How to Make YouTube Shorts: A Creator's Guide

No other content type has completely reshaped the way we connect and engage online quite like short-form videos.

After social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook embraced the trend of mobile-friendly short videos in 2020, it was only a matter of time before YouTube hopped on board.

YouTube is hands down one of the favorite platforms for online entertainment, with 62% of American internet users reporting using YouTube daily. It’s also a favorite for video creators, especially those who teach online.

Enter YouTube Shorts, the latest shift in the ever-growing shift of short-form content. Beyond just entertainment, they can be a powerful marketing tool for creators. Think of these short, vertical videos as ads for your channel. 

In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through how to make YouTube Shorts, from filming to editing to uploading. By the end, you'll be ready to embrace short-form YouTube videos and create engaging content to reach new subscribers faster.

What Are YouTube Shorts?

Before we jump into the creation process, let's first go over what YouTube Shorts are and why their popularity is skyrocketing.

YouTube Shorts are vertical videos that are less than 60 seconds long. For many creators, they serve as a fast track to growing their subscriber numbers.

Right now, the YouTube algorithm is heavily promoting Shorts, which makes them a valuable tool for getting your name out there. These bite-sized clips have a dedicated section in the YouTube app, which makes it easy for viewers to watch and find Shorts from different creators. 

But here’s the catch: Shorts have their own ad setup, so your earnings from ad revenue won’t stack up as high as they do with longer videos.

Why Are YouTube Shorts Important?

Now, you might be thinking: why bother with Shorts if they won't bring in much ad revenue?

Even though you probably won't see instant revenue from views like you would with traditionally longer videos, it can be a great way to scale your YouTube audience. 

With the dedicated Shorts section, your videos have a better chance of catching the attention of new viewers. Once you've cultivated a bigger following, you can pivot towards creating longer, more profitable content.

Shorts are also a great way to extend the life of your content. With the “remix” feature, you can repurpose your existing videos into Shorts and increase the views, subscribers, and shares. 

Creating long-form content takes a lot of hard work, which means the average creator may only publish one or two longer videos a week. Sometimes you might even have a great topic, but it doesn’t warrant a long-form video. 

This is where Shorts can come in handy because it makes your channel seem more active between long-form releases. You can even link a Short to a longer video on the same topic to drive additional traffic.

Lastly, Shorts offer you another way to connect with your audience. They meet the needs of viewers looking for quick, digestible content and give you more opportunities to engage with your audience.

How to Make YouTube Shorts

Now that we've established why YouTube Shorts matter for your channel let's break down the step-by-step details of creating them.

Step 1: Plan Your Content

Before you start recording, make a plan. Short-form video is all about grabbing attention fast. Browse through your feed and think about what videos catch your eye—what makes you stop scrolling?

Think about what type of video you want to create and the message you want to send. Can you incorporate current video trends into your content?

Creating YouTube Shorts is where you can experiment with editing. Even in the bite-sized format, your content needs a story structure with a hook, tension, and a payoff. The story is just delivered in a more concise format.

Step 2: Film Your Video

Once you have a plan set, it's time to roll the camera. Grab your phone or a camera to record your video, but make sure to film in a vertical orientation to fit the Shorts format.

Keep in mind that your video can only be 60 seconds or less. While other platforms like Instagram and TikTok allow slightly longer short-form videos, YouTube Shorts must be under a minute long.

You don’t have to always film new videos for Shorts either—repurpose one of your longer videos by turning it into Shorts. Even when the original version was shot horizontally, it’s easy to convert them to a vertical orientation (16:9 aspect ratio) using video editing software.

Maybe you slice different sections from a long-form video into separate clips to redirect videos to the full-length content. Or you could film a quick overview of the longer video, touching on the main points with a compelling call to action to watch your complete video.

Step 3: Edit Your Video

After filming, it’s time to edit your video! This is where the fun begins. 

There are many video editing apps—both free and paid—that you can use to edit your Shorts. Some top picks include CapCut, Adobe Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve.

Dealing with the one-minute time limit can test your editing skills. You might need to rework your video and trim parts to make everything fit. Think of it as a challenge that not only amps up your Shorts but improves your skills for longer video

Short-form videos thrive on visuals to make them engaging. There are a lot of creators vying for your audience’s attention—get creative with visuals to stand out. 

Tell your story by adding text, music, or other effects. For example, you can use text to emphasize the parts of your message you want viewers to notice. 

Bonus: YouTube Shorts has a massive music library, giving you much more options than TikTok or Instagram.

Step 4: Upload Your Video to YouTube

Let’s get your creation out there! Open up the YouTube app and tap on the “Create” button. From there, select the "Create a Short" and choose the video you want to share. 

You can also record and edit directly in the YouTube app. Just hold down the “Capture” button or tap it to start recording and again to stop. 

Add a title, description, and hashtags to your video, just like a regular YouTube video. Remember to include the hashtag #shorts in your title anytime you upload Youtube Shorts. This little trick can help the algorithm feature your Shorts widely across the platform. 

Examples of Successful YouTube Shorts

To give you some creative inspiration, here are some examples of standout YouTube Shorts:

1. "Mistakes to Avoid or Correct” by EleniFit

EleniFit, a fitness channel on YouTube, created a quick video that shows common mistakes in popular workout moves. Through a mix of visuals and text, she not only points out the blunders but also demonstrates the correct techniques. With over 115k likes and a hundred comments, the video showcases EleniFit’s signature Pilates-inspired workout style.

2. "How to Meditate for Beginners" by iamvanessae

Vanessa's channel focuses on wellness, covering healthy living, mindfulness, and self-care. She created a short video showcasing 7 meditation tips for beginners, combining music, text, and diverse camera angles. With tens of thousands of likes, it’s a great example of incorporating multiple editing techniques into a short and engaging format.

Final Thoughts

YouTube Shorts provide an opportunity to connect with your audience and increase your visibility on the platform. With our easy-to-follow guide and practical tips, you'll be able to create Shorts that not only grab attention but also keep your viewers coming back for more.

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