“Channel Trailers,” the short videos that now act as an introduction to YouTube creators’ pages, are arguably the best part of the new channel design “One Channel.” Channel trailers have replaced the arduous task that was once convincing people to subscribe through a cocktail of cajoling and begging.
Now in a “One Channel” world, asking people to sub should be as simple as uploading a channel trailer and watching the views roll in. Alas, in the YouTube ecosystem nothing is that easy. Let’s not forget: your channel trailer is competing with millions of other creators now vying for the same subs as you. At best, you have around 15 seconds to keep the internet’s ever-shrinking attention focused on your channel trailer. After that, if you can’t capture people’s interest, you’re as good as sunk.
So, what’s the answer? How can you keep casual visitors into diehard subscribers in less than 30 seconds? The answer, as most do, resides within the sage wisdom of the reigning champion of attention-getting — the movie industry.
Remember how many people saw “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?” If you don’t, the correct answer is $402 million dollars’ worth, goddammit. Hey listen, I saw it in theaters also — don’t beat yourself up about it. How did that flaming wreckage of a film trick us all into theaters, you may ask? Aside from the collective nostalgia of 80s kids and Megan Fox wearing jean shorts constantly, like most crappy/popular movies, the trailer did much of the heavy lifting.
Let’s take a look at it now.
Holy shit, that movie looks amazing … wait a minute, ah they got me.
The point is this: when filming your channel trailer, look to Hollywood for the best practices when selling yourself to the public. In the case of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” the trailer featured the holy triad of adolescent boy fandom — beautiful women, fast cars and explosions wrapped in VFX action.
This is not to say that your channel trailer needs to incorporate these specific themes, but this trailer proves a point about playing to your strengths. In Michael Bay’s case, his strengths reside in directing the hell out of every teenage boy’s fantasy.
For all of you comedy vloggers (pretty much everyone on YouTube), we’ll take a look at the trailer for 2007’s “Superbad.”
Again, the trailer for “Superbad” plays perfectly to the audience that this raunch com was hoping to attract. It runs the gamut of teenage sex comedy humor. You’ve got beautiful women (again), dick jokes galore and a clear message that this movie is all about getting laid. The folks behind “Superbad” knew exactly who their specific brand of comedy resonates with and made a trailer that reflects that.
If your brand of YouTube comedy is all raunch then it’s safe to say your YouTube trailer should lean on the R-rated side. This concept works for two reasons. The first is that people who like that type of comedy will most likely give your trailer a shot as soon as the first dick joke lands. The second reason resides within the possibility that anyone looking for more family-safe comedy will instantly recognize that “this isn’t for me” and not sub. You could risk it and run a G-rated trailer, but once those misled subs realize that your channel is anything but family friendly, they will most likely unsubscribe.
As much as it pains me to admit it, Hollywood has got hooking people in less than 3 minutes down to a science. It’s a method that, as a YouTube creator you must master.
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