10 things to do to create a successful YouTube video

Video marketing is certainly one of the most effective and easily doable strategies for brands, especially thanks to the many tools that have recently emerged that make it easier for those who are not video makers to create video content. And YouTube is definitely the perfect platform for video marketing. However, breaking through the 500,000+ videos uploaded to YouTube every day may not be an easy feat. In this article, we’ve summarized 10 things you need to do to create a YouTube video that has all it takes to be successful.

When it comes to video content, YouTube is unmatched. The latest report from We Are Social and Hootsuite tells us that YouTube is the second most used platform in the world, that Android users spend an average of 23.7 hours on YouTube each month and that the potential YouTube ad reach is 2.56 billion users, +11.9% compared to 2020.

But that is not all. YouTube also proves to be in step with the times and with the changing needs of the public: it recently introduced YouTube Shorts, the short-video format that gives a nod to TikTok and Reels, and announced its intention to enter the world of streaming, Netflix style, and the podcast business.

In light of all this, the potential that this platform offers us to communicate our brand through videos is clear. However, with over 500,000 videos uploaded to YouTube every day, the importance of creating content that captures the attention of our audience is equally clear.

How to do that? In addition to linking you to our guide on how to use YouTube to promote a company, in this article we report 10 things to do to create a successful YouTube video, differentiating yourself from competitors and promoting the brand from the very first seconds of the video.

1. Do keyword research

Researching keywords relevant to our business is the first step to create a successful video. This will allow us to understand not only what our reference sector is looking for (and therefore choose which topic to cover and how) but also which keywords to include in our video, and in its title and description.

The goal of creating a video should be to promote and provide useful information on a product or service, thus responding to the needs of our audience. But if we don’t know at the outset what our audience needs and how they’re looking for that information, we likely won’t be able to reach it.

2. Create a customized intro

With the number of videos on YouTube it is easy to go unnoticed, especially in the eyes of the most distracted user. However, there are some gimmicks that can help us to leave our signature prominently in all the content we upload to the platform. Among these, there is certainly the intro of the video.

If you notice, most of the videos produced in a professional or semi-professional manner have a personalized introduction that is the same for all videos and coordinated with the brand image, whether personal or corporate.

A personalized intro makes our content immediately recognizable as such, promotes brand awareness and, as mentioned, makes our content look professional.

To create a personalized intro, we can give free rein to our imagination, as long as everything is coordinated with the brand image. In addition, it is better not to exceed in length: the intro serves as a signature of the video but should not bore or unnecessarily prolong the user’s wait to access the content that prompted them to click on our video.

3. Take advantage of the first 10 seconds to capture attention

What we just discussed is perfectly in line with this third point. The number of videos and content typically found on YouTube and the Internet made it easier for users to get their questions answered. At the same time, competition has increased dramatically for those who provide such answers.

For this reason, immediately capturing the attention of our audience is important to ensure that the user keeps watching the video. In practice, (almost) everything depends on the first 10 seconds of the video.

How to immediately grab the attention of those who watch our video? One of the most used expedients is to start the video (even before the intro) showing the noteworthy moments/topics that will be addressed in the following minutes. A sort of teaser to encourage users to keep watching.

Let’s see some examples.

In this video, marketing expert Neil Patel goes straight to the point by saying clearly what the problem is and promising that, by watching the video, users will know how to solve it. He then proceeds to introducing himself and the topics covered during the video.

In this other video, Dutch youtuber and make-up artist NikkieTutorial begins the video with a highlight of the content, aimed at capturing the user’s attention and serving as a teaser. The “Coming Up” writing at the top left suggests the intention of wanting to bring to the attention of the user a pivotal moment which is considered capable of capturing the attention of the channel’s target audience.

4. Use video and audio transitions

With each passing minute, our attention span decreases. This is as true in class or at work as it is when watching a video, however interested we may find it.

Our brain needs continuous stimuli to maintain a constant level of attention. One way to do this is to subject the user to regular visual or auditory stimuli through video and audio transitions that separate the various moments of the video, creating breaks in the narrative that force the viewer to pay attention. A way to let the brain “rest” for a few seconds and keep the attention high.

There is no written rule on the number of transitions to insert in a video. It is not necessary to interrupt the narration every 10 seconds, however, keeping the same shot with the same music or narration voice for more than a few minutes could decrease the level of attention of the viewer.

This RoomieOfficial video gives a good idea of what it means to create visual and auditory stimuli to keep the level of attention high. Clearly, the content covered in the video lends itself to short but frequent interruptions. However, it is not a rule that applies to everyone: it will be up to us to decide how many transitions to use based on the length of the video, the communication style and the topic at hand.

5. Use cards and the end screen

When uploading a video to YouTube, the platform provides us with two very interesting expedients to create a common thread with the other videos on our channel and with the channel itself:

Cards, that is, small boxes that can be clicked by the user and that appear at the top right of the video. Cards can link to another uploaded video, to a playlist, to the channel or, if we are a YouTube Partner, to a direct link. This tool is particularly useful if, for example, during the narration we mention a product we had already discussed in the past: when we mention it, we can add a card that refers to that particular video, so that the user can easily learn more about it, if interested.

The end screen, which consists of a clickable screen that appears in the last few seconds of the video. This screen can be customized with different elements: references to other videos or playlists or a call to action that invites users to subscribe to the channel.

6. Optimize title and description

The title is certainly one of the most important elements of our video. Together with the thumbnail (which we will address shortly), it is also one of the first pieces of information that the user comes into contact with and that the algorithm uses to show the most relevant results to the user’s query.

It is better to opt for short titles that contain keywords related to the topic covered by the video and that briefly explain what users can expect by watching it. Above all, avoid click bait titles.

The description also plays a fundamental role in providing accurate information about our video to both users and the YouTube algorithm. Therefore, it is equally important to include keywords related to our content in the description.

Furthermore, we can use the description to divide our video into chapters, simply by entering a timestamp and a brief description of what is being discussed in that specific clip. YouTube will automatically create chapters that can be clicked by the user, so that they can quickly and easily choose which point of the video to watch, based on their interest.

7. Create a thumbnail

As anticipated, within the YouTube feed, what immediately catches the eye is the title and the thumbnail, i.e., the preview image of the video. Although we can choose a frame of the video as a thumbnail, our advice is to create a customized one based on the content and the series the video belongs to.

This will allow us not only to create a common thread between the contents of the same type but also to do branding and to make our video immediately stand out as such.

This time around, as well, it is better to avoid misleading thumbnails, which show images that do not align with the content.

The videos for the “how to create a youtube thumbnail” query show, as a matter of fact, a thumbnail that aims at attracting users’ attention with the promise of providing them with an easy, fast or free solution.
At the channel level, thumbnails help promote the brand image and make the content visually appealing.

8. Add subtitles

Many people watch videos without audio, this is a fact and one of the reasons why most videos (whether they are on YouTube or other social media) have subtitles.

However, subtitles are not only useful for those who are watching the video with the sound off. Let’s think, for instance, of those who do not have an advanced understanding of the language or who do not even speak the language spoken in the video. Adding subtitles not only allows people to read what they are hearing, making it easier to understand, but also to involve a wider audience, subtitling content in English (or another language generally spoken by our audience).

YouTube allows us to add subtitles created by us or to automatically generate them in the language spoken in the video. In the latter case, we will only have to check that the transcription is correct.

9. Organize videos in playlists

To keep our channel organized and allow users to find and enjoy our content easily, we can create playlists in which to add our videos based on their topic.

In addition, by clicking on a playlist, YouTube will automatically play all the videos in that playlist.

Therefore, playlists are not only useful for organizing content but are also a simple and functional way to promote other videos on the channel and provide users with comprehensive information.

10. Create calls to action

As in any self-respecting marketing activity, we cannot fail to create calls to action that invite users to perform a certain action: like, comment, subscribe to the channel, activate notifications, watch another video, visit the website, follow us on other social channels, contact us by email etc. The possibilities are truly endless!

There are also several ways to integrate them into our videos: we can explicitly say it during the video, perhaps asking users to comment on a specific topic addressed during the video; we can wrap up the video by inviting users to keep following us; we can take advantage of the aforementioned end screen or rely on more “ingenious” methods such as the “Subscribe” t-shirt worn by the presenter of the previous screenshot.

What do you think of these 10 tips? Tell us about your YouTube experience in the comments and contact us to learn more about our digital marketing services.

Published by


After graduating in Languages at the Università degli Studi di Milano, my interest and curiosity towards the digital world led me to pursue a career in this field and to get a Specializing Master in Digital Marketing. Today, I am responsible for the definition and application of marketing and communication strategies for both EOS and the ipcm® magazines. In my free time I travel, I read a lot and I binge-watch TV series. A place to visit at least once in your life: Oman. Must read: Lehman Trilogy by Stefano Massini. What you should binge-watch next: Mr. Robot.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.