How To Make A Video On YouTube

The simple 3-step formula that delivers results!

by Jason Potash - Last updated March 3, 2015

You already know that YouTube is a goliath of free traffic.Make A YouTube Video

Second largest search engine in the world. Insanely targeted source of free traffic and leads. Little competition (for now). Way more friendly to work with than Google.

Mmmhmm.... you know you want somma that.

Yes, YouTube gets like a BAZILLION visitors per month.

But, none of that matters... because if you are like most folks, you have no clue how to make a video on YouTube... what type of video to create... or where to even start...


Lucky for you, I just wrapped up this here monster-sized case study (packed with 3 BIG YouTube success tips), that you can immediately implement to start generating more traffic & leads from YouTube.

Here's a short summary of what I will show you in the next few pages...

  • What type of video gets you the best results on YouTube?
  • What type of video gets horrible results on YouTube?
  • How long should your videos be and why?
  • Should you create a video or pay someone $5-$20? (it depends)
  • 3 simple tactics that gets you maximum traffic & leads from your YouTube videos

Download FREE Bonus Content: I'd like to give you one of my best performing YouTube video scripts (and a sample video) that you can use, swipe or ripoff. Includes a walkthrough of the psychology behind why this script works so well.  Click Here for instant access!

In this case study below, I'll take you deep into my YouTube test data (across various niche markets and keywords) and give you the 1-2-3s of what's working now. So you can hit the bullseye and get more traffic & leads than ever from YouTube.

Sound cool?

Before we jump in, I want you to take a deep breath.

This tutorial isn't about YouTube SEO rocketscience or how to rank your videos (I'll save that topic for another post).

Yes, ranking your video at the top of YouTube is important and all. But, a crappy video -- that nobody even watches -- won't rank very well -- period. Why?

Viewer Retention. I'll explain...

Simply put. Your success on YouTube first starts with using the right bait.

More specifically... the style, type and duration of videos that you release into the wild on YouTube.

As you'll soon see below, some of my most successful videos on YouTube are very simple looking.

Note: The style of videos that work best on YouTube are different from the videos that you post on your blog, sales page or ecommerce store.

Use the right (video) bait on YouTube and your results will be off the charts.

Use the wrong bait and this is what happens...

Make a video on youtube sample1

(Btw... that's my absolute worst performing YouTube video everrr. Keep reading and I'll share with you the reason why this video sucks wind. I'll also show you my #1 best performing video on YouTube...)

If people bail out after watching only 44 seconds (9.7%) of your 7 minute video, that's a horrendous video!

You won't rank very high on YouTube. You won't get the views, traffic & leads that you are after.

In other words... YouTube will DEATH PUNCH your bad content.

Let me show you what works best on YouTube today.

Before I dive in here, let me give you the 15-second backstory on how this whole case study thing came about...

It all started a few weeks ago on a Tuesday afternoon...

Normally, I don't get too stressed out tracking my YouTube videos.

That's the beauty of free YouTube traffic. Since you are not paying for clicks (unlike Facebook and AdWords), you don't have to monitor your videos like a hawk.

Anyway... one day I had the urge to crunch some numbers.

I ran a few Analytics reports within my various YouTube accounts -- all 1-2 year old accounts, targeting various niche markets, with dozens of videos uploaded and over 100,000 total (natural) views.

Here's a small sample of those analytics reports:


Some juicy data there.

As I began to further analyze these reports side-by-side, I went from deer-in-headlights shocked...

To getting downright PISSED OFF at myself...

... and then feeling giddy like a school girl about 2 things I discovered in those analytic reports. (I'll share all this intel with you below)

It was quite the emotional rollercoaster of an afternoon!

My only regret?

I wish I ran these darn reports like 6 months ago.

Note: If you haven't checked it out yet, you can run some tasty analytics reports within your YouTube account. Just login to YouTube and access Analytics with the Creator Studio as shown here...


You don't have any YouTube videos to analyze yet?

Well... it's a good thing you are reading this NOW before you go upload a bunch of vids to YouTube.

Guessing or throwing mud against the wall is the slowest path to success -- period.

Even though I have dozens of videos ranked on YouTube, I really did not truly understand the mechanics behind my most successful videos.

And only just now did I poke my head above water to deep analyze the results. (Waiting this long is not recommended, btw)

My bad.

But, the good new is... you won't have to wait a year to get the skinny on what works best on YouTube.

You ready?

Ok. Let's get into it!

YouTube Success Tip #1:
Use The Perfect Video Length

Quiz time.

Who has a sorter attention span...

[   ] You
[   ] A Goldfish

Go on, take a guess...

... I'll wait...




Surely, you have a higher attention span than a goldfish, right??

Bzzzzt... Wrong!

According to a recent study, that's not the case:


And this attention span problem is only getting worse.

What's the solution?

Create shorter videos.

1-3 minutes is the ideal length for YouTube videos.

The kiss of death on YouTube is uploading an uber-long video. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule.

BUT... it's a known fact that many people look at the video length (right beside the play button on YouTube) and then bail out if it's too long. For example...


C'mon. Admit it...

Haven't you done this too?

I have (... and will again within the next few days).

Who has time to watch marathon length online videos anymore?

Here's another big reason why you'll want to create shorter videos...

Viewer Retention (Time Watched)

It's no secret that YouTube is tracking your videos viewer retention and ranking your video accordingly. Retention means what percentage of your video is actually being watched on average.

That's right. Bad videos (that don't get watched) get penalized on YouTube.

This is nothing new.

A few years ago, leading search engine experts started reporting about this (as shown in this article below from Search Engine Watch).


When you think about it... it makes perfect sense.

Suppose there are two videos competing for the #1 spot on YouTube for a keyword.

Video A has 72% retention
Video B has 12% retention

Which video do you think provides a better user experience?

No contest.

If people are watching only 12% of a video, that speaks volumes... wouldn't you agree?

Getting someone to watch 72% of a 1-minute video is waaaaay easier than getting someone to watch 72% of a 19-minute video.

So keep your videos short, punchy and deliver good content so your viewer feels compelled to stick around.

While the length of your video is important, of equal importance is the style of video you actually create.

YouTube Success Tip #2:
Use The Best Video Style

Over the years, I'm sure you've seen some awful videos on YouTube.

After testing several different types of videos, my YouTube Analytics reports show that my best performing videos have a few similar characteristics.

Ok. Time for another fun pop quiz...

Which video style do you think works best on YouTube?

(Pick one from those images below and I'll tell you the answer in just a sec...)


When analyzing the success of my YouTube videos, there are 2 things I'm looking for (and you should too...)

1. Viewer Retention (Average Time Watched)
2. CTA (usually clicks)

If someone watches a large percentage of your video (high retention) and then responds to your Call-To-Action (more about this later on...), then your video has done it's job.

If someone watches a low percentage of your video and rarely responds to your Call-To-Action (CTA), then your video has failed to do it's job.

Earlier, we already identified that 1-3 minute videos work best.

The next piece of the YouTube success puzzle is the style of video that you use.

During my tests, one style of video has always delivered consistent results for 1-2 minute videos.

Here is a screenshot of my YouTube Analytics for this style of video:


77% viewer retention = Awesomesauce!

Remember earlier when I asked you what style of video do you think works best on YouTube?

If you chose video #3... pat yourself on the back. You are correct!


Video #3 is a typical "Animated Whiteboard" style video.

For 1-2 minute YouTube videos, they work great. These style of videos are fairly inexpensive too.

You can get an animated whiteboard video done for $5-$30 from sites like Fiverr or Odesk.

Just to be clear... animated whiteboard videos are not a silver bullet. They work better for some topics than others.

Run a test or two in your niche market(s) and see what happens.

Also, not all whiteboard videos are created equal. I've seen some bad whiteboards that break all the rules and failed miserably as a result.

Ok. We are almost done. Just a few more things to tell you about.

Are you finding this information helpful?

Is some of the data I have shared with you a bit surprising?

I have to admit. I was a bit shocked when I saw how well my animated whiteboard videos did.

I used to create (typical) in-depth, 7-10 minute "training" videos for YouTube.

Those videos take a lot of time, prep and effort to put together too.

... and then nobody even watches the darn things.


Clearly... those type of videos don't work that well on YouTube 95% of the time.

Let me show you some proof...

Remember that screenshot I showed you earlier?

Do you want to know what my absolute worst performing YouTube video is and why it bombed?


My stats show that generic, narrated PowerPoint style videos (like the one shown below) don't do well on YouTube.

Why is that?

9 times out of 10, these type of videos are just plain boring painful. Visually, there is not much going on. You are just staring at static words on a page. What fun!


Plus, if the topic of the video (and your voice) is not too exciting, people lose interest real fast.

Over the past few months, I have experimented with a few modified versions of these PowerPoint slide style videos.

My Teach-And-Bank Tutorials and Show-And-Sell video formats do much better than the old boring slideshow videos I used to create.

Sidenote: Speaking of my Teach-And-Bank Tutorial video... do you want a copy of the exact video script that I use? (complete with a sample video for you to look at, swipe or rip off). It's waiting for you as a free download. Click Here to access the bonus section.

That's why you should never guess.

Look at your numbers. Analyze your YouTube data. Then make your decisions on what type of videos get results. Make more of them.


If you don't have any YouTube data to analyze yet, use the info in this post (and the Free Bonus Content Download I mentioned earlier). This will save you from 6 months of testing to find what works best on YouTube.

As you now know... it is important to create short videos using a style that works best on YouTube.

However, your YouTube video is a complete waste of time and energy unless you nail this one thing I talk about below.

In other words... there's no point having a fantastic video on YouTube that gets you no clicks, subscribers or leads.

This brings us our next important success tip...

YouTube Success Tip #3:
Have A Clear Call-To-Action

Unless all you want to do is entertain people on YouTube (bad idea), your video needs to have a goal or target.

Do you want to generate traffic, subscribers, leads or sales from your YouTube videos?

Of course!

If you don't clearly tell the viewer what you want them to do, they won't do anything.

That's the purpose of your Call-To-Action (a.k.a. CTA).

Within YouTube, you have 3 primary ways that you can persuade viewers to take action:

1. Annotations
2. Call Outs
3. Links in video description

Let's go through all 3 real quick...

Using Annotations:

Annotations are those little pop ups that you often see within YouTube videos. They look like this...



Yeah, kinda. But they work great!

Annotations can be used to direct your viewers to subscribe to your channel or view your other videos/playlists.

Here's something even more powerful...

Once you verify your phone number and associated website within your YouTube account, you can then add Annotations that link out to your squeeze page, salespage, ecommerce page, etc.

What's that sound?


To check if your YouTube account is verified, access the Creator Studio and then click Channel -> Status and features as shown below:


If you see a green light beside "External Annotations" you are good to go. If not, then you'll need to verify your YouTube account.

To associate a website/domain with your YouTube account (so you can link to it in your Annotations), check under Channel -> Advanced and add your website.


Here's how you add Annotations to your video in 3 easy steps...

Step 1:

First, login to YouTube and access the Creator Studio. Then, under Video Manager, click the Edit button beside the video you want to edit, as shown here:


Step 2:

Then, once you click on the Edit button, select "Annotations" from the drop down menu as shown here:


Step 3:

Next, simply click the "Add Annotation" drop down menu and select the type of Annotation to add to your video.


To add an Annotation with a Call-To-Action (recommended) and a weblink, here is how you do it:


Tip: Don't go overboard with annotations and risk irritating your audience. Add an annotation within the first 20 seconds of your video and then again towards the end.

WARNING: If your viewers are clicking on your Annotation in the first 10 seconds of your video it could actually hurt you. Remember what I said earlier about watch time/viewer retention? Sure, you'll get the click. But your watch time will be extremely low and your rankings will suffer as a result.

Be sure to give your audience a bit of time to actually watch your video before plastering them with Annotations.

Make sense?

In addition to using Annotations, using Call Outs and links in your video description also works really well.

A Call Out is simply a graphic element within your video that suggests the viewer take an action (like visiting a URL).

Something like this...


Last, but not least, is adding a simple Call-To-Action and weblink right within your YouTube video description like this:

video-description-linkTip: Just be sure to use "http://" at the start of your link. Otherwise, people won't be able to click on it. Also, within your video make sure to verbally tell people to "click on the link in the description right below this video" (because few people will do it on their own).

So there you have it!

Prior to reading this excellent post, if you were confused, worried, (scared?) about how to make a video on YouTube, don't be. As you can now see, it's not that difficult.

Now that you have my personal playbook on how to make a simple YouTube video (without you even getting behind the camera) that delivers the best results, it's your turn to jump in.

Are You Ready To Start Getting
FREE Traffic From YouTube?

To ensure that you get great results on YouTube, scroll down and go download the FREE video script and walk through that I created for you.

Rather than bang your head against a wall trying to figure out what to say in your next YouTube video, my video script lays it all out for you. Just fill in a few blanks, hit record...

BOOM. Done!

Or give it to an outsource worker, one of your staff or read it out loud yourself.

Many possibilities here. I hope you like it, use it, and it helps you to create a successful YouTube video in no time!

Click the big green button to get instant access (and while you are at it... kindly chime in below, add a comment and let me know what you thought about this case study. Thanks!)

FREE Bonus Content

Now You Can Hit The Pavement Running On YouTube. Use, Swipe Or Ripoff My YouTube Video Script. Sample Video Included Too!

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  • Greg Timboldt

    Reply Reply

    Killer stuff. I almost feel like I need to print this out. Some really interesting bits of info you shared here that have me wondering about why I haven’t noticed Youtube until now.


    • Jason Potash

      Reply Reply

      Greg, Thanks for the positive feedback. Glad that I helped nudge you to take a look at YouTube.

  • Jordan

    Reply Reply

    I’ve had some decent results on YouTube. Not lately though. I’ve been guilty of doing too much guessing. Thank you for the wake up call. I have a couple ideas from your article that I’m going to test this week including add annotations to some of my older videos.

    • Jason Potash

      Reply Reply

      Awesome Jordan. Let me know how things work out with your tests!

  • Bruce Greenberg

    Reply Reply

    Great information here Jason. Youtube has been on my to-do list for the past two years. This is the final push I needed to put a plan together and start getting free traffic from YouTube. I’m excited to get started. Thnx. :)

  • Awesome information! Thanks so much for sharing all this. I recently invested in video creation software so since that includes creating videos using whiteboard animation (as you’ve indicated are the best) I am pleased with my decision. The stuff you shared about annotations was new to me though, so thank you again!

  • j.r thomas

    Reply Reply

    it looks like I’ve got some homework. lol. very helpful info you gave us.


  • Kathy Wallace

    Reply Reply

    Very smart strategy. I really enjoyed reading this. Bookmarked it.

  • I totally agree with your assessment of LONG videos. So often you’ve already heard the majority of it before so it feels like you aren’t learning anything. Our short attention span and not wanting to use time on a longer video are almost more important than the content you might not hear. Giving your primary points in short doses is more likely to be retained or implemented. Good overview. Thanks.

    • Jason Potash

      Reply Reply

      Exactly Virginia. The fact that Vine and Instagram videos are only a few seconds each doesn’t help matters. Our attention spans are declining. Rather than fight it, we as video marketers must adapt and work harder to engage our audience and keep them watching.

  • Nayna

    Reply Reply

    Right on on Time Jason.

    Very informative and helpful information.

    Thanks so much.

  • B. Simmonds

    Reply Reply

    Your timing could not have been better. I have not done anything on youtube yet because I did not know were to start. That is not going to be a problem for me anymore after reading this article.

  • This is a very helpful post, an I’ll re-read it many times.

    One problem though – in your section about “To add an Annotation with a Call-To-Action (recommended) and a weblink, here is how you do it:” Google seems to have changed the rules. They no longer have an “Associated Website” option for the links.

    I created an adwords video advert yesterday using YouTube and it was disapproved. I spent an hour or two last night trying to wade through their reasons for disapproving the advert, but am no further forward. Their instructions about how to get it approved are totally incomprehensible so far, but perhaps another few hours study will get me a little further.

  • This is a great blog post, thank you for making it.
    We had NO idea there was any way to do an offsite link at Youtube. We’ve wanted one, for convenience, for ages, and this looks like the way to do it. This is a great post because it has action-able steps to take, for anyone.

    Thank you for taking the time to do the step-by-step with the screen caps in there too. That’s very important for novices, or people just returning to the tube. Youtube has become somewhat obtuse to use of late, with hidden menus and stuff not linked where it might be more obvious. The one kink to iron out so far is that when it asks for the URL, it says anything you put (even google’s homepage) is “Invalid URL” even after triple-checking. Hopefully that’s their own problem, and they solve it in short order.

    Someone taking the time to provide free info like this is really valuable, thank you for helping with your blog!

  • Thanks Jason, a very helpful post, you’ve really given a lot of valuable information.

  • The Real Timothy Green

    Reply Reply

    I love this. Actionable ideas that I can put to use this afternoon. Keep up the great work. Thanks so much…

  • Laura

    Reply Reply

    Hey Jason,
    Great post here. I just recently got into youtube seo and trying to rank my videos (it’s way easier than ranking my web pages!). I just subscribed to get your free video script download. Looking forward to using it on my next video. Keeping my fingers crossed that my results are stellar!

  • Very helpful. Thnx for posting this!

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