Your guide to creating YouTube shorts
Find out what are YouTube Shorts and how this latest feature is perfect for funneling more audiences to your main channel!
YouTube is the second most visited site worldwide—surpassed only by Google.
By now YouTube is a familiar place that many of us frequent on a daily basis, an important part of our digital lives.
Yet, perhaps we do not consider its hybrid nature, which is somewhere between a video sharing platform, a real search engine and, in some ways, a social network (and this hybrid nature has a lot to do with the theme of our post).
YouTube was born back in 2005, but it’s still a healthy company.
There are around 2.6 billion unique monthly users, worldwide.
And more than 1 billion hours of video are viewed daily.
These are truly mind-boggling figures…but they do not stop YouTube from continually updating itself, riding the new trends and manning the frontier of the digital world; a frontier that moves a little further every day.
The introduction of YouTube Shorts, a format that responds to the overwhelming success of TikTok’s short (and very short) videos and Instagram’s Stories and Reels, goes in this direction.
Our post will be devoted entirely to this topic.
We will start by identifying the characteristics and format of YouTube Shorts.
We will then see how to make YouTube Shorts and how to make the most of them, adapting them to different scenarios.
Finally, we will list the most important and decisive best practices, with a 5-point list.
So, let’s proceed in order!
What are YouTube Shorts
YouTube Shorts are very short videos that last a maximum of 60 seconds that are produced using the smartphone camera.
They are uploaded directly to YouTube through the YouTube app.
Initially, this feature was launched only in India in September 2020. The experiment yielded very good results. As a result, they were introduced in the United States in March 2021. And, by July of that year, YouTube Shorts became available in 100 countries worldwide.
First of all, the format is vertical (as with TikTok and Instagram stories), and then there is a whole range of editing possibilities, including text insertions, animated text, and music.
In addition, a series of 15-second videos can be edited together (again coming up to the maximum limit of 60 seconds).
Users have the ability to comment, react with likes or dislikes, and even subscribe to the channel while viewing the mini-videos.
Unlike Instagram Stories, this type of content does not disappear, but always remains reachable on the YouTube platform.
How to make YouTube shorts – some interesting scenarios
Before we focus on best practices for producing YouTube shorts, let’s look at some scenarios where it could be very interesting to take advantage of their effectiveness.
1) Campaigns that appeal to a young or very young target audience
So-called “snackable” content has a great grip on younger audiences (and the success of TikTok is a very clear practical demonstration of this).
Consequently, the YouTube shorts tool is a great idea if you have a campaign for this kind of target audience in mind.
2) Promote your main channel
We have already mentioned that users can subscribe to a company or creator’s channel while viewing a YouTube Short.
Therefore, it can be good to use this very short and catchy content to channel more audience to one’s main channel.
All of this, of course, has the effect of increasing audience engagement…and, as a result, has a very positive impact on ranking.
3) Create teasers of longer content
This scenario is related to the one above.
You can develop teasers of larger, more articulate content or campaigns in videos of 15 or even 60 seconds.
Again: you throw a hook and direct your audience to your channel.
We addressed best practices for producing an effective teaser video in this post on our blog.
See here for the full discussion.
4) Show the behind-the-scenes
“Behind-the-scenes videos“ are highly effective and record excellent performance in terms of engagement.
It’s very simple: this allows the brand or creator to be closer to the audience, establishing a sense of complicity and “transparency” with viewers.
YouTube Shorts are a perfect format for moving in this direction. They are undemanding to make, give a strong sense of immediacy and authenticity; and require an extremely limited budget.
We focused on the creation of “behind the scenes videos” in this post from our blog.
5) Take advantage of trends and news
We just pointed it out: Youtube Shorts are quick and easy to make and require little or no budget.
For these reasons, they are perfect for taking advantage of new trends or even news stories almost immediately. It’s what is often referred to as “Instant Marketing:”:an extremely effective aspect but one where you must be extremely careful. In fact, the boomerang effect could be just around the corner.
6) Stimulate the production of User Generated Content
Those who deal with marketing on YouTube and on social media know perfectly well how important and effective content created directly by users is: the so-called UGC (User Generated Content).
It’s a matter of authenticity: something that is able to trigger ripple effects that are capable of magnifying the visibility and coverage of your marketing strategy.
YouTube Shorts, with their ease of production, are a perfect medium to stimulate the production of this type of content, with its resulting benefits.
How to make YouTube shorts – best practices
After these scenarios, let’s now turn to the best practices for creating YouTube Shorts.
We have collected the ones that we believe are most important and decisive in this list divided into 5 points.
1) The importance of a strong hook
Always start with a strong hook: this applies to any video marketing campaign but it’s especially effective when it comes to short or very short content.
It’s about attracting the attention of users who are stimulated continuously, and from multiple sides-a mission that is anything but easy.
How to do it? A question, a provocation, a call to action, an element capable of stimulating a certain sense of suspense: these are some of the most effective ways to start a YouTube short.
2) Going straight to the point
Start with a strong hook, sure: but then it’s a matter of going straight to the “goal,” to the central point of what you want to communicate.
How to choose this goal?
Everything, of course, depends on the goals of your video and on your target audience.
The important thing, however, is to have this goal in mind and to build, backwards, a path to reach it that is quick and consistent.
Yes, even for 15- or 60-second content, it’s a good idea to have a mini-script in mind!
3) Consider replays
Pay attention to this aspect, which is often in danger of being overlooked.
YouTube Shorts are replayed in a loop. So it’s important to consider what it might look like for a view that runs continuously.
4) Spontaneity, not naiveté
When approaching the topic of how to make YouTube Shorts, there is one aspect that is absolutely crucial. An aspect that we have already mentioned in some parts of this post.
The strength of YouTube Shorts lies in the sense of spontaneity they convey. Be careful, however, not to confuse spontaneity with naiveté and amateurism.
We have already emphasized it: you have to have a strong script. You have to create a catchy hook. You must design a trajectory that leads straight to the goal of the video.
Then, pay attention to quality: again, the “crafted” effect must be a carefully thought out and constructed choice, not an unwanted effect.
Finally, take care with the editing. Even if it’s only 15 seconds, it is always a good idea to create movement with the shots.
5) Data, data, data
Finally, a best practice that lies at the heart of every digital marketing strategy and action: always keep in mind that the most important asset at your disposal is data.
Do you need to know your potential target audience?
You can achieve this through careful data analysis; from general sentiment to identifying specific clusters.
Do you want a snapshot of the actual target audience?
Again, it’s all about data.
Ultimately, you can move from producing one-size-fits-all videos to producing many different videos, distributed according to the selected audience segment.
Needless to say, these kinds of strategies are extremely effective.
But that’s not all! Through careful data analysis, it is possible to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the results of your campaigns. With this information, you can understand what worked and what didn’t. You can recalibrate. And continuously improve.
The bottom line is this: the YouTube Shorts tool is still very new. Integrating this aspect into your marketing mix is certainly a great idea. Doing it before others can offer a significant competitive advantage.
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