5 Editing Tips For Engaging YouTube Shorts

Boost the performance of your YouTube Shorts content with these five simple editing tips.

Ready to make your YouTube channel the next big thing and tap into the YouTube Shorts fund?

Then, it’s time to up your editing game.

With the digital space more crowded than ever, catching and keeping your audience’s attention has become a crucial skill for any creator.

Using clever techniques, you can hook viewers in from the start, increasing your views and the all-important retention rate.

The best part?

None of these editing tips for YouTube Shorts requires a high skill level. You don’t need Adobe Premier or cinematic high-quality shots to cut through and make an impact.

It all comes down to basic storytelling and using the tools you have in your editing suite to help your content stand out.

5 Editing Tips for Engaging YouTube Shorts

Ready to turn your YouTube channel into the next viral sensation? Use these editing techniques and start hooking (and retaining) viewers from the second your content starts rolling (and even drive engagement towards your longer YouTube videos).

1. Create Layers of Attention in Your YouTube Shorts

What are “layers of attention”?

It’s anything that is something interesting to look at.

For example, if you post a single-shot YouTube Shorts with no cuts, visual aids, nada to hold the viewer’s attention, your retention rate will plummet.

Why does the retention rate matter so much?

You should aim to hit an 80% audience retention rate per video to increase your views and get the YouTube algorithm to push your content to new audiences.

If you’re struggling to hit this metric, it’s probably a reason why your YouTube channel isn’t growing.

So, what layers of attention can you use to keep people watching?

  • B-roll
  • Text popping up on the screen with sound effects
  • Cutting to different clips
  • Motion effects

The key is to change how your video looks every 5 to 7 seconds.

But why do layers of attention work so well?

Essentially, you’re showing people, not telling them what to do. You’re creating an engaging visual aid. Think about it.

What would hold your attention if you were watching YouTube Shorts about the best ab exercises?

  • A: A talking head video of someone listing the best ab exercises.
  • B: A voiceover with video clips of the different workouts.

A creator who is a master of attention layering is Nischa, a popular personal financial YouTube creator. She uses various techniques like captions, greenscreen cutouts, and motion effects to give the viewer something interesting to look at.

And it works. Her YouTube Short on why billionaires take out mortgages has over 1 million views.

RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating YouTube Shorts

2. Experiment with the Rule of 2

The Rule of 2 is an editing technique for short-form video content popularized by YouTuber Anthony Gugliotta.

Here’s how it works and why you should add it to your editing toolkit.

What is it? The Rule of 2 means you have multiple points of interest in your video.

This can look like:

  • Splitting your screen and showing two different videos at the same time (like your main video and behind-the-scenes).
  • Showing a photo and video.
  • Flashing text on the screen with a sound effect.

It’s building on creating layers of attention, but the Rule of 2 gives you a winning formula to follow when putting it into practice.

3. Use Captions 

Fun fact of the day: 75% of people watch mobile videos on mute.

If you want your short videos to go viral, you need to start using captions.

While the YouTube app does auto-generate captions, that’s not enough. The text isn’t always correct; it’s small, and some viewers might not be able to read it fast enough.

What’s the solution? AI caption generators like Submagic.

These tools help you:

  • Save time creating YouTube Shorts.
  • Automatically add engaging elements like emojis or bolding key phrases.
  • Only show 3 to 4 words at a time, improving readability.

This all works together to make your short-form content grab and hold the viewer’s attention, increasing retention and engagement.

RELATED: Your Step-By-Step Strategy for YouTube Shorts

4. Record in Multiple Clips

Raise your hand if you try to film entire YouTube videos in a single take.

What’s your success rate like?

Unless you’re a trained professional, keeping your tone of voice and facial expressions up to par quickly becomes a black hole. You keep re-filming and re-filming until, finally, you get the perfect take.

Or maybe you want to film “day in the life” style videos but never get to the editing stage because you have so much footage the task feels daunting.

Here’s the thing.

You can avoid all that frustration and save time on content creation by recording your YouTube Shorts in multiple clips.

What does that look like in practice?

  • If you’re filming longer videos, only film for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • If you’re filming shorter content, aim for 5 to 10 seconds at a time.

Breaking up your filming process makes it easier to maintain your energy and remember everything you want to say.

Plus, it makes the editing process faster.

With less footage to scrub through when you’re continuously recording, it takes the admin out of content creation. It’s also easier to drag and drop B-roll footage and add transitions.

5. Pay Attention to the Video Loop

A video loop is a video that repeats itself over and over again.

To achieve this on YouTube shorts, you want your ending and beginning to flow into one another seamlessly. If you can accomplish that, the viewer won’t realize your video has ended, and you’ll crack the code of improving your retention rate.


Viewers can usually tell when a video is winding down, and that’s when attention spans start to dip.

Your goal is to create an infinite loop that keeps your viewers hooked.

Here’s what looping will look like in practice:

1. Take the beginning of your video and put it at the end.

2. Start your video a few seconds in.


1. Start with your ending clip.

2. End with your ending clip.

These two techniques seamlessly blend your YouTube Shorts into one another.

That said, you don’t need to use the looping technique in every video you create. Think about the goal of your video and how you want to tell the story and see if it makes sense to loop or if something else will be more impactful.

Start Planning Your YouTube Shorts Content Calendar

What’s great about creating YouTube Shorts is you don’t need to rely on complex editing techniques to go viral.

You only need interesting storytelling techniques, like captions or layers of attention, to grab viewers’ attention and help you effectively communicate your message.

But that’s not the only ingredient you need to increase your views on YouTube.

The next part of the recipe is a consistent posting schedule.

Sign up for a free 7-day trial of Plann today and get a visual content calendar, strategy builder, and everything else you need to win over the YouTube search engine.

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