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BBP 029: How to Make the Most Out Of Youtube with Serena Appiah

Tools and Resources Mentioned:

About Serena Appiah

Serena Appiah is the owner, publisher, and carpenter-in-training behind Thrift Diving, a blog and YouTube channel that inspires you to decorate, improve, and maintain your home with paint, power tools, and thrift stores. Serena is a mom of three boys ages 13, 10, and 8. She’s outfitted her home with many thrift store treasures–not only because it’s economical, but also because she loves turning trash into treasure. Learn more at


Hey Boss, welcome to the Blogger Breakthrough Podcast, I’m your host, Liz Stapleton from and founder of the Blogger Breakthrough Summit.

Today I’m sharing with you a snippet from the 2020 Blogger Breakthrough Summit. It’s from Serena Appiah’s session on Youtube.

Registration for the 2021 Blogger Breakthrough Summit is opening up in just a couple of days, so if you want to make sure you get notified when registration opens, be sure to join the Blogger Breakthrough Newsletter, the link for that is in the shownotes or you can just go to

Now let’s take a listen to part of her summit session to learn more about how to save time and make the most out of Youtube….

[00:00:39].320] – Serena
You’ve created this amazing video. You have a professional camera where you have your iPhone, but it’s an amazing video. What do you do now that you are ready to publish? So here’s what I like to tell people. When you are ready to publish a video on YouTube, there’s some things that you have to do, right? Like your title has to be a title that’s going to not be quick, baby. But you also want to you want you want it to be something that people are going to want to see.

[00:01:05].780] – Serena
Right. They’re going to want to think. I’m interested in knowing more about that topic and you want that keyword to be in your title. So, for example, if I’m talking about painting a dresser, I’m not just going to do a video that says “painting tips.” It’s “how to paint a dresser” so that if people are searching for that, hopefully that video will pop up. I’m also looking at things like my description. You’d be surprised how many people don’t put enough attention into your description of your video.

[00:01:33].920] – Serena
Now, that keyword that you research that you check out on SEMRush or Google Analytics or Google Trends, you want those keywords to be in your description. That’s very important. I usually try to put probably, probably try to use it twice and I may try to use other keywords that are related to that. So if I’m talking about painting a dresser, I might put painting furniture or other words that might be relatable to what the topic is.

[00:02:04].880] – Serena
But there are other things, too, that you need to put in your description. You want to make sure that you’ve got all your social media links that are there.

[00:02:12].080] – Serena
And what are the things that you want people to do after they watch your video or while they’re watching your video? Do you want them to go back to your blog? Do you want them to sign up for your email list? What are those call to actions?

[00:02:25].610] – Serena
Yes, there those call to actions that you want people to do and make sure that you put them there in your description. Now, YouTube actually has a way. If you go into if you go into your Google, not Google analytics, but if you go into the analytics of YouTube, you can go into your settings and actually create a default template of your description.

[00:02:48].170] – Serena Yes.

[00:02:48].650] – Serena
So this means every time you upload a video, you don’t have to go back and copy and paste. It’s already there for you. So if you have certain affiliate links that you want to include, if you want your subscribe link to be there, you can perfect it and then have it be that way all the time. And then you just have to put a little blurb with your keywords. So and in fact, I just did a content audit or YouTube

audit with a brand who didn’t know that they had this option.

[00:03:16].190] – Serena
They didn’t even know that their description is so important. And so I went back and kind of pulled apart their description and told them all these tips to make sure that you are utilizing that. Because what I find is that people are more likely to click back when I give them a reason to. So, for example, I’ll do a video on a furniture make over, for example, and I’ll say, hey, to get the materials list, click here to go back to the blog.

[00:03:40].430] – Serena
And surprisingly, people will leave YouTube and go back to your blog. Right. That’s where you can grab them in, get their email address so that now they’re on your email list and you can continue to send them video links and other content or affiliate links or sell them your product.

[00:03:56].180] – Liz
Yeah, I just want to like you could look, I didn’t know about that with your description. So if you go to your your channel, your YouTube studio and you go to settings and then upload defaults.

[00:04:07].720] – Serena Yes.

[00:04:08].090] – Liz
I was like where in youtube is this, because that’s amazing. I was like, wait, what? So I’ll let you get back to it. But I was like, this is where it’s at for anyone wondering…

[00:04:16].460] – Serena
Yes. And I’m glad that you mentioned that exactly where it’s at because even for myself, I had to dig in. It’s something that I’d set up a long time ago. And I didn’t even really think about where it was until just recently when I did the consultation for for a brand. But that is where it is. And so every time you upload, it will have those defaults. Now, I also upload as unlisted, so that’s one of my defaults.

[00:04:39].140] – Serena
So any time I’m uploading, it will automatically be unlisted because I want to make sure that I’ve got my title as good as I can get it. I want to make sure that I’ve got my description as I want it. And I also want to change my thumbnail and the thumbnails are super, super important. And I think sometimes when people are doing YouTube and they don’t realize how important their thumbnail is sometimes they’ll let YouTube select their thumbnail because it’ll usually give you three options.

[00:05:09].400] – Serena
But you to pick your options, like your thumbnail option, it should be a 1280×720 sized picture and I’ll actually just use Canva, is a free site that you can use. They’ve got templates in there already, but I already just have a blank one set at 1280×720. And then I’ll take a picture that I specifically have taken for my video.

[00:05:34].150] – Serena
Now this is where I want people to actually think about your content and plan your content. Now for me, when I’m doing a project, I will usually take a lot of when I’m working on a DIY project that we usually do a lot of landscape pictures or portrait pictures. But the landscape is what you want for YouTube, right?

[00:05:53].080] – Serena
Because it just looks nice in that 1280×720. Plan your content, because if there’s a picture that you want high quality high resolution picture and you definitely want to show some whitespace. Right. So, for example, if I’m taking a picture of a furniture makeover, I’m going to do a nice landscape picture that main focus. Maybe it’s a chair, a dresser. I’m actually going to just have it off to the side a little bit so that I’ve got some clear space for some wording.

[00:06:21].620] – Serena So keep that in.

[00:06:24].910] – Liz The rule of thirds.

[00:06:25].150] – Serena
Yes, exactly. Like rule of thirds making sure. And this is something that you plan because there have been times when I have been going back ready to do the thumbnail and I’m like, oh, I don’t have a good picture. And then you’re scrambling, trying to find that that Eye-Catching picture. So make sure that it’s something that zoomed in one of… One thing that I’ve noticed is that when I post wide angle pictures, the thumbnails never performed, the videos never perform well because people can’t see anything.

[00:06:52].240] – Serena
So if I’m doing like a room makeover, I might want to zoom in on one part of the room and then have a big word that says before, because people like mystery. So if there’s a way that you could create some kind of mystery on your thumbnail, it could be, you know, three secrets you didn’t know about saving money. Or for me, again, it’s a furniture makeover that just before. Yeah.

[00:07:16].630] – Serena
And I actually used to do this on my my thumbnails. I used to give it to them right in the thumbnail. Here’s the before. Here’s the after. Those videos would perform. OK, but in YouTube you can actually compare all of your videos to find out if certain thumbnails are performing better than others.

[00:07:34].720] – Serena
We’ll talk about that in just a moment.

[00:07:36].490] – Serena
But you can actually look and see how is this video performing with this thumbnail versus if I put another thumbnail. So just keep that in mind of planning that thumbnail as you’re uploading, as you’re even shooting your content.

[00:07:50].070] – Liz Yes.

[00:07:51].220] – Serena
Another thing that you have to do is you have to do cards. Now, whenever you’re watching YouTube, I’m sure we always see that little card. Right.

[00:07:59].260] – Serena
A little thing that pops up. And this is something that’s that’s pretty important. When you’re planning your content, you can talk about other videos related to the one that you’re doing. So I can say, hey, you know, today we’re going to be stripping this chair if you’re not sure about stripping. Be sure to click up here in the corner for more stripping tips and videos. Now, that can be a video that you’re linking to, right.

[00:08:22].750] – Serena
Or it could be a link to your to your blog post or it could be an opt-in.

[00:08:27].430] – Serena
So if you’re looking to grow your channel and grow your views, cards is an excellent way to get people clicking up there for related content. It keeps them on your channel. It keeps them watching. And it tells YouTube, hey, this person’s interested in what they have to say. So we’re going to serve up more content for your audience. And…

Wrap Up

Okay, hopefully this little snippet helped you make Youtube easier. Be sure to join me next week when I’ll be sharing a sneak peek at one of the 2021 Summit sessions…. Until then, have a great day!

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