Structuring Your Content on Special

Written by
Ashton S.
 on 
March 17, 2021

Within Special, there are three property types you can use to structure the content on your channel: Series, Shows, and Features. When a video is uploaded into Special, it must be organized into one of these three Properties. Each of these Properties impacts how your content appears in the interface, and the order in which visitors and subscribers engage with videos on your channel.

Below is a breakdown of each property type with examples of content. Further on, we’ll cover filling these Properties with content, as well as tips on leveraging property settings, content imagery, titles, descriptions, and more. In combination, this article should help give you a basis to decide what property type(s) may work best for your content, and tips to leverage this structure to help you build a strong, strategic foundation for your Special channel.

Series

This property type automatically organizes content from first to last. A Series should be used when the order of your content matters, and when a subscriber would benefit most from watching content from the very first episode chronologically to the last. Autoplay for this property type will start subscribers on episode 1 when they engage.

Example:

1. If you have episodes of content that tell a story chronologically, build step-by-step knowledge, or if each episode is dependent on the last, choosing the property type “Series” would be best. In this way, a subscriber that interacts with this series on your channel will be shown the beginning episode first, and the “up next” video autoplayed to them will be the second episode in your series, then the third, and so on.

Show

This property type automatically organizes your content from last--or “most recent” videos posted--to first. A Show should be used when the order of your content doesn’t matter, or when the subscriber may benefit from engaging in your most recently posted video first. Autoplay for this property type will start users on the last/most recent video uploaded that they haven’t seen.

Example:

1. Let’s say you host a talk show, and each episode is entirely independent from the last. It doesn’t matter to you or your audience in what order they watch it in, because each episode is totally independent of the others. Organizing this content as property type “Show” may be the way to go.

2. Maybe you have a general fitness class. This class isn’t your “30 Day Fitness Challenge”, where each workout builds on the last--but rather it’s your general workout library, where your intent is for subscribers to be able to click on any workout that calls out to them that day and get started, or see the newest workout first. Structuring this content as a show would be a great fit.

Feature

This property type is best used for a single video, such as a film or event. Don’t be fooled by the name “Feature”; in the context of structuring content on Special, it merely means a single piece of video to be “featured”. Short films, documentary films, feature films all work here, as would performances, events and more.

Example:

1. Let’s say you have one documentary film, uploading that video into Special and then defining that content as a Feature would allow that documentary to have its own landing page, its own branding within your channel, description and etc.

2. If you have a recorded performance of your band that you’d like to stand alone, defining it as a Feature would work great. Or if you held an event, let’s say a hosted discussion panel, that doesn’t relate to your other series or shows or that you want to call out separately, defining that video’s property type as a feature also works great.

Leverage Property Settings for Success

When creating a Property, you will be prompted to create a name (title), upload imagery, and write a description for that Property. These are critically important aspects of the structure of your channel, and have a major impact on the impression your audience users form about your channel and content as a creator.

Use property titles and descriptions to your advantage

Property titles and descriptions, while simple and straightforward, are extremely powerful structure tools to utilize in attracting viewers to your content and helping them make the decision to become a subscriber to your channel.

Taking time to flesh out solid, thoughtful, and engaging property descriptions is best practice.

Why? First, because our meta data shows that users really do read them; and second, because these titles and descriptions are search engine optimized.

When a visitor lands on your property page, it’s likely because either (A) you’ve advertised that content and thus they had some context of what to look for; or (B) they landed on your channel--perhaps through a google search or by clicking on one of Special’s ads or Staff Picks--and are looking around at what you’ve got; saw the imagery and title of one of your Properties, thought it sounded interesting and clicked on it. In both cases, the description is where you try to seal the deal. A couple words or a poorly written sentence is not only not engaging and unwelcoming, it doesn’t reflect a high quality creator or media business and may even detract users from exploring that content. It also doesn’t do much for your SEO.

Help your audience find their home by taking the time to fill your property descriptions with well-written sentences, infused with key words and useful information to build up their understanding of what that content is and make them excited to watch it.

Try to think about this from an audience’s perspective: What would people google / search to find your content? Then thoughtfully weave that throughout your description. If you have a series or show, could mentioning how often new episodes are posted be valuable information for your viewers? For example, maybe new episodes are released every Friday night at 8pm--this could be great info to include at the end of a property description. Some creators even include subscription discount codes for their channel or links to content-specific merchandise.

Get creative and strategic with your property descriptions, but stay concise: you have 255 characters to get your message across. Think about what your creative vision is and what your subscription goals are, and how the property description might help you tell that story and prompt users to become subscribers of that content.

Be tactful with property imagery

As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Use property imagery to capitalize on first impressions, define and enhance your brand’s identity, and help viewers navigate through your channel and content seamlessly.

Property imagery includes Banner Images and Vertical Thumbnails. Layering the title across the top of these images often works really well for these, but certainly isn’t required since these images will never be displayed alone--the respective title is always displayed underneath the image. Some creators use this imagery powerfully as title cards, whereas others use these images to wordlessly convey the tone and mood of the content.

Although both Banner Images and Vertical Thumbnails should be used to represent the entirety of the Property and content within, there’s a few key differences between where the two present from a viewer’s perspective.

Vertical Thumbnails

The Vertical Thumbnail of a Property is used in a handful of ways throughout Special:

  • When a user lands on your channel’s home page, they will see your uploaded Properties, displayed via the Vertical Thumbnail image
  • When a user searches for a channel or content to watch, the search results will be shown via the Vertical Thumbnail
  • Vertical Thumbnails are also used when Special advertises your content through Staff Picks and various other channel promotion activities, including social media advertising
  • If a viewer is using their mobile device, they’ll see Vertical Thumbnails, not banner images

Recommended Property Vertical Thumbnail size: 1280x720px

Banner Images

Clicking the Vertical Thumbnail brings the viewer to the property page--and this is where the banner image lives. The Banner Image is large and center-focused across the top of the page. It is a powerful piece of imagery to be used wisely.

An important note here is if you do not upload a Banner Image, Special will take your Vertical Thumbnail for that Property and put that in banner format--with blocks of black on either side. It “gets the job done”, but doesn’t look near as great as a fully formed, big, beautiful Banner Image. Even if your Banner Image and Vertical Thumbnail are the same, uploading a separate Banner Image will allow Special to take that image and automatically scale it across your property page and give it that welcoming, cinematic look and feel.

Recommended Banner Image size: 1920x1080px

Hot tip: As you go about structuring your channel, use the “preview” icon to see how your channel and property page would look from a subscriber’s perspective. If your channel is already launched and live, you can also use an incognito tab with your channel’s URL.

If you find that your imagery is blurry, this likely means that the uploaded image(s) does not match our recommended size. Here’s a helpdesk article on how to fix that: Updating Blurry Images & Thumbnails.

Stay strategic when uploading content within Properties

After creating the skeleton structure of your channel via Properties, the next step is to build on that structure by uploading and formatting content within those Properties. This article won’t go into every aspect of this process in detail, but we’ll cover the important and relevant parts for structuring your channel.

Create context between the property imagery and the video thumbnails of that Property

Keep in mind that unlike other streaming platforms, your content is front and center on Special. There are no ads or algorithms pushing to other sites or creators’ content. You no longer have to fight for your audience’s attention over spammy-looking thumbnails or cute cat videos. On Special, great video thumbnails enable you to present your premium content in an engaging, branded interface ultimately leading to higher subscriber acquisition and retention.

When a viewer lands on your channel and then clicks into a property page, they’ll see thumbnails of all the videos uploaded into that Property. Special automatically adjusts for content layout based on quantity--so no matter how much or little there is--whether a series with 20 episodes or a feature with one powerful video--Special’s interface will make sure it looks great and engaging.

We highly recommend putting some serious thought behind what types of video thumbnails would work best for your content and creative vision. Whether it’s the same image for each video in that series, or slightly different based on the content of that particular episode, it’s important to show context and relation between the video thumbnails and the Property they live under.

For example, perhaps you host a talk show (uploaded as property type “Show”), and each episode boasts a different guest. It may be best to have individual thumbnails for each episode that showcase the guest of that episode. This drives clear value for the subscriber, as they’re getting a clear visual of who is in that episode / what content they’ll be consuming.

The same value may not necessarily be true for a Series, but can be. For example, perhaps you determine there’s great value in each video thumbnail of a series being an attention-grabbing screengrab from a pivotal moment in that episode, that entices subscribers to keep watching!

For in-depth information on thumbnail strategies, take a look at this blogpost: How to Create Amazing Video Thumbnails: Best Practices to Increase Viewer engagement

Use video titles and descriptions to further fill in the story of your content

Just like for Properties, video titles and descriptions are also optimized for search engine discovery to help viewers find your content and land on your channel. It’s equally important here to take the time to craft useful, powerful descriptions that further tell the story of your content.

Remember that whether a user is merely visiting and browsing through your content deciding if they’ll subscribe, or if they’re already a paid subscriber to your channel, the descriptions of videos should be unique and meaningful to the specific content they represent. Stray away from repetitive, spammy descriptions, and instead hint at what may happen within that particular episode. Or if you have an educational course, perhaps use the description to tell them what they’ll learn in that video.

A note of distinction regarding video descriptions: if you’ve uploaded a video and marked it as “locked”--or gated access for subscribers only--non-subscribers will only be able to see a preview of the video description. After 3 lines of text, a “Read More” prompt will appear, at which point only paid subscribers will be able to click through and read the rest of the video description. Non-subscribers will be asked to subscribe. This could be of importance to you as you ideate strategies to use within the structure of your channel. For example, perhaps you’d like to reward early subscribers with discount codes--you could bury them at the end of that description for a locked video. Or divulge more details of the content of the episode without giving away the good stuff or spoilers for non-subscribers.

For more details on the full process and requirements of uploading videos, check out this help desk article.

Recap

The purpose of this article was to provide you a clear understanding of the difference between property types, relay the importance of structuring your channel thoughtfully and thoroughly, and bring clarity as to which property type may work best for your content, as well as tips on how to leverage it.

Ultimately, thinking through your creative vision and the experience you want your audience to have are the keys to building a successful channel that empowers the creation and exchange of meaningful content. Creating the right structure for your channel is the foundation that helps you get there.

This structure is then enhanced by the titles, descriptions, and imagery of the Properties within your channel, and the content within those Properties. Leveraging these tools thoughtfully and strategically results in a stronger brand identity, better first impression, and a seamless, more enjoyable and engaging experience for your audience.

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