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How to edit YouTube videos like a pro

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Written by Reena A

Published Aug 17, 2023

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably looking to learn how to edit YouTube videos and most importantly become a pro in the YouTube video editing game.

You’re on the right page.

Videos play a vital role in increasing brand/product awareness, boosting product understanding, and driving website traffic.

In a recent study, 92% of marketers said video helps them increase ROI for their business.

bar chart showing percentage of marketers who say video has given them a good roi
Image by Wyzowl

However, if you want to create a successful YouTube video marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how to edit your videos.

And why is that?

It's because video editing is a critical part of the post-production process that can make or break your video marketing strategy.

Furthermore, good video editing can enhance the footage to make your video content captivating for the audience.

Similarly, a poorly edited YouTube video can weaken your footage, leaving your audience disengaged and uninterested in your content.

But here's the thing - editing is one of the toughest parts of the video process according to 29% of video marketers.

bar chart showing most common video marketing challenges
Image by HubSpot

But fret not.

In this guide, you’ll discover simple tips to edit YouTube videos easily like a pro.

So if you want to turn your raw video footage into good-quality YouTube videos, keep reading.

Contents:

  1. Choose a good video editing software
  2. Watch YouTube video editing tutorials
  3. Incorporate storytelling into your video editing process
  4. Incorporate engaging elements in your videos
  5. Organise your video clips
  6. Create a catchy thumbnail
  7. Keep things simple
  8. Leverage colour-correction
  9. Leverage jump cuts
  10. Be careful when using transitions
  11. Break your video editing process into phases
  12. Conclusion

1. Choose a good video editing software 

One of the most important decisions you have to make for editing YouTube videos like a professional is to choose the right video editing software. 

With so many video editing software solutions out there, choosing a suitable solution can be challenging.

While a free video editor can do the job, it won’t give you the required features to edit your videos efficiently.

Furthermore, choosing a complicated or very basic video editing platform can complicate the whole video editing process.

Fortunately, there are some easy-to-use video editing software such as Animoto, Movavi Video Editor, and Canva available in the market that help marketers to edit YouTube videos effectively.

These YouTube video editors offer easy-to-use features and are suitable for beginners.

2. Watch YouTube video editing tutorials 

What’s a better way to edit YouTube videos than to learn from the experts?

The internet is awash with tutorials like the ones below that can guide you through the process of editing your videos.

youtube search of video editing tutorials
Image by YouTube

Apart from YouTube video editing tutorials, you can find blogs, educational websites like Skillshare, and other resources that offer useful tutorials for editing video content. 

The good thing is that most of these tutorials are free so you can watch as many as you want to learn the ropes of editing videos.

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Tell us what you're looking for, and we'll send you suggestions within 72 hours. For free!

3. Incorporate storytelling into your editing process

A recent Statista survey shows that people spent an average of 17 hours per week watching online video content in 2023.

statista survey showing how many hours people spend watching video content
Image by Statista

But you know what?

This doesn’t mean people are watching just any YouTube video out there. With the huge amounts of videos uploaded on YouTube daily, people have tons of video options to watch.

So, how do you stand out?

One of the best ways to hook viewers and keep them watching your YouTube videos is to incorporate storytelling.

Storytelling in video production is beneficial in many ways including:

  • Allows you to connect with your audience on an emotional level
  • Helps you engage with your audience and keep them interested in watching your videos
  • Effective video storytelling can be your key differentiator 
  • Can help improve conversion rates

It’s also one of the best video editing techniques if you want to add your videos to a video monetisation platform as it helps you to create a connection with your viewers and keep them watching your content for longer.

Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, has mastered this art. Instead of focusing on how to sell on Shopify, they created a fun and inspirational video that shows how it feels to make your first sale by selling on the platform.

still from a youtube video by Shopify
Image by YouTube

To achieve effective video storytelling, you need to plan your story before the shooting and editing process to make your video more consistent and engaging.

4. Incorporate engaging elements in your videos

When you edit YouTube videos, you need to keep their engagement in mind as well. Your videos should resonate with your audience and hook them. 

This is especially important if you plan to use them for your influencer marketing or ecommerce strategy where engagement is key.

While using storytelling is a great idea, it isn’t enough to make your videos engaging. You need to incorporate other engaging elements like shapes, fun transitions, images, music, and more to win your audience over.

Semrush, for instance, understands that data analytics is a complex subject to understand, so they created an animated video with Lego bricks as a visual metaphor to educate users about their Traffic Analytics API tool.

screenshot of a youtube video by Semrush
Image by YouTube

5. Organise your video clips

This sounds like a no-brainer but to effectively edit YouTube videos, you need to organise your footage before you start editing it. This will enable you to have a proper structure for all your footage ready. It’s especially important since a complete YouTube video comprises several clips.

Spend some time sorting and labelling your clips. Organising your video clips makes it easier to import them into your video editing software’s timeline.

To organise your footage properly, have separate folders for them, photos, music, and other elements you intend to add to your videos.

Organising your footage this way will make it easier to find anything you want to add to your video during the editing process.

6. Create a catchy thumbnail

There are millions of YouTube videos out there on different topics. How can you make your videos stand out from the crowd and get more clicks and views?

You guessed right—by creating click-worthy thumbnails.

Whether you’re vlogging on YouTube or want to create an educational video on a topic you’re knowledgeable about, you have to create stunning thumbnails.

Thumbnails are the first thing people will see before they decide whether to click and watch your videos or pass.

6 youtube thumbnails for GoPro videos
Image by YouTube

Video thumbnails are even more crucial than your video titles because of the following reasons.

  • A stunning YouTube thumbnail increases click-through rates
  • It also gets into image search results on Google
  • Thumbnails cover a lot more space on a search page than the titles

Ultimately, viewers click on thumbnails that are not only relevant but also stand out from the rest.

Depending on your videos, your thumbnails could include a logo, relevant copy, human face, etc.

Here are tips to make click-worthy YouTube thumbnails.

  • Leverage negative space
  • Get your dimensions right
  • Use consistent layout throughout your videos
  • Show what your video is all about
  • Ensure your text is visible
  • Utilise contrasting colours

7. Keep things simple

Learning how to edit YouTube videos can be difficult if you complicate things while trying to make your videos more attractive.

Of course, the idea behind editing YouTube videos is that the final product looks professional and worth watching. However, you have to keep it simple to avoid overwhelming your viewers.

For instance, even though adding music, images, and other background elements makes your videos engaging, you shouldn’t overdo it.

Make sure you balance the elements well to make a cohesive video that’s not only engaging but entertaining. 

8. Leverage colour-correction

While adding crisp audio and catchy elements makes your YouTube videos look great, colour correction helps to set the mood and tone for them and makes the shots even more engaging for your viewers.

Colour-correcting your raw footage makes it look more professional and polished. Most importantly, it helps maintain consistency throughout the video.

screenshot of a YouTube video on colour grading
Image by YouTube

Here, you need to leverage filters. You can create your own or find filters you can use in your clips.

The good thing about leveraging preset filters is that they automatically take effect so you don’t need to keep adding them to your footage.

A word of caution: ensure your colour correction doesn’t blur your footage.

Pro tip: To capture outstanding video clips, you need a good camera setup. And here’s the thing—some cameras come with filters as well so you can shoot with those on the lens. This film camera buying guide can help you choose the best camera set up for your video recording.

9. Leverage jump cuts

Even though people prefer to watch video content than read text, no one would be happy to watch a video that drags on forever. Using jump cuts during editing can help avoid this mistake.

Jump cutting is helpful to convert long or boring video clips into snappy and engaging ones.

Ideally, this involves taking out a part of the footage and joining the rest to create consistent and seamless footage.

It’s a helpful YouTube video editing technique for condensing longer video clips and removing unnecessary pauses or transitions.

However, it’s important to avoid overdoing this because your video might appear disjoined to your audience.

So, make sure you don’t overuse them.

Here are some handy use cases of jump cuts during video editing.

  • To create smooth transitions
  • To create a tense scene
  • To change the pace of a scene
  • To break up long footage
  • To compress time
  • To highlight important information

10. Be careful when using transitions

Transitions are a powerful tool to edit YouTube videos with because they help to move the viewer along the story, convey a tone, and prepare them for the next scene.

You can use transitions for all videos including those you want to upload on YouTube alternative platforms as well as other social media platforms.

The most popular transitions include:

  • Fade in and out
  • Zoom
  • Whip pan
  • Hand over lens
  • Glitch
  • Evaporation 

Here is a good example of a video that uses the evaporation transition

screenshot of
Image by YouTube

Note that even though transitions can help to beautify your videos, too many of them can hurt the flow of your story. Also, shaking things up by using different transitions all the time can also spoil the viewing experience.

Your transitions should enhance the flow of your story and not distract from it.

Here are video transition tips you can use:

  • Keep them simple and maintain consistency
  • Use them sparingly 
  • Understand what each transition means before using it in your video

11. Break your video editing process into phases

To edit YouTube videos effectively, you need to divide the process into two sessions.

The first session will include a rough cut. Here, you don’t need to pay attention to details. Your focus is to remove inappropriate clips and create an outline for your story.

Put it in another way, your first session should include structuring your clips and cutting out unwanted shots. It’s your first draft.

During the second editing session, you need to focus on polishing your video content and tightening loose ends. Here, you need to focus on the nitty-gritty of video editing including editing audio, adding filters, frames, and other important elements. 

Pro tip: If you want to effortlessly add music, sound effects, images, voiceovers, and other useful elements to your videos, you can leverage an online video maker. Attrock has curated a list of the best video makers that help create high-quality videos.

Conclusion

Video editing can be daunting especially if you’re a beginner in the game. However, if you follow the tips shared above, you can reduce the time and effort required to create professional videos significantly.

The idea is to read, practise what you learn, and continue learning new video editing techniques to create catchy videos.


Reena Aggarwal is Director of Operations and Sales at Attrock, a result-driven digital marketing company. She is an industry expert with 10+ years of sales and operations experience in the field of e-commerce and digital marketing.

In her free time, you would find her spending quality time with her brilliant, almost teenage daughter and watching her grow in this digital, fast-paced era.


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Tell us what you're looking for, and we'll send you suggestions within 72 hours. For free!

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