Saturday, April 27, 2013
Do you have a YouTube channel? A new layout called One Channel is here. Whether you like it or not, you need to be in the know!
YouTube rolled out One Channel in March of this year. Currently you can choose to make the switch, but soon you'll be forced into the new layout. If a good looking banner is important to you, rev up your mouse and open your favorite graphics program.
I found mixed reviews on One Channel. Most comments are on the negative side but there are some things to like.
I manage multiple YouTube channels. Check out my M3 Pilot YouTube channel as a helpful reference. A video will play automatically, (sorry) so turn your speakers down if you're at work.
YouTube touts at least two advantages of One Channel
Device friendly: As the name implies, the new template allows your artwork to display properly on any device, from TV to mobile. That's handy. Complaints abound, however, that the space devoted to the new banner is pretty sparse. I agree, and I think it's less visually appealing than the old version. But I do like consistency across devices.
The trailer: YouTube is also proud of the fact that you can use an "Unsubscribed Trailer" to introduce yourself. It plays (automatically – ugh!) for visitors who have not subscribed to your channel. Except for the auto play, it's a nice feature that you can use if you want.
More things to like
Sections: This, in my view, is another tick in the plus column. Your content is arranged with "sections" that you customize with your own or others' videos. Fill your sections (apparently unlimited in number) with recent uploads, "liked" videos, playlists, recent posts, recent activities and so on. Each section can be set in a "horizontal row" view or as a "vertical list."
Tags: This is a nice option for building sections. Because you can tag any video, yours or others', with anything you want, you can build a group that's not limited by other categories.
More Customization: You can do this through a variety of options including:
• Web and social links in your channel header art
• Featured Channels
Steps to configuring your new channel
Build a fresh banner: If you don't have the wherewithal to create your own banner, have someone do it for you. If you are able to do it yourself, use the correct template. After you apply your banner, add the social and web links of your choice.
Organize your content: Think about what your audience wants to see and what you want to present. Think about logical categories and viewing order. Sections and playlists give you great flexibility.
Get smart with section labels: Make descriptions attractive and provide clues about how the viewer will benefit. This is an SEO opportunity, because Google shows playlists in search results. When writing your descriptions, keep them brief and easy to understand.
Use video from third parties if you need to: Does your channel look bare? Fix that by adding relevant, useful, high quality videos from others. Associating yourself with appropriate content from outsiders will only help you.
Create or choose a trailer: The best thing is to produce an introductory trailer to introduce people to your channel. Keep it short, sweet and rich. If you don't have the resources to create a special trailer, choose one of your best videos.
Four helpful hints
Warning – check your settings: Both now and when you switch to One Channel, your settings might allow the general public to see things that you don't realize. I recently visited some channels that displayed viewing history, likes and playlists. Some of the content is entirely inconsistent with their brand. In some cases it left a bad impression. The fix is easy; determine what information should be seen and manage your settings accordingly.
Test drive your banner: YouTube claims that artwork for One Channel will work on all devices. And it's true… sort of. I had trouble with their template. The banners I created looked fine on my main 23" monitor and was perfectly acceptable on my 13" MacBook Pro. Further testing, however, revealed a flaw.
The icon (avatar) "floats," because YouTube uses responsive design. That's a plus. But when I played with small window sizes on my computers, the icon would overlap my logo. I followed YouTube's design specifications, but their "safe zone" doesn’t appear to be exactly correct.
I then changed the dimensions and created my own template, which works fine. If you want a copy of my template I'll be happy to send you a .psd file.
Use video from others if you need to: If you only have a few of your own videos on deck, your channel will look like a ghost town. Add value to your channel by providing useful, high quality videos from others. Of course, associating yourself with high quality content won't hurt you a bit.
Get help if you need it: YouTube's One Channel takes time to figure out. Producing the artwork isn’t terribly difficult, but not everyone has the time or skill.
Need help with video? Want to configure your YouTube channel? Contact Steve Smart at 636-699-8772 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Steve Smart