YouTube is an open platform. Our values are based on four essential freedoms: freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of opportunity, and freedom to belong.
One of the best things about YouTube Content Marketing is that you can engage with and grow a community no matter what you’re passionate about—whether it’s comedy, sports, fashion, gaming, food, or simply everyday life.
Through YouTube, you have the power to connect with a large and diverse audience. Over 1.9 billion people log into YouTube every month—and YouTube has local versions in more than 90 countries.
Also, people can discover your content in multiple ways. While many viewers access YouTube on their mobile phone, tablet, or computer, it’s also popular to watch from a television screen.
As you begin your journey on YouTube, it’s important to be authentic. Viewers are more likely to connect when they see you’re passionate about the topic.
People have a variety of reasons for becoming a YouTube creator. For example, it could be to connect with a similar community, show off a unique talent, spark social change, or promote a business. Many creators join YouTube to share knowledge and skills. Think about your mission on YouTube:
- How would you like to have an impact?
- What do you want to say?
- What knowledge can you share with others?
- Who are your favorite YouTube creators and what makes them memorable to you?
On YouTube, there are few limits to what you can share. Just keep in mind our Community Guidelines, which help to keep the platform safe for everyone.
Select a channel name that you like and represents you (similar to a social media handle).
Next, there are some account settings that you may want to update straightaway, like connecting your social media accounts, setting privacy levels for your videos, and deciding how you’d like to receive notifications.
To enable some features, such as custom thumbnails and longer uploads, you may be asked to verify your account. That’s it. You’re ready to make your YouTube debut! Check out the next lessons for more information on how YouTube works and ways to customize your channel.
Curious about how YouTube works? Here are the typical steps for uploading a video and growing a channel:
- You upload a video file from your computer or mobile device.
- You add descriptive details which can help people find your video. Before you click Publish, you’ll need to add some information like a title, description, and thumbnail. These details are called metadata and they contribute to discovery, so use words and images that provide an accurate and compelling glimpse of what viewers can expect.
- People watch it. The YouTube search and discovery algorithm works in the background to match viewers to the videos they’re most likely to watch and enjoy. A lot of factors go into this, such as what else the individual viewer has watched, hasn’t watched, liked, disliked, etc.
- Fans come back for more. When someone enjoys a video, they can subscribe to your channel and share it with their friends and family. Viewers can leave comments on your video and you can write back to them. Learn more about community engagement.
Here are common words to know up-front as a YouTube creator and some of the ways that YouTube is different from other platforms:
- Watch time is how long viewers watch your content. As you upload more videos, you can look at different Watch Time reports in YouTube Analytics to understand how well different videos perform. Watch Time is important because YouTube may surface your content to more people based on their viewing patterns. Learn more.
- Subscribers are viewers who’ve indicated they want to see more of your content and click the Subscribe button on your channel. Subscribers are critical to your success on YouTube because they tend to spend more time watching your channel than viewers who aren’t subscribed—and if they have Notifications turned on, they’ll be alerted when you post something new. They can also view your newly published videos in their Subscriptions feed.
- Community refers to connecting with your audience on a deeper level. You can do this by interacting with viewers in the Comments section of videos, hosting live streams for your loyal fans, making videos requested by your community, or sharing extra content via the Community tab (in beta). Get more tips for growing your community.
After uploading your first videos, you can try out these strategies:
- Put it on the calendar. Adopt an upload schedule so your fans know when to tune in for new content. Consider communicating it in your channel trailer or reminding viewers in your videos. Learn more.
- Add sections and playlists. A playlist is an ordered list of videos that you create, often with a specific theme. A section is a way to organize groups of videos on your channel. See some examples.
- Make some money. Once your channel reaches certain requirements, you can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program to earn money from your videos. Get the details here.
- Get a snapshot of your channel. Check out the YouTube Dashboard for a quick look at channel stats and tips.
Keep in mind that success usually doesn’t come overnight. Consider how you can build your channel by producing great content and engaging with your fans.
- Make great content based on data. Look at Comments and dive into YouTube Analytics.
- Encourage subscriptions. Include a call to action in your videos to invite subscribers.
- Promote yourself. Try sharing your YouTube videos on other social media.
On YouTube, you have the opportunity to broadcast yourself—your interests, passions, personality, and more. The videos you produce will, of course, cover these things and in doing so, you can create a “brand” for your channel that your audience will recognize.
Your channel brand is the set of unique characteristics that separates your channel from the rest and communicates your key messages and content strategy.
It’s a good idea to make your branding:
- clear and representative so that people who find your channel will instantly understand what your videos are all about.
- as simple as possible. Think of logos or branding of products you like—they’re likely a singular image that sticks in your brain.
- something you’re proud of. Remember—your channel branding will become an extension of you, especially if you star in your channel.
Your brand can be conveyed in various places across YouTube. Remember to keep each of these elements consistent with the others so that your channel looks like one cohesive brand.
- Channel icon is your signature image or logo that represents your channel. It appears in many places—on your channel page, when you comment, and on the bottom right of videos in most playback modes. It’s best to upload a square or round image. See design guidelines.
- Channel art is a larger banner space for you to show what your channel’s about. A lot of creators include their upload schedule here. We recommend banners be at least 2560×1440 px to achieve the best display on all devices. You can create this in your favorite photo editing software. Canva is a popular resource for making banners.
- Channel description in the “About” tab gives viewers an overview of what they can expect from your channel. It could describe the types of content you will produce, include your upload schedule, and note who is starring in your videos. You can also include links to your website, contact info and/or social media accounts.
- Channel trailer is a quick video that lives on your channel page and displays to unsubscribed viewers. You can use it to give your audience a preview of what to expect on your channel and encourage them to subscribe. Note: your channel trailer may evolve as your channel grows.
Once you have a handful of videos on your channel, other tools to consider are cards, end screens, sections and playlists.
- Think of your channel like a storefront—give it the right look to show off your style.
- Consistency is key across all of the places where your branding appears!
- Be sure your branding adheres to the YouTube Community Guidelines.
Anyone who interacts with YouTube needs to follow our Community Guidelines. These are common-sense rules that help make sure YouTube is the best place to listen, share, and create community. They outline the types of content allowed on YouTube, the rules prohibiting things like spam or harassment, and much more.
YouTube relies on a combination of people and technology to flag inappropriate content and enforce these guidelines. If we find that your content doesn’t follow our Community Guidelines, you’ll receive a warning (for the first violation). The next time your content is found to violate our policies, you’ll receive a Community Guidelines strike. If after the warning…
- you get one strike, then you won’t be able to post anything—videos, live streams, stories, custom thumbnails, playlists and posts—for one week
- you get a second strike, then you won’t be able to post anything—videos, live streams, stories, custom thumbnails, playlists and posts—for two weeks
- you get three strikes, then your channel will be terminated
Note: Egregious violations may lead to other repercussions.
If you receive a strike, make sure to review the reason why and learn more in the Policy Center so that it doesn’t happen again. If you think that your content doesn’t violate the Community Guidelines, you can appeal the action. Learn more about how strikes impact what you can do on YouTube.
YouTube is a global platform for news and information, and we realize that sometimes graphic material is vital to our understanding of the world. It’s important to add context, both within your video and in the title and description.
When a video is flagged, someone on YouTube’s team reviews the video—and its context—to decide whether the video should be restricted, removed, or kept live. This includes evaluating the video for educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic intent.
You should only upload content (including music, videos, and artwork) that you created or that you’re authorized to use; otherwise, this could result in a copyright violation. Learn more.
If you use someone else’s content on your YouTube channel, the copyright owner can submit a takedown request. If this is a valid request, your video will be removed from YouTube and you’ll get a copyright strike. You can wait for a copyright strike to expire, seek a retraction, or submit a counter-notification. If you get three copyright strikes, your channel is subject to termination.
Alternatively, if you upload a video that contains copyright-protected material, you could end up with a Content ID claim issued by the party who owns the music, movies, TV shows, video games, or other copyright-protected material. A Content ID claim may result in a takedown or lost revenue depending on the actions specified by the copyright owner (but you can dispute a claim you believe is wrong).
We believe it’s important to keep YouTube a platform that inspires vibrant creativity and protects creative rights. If another channel uploads your content without your permission, you may file a copyright complaint via our webform.
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) lets you earn money from ads served on your videos and from YouTube Premium members watching your content. Your channel must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible:
- Have 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.
- Comply with YPP policies.
- Comply with YouTube Spam policies and Community Guidelines.
- Comply with monetization criteria.
- Videos must follow advertiser-friendly guidelines. If you want to upload content that doesn’t comply with these guidelines, you should turn off ads on individual videos.
- You should only monetize content (including music, videos, and artwork) that you created or have rights to use.
If you’ve applied to YPP and met the requirements, we’ll review your channel for compliance with YPP policies and other YouTube policies. If you don’t have enough watch time or subscribers yet to qualify for YPP, check out this lesson for tips.
Here are some quick links to get the details on specific guidelines and policies:
|I’m interested in…||I should check out…|
|Using a YouTube product or service||YouTube’s Terms of Service|
|Uploading content or commenting on a video||YouTube’s Community Guidelines|
|Understanding copyright ownership||YouTube’s Copyright website|
|Making videos visible to all ages||YouTube’s age-restricted content guidelines|
|Earning money on YouTube||YouTube’s Partner Program policies|
|Creating content suitable for ads||YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines|