When it comes to publishing your video content online, YouTube is the go-to platform.
With over two billion monthly users, YouTube is home to all kinds of content creators, including gamers, vloggers, marketers, musicians, comedians, life coaches, technology enthusiasts, and many more. It’s the best platform for sharing your videos with a diverse crowd and building a large and loyal base of followers.
YouTube has evolved throughout the years to become a powerful platform for posting high-quality videos using a variety of settings and elements. It has also developed a strict set of rules and guidelines for handling copyright issues and harmful, offensive, and deceitful content.
When you make a video, you need to ensure that it doesn’t violate anyone’s copyright and that it follows YouTube’s community guidelines before you decide to upload it.
Before we discuss the essential guidelines and requirements, let’s take a look at what you need to do to upload a video to YouTube and ensure that it generates a considerable number of views.
When uploading your video to YouTube, you need to:
- Sign in to your YouTube account
- Click on the camera icon in the menu in the top-right corner of the screen
- Choose the Upload video option
- Click on Select files to browse to your video, or drag and drop it onto the screen
When the video starts to upload, you can view the progress at the bottom of the screen. Once it’s done uploading, YouTube will start processing your video. While that’s happening, you can use the time to set up all the technical details to ensure that people can find and watch your content on YouTube.
First, you need to come up with a title, which is one of the most important factors for ranking your video in YouTube’s search results. You should make it relevant to the content, keeping in mind what people might be searching for to come across your video. Aside from the thumbnail, the title is the first element that your audience sees, so it needs to be engaging and informative, and it should leave a strong first impression.
The video’s description should include as many relevant keywords as it can without sounding unnatural. You need to provide more detailed information on what the video is about. This is also the section where you can include relevant links, such as your website and social media profiles.
YouTube will auto-generate three screenshots and provide them as options for your video’s thumbnail. If you don’t think they represent your content well, you can choose to upload your own thumbnail. Since it’s one of the most important elements for generating views, you can learn more about how to add a thumbnail to a YouTube video for optimal results. This includes paying attention to the best YouTube video thumbnail size.
Before you continue, you need to confirm whether your video is appropriate for all age groups. You should configure age restriction based on whether the video contains:
- Violent and disturbing images or scenes
- Nudity or sexually suggestive content
- Vulgar language
- Hurtful or dangerous activities
When you’re done, click on More options to continue.
While video tags aren’t as important as they used to be, you should add several relevant keywords to provide YouTube with further context on what your video is about. Start with the primary keyword, and then add a few complimentary ones.
You can set up the language for your video and upload subtitles or closed captions if you’ve created them. This will make your video easier to understand for a wider audience.
If the date and location are relevant for your video, you can set them up in the section below. This option is important for content like news and events.
Depending on the video you’re uploading, you should pay close attention to the License and distribution section, which provides two options:
YouTube Video License and Distribution
Standard YouTube License
|You retain ownership of the video and allow only YouTube to host and share it|
|Creative Commons Attribution License||
You grant permission to other parties to use and alter your video if they credit you for it
You have to set up whether your video contains a paid promotion, such as a:
- Product placement
Ticking the box is necessary for confirming that the paid promotion in your video adheres to YouTube’s ad policies and any relevant laws and regulations.
You can decide whether you want to allow people to embed your video on their blog, channel, or website.
Setting up the category for your video is important because it enables users to find it more easily. You can also change the visibility for ratings and comments.
Click on the Video Elements tab if you want to add cards or an end screen to your video.
End screens can be an effective solution for promoting other content and growing your fanbase. You can add them to the last 5–20 seconds of your video, and they need to be at least 25 seconds long. Depending on the size of the video, they can include a specific number of elements. If the video is in the 16:9 aspect ratio, the maximum number of elements is four.
Your end screen can include:
- Related video or playlist from your channel
- Engaging invitation to subscribe
- Approved website links, such as merch and crowdfunding sites
You can also add cards as teasers during the video. They can contain links to videos, channels, playlists, and approved websites. Keep in mind that the cards can’t appear during the end screen.
When you open the Visibility tab, you have two options for publishing your video:
- Save or publish
Save or Publish Your Video
If you choose to save or publish your video, you’ll get three types of privacy settings:
- Private—Only you and the users that you invite via email will be able to see the video. Unlisted—The video will be saved to YouTube, but it won’t appear on your channel, as a suggestion, or in the search results. Only people with the link will be able to watch it.
- Public—Your video will be published to your channel, appear in search results, and show as a suggestion. You can set it up as an instant premiere for everyone to watch it together for the first time.
Schedule Your Video
You can choose to schedule your video to become public and appear in your subscribers’ feeds at a specific date and time. If you want, you can set it up as a premiere. Sharing the link on your website or social media channels will enable your audience to see the countdown to the premiere when they open the link.
Until the scheduled date, the video will be set to private and you’ll be able to see it in your YouTube Studio when you open the Content tab.
When you’re done with the settings, click on Save. If you’ve set up your video to be published right away, you’ll be able to copy the link and share it on different channels directly.
If your uploaded video isn’t playing in the quality you’ve expected it to, you should ensure that the original media file is encoded in line with the technical requirements prescribed by YouTube. Aside from the optimal YouTube video size, you should pay attention to:
YouTube Video Format
When it comes to video formats, YouTube supports a variety of options:
If you want to get optimal results without creating a large video file, the best solution is to render your video as an MP4 file. You should use the H.264 codec for video and the AAC codec for audio.
YouTube Video and Audio Bitrate
In line with the resolution and frame rate of your video, YouTube recommends specific bitrate settings. This includes both:
- Standard frame rate—24, 25, and 30
- High frame rate—48, 50, and 60
The recommended values are:
Recommended YouTube Video Bitrate Settings
|Resolution||Standard Frame Rate||
High Frame Rate
|35–45 Mbps||53–68 Mbps|
|8 Mbps||12 Mbps|
|2.5 Mbps||4 Mbps|
To ensure the optimal quality for your audio, you should encode it using the following bitrate settings:
- Mono—128 Kbps
- Stereo—384 Kbps
- 5.1—512 Kbps
If you don’t want to get into trouble and have your video or entire channel was taken down, you need to ensure that the content you upload to YouTube follows the community guidelines. YouTube has a specific set of rules regarding all the kinds of content that you post on the platform, including links, videos, comments, and thumbnails.
The guidelines explicitly state that the videos on the platform must not include the following:
- Sensitive content—Suicide and self-harm, and nudity and sexual material, content that may endanger emotional or physical wellbeing of minors
- Harmful and violent content—Hate speech, graphic violence, harassment and cyberbullying, and violent criminal organizations
- Spam and deceptive practices—Spam, fake engagement, deceptive practices, inappropriate links, and misleading information
- Regulated goods—Firearms and sale of illegal or regulated products
If you don’t follow the community guidelines, your video can get flagged. In case YouTube determines that your content is inappropriate, you will receive a warning for your first violation and the video will get taken down.
If you breach YouTube’s policies again, you can get up to three strikes. With the first and the second strike, you won’t be able to post anything for one and two weeks, respectively. When you receive the third strike, YouTube will take down your channel.
When you receive a warning, make sure to check the community guidelines in detail to find out what you did wrong and how to avoid repeating it. In some cases, YouTube will take down your content without warning you. You can appeal the action taken against your video or channel if you think that you didn’t violate any of the prescribed guidelines.
YouTube allows you to upload videos that consist of content that you’ve either created or been authorized to use. If you infringe someone’s copyright, they can request for your content to be removed. If their request is valid, your video will be taken down and you will receive a copyright strike. After three copyright strikes, your channel will be terminated.
In case you don’t think your video contains a copyright violation, you can:
- Request for the claim to be retracted by contacting the other party
- Submit a counter-notification as a legal request to YouTube
You should also be careful about the material that you use in your videos, such as music, games, movies, and TV shows. If it’s copyright-protected, you might receive a Content ID claim from the owner. When you receive this kind of claim, you can either lose revenue or have your video taken down. You can file a dispute if you believe that the claim is unfounded.
If you want to counter a copyright or Content ID claim, you need to determine whether your video is protected by fair use. This includes four factors:
- Purpose of use
- Nature of content
- Amount of content used
- Effect on the potential market
Purpose of Use
The first factor focuses on whether using the copyrighted content gives it a new meaning or if it merely creates a duplicate. It also takes into account whether you’ve created a video for educational or commercial use. If you’re not making any money from your content, it is more likely to be seen as fair use.
Nature of Content
When it comes to fair use, copyright law gives more protection to fictional than factual works. This means that you’re more likely to dispute a copyright claim successfully if you’ve used news footage than a movie or cartoon, for instance.
Amount of Content Used
Your video is likely to be protected by fair use if you’ve included smaller pieces of the original author’s work. If you’re reviewing a movie or a TV show, you can use limited sections to make a point. You must create an original message instead of copying the author’s intended purpose.
Effect on the Potential Market
The fourth factor is generally the most important when it comes to determining fair use. It focuses on how your content affects the potential market for the original work. Your video mustn’t be a substitute for the original and take away its views and revenue. If it occupies the same market and affects the creator’s ability to make a profit, it will most likely not be protected by fair use. The only exception is if your video is a parody of the original.
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