How to Make YouTube Shorts: A Guide for Newbies

How to Make YouTube Shorts: A Guide for Newbies

These days, short-form video is very popular. The advent of TikTok, Instagram Reelz, and other changes in the marketing industry means that video is hotter than ever. And this trend has transitioned to the marketing world, as well. These days, the short-form video gets a very high ROI.

In some ways, we’ve come full circle from the short TV “spots” to long-form video, and now we have Shorts and other short-form videos. However, creating these videos is an art because you must say so much in so little time. There are also significant formatting restrictions.

There are a few ways to create Shorts, including the adaptation of existing footage and shorter videos made for other platforms. However, YouTube has a function in the mobile app to easily create Shorts. In this article, I’ll tell you how to make YouTube Shorts from the YouTube app itself.

What are YouTube Shorts?

Before we get into how to make YouTube Shorts, it’s important to understand what I’m talking about. Simply, YouTube shorts are short vertical videos that are usually recorded and edited natively on the YouTube app before uploading. The videos range from 15 seconds to a minute, and they have few special effects or other features. However, this no-frills approach makes recording and posting Shorts easy.

Shorts are an attempt by YouTube to compete with the likes of TikTok and other short-form video platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Reels. And although they started off slowly, the Shorts format is now more popular than ever. Here is a great overview of YouTube Shorts from YouTube themselves:

YouTube video

Let’s look at the process of making and posting them.

Further Reading: The 11 Types of Short-Form Video You Can Leverage TODAY

How to make YouTube Shorts?

Making a YouTube Short is relatively easy, especially compared to making a longer video. Part of that is the length, of course. But in addition, you’ll do all the work in Creator Studio. For longer videos, many of us shoot the footage with different tools, even if we edit inside of YouTube.

Here’s how you can create Shorts from within the YouTube app:

  • Open the YouTube app on your phone. 
  • Click on the plus icon at the bottom of the app. You’ll have to scroll down to where you can go to the home page or see your history.
YouTube mobile app plus button to add content
  • A pop-up will appear with a couple of options, including “upload video” and “go live.”
  • Choose the first option, which is ‘create a short.’
Create a Short in YouTube app content creation menu
  • Allow camera permissions if it prompts, but you probably won’t see that if you’ve used the camera with YouTube before.
  • Next, you will arrive at the main recording page, which is pictured below:
YouTube Shorts recording screen explained
  • The default recording length is 15 seconds, but you can change that by tapping on the number 15 which will then display a “60” to represent 60 seconds in length. 
  • On the recording screen, after pressing the “More options” arrow, you will find a complete list of options like Flip, Effect, Speed, Timer, Green Screen, Retouch, Filters, and more. Select whichever ones you want. One idea is to experiment with different options over time, perhaps even as different versions of the same Short.
YouTube Shorts complete user interface showing more options
  • Hit the record button to start recording. Once you’re done, hit the same icon again. Edit the video as per your liking. You can also undo and record again. 
  • If you want to post a video longer than 15 seconds, tap next after you finish recording a clip. 
  • When you have finished recording, add a title and the hashtag #shorts. If you want, add some other hashtags to make your video more visible in the YouTube algorithm.
  • As a final step, click on upload, and your short video is ready to go out. You can also schedule the Short to publish when you think it’s most advantageous.

As you can see, learning how to make YouTube Shorts is easy. With a little bit of trial and error, you can make wonderful Shorts that your followers, new and old, will love.

Further Reading: How to Make a YouTube Video in 6 Easy Steps (for Beginners)

Benefits of creating YouTube Shorts

Clearly, it’s easy to make YouTube Shorts. But why should you, when long-form videos pass on so much information to help sell your products and services? In a video-dominated social media landscape, YT shorts help you create short, punchy videos that engage, entertain and increase your views and followers.

It’s important to remember that the more people watch your videos, the more your YouTube stats improve. Plus, you’ll get better treatment in the YouTube algorithm, increasing your viewers even more. Over time, more people will like, subscribe, and share.

What does this mean in practice? YouTube Shorts are a great way to massively increase the size of your channel. In turn, you’ll get more opportunities to reach customers. Even better, you can use your Shorts to help build a brand community on the platform.

Not convinced yet? Short-form video is very popular with customers right now, so you can expect lots of opportunities to make an impression with them.

Learning how to make YouTube Shorts is very important if you want an effective YouTube channel for your brand.

Further Reading: 11 Tips on How to Grow Your YouTube Channel in 2024

5 Tips for making great YouTube Shorts

Of course, making great Shorts is about more than just pointing your camera at something. While some people can make anything popular, there are some rules that can improve your Shorts. In particular, the topics you choose and how you promote the videos can make a lot of difference.

Here are some tips that can help you make the most out of learning how to make YouTube Shorts.

1. Keep it short and sweet

You can make a Short up to 60 seconds long, just like TikTok. However, you should never make a Short this long unless you need it to deliver your message. For example, short tutorials can easily be a minute. At the same time, make sure to make your point effectively. You don’t want to cut the video off prematurely because that’ll affect the quality.

2. Use eye-catching visuals and music to enhance your video’s impact

Who sits down to watch boring YouTube Shorts? One of the great things about Shorts is that there isn’t time for the videos to drone on and on. Unless they’re close to a minute, that is.

However, that isn’t to say that brevity is the main thing that lets you keep people’s attention to the end. Rather, make the video visually interesting. You can do this with special effects, filters, and overlays. These aren’t as flashy as TikTok, but they’re still very effective.

Don’t forget to keep everything consistent with your branding, just like you would with a longer video.

Social media has a lot of different trends, and YouTube is no exception. A very effective way to boost your reach is by leveraging the latest trends. You can find the latest trends by watching YouTube or by using any of several social media marketing tools. In particular, analytics suites and dashboards are highly effective at finding the most important relevant trend.

Best of all, these tools will give you the best hashtags to get your Shorts noticed.

Further Reading: YouTube Shorts Looping: How to Do It and Why It Increases Video Views

4. Utilize hashtags to reach a wider audience

As I just mentioned above, hashtags are one of the best ways to get your Shorts shown to the right audiences. Although hashtag use is lighter on YouTube than on some other social networks, they’re still very effective at identifying your content for the algorithm. In addition, hashtags help with YouTube searches and other ways that people discover content.

Remember, hashtag research is important, though it’s much easier on YouTube. Besides obvious hashtags like branding, always make sure your hashtags are relevant to the content you publish. Otherwise, you’ll get poor results.

Further Reading: Instagram Hashtags: Where To Find Them And How To Use Them

5. Promote your shorts on social media platforms

Finally, remember that YouTube is a great content host. That is, you can put Shorts and other material on YouTube, then use other social media platforms for marketing the content. One way to do this is by linking to the video on Twitter or Facebook. Hopefully, this will get people curious enough not only to watch the advertised Short but to check out some of your other content.

Best of all, this is a great way to improve your following on YouTube. People who see your Shorts advertised on other platforms already know about you. For this reason, they may be more inclined to subscribe to your channel or at least keep watching. Every new subscriber you get expands your reach and the opportunity to make impressions on new people.

Further Reading: 15 Viral YouTube Shorts Ideas


Learning how to make YouTube Shorts is easy. However, the results of learning this skill is very valuable, especially for marketers. With video content more popular than ever, each Short is a way to capture our customer’s attention, albeit briefly. Then, we can reach them with more in-depth marketing messages and hopefully, convert them into customers.

Best of all, unless you’re making a Short from other footage using video editing software, you don’t need extra equipment. A cell phone camera, time, and creativity are all it takes to create meaningful messages for your customers and the community at large.

Best of all, you and your brand will demonstrate that it’s in touch with the latest trends.

What’s not to like about that?

Hero photo by ANGELA FRANKLIN on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. Shorts are so much harder than … longs. People these days have no idea how to be concise.

    By the way, nice way to sneak in a few selfies.

    • Hey David, thanks for the comment! I believe that Shorts are just a completely different beast than horizontal long-form videos, both in terms of content as well audience!

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