13 Tips on Starting a Successful YouTube Channel
I have been approached numerous times by bloggers asking for my advice on starting a YouTube channel, especially more recently. A lot of people have been freaking out over making videos, “where do I start?”, “how do you know what people will watch?”, “what if people don’t like me?“. I responded to everyone but I could only give a short answer, and I had so much I wanted to say. So, brushing all schedule related rules aside (I usually post blog advice on the first of each month), I just had to squeeze this one in for you.
Writing posts and filming videos are two very different things, which is why I think it can be quite overwhelming for bloggers. As a relatively new YouTuber myself, I feel I have a few handy tips to share with you on how I’ve managed to gain subscribers and views, as well as how I built up my channel to where it is today. Now, the word ‘successful’ in the title is key because it’s so easy to start a channel. Anyone can do it. But how do you make your channel a success? That’s a whole other ball game. So, grab a notebook and start to jot down some useful points.
I’ll start by saying that uploading YouTube videos is supposed to be fun. I’ve always said the second I stop enjoying it is the second I stop filming them. So don’t get stressed out about it!
I’m a huge believer in all hard work pays off. So, I try to prepare myself in the absolute best way possible for each and every video. You just see a girl in front of the camera, you don’t see the endless notes or hours of photographing and editing that goes along side of it. You must be prepared to work hard, but also for that hard work to pay off. Remember these things never happen overnight, so don’t give up.
Let your personality shine through and just go for it. If you feel awkward on camera, your audience will see straight through you and it could even cause them to feel awkward. I know confidence is something that comes with time, and the more you apply yourself the easier it becomes (trust me). It took me three separate attempts on different days to talk to the camera alone in my bedroom, but I eventually did it, and now I struggle to shut up!
I rarely film a video without researching if it’s been done before or if it’s popular. Just hop onto YouTube and type the content of your video (for example, ‘Valentines Day Tutorial Using Urban Decay Naked Palette’) and see what comes up. If it’s been done then look at how many views it tends to get. This is great at giving an indication of how well your version of the video is going to do.
This is basically how I gain new audiences. Think about how many people click onto just one video. They’re likely to scroll down to the comment section and see your comment, which is a direct link to your channel, so it’s a very easy way to advertise yourself. Also, what you give you’ll likely receive back. I find that if I repeatedly comment on someones video, they’ll take the time to return the favour!
The reality is that YouTube has so many videos so it’s difficult to get noticed. Make it easier for people to find you by linking your social media platforms to your videos (you can do this whilst uploading), so they automatically update every time you upload.
This is something so simple that I see so many people miss out on. You channel art gives an instant first impression, and tempts new audiences to browse your channel. Create a banner (I use the same as my WordPress one) and insert a good quality profile picture. It’s a job that takes minutes and a result that lasts forever.
Thumbnails are what make people watch your video, so I would always advise tweaking the image a little just by making some small adjustments and adding text. You don’t have to use a fancy, professional software either, try PicMonkey. Loads of people use it and it’s a great free photo editing tool. The thing you need to remember about thumbnails are the dimensions (must be a minimum of 640px), you’ll otherwise find that some of your image will be cut off if it exceeds it.
This is a huge must for a perfectionist like me, and a personal task I always set myself. I am constantly trying to improve the quality of my YouTube videos, and a simple way of doing this is to improve on the last video in someway. Whether I spend more time editing, improve the picture quality or talk in more detail, there’s always something worth doing better.
If you know that somethings popular and people are going to watch it, film it! I filmed a primer test comparing the Nivea Men Post Shave Balm with the MAC Prep + Prime Primer and YouTube went crazy for it.
If you feel you don’t want to put the pressure on yourself to upload on the same day, or you know you’re likely to miss it, then don’t do it. But, if you can then great, because viewers will become familiar when you upload and they’ll revisit your channel to watch your new video on that particular day. I upload every Sunday around 5pm.
This tip is purely for cosmetic, professional reasons. If people can see you clearly with no distractions such as your messy bedroom, they’re more likely to watch your videos again. Use natural light when possible and I’d highly recommend investing in some artificial lighting too (see mine here). I understand if you don’t want to make a purchase when you first start making videos, but it’s something to consider as time goes on. Read my post on ‘How to take and edit your blog photographs‘ for more helpful information.
This is another way of gaining more of an audience. Try and collab with someone that’s got more subscribers with you. You’ll be featured on their channel and it’s likely their subscribers will watch your videos, plus they’re always fun to do!
Cut the dross, the ‘erms’ and the waffling. People want to hear your point, so leave it at that. I spend around three hours editing each video. The hardest part is cutting down a forty minute video to fifteen minutes. My most popular videos are usually under fifteen minutes long, people don’t want to watch for any longer, so bear that in mind too. I use iMovie to edit all of my videos.
Always transfer the files from your camera’s memory card onto your computer before importing them into editing software. I have edited the whole video in the past and lost some of the files in the process, meaning I have to start over and that can be avoiding by following this step. I always create a folder on my computer depending on the topic of the video and pop the files in as soon as I’ve finished filming. That way the footage is in the right place, fully imported onto my computer and the files are ready for me to edit in my own time.
I hope these tips helped you. If you’re still nervous about starting a channel, the best way is to just go full force into it, the outcome will probably be better than you think.
Do you have any other questions about making YouTube videos? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. If you would like me to write another YouTube related post please comment your suggestion.
Already make YouTube videos? Let me know what your channel is so I can check out them out!
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