Design & Video

How to Make Engaging YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are short-form videos.

They can last up to 60 seconds and can to be easily created, shared, and consumed on mobile devices.

This format offers a unique opportunity for creators.

They can tell stories, showcase talents, and engage with their audience in a fun, quick, captivating manner.

Some Interesting YouTube Stats

Why YouTube Shorts, let’s look at some stats. 

  • YouTube has over 2.5 billion monthly active users, making it the second most active social media platform in the world
  • The platform accounts for around 25% of global mobile traffic and is the most popular online platform in the US, with 74% of adult users
  • The average daily time spent on YouTube is 19 minutes and 39 seconds, and the platform has more than 51 million active channels
  • YouTube Shorts generates more than 70 billion views per day in 2023, and the average length of a YouTube Short video is over 15 seconds
  • In 2020, viewers spent 100 billion hours watching gaming content on YouTube, and 72% of people used YouTube to consume fitness content
  • YouTube is the second most popular platform for influencer marketing, and 6% of Google’s ad revenues are created from YouTube with the highest-earning YouTuber in 2023 being Jimmy Donaldson, also known as Mr. Beast, who earned $54 million

Steps to Creating YouTube Shorts

a young person setting up their phone or camera to record a video, set in a creatively inspiring environment. This visual captures the essence of a content creator beginning their journey into video production

Prep Your Content

  1. Choose the Right Content for Your Shorts: Start by brainstorming ideas for your Short that are engaging and relatable. Consider current trends, your niche, and what might appeal to your target audience. Keep in mind the short format and how you can convey a message or entertain within 60 seconds. ChatGPT is a great place to start.
  2. Prepare Your Script or Outline: Depending on your content style, prepare a brief script or outline. This will help you stay focused and ensure your content is coherent and concise.

Shoot Your Video

  1. Set Up Your Shooting Space: Choose a location with good lighting and minimal background noise. Since Shorts are vertical, ensure your shooting space is set up for a 9:16 aspect ratio.
  2. Gather Equipment: You don’t need professional equipment; a smartphone with a good camera will suffice. If available, use a tripod or stabilizer for steady footage, and consider external microphones for better audio quality.
  3. Shoot Your Video: Record your video, keeping it under 60 seconds. Be mindful of the framing, ensuring your subject is centered and well-composed in the vertical format.

Edit Your Video

  1. Edit Your Video: Use editing software or apps to cut, trim, and piece together your footage. Add effects, transitions, text, and filters if necessary. Remember to keep the edits crisp and engaging.
  2. Add Music or Sound: Incorporate music or sound effects. You can use YouTube’s library of royalty-free music and sound effects. Align the audio with your video content for a more engaging experience.

Upload Your Short to Your Channel

  1. Create an Engaging Thumbnail: Even though Shorts are typically played automatically, a compelling thumbnail can attract viewers when the Short is featured on your channel page or in search results.
  2. Write a Captivating Description and Tags: Include a brief description of your Short. Use relevant hashtags and keywords to improve discoverability.
  3. Upload Your Short: Go to YouTube and upload your video. Ensure you upload it as a Short by keeping it under 60 seconds and using the hashtag #Shorts in the title or description.

Analyze and Continue to Improve

  1. Promote Your Short: Share your Short on other social media platforms and within your YouTube community. Engaging with comments early on can also boost visibility.
  2. Analyze Performance: After publishing, use YouTube Analytics to track the performance of your Short. Look at viewer engagement, watch time, and audience demographics to understand what works.
  3. Iterate and Improve: Use the insights from your analytics to refine your approach for future Shorts. Experiment with different content styles, lengths, and formats to see what resonates best with your audience.

Some Free Tools for Creating YouTube Shorts

  1. Davinci Resolve: professional video editing software offering free advanced features
  2. Canva: all-in-one design solution for creating visual assets like YouTube thumbnails
  3. Pexels: free stock images, videos and music
  4. Mixkit: free stock videos and music for video creation
  5. video editing platform that allows for easy video creation and editing

Tips for Success with YouTube Shorts

a group of young people sharing and enjoying videos together, using various devices in a setting that's full of warmth and excitement. This scene aims to reflect the joy and connection of discovering and watching content collectively in today's digital age

Follow Best Practices for Video Shorts

  1. Focus on Vertical Format: YouTube Shorts are primarily viewed on mobile devices, so it’s crucial to create content in a vertical (9:16) format. This makes your content more engaging and easier to watch on a smartphone.
  2. Keep It Concise and Engaging: Shorts are limited to 60 seconds, so your content needs to be concise and immediately engaging. Start with a hook that grabs the viewer’s attention within the first few seconds.
  3. Leverage Trending Music and Sounds: Use trending music and sounds available in YouTube’s library. This not only makes your Shorts more appealing but also increases the chances of them being discovered through sound-based searches
  4. Consistent Branding and Style: Even though Shorts are brief, maintaining consistent branding and style helps in building recognition and a loyal audience. This could be through consistent color schemes, intros, or editing style. Consistency is key in building an audience with YouTube Shorts.

Experiment with Content

  1. Engage with Your Audience: Encourage viewer interaction by asking questions or suggesting actions like liking or subscribing. Interaction can significantly boost your visibility on the platform.
  2. Use Hashtags Wisely: Include relevant hashtags in your video description can improve discoverability. Research trending and relevant hashtags to your content.
  3. Experiment with Content: Try different types of content to see what resonates best with your audience. Shorts provide a unique opportunity for storytelling in a compact format. Experiment with different narrative styles and techniques to make your content stand out.
  4. Cross-Promote Your Shorts: Promote your Shorts on other social media platforms and within your longer YouTube videos to draw in more viewers.

Stay Up-to-Date

  1. Stay Updated with Platform Changes: YouTube regularly updates its features and algorithms. Staying informed about these changes can help you adapt your strategy for better performance.
  2. Keep up with trends: Analyzing your Shorts’ performance can provide valuable insights for future content. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, formats, or topics in your YouTube Shorts. Innovation can often lead to breakthrough content that resonates with viewers.

Analyze and Monetize

  1. Monetize Your YouTube Shorts: While YouTube Shorts may not directly generate revenue like traditional videos, they can indirectly contribute to your channel’s growth and monetization. Engaging Shorts can lead viewers to your longer, monetizable content.
  2. Analyze Your Performance: Use YouTube’s analytics tools to understand what works and what doesn’t. Look at metrics like view count, watch time, and audience engagement to refine your content strategy.

The Future of YouTube Shorts

As short-form content continues to evolve, staying ahead of trends and adapting to new features and formats will be crucial for creators looking to succeed with YouTube Shorts.