What Are YouTube Shorts and How to Succeed with Them?

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Hey there! Have you heard about YouTube Shorts? As someone who geeks out over the latest social media trends, I think Shorts have the potential to be a game-changer for creators and businesses.

In this guide, I‘ll fill you in on everything you need to know about Shorts and how to crush it with your own short-form video content. Get ready to dive into the exciting world of YouTube Shorts!

What Are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are short vertical videos, up to 60 seconds long, designed for mobile devices.

They are YouTube‘s take on short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels. Shorts aim to give creators an easy way to produce fun and engaging short videos using just a smartphone.

I‘ll break down some of the key features that make Shorts unique:

  • Vertical Video Format: Shorts use a 9:16 aspect ratio that fills the entire phone screen when held vertically. TikTok popularised this mobile-friendly format.

  • 60 Second Max Length: Each Short can contain up to 60 seconds of total footage. You‘re encouraged to tell a complete story or share an idea within this time constraint.

  • Multi-Segment Camera: The Shorts camera lets you string multiple video clips together into one Short. This allows you to get creative with scene transitions and editing.

  • Variable Speed Controls: By speeding up or slowing down your footage, you can create dramatic effects. This sets Shorts apart from apps like TikTok that don‘t offer speed controls.

  • Licensed Music Library: Thousands of popular songs from top artists are available to use in your Shorts, provided by music labels like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment.

  • Creative Editing Tools: Shorts come packed with quick editing features like timers, countdowns, filters, text, stickers, effects, and more. These tools make it simple to enhance your Shorts without advanced editing skills.

So in a nutshell, Shorts represent YouTube‘s spin on fast-paced, mobile-first vertical videos. But how did Shorts come to be in the first place?

The Origin Story of YouTube Shorts

YouTube observed the massive popularity of short-form video apps like TikTok and wanted to capitalise on the trend. So in early 2020, they began testing a TikTok competitor in India called Shorts.

India represented an ideal testing ground because short videos were already thriving there on apps like MX TakaTak, Moj, Josh, and others.

The Shorts beta in India went exceedingly well. Shorts racked up 3.5 billion daily views in India by December 2020.

Bolstered by these promising early results in India, YouTube officially rolled out Shorts globally in September 2021.

They promoted it heavily to creators and offered a $100 million fund for top Shorts creators as incentive.

The global launch was well-timed, as the short-form video trend kept accelerating. YouTube wanted to plant its flag firmly in this space before other competing platforms got too far ahead.

Now that Shorts is available everywhere, it has given creators an exciting new format to express themselves and engage massive mobile audiences.

Next, let‘s go over why Shorts are so beneficial for both individual creators and brands.

Benefits of Using YouTube Shorts

In my opinion, Shorts unlock massive opportunities for creators and businesses alike. Here are some of the key advantages Shorts offer:

1. Made for Mobile Users

Over 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices. Shorts embrace this shift with their vertical orientation and bite-sized content.

Optimizing for mobile is critical, and Shorts remove headaches like having to deal with tiny screens or slow buffering. Their immersive full-screen playback keeps mobile users super engaged.

2. Lower Barrier to Entry for New Creators

You don‘t need fancy equipment or advanced editing skills to make a great Short. Simply pull out your phone and shoot.

The Shorts camera and editing tools make content creation accessible to anyone. This represents a huge opportunity for new creators to get their foot in the door on YouTube.

3. Potential to Go Viral

In my experience analyzing viral content, shorter videos spread much more rapidly across platforms. There are fewer friction points that prevent sharing.

Well-produced Shorts have the potential to amass millions of views and likes overnight. Creators have a better shot at achieving viral fame through Shorts.

4. Interact With YouTube‘s Entrenched 2 Billion User Base

YouTube‘s gigantic logged-in audience gives Shorts creators instant exposure. Rather than starting from scratch on a new platform, you can tap into YouTube‘s existing communities.

Even established YouTubers are using Shorts to extend their reach and pick up new fans on YouTube.

5. Access to Robust YouTube Analytics

YouTube Studio provides rich Shorts metrics like views, likes, comments, traffic sources, audience retention, watch time, and more.

These analytics help you double down on what works and improve any Shorts that miss the mark. You gain valuable audience insights.

6. Monetization Opportunities on The Horizon

Monetizing Shorts directly through YouTube Partner Program ads isn‘t possible yet. However, YouTube announced at VidCon 2022 that they will begin testing ads on Shorts by the end of 2022, with revenue sharing for creators.

This is great news for monetization down the road! In the meantime, you can leverage Shorts to drive viewers to other monetized content.

Overall, Shorts deliver plenty of benefits whether you‘re running a business YouTube channel or building a personal creator brand.

Now let me walk you through how to make Shorts step-by-step.

Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Your First YouTube Short

The Shorts camera built into the YouTube mobile app makes shooting your first Short super straightforward.

Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Download the YouTube App and Sign In

Make sure you have the official YouTube app installed on your iPhone or Android device. Sign into the YouTube account you want to upload Shorts from.

Step 2: Tap the "+" Icon to Open the Shorts Camera

Tap on the "+" icon at the bottom of the app screen, then select "Create a Short." This will launch the Shorts camera.

Step 3: Shoot Your Clips

Press and hold the large red circle button at the bottom to record a clip. Tap it again to stop recording.

Capture multiple clips from different angles, distances, and movement to give your Short variety.

Step 4: Add Effects, Filters or Text Overlays

Tap the pencil icon to open editing tools. Apply effects like speed changes or filters to enhance your clips. Insert text captions or subtitles.

Step 5: Rearrange Clips

Preview your clips at the bottom and rearrange them into your desired order using drag and drop. Trim any excess footage.

Step 6: Add Licensed Music

Tap the music note icon to browse YouTube‘s extensive music library. Pick an instrumental or song that matches your Short‘s vibe.

Step 7: Finalize Voiceover, Trims, Etc.

Use the mic icon to record voiceover audio. Make any last tweaks like title, trims, etc.

Step 8: Publish Your YouTube Short

Tap "Publish" when you‘re satisfied with your Short! Congrats on creating your first one.

Repeat this process to churn out more amazing Shorts. It will only get easier with practice.

Next up, let‘s go over some pro tips and strategies for creating next-level YouTube Shorts.

Best Practices for YouTube Shorts Success

Creating great Shorts requires skill and strategic thinking. You can‘t just throw together random clips and expect them to go viral.

Apply these best practices to develop a winning Shorts formula:

Hook Viewers Right Away

You have mere seconds to grab the viewer‘s attention. Lead with your most eye-catching clip or text overlay to hook them from the first frame.

Quickly Convey a Complete Idea or Story

Identify the one clear message or story you want to get across in your 60 seconds. Stay focused without cramming in too much.

End With a Strong Call to Action

Leave viewers with a clear prompt to visit your channel, follow you on Instagram, check out a link, etc. Give them somewhere to go next.

Make Your Shorts Bingeable

Use cliffhangers, surprise reveals, humor, and curiosity to make your content irresistible and sharable. Addictiveness keeps viewers watching.

Shoot Stable, Well-Composed Footage

Invest in gear like tripods, grips, and lighting to take your production value up a notch. Good camerawork improves watchability.

Enhance With Music, Effects, Text

Spice up your Shorts with tasteful effects, text captions, and licensed music tracks. This covers up poorly recorded audio or ambient noise.

Analyze Your YouTube Analytics

Check which Shorts are hits based on views, likes, comments, etc. Study this data to improve your strategy.

Promote Your Top Shorts Everywhere

Don‘t just leave your Shorts on YouTube. Post them across all of your social media channels and embed them on websites. Spread them far and wide!

These tips will instantly upgrade your Shorts game. But you might be wondering: how can you actually make money from Shorts?

Monetizing YouTube Shorts – Current and Future Options

Shorts don‘t support direct ad monetization yet. However, here are some ways to profit from Shorts in the meantime:

YouTube Shorts Fund

YouTube launched a $100 million fund to reward top Shorts creators over 2020-2022. You can earn a cut based on your viewership. Make high-quality Shorts to qualify.

Promote Other Monetized Videos

Redirect viewers from your Shorts to long-form videos in your channel that do have ads enabled. Use Shorts as a promotional tool.

Earn Sponsorship Revenue

Brand sponsorships represent big moneymaking potential. As your Shorts gain traction, you‘ll become more attractive for branded content deals.

Sell Merchandise

Market merchandise like t-shirts, hoodies, and other accessories featuring your personal brand in your Shorts descriptions. Funnels viewers to your merch store.

Paywall Exclusive Content

You can gate some premium Shorts content behind a paywall subscription via YouTube Channel Memberships and promote this membership access in your free Shorts.

And in a very exciting recent development, YouTube announced at VidCon 2022 that they will start testing ads on Shorts by the end of 2022!

This will allow direct ad revenue sharing between YouTube and Shorts creators. Monetization capabilities are improving in a big way.

So keep pouring your energy into Shorts. You‘ll be rewarded handsomely down the line as revenue opportunities ramp up.

Now let‘s compare YouTube to competitors like TikTok and Instagram.

How YouTube Shorts Compare to Rivals

YouTube wants a piece of the short-form video pie alongside rivals like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

But how exactly do these platforms stack up? Here‘s a detailed feature breakdown:


As you can see, each platform has its unique strengths. Smart creators repurpose their best short videos across all three platforms for maximum reach.

YouTube has the edge of tapping into its entrenched user base of over 2 billion. And I expect their upcoming monetization capabilities to be a game-changer.

But it‘s wise not to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying across multiple short video platforms hedges your bets.

TikTok and Instagram have certainly proven their short video prowess as well. The long-term winner in this space remains to be seen.

For now, seizing the opportunity on YouTube Shorts allows you to stake your claim early and build your channel before the competition gets even stiffer.

Final Tips for Conquering YouTube Shorts

Here are my top pieces of advice for finding success on Shorts:

  • Post Daily – Flood the Shorts feed with fresh content. YouTube notices consistent creators.

  • Analyze Performance – Check your analytics to learn what resonates with viewers. Keep improving based on data.

  • Follow Trends – Identify popular Shorts formats you can put your own spin on. But avoid overused trends that feel stale.

  • Engage With Your Community – Reply to comments, answer questions, and form relationships with viewers. Community is key.

  • Promote Relentlessly – Share your Shorts across every social channel. Follow hashtag trends. Collaborate with others. Get the word out!

  • Stay Patient – Keep optimising your strategy. With persistence, your big break is right around the corner.

The time is now to jump on YouTube Shorts while it‘s still early days. As YouTube rolls out monetization, being established on the platform will pay dividends.

I hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of Shorts and sparks some ideas for creating killer short videos. The opportunities are endless!

Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to chat more about YouTube strategies and social media marketing.

Good luck with your YouTube Shorts journey!

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