‘How to start a YouTube channel’ is something I get asked a lot about, via emails and messages across all social platforms, so I thought it was time I did a post to try and help anyone who is thinking about starting up their own YouTube channel. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I am an expert (by any stretch of the imagination) but I have learnt a few bits and pieces along the way so far and thought it would be useful to pass them on!
1. Choose a name with longevity that sums up what you are all about – I made the mistake of just using a YouTube account that I’d had for years to start my channel. It has the nickname ‘Sairee09’ and makes it look like I’ve been vlogging since 2006, which is definitely not the case! I also changed my URL to my old blog name, when I hit the amount of subscribers needed to do that, and now regret that as I have a new name that I can’t change it to. Basically what I am trying to say is have a long, hard think about a name for your channel that you will still love in years to come and is also relevant to what content you want to produce. People seem to like using their real name at the moment which is a great idea. I just don’t because I don’t like my last name being too advertised out there. It comes down to personal preference and only you will know what is right for you.
2. Do an introduction video or make a trailer for your channel – on YouTube you basically have to sell yourself. You have to give people a reason to keep coming back to watch your videos. A channel trailer or introduction video are great ideas because they will give people the low down on what you are all about and why they should subscribe to your channel. Keep it short and upbeat and your audience will find you.
3. Make yourself a channel banner that will draw people in and have a relevant profile photo, which is the same across all your social medial platforms – the visual aspects of your channel are really important because they will attract people to your videos. Make sure your banner is fun and eye catching, but not too cluttered. The designer that designed my website made mine for me but you can easily make one yourself on sites and apps such as PicMonkey and Canva. The reason it is good to have a relevant social media profile photo that is the same across all platforms is so people can find you easily and associate you with all your accounts quickly.
4. Set yourself up with the right equipment – I’m not saying you need to run out and buy a Canon G7X for vlogging and a 5D for filming but making sure you have the right equipment within your budget will make your life easier when you are filming your videos. Most smartphones these days have good enough cameras to vlog on. Just make sure you do it in landscape, not portrait! You could always ask to borrow a friend or relative’s camera if that was an option. I would highly recommend getting a tripod to take away the stress of balancing cameras on books etc. Amazon have loads of good ones for a great price. Definitely try out YouTube for a while before investing in an expensive camera. It is a funny old world and not for everyone.
5. Do your research and plan your content – this is a really important one. You need to have an idea of what you want to post videos about and research what works well in that subject. You can look to other channels for inspiration but don’t completely replicate their content. Do research around the top keywords and searches on the topic you want to film and tailor your content to incorporate those. Planning your content in advance means that you will come across much more relaxed than if you are rushing to film a video just to get it up on a particular day. It also means you can avoid posting too many vidoes about the same thing if you plan everything out in advance.
6. Film videos on topics you are genuinely interested in – you need to be passionate. There are too many people in the YouTube world now for you to just film what is working for other people. Viewers get bored easily and can spot a copycat mile off. That sounds harsh! It wasn’t meant to but I just mean that you need to carve out your niche and engage your audience. That might mean doing the same sorts of videos as others, but in your own way, with your personality shining through. You also can’t start a YouTube channel just to make money. I would say 99% of successful vloggers I know started out doing videos because they genuinely wanted to and for personal reasons, not financial ones.
7. Choose the days that you are going to upload and stick to them – consistency is key. That seems to be the biggest factor in making a YouTube channel a success. You need to upload regularly and let people know when you are planning to do this. Sticking to the same days and times mean people will learn when to expect your videos and will get excited about them. It could also mean you will look reliable to people who might want to work with you on your channel in the future.
8. Have an upload checklist – pick a great title, fill in the description box, upload a custom thumbnail and…
9. Share your videos on other social media platforms – utilise every single follower and like you have on all your social media platforms. Spread the word. Use one platform in many ways. For example use Instagram for an Instagram post, a story, a link in bio and mini trailer video. Four ways to share your video on one platform!
10. Respond to comments and engage in the community – but don’t be spammy. No one likes a link dump!! It is a good idea to respond to all comments within the first 24 hours of your video going up. This is when people will want to talk about your video and your engagement rate will shoot up.
I really hope that helps! I have got a couple other, more technical, posts lined up which will be up soon…
Oh, one last tip – enjoy it! When it stops being fun then it’s not worth doing