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If you’ve been contemplating jumping on the YouTube wagon yourself, there’s no time like the present to do it. Everywhere around the world, people are putting up engaging content, joining hands with brands, and making some good money, not to mention the popularity and celebrity status they enjoy. The YouTuber community is witnessing its days of glory, and the numbers prove it.
How exactly does one take their first step to becoming a YouTube sensation? What are the little things that will make your YouTube channel stand out? More importantly, what are the mistakes to avoid while creating content for YouTube and putting it up on your channel? Read on, for some great little tips and tricks, and valuable advice, some of it from YouTubers who’ve shown the world how to do it!
What’s your channel going to be all about? What is it that you want to enthrall your viewers with? You may be tempted to take a bit of the ‘jack of all trades’ approach, but it’s best to start with specialized content first and diversify eventually. There’s a reason some of the most popular and successful YouTubers of today started off with putting up videos of them doing the same thing, or talking about the same topic, even if it was just them playing video games.
Putting out the same kind of content doesn’t mean you get redundant – but stick to one theme or a specific category, for example, don’t start off a channel on food and then talk about your favorite workout, at least in your early days. Like any successful brand, a YouTube channel needs to have recall value.
The other reason why this list starts with choosing your content is because what you’re putting up on your vlogs will also determine who you’re trying to reach out to. Don’t worry about your content being too niche – if a channel that unboxed Disney toys could make millions in 2015, it’s proof that there’s a consumer for everything that’s out there to be consumed.
Having said this, it helps to know who your audience is, because that’ll go a long way in helping you decide the tone, presentation and style of your video. Pitching to teens? Keep it short, and show more than you can tell. Doing tutorials? Space it out; give your viewers time to understand what’s happening. Doing a vlog about something serious? Keep your video simple, and keep the content crisp.
Finally, now that you know what to do before you make your channel, here’s the most important bit – setting up your actual channel!
Making a YouTube channel is easy work, and the process is pretty simple. In case you feel a little confused, here’s what to do. Step one – sign in to YouTube using your Google account. Go to your profile icon (top right corner of the screen), and you’ll see settings. Under settings, click on “Create a channel”, where you can create either a personal or business channel. Next, give your channel a cool name, and pick the category it best fits into.
Congratulations! You’ve taken the first (and most essential) step towards becoming a YouTuber. Also, in case you didn’t know, Google automatically creates a Google Plus page for your channel, already setting you up for social media publicity.
If you want subscribers to keep coming back to your channel, your content needs to be high-quality, in terms of both, what it looks like and sounds like. Crass, offensive content may fetch you a surge of likes and comments, but in the long run, people want to see something that’s exciting, interesting and useful.
So you’ve set up your channel, given it a swanky cool name, and have probably even uploaded your first video, so what’s next?
Once your channel is up, you’ll need to create some art for it, which works pretty much the way your Facebook cover photo does. People are going to see your channel art before they play your channel, so you’ve got to make sure it’s eye-catching. Use a high-quality image that talks about your channel in an interesting way. The ideal image, according to YouTube is a single 2560 x 1440 pixel image.
Remember what this list said earlier about keeping it consistent? Once your channel has enough followers, you’ll constantly have to think of ways to keep them engaged. Make sure your content is useful, relevant, and no too ‘selly’, even if you practically have brands paying you a fortune to endorse their stuff on your channel.
Take feedback from your followers – always keep an eye open for what’s working and what isn’t. A good YouTuber is no different from a marketing guru – you’ll need to know who you’re sharing your space with, what they’re doing, what you can do differently.
Lastly, stay inspired – know what trends are in, and how your content fits in.
With brands, with other influencers, with your followers, essentially with anyone who is an asset to your channel. Not everyone you speak to might bring you money, but it’s just as important to be heard and seen, if you want to become a successful YouTuber.
Don’t be too pushy or try to sell your content too hard, but be open to the idea of collaborating. As a YouTuber trying to expand their reach, you’re going to need a super-strong network of people, so keep talking and engaging – it’s also a great way to get new ideas, and new ideas mean refreshing content.
Also remember, that a big part of your expenses as a YouTuber will include making your videos look good, and if you have people who can do it for cheap, you’ll be saving a lot!
Keep tracking your subscribers, and the number of views. As a growing YouTuber, you need to monitor those damn numbers like a pro! Don the hat of an analyst – YouTube gives you stats on your channel, so it’s really a matter of sitting with these numbers and crunching them to find patterns. Don’t get overwhelmed – once you figure this out, you’ll be able to know exactly what your subscribers liked, helping you streamline your content even further.
The other numbers you need to focus on? Hours, days and weeks. Factor in how much time you need to make new content, and track your stats for the best time to release new content. Space out your videos – wait until the previous one has created some buzz, but don’t wait long enough for your followers to lose interest.
Skip this section if you’re still thinking of using YouTube channels as a “hobby”. No, honestly. But if you’d much rather make some money with all that hard work you’re putting in, listen up!
As a YouTuber, you have multiple sources of revenue. Let’s start with ads – by using Adsense, you’ll be able to make a specific amount of money per 1000 views or so. It may not seem like a lot in the beginning, but when the views multiply, so does your money.
Brand tie-ups are another way to make money – if brands see that your followers match their target audience, they’ll probably see a great influencer in you. Tying up with brands also means getting loads of freebies and goodies, apart from the money itself.
Keep thinking of ways in which you can monetise your content – for those starting out, YouTube has a partnership program that’s easy to understand and reliable.
When the money begins to trickle in, no doubt you’ll be very tempted to spruce up your lifestyle and live the life you’ve dreamt of. Except, you’ll be flying straight into short-lived fame, and even shorter-lived money. Plan your budget for your channel – if you’re a NewTuber (not a legit term, just saying), it’s probably wise to make do with a decent smartphone camera for your first few videos (albeit with some good editing), instead of going all out and hiring a professional.
Know how much you’re making, and how much you’re spending, be it YouTube’s 45% share, production expenses or taxes. There’s a difference between your net earnings and how much money you see, so make sure you factor it in.
With this, you should be off to a great start to setting up your YouTube Channel. Don’t stress if all of this seems scary – these are things you’ll learn as you go about doing your thing, and not all of them need to be done all at once. Think about what you’re really passionate about, and find a way to tell your story – you’ll soon realize you’re getting the hang of it, and your subscribers will keep coming back for more!