To grow your YouTube channel you need consistency and quality. Consistency is a straightforward concept to understand, but what about quality? What exactly makes a quality YouTube video?

In my experience, quality starts with design – how you formulate, structure, and write your video content.

Below is a roadmap that will help you design quality videos to grow your YouTube channel.

NOTE: this roadmap is not just for YouTube. It will help you make just about any type of information video.

Step One: Define the Value

Define the value in your video. Ask yourself:

  • What will my audience get out of my video?
  • What skill will they learn?
  • What story will entertain them?
  • What gameplay will excite them?
  • What issue will they be informed about?
  • What ideas will inspire them?
  • What concepts or principles will motivate them?
  • What thoughts and anecdotes will comfort or support them?
  • What useful knowledge, skill, or experience will your audience walk away with?

Determining the value of your video is crucial. It’s the foundation, the nucleus of your video.

Step Two: Research

Once you’ve formulated the value in your video, you’re going to need to flesh it out, put some meat not he bones, so to speak. And that’s going to require some research:

  • If you’re teaching a process, what are the steps involved? What materials, or tools are required?
  • If you’re doing a review, what features will you be looking at? How do those features work?
  • If you’re doing news, commentary, or opinion, what sources are you going to use? How do you make sure the information is valid?
  • Quality research uncovers the information, the raw materials that make up the actual content of your video.

Step Three: Structure Your Video For YouTube

Whether you script your videos, work from talking points, or speak off the top of your head – a quality YouTube video follows a particular structure that favours the YouTube algorithm. Keep in mind, the following structure may change in the future, depending on how the YouTube algorithm and user behaviour evolves. But for now, this is how it goes.

The structure of a YouTube video consists of seven elements:

1. Title and Thumbnail

Your title and thumbnail are the teaser for your video. Take the time to make them inviting and clickable. Your title and thumbnail are not only selling the value inside your video, they’re selling the look and feel of your brand. They’re selling an experience. Think about what you want that experience to be.

2. Cold Open

This is you speaking straight to camera, briefly, but enthusiastically describing the value contained in your video – what the viewer is going to get out of it, the take away. No long-winded introductions, just tell them what they’re going to get.

3. Branded Opening (optional)

A combination of animation and music to introduce your video. An effective branded opening lasts only 3-5 seconds.

4. Introduction

This is where you greet the viewer, tell them who you are, and what you and your channel are about. Having a succinct tag line is helpful, here. It helps the viewer understand who you are and what value you’re bringing to the experience.

5. Setup

The Setup helps the viewer better understand the information they are about to receive by giving it context. Connect the new information in your video that the viewer doesn’t know with relevant information that they do know. That provides a hook into your content. The setup is also where you briefly explain the significance of what you’re about to share. In other words, you tell the viewer why they should care about what you’re about to tell them. That motivates them to keep watching.

6. Deliver the Value

This is where you teach, inform, entertain, motivate, or inspire. Structure is the key to success when delivering information:

  • Teaching a process? Use a sequential structure – do this, then do this, then do this, etc
  • Vlogging? Use a chronological structure – this happened, then this happened, then this happened
  • Covering an event? Use a spatial structure – show what’s happening over here, then show what’s happening over there, etc
  • Entertaining with a story? Use the classic “beginning, middle, end” or “Setup, Climax, Resolution”
  • News, opinion, commentary? Use the good old “Who, What, Where, Why, When, How”

As you lay out your content, think visually. Think about how you’re going to show your information.

7. Closing

The key element of a quality YouTube video closing is your Call-to-Action, or CTA. Ask the viewer to do something. A strategic Call-to-Action can grow your channel, or your business, or both:

  • To grow your YouTube channel, latest best practice is to direct the viewer to watch more of your videos. Ask them to subscribe and comment. This will increase watch time and engagement, two things the YouTube algorithm likes
  • If you’re building your email list, you might direct the viewer to a sign-up form on your website. If you’re a business, you might direct the viewer to a landing page with a special offer

Overall, the goal of the Call-to-Action is to continue your relationship with the viewer.

But the Call-to-Action is useless if the viewer doesn’t see it!

In your closing, avoid signalling to the viewer that you’re done delivering value. Or, they may leave your video before they get to the Call-to-Action.

Avoid phrases like: “Well, that’s it for this video”. Keep delivering value right up to the last 10 seconds of your video, at which point you can thank the viewer for their time and attention, and say a quick goodbye.

It takes a lot of work and insight to successfully grow your YouTube channel. Having a solid guide, a template for creating your content takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process.

Tools used to make this video (Affiliate links):

Camera: Sony a5100 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Lens: Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN Art (Silver) for Sony SE

Camera HDMI to USB 3.0 Capture: AJA U-TAP HDMI Simple USB 3.0 Powered HDMI Capture

Voice-Over Microphone: RODE NT-USB

Lights: VILTROX L116T CRI95+ Super Slim Dimmable LED Light Panel

Recording & Editing: Screenflow 8


*DISCLOSURE: I often link to products & services I regularly use and think you might find helpful. To support this site, I use affiliate links wherever possible, which means if you click one of the links above and make a purchase I may receive a small commission or other compensation.

Michael Kinney

Michael is an award-winning media creator with 30 years of professional video production experience. He's written, produced, directed, hosted, recorded, and edited a variety of media projects - from TV documentaries to interactive learning.

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