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7 Ways to Build a Strong Personal Brand on YouTube
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Before anyone watches your videos, they see a visual representation of what your channel is about. Viewers glance at your YouTube banner and video thumbnails and make a snap decision: Do I want to engage with this channel or not?
On some level, these viewers are assessing your brand. They want to quickly understand who you are by looking at the words and photos on your channel homepage.
For example, a tennis fan knows they’ve come to the right channel when they see rackets and a green court on your banner. And using thumbnail text like “serve,” “lob,” or “volley” might encourage them to watch your videos.
In this episode of TubeTalk, we go into more detail about how to build your personal brand on YouTube. Stephanie Carls, director of social media at Corel, shares valuable tips for creating your online persona, such as:
- How to name your YouTube channel
- How to attract viewers who “get” you
- How to present your channel across social media
Listen to the episode below, or keep reading for an in-depth overview.
Personal Branding Tips for YouTubers
Eliminating confusion is the main benefit of building a personal brand. By keeping things consistent, viewers know what to expect from your content.
Your personal branding strategy may include:
- Creating a visual aesthetic for your channel
- Using the same text font in all of your graphics
- Showcasing your personality the same way in every video
- Using the same profile icon across social media
“Everything has to match up because if your brand isn’t consistent, people are going to start noticing that, and they’re not going to be able to connect with you on that same level,” Carls says. “Because they’re kind of like, ‘They keep changing. Who are they?’”
Want to help those viewers connect with you and eventually hit subscribe? Here’s a complete guide to building your personal brand.
1. Choose Your YouTube Channel Name Wisely
Most creators do one of three things when naming their YouTube channel:
- Choose a name that’s too specific.
- Choose a name that’s too broad.
- Choose a “middling” name that sits between broad and specific.
But which is better?
Read More: How to Pick a Good YouTube Channel Name
According to Carls, you should avoid channel names that are too specific. For example, you wouldn’t name your channel “Pixel Point of View” if you’re generally reviewing Android phones. The Google Pixel is just one phone that uses the Android operating system.
“Sometimes a broad name may be better because then you can make some adjustments,” Carls says. “But if you come right out of the gate to say that, ‘Oh, I’m the Pixel Princess,’ you have now narrowed your ideas and content. Everyone is going to assume that’s what you’re focusing on.”
If you know what your niche will be, start with a broad channel name. You can always change it to something more accurate as your content evolves.
2. Match Your Viewers’ Energy
How do you create a brand that resonates with YouTube viewers? Some say you have to be funny or entertaining to grab people’s attention, and that’s somewhat true. But people connect with different things, so you should match your viewers’ energy on YouTube – whether that’s quiet introversion or chaotic adventure.
Every niche has a vibe. The gardeners of YouTube are peaceful and calm, the entertainers are hilarious, and the business creators look like they're heading to the office. Where do you fit in, and how can you connect with like-minded viewers?
“If you use the example of a real estate professional, look professional,” Carls says. “Make sure it’s very clear that you’re in the real estate industry…. You want to have professional branding to match the type of clients you’re trying to attract.”
Ask yourself what viewers gain from watching your content. Then do your best to deliver the experience that comes with that offering.
3. YouTube Profile Icons: Headshot or Channel Logo?
Here’s a debate for the ages: Is it better to create a logo for your channel or upload a nice headshot of yourself?
Logos are attractive, but consider the way profile icons function on YouTube. They show up when you’re responding to comments, and that’s one place you want your personality to shine.
“Do you connect with a logo, or do you connect with a person?” Carls asks of creators. “That’s what you have to start realizing. What kind of look and feel and relationship do I want to put out for these individuals?”
4. Create a YouTube Banner That Explains Your Content
Don’t forget about banners when building your online presence. Channel headers take up a lot of space on YouTube, so you may as well use them to communicate the value of your content.
The best banners on YouTube are:
- Clean and uncluttered
- Easy to read on any device – desktop or mobile
- Visually consistent with everything else on your channel
- Has your channel’s value proposition (what viewers gain from watching)
Check out this banner from the vidIQ channel.
Our value proposition (creator-obsessed YouTube education) is front and center, so you know our brand is about helping creators grow their channels. There’s also a gold YouTube plaque to signify our 1 million subscribers. It proves that creators trust our advice!
5. Keep Your YouTube Thumbnails Consistent
Your thumbnails shouldn't look identical, but they must complement one another if you want your channel to have the “branded” look. You can do this by keeping your design elements consistent rather than repeating one design.
Successful creators use the same collection of fonts, colors, and niche-related imagery on their channels. That way, viewers can always spot their content in a group of recommended videos.
Personal finance creator Graham Stephan does this well. When the stock market goes down, you’ll see Stephan’s sad face, a raging fire, and red numbers in his YouTube thumbnails.
The design changes sometimes, but those trademark elements are always present.
6. Don’t Leave Your Channel’s ‘About’ Section Blank
Earlier, we mentioned that clearing up confusion is the main benefit of personal branding. Well, not writing anything in your channel bio adds to that confusion. It’s the only place where you can explain in detailed text why someone should watch your content.
Plus, if you know anything about SEO (search engine optimization), then you know the power of words on YouTube. Using niche-specific keywords in your bio helps your channel appear on search pages within the app. And who doesn’t want that?
So even if your YouTube banner has no text, make sure something appears in your bio.
“We’re all here for an SEO gain, right? [And] what is SEO going to pick up? It’s going to pick up the information you have written on your channel versus the text inside of a graphic,” Carls says.
7. Keep Your Brand Clean and Respectful
Our final tip is for creators seeking brand deals and video collaborations: Make sure everything you do – the videos you upload, the ideas you share, the comments you post – puts you on the right side of history.
Carls works with many influencers at Corel. Before anyone gets featured in a campaign, the company researches creators to make sure they have a good reputation.
Corel looks at:
- Who they follow
- Who follows them
- How they communicate online
- Their content catalog
If it seems like the creator won’t represent the brand well, Corel protects its reputation by not working with them.
“You start realizing, ‘OK, this might not be the best type of person we want to work with because they are connected to these types of individuals,” Carls says. “So you have to pay attention to the way you’re portraying yourself online."