Content Formats for Your YouTube Channel

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

If you’ve been mulling over jumping into the YouTube world for a while, you’ve probably spent a lot of time wrestling with how to produce all that content to keep your channel fresh and active. With YouTube, you have several options for your content strategy:

  • Creation: Regularly produce your own content. You can certainly build a channel without a stitch of your own content, but if you’re going to stand out, your viewers need to see your genuine stuff.

  • Curation: Mine the YouTube universe for content that complements your channel, and organize it in a logical way using sections and playlists for the viewer.

    Think of curation in terms of what a museum does: Collect all this great art (content), and then pull it together into a themed exhibit. The YouTube playlist is the museum’s exhibit. That’s why museums put French Impressionist paintings together: because it’s all about the viewer/visitor experience. Would you want to see an impressionist painting together with contemporary pottery? Probably not.

    Channel owners generally love it when their videos are included in playlists, because it helps promote their channels and gets viewers watching their content. Done right, your curation favor will be returned many times over.

  • Collaboration: You don’t have to do everything yourself! Team up with other channel owners and create joint content. It’s a popular and effective way to grow an audience and gain subscribers. Since a YouTube video can be associated with only one channel, your collaboration planning should take into account content that you’ll own (create) and content that you’ll help share (collaborate).

Here are some examples of different types of content you can utilize for your channel:

  • Episodic content: The idea here is to have reoccurring content that creates a series or a body of work on a specific topic. This is great content to produce for your channel because it’s highly attractive to channel subscribers. Subscribers can be notified every time you release a video.

  • Short‐ and long‐form content: Creating a mixture of short‐ and long‐form content can help you understand the sweet spot for your viewers. YouTube Analytics helps you plan better by identifying the optimal total run time for your videos. If you’re creating ten‐minute videos with short watch times, consider adding in annotations to lead viewers to a different video on a similar topic where you start to see the watch times decline.

  • Create new edits, recycle footage: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to content creation. Reuse video outtakes, behind‐the‐scenes, and additional footage (called Broll) to make new edits. Recycle your content when it makes sense for your viewers.

  • Playlists: Reengage viewers with old videos in new playlists. Highlight videos that are still relevant on your channel page and in new playlists. You can choose to include your playlist updates in your channel feed to update your fans.

  • Plan for Mobile: Mobile viewership accounts for 40 percent of global YouTube video consumption. Make your content easy to consume on mobile devices. Easy‐to‐see thumbnails and text onscreen are important for your mobile audience. Shorter titles are easier to read and understand on mobile as well.