YouTube is the second largest search engine with over 2 billion monthly users – an undeniably powerful channel for your marketing efforts.

However, if you are not using YouTube for your current marketing strategy, you are not alone. In fact, companies choose Facebook as their channel over YouTube, even for video content.

In 2018, the HubSpot Academy team didn’t use YouTube either. In the second half of the year, however, the team feared the major traffic losses that could result if they did not jump on board. So, they implemented a strategy that allowed them to increase YouTube subscribers by 25% in just two months. Since YouTube is a search engine, part of this strategy was to optimize the videos to increase the chances of finding them.

One of the most important tactics for optimizing your YouTube channel is writing descriptive YouTube descriptions.

YouTube description

The term “YouTube Description” refers to the text a content creator provides to describe their content. This makes it easier for YouTube to categorize and serve this content to users who search for it. There are two types of YouTube descriptions: the overall description of the channel and the descriptions for each video you upload.

YouTube channel description

A YouTube channel description is similar to the About page on a website. In fact, it even shows up on your channel’s YouTube page under the About tab.

youtube channel descriptionThe YouTube channel description is designed to convey to potential viewers what your content is about: the topics you are covering, the topics you are dealing with, and why. In addition to conveying what you are discussing, you need to convey what you are bringing to the discussion and why they should listen to you. The aim is to turn a one-time viewer into a long-term subscriber and consumer of your content. You can add this when you set up your YouTube channel.

In addition to its primary goal of turning viewers into subscribers, this text can also be crawled by YouTube and help ensure that your channel is found by people looking for channels like yours. So be sure to use the terms you think people would use to search for your content.

YouTube video description

The YouTube video description is under the video’s viewport.

Youtube video description under the video viewportWhile the YouTube channel description talks about the video content you uploaded, each video also needs a unique description to increase the chances of your video being found when someone searches for a specific topic.

In this video, the creator summarizes the question asked and indicates the audience the video is intended for. This text helps the audience (and YouTube) understand what the video is about. In addition, it is also a prime property to include contact information and calls to action.

youtube video description example

Ultimately, when you are ready to use YouTube to attract and convert an audience, it is important that you optimize your video descriptions for SEO. If you’re unsure how to start creating compelling YouTube descriptions, read on. It explains various tactics you can use and provides templates to make sure you have everything you need to perform great on YouTube.

How to Create Compelling YouTube Video Descriptions

1. Use YouTube description templates [Free Prompts]

HubSpot has compiled seven YouTube video description templates So that your business provides context to your viewers, ranks better in search, keeps your team organized and links to relevant web pages on your website.

HubSpots 7 YouTube Video Description TemplatesDownload these templates for free

2. Explain what your video is about.

To determine the best tactics for writing YouTube descriptions, I spoke to Eric Peters, Senior Growth Marketing Manager on the HubSpot Academy team. He told me, “[YouTube descriptions] is one of the most important ways YouTube knows what your video is about. Add links, additional resources, links to other videos and playlists, and so on. Make sure that the description field is easy to read. “

As Peters notes, explaining your YouTube video and including keywords in your description not only helps with SEO rankings but also with accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing. For this reason, adding subtitles to your videos is an absolute must as well.

For example, check out one of the HubSpot Academy’s YouTube video descriptions:

YouTube video description transcript

As you can see, a YouTube description is incredibly different from a meta description of a webpage. A YouTube description gives you the opportunity to explain in detail what your entire video is about and even link to external resources.

Peters said to me, “You get 5,000 total characters. So use that. Many developers use asterisks or capital letters to distinguish titles from copies of text, since it’s just plain text. Write a text version of the key points of the video or even copying the transcription of the video into the description. “

3. Add a CTA.

Your YouTube description is a fantastic opportunity to ask viewers to keep engaging with your channel or find additional resources that they can use to learn more about a topic of interest.

For example, let’s say you’re making a short YouTube video about “Adding Filters to Instagram”, but you also have an extensive blog post about “Using Instagram for Marketing” – why not link to it in the description? Most likely, anyone watching your Instagram video on YouTube would be equally grateful for the opportunity to learn more via a blog post.

Alternatively, you might just want to ask viewers to sign up, turn on notifications, or share your content with their networks. These are all acceptable CTAs for your description.

Additionally, it’s important that you format your description to ensure that the most important information comes first – as Peters recommends, “The first 200 characters are above the ‘more’ fold in the description field. So if you want, that your CTA / link is displayed. Keep it within the first 200 characters for most people. “

Reduced YouTube video description with the box highlighted

After the first 200 characters, your text will be cut off and viewers will have to click “Show More” to see the rest. So it is important that your first 200 characters count.

4. Add your personality.

A YouTube description should be fun and demonstrate your brand’s personality or unique voice to an audience. Unlike traditional forms of advertising, this is an opportunity for you to add creativity and humor to your content.

Brian Dean’s YouTube channel is a good example of this – his YouTube descriptions often reflect the way he speaks. The descriptions are open and casual, and it feels like he is writing to a friend.

Brian Dean YouTube video description

For more information on using YouTube for marketing, see the HubSpot Academy’s comprehensive YouTube marketing course.

YouTube description templates

Now that we’ve covered the basics, take a look at a few templates you can use to create compelling YouTube descriptions today.

Templates for your channel description

You can make a playful, straightforward description of the About Me channel like this:

Example of the description of the YouTube channel

hello, I am [Name]. This is my X, Y, and Z channel that you can use to grow your business.

If you’re a marketer who wants to learn X to get [result, i.e. more traffic to your site], Subscribe to my channel.

My channel publishes videos that focus on X, Y, and Z. If this could be helpful to you, please join me!

Alternatively, you can create a YouTube description that describes what your company is doing from a third party perspective, like this:

Example of the description of the YouTube channel

Company A is a world leader in X, Y and Z. Company A has been on a mission in [insert company vision or purpose here].

To learn more about A, B, C subscribe to our channel to stay up to date.

Templates for your video descriptions

If you’ve conducted an internal interview, you can keep your description short and sweet to describe your conversation and the reasons for your audience, as well as a CTA:

YouTube video description example

Learn how our CEO explains the difference between X and Y, and learn best practices for executing your own strategy.

Learn more about X and Y in our course: www.XY.com

Alternatively, if you want your description to help new viewers find your various channels, you can create a description like this:

YouTube video description example

Hi! New for [name of channel]? If so, here is what you need to know – I like [interests related to channel] A LOT so I use this channel to explore X, Y, and Z and help you out [desired result for viewer].

Where else can you find me:

INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/[accountname]

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/[accountname]

LIFESTYLE CHANNEL: http://www.youtube.com/[accountname]

Join our growing community to see new videos every Tuesday and Friday!

BUSINESS INQUIRIES

Please contact [PR representative] at the [email or phone number].

If you want to focus on creating a description that explains what your video is about and that includes a keyword description, try the following:

YouTube video description example

Hey there! This lesson is part of a free online course. You can find the full course here: www.company.com/course1

Some people aren’t sure what X is – in the simplest case it is X. [brief definition of keyword]. Watch this video to learn how to use X, Y, and Z to make sure you can grow your brand online.

We also explain how to avoid A. Sometimes A is enough to lose a customer.

Using YouTube Description Templates can help you reduce the time it takes to upload and optimize your YouTube videos and get them to your audience quickly and with less effort. Just make sure you adjust the text to improve the reading experience as you want to be as helpful as possible to your audience.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for completeness.

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