YouTube added Shorts in 2021 to become competitive with short-form video platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram Reels, and after a few months, it’s clear that YouTube shorts are an effective format for both creators and the platform itself. Not only do viewers love to watch these bite-sized videos, but they are relatively easy to make since they’re so short. This encourages creators to upload more often.
In this article we’ll be covering how to make amazing YouTube shorts, as well as how to use them effectively.
How to Make Great YouTube Shorts
Shorts are so much more than just one-minute videos. They have special requirements because of the expectations from viewers and the context in which they’ll be viewing them.
Your main priority should be the hook. Longer videos need to hook the viewer in quickly, but Shorts need to do it within the first few seconds. Attention spans are short and there’s always another video to watch, so your video needs to present the problem or main conflict instantly, or otherwise open with something that entices the viewer into waiting around for the payoff.
Cut Quick and Often
Cut quick and often. YouTube videos should already often be snappy and quick, but it’s even more important for Shorts. Not only do you only have 60 seconds to convey what you’re trying to say, but also you need to keep the attention of your viewers. Every dull moment is a potential exit point. Keep the cuts tight and only keep what is necessary to create a cohesive video.
Edit for Replayability
Shorts will restart when they’re finished playing. This has caused a lot of users to take advantage of this looping function to create a seamless video. You can encourage replayability by creating a video that smoothly replays without the viewer even noticing. It can take several viewings for something to really sink in, so if someone watches your video more than once, that’s a good thing.
It’s hard to put everything you need to say into a one-minute video, but you need to try. It’s plenty of time to create a short lesson, get a joke across, or highlight an entertaining clip from one of your longer videos. You can still add value even in this short amount of time, and it’s important that you do so. As we’ll cover later, Shorts are a way of attracting people to your channel, so all of your shorts should provide some sort of reason for why someone should watch more of your content.
Create Original Content
While many Shorts that content creators upload are clips from their longer videos, this isn’t always what you want to do. This is a great way to get people to watch your longer videos, but you should aim to create self-contained content as well. Show that you’re dedicated to creating Shorts and using the platform. Use this opportunity and this restriction of creating a 60-second vertical video as the creative fuel for making brand new content that fits the format. High-quality videos that were originally filmed horizontally don’t always make the best Shorts.
The Best Ways to Use YouTube Shorts
Shorts are a useful tool. They’re not just meant to get views in a vacuum. They can be used to push viewers to your channel that would not have discovered it otherwise. The Shorts section of YouTube is different than the recommended page or subscriptions page, so you can connect with a new audience here.
Drive People to Your Channel
We mentioned earlier that you should aim to create original content rather than only generate clips from your longer videos. But this can still be an effective strategy to entice people to watch your videos. Just frame these clips as a preview or a clip from that video, rather than passing it off as self-contained content. Make sure that it makes sense as a standalone video. Whether you use clips, or create an original short that serves as an introduction to a longer video on your channel, the ultimate goal should be to drive people away from the Shorts page and onto your channel to watch the rest of your videos.
Don’t Worry About Quality
Shorts don’t have to be as well-produced as your longer videos. You can just whip out your phone and record something. Use the Shorts format to record quick thoughts, personal updates, or a message to your viewers. The same goes for behind-the-scenes looks and teasers of things to come. These Shorts are special community updates for your subscribers, and if a random person who happens to scroll by the video gets intrigued, then that’s even better. This is also a reminder that even though Shorts are a great way to attract new viewers, they’re also a great tool to engage current subscribers. Additionally, it’s fine for a Short to be recorded on a phone with sub-par audio. No one watching Shorts expects them to be the highest quality. In fact, it might be a turnoff if they are high quality,
Trends and Challenges
And of course, Shorts are the perfect place to try trends and challenges. These might not have a place on your main channel but Shorts are where these off-topic videos thrive. They are likely to be forgotten shortly after being posted, so capitalizing off of a trend is just fine. Their discoverability means that hopping on these trends could drive an influx of new viewers to your channel.
Due to some weirdness around uploading videos, you should cap your video at 58 or 59 seconds. Sometimes YouTube adds an extra second to videos, so a video that is exactly 60 seconds long may end up being over a minute once it is uploaded, making it no longer eligible to be part of the Shorts system.
YouTube videos support hashtags, and it’s important to use them in Shorts as well. Using #shorts in the title and description will help make them more discoverable and make it obvious to viewers that they’re looking at a Short. Theoretically, YouTube will know you’ve uploaded a Short and it will get categorized correctly, but why take chances?
If a Short is over 35 seconds long, it is eligible to have end screen elements such as a recommended video. This is a crucial aspect to driving viewers from your Shorts to your main content.
Shorts are a fantastic tool that every creator should be making use of. You just need to make sure you have the right mindset about them. They are not in and of themselves a money-making tool as they are currently not able to be monetized. They are purely meant to drive viewers to your channel, and to keep people on the YouTube platform watching content. You just want to make sure that you create enticing videos with a way for viewers to discover your longer videos, so that they spend that time on your channel and not someone else’s. Shorts are mostly a means to an end, but it’s important that they stand on their own. Keep all of these considerations in mind and you too can create effective and entertaining Shorts.