So you’ve chosen your niche and are ready to start your YouTube channel. You may have a list of content ideas and have even started shooting some videos, so you can have a backlog of content to post once you get going. Although creating and publishing unique content on YouTube is the obvious way to help you grow on the platform, starting your channel with cohesive branding will ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward as a new YouTuber. From adding visual assets that reflect your overall brand to creating a well-thought-out description of your channel to attract subscribers, we recommend following the steps in this guide when starting your YouTube channel.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about setting up and branding your YouTube channel.
Setting up a YouTube Account
- Go to YouTube.
- Sign in to the Google account you want to associate with your channel. If you need to create a new one, scroll down and click “Create account” instead.
- Fill in all requested details, agree to the terms, and hit next.
- After you’ve followed all the instructions, you should be directed back to your Channel Dashboard, where you can customize your channel (more on that in just a bit).
Choosing a Channel Name
Don’t rush into creating a name. Take the time to brainstorm a name that reflects you as a creator and the type of content you plan to put out. Keep in mind that if you’re not satisfied with your channel name, you can change it in the future if necessary.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a YouTube Channel Name
- Make your channel name easy to remember. Avoid using too many characters or random numbers that may not stick in viewers' minds.
- Make your YouTube channel the same or similar to your name on other platforms if you can; this will come in handy when you're cross-promoting content but also for brand recognition. If you only have personal social media accounts that you don't want to mix with your YouTube channel, now is a great time to create them to match your new channel.
- You can change your name at any time but don't make it a habit of frequently doing so, as it may confuse subscribers and potentially lose them in the process.
Assets for Your YouTube Channel
Aside from consistently uploading engaging content, ensuring you brand your channel is essential to running a successful YouTube channel; this includes everything from eye-catching channel art to providing contact information for brands and potential partners to contact you..
Before we get into the details of what needs to be on your channel, we must stress that any visual assets you create should have consistent colors and style to make your brand stand out. Additionally, remember that many people watch YouTube from mobile devices, so if you are creating visuals with text overlay, avoid font sizes that are small or hard to read. To create visuals for your YouTube channel (including on-brand, eye-catching thumbnails), you can use a site such as Canva to ensure your branding colors, fonts, etc., are consistent throughout your channel and other platforms.
Below are some visual assets that you should have ready when launching your YouTube channel.
Simply put, a banner is the channel art viewers see when they go to your YouTube page (similar to what you’d find on FaceBook or Twitter). You want to create an eye-catching banner that reflects who you are as a creator and what viewers can look forward to seeing on your channel.
YouTube recommends uploading at least a 2048 x 1152 pixel image with a file size of 6MB or smaller. Also, keep in mind that YouTube adds links overlaid on the channel art to the bottom right, so avoid making that area of the channel art too busy as it will be illegible.
How to Add Channel Art/Banner on YouTube
- Head to your channel dashboard by going to studio.youtube.com. If you aren’t logged into your YouTube account, you should be prompted to do so.
- Click “Customization” at the bottom left of your channel dashboard.
- Once you’re on the channel customization page, click “Branding.”
- On the branding customization page, scroll down to “Banner Image” and click upload.
- Once you’ve selected the image you’d like to upload as your banner, adjust as needed, then hit done.
- That’s it! Your banner is saved.
If you haven’t uploaded your profile picture yet, don’t leave this page as you’ll upload it here, as well.
Channel Profile Picture
Your channel profile picture is another visual asset on your YouTube channel that will make a lasting impression on anyone visiting your channel. Beyond that, this image appears next to all of your video titles, so it’s an easy way to make sure you stand out to your viewers in their feeds. This image should be a square or round 800 x 800 pixel (4MB or smaller). YouTube will automatically display this image as a circle, so be sure not to include any important elements in the corners.
How to Add a YouTube Profile Picture
- Just as when uploading your Channel Art, head to your channel dashboard, then navigate to “Customization” and “Branding”.
- On the branding customization, scroll down to “Picture” and click upload.
- Select the image you want to set as your profile picture, adjust as needed, and click done.
- Your profile picture is now saved!
YouTube Channel Description
While many creators focus on nailing their descriptions for individual YouTube uploads, it’s also critical to flesh out a good description for your channel overall. Your channel description lives in the “about” section of your YouTube page and gives you up to 1000 characters to tell the YouTubeverse about your brand and why people should subscribe and watch.
Pro-Tip: As a content creator, you’ll always need to share more information about yourself and what you do. Keep a well-crafted bio on hand that you can use wherever, whenever. Update your biography as needed.
How to Add a YouTube Channel Description
- From the channel customization page on your dashboard, head over to “Basic Info.”
- In the first box, under your channel name, type a description of your channel (up to 1000 characters).
- Once you’re done writing the description, click “Publish” towards the top right side of your screen.
Though people come to your YouTube channel for content on that platform, it’s not unusual for viewers to want to follow you in other places, such as your social media. When setting up your profile, be sure to add appropriate links so you can turn YouTube viewers into followers on other platforms or direct them to resources you think they may find helpful or interesting (i.e., your blog, online course, shop, etc.). This is a great place to add your Willow link.
How to Add Links
- From the channel customization page on your dashboard, head over to “Basic Info.”
- Scroll down to “Links.”
- To begin adding links, click the “+” sign and paste the link you’d like to share with channel viewers. You must title the link and add the actual URL, so be sure to name them accordingly.
Think about the last new movie that you anticipated watching. Now answer this question—did the movie trailer influence you to watch it once it hit theaters? Chances are the trailer was what reeled you in (no pun intended), and that’s precisely why you should consider making one for your YouTube channel. Remember that your trailer is simply a short video featuring clips of your YouTube videos to attract subscribers.
While you may not have a channel trailer in the very beginning when you don’t have much content and are still finding your groove as a creator, you may want to consider making one sooner rather than later. Video Editor is an easy tool to help you edit a YouTube channel trailer (and YouTube content in general). This video editing software is available through your browser and has everything you need to make content quickly and easily, making it perfect for starting your YouTube channel.
How to Add a YouTube Channel Trailer
- From your channel customization page, head over to “Layout.”
- Under “Video Spotlight,” you’ll find “Channel trailer for people who haven’t subscribed .” Click “add” next to that to upload your trailer.
- Click “Publish” to add your channel trailer. We recommend adding it as an unlisted video.
Pro-Tip: In addition to a channel trailer, you may want to consider adding a feature video for people who are already subscribed. Select “Featured video for returning subscribers” from the layout page and add a video for returning subscribers to see. We recommend linking a new video that they likely haven’t seen yet.
If networking with other creators and connecting with brands are goals for you, then you definitely want to add your contact information to your YouTube channel. To add your email to your YouTube channel, go to the Basic Info section of your channel customization page and scroll down to contact information. Here you can add your email address, which will appear in the About section of your channel, viewable to anyone watching your channel.
As you can see, there are quite a few agenda items to check off to get your YouTube channel up and running. Though you may be excited to film your videos and post them for the world to see, getting your channel branding squared away is essential for those looking to take YouTube seriously and grow their brand.
Now that you’ve selected your niche, nailed your branding, and your channel is set up, keep following our YouTuber University to find out what equipment you need to record your first video.