YouTube best practices for 2021

With 2020’s pandemic induced migration to on-line, having a powerful YouTube presence is extra vital for artists than ever earlier than. Here, we dive into the best YouTube practices for 2021.

Guest submit by Rebecca Rodriguez of The Orchard’s The Daily Rind

As in-person rapidly shifted to on-line in 2020, the significance of video and general want for human interplay rose. It’s no secret how vital YouTube is throughout these unprecedented instances. From dwell information updates to concert events within the consolation of your front room, YouTube has proved simply how highly effective the platform nonetheless is. 

With two billion registered month-to-month customers, YouTube is past a video platform – it’s an area for group, a spot to find (second largest search engine proper after Google), and one of many best advertising and marketing instruments. 

Ensuring your YouTube channel is optimized in each facet is vital to its general development. To be sure to have all of the instruments mandatory, The Orchard has this yr’s YouTube Best Practices so that you’re outfitted for success!

What you see doesn’t imply it’s what you’ll at all times get. That’s why it’s essential to have your channel aligned, nicely branded and arranged to captivate the eye of a possible subscriber. 

Official Artist Channel vs. Verified

To begin, it’s vital to let viewers know your channel is the actual deal. This might be denoted as  both an Official Artist Channel (OAC) or Verification

  • OACs (marked with a music be aware) are really helpful for artists and consolidate the artist’s content material & subscriber depend from numerous YouTube artist channels (official YouTube channel, Vevo channel, and Topic channel) into one place
  • Verifications (marked with a examine) are for labels and non-artist channels. Once a non-artist channel reaches 100K subscribers, there may be the flexibility to request verification for the channel. This is an effective strategy to let the YouTube world know your content material is official.


It’s all in regards to the visuals. Create personalized, visually compelling, and related channel artwork to determine the model. The banner is YouTube’s billboard for info. It ought to mirror current launch(s), upcoming excursions, and so forth. and make the viewers really feel like they’re connecting with a character, not only a model. The banner needs to be up to date typically and be appropriate on each desktop and cellular. The profile icon also needs to be aligned with the banner and be clear. In addition to the visuals, it’s crucial to incorporate as much as 5 hyperlinks on the channel. These hyperlinks can level to an official web site, social media profiles, and so forth. Any different hyperlinks needs to be added to the channel description. 

Here are the really helpful codecs for the icon and banner:

  • Icon: JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG file (no animated GIFs); 800 x 800 px picture (really helpful); Square or spherical picture that renders at 98 x 98 px
  • Banner: Channel artwork appears to be like completely different on desktop, cellular, and TV shows — bigger photos could also be cropped. For the best outcomes on all units, one 2560 x 1440 px picture is really helpful. File dimension needs to be 6MB or smaller.

Curated Channel Layout

Just just like the branding, the general group and format aids in solidifying the channel. 

The channel trailer is an elevator pitch to potential subscribers. It’s featured first on the channel and auto-plays, so it must hook the viewer. 

There are two customizable views:

  • Subscribed view is for returning and already subscribed customers. (A brand new launch or playlist, or a high playlist is really helpful.)
  • Unsubscribed view is for new customers. (An intro to the channel or the preferred video is really helpful.)

Once the trailer video is ready, it’s time to give attention to the primary attraction: the movies. 

Channel sections perform as the primary organizational software for channel homepages. 

  • They make the channel web page straightforward to browse and might be created dynamically from playlists. 
  • Consider curating from different channels’ content material, organizing content material into completely different teams (i.e. Official Videos, Official Lyric Videos, and so forth), and organizing movies (e.g. in style uploads), playlists (My Albums) or Channels (extra from my community).


Playlists are a good way to maintain the viewers throughout the channel. On high of organizing the content material, playlists enhance watch-time and creates one other alternative to look in search outcomes and Suggested Videos. It’s a no brainer: playlists needs to be a vital a part of your channel’s technique. You can create playlists utilizing the channel’s movies, movies from different channels, or a mix of each. Ideas of playlists embrace sequence, temper playlists, albums, interviews, and so forth.  

  • To get the best outcomes, optimize the playlists’ metadata, and direct viewers to those playlists through playing cards, finish screens, group posts, and hyperlinks. 
  • Make the metadata work for the channel; a powerful title and outline will assist folks discover the playlist.

Channel Descriptions

Who runs the world? search engine optimization. As you’re navigating channel optimization, take note the ability of YouTube’s search. 

  • Channel descriptions needs to be added in two locations: the “About” tab and “Artist Center” within the creator studio. 

YouTube makes use of the “About” tab to populate search engine optimization; including an in depth bio and outline with key phrases assists YouTube in surfacing the channel greater in search. Remember to incorporate the artist’s hottest songs, album names, genres, labels, places, milestones, and every other search phrases related to the artist or channel.

In the “Artist Center” tab in Creator Studio, add photos and a biography to the About tab in addition to the YouTube Music app. It’s vital to maintain the branding throughout platforms constant for familiarity, and make sure the channel comes throughout to followers because the official supply of the artist’s content material on YouTube.

Additional Features

It’s all within the particulars. Essential options to maintain tabs on are channel tags, featured channels and customized url

Similar to video tags, channel tags assist floor the channel in YouTube search and in different algorithms, equivalent to Google. For instance, add the yr, frequent misspellings of in style music titles or albums or names, genres, music titles, albums, geography. The extra, the higher, so long as they’re related.

To promote different content material and drive visitors between two channels, hyperlink featured channels within the “Channels” tab.


Creating a customized URL permits followers to simply discover and keep in mind your channel. It needs to be one thing clear and memorable equivalent to ArtistIdentify /ArtistOfficial /LabelRecords /LabelMusic, and so forth. We suggest utilizing the identical deal with as different social platforms equivalent to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so forth. to maintain uniformity.

Video Titles, Descriptions and Tags

Each video has its personal search engine optimization alternative exterior of the particular channel. Through correct video titles, descriptions, and tags, you’ll be able to be sure that the proper viewers is being focused. 


Video titles give viewers a way of what to anticipate from a video whether or not or not it’s an Official Audio, Music Video, Lyric Video, Behind The Scenes, Live Interview, and so forth. For artists, make sure you embrace the identify of the artist and the title of the monitor. If there are a number of or featured artists, you too can point out them with “@” image. 

Video descriptions are one other method YouTube is ready to make the most of search engine optimization. In brief, the descriptions actually assist viewers discover your movies. Make positive all the vital info is showcased within the first two sentences of the outline – it’s what exhibits in search and on the video web page. 

  • Within the outline, embrace hyperlinks to subscribe, level to all social platforms, hyperlink to different movies or playlists, any buy hyperlinks (merch/music/album) and lyrics. This comes into play when customers can’t keep in mind the title of the music in order that they search by lyric. 
  • Include applicable hashtags with out areas; the primary three hashtags seem beneath the video and above the video title. Use hashtags which are part of a bigger searches, equivalent to “#NewMusic, #Artist, #Album, #Genre, #Event”

Just just like the channel tags, video tags assist in concentrating on the proper viewers. In this case, the extra the merrier. 

  • Add extra tags to movies so long as they continue to be related to the video (500 character restrict). You can embrace a mixture of normal and particular tags to precisely describe every video. 
  • This might be the artist identify or completely different variations of it, title of the music, simply misspelled phrases that individuals could also be looking out for, lyrics of the music, the yr, albums, style, geography, new music tags, the kind of video, and extra. 

Video Features

Beyond the search engine optimization optimizations, there are additionally options throughout the video that generate extra engagement throughout the channel. The further options obtainable are playing cards, finish screens, watermarks, subtitles, and merch shelf. 

  • Cards mean you can hyperlink as much as 5 completely different card varieties – this will embrace different movies, merch, streaming, donation websites, tour tickets, playlists, and extra. What’s nice about this perform is that it permits viewers to observe by way of on one other call-to-action with out having to cease the video. The card button seems because the “i” within the high proper hand nook all through the video. 
  • Adding end-screens to movies helps curate and lengthen a viewer’s watch session. End-screens, because the identify suggests, are components that pop up on the display screen as soon as the video is coming to an finish. Here you’ll be able to add a subscribe hyperlink or hyperlink to different movies and playlists. Make positive to maintain these up to date to push to related and/or precedence content material.

Another vital watch session characteristic so as to add is the “branding watermark” button. It sits on the decrease proper hand nook of every video and when scrolled over, permits the person to subscribe to the channel with out leaving the video. 

Your channel doesn’t must be restricted to 1 language. Enabling subtitles/(CC)/translations opens the content material to a bigger viewers – together with those that don’t converse the language or would like to have the lyrics on the display screen. Translations contribute to the general metadata of the video. 

One of the latest options is the merch shelf. Now eligible channels can promote their merch proper beneath the outline of movies and on the “Store” tab of the primary channel. 



Thumbnails are the job interviews of YouTube – you need to make the BEST first impression the second they see your video, so make them depend! Thumbnails needs to be vivid and simple to see (not darkish or blurry), with a transparent image of the artist or a putting picture that’s on-brand to seize the eye of potential followers. Change up the thumbnails inside your channel! Here’s your house to get artistic throughout the model by utilizing distinct thumbnails for every video to help person expertise.

And most significantly, at all times optimize for cellular — greater than 70% of views come from cellular.


Beyond its talents to host content material, YouTube has develop into an area for group and interesting with the viewers. Like different social platforms, artists and labels alike can talk immediately with the followers in chats, the group tab, and extra. 



Community” is YouTube’s social feed. With the flexibility to submit images, GIFs, polls and textual content updates, it’s a good way to immediately have interaction with followers by giving them distinctive content material and normal updates. To foster a extra linked fanbase, we suggest liking/replying to feedback. Posting on Community retains the channel lively in YouTube’s algorithm, particularly when the artist goes a size of time with out posting, or earlier than importing new content material.



YouTube Premiere offers followers the chance to just about collect collectively for a watch get together on the time of launch. You can schedule a video add and create a shareable watch web page; stirring up buzz across the launch with a countdown.

Super Chat & Super Stickers

Calling all tremendous followers. YouTube lately launched Super Chat – a characteristic that permits viewers to voluntarily pay for their messages to be highlighted and pinned to the highest of the dwell chat field on a livestream or Premiere video. The extra they spend, the longer their feedback keep and their chat shade modifications.

Viewers can even buy Super Stickers – digital or animated photos that pop up within the dwell chat feed and might be pinned to the highest of the chat field. The options will robotically be enabled on all future livestreams and Premiere. 


YouTube Live

Now greater than ever, it’s vital to remain linked and engaged with fanbases.

YouTube Live offers you a strategy to join with new and outdated followers, creating an actual time expertise to interact with viewers immediately (+ you’ll be able to monetize your stream.)


YouTube Stories

Give followers a second by second replace with YouTube tales! Think Instagram Stories – however the video segments might be 15 seconds lengthy and expire after 7 days.



For extra particulars on the 2021 YouTube Best Practices, try the presentation beneath!

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