Oh, YouTube. We love you for your cute, baby animal videos and your hilarious yet annoying meme videos. From the plethora the comedy sketches to the personal daily vlogs, we are inspired to begin creating our own content. But where do we begin?
As a self proclaimed YouTube fan girl, I am bringing you 6 tips that I recently gave to a friend who created their own YouTube channel. This isn’t the endall beall of YouTube advice, but just a few words of wisdom from someone who’s been there.
Did you know: YouTube is the second most used search engine after Google.
Follow and subscribe to the creators you like AND the creators you don’t like.
Fun fact: If you’ve signed up to start creating content on YouTube, you’re in the entertainment industry. You need to study the industry you are in. Find the people and channels on youtube that you enjoy watching and figure out why you enjoy them. Chances are, other people enjoy them too. If you can pinpoint why you like them, then you may have an easier time emulating those qualities in your own videos. Also, finding people you like may give you a networking opportunity for future collaborations, but more on that later.
You also have to study those channels that annoy the bejeezus out of you. Why? Because they annoy you for a reason. Find that reason out. Also, those channels that annoy you are usually the ones with millions of subscribers. Analyze why that is. What do they have working for them that you do not. How did they gain loyalty despite being annoying as heck? I’m serious. They have something you do not. Don’t let that be the reason you don’t succeed. Also, it will give you a good hint on what not to do for your own channel.
Make that first video. It’s going to be horrible. But make it anyways.
My first video was literally me saying “This is my first video” for 2 minutes straight. It was horrible and awkward and uncomfortable BUT it was very necessary. You have to get the ball rolling with something. You can’t be a perfectionist on that first video. Honestly, most people won’t even see it and you can always make it private later.
A good example of this involves a well known comedian YouTuber, Grace Helbig. At the beginning of this year, she had to start over on an unknown channel due to her MCM contract expiring (for reasons unknown, she did not renew). The first video on her new channel was basically her saying “I don’t know what I’m doing, but this should be fun.” If you can take that attitude into the rest of your videos, I have no doubt you’ll have fun.
Brainstorm ideas and write them. Then look at them later when you “don’t have any ideas.”
Brainstorming will be your best friend. And not just brainstorming but recording the brainstorming sessions by documenting any ideas you have, good and bad. Seems like common sense, but trust me. I have no idea how many times I’ve thought of the best idea ever for a video; then later when I went to do said video, the idea was gone. (Fake) tears ensued.
There will be a time at some point in your bright future as a YouTuber that you will realize you have “run out of ideas.” If you are prepared for this moment, then you can avoid panic and the disappointment of all your adoring fans.
TL;DR Write everything down. Lives will be saved.
Market yourself. Create a brand that encompases a Specific and Dynamic Personality.
So you’ve got a video uploaded. You’ve brainstormed ideas for the next video. AND you’ve subscribed to everyone within your niche. So why did your first video only get 15 views (7 of them were yours)? Because you didn’t market yourself. Creating content on YouTube requires other people to watch it. In essence, you need to let as many people as possible know that your video exists. Some tools you can use are Facebook, Twitter, Email Newsletters, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, etc. We have a variety of social media platforms at our fingertips. Use them. You can also take it a step further and get creative with the ways you share your videos. Your potential audience wants to be captured and enticed to watch your videos. Do what you have to do. Woo them.
Pro Tip #1: If you’re using social media, make sure that your branding is consist across all platforms. If possible, keep your screen names the same or similar. Use the same profile pictures and descriptions as well. Make sure to link all of your other social media accounts back to your YouTube channel.
Collaborate. Ask other YouTuber’s for advice. Ask friends and family for advice. And Network with people in your niche.
If you don’t know, ask. I LIVE by that saying. Always ask questions. Google answers. Seek other opinions. You’re in the entertainment industry, remember. The success and popularity of your content heavily depends on others liking what you do. Don’t take me wrong and pander to the mass majority. Cater to your niche market. Your following. This is the time to reach out to those YouTubers you like and seek their advice. How did they get where they are today? Do they have any advice for an upcoming YouTuber such as yourself?
Also, collaborate with other YouTubers. In creating content with others, you not only expand your creative mental reach, but you also expand the reach of your content. If you create a video with someone else, all of their fans will watch your video, multiplying your following. And since this formula works both ways, most content creators leap at the chance of working with someone of a similar level or higher than them. Pro Tip #2: You can collaborate with others without being in the same physical space. Some of my favorite “collab videos” were done using platforms like Google + and a little creative editing.
Set Personal Goals. Make them mean something to you.
Whether your goal is to get 100 subscribers or 10,000 subscribers, the goal you set for yourself will validate all of your future actions and give you a direction for your channel. Everything that you do, whether it be upload a 2 minute rant video or start an instagram account, should fit into and help you reach your goal. This goal doesn’t have to be published and you don’t have to tell anyone. This is between you and your creative process. Make it personal.
Make your goals relevant to your life as well. A goal of purchasing a new computer, fancy camera, and expensive video editing software all before even making a first video might not be practical for a customer service rep. Give yourself baby steps that will enhance your larger goal. Try gaining 2 subscribers a week to reach your goal of 50 within the next 6 months. Reward yourself for accomplishing the small goals with a crazy dance session. Trust me. It will work wonders.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this isn’t the end of all the advice that can ever be given about starting a YouTube channel. Rather, take one thing that you learned today and apply it towards your YouTube career. And when you become rich and famous off of that internet money, don’t forget the ones who helped you get there.
Andréa Jones is a social media strategist who works with lifestyle brands to build their online presence through targeted social media and content marketing solutions. She's also the founder of SavvySocialSchool.com – a membership community with everything you need to achieve visibility, growth, and engagement on social media.