Digital Insights

HOW TO: Build Your Personal Brand on YouTube


Published: November 12, 2009

There are thousands of different websites that you can leverage to build your own personal brand, but only a few that will give you both the reach and credibility to make a major impact. Here is a detailed look at how you can build your personal brand on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. YouTube is the largest video sharing site on the planet.

With over 120 million U.S. viewers, YouTube is used by President Obama for his weekly State of the Union Address, by universities who share lectures from star academics, and by celebrities such as Miley Cyrus who use it as a lifestream. Aside from the popularity of YouTube, the site exploits the most powerful branding medium of them all, video.

The reason why video is so effective in communicating your personal brand is because your audience will already feel like they’ve met you by the time the video is over.  With video, you get a sense of who someone really is based on their voice, their face and their body motions.  Video can support your branding efforts like no other medium on the web.

1. Brand your profile

In order to build your personal brand on YouTube, you have to decide how you want to position yourself.  If you already have a brand, then carry it over onto your YouTube channel to make it consistent with your other web properties.  Channels that have multiple faces should be branded under a topic or a company.  Channels that only have one face and voice should be branded under a full name.  This is extremely important to understand because you can’t change your channel name at a later date.

Choose a channel name: Depending on your branding strategy, you could choose your full name, your company’s name or a unique “show” name for your YouTube channel.  For instance, if you want to brand yourself as an expert in your field, you might want to do it under your own name.  The URL you will receive in return for a successful registration on YouTube is

Profile setup: Just like with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, filling out your profile is important because it will allow people to locate you on a platform where millions of people are competing for attention.  You are able to upload an avatar or use a screenshot that they give you from your latest video.  Use the avatar/professional picture that you have everywhere else.  You also get to add a single URL, which should be the website that best represents you as a brand, such as your blog or LinkedIn profile.

Channel information: Most people don’t know that there are different types of accounts you can choose on YouTube.  If you’re an expert in your field, then I recommend selecting the “Guru” account type because you can use a custom logo and add links.  To access this page go here.

Customize your channel: Log into your account and view your channel as it currently stands.  On the top right of your screen, select “Switch to Player Mode.”  This will change your current display to the newer layout, where people can view your latest video and select any other ones that they want to watch from the sidebar.

Channel title and tags: Where it says “Edit Channel,” you should click on “settings” and then give your channel a title, such as “Mike Smith’s Internet Marketing Show.”  On the right, you’ll want to type in tags that reflect your video content, such as “marketing” and “mike smith” because that’s how people will find your material while searching.

Themes and Colors: Under “Themes and Colors,” find the colors and overall look that align with your website, blog, business card, PowerPoints, etc.  You can also upload your own background image and change fonts and colors.  There are websites that have free YouTube designs that you can use too.

Modules: Now you want to go to “Modules” and check all options because comments, recent activity, and friends are all important if you want to build a community around your YouTube brand.

Latest video: The last thing you want to do is to click on “Edit” on the top right of the screen and where it says “Featured Video,” select “Use the Most Recent.”  This way people will be viewing your latest video automatically.

Now that have presented your audience or future audience with a legitimate profile and design on YouTube, you’re ready to start developing videos that will put your brand in the spotlight, while helping you build your business.

2. Create remarkable videos

Content is king and on YouTube, the only true way to be successful is to have content that is worth spreading.  Typically, this means it has to be either really funny or extremely interesting.  Here are a few examples of remarkable content. Video isn’t for everyone and you shouldn’t fool yourself if you know you’re introverted and shy.

Video equipment: I recommend either using a web camera from Logiteck ($99) or a Flip Ultra HD ($200).  The flip is higher quality, but the webcam allows you to do video chat or live video in addition to regular videos for YouTube.

Advanced video equipment: If you’re really serious about creating a video show on YouTube, then you may want to invest in a sounds system, amplifier, lighting, and other professional tools that will make it look professional.

Produce content: The best part about taking videos of yourself is that if you don’t like the end product, you can delete it very easily.  I recommend that you shoot multiple videos at once and then cut the ones that don’t work well.  Make sure all of your videos fall under the theme of your YouTube channel and that you fill out the title, description and tags for each.  In the description of each of your videos, there should be a link back to your blog or website because the people that watch your video might have never heard of your brand before.

Once you have about five or six videos, you will want to start promoting both your channel and each video to your audience.

3. Promote your videos

When promoting your channel and your videos, you’ll want to use the network that you already have before you start to get creative.  In the past year, YouTube has streamlined the sharing process through various social networks.

Facebook Application: Using the YouTube Video Box Application on Facebook, you can add your videos automatically on your profile page or your Facebook Fan Page.  This is a great way to give each of your videos additional visibility without additional labor.

Autoshare on Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader: Go to your YouTube account settings and click on “Sharing.”  In this menu, you can automatically syndicate your YouTube updates (such as when you upload a new video) through Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader.  Before you check all three off, please understand who your audience is on each social network.  For example, if you share your professional videos on Facebook, where only your college friends are, then it might be awkward.

Add your blog: Go back under YouTube account setting and click on “Blog Setup.”  This will allow you to link your blog (, TypePad, Blogger, etc) with your account.  This feature will enable you to post your videos on your blog directly in just a few simple clicks.

Embed your videos: If you have a blog or traditional website (corporate or personal), you can embed one or more videos from YouTube on it.  YouTube embedded videos give you options, such as a border, different size arrangements and a variety of colors.

Link to your channel or videos everywhere you can: The more links you have to a video, the higher it will rank when keywords are searching in YouTube or in Google.  Also, more links typically means more traffic to your videos, which helps build your brand.  Link to your channel and videos from your resume, from your social networking profiles (possibly as a graphic icon), from your email signature, from your presentations and everywhere else.

YouTube isn’t going anywhere.  It’s one of the most trafficked websites in the world and it’s a great place to get started with online video.  Even though many of your videos might not get 100,000 views, the important thing is that you can leverage that video content and share it on all of your branded properties.  Your YouTube channel can become a very important asset to your brand, one that provides your authentic voice and appearance like nothing else can.


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