7 Online Video Programming Tips From The YouTube Partner Playbook

YouTube is working on a Partner Playbook, chock full of tips to help their partners build their audiences, optimize discovery and maximize views.  At a YouTube Partner MeetUp in New York on June 16, 2011, Ryan Nugent from the YouTube Next Up Lab presented a draft of the Playbook.  This is part two in a series presenting tips gleaned from Ryan’s presentation of the YouTube Partner Playbook.

When it comes to becoming a YouTube success, knowing how to promote and optimize your video content is important, but you’re nothing without great content.  In his presentation of the YouTube Partner Playbook at a YouTube MeetUp in New York, Ryan Nugent offers up some helpful tips on YouTube programming, ranging from how to hook your viewer to how often you should upload videos.  We’ve compiled 7 helpful programming tips for you right here.  Check them all out below.

Hook ‘em in the first 15 seconds

Ryan’s first tip for YouTube content creators is that you should strive to hook your viewers in the first fifteen seconds.  Attentions spans are getting shorter and shorter and if you aren’t compelling within the first fifteen seconds or so then your viewer will click away and watch something else.  So start with a bang!

Compelling content first, packaging later

A lot of YouTubers like adding branded intros at the beginning of each video.  The problem with this is that viewers don’t love sitting through a 10-second intro for something that they aren’t even sure what it is.  For your return viewers, the intro bumper may not be such a bad thing, but if you are interested in attracting new viewers (which you should be) then your 10-second intro is simply providing a 10-second opportunity for your viewers to click away.

Note that if you aren’t willing to give up your intro entirely, you can splice it into your video after you’ve captured your viewer’s attention.

Let people know what they’re watching up front

Ryan also suggests that content creators let viewers know what they are watching and what they can expect upfront.  This goes along with the first point—hook ‘em in the first 15 seconds.  People like to know what they are watching and you can make their lives easy by simply telling them.

Philip Defranco does a good job of this, as you can see from the video below.  He simply says, “If you’re not familiar, my name’s Philip Defranco and this show really isn’t a show.  It’s just me talking about some of the stuff that matters in the news to me.”

Regular Schedule and Frequency

Freddie Wong says, “Consistent audience requires consistent content”, and that is why schedule and frequency are so important when it comes to building an audience on YouTube.


Frequency, i.e. posting a lot of videos, not only keeps viewers happy but it is also good for the YouTube algorithm.  Ryan Nugent says, YouTube rewards partners that post regularly with better ranking in search.  He calls it “feeding the beast”.  Therefore, he suggests posting at least once a week and even more if you can swing it.

Ryan points out that even if you make more production-heavy videos that take a long time and can only get one produced each week, you can also put up some behind-the-scenes, bloopers and comment videos to get multiple videos out of one.


YouTube fans come to expect new videos from their favorite YouTubers and if they know, for instance, that you post a new video every Thursday, then they will come back every Thursday to see your latest video.  Scheduling also keeps you on track with your production, so a month doesn’t accidentally fly by without you having uploaded any new videos.  For more, check out our post on Scheduling Your Way To YouTube Success.

Tent Pole Programming

Tent Pole programming is the term that Ryan uses to describe topical video content—content programmed around big events throughout the year such as holidays, movies, pop culture, news events and more.  Tent pole programming is great because of the fact that searches for that content goes up during those times of year, providing more opportunity for people to discover your content through search.

Ryan also points out that, for YouTube Partners who are monetizing their videos through ads, there are a lot of sponsors looking to create campaigns around holidays and events.  These sponsors will be wanting to work with content around these events, so by creating topical content partners are opening their videos up to more monetization opportunities.

If you are thinking about creating some tent pole programming, Ryan suggests uploading it to YouTube about two weeks before the event, so that you can ride the trending search wave.

Cross-Promotion & Collaboration

Cross-promotion and collaboration are great ways to grow your audience.  Ryan suggests partnering with relevant channels that match your own audience.  This way, you and the YouTuber you are partnering with can share audiences to introduce one another to new, relevant fans.

Check out the video below, which is an awesome collaboration between Epic Meal Time and Freddie Wong.

Calls to Action

Finally, Ryan points out the importance of including calls to action in your programming.  In your videos, invite your viewers to subscribe, favorite, and comment on your videos.  Ryan says, “These actions are important to your ranking in the algorithm, so the more you can get people to take these actions the better you’ll be in attracting views from search and related.”

Have any other tips for YouTube programming?  Please share them with us in the comments below.  And for more from Ryan, watch the following video of his presentation of the YouTube Partner Playbook.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.


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