Toolkit: Guides

YouTube Guidelines

YouTube, when used correctly, is an effective forum for telling the University’s, your college’s or department’s, or other brand stories. YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. People upload more than 100 hours of video per minute to YouTube. It’s one of the best ways to communicate to a wide audience, whether you’re promoting programs or providing information to students.

YouTube is frequently used by USU and will be used for best practices and procedures. We acknowledge there are other video platforms such as Vimeo and Kaltura you can consider for video hosting in addition to YouTube. Although not addressed in these guidelines, we encourage you to utilize similar practices and procedures when applicable for these video platforms as well. 

There are many upsides to cultivating the YouTube community, but if used incorrectly, there are also risks to the reputation of the university. It is the responsibility of the account holder to protect the professional reputation, follow the guidelines, and adhere to the university policies when managing this highly visible account. 

Any video embeds on a USU managed webpage need to be hosted on a USU managed YouTube account. Try to limit any USU video content from being hosted on personal accounts or the accounts of any freelancer or external company that helped create the video. 

Recommendations Specific to USU Colleges and Non-Academic Units

It’s recommended that USU colleges and our non-academic units make an effort to combine all departments and programs under their college accounts or their top-level account to generate larger SEO opportunities.

  • USU colleges: Encourage departments and programs to create a playlist under the college channel to help with SEO to the college page and drive SEO for the college.
  • Non-academic units: Encourage a single department to create playlists under the top department channel to help with SEO.
  • All video content representing USU should be uploaded on an official USU account. If a student or an outside business creates content for your organization, have them share the final file for you to upload on a USU YouTube account. This gives USU the ownership to caption the videos, remove them if an issue occurs, and embed them on our websites.

Creating playlists for departments, programs, and non-academic units also directs viewers to other USU videos rather than any number of unrelated videos. 

Before Creating a YouTube Account

Does an official university YouTube account already exist that you can utilize and help strengthen the channel? Working with your division or office communicator is a great place to start. Building a single YouTube account with a lot of related videos is preferable to multiple seperate accounts containing a couple of videos each. If you have a lot of videos planned and want them grouped together, a channel can create a playlist to house all of your videos. Do not create an account without reaching out to first. They may be able to guide you to an account that already exists and provide a contact to work with on uploading videos.

The official channel of Utah State University is This account can host videos as unlisted. There are several Utah State University affiliated accounts USU officially recognizes (i.e., groups on campus who meet the production, legal, and technical requirements set forth by Utah State). For a complete list, visit our social media directory.

DO NOT create a YouTube account without approval from the director of USU's social media within UMAC. If a USU managed YouTube account exists that is not on the official list, apply to be an officially recognized account. The same procedure applies to creating an officially recognized YouTube account as for our social media accounts.

Creating a YouTube Account

After you've received approval for creating a YouTube account, the account administrator will need to complete all of the following steps before adding content. 

  • DO NOT use a personal email on behalf of a college, department or program. If the person leaves or the email is deactivated, this will cause issues in the future.
  • Designate two benefit-eligible employees who will serve as Account Administrators. It is also the responsibility of the Appropriate Administrator to designate an employee to replace an existing Account Administrator, as necessary, and remove the exiting Account Administrator’s administrative permissions on the relevant Officially Recognized Account. The Appropriate Administrator will also be responsible to notify the Director of Social Media (or their designee) of the name, title, and contact information of the newly designated Account Administrator and the name of the employee the new Account Administrator replaced.
  • When choosing a name for the channel, you should always add “USU or Utah State University” before your department or program. Avoid the use of dashes, underscores or special characters.
  • In the YouTube Studio settings permission tab, add and with the role “Manager” to the account.
  • Set up your account as a brand.
  • Add channel keywords (terms that give YouTube information about your channel).
  • Use playlists to organize groups of content (e.g., a club playlist, a research playlist, etc.).
  • Add content to your “About” section.
    • Make sure to write a short summary that clearly describes your department or organization. Include helpful links and contact information. This helps users identify your channel as the official social media channel of your organization.

Adding Videos to Your Account

There are legal, technical, and accessibility requirements that should be followed and communicated to anyone with access to uploading videos. Each Account Administrator must follow requirements set by Utah State University. 

Legal Requirements:

  • Each person who is featured in a video or speaks in a podcast needs to sign a Utah State University model release form. You’ll find more specific information on model releases in our model release section under video standards. We cannot distribute the content without this form signed.
  • Fair Use: If a video contains imagery that is not your own, it is recommended you consult and before proceeding.

Technical Requirements:

High quality, HD video: YouTube adjusts the video quality of a viewer’s stream to match the device and connection speed. To accommodate all bandwidth options for the viewer, upload video content in at least 720p, 1080p, or 4k to prevent pixilation.

High quality audio: Even with HD quality video, if the audio isn’t crisp and clear, it defeats the purpose of having high quality video. We have to turn down quite a number of videos provided to us by organizations who taped their lectures themselves and resorted to using the camera’s built-in microphone rather than a microphone input like a lavalier mic. If the speaker sounds like they are in a cardboard box, the audio is likely not up to par. 

Metadata: YouTube requires a minimum amount of metadata for upload: a title, description, and keywords. We’ll ask you for a little bit more information so we can identify your media file or event, but the basics are:

    • Title: Enter the exact title as you would like to see it on the YouTube page. It is best practice to limit titles to 70 characters.
    • Description: A paragraph or two about the lecture, lecture series, speaker, and other relevant information a viewer should know. Please feel free to include links to your website; they will be hyperlinked in YouTube.


It is the responsibility of all colleges/departments, administrators, faculty, and staff to ensure that video and audio content is accessible to all users. All videos must be captioned before being publicly available and embedded on a website per the USU Video and Audio Accessibility Standard. For support regarding captioning of files and caption quality standards, visit USU Video Captions.

Additional Things to Consider

  • Include links in the description to versions in other languages, links to websites mentioned, and additional information.
  • The framing of the video is important. Whenever possible, film with room in the frame for additional graphics and captions to fit without covering faces or significant content.
  • YouTube also supports adding hashtags to the description that can increase video relevance. Be sure to use camel case (or capitalizing the first letter in each word) for hashtags, like #USUAggieLife or #UtahStateUniversity, for accessibility.
  • All USU channels should add the USU Main account as a “Featured Channel” to connect back to the main account. To do so, go to:
    • Customize Channel
    • Layout Tab
    • Featured Sections > Add Section > “Featured Channels”
    • Section Title “USU”
    • Search and add “Utah State University”
    • Click “Done”