In the world of viral video, TikTok is king. But the popular short-form video app is facing a potential federal ban—and even if it isn’t banned, the recent congressional hearings may dim TikTok’s reputation. Enter YouTube Shorts, which features short-form video content on the platform owned by Google. Wanting to give both TikTok and Instagram Reels a run for their money, YouTube has officially entered the viral video chat. Here’s everything you need to know about YouTube Shorts, including exactly what they are, their appeal, creation strategies, how to upload Shorts, monetization options, and how to really make them shine.
Shorts are short-form videos with a maximum length of 60 seconds, specifically designed for mobile viewing, on the popular YouTube platform. They were introduced to compete with similar short video formats on other platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram Reels. YouTube Shorts come with a range of creative features, including the ability to add music, text, and other effects, making it easy for creators to craft engaging content in a short amount of time.
There are several reasons why creators should consider making YouTube Shorts, regardless of whether or not they are already creating on Instagram or TikTok:
- Expanded reach: YouTube Shorts provide creators with an opportunity to reach a wider audience. As the platform prioritizes this new format, YouTube Shorts have the potential to be discovered by millions of users through the Shorts shelf on the YouTube app, as well as through search and suggested videos.
- Quick consumption: In today’s fast-paced world, users often prefer content that can be quickly consumed. Short-form videos cater to this preference, allowing creators to deliver their message effectively in just a few seconds.
- Increased engagement: Due to their brevity, YouTube Shorts can drive higher engagement rates. Users are more likely to watch, like, comment, and share a 60-second video than a lengthy one.
- Channel growth: By creating YouTube Shorts, creators can attract new subscribers to their channel, which can ultimately lead to increased views and watch time for their longer-form content.
If it would make a good TikTok video or a compelling Instagram Reel, it’ll make an effective YouTube Short. But creating YouTube Shorts that captivate your audience and drive engagement involves implementing the following strategies:
- Focus on storytelling. Despite their brief duration, YouTube Shorts can still tell compelling stories. Focus on creating content with a clear beginning, middle, and end to keep viewers engaged.
- Use eye-catching thumbnails. Thumbnails play a crucial role in attracting viewers. Create custom, vibrant, and engaging thumbnails that accurately represent the content of your YouTube Shorts.
- Leverage trending topics and hashtags. To increase your Shorts’ discoverability, create content around trending topics and use relevant hashtags. This will improve the chances of your video being discovered by users interested in those topics.
- Optimize for mobile viewing. Since YouTube Shorts are primarily designed for mobile consumption, make sure your content is optimized for vertical viewing and is visually appealing on smaller screens.
- Create a strong hook. The first few seconds of your video are crucial for capturing your audience’s attention. Start with a strong hook to entice viewers to watch the entire video.
- Edit for clarity and pace. Edit your YouTube Shorts to ensure they have a clear message and a fast pace. Remove any unnecessary or repetitive parts to keep viewers engaged throughout the video.
To upload a YouTube Short, follow these steps:
1. Sign in to the YouTube app on your mobile device.
2. Tap the “+” (plus) icon at the bottom of the screen.
3. Select “Create a Short.”
4. Record a video using the in-app camera, or select an existing video from your device’s gallery. Keep in mind that the maximum length for a YouTube Short is 60 seconds.
5. Add music, text, or other effects to enhance your Short, if desired.
6. Once you have finished editing your Short, tap Next.
7. Add an engaging title (keep it under 40 characters), a clear description, and relevant tags. Make sure to include the hashtag #Shorts in your description or title to increase discoverability.
8. Choose a custom thumbnail or select one of the automatically generated options.
9. Tap Upload to publish your YouTube Short.
Keep in mind that it may take some time for your Short to appear on the Shorts Feed, as YouTube processes and optimizes the video for the platform.
As of February 2023, creators can earn money from ads that are viewed between videos in the Shorts Feed. This revenue model replaces the YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100 million fund that was created to reward users for their Shorts content. Even if this doesn’t seem like the most solid monetization strategy, remember that YouTube Shorts can absolutely push potential customers to your landing page for your product, brand, or service.
Driving viewers to your YouTube Shorts requires a strategic approach that combines creativity, consistency, and effective promotional tactics. With the rise of short-form content and increased competition, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd and make your videos easily discoverable by a wider audience.
- Create compelling content. To begin with, focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. Identify trending topics and popular themes within your niche and create YouTube Shorts that are informative, entertaining, or inspiring.
- Pace perfectly. Pay attention to the video’s pacing and storytelling, as short-form content needs to capture viewers’ attention within the first few seconds.
- Edit effectively. Use eye-catching visuals, compelling audio, and snappy editing to make your videos more appealing.
- Keep it consistent. Consistency is key in building an audience and driving traffic to your YouTube Shorts. Establish a regular posting schedule and maintain a consistent style or theme throughout your content. This consistency will not only help viewers recognize your videos but also encourage them to subscribe to your channel for more content.
- Describe for discoverability. Optimize your videos for discoverability by using relevant titles, descriptions, and hashtags. Craft attention-grabbing titles that accurately describe your content and include keywords that your target audience is likely to search for. Write clear and concise descriptions that give viewers a brief overview of your video’s content and incorporate relevant keywords. Use hashtags strategically to categorize your videos and increase their visibility on the platform.
- Collaborate with creators. Team up with other creators and influencers within your niche to expand your reach and attract new viewers. By working together, you can cross-promote each other’s content and tap into each other’s audience. This can be done through shout-outs, collaborations, or even hosting guest appearances on each other’s channels.
- Share on socials. Promote your YouTube Shorts on other social media platforms and online communities. Share your videos on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok to drive additional traffic. Participate in relevant online forums, groups, or communities where your target audience is active and share your videos when appropriate. Be mindful of the community guidelines and avoid spamming or overly promotional behavior.
- Activate your audience. Engage with your viewers and foster a sense of community around your channel. Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and encourage viewers to like, share, and subscribe. Host Q&A sessions, polls, or contests to maintain a connection with your audience and keep them engaged with your content.
- Keep an eye on KPIs. Monitor your video analytics and track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as views, watch time, audience retention, and engagement. Use this data to identify which types of content are resonating with your audience and optimize your strategy accordingly. Continuously refine your approach based on your findings and experiment with different formats, styles, and topics to see what works best for your channel.
- Be patient and persistent. Building a loyal audience and achieving significant growth takes time and dedication. Stay committed to producing high-quality content and continually refining your promotional strategies. By following these guidelines and staying attuned to emerging trends and best practices, you’ll be well on your way to attracting more viewers and growing your YouTube Shorts presence.
Creating high-quality YouTube Shorts requires a combination of effective editing and production tools that cater to the unique demands of short-form content. Here are some of the best tools that can help you enhance your videos and make them stand out:
- Adobe Premiere Rush: A user-friendly editing software, Adobe Premiere Rush offers a simplified interface for video creators who want to quickly edit their content. With a range of essential tools and features, such as color correction, audio enhancement, and motion graphics, it’s a great option for those who want to produce professional-looking videos without the complexity of advanced editing software.
- InShot: A popular mobile app for iOS and Android, InShot provides a wide range of editing tools, filters, and effects that are perfect for crafting engaging YouTube Shorts. With features such as video trimming, text overlays, and audio mixing, InShot allows users to create eye-catching videos on the go.
- Canva: A versatile design platform, Canva offers an extensive library of templates and graphics that can be used to create eye-catching thumbnails, channel art, and animated titles for your YouTube Shorts. With its user-friendly interface and customization options, Canva is an invaluable resource for enhancing your video’s visual appeal.
- FilmoraGo: Another powerful mobile editing app, FilmoraGo offers a range of editing features such as video trimming, color grading, and transition effects. It also includes a built-in music library and sound effects, allowing you to add depth and emotion to your YouTube Shorts.
- Epidemic Sound: A popular music licensing platform, Epidemic Sound offers an extensive library of high-quality, royalty-free music and sound effects. By using their curated tracks, you can elevate your YouTube Shorts with professionally produced audio without worrying about copyright issues.
- TubeBuddy: A browser extension and mobile app designed specifically for YouTube creators, TubeBuddy offers a suite of tools to help optimize your videos for discoverability. With features such as keyword research, SEO recommendations, and thumbnail A/B testing, TubeBuddy can increase the chances of your YouTube Shorts reaching a wider audience.
By using these editing and production tools, you can enhance the overall quality and appeal of your YouTube Shorts, making them more engaging and attractive to viewers. As you become familiar with these tools, you can experiment with different techniques and styles to develop your unique creative signature.