The way your thumbnails look, can determine whether your YouTube videos get clicked on or get ignored completely. So, no wonder most video creators spend huge amounts of money buying advanced graphic software to create their thumbnail images.
Psst! Let me tell you a secret…
You can create truly professional looking Thumbnails for your YouTube videos, without spending a dime – using PowerPoint. What is more, you can create those thumbnails quickly and easily compared to creating them with those expensive software.
Don’t believe it?
Let me show you how.
There are 2 main steps in creating professional quality thumbnails in PowerPoint.
Step 1: Create a consistent design template for your thumbnail
I am assuming that you post regularly to YouTube. So, you don’t have all day to design your thumbnails.
Hence you set aside a weekend to create a neat looking template for your Thumbnails once and for all. This not only saves you time. But also give a consistent brand image for your channel.
Take a look at how we started using the idea for our Presentation-Process.com YouTube channel:
Considering that the channel already has more than a Million views with over 20,000 subscribers – I’d say the idea has worked out quite okay.
We kept the design of our thumbnail template to be as simple and clean as possible.
The two components of our Thumbnail template are:
- A text placeholder – like the one you see below:
- And a relevant image that connects to the title of the video
Notice that we use the same font combinations to write our text for all our videos. So, we’ve eliminated the need to think about these choices each time.
Since the dimensions of the thumbnail are the same as the standard slide dimensions of PowerPoint – 2013 version, there is no need to do any extra work to tweak the dimensions.
Step 2: Choose the right images to illustrate the content of your videos
This is the most crucial part of the process.
There are two different approaches you can take to choose the right images for your videos.
- Choose an image that shows the end result
This works well for tutorial videos. For example, here is the thumbnail for our video tutorial on ‘How to remove picture background in PowerPoint’
The image shows the transformation of a picture with ‘Orange background’ to ‘No background’.
Another example is our video tutorial on ‘How to create circular arrows in PowerPoint using SmartArt’.
We used the same ‘Circular arrow graphic’ we taught in the tutorial, on the thumbnail.
So, if you have any tutorial type of videos in your YouTube channel, try changing the thumbnails to show the end result of the transformation. You will see a lift in views for those videos.
- Choose a visual Metaphor for your thumbnails
Visual metaphors have the power to create an intrigue in viewer’s minds. This intrigue leads to ‘clicks’ for your videos. The images you choose can be quite simple. Let me show you an example…
To represent ‘Slideshow tricks’, we chose the image of a hand with magic wand:
You get the drift.
Choose a picture that intrigues the audience while connecting to the content of your videos.
Once you finish creating your slide, you can save it as a PNG image and upload it to YouTube as a thumbnail. That’s all there is to creating effective thumbnails for your YouTube videos.
The skills you need to create those Thumbnail slides:
While the basic process of creating the thumbnails is fairly simple and straightforward, the skill required to create a pleasing design is not.
Take a look at the following example:
To create a slide like this, you should know…
- How to choose the right font combination for your design
- How to choose images to match your message
- How to isolate images from their background
- How to place the images to create harmony and balance
…and so much more.
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