First impressions on YouTube are everything. Without clarity, your audience will fail to connect with you and your mission. If they don’t instantly know what you are about, potential subscribers will quickly abandon your channel and keep looking for their people.

If that’s you, we can help with that. This podcast is all about turning confusion into clarity. We will give you the steps you need to take so that your viewers instantly know who you are and fall in love with your channel.

Creator Spotlight

But first, I want to introduce you to . Darby had successful gaming channel but once he become a new dad, he was gaming less and wanting to move into a very different niche: Self-development. He loved the idea of making a living by talking about your passion on YouTube. But, he really struggled with comparing himself to others and suffering through the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with posting every new video. Darby felt like he was up against a wall and wanted an outside opinion to help get him past his plateau. That’s where we came in. After working with us, he was able to connect with other creators, reevaluate his audience, experiment, and trust the process in his creator journey. If you’d like to know if we could help you in some way, . We’d love to take 15 mins to hear where you are at and if there’s a way we could help you reach your goals.

First Impressions

Many people aren’t thinking about the first impressions their channel is making, but it is so important. People are coming to your channel asking “Is this the place for me?” And as our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, we have to answer this question as quickly as humanly possible.

Think about it. There are probably thousands of channels in your niche. It is so important to immediately show your viewer why they should stick around YOUR channel and not just move onto the next.

How do you do this? Well, typically a viewer has come across one of your videos and now they are going to your channel page to see if you are a channel that they want to subscribe to.

Channel Banner

They first thing that’s going to catch their eye is your channel banner. What is your banner saying about you? Is it just repeating your channel name? (Your viewer already has this information.) How about instead of repeating yourself, you try to visually share your value proposition. What benefit are you bringing to your viewer?

Look at your banner right now. Do you have a collage of images that are cluttered and overwhelming? Or is it too text heavy with no images at all? Your channel banner is a great place to show the end result of what they might get if they stick around and watch your videos.

Your channel also very clearly shares who you are for. Are you a or are you a ? All of this can be shared with images. (Look at the difference between the ones linked.) Viewers that are unclear will either not subscribe or they will subscribe, but then discover this is not what they were expecting. Because of this, they will not watch the content. Both of these are negative viewer signals for YouTube. Getting the RIGHT subscribers – the ones that actually want your content – is vital.

This is also a good place to show who the leaders of your channel are. Was that one video that they watched the same personalities that are in every video? is a good example of this. If you want to connect with the viewer, it’s a lot easier to see who the leaders are and who are the guests and make that connection.

is very good at telling stories with their visuals. You can see in their faces that they are bonding together by getting outside of their comfort zones. Go watch one of their videos and then check out their channel page and you will see their mantra come out visually.

Blake, a strategist on our team, checked out their page when we mentioned them in a previous podcast and felt so connected to their creed: “Life’s greatest moments and deepest connections exist outside your comfort zone” that he bought one of their shirts without ever watching one of their videos. If this doesn’t show the power of channel optimization, I don’t know what is!

Also, make sure you double check that the most important elements of your banner can be viewed on mobile as well as desktop. Mobile cuts it down a bit, so make sure you always check.


This example of Blake, also shows the importance of your creed. Your creed is different than your value proposition. If you can say I believe ____, You have a creed. It can be deep like yes theory or it can be silly. We have another channel we have worked with that believes suspenders are awesome. And the people that also feel very strongly about suspenders are so excited that someone is finally talking about how awesome and useful suspenders are. The point is that those who really share that belief are totally in. So be passionate – no matter what it is. Others who are just as passionate will identify and become die-hard fans.

Channel Trailer

People push back on channel trailers so much. They claim that other channels don’t have them, so why should I? And we would say that of course you can grow without a channel trailer, but if YouTube is giving you a tool to help you grow, why wouldn’t you use it??

Remember, channel trailers can be just for viewers who have not subscribed. So this is a key tool to welcome potential subs and present exactly what you want them to know about you and the value they would get by subscribing to your channel.

So what can you do to create a great trailer?

  1. Keep it short. The point is to tease something. So try to make it 45-60 seconds long.
  2. Remember your goal. You want to win them over by sharing a tiny bit of your creation story which shows them this is the right place for them and they want to subscribe.

Yes Theory doesn’t have a channel trailer, but how powerful would it be to pop onto their page and see one of their leaders saying, “My whole life I said no. I was depressed, anxious and never felt like I was living my life to the fullest.” And then boom, they share their creed and why they started this channel. This would be so impactful and would help so many people relate with that story and subscribe.

This is a vital way help you stand out from the crowd. We are not saying that you need to be someone else. We are saying that you need to make known WHO you are and connecting to your viewer more than just sharing WHAT your channel is about.

Then, at the very end ask for the subscribe. This is the ONLY TIME you should ever ask for this. But that is the goal of this video. Then after you ask, end the video abruptly. The subscribe button will pop up after so don’t delay it. For returning viewers, use this spot for your favorite video that keeps viewers coming back.


Playlists are not a filing cabinet for your videos. Think of your channel trailer as your business card and this is as your portfolio. Use these playlists not to categorize your videos, but give your viewer a reason to watch them. Do you have a common reason people come to your channel? Make a short playlist about it.

Make sure you use intrigue when you are creating these playlists titles. But, don’t be too cryptic. You need to let your knew viewer know that this is what they are looking for. An example of this would be Tim has a playlist titled Creator Stories: The obstacles we overcome to meet our dreams. You aren’t trying to optimize for search here. You are reaching actual humans who are looking at your channel and want to be inspired.

Think about it like this: If you are inviting someone over to your house for the first time, you are going to show them around. Think of that for your channel. Show your new viewer around and let them see what you have to offer that might interest them. Don’t just leave them fumbling in the dark. If you do, they’ll probably just leave.

Power Tip

YouTube has no current plans to upload fully custom thumbnails like on long-form videos, since the vast majority of viewership comes from the feed where thumbnails are not shown. But, we are now seeing the ability to grab a specific frame from the short, during upload to use as the short thumbnail. This can be seen on your short shelf.

This feature is now available on iOS as well as android and will give you a little bit more aesthetic control over your shorts.