YouTube is one of the most popular platforms on the internet. Since it’s the second largest search engine (second only to Google), it’s one of the best ways to reach families. YouTube is a great way to generate brand awareness as well as create an educational channel for families. There are lots of different ways you can create a YouTube channel to generate inquiries for your school.
Here are the 10 steps you need to take to set up, optimize, and create a YouTube Channel.
Determine what Gmail account to use
Since YouTube is owned by Google, you will need to use a Gmail account to log in. You can create a new one or use one you already use for your school. Just make sure your Gmail account isn’t linked to a particular person on staff; you will need access even if someone leaves. Just make sure you set your Gmail account up as a Business account. One benefit of a Business account is that you can give access to multiple people.
Create Your YouTube Channel
Once you’ve logged in to YouTube, go to the upper right, and click your Profile. Then go to Create a channel. If you already have a channel but want to set up a new one, go to Your channel > Settings > Add or manage your channel(s). From here, you can see all the channels you have access to.
From here, you will add your Channel Name. Most schools use their school name, of course. You can change this name in the future if you decide you need to.
Add basic info
Next, you will be prompted to add basic information about your school.
- Upload your logo (800 x 800 pixels in .JPG, .PNG, .BMP, or .GIF format. You can’t upload an animated GIF)
- A basic description of your school. Increase the rank of your channel by including keywords and key phrases. Include a link to your freebie lead magnet to get more email subscribers.
- Add a link to your website
- You can also add links to your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
Verify your channel
Channel verification will unlock some extra features for your channel.
Go to Profile > Settings > Channel Status and Features.
From here, you can see the different features you will unlock. At the top of the page, you will see a “Verify” button. Click on the button, select your country, and select how you want the verification code sent to you.
Now you have access to various features such as:
- Custom thumbnails
- External annotations
- Longer videos
Channel Banner Cover Art
Now you can customize your channel to make it look and feel like your school’s brand.
Your channel banner is important because it helps capture the attention of potential families, brands your content and inspires engagement. Your visuals help visitors connect with your school in a visceral way.
A YouTube Channel Banner must be at least 2048 by 1152 pixels. The banner will look different on different devices, so when you upload your image it will display a preview of how it will look on a desktop, TV or mobile phone.
Edit the About section
Go to the About section and you will see the basic information you added earlier. Now you can edit this section as well as add extra details, such as:
- An email address
- The location of your school (country)
Once you’ve edited your About section, go to YouTube Studio Dashboard > Settings > Channel.
You can customize the Branding watermark. This also acts as a Subscribe button. Upload an image and choose when you want it to display (entire video, custom start time or at the end of your videos.)
Under Settings > Channel > Advanced Settings, you will see the option to select whether your channel is Made for Kids or not. If you select “Yes, set this channel as Made for Kids. I always upload content that’s made for kids” you will be required to meet additional requirements and follow applicable laws related to videos for kids. In general, a “kid” is defined as being under age 13. For more information on “Made for Kids” requirements, click here. If you don’t select anything, you will be required to review this setting for every video you upload.
Link Google Ads account
Under Settings > Channel > Advanced Settings, you will see “Google Ads account linking” near the bottom of the page. Click “Link Account”. This is where you will enter a name for your link, a Google Ads customer ID, and choose which permissions you will grant.
Under Settings > Channel > Basic Info, you can add your channel keywords. Type in your keywords and add a comma to separate them. Click here for more information on keyword research for school marketing.
Under Settings > Upload defaults, you can streamline your video upload process. In this section, you can add default values that will automatically be added to each video. Most of the time you will leave the Title and Description blank because you will want to customize these to each video.
You might want to set your Visibility to Private so it won’t be visible while you’re uploading and optimizing it.
If there are going to be tags that will apply to every video, you can add them here.
There are more upload defaults under Advanced Settings. These apply to Licensing (Standard YouTube License should be checked), language, subtitles and closed captioning. You can also make selections related to Community Contributions (allows viewers to submit captions for your videos), Comments, Ratings, Category (Education) and Caption Certification. Caption Certification only applies to videos that have been broadcast on U.S. television.
Add additional managers
You can allow additional managers to your channel. To do this, go to Profile > YouTube > Profile > Settings > Channel Managers.
User ID and Channel ID
From YouTube > Profile > Settings > View Advanced Settings you will see your User ID and Channel ID. Use these credentials to link up Tube Buddy and other YouTube management tools.
YouTube > Profile > Settings > View Advanced Settings > Custom URL you can set up a custom (vanity) URL once your channel meets certain criteria. For example, you might want your custom URL to be YouTube.com/NameOfYourSchool. This is an easier URL to remember rather than having random letters and numbers.
The criteria for having a custom URL includes:
- Having at least 100 subscribers
- Be at least 30 days old
- Have an uploaded image (i.e. logo) for the channel profile picture
- Have uploaded channel banner art
Once you’ve met these requirements, you can go back and update your Custom URL.
After you’ve completed these steps, your YouTube channel will be ready for you to upload new content. YouTube is an effective tool for independent schools both large and small. YouTube is an incredibly versatile and far-reaching platform for helping prospective families find you. There are many ways to leverage YouTube and your video content to increase new inquiries and enrollments.
If you create a YouTube channel for your school based on these steps, please share it in the comments so other schools can check it out!