How To Create YouTube Thumbnails That Get Your Videos Clicked
How To Create YouTube Thumbnails That Get Your Videos Clicked

What’s the one thing that will make people click play on your YouTube video more than your competitors? If you said thumbnail image I think you’re right.

Your YouTube thumbnail is the image that accompanies your video when it appears in search results, on your channel and when it’s embedded. Make it enticing and it could be your video people watch even above the top result.

If you’ve optimised your video already you need to look at those thumbnails.

YouTube Thumbnails – Getting started

You’ve probably seen the thumbnail options that appear at the bottom of your screen when you upload a video. YouTube will auto generate these little screen grabs from your video. They’re OK but they’re rarely ideal. It’s as if YouTube pick the worst possible grabs, you’ll be gurning, your tongue will be out or they’ll have picked the frame where you can’t see anything.

Luckily there’s another option. The customised image. Here you can upload your own image. One that tells people more about what to expect.

Finding inspiration

If I’ve convinced you that you should replace those horrible automated thumbnails what should you do next?

Before you start creating thumbnails do a search on YouTube for keywords you are hoping to rank for. Which videos jump out to you and make you want to click?

It’s also worth asking your audience. Take a screen grab and ask your followers on Facebook or Twitter which would make them want to click. What appeals to you might not be what appeals to them.

Although different styles of thumbnail will appeal to different people there are some tactics you can use that will make your video stand out.

1. What’s the star of your video?

Are you the star of the show? If you are then your thumbnail needs to include a photo of you. A friendly face is more clickable than an inanimate object.

Before you select an image of yourself remember that your thumbnail should meet the expectation of your audience.

For a consumer or small business audience that gurning face that YouTube offers you as a thumbnail could well be the best choice. Take a screenshot and use it as the basis of your thumb. A more serious video aimed at corporate businesses should include a more sedate, posed image.

If you aren’t the star of the show who or what is? Is it a tutorial? A how to? A recipe? If so perhaps it’s the finished product that is the hero. Make sure you get a good quality shot of the finished product that you can use as part of the thumbnail.

2. Add text

You can’t rely on people reading the title of your video. Use text overlay to ensure they can see what the video is about.

According to YouTube more than 1/2 of views come from mobile so it’s pretty crucial that the text on your thumbnail works when it’s scaled down. In this case, big is definitely better.

3. High contrast

Saturated colours and high contrast images also have a stronger visual impact on YouTube. Experiment with different colours and find one that works for you.

So far it’s looking like I’ve got a lot of work to do. Luckily there is one thing I’m getting right.

4. Add your branding

Your video thumbnails should be consistent with your brand and your channel. Are you using the same colours and fonts each time? Do they match your branding elsewhere? Are you including your logo?

Creating your thumbnail

Up until I started researching this post I’ve been winging it with my thumbnails. I’ve got a template and I use it for everything but it’s not hitting the mark on YouTube.

My Facebook Live videos (uploaded to YouTube) in particular have been relying on the suggestions that YouTube offers.

It’s time for a change so I decided I’d try three tools and see which produced the best results fast.

I started with a screen grab from my most recent show and a title.


PicMonkey is a popular tool with YouTubers (affiliate link). It’s one I’ve been using for years and they’ve made some improvements recently. I use the ‘Royale’ version which costs €66 per year.

I uploaded my screengrab, cropped it to the correct size for a YouTube thumbnail (1280 x 720 pixels). Added a filter, a text overlay and a background for the text.

The nice thing about PicMonkey is it allows you to have layered images. You can add text, overlays, images and even draw on your photo and move them around as necessary. If you are a Photoshop user this will all seem very familiar to you.

PicMonkey also lets you add drop shadows to your text with the click of a button. Something the other tools doesn’t offer.

This is the result:

Thumbnail created in PicMonkey
Thumbnail created in PicMonkey

Adobe Spark

Next up was Adobe Spark. I use this a lot on my phone but this time I thought I’d try the web app.

Adobe Spark has built-in YouTube templates which means no resizing was required. There are templates and layouts that you can flick through until you find something that matches your brand.

It’s quicker to use than PicMonkey but you have a very limited amount of filters available and I wasn’t able to customise the colour scheme to my brand colours.

On the up side it’s extremely quick to create a thumbnail. You’ll have something decent in less than a minute.

Here’s the result:

Thumbnail created in Adobe Spark
Thumbnail created in Adobe Spark


This is a graphics tool I use every single day. Like Adobe Spark there are a YouTube templates built in. There aren’t as many bells and whistles as PicMonkey but once you’ve created a design it’s really easy to replicate that it keeping the brand elements consistent.

I use the premium Canva for work that costs me $12.95 per month. This speeds up creation as I have my brand colours and fonts programmed in.

Here’s the Canva thumbnail:

Thumbnail created in Canva
Thumbnail created in Canva

Which thumbnail do you prefer?

Thumbnails that attract the eye in searches both on YouTube and in Google could result in more views for your videos. Try something new today and look to see if it improves your views.


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How To Create YouTube Thumbnails That Get Your Videos Clicked
How To Create YouTube Thumbnails That Get Your Videos Clicked
Are You Neglecting The Most Powerful Video On Your YouTube Channel?
Are You Neglecting The Most Powerful Video On Your YouTube Channel?

When you invite someone to your house you’d probably give them a reason to come. A cup of tea, a drink, a gathering or a meal. When they arrive and ring the doorbell you don’t just let the door just swing open and expect your guest to let themselves in and find their way to you. It sounds like the start of a horror movie not the beginning of a loyal relationship.

But that’s what many of us are doing with our YouTube channels. When people find our channel we’re failing to welcome them in, we’re hoping they’ll find their way around and click the subscribe button before they know what they are subscribing to. Before they know who we are.

There’s one way we can welcome people when they arrive on our YouTube channel. Just like a host will smile and welcome a guest to their home we can welcome new YouTube visitors with a channel trailer.

When we do, our guests are likely to stay, to subscribe and to feel like they are getting to know us.

So many businesses fail with their trailers. Instead of a personal welcome they show long, boring adverts for their business. They are missing the point. Your channel trailer isn’t an advert for your business but an advert for your channel.

If you are feeling guilty here’s my tips for creating a better YouTube channel trailer

1. Be personal

The best channel trailers feature people talking to camera. It’s that personal connection, like being welcomed at the door when you visit a home that will make people want to connect. You don’t need fancy camera equipment or fast editing. A simple “hello, this is me” can work wonders.

I love this trailer from Brittany J Smith. She oozes personality, it makes me want to subscribe.

The best channel trailers are short, personal and to the point.

2. Tell people why to subscribe?

SORTEDfood have taken the ‘person to camera’ approach and made it entertaining. We live in their fridge and they introduce us to their ‘fridgecam’. They’ve taken elements from their videos and edited them together to give us a good picture of the sort of food we can expect from them.

3. Humour

When I was a kid no one left the cinema before the end of the titles of a Burt Reynolds movie. We stayed and watched because that’s when the outtakes were shown.

Outtakes still have appeal today and I love the way ‘Cooking with Dogs’ have worked them into their channel trailer. I laughed, I subscribed.

4. Keep it short

Your channel trailer has one job. To get people to subscribe, it doesn’t need to be long, so keep it under a minute if possible. Just enough time to get people to click subscribe.

5. Use Cards

You can make it easy for people to subscribe to your channel whilst they are watching your trailer by adding cards. They pop up during the video (or appear underneath on mobile). When people click they can subscribe directly from the video.

Add them, more than once, during your video.

You can add ‘Cards’ by clicking the ‘Cards’ icon underneath your video.

Cards work better than annotations as they display on both desktop and mobile.

Adding a YouTube channel trailer

Once you’ve created your trailer upload it to YouTube.

Go to your channel and click the ‘For new visitors’ tab

Click on 'For new visitors' to add your trailer
Click on ‘For new visitors’ to add your trailer

Click to add a channel trailer and select the video you want to add.

If you have a trailer and want to change it click the pencil on the right of your existing trailer

Select ‘Change trailer’ from the drop down menu.

To change your existing channel trailer click the pencil
To change your existing channel trailer click the pencil

Give it a go

Creating a channel trailer will increase your subscribers and make new visitors feel welcome. If you don’t have one give it a shot and let me see what you create.

Have you seen any good channel trailers? What makes you subscribe to a channel. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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Are You Neglecting The Most Powerful Video On Your YouTube Channel
Are You Neglecting The Most Powerful Video On Your YouTube Channel
How to drive traffic to your website from YouTube
How to drive traffic to your website from YouTube

How can you convert YouTube views into website traffic? 

You might be a hit on YouTube but what good is that if people aren’t coming to your website, subscribing to your list, buying what you sell?

For years I did nothing to optimise my videos and just used YouTube as a host. Now I’m looking at how I can drive people my site when they find my video’s on YouTube.

As a follow up to my posts on optimising YouTube video I’ll show you three ways you can add links to your YouTube video and drive traffic back to your site.

3 Ways To Link To Your Website From YouTube

1. The Description

Add your link, including the http:// right at the top of the description of your video. This means people will be able to click through straight away without having to click elsewhere.

Don’t link to the homepage of your site, link to the most appropriate page for the video you are sharing.

You can set a default description that will appear each time you upload a video. This is a handy reminder but don’t forget to edit it to link to the page or post you want to drive traffic to.

To set it as a default visit your creator studio.

Visit your creator studio
Visit creator studio

Select ‘Channel’ and ‘Upload Defaults’ to add your link

Edit your YouTube channel default settings to include your link
Edit your YouTube channel default settings to include your link (include http://)



2. Use cards

Link your YouTube channel officially to your website. It’s not hard to do, you just need to link your YouTube account to your Google search console. Visit the ‘Advanced’ section of your Channel settings in your Creator Studio to enable this.

Verify your website on YouTube using search console
Verify your website on YouTube using search console

Once you are verified you can add ‘Cards’ to your videos. These pop up whilst the video is being viewed and can link back to your website.

You can set these up by clicking the ‘Card’ icon under your video.

Click the card icon to add links to your YouTube video.
Click the card icon to add links to your YouTube video.

You’ll find the ‘link’ option in the drop down menu under ‘Add cards’

Select 'link' to add a link card to your video
Select ‘link’ to add a link card to your video

To ensure people click give people a call to action, tell them where they can find out more.

Cards work better than annotations, although they are smaller they work for desktop and mobile versions of your video. Annotations only appear on the desktop.

3. Add links to your channel header

You can overlay links on your YouTube header image. Click on the pencil at the top of your header image and select ‘edit links’

Click the pencil to edit the links that appear as an overlay
Click the pencil to edit the links that appear as an overlay

From here you can link to your website and change the anchor text for your link to make it more enticing.

Add value

What happens if you add all those links? Nothing! You need to give people a reason to click your links. What is on offer if they visit your website, will there be a fuller explanation? A resource that will help people with their challenges?

It’s only when you offer value that people will want to follow the link back to your website.

Tell me about you

Have you succeeded in driving traffic back to your website from YouTube? What tactics have you used that have worked?


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How to drive traffic to your website from YouTube
How to drive traffic to your website from YouTube
Optimise your YouTube videos with playlists
Optimise your YouTube videos with playlists

I used to upload videos to YouTube with no thought or structure. Then I discovered that not only did playlists help users navigate my channel but I could optimise my YouTube playlists for views.

This is the third in a series of one minute moments dedicated to optimising your YouTube videos.

In part one we looked at captioning

In part two we discussed how we can rank in related videos

This week we’ll look at optimising your YouTube playlists.

My mistake

I hadn’t been paying much attention to playlists on YouTube. When I started my channel I just uploaded my videos when the mood took me. I’d upload vlogs, tutorials, tips without a thought about user experience.

It was only when I started looking at other channels I realised my mistake.

Optimising Your YouTube Playlists

YouTube playlists are a way of ordering your videos to categorise them. They also make your channel more user-friendly. But there’s another benefit that hadn’t occurred to me until I started watching Tim Schmoyer’s videos.

If you watched or read last week’s tip you’ll recognise Tim. If you are serious about optimising what you do on YouTube you should subscribe to his channel. I learned a lot from watching his videos and I know you will too.

Series playlists

There are two types of playlist on YouTube. Your regular playlist, a selection of videos you’ve categorised as relating to one topic, for example this vlog, and series playlists.

Series playlists are only available to YouTubers who have verified their accounts but they are kinda cool.

According to YouTube

‘…other videos in the playlist [will] be featured and recommended when someone is viewing a video in the series playlist. ‘

If you are creating a series of videos on a specific topic, a series playlist makes sense, YouTube will make it easier to for viewers to keep watching. That means more eyes on more videos.

So my tips on optimising your videos might make a good series playlist right?

Videos in a series playlist can only be in one series. So that means I will have to make my Vlog series a single, regular playlist.

This allows me to create smaller series playlists from the videos I’ve included in the regular playlist.

What’s the difference between a regular and series playlist?

Standard playlists are just a way to group a series of videos together. I have playlists for this vlog, for my short video tips, for my podcast and for my Facebook live. If you visit my channel you can watch a playlist from start to finish. For the one minute moment that would be 65 videos.

Your series playlists should be more focused, you should centre them around a specific topic and make a natural progression from one video to the next.

Take a look at your YouTube uploads now. Are there any natural series that occur to you? Tim Schmoyer recommends keeping your series playlists short so don’t get too carried away. Three to six videos in a series is enough.

Setting up a YouTube playlist

You can set up both types of playlist in ‘Creator Studio’ on YouTube. Remember, you need to have a verified account to set up a series.

Use Creator Studio to set up playlists
Use Creator Studio to set up playlists

From the sidebar select ‘Video manager‘ and then ‘Playlists

Select 'Playlists' from the sidebar under 'Video Manager'
Select ‘Playlists’ from the sidebar under ‘Video Manager’

Click ‘New Playlist‘ at the top of the screen and give your Playlist a name

Name your playlist
Name your playlist

To make your playlist a ‘series playlist‘ click on ‘settings

Click on playlist settings
Click on playlist settings

Check the ‘set as official series for this playlist‘ box.

Set as 'series playlist' here
Set as ‘series playlist’ here

Now you just need to add videos and optimise your playlist.

What have playlists got to do with optimising your videos?

Last week I talked about optimising your videos for keywords and phrases so you’d come up in related videos. You can do almost exactly the same thing with your YouTube playlists.

Optimise your title and your playlist description for keywords and phrases that you want to be found for.

The shorter and more on topic your playlist is the more effective this is going to be.

Don’t delay, try it out. Look at ways you can clump your videos together and optimise your YouTube playlists. See if you get an increase in views as a result.


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How To Optimise YouTube Playlists To Get More Video Views
How To Optimise YouTube Playlists To Get More Video Views
How To Optimise YouTube Video For Related Search
How To Optimise Your YouTube Video For Related Search

Are you tapping into related search with your YouTube videos?

Tim Schmoyer recommends you do and that’s the topic of this, part 2 of optimising your YouTube videos on the 1 Minute Moment.

Watch part 1 on auto-captions here

How To Optimise YouTube Videos For Related Search

I first heard about this technique in an interview Michael Stelzner did with Tim Schmoyer on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. I was driving at the time but when I got home it went straight on my todo list. There are loads of smart tips on Tim’s YouTube channel if you want more genius.

Search top videos for your topic

Tim says that most of your YouTube views will come as a result of related videos. Your video will come up as part of a session, when one video finishes yours, amongst others will appear as a recommendation of what to watch next.

Search YouTube, what videos related to the topics you vlog about are popular? I did a quick search for ‘Facebook ads’ and discovered that videos about Facebook ad fails and tutorials were popular.

Find videos related to your topic that are popular
Find videos related to your topic that are popular

Now I need to come up with video topics that will tap into the popularity of those videos with the goal of appearing in the related videos.

Write a great title

If you come up in related videos how can you make someone click? You’ve got to have a good headline. One that is honest about your content but entices people to click. I’ve written about crafting great headlines before. I check all my headlines with ‘Emotional Value Headline Analyser‘ before I use them. Only a headline of 33% or more makes the cut.

Write a meaty description

It’s easy to be lazy when we write the descriptions that accompany our videos. If we want to give viewers, Google and YouTube a good introduction to our video we should make it at least 100 words long and include the keyword or phrase we want to rank for.

Use tags

When you add tags to your video include the most important one, the keyword you want to get found for, first. Then add the others in order of relevance. Tags can include more than one word, just separate your phrases with commas.

Your Turn

Implementing these tactics and building content with related video in mind will help you boost your YouTube views. If you give it a try let me know how you get on.


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How To Leverage Related Search To Optimise YouTube Videos
How To Leverage Related Search To Optimise YouTube Videos
Want More Video Views? Optimise Your YouTube Video With Captions
Want More Video Views? Optimise Your YouTube Video With Captions

Adding captions is a good way to optimise YouTube videos. The written word is crawlable so you are more likely to appear in search results.

I’ve been creating videos for years but until recently I’ve just been using YouTube as a hosting platform. I’d upload my videos so that I could embed them in blog posts.

Recently I realised I’d been missing a trick. I’ve a truck load of videos on my YouTube channel and if I optimised them for search I could get far more traction.

Part of my video strategy is to let people find me, to see me, to trust me. By just promoting those videos through my website I was missing a trick.

So I’ve been researching and learning. I’m slowly beginning to optimise my channel and videos. Today, I’m starting a series of 1 minute moments on the topic of YouTube and search.

Tips to help you get your videos to appear in search results both within YouTube and traditional search engines. This is part one.

Part 2 is on optimising your videos to appear in ‘Realted videos’

Part 3 covers optimising playlists

For more YouTube channel tips read about the mistakes I made with mine and how to avoid them

Optmise your YouTube video with captions

How to use Captions

Captions work well for search

It makes sense when you think about it. Search engines can’t watch your video or hear what you are saying but they can read text. By adding captions you’re creating a text file that tells those search engines exactly what you are saying, it will help them index your video.

The downside is that you have to create them. YouTube can ‘auto-caption’ your videos. Just click the ‘CC’ button underneath your video and chose the language you want to caption in.

Click CC to add captions
Click CC to add captions
Chose the language for your captions
Chose the language for your captions

But there’s a problem

Auto-captioning is cool but there’s a problem. It can’t understand me at all! I was happily auto-captioning my video only to discover that it hadn’t a clue, the results were hilarious.

The solution, and this takes a bit of time is to take those auto captions as a guide and edit them. YouTube makes this simple with an interface that pauses the video as you type. It’s pretty cool.

Edit your auto captions. The video will pause as you write
Edit your auto captions. The video will pause as you write

So now you need to think keywords not just when you are writing your content but also when you are speaking it.

Tune in next week for part two.

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Want More Video Views? Optimise Your YouTube Video With Captions
Want More Video Views? Optimise Your YouTube Video With Captions


4 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My YouTube Channel
4 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My YouTube Channel

I just took a look at my youtube channel. My first video went live on 4th November 2009. That’s seven years of almost weekly videos. It was odd looking back at a slightly younger, slightly posher me and it reminded me of all the silly mistakes, most of which I only recently fixed, I made when I set up my YouTube Channel.

Today, I thought I’d share four of the YouTube channel mistakes I made with you and show you how to avoid them. I only fitted three into the video, so you as a reader are getting a bonus extra mistake.

Firstly, I don’t think you can blame me completely for the mistakes. When I started out on YouTube it looked very different. Some of the features my channel was missing weren’t there back then but in some ways not keeping up to date with the changes was my biggest mistake.

Watch below to find out what my three biggest YouTube Channel mistakes were

Mistake 1 – The Channel Art Was All Wrong

About a year ago I decided to revamp my channel and straight away I realised I was missing something really important.

‘Channel Art’ is Youtube’s version of the Facebook or Twitter cover image. It spans the width of your channel and lets you brand it.

I quickly added channel art but something was wrong. The size. I’d checked the internet, I’d used Canva but something was wrong. The beautiful brand image I’d created was cropped.

It turns out that channel art is a bit more complicated than a Facebook cover photo. Depending what device a viewer looks at your channel on the cover art will display differently. The full sized art rarely displays whereas the portion you see on a web browser or mobile device is just a tiny portion of the main image.

Luckily there is a template you can use to size your images correctly. Just yesterday I finally fixed my channel art to display correctly on all devices. I uploaded the template to Canva so that I could arrange the elements of my channel correctly.

You can download the template here.

Mistake 2 – I Couldn’t Verify My Website

Once you have set up your YouTube channel you can verify your website. This associates it with your channel. Once verified you can add cards and links to your website from your videos. It could be a great way to drive viewers to your site.

Over the years I tried over and over again to verify my site yet my status always remained ‘pending’. I’d been trying to verify my site using Google Search Console. Although everything seemed to match up on the Search Console end YouTube just wouldn’t recognise it.

Eventually, I got in touch with Google. They pointed out, politely, that I was linking to the wrong Search Console. You see, my YouTube channel was created with a different Google account to my Google Analytics and Search Console. I’d been trying to link my Spiderworking YouTube with my personal Google account.

Once I’d discovered the mistake I linked the Spiderworking YouTube with my Spiderworking Google account and I was verified almost immediately.

To verify your website:

  • Click on your logo at the top right-hand side of your channel
  • Click ‘Creator Studio’
  • Select ‘Channel’ from the left-hand sidebar
  • Click ‘Advanced’
  • Add your website and follow instructions to verify
How to verify your website with YouTube
How to verify your website with YouTube

Mistake 3 – I Didn’t Add Links To My Header

This is something that definitely wasn’t possible when I set up my channel in 2009. You can add your website link, social channels and other links to your YouTube header.

Adding these links could help drive traffic to your site and encourage viewers to follow you elsewhere online.

To add links to your header click on the pencil at the top of your channel art and select ‘Edit links’ from the drop down menu.

Add links to your YouTube header
Add links to your YouTube header

Mistake 4 – I Didn’t Have A Channel Trailer

I’m not sure when I first became aware of channel trailers but I do know I put the idea of having one on the long finger, the very long finger.

A good channel trailer introduces new visitors to your page and persuades them that subscribing is a good idea. It should be short and representative of the rest of your content.

When I finally uploaded mine I used it to promote my channel on other social channels and began gaining subscribers immediately.

To add a channel trailer to YouTube click to view your channel as a new visitor.

If you haven’t uploaded a trailer yet you’ll see a blank square prompting you to upload a video. If you have you can change your trailer by clicking the pencil to the right of your trailer description.

How to add a channel trailer to YouTube
How to add a channel trailer to YouTube

That’s just four of the mistakes I made. I made many, many more… let’s not mention the top I was wearing in my first ever Vlog!

Do you vlog? What silly mistakes have you made? Are you brave enough to admit them? I’d love to know I’m not the only one so let me know if you have.

Oh and you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here.


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4 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started My YouTube Channel
4 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started My YouTube Channel


How To Prepare for An Online Video Shoot

How To Prepare for An Online Video Shoot

Video has been the big story of 2013 so far. Maybe it was the introduction on Vine and Instagram Video, maybe it’s more people shooting snippets on their phones or maybe people are just finally embracing it.

If you want to shoot an online video for your business, whether it be a 6 second vine or a 3 minute YouTube promotional piece preparation is as, if not more important than the shoot itself.

I come from a film and television background having studied media, video production and finally television production in school and college. I then moved here to Ireland and worked in the Irish Film Industry as an Assistant Director for almost ten years. The role of an assistant director is all about planning so it’s clearly something I’ve had hammered into me.

Here’s my tips for making better videos by planning.

1. Story-boarding

You may have that brilliant idea in your head but you really need to plan it out on paper. It’s not good enough to just shoot one shot of you talking to camera, you need to break up your video into individual shots for example instead of you just talking to camera you might try something like this.

Shot 1. – You talking to camera

Shot 2. – Shot of you working with staff

Shot 3. – Shot of your computer screen

Shot 4. – Shot of you doing up your running shoes

Shot 5. – Shot of you going out for a run

Straight away these five shots tell as story. You are still saying the same thing but you are illustrating it by showing people that you get on well with your staff, that you work in an office at a computer and that you enjoy running.

Of course your shots should complement the content of your video. If you aren’t talking about fitness or what you like to do to chill out,  the shot of you going for a run would be irrelevant.

**Tip – Ideally you should plan one shot for every 10 seconds you intend the video to run but don’t worry you can use the same shot multiple times.**

Take some time to draw out your shots on a storyboard. (You can download blanks here).

You also need to decide the size of shot that you want to use and label them as such.

For example:

Shot 1 is a MS (mid shot) – head to waist of you talking to camera

Shot 2 is a WS (wide shot) – head to toe of you standing talking to your staff

Shot 3 is a CU or BCU (close up or big close up) – computer screen

Shot 4 is a CU of BGU of you doing up your running shoes

Shot 5 is a WS of you running down a road towards camera.

For a full explanation of shot sizes click here.

2. Location, Location, Location

Where are you going to shoot your video?  It’s important to consider a few things about your location:

  1. Is it lit well with natural light? If there are a lot of windows that allow natural light in it means that you won’t require lighting. This is not only a cost saver but a time saver too.
  2. Is it quiet? Shooting in a noisy location is a nightmare. Not only will the audience not be able to hear what is going on but there will be an inconsistency in the background noise when you cut. For example you may have the sound of a dishwasher in the back of part of the shot followed by the sound of a noisy fridge in the next.
  3. Will you be able to get the shots you need without too much clutter in the background? A very tidy or empty room is your best choice. You need to think about what will be in the background of your shot and move the room around accordingly. Is there something sitting on a shelf behind you that will distract the audiences attention?
  4. Is the location available for the full duration of your shoot plus a couple more hours in case you go over schedule?

3. Props

This is very important. Make a list of the props you will need for the shoot. Prepare as many of these as possible before hand and allocate an area within your shooting space for them. This ensures you can grab them quickly when required. Props could be as simple as a computer, your running shoes, a pop up banner with your logo on.

4. Equipment

Again it’s important to make a list and check off all the items to ensure you have them. The basics would be:

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Sound recording device (I use an iPhone)
  • Microphone
  • Lights
  • Bounce board (for lighting)

5. Wardrobe and makeup

Take some time to think about what you are going to wear. As a rule of thumb don’t wear anything too black, too white or with a intricate pattern.

Even the guys should think about wearing makeup, the camera can be very unforgiving and discover every blemish and shiny patch. Even a bit of powder will mean that viewers won’t be distracted by the shine from the end of your nose.

6. Script

I left this to last but not because it’s not important. Your shoot will run much smoother if you script what you are going to stay. In many cases it won’t matter if you don’t learn it word for word but if you have the script and rehearse it you are far less likely to fluff your lines on the day.

If you want to learn more about making online video get in touch. We can help you create your first online video and give you the knowledge to continue to make better quality video.

Find Inspiration For Your YouTube Videos With TubeRank - Cool Tool


The biggest challenge when making online videos is keeping them interesting.  How can we keep someone watching longer than a couple of seconds?  If you’ve been following my video tips recently and have been inspired to make your own this weeks cool tool TubeRank is for you.

TubeRank selects videos that have been successful on YouTube and will inspire you. You simply add in some parameters, creating a formula, and it pulls up a selection of videos that match them. Watching lots of videos is often where you learn the best techniques for making your own videos work. This tool just means you are watching the right videos to match your own needs.

Here’s how it works:

Visit the website

  • Choose the sort of ‘triggers’ that you would like to include in your video. Do you want it to be funny, topical, cute, educational etc?
  • You can move the sliders up and down to include none, some or loads of trigger moments.  I chose educational.
  • Now choose interests. Does the video you want to make fit into a particular category. I went for Internet culture.
  • The final metric is UGC (user generated content) or Branded. I went for ‘all’ here so as not to limit my choices.
  • Now TubeRank searches popular videos and provides a selection to inspire you.


The top choice was spot on ‘The Impact of Twitter on Journalism‘ followed by a variety of on topic inspiration.

Underneath each video that TubeRank offers are some headline statistics including views, comments, social shares etc but the app also offers more.  Click on ‘View Full Insight’ and you will be prompted to set up a ‘VAN’ account which gives you access to a TubeRank score for the formula you entered, viral benchmarking, tips, case studies and more.


Although this data is useful and has lots of downloads to help you create better videos I think the best thing about the site is finding inspiration.  It’s also convinced me that it’s possible to add some of the other triggers, humor for example, in to my video and still be on message.  I know I’ll be watching far more videos and hopefully creating better ones myself thanks to this tool.

Massive Hat Tip to Social Times for drawing my attention to this app.

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Quick Tip - Improve The Sound On Your Videos

Do you have a problem with the sound on your videos? Maybe you are so far away from the camera that it’s too quiet or there is a lot of background noise? Maybe like me you record on different devices for one video and the sound quality varies.  You could buy yourself a fancy microphone or you could try this simple solution using your smartphone. Here’s how:


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