With the continued rise of the video blogging culture, it’s completely understandable for any tech-savvy millennial or young adult to be enticed by the idea of starting a YouTube channel. After all, it’s a fun and interactive hobby with the potential to turn you into a popular online personality—with the added benefit of helping you meet new people, get free stuff from companies, and of course, earn a pretty impressive income.
But if you want to gain a steady increase in followers or at least publish decent content that get a good number of views and likes, you’ll need to do more than just become a contributing member on YouTube. Here are a couple of helpful tips to ensure that you make the most out of your venture into the world of vlogging and content creation.
Here are a few tips for starting a successful YouTube channel:
Plan Your Content
Before even creating your YouTube channel, you’ve probably already decided on the kind of video content that you want to show. The best ways to increase your views and gain followers is still to keep your content interesting and engaging; the more people can relate to it, the more they’ll want to click on it and watch until the end.
It also helps to stick to your theme, if you have one. For example, many successful YouTubers have dedicated channels for travel, tutorials, or their daily lives. Viewers like living vicariously through the people they watch, so let them know what they can expect and deliver interesting material that they can enjoy.
Arm Yourself with the Right Equipment
Using your smartphone is certainly an acceptable way to record videos, but if you want viewers to enjoy your content, it really helps to invest in the right equipment. Most YouTubers use DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, along with other essential accessories for videography such as tripods, lenses, and studio lighting. For those who normally vlog on-the-go, a mirrorless or action camera and a good monopod or handheld gimbal stabilizer are typical gear staples.
Remember, though, that a good vlogging camera is not everything. If you neglect other things like audio quality and lighting, your viewers may still lose interest in your videos after the first few seconds and won’t subscribe to you at all.
Invest in a good microphone that you can mount on your camera. At the same time, mind your recording conditions and make it a habit to check if your audio is clear enough for your viewers to understand. For best results, use a shotgun microphone that’s designed to pick up sound mostly from the front so noise from the sides and behind the mic can be canceled out. Some vloggers even go as far as to invest in multiple microphones for different recording situations—you may require a lavalier mic (small microphones that can be pinned to your shirt) for shooting fitness videos or any other type of video that requires you to be far away from the camera, or a good condenser mic (or any mic that is commonly used for podcasting) that will allow you to do clear voice-overs.
Look for Inspiration
As you go along, it may be more challenging to come up with fresh, new content that will match the hype of your first few videos. But don’t worry—even established YouTube artists go through the same thing every once in a while. The secret is to look for inspiration everywhere—even when you’re out and taking a break from recording. List down your ideas. Check out other videos and build upon their ideas to make them your own.
Avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your own channel. As long as you like and enjoy the concepts you come up with, your viewers will sense your sincerity and love for your craft, and this will help pique their interest. While you’re at it, take every opportunity to improve and evolve in other areas. Explore other camera filming techniques, editing styles, and approaches to your presentation.
Make Every Second Count
It’s equally important that you produce quality content and delete anything that you think may not contribute to making your videos better. This means that you need to be selective with the clips you include in the final cut. Choose only your best shots (and clip out moments of dead air) to keep your viewers interested and engaged throughout your entire video.
Once you’ve amassed a bigger following, you may have a little more freedom to include a few of those artsy (or nonsensical) shots, but always remember to think like a viewer and create what you would want to see.
Start with Simple Editing Software
Just because you’re creating videos doesn’t mean you need advanced software (like Final Cut Pro) to edit your content. These software programs don’t necessarily improve your content, particularly if you’re going to be struggling with it a lot during the first few weeks.
If you’re new to video editing, you’d do much better with simple programs like Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie. These are a lot more user-friendly and are easily downloadable (for free), if you don’t already have them on your computer.
Optimize Your Videos
Another secret to giving your videos more visibility is to optimize your content to help it rank on YouTube. As soon as you upload your first video, give it a good, descriptive title that viewers are likely to write on the search bar—and make sure to include your main keyword or key phrase. For example, the title “Hawaii Birthday Travel Vlog 2018” is much better than “Hawaii Here We Go!”
Also, make sure to use relevant tags that will help put your video under multiple related categories. When in doubt, scope out the competition and check what tags other similar videos are using. Finally, write a good description with at least 200 words, and include your target keywords, synonyms, and long-tail keyword variations. Not only will this help viewers figure out exactly what your video is about, it will also help your video rank in search engine results pages.
Build Your Network
While not necessarily categorized as a social networking site, YouTube is all about connecting, sharing, and collaborating with other users. Thus, to be successful, you need to make an effort to build your network. This is particularly critical in the YouTube community, as collaborations among creators have proven effective in helping a channel grow and gain new subscribers because it helps both collaborators gain exposure with the other’s subscriber base.
Talk to other creators, make friends, and don’t be afraid to contact larger YouTubers to inquire about a possible collaboration. It can certainly be intimidating, but you won’t get anywhere unless you try!
Connect with Your Viewers
Over time, you’ll slowly gain followers and get more comments from fans on your videos, and eventually, you’ll get messages on your personal social media accounts—you may even get some fan mail, should you decide to share your P.O. box. As much as possible, make time to connect with your viewers. Remember that your social media accounts are an extension of your YouTube channel, so try to share tidbits of your life on popular social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. It’s also important that you try to read and respond to all the tweets, comments, and any other messages you get (as much as you are able).
Such interactions are important as they help your subscribers learn more about you, plus it can help you foster a sense of community and online camaraderie among your own little community. It’s not enough that they like your content—they have to like you and their overall experience with your channel as well.
Interacting with your viewers can also help you gain inspiration for new content ideas. And at the very least, it will keep you inspired to go on despite the difficulties of growing and sustaining your channel.
Ignore All the Negative Comments
No matter how big or how small your channel is, there will always be negative comments. After all, YouTube is a hotbed for ruthless people hiding conveniently behind their blank avatars. No matter good your content is and how hard you work on your channel, there will always be people who will make hateful comments and try to bring you down.
Instead of letting them affect you, take it as a simple reminder that you can’t please everyone, and don’t forget those who appreciate you and what you do. Seek strength from these people in order to move past the negativity and continue producing content for them.
Upload Videos Regularly
Another important tip is to be consistent with your uploads. No matter how imperfect you think your content is, it’s important that you keep getting your videos out there, as it is with podcasting.
Some YouTube channel owners publish videos once or twice a week and they let their viewers know about this schedule (usually at the end of each video) so viewers know when to check back. This gives a channel a bigger chance of getting a steady flow of views, especially once it gains a number of active subscribers. Once you figure out a convenient schedule that works for you, stick to it. You should be improving and getting more attention in no time!