DTC 359: Youtube Shorts

Thinking of hopping on the YouTube Shorts trend? Well, you should, like, months ago! 

TikTok style, super quick bits of educational, entertaining, or otherwise nonsensical but hypnotizing content are now an essential part of YouTube. 

Not only are Shorts delightful little morsels of short-form video content, they’re also a beautiful playground for YouTube ads! 

Let’s start with the four golden rules the Pilothouse YouTube team lives and breathes by when posting Shorts on the platform:

1️⃣ Loop it! 

Circular content works wonders for engagement because it keeps viewers engaged by seamlessly connecting the end of your video to the start. ➰

For example, you could start your content with the narrator saying, “These are the top three reasons to choose our product,” and then have them list out the details in the body of your video.

This sounds pretty typical so far, but the end is where we get to use our marketing magic. 🪄

Write the last sentence of the narrator’s script so the first sentence is secretly a continuation of your last sentence. If you’ve done this correctly, you’ll have a perfect loop for your viewers to be entranced by. 

Using our example above, the last sentence of our made-up script could be:

“Choosing among these brands is never easy but…” [video ends] “These are the top three reasons to choose our product…”

This style of writing is unique to looping content and can be used to sneak an extra loop out of each viewer because they’ll be watching the same content again before they even know it!  🤫 

2️⃣ Make it sound viral 

Trending music is your gateway to viral content. 🎵 

Hop on to YouTube’s menu in the top left corner of the browser window and click on either the “Trending” or “Music” tabs. Get inspired by the audio that accompanies trending videos. 

Once you’ve found something you like, use similar audio in your video content to set yourself up for viral success!  

Audio that aligns with what’s trending demonstrates that your brand is relevant and connected to YouTube’s audience. 👇

Be wary of copyrighted recordings. Using these in your video without the explicit permission of the creator or owner can land you in legal hot water.

YouTube Studio has a library of music available for you to use in your content as long as you comply with Youtube’s policies. 👇


Using similar audio to what’s heard in trending content is a classic fake it ‘till you make it tactic that can make anything go viral.

3️⃣ Sludge it up 

Do you recall watching a YouTube Short that had some random Minecraft gameplay right beside it? 

It’s a clever tactic called “sludge content.” Sludge content leverages the length of mobile screen space to place two videos side-by-side in one piece of content. 

One half is used to showcase the content you want the audience to see, while the other half keeps the viewer engaged in case they lose interest.

Creators often use satisfying, looped, or eye-catching content to pair with their own videos for the viewer’s pleasure and keep them consistently engaged with what’s on their screen.

⛔ Just stay away from using licensed content without the owner’s permission. 

Find your own version of sludge and try it out! Anyone with a video game console can record their actions at the push of a button, and stock video footage can be found in libraries like Adobe Stock.

4️⃣ Make it public

If there’s one tip the Pilothouse YouTube team wants you to walk away with, it’s don’t keep your Shorts unlisted

Ads can work as organic content with the right blend of narrative and creative elements.

Keep your videos scrappy, and stay away from using branded assets like unique fonts or colors. Stick with elements that are native to YouTube’s platform instead. In fact, you could create your entire ad using the Shorts creation tool!

This way, viewers won’t realize they’re watching an ad right away and are more likely to stick around thinking it’s made by a recommended creator.

🍬 Short and sweet   

Short-form content is perfect to test, test, and test again because of its short (no pun intended) turnaround time. 

Shorts make it possible to move on from content that doesn’t do well and simply try a new creative another day. ⏩

Share your creations with the short-form content-loving world and adapt to its ebb and flow with small iterative changes on what’s performing well with your audience.

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