Create a YouTube intro video

1. Record an intro video and provide an overview of your channel.

Think from the viewer’s perspective and answer the questions: What is this channel about? Why should I watch these videos? Answer these questions as briefly as possible, and try not to exceed a minute of speaking time. Start by listing the fundamentals of your channel: Who are you? What type of videos do you make? Why did you start this channel?  What value do you provide the viewer? Use this information to craft an engaging script. It can highlight your background, which works well for personal brands like Matthew Encina. Or, it can lay out the themes that inspire your videos, like Kurzgesagt. Keep in mind that this video will not only serve as an introduction to your brand, but will also exemplify the kind of videos you produce. The script shouldn’t deviate too dramatically from the style of your established content.

2. Compile highlight clips that represent your brand identity.

Survey your existing library of videos and find highlights from your channel. Use YouTube Analytics to your advantage here. Navigate to YouTube Studio > Analytics > Engagement to identify your top videos. Use YouTube Studio > Comments to sort through subscriber comments. Find mentions of specific moments in your videos that resonate with viewers. Then, compile these popular moments into your intro video.

3. Research similar channels and highlight what sets your video apart and incorporate those aspects into your intro.

Chances are, you’re competing against channels that tackle similar content. While you can certainly share some portion of your audience, you want to make sure newcomers know what sets you apart.  Find other channels in your field, and watch their videos. For example, if you’re an art channel, find other artists, and if you’re a tech channel, scout out other tech product channels. Take note of what aspects differentiate your videos from that of your competitors. Additionally, determine why viewers choose your videos. For example: A sense of humor. Balanced product reviews. Engaging style. Stellar production quality. Spend the time needed to create a quality video.

4. Edit your video and trim your clips, color correct, and sync the audio. Shave down the final cut to 1-2 minutes.

Edit and polish your video as you would any other, and keep the content short. On average, viewers only watch 50-60% of a video, so you want to provide essential information sooner rather than later.  With so many video channels vying for their attention, viewers are already incentivized to click away from the video. Keeping your intro video short will ensure that your watch times stay relatively high, even if viewers leave.

5. Include compelling music and special effects to keep viewers engaged.

Be sure to include some additional audio and visual elements. The intro video may cover a lot of information. So, you’ll want to keep from overwhelming or boring viewers.  Keep their attention from drifting with music and visual effects that match the pace of the video. The latter can take the form of eye-catching graphics or unique transitions.

6. Include a CTA to increase subscriptions.

A CTA is important for all of your videos, though the function of the CTA in a channel intro is slightly different. Likes and comments, which you may encourage in your other videos, aren’t as important here as new subscriptions. The main purpose of engagement is to redirect viewers to the rest of your video library and keep them coming back for more. Viewers can’t add likes and comments on your channel page. Instead, getting them to click that subscribe button is your goal. The intro video is also a good place to direct your audience to landing pages that generate revenue. If you have a Patreon account or a merchandise page, for example, direct viewers to them. Make sure your new viewers know the current offerings of your brand.

7. Break the rules and be creative.

For example, the channel intro for Watcher Entertainment is a 30+ minute behind the scenes look at the creation of the company. This works because the company founders previously enjoyed an established following on BuzzFeed. Essentially, their intro video answers the question most of their fans have, why did they start their own company?  Other examples include visual art channels that use a portfolio reel with no narration, as done by Antonio Palmucci. Meanwhile, Kurzgesagt broke the norm by creating an all new animation without using any previously recorded clips.

8. Upload to YouTube and include a description with SEO keywords and tags, as well as links to important pages.

As with any video, upload your channel intro using Create > Upload video. Before writing your description, pick out a list of keywords using an SEO tool like SEMrush or TubeBuddy. Incorporate the keywords into the description and add links to your other platforms.

9. Once your video is finished, navigate to YouTube Studio > Customization then Channel Trailer for People Who Haven’t Subscribed > Add. Choose your intro video and select Publish.

Now, your intro video can work to draw in new subscribers and increase familiarity with your brand.