For anyone who has ever tried their hand at publishing video content on the Internet, I don’t need to tell you that YouTube is a hard nut to crack. YouTube audiences can be incredibly fickle, picking up and dropping channels like they’re nothing, and the YouTube algorithm seems to change with each passing moment. It feels impossible to keep up.
And while it is certainly in your best interest to try and keep up with the trends, at the end of the day, you need to make sure that you have good fundamentals. This is true for practically anything in life, both personally and professionally. And in the online world, good content is still good content. The challenge is getting that good content in front of more eyeballs (and the right eyeballs).
Taking YouTube a Little More Seriously
I’ve been on YouTube for over a decade, but my experience there has been rather sporadic over the years. I’ve talked about this before, but one thing that has changed in the last year is that I’ve become much more consistent with my release schedule, publishing a new vlog every week.
I’m learning a lot along the way, particularly in terms of video production. I plan out my videos more, I’m more thoughtful about what shots to include, I spend more time editing the videos, and so on. I’ve invested in more equipment to improve the production value and I’ve been more active in trying to promote the channel.
It’s slow-going, as you might imagine, but I am starting to fall into more of a groove and this means creating more of a standard workflow and structure for my vlogs. And part of that is coming up with the key ingredients to include in the video description.
7 Elements to a Great Video Description
If you haven’t read it already, I suggest you brush up on some of the top SEO tips for YouTube that I discussed some time back. Beyond that, here are seven key elements you should strive to include in your video descriptions as applicable.
- The actual video description: You don’t want to give too much away here, but you should be descriptive enough (beyond the video title, which could just be a teaser or clickbait) that potential viewers have some sense of what to expect. Keep it brief and to the point. I like to also include my website URL front and center for additional promotion.
- Relevant links: For some videos, I’ll like to the corresponding blog post where I may discuss some topics in more depth. For other videos, I may include links to resources that I mention in the video itself.
- Video gear: This will depend on the kind of audience that you have, but many people are generally interested in what you use to shoot your videos. If you’re open to it, a simple list of video gear here can provide value. Use Amazon affiliate links as an added source of revenue.
- Links: Unless YouTube really is your only online presence (it shouldn’t be), you should include some key links to where people can find you online. You can assume that 99.99% of people will never click through to your YouTube “about” page to connect with you, so include links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on.
- Music: There are a bunch of places where you can find royalty free music to use in your YouTube videos, but many artists do require proper attribution. Some may have a Creative Commons license. Give credit where credit is due.
- Collaboration: This is both in terms of working with other YouTubers and the possibility of working with brands as an “influencer” for sponsored content. If you are open to such relationships, it doesn’t hurt to indicate as such in your video description.
- Introduction: Under many other circumstances, it would make more sense to introduce yourself right at the top and you might choose to move this section further up. Whatever your choice, offer two or three sentences to let new viewers know who you are and what you’re all about.
Of course, this is just the guideline that I follow and your individual circumstances will vary. Tweak your descriptions to see what works best for you.