Launching a successful YouTube channel may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. The process, provided you approach it wisely, is actually pretty straightforward. It’s simply going to require some careful planning, an end goal that you would like to achieve, and a lot of patience.
Getting to know YouTube
Before we jump into the exciting stuff, I think it’s a good idea to step back and look at the big picture. You have to ask yourself, what is YouTube, exactly? And how does it play a role in a world today that is so enthralled by the Internet?
YouTube, founded in February 2005, and eventually acquired by Google in November 2006, is the world’s largest video sharing platform that is used daily by millions of individuals and corporations. Below are a few interesting facts that are sure to blow your mind:
- 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- Nearly 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube daily
- YouTube receives a staggering 30 million visitors every day
Source – Learn more YouTube stats
Simply put, YouTube makes up for a significant percentage of overall Internet traffic data. Without it, the Internet would surely be a different place.
Something to remember
Now that you have familiarized yourself with YouTube and some of its backstory, you’re probably wondering what it takes to make a name for yourself in the world of video content creation.
It’s important to understand that any kind of success does not happen overnight. Succeeding on YouTube not only requires a ton of trial and error, but it especially calls for patience. As a YouTuber who has been active for 10+ years now, I can attest to this notion.
Work hard. Be patient.
What’s your end goal?
Like anything in life, starting something new should be done so with a solid plan in mind. Creating a YouTube channel brings many questions…
- Why are you interested in creating videos?
- Is there a specific audience that you’re looking to target?
- What are you hoping to get out of this?
Everyone joins YouTube and starts creating videos for different reasons. For me, the reason was simple. I have always enjoyed capturing life’s moments on camera, way before YouTube was even a thing. For example, just check out my tc1 Flashback series.
However, in my experience over the years, I can say with confidence that there are two things you should not be creating videos for — at least in the beginning. Those two things are view counts and revenue.
If you’re expecting to receive hundreds of views within days of uploading your first few videos, then you will end up feeling very disappointed. The same goes for generating revenue. That’s just not how YouTube works.
Creating your YouTube channel
Setting up a brand new YouTube channel is fairly easy. The first thing you’ll want to do is create a Google account. You can do that here. This account will be used for all products and services that are powered by Google, with YouTube being one of them.
Once your Google account is set up, head on over to YouTube.com and sign in as if you have an existing channel. Follow the onscreen instructions and Google will assist you in getting a new channel created. The process takes only a minute or two.
Customizing your channel’s appearance
Now this is where the real fun begins. YouTube may not offer a ton of channel customization, but they certainly offer enough to put your creativity to the test. As with any kind of new online profile, the first thing I prefer to change is my avatar. In this case, it’s your YouTube channel icon, which is the primary image that the majority of your viewers will recognize you by.
Your channel icon should be something simple, to the point, and easily relatable. For instance, if you plan on creating vlogs, then you should consider using a photo of yourself. Doing so instantly puts a face to the name and enables you to have a personal connection with your audience. It also allows for transparency, which is important for any kind of social media presence.
After you decide on a channel icon, you’ll want to begin brainstorming ideas on your channel art — also referred to as the channel banner. This is the largest image on your channel that is guaranteed to grab attention, so be sure to choose wisely. Of course, you always have the option of changing it up, so don’t be afraid to try new ideas from time to time.
Personally, I prefer to keep things simple with my channel icon and art. I think going this route allows my channel to flow more freely, thus not distracting viewers from my video content.
Connecting social media accounts
YouTube allows you to connect your channel to Twitter and Facebook, both of which can be used to automatically share videos whenever they’re published. Setting up account sharing is handled in your account’s settings view. (Update: Auto sharing via YouTube is no longer supported)
Sharing your videos via social media can be a great way of bringing in a handful of extra views. And it’s especially convenient, seeing as how YouTube does it all for you. Just keep uploading and they’ll take care of the rest!
Before we continue…
Let’s recap everything you have accomplished thus far:
- You learned a thing or two about YouTube and how it came to be.
- Going in, it’s imperative to understand that success does not happen overnight.
- It’s important to know why you are creating videos in the first place.
- You’ve successfully created and customized your YouTube channel.
- Your Twitter and Facebook accounts have been set up for auto sharing.
Using the right equipment
Technology in cameras is advancing faster than ever nowadays, which is amazing news for anyone interested in creating video content. This also means that prices have dropped dramatically in recent years, which is why owning a 4K capable camera for less than $100 isn’t out of the ordinary.
But before you spend money on a new camera, you might want to consider using what you already own. You know that phone sitting within plain sight? It’s likely more than capable at recording HD video with decent audio quality. That’s all you need. Just be sure to record in landscape mode.
Buying a proper camera, if needed
Provided you are in the market for a camera, you’ll have no problem in finding plenty of different models to choose from. From point-and-shoot cameras to professional DSLRs, there are several ways of going about this. Let’s break it down by camera type.
Point-and-shoot cameras are excellent for video creators who are often out and about, otherwise known as vloggers. They can be easily stored in one’s pocket, while still offering exceptional video quality and that shallow depth of field effect that everyone seems to enjoy. The only downside? Audio quality is usually subpar, due to the small form factor of the camera itself.
Going the DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) route can be considered royalty. DSLRs are often large and bulky, but for good reason. They offer the best possible video quality and usually include the option of using an external microphone. Throw in the ability to swap out lenses and you’ve got yourself a video creator’s dream come true.
Action cameras are also quite popular on YouTube, with the GoPro being the most obvious choice. While they’re perfect for those looking to participate in extreme sports (snowboarding, hang gliding, etc.), there’s no reason why action cameras cannot be used for occasional vlogging. Just don’t expect stellar quality when it comes to audio.
And finally, let’s touch upon camcorders. They’re not exactly the go-to cameras that they once were, but they are still quite reliable. From exceptional quality all around to support for accessories like lights and microphones, it’s hard to ignore the fact that camcorders still have a place in the market today.
Consider using an external microphone
Capturing video is one thing, but what about audio? This is one area that many creators tend to overlook. After all, audio quality is arguably more important than video quality. Would you continue to watch a video if its audio was poor? Probably not.
Depending on the type of camera you are using, an external microphone may be supported. This is often the case if your camera of choice is either a camcorder or DSLR. To be certain, I suggest looking around on Google and seeing what you can find. If you’re curious, I prefer the RØDE VideoMic Pro when shooting with my Canon 80D.
So, what’s the big deal about using an external microphone? To put simply, quality. The differences between using an onboard microphone and an external microphone are night and day. You might have to spend a bit of cash, but I can assure you that it’s a purchase you will not regret.
Let’s talk about video editing software
Unless you plan on uploading your recorded clips directly to YouTube, you’re going to want to think about which video editing software to use. Before you consider your options, however, you might already have access to software without even realizing it. Of course, this entirely depends on the kind of computer you’re using.
Using a Mac?
If you’re a macOS user, you likely have iMovie installed by default, as it comes preinstalled on all new Macs. To check, simply press Command+Spacebar and search for “iMovie” using Spotlight. Don’t see it? Not a problem. You can download iMovie here in the App Store for free.
iMovie is, without a doubt, the best way to learn the ins and outs of video editing. It offers a ton of functionality and control, while keeping everything simple and easy to understand. And if that’s not enough, iMovie is also available for iPhone and iPad, allowing you to sync and edit your projects while on the go.
Of course, iMovie is only one of several video editing apps available on macOS. If you are looking for something more advanced, I recommend trying Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro. Each offers a free trial.
Using a Windows PC?
Windows users, let’s get the harsh reality out of the way. You don’t have it as nice as Mac users do, at least when it comes to taking advantage of bundled software. I’m referring to Windows Movie Maker, which is often mocked for its lack of creativity and inspiration. It’s just… not that great.
I do, however, have good news for you. There are plenty of video editing applications that are worth exploring — the first being Premiere Pro, which just happens to coincide with the Mac version. This is made possible by Creative Cloud, a subscription service from Adobe that can save you a ton of money.
Perhaps Adobe apps aren’t your thing? I suggest giving Sony VEGAS a fair shot. While I have yet to use VEGAS myself, I’ve heard good things. But just to be safe, you can download the free trial here.
Creating your content
Choosing the right video equipment and software may be important, but without quality content, you’ve got nothing. This is the part of the YouTube process that tends to become difficult — which, by the way, is perfectly normal. After all, if just anyone could excel in creating successful video content on YouTube, this guide would not be necessary, now would it?
Thankfully, succeeding on YouTube does not have to be cumbersome. In my experience, there are four things you should keep in mind when presenting yourself as a creator.
Choose a topic you’re familiar with
First off, you need to choose a video topic that you’re comfortable talking about. Otherwise, you are going to find yourself stuck with no ideas too early in the game, thus giving you hardly any room to grow.
Your focus doesn’t necessarily have to be just one thing. I have been making YouTube videos for years now, and I’ve had great success talking about topics that are often complete opposites of one another. Some days I prefer to get personal with my vlogs and other days I enjoy making product reviews. And that’s why I urge you to…
Never restrict yourself
Do you want to know what the best thing about YouTube is? It’s a platform that allows you to express your creativity on a scale that was previously never possible. In other words, you are never restricted to exploring just one style in content creation.
Let’s say, for example, your YouTube channel is primarily focused around vlogging. But a couple months later you’re suddenly interested in doing technology reviews. There’s no reason why you cannot do both. And the same goes for any other changes that may come to mind in the future.
It’s your channel, your choice.
Confidence is key
I know what you’re thinking. How cliché can you be? Am I really going to try explaining to you how important it is to have confidence in yourself? Yes, of course I am.
But really, confidence is important, and you are going to need it if you want to make a name for yourself online. The Internet can be a scary place, especially YouTube. At some point down the road, you are guaranteed to come across an individual or two who enjoys the benefits of anonymity.
You will be verbally attacked and your most mundane actions judged, but you should never let that stop you from feeling confident in yourself. Always remember that you are the one who is doing the creating. It’s your channel and your content.
Be open to feedback
Doing your own thing on YouTube not only allows you to express your creativity to the masses, but it also presents the opportunity to accept feedback from anyone who takes an interest in what you have to say. Of course, much like anything that takes place online, this can be both good and bad.
Some viewers will take the time to compliment your work and let you know that you’re doing a good job, while others will make it a goal of theirs to break you down and make it feel personal. No matter what kind of feedback comes your way, it’s important that you remain confident and continue onward. Over time, you will learn how to properly filter the feedback that is worth reading.
Before you publish…
I know you’re excited to get your content out into the world, but there are still a few things you should do. This includes tagging your video, as well as giving it a proper title, description and especially a catchy thumbnail.
Tagging videos, while it can seem tedious, is actually quite necessary in determining how well your content is ranked. And as massive as YouTube is, standing out is more important than ever. In other words, don’t go cheap when applying tags. Include as many relevant keywords as possible.
For an example of properly tagging a video, these are the tags I would use for an iPhone X review: iphone x review, new iphone features, 2019 iphone overview, iphone x vs iphone 8, is the new iphone worth it
Notice how my tags include keyword phrases and not just singular words? When tagging any kind of video, you need to think as if you are the one doing the searching. What would you search for? And how? Apply that to your own work.
In regards to setting up your title, description and thumbnail, I recommend testing different results. Growing your brand on YouTube involves a lot of trial and error. As mentioned previously, try not to restrict yourself. Experiment and see what works.
Publishing your content
It’s time to put the finishing touches on your content and publish it on YouTube for the world to see. This can be done in several ways:
- Public – Your video is published immediately and can be found via search results
- Private – Your video is completely private and only viewable by you
- Unlisted – Your video can only be accessed via its direct link
- Scheduled – Your video can be published to go live at a specific date and time
Nervous yet? Don’t be. YouTube is an amazing place that can introduce all kinds of interesting opportunities.
Don’t forget to share
Once your video is live for all to enjoy, you might want to consider sharing it with your existing audiences on social media. Consider it free traffic!
Now that you understand the basics of what goes into creating YouTube content, you need to promise yourself one thing… You will not give up. I cannot tell you how often I come across creators who just call it quits within weeks of starting. It’s as if they expect instant results over night. That’s not how it works.
Consistency is critical if you want to succeed on YouTube. Uploading a few videos here and there isn’t going to cut it. If it helps, try putting yourself on an upload schedule. Doing this can help you get into the groove of uploading new videos regularly. It also gives your audience something to look forward to.
Numbers are not everything
Numbers may be important in the long run, but if you’re still new to the YouTube scene, obsessing over them could quickly become discouraging. Instead, set a realistic goal for yourself that you can work toward.
At some point in the future, yes, numbers will be relative. But until then, the best thing you can do is remain consistent and keep creating original content. Focus on what’s working for your channel and expand upon that.
Congratulations! You’ve completed Becoming a YouTuber 101: Finding Your Fame. Reference everything you have learned and share something below you found to be valuable.