5 Ways to Refresh Your YouTube Channel
Perhaps the most common piece of advice provided to YouTube creators who are just starting out is “be consistent.” Typically, this means sticking to a schedule and delivering new content with reliable regularity — something that is incredibly important for growth. However, is it possible to be too consistent? In other words, when is it time to hit “refresh” on your channel?
Whether you’re looking to reinvigorate a channel that’s become a bit stagnant, add some polish that your rookie-creator self was missing in the past, or just try something new for the fun of it, here are a few ideas for refreshing your YouTube channel and fueling you to your next milestone.
How to Refresh Your YouTube Channel
Rebrand your thumbnails
Something that newbie YouTubers might overlook and that seasoned vets obsess over is thumbnails — you know, the image that shows beside your video when it appears in search. The reason why these are so important is because, for as much as your title might get a viewer to watch, oftentimes it’s the image that, as they say, is worth 1,000 words and will win the click. Ideally, your thumbnails should not only hint at what people are in for when they consume your video but also grab their attention while scrolling and convince them to invest their time in viewing your content.
Another element of effective thumbnails is branding. If you look at the homepage for many successful channels, you’ll notice that most of their images will have a similar look — be it through a color scheme, layout, photo, or other element. This can be helpful as, if a viewer (but perhaps not yet subscriber) keeps coming across your videos, they may be more inclined to click and then hopefully subscribe.
Given all of this, if you’re looking to freshen things up on your channel, maybe it’s time to consider overhauling your current thumbnails. Of course, you don’t need to do this all at once, as you may want to experiment with a few new styles before converting your entire backlog to the new look. On that note, services such as TubeBuddy also allow you to run A/B tests with your videos so that you can see which types of images perform better for you with your audience.
Experiment with new formats and video types
While you’re shaking things up, perhaps you may want to take a closer look at how your videos are structured — or consider streamlining your structure if you don’t already have one. This is actually something I’m personally doing right now as I’ve just launched my first entry in a series I’m calling “Quick Tips,” featuring to-the-point recountings of money-saving promotions and more (this will also mean that I’m publishing two videos a week instead of one!). Meanwhile, you don’t necessarily need to introduce a completely new format or supplementary content. Instead, you might just make a few tweaks to your intro and outros.
Granted, the changes you make shouldn’t be arbitrary or disorienting. Instead, focus on things such as your calls to action. For example, if you’re seeing strong views but a low subscription rate, consider how you can better emphasize your call to action to subscribe. Also, if you have multiple ideas for changes you could make to your videos, you may be better off working these adjustments in little by little instead of debuting them all at once. Since your subscribers might be turned off by too much instantaneous change, it’s often more prudent to test out a couple at a time, get feedback, and then continue to evolve your content from there.
Interlink your videos via cards, end screens, and themed playlists
Speaking of calls to action and retaining viewers, one great way to keep people on your channel and engaging with your content is to make it easy for them to move onto the next clip they should watch. There are several methods of doing this, starting with YouTube cards and end screens. If you’re not familiar, these tools allow creators to link to some of their other videos or offer viewers another reminder to subscribe. For cards, these messages and links will appear in the top right corner of a video while it plays whereas end screens are more customizable and are featured near the — you guessed it — end of the clip. While they serve similar but different jobs, both can be effective in recommending other relevant content to those watching your videos. FYI, cards and end screens can be added after the fact but, going forward, you can also insert them during the new uploading process and even create templates that will save you time in the future.
Another smart way to achieve better binge-ability is through themed playlists. Say, for example, you have several videos on your channel related to saving money on groceries. In addition to interlinking these videos via end screens and cards, you could also create a “How to Save Money on Groceries and Other Essentials” playlist. By the way, if you want, you could also include content from other creators in these playlists as a means of networking. Regardless, what’s also great is that you can then link to these playlists in your cards/end screens, adding yet another level of interconnectivity to your content — it’s like your own MCU!
Shoot a new channel trailer
While they may not be as popular today as they once were, channel trailers can still be a good way of communicating to potential subscribers what your channel is all about. These videos can either be unlisted or public and can be arranged to autoplay when a non-subscriber lands on your channel’s homepage. Whether you’ve never made a channel trailer before or it’s been a while since you created yours (I’m guilty there), this could be an idea for injecting some fresh air into your channel.
A nice side effect of crafting a new channel trailer is that it might also help you refocus on what exactly your channel is, what goals you have for it, and how you can best express that vision through every piece of content that you upload. Similarly, if you choose to feature clips from existing videos in your trailer, you might also consider creating a “Best of” playlist further highlighting these favorites. Plus, once again, you can always include calls to action in your trailer that not only encourage viewers to subscribe but also check out your various playlists and binge-watch your content.
Share snippets on other social platforms
Lastly, as a YouTuber, it can be easy to forget that your content doesn’t have to live on YouTube alone. In fact, with most social media outlets now featuring their own video platforms, it’s worth looking at how you can leverage these options to grow your following. This could mean uploading full videos, but could just as easily involve sharing key snippets and leading followers back to your channel.
Granted, other platforms like Facebook or Instagram don’t like it when you send people off of their sites, but you can attempt to find ways around this. In the case of Instagram, while those with fewer than 10,000 followers aren’t allowed to use links in their Stories (other than the IGTV videos), services like LinkTree make it easier for you to refer people to your IG bio and find all the relevant links they need there. That way, you could tease a video in your Stories or an Instagram post along with a call to visit your bio in order to view the full video. While some of these solutions may be a bit clunky, they might still be worth a shot at the very least.
Sometimes, as a creator, you just need to shake things up. Thankfully, the YouTube platform not only offers plenty of opportunities to experiment but may also reward such efforts. So whether you feel like nailing down your branding with updated thumbnails and a new channel trailer or are looking to expand your horizons by reimagining your format(s), hopefully these adjustments can help reenergize you as a creator and keep your channel growing.
Also published on Medium.