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YouTube Shorts: Getting Started as a Beginner

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YouTube Shorts and all short-form content are really hot right now. I keep hearing that you can “blow up your channel with shorts” but is that really true? If you’ve been wondering what YouTube Shorts are, how they work, and how to post a YouTube Short, this post is for you!

Some product links in this post are affiliate links, and I will be compensated when you purchase by clicking our links. Read my disclosure policy here.

This post is sponsored by Epidemic Sound.

YouTube Shorts Overview

I’ve been posting to TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts over the last several months and even did a video showing how I automatically repurpose them (so that I only have to post ONCE).

And I’ve had clients, students, friends, and family ask me, “what’s the deal with Shorts? What do I need to know?” So if you’re here to make videos that grow your audience and make money, and you’re wondering how shorts can help you do that, ME TOO!! Here’s what I know now…

What are YouTube Shorts?

Here are the fast facts about YouTube Shorts:

  • A YouTube Short is a vertical video that’s less than 60 seconds.
  • You can record, edit, and post from your phone directly in the YouTube app
  • You can also record Shorts, edit and publish from outside of the YouTube app if that suits your workflow better

If you haven’t seen any Shorts yet, they are easy to find.

On the YouTube homepage (open up youtube.com or the app) and scroll down a bit, you’ll see what YouTube calls the “Shorts shelf” which is where YouTube will recommend videos from channels you’re subscribed to or videos that are trending.

On a YouTube channel that has shorts (we’ll use mine as an example), you can see I have a section of my homepage for Shorts and I have a Shorts tab on my channel as well, and that’s where you can see them all.

VIDEO: Getting Started with YouTube Shorts

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How to Create Shorts

I’ve created shorts in several different ways and currently, when I create short-form content, typically, I’ll record with my regular phone camera and edit in CapCut.

Then I have that vertical video saved on my phone that I can then upload to any platform.

I recommend this method rather than recording in the app because you have more control over the edit, the text, the effects, and the overall look and feel of your Shorts video.

Why are Shorts the best Short-Form Video platform?

I don’t know if I’m ready to make the bold statement that YouTube Shorts are the best short-form video platform. But there are a few reasons why I think YouTube Shorts is a more interesting and compelling platform to focus on versus TikTok and Reels.

1. Optimized Title and Description in Shorts

TikTok and Reels provide space for a “caption” but they’re not as easy to optimize or layout as Shorts. Just like a regular, long-form YouTube video, your Shorts description can be full of additional information. So if you’re sharing a recipe, craft, or anything where additional text information would be valuable, you can include that in your Shorts description.

Plus… your description can be optimized for search! Since YouTube is owned by Google, you have a much better chance at having your Shorts discovered in Google search results in addition to YouTube search results.

2. YouTube is the most powerful video platform

Search and SEO isn’t the only way to get your content discovered on YouTube. YouTube’s algorithms will “surface” your video to viewers whose viewing behavior is similar to people who’ve viewed your videos previously.

It’s one of the most powerful things about YouTube. So if you’re skipping out on YouTube Shorts, you’re skipping out on utilizing the most powerful video platform on the planet.

Plus, YouTube has been the top online video platform forever and I believe it will do all it can to stay that way.

3. Links are CLICKABLE!

The links in your YouTube Shorts description are clickable. This is huge for driving traffic to other videos, your website, your lead magnet, the stuff you have for sale, or the services you are selling.

YouTube Shorts Music

One of the problems with YouTube Shorts (and all short-form videos) is the copyright issues that come with using background music, audio, and trending sounds. And although trending audio makes up a large part of the fabric of short-form videos, it’s not worth risking a copyright strike, having your audio muted completely, or having your channel shut down.

That’s why I use royalty-free music from Epidemic Sound in my Shorts. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why I create Shorts outside of the YouTube app. That way I can choose the music I want from Epidemic Sound’s diverse library.

You can try Epidemic Sound free for 30-days using this link here: https://bit.ly/3hrv7WJ

Conclusion on YouTube Shorts

I don’t think shorts replace long YouTube videos at all. They are in addition to your long-form YouTUbe videos. I consider them to be supplemental.

I also think Shorts and “on-demand” long-form videos are two different mediums. Even though they’re both video, and they’re both on YouTube… it’s like oil paintings and watercolor are both paintings but they’re different mediums. You treat them differently in how you create them and the end result is different.