BUT it doesn't hurt to slate your reels with transcription. All other videos where you might mention your name or talk about yourself should be transcribed for search engine needs.
You might be wondering what I mean by transcribing your slates. Well, instead of transcribing what's being said in the video, used timed transcriptions to read your name and names of your projects into the subtitles. This way, when someone is researching a specific film or your name, they will have a higher chance of finding this video.
And for those who don't know how to transcribe your videos:
- Click on your image in top right and select "My Channel"
- Pick a video you want to transcribe and click "EDIT VIDEO"
- Click "Transcriptions" on the left and then click "ADD"
- Here you will be able to type in subtitles for your videos
#6 - Create custom URL for your channel
Do you remember the name of your channel, or do you tell people to Google you because your channel name is mguyhijumju (yes, I just slapped my keyboard four times). Well, that should be fixed.
There are some prerequisites to getting a custom URL for your channel. Your account has to be 30 days old, and you have to have an icon uploaded (which by the way should be your square headshot). And you need channel art - you can create one here for free. Finally, you need at least 100 subscribers. If you're short, list your channel in the comments and you'll get at least one more follower. If you need even more followers, try Karmalicity - which is a film industry based follower exchange program with freemium options. I'm sure you'll be able to get to 100 subscribers in no time.
Once you meet those requirements click here to set up your custom URL. If you can, try to reuse the usernames you use on other social media platforms. For instance, we are "webforactors" so our channel is at http://www.youtube.com/c/webforactors
#7 - Add an End Screen
I'm sure you've seen them before. I must admit, that it's something that I've only done on a few of my own videos, but I will be coming back around to fix that really soon. Anywho, we are talking about pleasing call-to-action cards in the last 30 seconds of your video.
What could those calls-to-action be? Well, one would be to subscribe to your channel, but you probably do NOT want to put those on your reel. Many times people won't even get to the end of your reel anyway, but if they do, why not send them either to your website or to another reel?
First, if you're thinking about sending them to your website, click here and list "Associated website" - if your website is hosted with us and you need help confirming it, we'll be glad to help. Once you see "Success" message, you'll know that the website can be linked on your end screens.
To add an end screen, go to your Video Manager and click on a title of the video you want to edit. Then click "Editor" in the sidebar. If it's the first time you're clicking into it, you will get an introduction screen, just click "Get Started". Now you will see a video and few rows below it. Find the "ADD AN END SCREEN" link and click it. Select the "Blank template" option, click "Apply" and you will see four rectangles on the right side. Click the first one and select "Link". Then type in the link to your actor website and click "Apply". A rectangle will show up over your video and you'll be able to drag it where you want it, while over on the left side, you can select the timeline of when the link should appear and even adjust the appearance of the link.
Unfortunately YouTube won't let you save it just like that. You need to add at least one video or playlist. So, for instance if this is your "Action Reel" maybe you can add a "Horror Reel" right here. Click on the second rectangle, select video and select "Choose specific video" then link pick your video and again, place it where you want it on the screen. You can add multiple elements like that, but remember, if you have one clear choice, people are more likely to select it. Don't forget to click "SAVE" when done.
Here's an example of how this looks: clicking on this link will allow you to jump into the video at 2 minute 55 seconds mark. At 3 minute mark you will see a logo for my website, and at 3 minutes 13 seconds you will get a different video recommendation.
I hope these tips help, now go and create something awesome.
Looks like YouTube made some modifications since this article was posted. Here's how you'd access channel art today:
- Go to Creator Studio
- Select YouTube Studio
- In the top right corner, click your avatar
- Select "Your Channel"
- Click "Customize Channel"
- Click "Add channel art"
Andrea B. This is great! Can I add my IMDB link to the end screen on YouTube?
Tomasz M. Hi Andrea. No, unfortunately you can only add links to websites you own, but you can definitely list your IMDb page over your channel art with the links from step #3
Mike S. Help. I need my website verified for linking
Tomasz M. I got you Michael, just sent you an email.
Jeff F. thank you Tomas, the banner art looks nice and so easy to get