No matter what industry or niche you’re in, branding is an important part of growing a successful digital presence. Branding consists of all the features, language, design, and other identifying factors that combine to create a comprehensive vision of who your company is and what you stand for. Ultimately, branding brings together all the marketing practices that shape public perception of your brand. Read on for this complete guide on how to create a brand channel on YouTube.
There’s no hard and fast definition of branding because, at the end of the day, your brand is the founding principles and design that you use to capture your audience and create a memorable impression. How a company approaches its branding efforts differs from business to business. But any successful branding campaign will answer some of the following questions for subscribers:
- Before I click the play button, what are some of the attributes I can expect in anticipation?
- How is this video or channel going to make me feel?
- What makes this channel different from similar channels?
- How do I relate to the channel owners?
- What can I rely on this channel for?
Branding is important because it impacts growth, drives loyalty, and builds awareness. The same principles that guide business branding are the same principles that drive YouTube branding. Yes, even YouTube channels need the branding to differentiate themselves from other YouTubers producing similar content. Furthermore, if you want to start learning how to get paid for YouTube videos, you have to treat your channel like a business.
Monetization and marketing begin with quality content and brand building. Without a well-crafted brand identity, your marketing, content execution, and channel design will feel one-dimensional to your visitors. To put this in human terms, think about the people you connect with on a personal level. These are individuals you identify with for a multitude of reasons, including personality, ethics, style, or demeanor. People search for the same desirable identity in brands. Simply put, your brand is the face of your YouTube channel. Your YouTube brand personality, values, voice, message, and identity all play a key role in connecting with viewers.
What is a YouTube Brand Account?
A YouTube brand channel is a little different from a personal channel. A brand channel is activated and managed through your personal account and is better for business accounts or influencers.
However, when you’re creating a brand channel or business channel on YouTube, the same rules as a personal channel will still apply.
Keep in mind when creating a branded YouTube channel, you won’t get the option for a custom channel URL until you have at least 30 videos and reach 100 subscribers.
Create Subscriber Personas
Similar to buyer personas, subscriber personas are detailed profiles that describe your ideal subscriber. These semi-fictional representations should be based on audience research and real data, rather than just your intuition.
If you have a few subscribers under your belt, consider creating a survey and sharing it with them to gain real feedback and audience insight into the people that are proven fans. Additionally, take a look at your current YouTube metrics to learn more about which videos are doing well and what content is more engaging to your market.
Your target subscribers help drive your content creation and tailor your messaging. As you create your subscriber personas, think about the pain points that your channels solves and what you plan to achieve. Every YouTube search—even those made purely for entertainment purposes—is made for a reason.
If used correctly, your subscriber persona can help you attract the most relevant audience. Eventually, your subscriber will purchase something from you or become another source of monetization (for example, they might watch the ads on your channel or purchase an affiliate product you’ve recommended). With this in mind, every subscriber persona is, in effect, a buyer persona. Here are a few questions you should answer with subscriber/buyer personas:
- What are some key demographics for this subscriber?
- What is their background?
- What are their goals and challenges?
- What is their education level?
- What are their interests?
As you answer these questions, aim to figure out why these individuals should subscribe to your channel. Create buyer persona templates using platforms like Hubspot and Xeerpa.
Curate a Visual Identity
Your visual brand identity consists of the color palette, typography, visual effects, logo, graphics, and thumbnail images you use to build your brand. To make the most of your visual identity, you can customize your profile photo, channel art, social links, and description before uploading.
Create a Color Palette
Numerous studies have shown that humans have an emotional connection with colors. And your primary and supporting colors are a core part of your visual identity. Think of your color palette as the foundation for your visual brand identity efforts. It will guide you as you create a logo, build a blog, or design thumbnail images and in-video effects.
Try to include light and dark tones and/or dominant and accent colors. When putting your color palette together, think of how you want your brand to be perceived. Use color palette creators like Pantone to help identify and document your color selection. Refer to this palette when you create new channel art like graphics, social media images, and more.
Design Your Logo
It’s Branding 101: your YouTube channel needs to have a logo. Think of your logo as your identification card. It’s what connects the business name to a concrete identity. Chances are, the majority of the vloggers you follow to have their own channel icons.
Logos are so important because they are one of the few visual aspects that you have complete, original ownership over. A perfect channel icon is memorable, relevant, and adaptable. But even better, creating a logo is much easier than you might think. You can use a number of free logo makers, hire a freelance, or hire an agency to help you with your logo.
Every great YouTube channel has a logo attached to it, and the logo is used on channel pages, intro videos, your channel trailer, and other social profiles.
Build a Thumbnail Template
YouTube thumbnails are the small images that appear next to the title and video description in search results. This small video preview can mean the difference between someone clicking your video or continuing to scroll.
Your thumbnail template should include the title of your video in it. Typography is key; the typography you choose for an effective thumbnail image should be the same or similar to the typography you use in your logo or channel banner image.
For example, if you have a creative font like Lobster in your logo, you would avoid a traditional serif font like Times New Roman in your thumbnail image title. It simply doesn’t add up. Use the same thumbnail template time and time again to create attention-grabbing thumbnails and visual cohesiveness within your brand.
Create a Video Intro
A YouTube intro helps the viewer understand what they can expect from your channel; think of it like an “elevator pitch” for your channel.
Your intro video will be used time and time again, so it’s important that it’s visually captivating and engaging, and features on-brand messaging. Keep your intro video short and sweet; it shouldn’t be more than 30 seconds tops. Use a combination of short scenes, animations, and voiceovers to create an image that sticks. Although your template might be the same from video to video, your imagery and voice-over might change as you incorporate short snippets of what’s to come in each particular video.
For example, travel vloggers Eamon and Bec use the same background audio and graphics in each intro but create unique previews using audio and short preview video clips to give the viewer an idea of what to expect.
In a video about traveling through Morocco in a campervan, their intro says, “We’re Eamon and Bec, and although we’ve just driven our home to the largest hot desert on earth, we’ve been met with some of the warmest and most welcoming people. We can’t wait to show you around.”
In a video about rainy van life days, their intro video says: “We’re Eamon and Bec, and we live in this 60 square-foot tiny house on wheels. What’s the key to keeping sane in such a small space? Easy. Spending as much time outside the van as possible. But what happens when this is our forecast? Well, things start to get a little silly.”
Analyze different YouTube intro videos to gain firsthand insight into how popular content creators use intros to retain their audience and build anticipation. If you’re just getting started, Canva and Biteable both have YouTube intro video makers, complete with templates to customize for your channel. Alternatively, you can hire a freelancer on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to create a custom video intro for you.
Find Your Voice & Personality
Your brand personality consists of the human characteristics that define your company. Well-defined personalities make it easy for viewers to relate to you and are multi-faceted.
Brand personality is often expressed using adjectives that help convey how the company wants the brand to be perceived. These traits might include being funny, bold, risk-taking, or caring. Think of a few household brands and how their personality archetypes embody them. Then think about what type of person that brand would be if it were to assume human form.
Consider Patagonia, the outdoor apparel business that started as a small, mountain gear-focused California company. If it were to become a person, you’d envision an outdoor enthusiast with a pension for sustainable practice.
Now consider competing companies like Apple and Microsoft; if Apple were a person, it might be a tech-minded creative type, while Microsoft might be a mature professional.
Barney might be an Upper East Side woman with a high salary, while Target might be a middle class woman that lives in the suburbs. RedBull would likely be a man, and Tiffany’s would likely be a woman.
Assigning “persons” to brands can help you evaluate what type of “person” you want your brand to be and, therefore, what type of personality and voice you want to assume.
Of course, you can always consider your own personality as the brand image, which might be the case if your YouTube channel focuses on vlogging. But even still, not everyone wants their real personality to be so deeply associated with their brand personality, and even when this is the case, it’s important to create a distinction between the two.
Brand voice is a key component of brand personality. Your brand voice is one of the fundamental ways that people remember you. To test this theory, go ahead and check out a few of the top videos in a YouTube search query.
Let’s say you’re a writer learning about world building. You head over to YouTube and enter a relevant phrase and find a handful of relevant results. After you take a look at the first few options, you’ll see that each takes a different approach in their video content to how they communicate with the viewer and how they want to be perceived. Some will have an educational tone, while others will be animated and energetic.
You can include your brand voice in aspects like video titles, channel descriptions, video descriptions, other social platforms, and different marketing strategies.
Create a Content Schedule
Planning content in advance helps you gain a high-level overview of all your videos and prevents idea blocks that lead to discouragement. This is true for YouTube and other social networks. A content schedule can help you stay organized and will make your video optimization efforts that much more streamlined. If you’re unsure what the best posting times are, YouTube analytics is a useful tool to use.
Brainstorming content ideas is one of the most difficult aspects of running a consistent YouTube channel. Start by writing down a list of a few key topics you want to cover. Use pen and paper or mind mapping software to start putting together some initial ideas.
Mind mapping is a creative brainstorming process where you begin with a central theme and branch off to several sub-topics as you continue thinking. Let’s give you an example: let’s say you’ve had some success with dropshipping software and want to share your experience and make some money in the process. Start with a central theme, “dropshipping tips,” and branch out from there with topics like “how to find dropshipping suppliers” and then go deeper with a topic like “review of X dropshipping supplier.”
Another idea for content planning involves “filling in the blanks” that similar videos leave behind. Using the previous example, if you wanted to create a video about dropshipping on Amazon, this tactic involves scanning the comments in some of the most popular videos and writing down some of the questions viewers asked. This allows you to create a list of unfulfilled needs for your target audience. On the same note, think of the pain points that you experienced in your field and use those pain points as a springboard for content.
After you’ve come up with a chunk of ideas, it’s time to commit to a schedule. Assign your ideas to specific dates and posting times to encourage accountability and support the organization. If you want your channel to be successful, you should be uploading videos regularly. Many YouTubers agree that posting videos daily is the best recipe for success, but if you’re putting out quality content, this may not be possible. At a minimum, once weekly is a great starting point. Once you’ve committed to a schedule, be sure to organize and create video playlists, so your viewers can easily navigate your channel.
Notice that Azzyland, a YouTuber with 13.5 million subscribers, posts videos every 2-3 days.
Your YouTube brand strategy should include YouTube playlists. Playlists consist of a collection of videos and can increase your view and subscriber count. It can also help organize your YouTube content by separating and curating your videos into specific categories.
There are several reasons why Playlists, an underutilized YouTube feature, can help brand and promote your channel. One of the biggest reasons is that it can greatly increase your watch time. This is because once you create a playlist, the next video in your collection begins to play automatically. Playlists also appear in YouTube search results, increasing your channel’s potential to be discovered.
Here are a few playlist best practices:
- Include at least 4 videos in each playlist; although 4-7 is the sweet spot, you can have a playlist that includes much more videos when necessary (relevancy is more important than the number of videos)
- Use your best thumbnail image as your playlist thumbnail
- Create a “New Here” playlist geared towards viewers visiting your channel for the first time (curate videos that help the viewer get to know who you are)
- Share your playlist URL across social channels and on your website
Notice that Reedsy, a startup that focuses on the self-publishing industry, has relevant playlists that help address several pain points for its core audience. Their playlists include “First Line Frenzy,” “How to Develop a Book,” “The Writing Journey,” “Writing Routines,” and “Book Marketing.”
Take some time to think about how you can curate your own playlists and break your content up into digestible bits. If you’ve taken the time to plan your content calendar, creating playlists becomes much easier. For example, if your channel is about dropshipping, some of your playlists might include “Dropshipping Supplier Reviews,” “What NOT to do With Dropshipping,” and “Beginner Dropshipping Tips.”
Starting a YouTube channel for business or branding should be a fun and exciting experience, especially when your channel starts to gain traction. But if you plan to monetize your channel growth and boost your subscriber count, it’s important that you treat your channel like a brand and business. Launching a channel is easy; creating a brand takes time and effort. Don’t rush into the process; brands are built and not created overnight. There is no “build a brand” template, but when you dedicate the time and resources to creating a brand that sticks, you’ll be on a better path toward success and monetization.