As short-form content rises in popularity, YouTube has hopped on the trend by introducing YouTube Shorts, a new feature allowing users to watch or create vertical, short-form videos on the platform.
While videos under 60 seconds aren’t new on YouTube, Shorts’ launch in 2021 signaled that the platform is ready to take on competitors like TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Wondering how to use YouTube Shorts? Read on to learn how you can create them, make them go viral, and potentially earn money with them.
What are YouTube Shorts?
Designed to be consumed in 60 seconds or less, YouTube Shorts are short-form, vertical video content that anyone can create using a smartphone. You can capture, edit, add text and sound, adjust the speed of your footage, and stitch together multiple video clips to create your Shorts.
Posting YouTube Shorts offers a new opportunity for your content to be discovered. Viewers may find your content under a dedicated Shorts section on the platform, or from YouTube’s homepage and search results. Once viewers tap into a Short, they can keep scrolling to watch more Shorts content. With a visible Subscribe button on each Short, viewers are also encouraged to subscribe to your channel while viewing your Shorts content.
An early beta of YouTube Shorts was first launched in India in 2020, before the new feature was rolled out in the U.S. and across the globe in 2021. As of July 2021, YouTube Shorts was already generating more than 15 billion global daily views.
One year after the initial beta launch, in October 2021, YouTube shared that it’ll continue to develop Shorts with three key areas in mind: building a creation experience that empowers anyone to create and find an audience; improving the viewer experience so users can easily discover content and creators they’ll love; and determining more ways that creators can be rewarded for their Shorts.
How to make and upload YouTube Shorts
You can only create YouTube Shorts directly on the YouTube app. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make and upload them.
1. Download and sign in to the YouTube app.
2. When you land on the homepage, click the + icon (also known as the Create tab) on the bottom menu. Then, select Create a Short to access the Shorts creator tool.
3. To make a 15-second clip, hold the red record button or tap it to start recording and then again to stop.
4. Click 15s in the upper-right corner to record a video up to 60 seconds in length.
5. If you made a mistake, tap the reverse arrow to undo the previous video clip you recorded. Tap the forward arrow (or Redo button) to add it back.
6. When you’ve finished recording, tap the checkmark to preview and enhance your Short. You can also tap the Close button in the upper-left corner, then Save as draft if you want to revisit your video later.
7. Add music, text, voiceover, and filters to your video using YouTube Shorts’ in-app editor. Tap the timeline icon to specify when text appears on the video timeline.
8. When you’re done editing, tap Next in the upper-right corner. Caption/title your Short (max. 100 characters) and select if you want the video to be public, unlisted, or private. Under Visibility, you can tap Schedule to select a publish date and time for your Short.
9. Tap Select audience to indicate if your Short is appropriate for kids or requires an age restriction.
10. Finally, tap UPLOAD SHORT to publish your Short.
How to monetize YouTube Shorts
There are many ways creators can monetize their audience, no matter the size. First and foremost, you need to put yourself out there, and YouTube Shorts is a great place to get your content discovered by others.
To incentivize the creation of Shorts, YouTube has announced that Shorts creators can qualify for the Partner Program and earn ad revenue starting February 2023. To be eligible for the program, Shorts creators will need at least 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over the last 90 days.
According to YouTube, “in Shorts, ads run between videos in the Shorts Feed. So, every month, revenue from these ads will be added together and used to reward Shorts creators and help cover costs of music licensing.”
From the overall amount allocated to creators, they’ll get to keep 45% of the revenue. Your payout will be determined by your share of total Shorts views, and your revenue share won’t change whether or not you use music in your videos. If you are able to create engaging content and reach a high amount of views with YouTube Shorts, you could have some serious paydays coming your way.
8 Tips for going viral with YouTube Shorts
In order to achieve viral success with YouTube Shorts, there are a few key things you should keep in the back of your mind:
Make the first few seconds count
Come up with a compelling hook to get viewers’ attention within the first few seconds of your video.
Keep it concise
Remember, viewers are coming to YouTube Shorts for easily digestible and snappy videos. While Shorts can run up to 60 seconds, think about if you can deliver the same content in a punchier way with a shorter video length.
Create the perfect loop
YouTube Shorts are played on a loop by default. This means that if the viewer doesn’t swipe to the next Short, they will see the same Short again for the second time, or even more times. When filming and editing a Short, try to create a seamless loop to encourage multiple views.
Re-hook your audience
It isn’t enough to just create a strong hook for the beginning portion of your Short. Despite the short length of the video, you need to keep viewers entertained throughout its duration. Ideally, you should aim to re-hook your audience every 3-5 seconds, whether with a trending sound, text, or other visuals.
Give it an attractive title
Optimizing the title/caption of your Short is just as important as making the video itself engaging. Think about how you can use the title as a hook to keep viewers watching your Short until its end.
Jump on trending music
With YouTube Shorts’ built-in Sound tool, creators can add popular songs from major labels to their videos without getting penalized. Whenever appropriate, consider featuring trending music in your Shorts to improve their chances of going viral.
Drive audience to additional content
Use pinned comments to direct viewers to additional content, like another Short that serves as a part two to the video. You can also encourage people to explore and subscribe to your channel.
Promote your content
To get your Shorts in front of as many viewers as possible, make sure to promote your content on YouTube and beyond. You can share snippets of your Shorts on YouTube Stories, as well as on other social media platforms like Instagram.
Stay ahead of the YouTube Shorts game
With YouTube’s ad revenue share program coming to Shorts in 2023, the short-form video format is going to be huge. If you’re a content creator, now is the ideal time to start posting YouTube Shorts and get ahead of the curve. With Shorts, you can potentially get more subscribers on your channel, generate more YouTube engagement, and even create a new revenue stream — so start creating with our tips above.