Start a YouTube channel: how to create a YouTube channel in 7 steps

YouTube is the second most-visited website in existence. Further, it has about 2 billion users who are four times more likely to use YouTube than other platforms to find information about a service, product, or brand however, as strange it can sound only 9% of small businesses in the US use YouTube, why? because many business owners are still intimidated producing videos thinking it’s much more expensive and time-consuming than producing a blog post.

That’s wrong!

Nowadays you can easily produce a video at very reasonable costs, which means that there is a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube, and if your brand isn’t grabbing this opportunity, another will. Not to worry. In this guide, you’ll understand all you need to know to create a YouTube channel for your business that works to attract, engage, and convert your audience.

Step 1. Go to YouTube and sign in

Start by visiting YouTube.com, then in the top right corner of the page click on the ‘sign in’ button, and log into your Google account.

If you don’t have a Google account, then you’ll need to create one.

To create a Google account is pretty much straightforward and in fact, you even don’t need a Gmail address to do so. Here is how you should proceed:

  1. Visit the Google account ‘sign In’ page
  2. Choose an account type
  3. Click on ‘create an account’
  4. Enter your name
  5. In the “Username” field, enter a username
  6. Enter and confirm your password
  7. Click ‘next‘, and you’ll have the option here to add and verify a phone number for your account.
  8. Click ‘next’ and you are set to go

Google sign in page

Step 2. Create your channel

By clicking on your profile icon in the top right of the screen, a drop-down menu appears, click on ‘Create a channel’.

When creating your channel, you’ll have the choice to use the name on your Google account or a custom name. If you choose a custom name, you’ll automatically open a brand account. This will help you to create a presence for your brand or business that’s not connected to your personal email account and share videos under your business’s name.

Here’s how to set one up:

  1. If you have multiple Gmail accounts, select the one you want to be associated with your YouTube channel
  2. Within your Gmail account, click on the ‘Google apps’ icon next to your profile image in the top right corner, and select ‘YouTube’
  3. Once you are signed in, click on your profile image again
  4. Select “Create a channel”
  5. To use a different name on YouTube than your Google account, click “Select” under “Use a custom name” 
  6. Add your channel name
  7. Agree to the terms
  8. Click “Create”

youtube create account page

How do brand accounts work with YouTube?

Unlike personal accounts that are designed for an individual creator, brand accounts are designed for businesses. They enable you to keep your personal details private while granting others access to manage the account from their Google accounts. As the owner, you can control who has access. 

You’ll likely prefer a brand account if:

  • You’re managing multiple channels from one account
  • You want to keep your name and email address private
  • You want multiple people to have access to the channel but not to your personal Google account
  • You want a name for your channel that is different from the name on your Google account

How to make changes to your brand account?

Need to make changes to your brand account? You can add, remove, or change the basic information about your brand or business within your Google account. 

To do so, follow these steps:

  • Open a web browser window on a desktop computer and log into your Google Account
  • Navigate to the Brand Accounts section
  • Select the account you want to edit and click “Edit Account”
  • Click “Edit” next to the section you want to change
  • If you want to add something, click “Add info” on the bottom right
  • Make the changes you want and click “Save”

Step 3. Add or change channel owners and managers

If you’d like help managing your brand channel, you can add managers and additional owners. You won’t have to share your login credentials to do so as they will be able to log in from their Google accounts. This can include anyone you hire to help create or help manage your account.

Owners can take most actions on the account, including adding managers. However, there can only be one primary owner. Managers are more restricted but can upload, edit, delete, and manage videos. 

To add an owner or manager, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to YouTube as the owner of the brand account
  2. Click “Settings” in the top right corner
  3. Select “Account” and then click “Add or remove manager(s)”
  4. Select “Manage permissions”
  5. From there, you will need to enter your password and re-authenticate
  6. Click “Invite new users” and you will enter their email addresses
  7. You can then choose the role you would like them to have, either owner or manager
  8. Then click “Invite” and “Done”

If you’d like to change or remove the roles of people on your brand channel, you can do so by following these steps: 

  1. Sign in on YouTube as the owner of the brand account
  2. Click “Settings” in the top right corner
  3. Look under “Account,” and select “Add or remove manager(s)”
  4. Select “Manage permissions”
  5. Re-enter your password
  6. You’ll see a list of the people who currently manage the account
  7. Next to each person’s name, choose a new role or select “Remove”
  8. Then select “Done”

If you are the primary owner and want to remove yourself, you’ll first have to designate someone else to take your place. If you wish to learn more about roles for brand accounts, you can visit this page.

Step 4. Optimize your channel for discoverability

Starting a Youtube channel is the first step. Then, you’ll want people to come to your channel, subscribe, and watch your content. To help people find you, there are a few important steps you need to take.

First, when you create your brand channel, you’ll be asked to provide some basic information, including:

  • A profile picture (more on this below)
  • A description (up to 1,000 characters)
  • Links to your website and social profiles

If you aren’t ready to add this information when you set up the account, you can do so later by logging in to your account, selecting the “Customize Channel” button from your dashboard, and selecting “Basic info.” In this section, you can add more information, including:

  • Translations of your descriptions into different languages
  • A contact email address

From there, click the cogwheel on the left-hand menu which will open up additional fields for information. Under “Basic info” you can add your country of residence and the keywords related to your business. The keywords are important as they will help the right people find your page. Add keywords that tell what your channel is about, the problems you solve, your industry, the products or services you offer, and the people you help. 

Next, click over to “Advanced Settings.” There, you can share whether your page is for kids or not (which can be important for being discovered by the right audience). 

Step 5. Add your channel icon and artwork

Your channel icon and artwork are similar to a book cover. While people say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it’s impossible for it not to make a first impression. Similarly, your icon and banner are often the first elements that visitors see when they visit your page and they set the tone for your channel. You want them to speak to your target audience and intrigue them so they want to learn more. 

  • Add your profile icon

When you create your channel, you’ll be prompted to add a channel icon (aka profile picture). If you don’t add one right away, you can also add one later by following these steps:

  • Click on the icon in the top right corner
  • Select “Your Channel” from the drop-down menu
  • Click “Customize Channel”
  • Click on the “Branding” tab
  • Click “Upload” next to “Profile picture”
  • Select a picture and click “Open”
  • Adjust the photo’s placement as needed
  • Click, “Done”

Your profile icon will show up next to all of your videos and comments as well as on your main channel page. It will typically be very small, so you must choose an image that is effective at small resolutions. Many opt for a headshot or logo. It should be 800×800 pixels and in one of the following formats: JPG, BMP, PNG, or GIF (no animations).

  • Add your banner art

Your banner is the image that spans across the top of your channel page and serves as an introduction. You can create it yourself, pay to have it created for you, choose from one of YouTube’s templates. It should match your branding colors, tone, and style while helping to welcome and engage viewers. Once your art is ready, you can upload it right below the section where you upload your icon. It’s best to use an image that’s at least 2048×1152 pixels and that’s 6MB or less in size. 

Now that your profile is discoverable, here’s how you can optimize it for search to entice users to watch your video above the rest.

#1. Create a channel trailer. The first step to optimize your business youtube channel for search is to create a channel trailer. It’s the same idea as using a movie trailer for an upcoming film. Your trailer will welcome your audience, give them an overview of your channel, and leave them wanting more. The first 15 seconds are the most important to pique your audience’s interest. And don’t forget to invite them to subscribe at the end. 

Next to your channel trailer will be a channel description which should work with the trailer to earn new subscribers. Welcome them, explain what your channel offers, and invite them to subscribe. For SEO purposes, it’s helpful to include your main keywords in the description, preferably in the first half. 

Note, the channel trailer and description will only appear to people who are not yet subscribers.

You can learn more and create your channel trailer by logging in to your brand channel, and clicking “Customize Channel.”

#2. Choose effective video titles. Your video titles are key to the success of your videos. You don’t want to invest your time in an awesome video that sits without engagement because of an ineffective title. So here’s what you need to know. 

Search engines will first look to the title to find out what your video is about and if it offers the right answer for a person’s search. To ensure your video comes up for your target keywords, you’ll need to do some keyword research. 

Using Google’s AdWords keyword tool, you can find out which words people are searching for when looking for the content you are providing. When you find keywords, search them on Google to see what comes up in the results. Is it mostly written content or videos? If it’s mostly written content, tweak the keyword to get video results. Often, adding how-to, tutorial, or video helps. You can also type your topic in the search bar on YouTube to view the suggestions. 

Once you find a strategic, relevant keyword, you’ll want to use it in your title word-for-word. Further, it’s best for SEO if you can put it toward the beginning of your title. 

For example, if the keyword is homemade peanut butter:

Better: Homemade Peanut Butter: The 3 Best Ways to Make It

Not-so-good (but at least it’s in there): The 3 Best Ways to Make Homemade Peanut Butter

You’re also going to want to get people to click the title so you should focus on engaging them. Here are a few tips:

  • Include a number (like 5 tips, 10 ways, etc.)
  • Use attention-grabbing words (The best, I cried, etc.)
  • Integrate emotions

While you want to grab attention, you don’t want to mislead your viewers using clickbait. Make the title engaging but ensure it is honest. 

An example is: How to Sell Your Car: 10 Super Easy Steps

  • Keyword: Sell your car
  • Number: 10 steps
  • Attention-grabbing/emotion words: Super easy

As you’re writing the title, keep in mind, the title character limit is 100 words but anything longer than 60 may get cut off/truncated in the search results. Ensure you get the key information across upfront in the first 60 characters. 

#3. Create an engaging thumbnail. A thumbnail is an image that shows up to represent your video, similar to a cover photo. It should work along with your title to give a preview of your content, helping to drive click-through rates. 

YouTube will automatically create thumbnails for you but they aren’t optimized. To boost views, it’s recommended that you design a custom thumbnail that is eye-catching and communicates the value of your video. 

Here a few tips and guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Use 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Keep your thumbnails consistent with your branding
  • Respect the 2MB size limit
  • Incorporate colors and text to encourage clicks
  • Choose a close-up image

For inspiration, browse the top thumbnails that show up when you search for videos on YouTube. 

#4. Optimize your video descriptions. A video description is a text that shows up below a video. It helps viewers find your content and decide whether to watch it or not. Optimized descriptions can boost SEO, help you get more subscribers, increase video views, and drive more watch time. 

You can write descriptions up to 5,000 characters, however, only about 100 characters will show before being truncated in snippets. It’s necessary to front-load your description with the most important information, including the main keywords and the main value the video offers. 

You don’t want to keyword stuff but you do want to purposefully mention your main keywords. 

Here are some other tips for writing optimized descriptions:

  • Use your main keywords two to three times
  • Incorporate complementary keywords
  • Tell viewers what they can expect from your video
  • Include your value proposition (Why should someone watch this video? What value do you offer?)
  • Write in a way that is on-brand, relatable, and easy to read
  • Promote your brand below the fold with relevant links, social profiles, and a channel description
  • Include calls to action to like, comment, and subscribe
  • Adding timestamps with the main content topics can help your viewers find the most relevant information for them
  • Include 15 hashtags or less to help viewers find your content
  • Include links to any resources you mention in the video that could be helpful for your audience

 Again, if you need inspiration, look to the descriptions on videos from some of the popular creators on YouTube. 

#5. Optimize videos. Search engines typically only list three videos on the page one results. The videos that make the cut average 14 minutes and 50 seconds in length. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum length of 10 minutes. Within that 10 minutes, it’s important to dive deep into your topic to give detailed coverage. This can help you break into the top three, setting yourself apart from the rest.

Further, you must hook your viewers in the first 15 seconds as they are deciding to keep watching or switch to something else. Start by immediately stating what your video is about and what value it provides. Next, show proof of credibility, why they should listen to you. Then, go further into your video’s content and value with more detail. 

#6. Add video cards and end screens. The more time people spend on your content, the more positive signals are sent to the YouTube algorithm which will help you show up more often in the search results. 

End screens and video cards can help to keep viewers engaged with your channel. Video cards show up during your video to promote related content, while end screens show up at the end for the same purpose. 

These enable you to direct your viewers to take specific actions from subscribing to your channel to viewing another video. 

#7. Upload subtitles and closed captions. Subtitles and closed captions are helpful for both your readers and your channel. They can enable you to share your message with audience members who are hearing impaired as well as those who prefer to watch with the sound off. Additionally, they enable YouTube and search engines to understand the contents of your video. 

TipBe sure to incorporate your main keywords into your video script to boost SEO. 

You can add subtitles on YouTube by:

  • Going into the YouTube Studio
  • Selecting “Subtitles” from the left menu
  • Clicking the video you want to edit
  • Selecting your language
  • Clicking “Add”

You can also edit the captions and customize them to control how much text appears at one time. 

If you need assistance with optimizing your business YouTube channel for SEO, consider hiring a video SEO expert.

Step 7. Promote your channel

Once you’ve optimized your channel for discoverability and SEO, you don’t have to sit and wait for people to find you. You can take active steps to jumpstart engagement. Here are a few ideas.

#1. Engage with the YouTube community. YouTube is a social media platform and the more you engage with others, the more engagement you will receive. To gain more visibility, spend time browsing other YouTube channels and interacting with their content. Subscribe, comment, and like. 

This can help you in two ways. 

  • First, you can connect with other page owners and continuously support each other’s content. You may even help each other through collaborations. Often, an amazing community of support is disguised as your competition. 
  • Second, when you leave a comment, you can gain exposure to the audience of another creator. By leaving thoughtful, insightful, or interesting comments, you can inspire their subscribers to check out your channel. 

Tip: Interact with content that appeals to your target audience to increase the chance they’ll be interested in your content.  

#2. Cross-promote on other social platforms. To spread the word, you should share your content strategically across your other social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Snapchat. 

One way to cross-promote a YouTube video is to make a teaser video. Make a short clip that introduces the topic and entices the audience to want to learn more. Share just enough information so the audience is hooked and wants to learn more. Then, direct them to your YouTube channel. 

#3. Connect via email . Email marketing can be a powerful tool. For many, the ultimate aim of building an audience online is to earn email addresses. Why? Because you own your email list and can reach them no matter what. Your audience on other platforms technically belongs to the platform and you could lose them at any time.

If you have an email list, incorporate the promotion of your YouTube channel into your campaigns and direct recipients to your channel and videos. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to start building one. Then, you can then keep subscribers engaged by emailing them every time you post a new video

#4. Run contests. A contest can be a great way to attract attention on YouTube as it gives people a reason to check you out. Here are the basics of launching one:

  • To create an effective contest, you should first define your goal. In this case, it’s to drive people to subscribe to your YouTube channel and engage with your videos. 
  • Next, think of a prize your audience will love that is related to your channel. For example, if you do makeup tutorials, you could give away makeup. If you do coaching, you could give away a free session. 
  • Once you have a prize, it’s time to set up the rules and guidelines. How can people participate in the contest, what do they need to do, and how long do they have to do it? The rules could include subscribing to your channel, liking a video, and sharing your channel on one of their social media channels. This will help to drive the engagement you want. 
  • Then, you pick the winner and announce it as planned. 

#5. Turn your video into a blog post. A blog is another place that you can attract your target audience and direct them to your YouTube channel. Blogs give you endless amounts of space to talk about your topic. You first need a transcript of the video and then simply post the transcript as a blog postinviting your readers to follow you on YouTube for more video content on similar topics. 

#6. Partner with an influencer. Influencer marketing can be a helpful way to gain exposure and trust. Think of someone you follow and like. If they recommended another person, product, or service, would you value their opinion? Most likely.

Google reported that three in five YouTube subscribers would be more likely to follow shopping advice from their favorite YouTube creator than their favorite TV/movie personality. 

The approach here is to find someone who shares the same audience as you and to partner with them. They will then introduce you to their audience which will direct the audience to your channel and videos. This can be a great way to jumpstart your following or give your growth a boost. However, it will typically come with a cost. 

#7. Use YouTube advertising. Running ads on the platform is another way you can pay to jumpstart your engagement with a specific audience. The ads come in various forms, including:

  • In-stream ads (skippable): Ads that play before or during a video and can be skipped after five seconds. You pay when someone clicks or watches 30 seconds.
  • In-stream ads (non-skippable): (including bumper ads) Ads that play before or during a video and can’t be skipped. You pay for each impression. 
  • Discovery ads (video): Your ad will show up in the YouTube search results for specific keywords. You pay when someone clicks on your ad. 
  • Non-video ads: These are text ads that appear on the side or on top of video content which you can use to direct viewers to your page. 

You can use these ads to drive traffic to your channel to promote your brand, product, or event.

Conclusion

As the second most visited website in the world, YouTube is a place people frequent for entertainment and education. By carving out space for your brand and creating content to help your prospects, a YouTube channel can help you to gain more visibility, connect with your audience, and, ultimately, grow your bottom line. While there are many other creators, there are also over 2 billion users, so if you provide value, people will come. By following this guide, you will cover all the basics of starting your YouTube business channel. From there, stay consistent in posting and continue to track what brings you the best results.

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Daniel

Daniel

Contributor @samcx.com. Passionate about everything Sales, Marketing and Account Management.

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