On YouTube, first impressions matter. One of the most effective ways to win the hearts of new viewers on your channel is with a captivating trailer.
In this article, you will learn how to make a great trailer for a powerful YouTube hook.
What is a YouTube channel trailer?
A YouTube channel trailer is a video designed to help viewers quickly learn about your channel. When enabled, the trailer is displayed at the top of your YouTube channel page and plays automatically for your non-subscribed visitors.
The trailer is crucial because if you’re going to put in the effort to promote your YouTube channel, you’ll need a way to convert that traffic into subscribers.
Here’s what you should include in your trailer in order to hook viewers in immediately:
A quick introduction of your business and who your channel is for (bloggers, hikers, gamers, etc.).
An overview of the type of video content you publish.
A highlight reel of your video content.
Your schedule for uploading videos.
A compelling call to action (CTA) encouraging viewers to subscribe.
Here’s a super simple YouTube channel trailer template from Biteable:
How to create a YouTube channel trailer
So how can you create a YouTube channel trailer that covers all the bases above in an interesting way? Let’s dive in.
1. Step into your viewers’ shoes
To create an awesome YouTube channel trailer, you should assume that the viewer knows absolutely nothing about you or your brand and ask yourself the following questions:
What does the viewer immediately want to know about my channel?
What knowledge is most important to impart in the first few seconds?
How do I want the viewer to feel after watching my channel trailer?
Why should they be compelled to return to my channel?
What tone should I use—playful, humorous, serious, informative?
What color schemes and fonts are aligned with my brand?
Viewers should be certain that they’ve found the right channel for them in the first 5-10 seconds – just from the information you provide them within your video trailer.
These questions are crucial to achieving your video marketing goals, whether that’s to build a community or make money on YouTube. When you understand what your audience wants—and not what you think they want—you’ll be able to serve up valuable content.
2. Create a well-structured script
If you’re going to be speaking in your trailer, write a script or jot down some talking points for your video.
Structure your video from start to finish and put a clear and compelling message in it. The more succinct and impactful your channel trailer, the more effectively it will work to get you more views and new subscribers on YouTube.
From the words and images appearing on the screen to the music and sounds that viewers hear, everything should clearly communicate your channel’s message and match the way your brand looks and feels.
Here is an example of an awesome (scripted) channel trailer:
Important Note: Using a script or outline for your trailer is important even if you’re not someone who usually plans out their videos.
You have to cover a lot of material, and you only have a minute or so in which to do it. A script will help you avoid a lot of “umms” and make it possible for you to hit all your key points in the least amount of time possible.
3. Use captions and clips
To make your trailer more appealing, combine short scenes, sounds, text (either music or voiceover, or both). Add a short title within the first screen or list out key topics you’re covering in the video.
Also, you may want to use captions for those watching the trailer with the sound off. Maybe they’re listening to music at the same time, or were put off when it started playing automatically.
Here’s an example of a captioned YouTube channel trailer:
View channel trailer here
4. Include music and high-quality graphics
Nothing draws in your viewers more than animated graphics combined with the right music. Great visuals will keep your viewers spellbound, and the music will set the tone and energy for your channel trailer.
Just make sure that you only pick music and graphics that are consistent with your words, channel, and brand. A cohesive brand image leads to increased brand awareness, making your company and its product memorable and recognizable to viewers.
There is plenty of graphic design software that makes it easy to keep your images consistent and high-quality.
Appealing to the senses in your video trailer can emotionally move your viewers to subscribe.
While not a channel trailer, Asana shows a good example of unique illustrations:
View video here
According to expert video strategists, it’s important to keep the viewer’s eyes moving so you can retain their attention on your video.
This aspect is particularly important because, as you know, YouTube channel homepages often look quite “busy”.
Everywhere you look there are buttons, playlists, video thumbnails, and even an option for visitors to leave your channel altogether!
But, although fast-moving, dynamic footage has been shown to increase engagement, keep in mind that this type of content isn’t ideal for all YouTube channels—like a meditation channel, for instance.
However, you can still use elements like text, visually appealing images, and short scenes to draw your viewer’s immediate attention.
5. Keep it short
The entire point of a YouTube channel trailer is to pitch great things about yourself, your brand, and your content to new viewers in the quickest way possible.
So, unlike explainer videos (which are great within your channel), the channel trailer itself should instantly arrest the attention of your viewers and in a few short seconds, convey all the information they need to decide whether or not yours is the right channel for them.
After all, what are the odds that someone will sit through a five or ten-minute video before deciding whether or not they are in the right place?
Although there isn’t a “perfect” length for a YouTube channel trailer, you should aim for about 30 to 90 seconds.
This should be sufficient for you to tell new visitors who you are, what type of content to expect from your YouTube channel, and when you will be posting new uploads.
Remember, when it comes to YouTube channel trailers, less is more.
6. Show highlights
As YouTube says, “Show, don’t tell”. In addition to sharing all the important information pertaining to your brand and channel, you can also show your audience a highlight reel that makes them want to view the videos in your channel.
And make sure these are actual highlights from actual videos in your channel. This will save you from unsubscribes down the line when it turns out that your videos weren’t at all what new subscribers expected.
If you’re worried that you won’t have enough time to give your audience the information they need as well as show a highlight reel, don’t worry. You can do both at the same time. Will Smith’s YouTube channel trailer is essentially one big highlight reel.
As a small business, you’re not going to have extreme highlights like this, but you can use short scenes to show your audience the nature and tone of your videos. Are they funny, educational, serious, relaxing, entertaining, actionable?
Highlights for your business might include are:
Bloopers and other funny clips
Clips that show the interesting ways you’ll provide information
Clips of industry influencers you’ll interview
This will be easy to do if you have already published some videos on your channel. Simply choose one of your best clips and include it as a highlight reel in your channel trailer.
Use your YouTube channel trailer to show your audience what they can expect from and look forward to in your videos.
This brings us to the next and shortest tip:
6. Stockpile videos beforehand
You’re not going to have any highlights to show if you don’t already have videos ready. You don’t have to have them all published, but enough to support the claims in your trailer.
In SearchLab’s YouTube channel homepage, you can gather right away from the video thumbnails that you’re going to learn local SEO and laugh.
SearchLab’s YouTube channel homepage
Note also that video thumbnails are an excellent YouTube SEO tactic.
7. Take viewers on a journey
As humans, we tend to gravitate towards other people, and showcasing your unique personality in front of the camera enables you to deeper stronger connections with new audiences.
That’s where storytelling comes in. The mostsuccessful channel trailers are those that take viewers on a journey.
Don’t simply provide information to viewers; take them on a journey and show your story.
This means everything from the reason you started your channel to the topics your cover, and everything in between. Stories can be mesmerizing!
Storytelling also comes with the following benefits:
It hits the emotional quotient;
It makes it easier for you to convey your personality;
It keeps your viewers engaged and eager for more;
And, it also makes your content more memorable.
When you tell personal stories in a fun, fresh, and relatable way, people feel like they know you, which ultimately leads to more subscribers to your channel.
Here’s an example of a YouTube channel trailer that takes viewers on an exciting journey:
View trailer here
8. End with your subscribe CTA
If you’ve followed the tips above, you’ve given viewers enough reasons to subscribe. But you still need to make the deliberate ask
Here are a few common subscribe pitches:
“Make sure to hit the subscribe button”
“If that sounds good, subscribe to my channel right now”
“Go ahead and subscribe right now so you don’t miss anything”
“And now, it’s time to subscribe!”
It doesn’t matter how you phrase your pitch, but make sure that it’s explicit and on-brand.
Tools for Creating Awesome YouTube Channel Trailers
Creating an enticing YouTube channel trailer takes work, but don’t lose sleep over it! There are dozens of tools out there, so to make things a little easier for you, here are three of my favorite.
Biteable is an affordable tool for creating drop-dead gorgeous YouTube trailers. It comes with hundreds of fully customizable templates to choose from, and you can add your own personal touch using your images, music, text, and footage.
InVideo is a user-friendly online tool that helps you edit and create YouTube videos with ease. It offers you numerous templates and the option to add music from the stock audio list, images, GIFs, and much more.
With this tool, you can explore your ideas and create professional-level videos even if you’re just a beginner.
From adding subtitles to your YouTube videos to adding voiceovers, you can use InVideo to produce any type of channel trailer.
11. Wondershare Filmora
Wondershare Filmora is a powerful—and free—video editing tool that you can use on both PCs and Macs. This program is simple and easy to use, which makes it ideal for beginners without a lot of editing experience.
If you’d like to see even more options, most of the YouTube editing software listed here can be used for both creating trailers and editing videos.
Get to work on your subscriber-generating YouTube channel trailer
There you have it. Eight tips for and three tools to create an awesome YouTube channel trailer that can build a brand with a loyal following:
Step into your viewers’ shoes
Create a well-structured script
Use captions and clips
Include music and high quality graphics
Keep it short
Stockpile videos beforehand
Take viewers on a journey
End with your subscribe CTA
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