How to start a YouTube channel as a business
Updated: Mar 5
YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world with more than 500 hours of content uploaded every minute. If you want to create videos for your business, you need to be on YouTube. In this article, we'll walk you through how to start a YouTube channel as a business.
To get started on YouTube, you need to have a Google account. If you already have a G Suites account or a personal account, you can just log in with that. Then, simply click on your profile photo in the upper right corner of the site and select “Create a Channel.”
If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one. It only takes a few minutes, and then you’ll be able to create channels under that account.
Now that you have signed in to your account and selected “Create a Channel,” you are ready to start building your brand’s presence on YouTube. The site will guide you through picking a channel name, uploading a profile photo, and uploading channel artwork.
It is best to create the name of the channel under your brand, so pick the option to do so. Then name your channel after your business to help your audience identify you.
How to add a profile photo and channel artwork in YouTube
YouTube’s profile and cover photos work a bit different than other social media platforms. Because people watch YouTube on desktop, tablets, phones, and TVs, your channel’s artwork is responsive to those devices. That means you’ll need a graphic that works for each of those dimensions.
YouTube recommends a profile photo of at least 98 x 98 pixels, but it is best to use upwards of 800 x 800 pixels. Keep in mind that YouTube uses a circle, not a square. You might need to resize your logo in a program like Photoshop or Paint.net to provide plenty of breathing space.
For the channel artwork, YouTube recommends 2048 pixels wide by 1152 pixels tall. However, these dimensions include all of the required responsive sizing: TV, desktop, mobile, and tablet. You’ll have to edit your graphic in an editing program to ensure that it looks good across all devices.
Now that you’ve uploaded a YouTube profile picture and channel artwork that represents your brand, you can continue to the next steps. You’ll be prompted to add a link to your website and your other social media profiles. Fill these out, as they will be visible to your viewers in the About section and at the bottom of your channel banner.
Once you’ve finished YouTube’s setup prompts, you’ll be returned to YouTube. Let’s take a look at some of the basic features of the platform on the creator side.
How to customize your YouTube channel
From the YouTube homepage, you can always access your channel by selecting your profile photo, and choosing “Your Channel.”
Here you will see your profile, channel artwork, and, for now, a blank home page. To customize your channel, select the “Customize Channel” button.
Customizing your YouTube Channel Layout
First you will see a section labeled Layout. Here you can alter the layout of your channel and select which videos you want to feature. This may not matter to you as much until you have a few videos uploaded, but you start organizing your content at any time.
Here you can choose a video to be your channel trailer, or the video that new visitors to your channel will see first. It’s a good idea to film a video that introduces your brand and your brand’s personality. Try to keep this video as short as possible, since the purpose is just to introduce viewers to your channel and what they can expect to find. Alternatively, you can just choose one of our videos to be a channel trailer.
You can also feature a video for your returning subscribers to see upon their visit. Perhaps this is your most recent video that you are proud of, or some other project that you want to highlight.
You can also add sections to your home page, which is a great way to organize your videos and present different topics to viewers. You can set each section to feature a playlist, which makes managing these sections easy.
Google utilizes sections on its channel to help viewers navigate to different topics. There are sections for answers to frequently asked questions, product launches, how people use Google technology, how you can grow with Google, powered by women stories, documentaries, and so many more.
Another brand that uses sections is BMW. The luxury car company has sections for popular uploads, playlists for each BMW car model, and sections that highlight a few of their models and designs. They also have a section with playlists for how-to videos.
There are so many uses for these sections, and the most successful brands on YouTube use them effectively.
How to add Channel Branding to YouTube
In the next tab under Channel customization you’ll find “Branding.” In this section, you can change your profile photo, banner image, and add a video watermark.
A video watermark is an image that appears in the lower right corner of your videos, much like a logo might while watching a TV network. You can select a custom duration for the watermark or choose to have it appear for the entire video.
This video watermark allows views to quickly go to and subscribe to your channel while watching a video.
Editing your Basic YouTube Info
In the Basic info tab of channel customization, you can edit everything that appears in your about section. You can change your channel name, edit the description, and add descriptions in other languages.
Beneath the description you can find your channel URL and your custom URL (more on that later). You can also add other web links and choose how many you’d like to have displayed on your channel banner. You can also edit the public email address for your brand.
When you are finished with these sections, be sure to select “PUBLISH” to save your changes.
How to change your YouTube settings
While you are still in the YouTube Studio, let’s take a look at your channel settings. Use the menu on the left to navigate to the gear icon. Here you will find many settings for your channel that you should set up ASAP.
In General, you can change your default currency value.
In Channel, you’ll find many fields that need to be changed to best fit your business. In Basic Info, you can change your country of residence and add keywords to your channel to help others discover it.
Advanced settings include information about your intended audience. You can set your channel to either have default or custom settings for whether your videos are made for kids or not. This change was made to YouTube to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. be sure to mark this correctly, as failure to do so can result in fines.
You can link your channel to a Google Ads account here to let you run ads through YouTube.
At the bottom of the page, you can also customize whether you’d\like to display your subscriber count or disable interest-based ads.
In the next tab you’ll find what features your channel is currently eligible for. Some features require phone verification, such as uploading videos longer than 15 minutes, creating custom thumbnails, live streaming, and being able to appeal Content ID claims.
In the next submenu you’ll see your upload defaults. You can add a description template and tags that you’d like to be added to your video uploads automatically.
Under Community, you can choose to add moderators and approved users to your channel. Moderators will be able to manage comments, which can be very useful for live streams if you have employees or partners moderating the chat. You can also block certain words for appearing in comments and hide users from seeing your content.
With the main settings and customization features out of the way, let’s take a look at the rest of YouTube Studio.
How to use YouTube Studio
YouTube Studio is a behind the scenes look at your channel. This includes channel management, video settings, and analytics.
First let’s look at the channel dashboard, which is the top item on the side menu. Here you can see how your latest video is performing, how many subscribers you have, a snapshot of your latest comments, and some of your recent public subscribers. YouTube also shares news and tips here.
Next is the channel videos section. All of your videos, public or otherwise, are listed here along with their view count, likes, and number of comments. From this page, you can edit any of your videos or delete them.
Playlists will take you to a new window where you can create and manage new playlists.
Beneath playlists in the menu you’ll find a section for your channel analytics. To learn more about what you can see in your channel analytics and how to improve your YouTube SEO, check out our other blog post.
In the channel comments section, you can see all of the comments viewers have left on your videos. You can reply to them here instead of visiting each video individually. You can also like comments and heart them.
In the remainder of YouTube Studio, you will find subtitles, copyright infringement (takedown requests you have issued to other creators), monetization, a simple video editor, and a library of free music that you can use in your videos.
To earn money from YouTube as a partner, you’ll need 1,000 subscribers and an average of 4,000 public watch hours. Once you have met those minimum requirements you’ll be able to apply for consideration.
While as a business you likely aren’t interested in showing ads before your videos or earning money from YouTube, there are benefits to the partner program. As a business, you’ll need to be accepted as a YouTube Partner before you can add your website links to the cards feature in YouTube videos, or have a store shelf appear on YouTube.
Another feature worth mentioning is the custom URL. You might have noticed that your channel URL is a string of characters or numbers that isn’t easy to remember. However, you can create a custom URL once your channel reaches certain requirements.
Currently, YouTube requires that your channel has 100 or more subscribers, is at least 30 days old, and that you have uploaded a profile image and channel art. Once you’ve satisfied those requirements, you can go to your advanced settings to claim your custom URL.
How to upload a YouTube video
Now that you’ve been introduced to the YouTube Studio and have your channel created, you can start uploading videos. If you already know how to upload videos and want to learn more about effective SEO strategies, be sure to check out our blog on that topic.
Otherwise, if it is your first time using YouTube, let’s go through how to upload a video.
To upload a video, select the video camera icon at the top of the page. This will take you to the uploader. You can either drag and drop your video file onto YouTube or choose to navigate through your files. Once you have selected your video it will begin uploading.
While it uploads, you can start filling out information about your video. This includes the video title, description, playlists, and tags for YouTube search. If you’d like to learn more about each of these features, you can read Google’s support article on the topic.
Once your video has processed in standard definition, you can move on to the next page to add an endscreen or card to your video. Once you have done that, you can choose to either publish the video immediately, set it to unlisted or private, or choose a future date and time to publish the video. Typically, you’ll want to pick a future date or time to allow HD and 4K to process for viewers.
Congrats! You’ve uploaded your first video. You are now on your way to growing your channel and driving traffic to your business.
With so many daily viewers, YouTube is the second most visited social site after Facebook. Hopefully with this quick walkthrough of the platform, you’ll feel more confident about starting a channel for your brand and get a slice of the growing online video community.
If you aren’t sure what to upload or how to market your brand on social media, SilverFox can help. We're your one-stop shop for digital marketing and innovation in Utah and the western United States.
We're here to make your business dreams come true so that you focus on running your business. At SilverFox, we build great brands, and our talented team of creators and marketers can take your brand to the next level. Contact us today for a consultation!