The Advertiser Playbook isn't much different from the Creator Playbook as it gets into this section, but for brands, it might be more important to have a nice channel layout that attracts the eye. For those of you who'd like to take a look back at the Creator Playbook's thoughts on channels, here is our coverage of it. It's up for some debate as to how important your channel is, though. I think brands can benefit from a well-designed channel, but under the current format it's a bit of a mess. Channels are great to house all your videos as your own with your branding, but YouTube tries everything to get a user off your channel.
Channel discovery is a lot like video discovery and its metadata, only you're being a lot broader in the language you use to describe what you're about, with some specifics to your brand. Here are the things you need to basically need to follow when creating the channel.
- Update Your Channel Title
If you're a well-known brand, then using just your brand name will likely suffice. If you're not a well-known brand, finding a channel name that combines your name with what you do will work better. Sometimes, with a little creativity, a brand can describe exactly what they are about through a well-worded channel title, and if it's something that is highly-searched, it can benefit that way. Still, the lesser-known brands will probably benefit from a combo.
- Write A Channel Description
What are you about, where are you located, where can people contact you? E-mail, phone numbers, websites, social networks. This is who you are and how people can buy your product.
- Add Channel Tags
Metadata for your channel. Tags describe what your channel is about in a mixture of broad and specific terms. The tags should not describe specific videos, but terms specific to your product, or your campaign slogans.
- Add A Link To Your Website
Have an easy way for people to click directly over to your website once you've sold them with your tasty video content.
Your channel design is how you personalize your brand on YouTube as something that looks uniquely your own, which is why it's such a letdown that YouTube doesn't let you stay on the channel once you find a video you like. Sure, there's a "back" button that lets you go back when you're done, but that's kind of unprofessional. Still, it's good to have one that looks nice and inviting.
- Update Your Logo
Every channel has a thumbnail that tells the user what you are. Find the image that represents your brand, your logo, and make that the image that shows up in search when people come looking for you.
Here's what the Playbook says about changing your logo:
To update your logo, go to Edit Channel, click the Appearance tab, and under the Avatar heading choose Select file. Then pick an image from your computer.
It's under the Appearance tab that you can change almost any part of your layout.
- Change the Background
It's probably best to just use your logo, or at least the colors your brand represents, when making this background. You aren't a brand for nothing. Pick what suits your brand and your product/message best. Obviously, with images, you can't use something in which someone else holds the rights.
- Choose A Featured Format
The featured format allows you to highlight a specific video, probably your latest, as the video that plays automatically when someone arrives to your channel, by enabling the Featured Tab (Edit Channel > Featured Tab > Enable Featured Tab).
Then you can choose a format for the way the videos are laid out:
- Creator: A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists
- Blogger: A reverse chronological vlogroll of a featured playlist or your recent activity
- Network: A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured channels
- Everything: A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists and channels
Then you can choose your default tab. Many use the "Featured" tab so that the featured video plays when people come to the channel, but you can also pick the "Feed" tab as the default, which shows all of your activity: new uploads, comments, and so forth will be the first thing people see. There's also a "Videos" tab that displays all of your uploads.
A Well-Designed Channel Has Some Benefits, Now YouTube Has to Make A Change
Go to any channel on YouTube, and you'll see all of that brand/creator's videos, and that's awesome. That gives a certain authorship to the videos you want to watch. The problem is, I can't stay on a channel once I see a video I want to watch. Click on any video or playlist in a channel layout and it does not play in the convenient player at the top of the screen (that's reserved for the featured or latest video). It goes to the basic white, unbranded YouTube page after a click. That's something that needs work. Still, channel design is important in the "ownership" of videos, and branding, so it shouldn't be taken altogether lightly.