Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

There is nothing more frustrating than wasting your valuable time watching a video that doesn’t have what you were looking for!!!

Yes, three exclamations points.

The number of times I’ve looked up videos about how to supercharge your compost to find out it’s not applicable to the UK, or that it’s not suitable for a home grower or not organic. (I’m obsessed with compost by the way).

That’s where a YouTube description can be so handy.

Your YouTube description can tell people exactly what to expect in that video.

But more than that – a YouTube description can help you be found, help people subscribe and drive traffic to your website or other products and services.

What is a YouTube video description? 

A video description is a text that sits below each of your videos. It acts as metadata to help the YouTube bots interpret what your video is about and whether it is relevant for viewers. 

It’s also where a viewer is going to decide whether to make the investment and watch your video. With 2 billion people using it a month, you need to spend a bit of time crafting this content. 

Think of it as your written trailer.

It needs to be packed with little teasers about your video content. It can also be the place to promote your company, your brand, products or service. 

I love this hilarious video description from Grace Helbig. It’s a tongue in cheek version of a YouTube description – but even then it’s still packed with value, personality and important links.

Grace Helbig.png

So how do you write compelling video descriptions that will get people to watch and hopefully subscribe?

1.Create an introductory hook that displays above Show More

Just like other social media platforms, that initial first line is the all-important one. You need to hook your viewer in that first line, otherwise, they’re unlikely to click “Show More” let alone watch more. 

A hook can be anything from an interesting stat to a question to a fascinating statement. Just make sure it explains why people HAVE to watch it. 

“Do you want to know how to grow stellar tomatoes?”

“Want to make superfast, supercharged compost in the UK now”

“The secret to making your first million”


This first line is also a great place to add in a call to action hyperlink to direct people to your core content or sales page.

Grace Helbig's video description on YouTube withe a call to action for Hello Fresh.

2. Add in a summary of what people will see

You ideally want viewers to watch your video right to the end. But how do you do this? 

A summary can help entice viewers to watch to the end.

Here’s where you are going to layout the ‘vegan’ meat and potatoes. You don’t want to give it all away though.

So give them some little tidbits.

In this video you are going to learn more about how: 

  • This amazing X came to life

  • How to use this X effectively

  • How to make more of X for free

  • My top tips to get X

  • Why X will change your life

3. Make your description searchable with keywords

You want your YouTube description to include some teaser information, but information that is also full of your keywords.

You want to try and get your keywords to appear in your title, your first paragraph and a smattering or splattering(?) in your body text.

Try not to keyword stuff, and keep your description as natural as possible. These keywords are going to help people find your content in YouTube Search.

4. How to add timestamps to your YouTube description

Quite a few YouTubers use hyperlinked timestamps to allow viewers to jump straight to the content they are interested in.

Once you put the timestamps in your description, they will automatically update as hyperlinks to those sections of your video.

YouTube can also create chapters, these are segments that will display in your progress bar so people can easily see where a specific bit of content is. 

To get chapters, you’ll need at least three timestamps. Also, make sure you have a 00:00 timestamp as your first one, then have them at least 10 seconds apart. You also need to keep them in ascending order. 

You can go back to previously uploaded videos and add them retrospectively.

Chapters on a YouTube description.

5. Tell viewers what to watch next

Tell your viewers what other relevant videos you have to watch, this will keep people on your channel.

Just remember you have to include the full written URL when writing links. That means writing out the full https:// www.

Why? You cannot hyperlink in YouTube descriptions so you need the full written address.

Links to related content to watch on a YouTube description.

6. List out the resources, websites or references you mention in your post

Did you mention a product, a book, or an amazing website? Then give your viewers a helping hand by listing all that useful knowledge with links in your video description.

If your links are affiliate links make sure you add a disclaimer to make people aware.

Film it Yourself's YouTube Channel and a video description with links to all equipment used.

You could also space out your various offers and give them sub-headers to make them easy to scan.

Adding in sub-headers into your YouTube descriptions. Example from Roberto Blake's YouTube Channel Video.

7. Tell people how to connect with you

If people liked what you had to say, then give them all your social media handles. Again, make sure you include the full URL address.

Add in any other useful links like your Patreon site, Etsy page, author page, podcast. 

Most importantly – don’t forget to tell people to subscribe to your YouTube channel!

Want people to subscribe to a newsletter? Add the link in here too. 

9. Break up content with emojis and special characters

You cannot add bullet points in YouTube descriptions, so you may have to get creative with your special characters of emojis.

The ubiquitous “*” is always a possibility, but why not try something more original like, // or >>. 

Or you can add emojis. Just go to Emojipedia. And highlight and copy the emoji (Ctrl+C) then paste it into your description (Ctrl+V) – 📞😉.

If you have the TubeBuddy extension you’ll get the emoji icon next to the comments box to allow you to easily add emojis. 

Using emojis with Tube Buddy in YouTube descriptions

10. Tell people what equipment or products you used

This one is optional, but I personally love it when people tell me what filming equipment they’ve used to make the video. I just want to know, and I love tech. 

But if you’re using specific products related to your industry, don’t forget to mention them here too.

11. Add hashtags

Finally, at the end of your description, you can add three hashtags. These can actually appear anywhere in your description, but if you keep them at the end it will stop viewers from clicking on them while reading through your description and clicking away from your content. 

YouTube is going to ignore anything over 15 hashtags. Plus any more than three looks a little spammy,

Just remember to go for hashtags specifically related to your video.


Hashtags will also appear above your YouTube video title as well.

Hashtags displaying in YouTube description for Cooking with Dog.

12. Remind people who you are

If people are new to your brand and new to your channel, you might want to give them a reminder. I like this one from Ashni Christ, a Stream Coach who adds in a little bio at the bottom of her YouTube descriptions. 

Ashni Christ's Twitch YouTube Channel description.

13. Add a pinned comment

Adding a pinned comment is a clever trick that TubeBuddy says will optimize your video. Whether or not it does give the algorithm a boost, it is a great way to remind people to engage.

So, once you’ve posted your content, post the first comment and ask direct questions.

After they’ve read through your description they may forget to leave a comment, so it’s a good reminder to spark engagement.

You could also include another call to action here as well to make it stand out from the rest of your video description. 

Once you’ve posted it, you can pin that comment to your video. 


Hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas of how to make the most of your YouTube description.

Your text should now be full of value, teasers about your content and call to actions to help send that viewer to more videos, more content or direct to your product and services.

I’ll leave you with a top tip.

You can create generic YouTube descriptions that will apply to every new video you post. If you add in all your generic info and social media handles to it, it will speed up your YouTube description creation.

If you want an editable template for writing YouTube descriptions, then check my one out here.

Have you tried this? Did it make a difference?

Why not save this for later?