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These are the top 10 YouTube Shorts tips that I’ve discovered while posting to Shorts over the past 6 months.
We all know the basics: the videos need to be vertical, 60 seconds or less, it helps to niche down and post consistently.
But what about other, more granular tips and strategies you can use so that when you post to Shorts, you see more success and more results?
YouTube Shorts Tip 1: Throw Spaghetti at the Wall
First off, I hope I don’t need to get into why YouTube Shorts is important. If I do, then read this post here on why you need to post to YouTube Shorts ASAP.
With that out of the way, if you already have short-form content on Instagram Reels or TikTok, start repurposing that to YouTube Shorts. With those videos, schedule them to post every day over the next month.
This is how I first started posting to Shorts. It’s how you get your foot in the door and how you start testing which videos work well for you and which ones don’t. And most importantly, which videos YouTube likes. Because we all know it helps to please the almighty algorithm.
One thing that may have come to mind when I said “repurposing” your Reels and TikTok content is the watermarks. Luckily, there’s a way to remove those branded watermarks.
To remove TikTok’s watermark, go to Snaptik.app.
To remove Instagram Reels’ watermark, go to Snapinsta.app.
Doing that will remove the watermarks and prevent YouTube’s algorithm from suppressing your videos, thus you’ll have more accurate analytics to work with.
Then simply study your analytics during that month of posting. Here are a few good questions to have in mind when looking at your analytics:
- When did viewers drop off?
- Which videos had the most watch time? Lowest?
- Did videos perform better on certain days? Or does the day or time you post not seem to matter?
- What style of videos receives the most engagement and watch time? Educational? Vlog? Etc.
Then after that first month when it’s time to create videos for Shorts, recreate what you now know works well.
YouTube Shorts Tip 2: Your Titles are Important
Not only are the titles of your Shorts important, but more specifically, the first 30-40 characters of your titles are important.
Why? Not because of the algorithm.
It’s important because of the viewer’s perspective.
On desktop, when scrolling through the homepage of YouTube, the viewer only sees about the first 30 characters of your YouTube title.
When scrolling your homepage on the mobile app, viewers will only see about the first 40 characters of your Shorts title.
Those first 30-40 characters will help grab someone’s attention and get them to click through to your video.
YouTube Shorts Tip 3: Pinned Comments
Put your Call-To-Action (CTA) in the pinned comments of your video!
(For those who don’t know, a Call-To-Action is when you tell someone the next step in how to engage with you: “Subscribe for more content,” “Reply to this comment…,” “Click the link below…,” etc.)
I learned this one the hard way. I was putting my CTA links in the description. But I realized that with the video-scrolling format that TikTok normalized, people naturally go to comments to read through them. Not “video descriptions”.
When you put your CTA in the pinned comments of your Shorts, that will be one of the first things that someone sees.
I know this is a little unconventional for a YouTube strategy since we’re so used to putting our CTAs in descriptions, but this is a new era of content creation we’re in.
If you’re feeling behind on your YouTube strategy or just really want to grow your channel faster, check out my free YouTube Starter Workbook. From creating your account and picking a niche to growing into a full-time YouTuber, it’s all there.
YouTube Shorts Tip 4: Use Emojis in Your Title
This is something that really worked for me when I was in the “throwing spaghetti” stages of my Shorts journey. And it still works.
Any time I had an emoji that started the title, those videos had better click-through rates (CTR), better watch times, and more total views.
Of course, the emoji has to be relevant; you can’t just clickbait. If the emoji you’re using is irrelevant, then prepare for drop-offs and low performance. Just don’t.
For example, if my title was, “3 Tips for Making Money as a Content Creator,” I would use this emoji in front → 🤑
It’s eye-catching and relevant.
If you can story-tell with the emojis at the front of your titles, you’ll see a higher CTR.
YouTube Shorts Tip 5: Desktop is KEY 🔑
Hear me out. I know there are mixed opinions about this.
For me, when I posted and studied my analytics, I did it all on desktop. I don’t really have a lot of data to compare desktop vs. mobile.
What I mean by “desktop is key” is whether you’re using your phone or you’re uploading a video from your computer to YouTube, finish the posting through your desktop.
What does that mean?
I’m saying that start the upload process using whichever method you prefer: desktop, mobile, or tablet. But instead of pressing, “Upload Short”, press, “Save draft”.
Then finish the posting on your desktop.
Why Posting on Desktop is Best
On desktop, you have so many more capabilities, customizations and functionalities you can use to your advantage.
And to add to that, if you have TubeBuddy or VidIQ as Chrome Extensions, your desktop will auto-generate title recommendations based on SEO. You can really do a lot of research this way as opposed to posting on your phone.
Also, make sure you’re using the “Category” section. And select the proper category. Most of my YouTube videos are educational, so I usually select the “Education” category. For my fun, lip-syncing content, I select “Entertainment”.
Make sure you’re fully utilizing everything YouTube gives you so you’re making the most of their algorithm.
As for YouTube’s tags and hashtags section, the best resource I can point you to is Google’s use policy for hashtags on YouTube.
Everything you’ll want to know for hashtag guidance is right there.
If you’re using my Spaghetti Method, the auto-posting ability through uploading on desktop makes it so much easier.
Since you already have content you’re repurposing over the next month, auto-posting them to schedule at a certain time will help tremendously so you’re not manually uploading every day.
YouTube Shorts Tip 6: Thumbnails
But as of now, you can only upload a thumbnail for your Shorts using your phone. (If you’re reading this in the future, I hope for your sake this is no longer true.)
I know, I know. I just said desktop is best, so what gives?
It wasn’t always this way. I used to be able to upload thumbnails on desktop, but then they removed it completely. Then they brought it back, but only for mobile. I have no idea why, but rumor has it they’re bringing it back for desktop.
For now, the way you choose a thumbnail:
- Go to upload your video on mobile (but don’t press “Upload Short”)
- Press the pen icon on the top left, over the video preview
- Scrub through the video to choose your thumbnail
Now, why is choosing a thumbnail an important step?
It gives you more opportunity to get someone to click on your video.
Before, YouTube wouldn’t let you choose a thumbnail. They would auto-generate one for you, and for whatever reason, it was always the worst frames from the videos. They weren’t eye-catching or clickbaity whatsoever.
Even though YouTube has a dedicated Shorts section where no one sees the thumbnails, they still feature Shorts thumbnails throughout their platform everywhere else. And if your thumbnail doesn’t grab their attention, you can kiss that high CTR, those views and those sweet, new subscribers goodbye.
YouTube Shorts Tip 7: Use Google Trends
Google Trends is a fun little trick. And why is it a trick?
Because Google owns YouTube. (Yes, you already knew that, but stay with me.)
Google has a website/tool called Google Trends that shows you exactly what’s trending on Google right now. I know, they literally tell you what people are searching right now.
That information puts you at an advantage, but this is what everyone is searching on Google. It’s not specific to YouTube.
This is where it gets more juicy.
In their Explore section, you can filter trends by “YouTube Search” to see what’s currently trending on YouTube, right now!
What have people actively looked for on YouTube in the past 90, 30, or 7 days? Past 24 hours, 4 hours, or even the past hour?
Try it out! Type in your niche or your content pillars and make content on the top results.
And that’s just one way to get ideas. I have an entire post on getting YouTube content ideas, so check that out.
YouTube Shorts Tip 8: Grab Attention
Now that you know how to get someone to click on your video, how do you get them to not scroll away immediately?
Start Right Away
Make sure you’re talking right away when the video starts. If there’s no talking, make sure something happens right away.
No awkward pause at the beginning of your video. Don’t press record then breathe. If your video starts with a big breath, people will scroll right past.
Using closed captions is important.
Have text on the bottom of your video (or away from the focal object of your video) mimicking what you’re saying.
And a little tip for this, only use a few words at a time. About 2-3 words popping up every 2-3 words you say.
This will give the effect that your video is moving at a really fast pace. The fast pace and the words changing frequently will ensure a lot of people watch all the way through.
That leads me to tip #9
YouTube Shorts Tip 9: Maintain Retention
Now that they haven’t swiped past the first few seconds of your video, how do you get people to watch your videos from beginning to end?
7 Second Rule
I know the title there says “7 Second Rule” because that’s how you might know it. But I prefer to go by the 5 Second Rule.
And no, this isn’t about dropping your food.
This is a rule where every 5 seconds, something is changing. Instead of just talking to the camera in one shot, get creative with it.
For example, do your hook in the beginning and then change to a green screen, then back to you talking at the camera, then back to a green screen.
Obviously, it’s just an example. If you do that, make sure it’s relevant, but you get the idea.
Having something visually changing roughly every 5 seconds will keep people watching
Show. Don’t Tell.
If you’re telling someone a story or talking about an experience you had, don’t just talk at the camera.
Use B-roll to back up the story and play it while you’re talking. Or show screenshots behind you using the green screen effect.
As long as you’re not just sitting and staring at the camera with nothing to show your viewers.
A tip to take “Showing” a step further is to start your video with a question and don’t answer it until the very end. Show (don’t tell) them the process of how you came to that answer.
Don’t Tell Them Your Video is Ending
I know this is another YouTube staple, but for Shorts, don’t say things like, “If you liked this video, be sure to like and subscribe.”
That is basically like saying, “Spoiler alert! This video is over so please don’t finish all the way to the end. Go ahead and scroll away!”
If anything, you can just quickly say, “Follow for more tips!” But even that has to be quick enough for the video to replay immediately after.
YouTube Shorts Tip 10: Adapting to Trends
We already talked about Google Trends, so what else could I be talking about?
There is a YouTube Shorts Trend Report that is created by YouTube itself.
Yes, I know.
If you sign up for YouTube’s shorts report, you’ll be emailed twice a month with the latest updates, new features, inspiration, content ideas, current trends, and more.
I love this. We don’t really see a lot of platforms giving their creators straight-up answers so they can see success.
That’s why I love YouTube. They’re very transparent and helpful in helping creators have the best results.
So sign up for their Trend Report!
YouTube Shorts Bonus Tip 1: Educate Yourself
Watching and reading tips and tricks from gurus and other creators is certainly one way to educate yourself.
To supplement that, I’d also recommend rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty.
Educate yourself from the source itself.
I’ll save you some dirty work and share this playlist with you. This playlist is full of YouTube Shorts, curated by YouTube itself and it’s all about YouTube Shorts. You can scroll through and find the answer to almost anything Shorts related. It’s the perfect YouTube FAQ resource.
Utilize it to your advantage. Educate yourself. And have fun!
(And while you’re at it, don’t forget to download my free YouTube Workbook. #shamelessplug)
Follow your joy!