8 Things to do Before You Publish Your First YouTube Video

Are you in need of some game-changing tips for your first YouTube video? We’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a business, influencer, content creator or entrepreneur, YouTube is a massive platform to help reach new audiences and kickstart your growth. However, the key to YouTube success isn’t just about having great content. It’s pivotal that you know how to optimise your videos too!


#1 Optimise your video SEO

When it comes to YouTube, the strength of your SEO strategy is the determiner of success for your videos. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, YouTube is a search engine. The second- largest after Google. Carefully selecting your search keywords and optimising your videos will help you reach a much larger audience on the platform. The YouTube algorithm is very complex, with hundreds of indicators deciding the SEO ranking of your content. Here are three ways you can better optimise your videos. 


Pick your keywords carefully 

If you’re a newbie to the SEO world, the first step is to decide one or two keywords you want to optimise. The goal is for your videos to appear at the top of any searches that contain the keywords you have chosen. 

It’s important to make sure the keywords match your content, receive enough search traffic, are a good fit for your channel and aren’t flooded with competition. Knowing what makes the best keywords for your videos isn’t as easy as it seems. It can be hard to know which keywords receive tons of searches.

Luckily, there are tons of tools to help you figure this out – our top choice is TubeBuddy. To help explore relevant keywords, competition levels and how we can better optimise a specific keyword.  


Include your SEO keywords in key fields

Once you’ve settled on the right SEO keywords for your video, it’s time to optimise your videos. You will need to strategically place your keywords into the key fields. 

  • Video file name (Note: this must be done before you upload your video to YouTube) 
  • Video title
  • Video description 
  • Tags


Pro tip: Adding multiple keywords into these key fields may cause harm to your video performance. Stick to one or two keywords, then add relevant synonyms to your description.


Add your video to an SEO-targeted playlist

The YouTube algorithm doesn’t only take an individual video and determine it’s ranking – it looks at your channel as a whole. Grouping similar videos together in an SEO-targeted playlist will give your videos an extra boost – it’s also great for related content discovery too!


#2 Add closed captions to improve ranking

Adding closed captions are a great idea for inclusivity and community building, but they also help with your SEO ranking. 

YouTube automatically adds subtitles if you select a language during the upload process, but this can be time-consuming for longer videos and may not be as accurate. There are plenty of speech-text transcription services available – like Temi. If you are on a budget, you can use YouTube Studio to review and edit your auto-generated transcription.


#3 Encourage likes, subscribes and shares throughout your video

Similar to Instagram, the more engagement your YouTube content receives, the better it will perform. While it might seem uncomfortable to ask your viewers to subscribe, or give your video a thumbs up – these verbal prompts pay off. 

By constantly reminding your audience, you can make a huge difference to your success on the platform. Practice making it seem more natural and try to incentivise, such as “Subscribe to my channel to see more…”, “Turn on notifications so you never miss…” or “Give this video a thumbs up if you found it helpful…”. 

You can also add on-screen graphics that act as a visual call-to-action. Even a simple text overlay can be an effective way to drive more actions and boost your views. 


#4 Create eye-catching thumbnails

As we mentioned earlier, YouTube is a visual search engine. Keeping this in mind when creating a thumbnail is highly important. Create a thumbnail which teases your content before even clicking on it.

Your thumbnail is the best way to attract people to click play, so keep it easy to read with clear text. Having a consistent design is also reassuring to your audience that your content is well-produced and professional. 


#5 Add pop-up cards and video chapters to optimise for clicks and traffic 

The best thing about YouTube is that you can add clickable elements, such as cards and end screens to drive as much traffic from your video as possible. With YouTube cards, you can add prompts for a specific video or playlist, channel, poll or website link throughout your video. All you need to do is select “Add Cards” during the upload process. 

Note: You have to be accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program before you can link your website from your YouTube video. To be accepted, you have to meet the below criteria. 

Consider prompting viewers to click a pop-up card in your video, or add a custom graphic to draw more attention. YouTube has also rolled out Chapters to YouTube videos, which makes it easier for viewers to navigate through your video and find exactly what they’re looking for. 


#6 Make use of the 15 second end-screen

At the end of each YouTube video, you have the opportunity to add a promotional end screen to encourage more views and subscribes to your channel. Make use of this! YouTube video end screens come in multiple different templates. 

For video CTA’s, choose from your most recent upload or an auto-generated video based on the algorithm. An important thing to remember, is that the end screen has to sit on top of your video footage. Make sure to factor is 155 seconds of footage at the end of your video, either in a graphic form, or still shot.


#7 Pin a comment on your published video to encourage interactions 

This is a tip for after you publish your first video, but it’s still a good one to remember. Write a comment on your YouTube video and pinning it is a great way to encourage more comments and interactions. This can be a big win for improving your rank on YouTube. 

Think of a strong call-to-action that will drive as many interactions as possible. Simply ask a question to help boost the number of comments you receive on your video. This can also create a sense of community around your channel where viewers will regularly flock to the comment section.


#8 Cross-promote your content across social media

Once you’ve published your first YouTube video (yay!), it’s a great idea to cross-promote it on your other social media channels. The number of views your video receives in the first 48 hours is a strong indicator of the algorithm, every view counts. You can embed your videos on your website, post teasers on Instagram stories, Facebook and Twitter!


So there you go – Our top 8 tips to start building your success. YouTube is a valuable addition to your existing social media strategy and with these easy tips, you should start reaping the benefits in no time (and can crack that bottle of chardy to celebrate!).