The Beginner’s Guide to Editing YouTube Videos

As a video marketer, editing is possibly the most important part of post-production. If you can’t seamlessly weave your recordings together, or if you can’t get your editing in the right frame, your video will look unpolished and shut down your viewers.

However, if you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford video editing software. What Can a Video Marketer Do Without Editing Software? Fortunately, YouTube offers a web-based video editor that is completely free and accessible through its platform.

This post will teach you how to use YouTube’s native video editing tools, as well as best practices to keep in mind while editing your videos to ensure that your audience stays engaged and wants to see more.

How to use YouTube’s video editor

1. Sign into YouTube Studio

2. Click on Contents in the left sidebar.

YouTube Studio Editor sidebar dashboard

3. Under Upload, click the thumbnail of the video that you want to edit.

YouTube Studio Editor Channel content dashboard

4. Click Editor in the left sidebar.

5. Trim the beginning or the end of your video.

If you’d like to trim the beginning or the end of your video, select “Crop” next to your video’s timer and just above your timeline control panel.

YouTube Studio Trim video timeline window

You should see a blue box around the sides of your video timeline control panel. Drag them to cut off the parts at the beginning or end of your rough cut that you don’t want to include in your final published version. Click Preview to see your edits and click Save in the upper right corner when you’re satisfied.

YouTube Studio Trim Video

6. Cut clips from the center of your video.

If you want to cut a specific clip out of the middle of your video, select Crop. Then, in your Timeline panel, click the beginning of the part of the clip you want to remove and click Split.

YouTube Studio Split Video

Next, in your timeline area, click the end of the clip you want to remove and hit Split again.

YouTube Studio Split Video

Finally, click the blue line at either the beginning or the end of your clip and drag it to the other side to crop it out of your video. Click Preview to see your edited video and click Save when you’re satisfied.

YouTube Studio Split Video

7. Add an end screen to your video.

If you want to give your viewers a chance to watch any of your related videos, playlists, or subscriptions to your channel, click the end screen icon at the bottom of your timeline area. The image below shows the end screen icon outlined in red.

Youtube Studio Video Editor Timeline Panel End Screen Icon

You can upload your existing end screen template by clicking Apply Template on the pop-up menu (this is a helpful guide for creating your own template) or choosing from the editor’s native options: Video, Playlist, Subscribe, Channel, or Link.

Youtube Studio Video Editor End Screen Items Menu

How to edit videos for YouTube

While understanding how to edit your videos is important, it is also important to make sure that you are editing videos into an end product that users will be interested in. Let’s discuss best practices to keep in mind while editing your videos during post-production.

Create beautiful thumbnails for any video.

Thumbnails are the first thing your viewers will see before they watch your video. So they are your first chance to get attention and attract your audience.

Your thumbnails can be screenshots of specific moments from your videos or even text-based titles. However, you should be exciting and want to fascinate your audience and learn more.

Here is a helpful guide on how to create YouTube thumbnails.

To tell a story.

Just like reading a book, we want the videos we watch to tell a story. This means that your videos should have a flow and should follow the basic elements of storytelling: beginning, middle, and end.

You want your story to walk viewers through what you share with them and they won’t get confused and wonder how one clip relates to another. This post has an in-depth explanation of the basics of storytelling and how you can apply its principles when editing your videos.

Use engaging elements in all of your videos.

Aside from telling a story, adding engaging elements to your videos while editing is a great way to keep your audience engaged.

Appealing elements can be images, text and shapes, animations, music and funny transitions. Make sure you choose an element that makes sense and compliments your videos as you don’t want to take the focus off your high quality content.

Create a basic video editing style.

One of the best ways to streamline your editing process and keep your audience engaged is to develop a basic editing style that you will use and apply to each video.

This means a consistent way of editing your videos, thumbnail style, music, transitions, and whatever other added elements you will always use. You’ll spend less time finding new items every time you sit down to edit, and your audience will recognize your consistent style.

For example, at the beginning of your videos, always give a snippet of the most dramatic or exciting moment that will come later to attract your audience. Keep this consistent style across all of your videos as it will give you a consistent framework in which to work and to motivate your audience and want more.

Keep it simple

While doing as much as possible to attract your audience can be tempting, it’s also important to keep it simple and not overwhelm your viewers. Too many unnecessary transitions, loud music, images, and text can distract from your video content and have the opposite effect.

Try to strike a balance between original video content and complementary elements.

Take the time to step back and come back.

Editing videos can be stressful, especially if you’ve been sitting in front of a computer for hours. It can be easy to rethink your work, so stepping back for a while can be beneficial so you can come back fresh, energetic, and ready for a final cut.

You can think of it this way: if you’ve been at a desk for six hours editing a video, you have focused on that and nothing else. You may feel stuck or like you hit a wall and your video is bad. When you step back for a few hours or days, you can come back to it with new eyes to make the final changes and see that your video is good. All you had to do was take a break and come back refreshed.

Whether you’re using YouTube’s native tools or third-party software, editing your videos should be fun. Take the time to understand what works for the content you are creating, create a consistent editing strategy, and watch how the views appear.

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