This week YouTube unveiled a brand-new interface that makes the site more TV-like. While the “You” in YouTube originally emphasized the amateur aspects of the platform, it now hints at the new site’s personalized viewing experience. With the new interface, users can essentially create their own custom cable box on YouTube with channels of their choice.
So what does this all mean for TV stations? We’ve compiled five tips for how local news stations can optimize the new YouTube interface…
1) Give your channel a makeover
YouTube channels have long been an afterthought–a default place where all of your videos were collected–now, though, it’s a huge part of your YouTube identity, which is to say it’s a huge part of your internet identity. Make sure your YouTube channel is in line with your station’s brand and also compels people to want to subscribe to it.
There are now four template layouts to build your channel on–take a look through them all and decide which is right for you. The “Everything” and “Creator” templates are probably the best for local stations. (You can watch a video about the new channel design here).
2) Organize your videos into playlists
A key part of your channel’s navigation is the playlist. If you haven’t done so already, create individual playlists to organize your videos. For instance, a “Weather” playlist could be used for all of the weather updates you upload and the same can be done for sports, investigative reporting, commentary, etc. A “Behind-the-Scenes” playlist would also be cool.
You can create and edit playlists within YouTube’s “Video Manager” section. Assign all (or nearly all) of your videos to relevant playlists and be sure to add new videos to playlists as you upload them.
Also, come up with a tagline for each playlist to describe and promote its videos. (This can be done by editing the playlist once it’s been created).
On your channel page, you can edit the playlists that are featured by clicking the “Edit” button by the “Featured Playlists” section. Make sure to feature the playlists that contain your best videos.
3) Promote your channel
Just as your station promotes its Facebook and Twitter accounts, you should also promote your presence on YouTube. While your station’s website may have its own slick video interface, it’s undeniable that YouTube is the most popular place on the web for videos–use it to your advantage.
If you don’t already, start urging viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel in the same way that you ask them to Like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. It’s another powerful way to create a connection with viewers. Also, consider (if you haven’t already) adding a link on your website to your YouTube page.
4) Subscribe to other channels
You want others to show you love so show them some love as well. You can subscribe to the YouTube channels your sister stations and other news outlets. And be on the lookout for citizen journalists in your area that are regularly uploading great videos.
Subscribing to other people’s channels will also give you a chance to see what works and what doesn’t–it’s a feed of ideas for improving your presence on YouTube.
5) Embrace YouTube
There is a perception out there that YouTube gives viewers less of a reason to tune in to newscasts and also drains traffic from stations’ websites. If you’re smart with how you use your YouTube channel, it can actually have the opposite effect.
Your viewers are on YouTube regardless of what your station does so you might as well be there to take advantage. Upload videos that are unique and promote your station’s brand.
If you haven’t already, consider becoming an official YouTube content partner. This will give you the ability to run ads with your videos while also providing you with more tools for optimizing your YouTube channel.