So, you want to start a YouTube channel. Pretty daunting, huh? This guide is here to help! Below, I’ll take you through the essential steps so you know exactly how to create a Youtube channel.
1. THE ESSENTIALS
Your channel name is vital for success. It has to be memorable and unique. Remember, your name represents you!
You can choose to use your own name. If you plan on creating your own personal brand, this is the choice for you. Your name has already been taken? Try adding an initial or an adjective to describe your personality. For example, Finance Fred would be perfect if your channel will cover all things relating to money.
If you are representing a company or brand, you can use their name instead. Otherwise, you may want to create your own personality. Think about “Tipsy Bartender” or “Valuetainment”. They are recognisable names. As you watch them, you soon get to know them on a first-name basis, but they will always be their brand name first. Remember that your name will last forever. Choose wisely.
Next, you want to write your channel description. This simply describes what your channel is all about. It must include keywords related to your content. For example, Finance Fred may want to include words such as money, savings, investment, and bonds. YouTube searches the description when generating results for search queries. Therefore, think like your viewer. What are they searching for?
Finally, you want to determine a posting routine. Viewers love consistency. They love to know when to expect new videos. The minimum I recommend is 1 video per week. Pick a day that works best for you and stick with it. YouTube does offer a scheduling tool, so you can always upload one day and set it to publish another.
2. THINK ABOUT BRANDING
Consistency with your branding is important. Across all social platforms, you want to be recognisable. You ideally want the same name and photo, so that fans are certain it is you.
Colour plays a major part in branding. Pick a primary and secondary colour to use as your default colours on everything. Sure, you can change at a later point, but for starters, you want that consistency. Finance Fred may want a green logo to represent money. He may want a dark grey to complement the green and to portray his professionalism. Colour psychology is so important. Read about it here.
Your content must reflect your brand. If Finance Fred started posting about go-kart racing, viewers would lose interest. Posting anything and everything that doesn’t focus on any particular topic turns viewers off. Very rarely will one person be interested in everything you are. Focus on one. For example, Finance Fred clearly targets the finance sector, so therefore, his content must reflect it.
Promote on other social media channels
You want people to watch your videos, right? Then you’re going to have to promote it! Social media is going to be your best bet.
Although you may not have all your videos planned out, you probably have a rough estimate about your main points. Use them to capture the reader’s interest, but don’t give too much away. Shamelessly use click-bait headlines. They work! Use this generator for inspiration to write some great headlines. As long as your content reflects the title, your views will sky-rocket.
Note: make sure your thumbnail is even more captivating that your text. People will see the video’s thumbnail first and decide if they want to read on from that. Use some photo editing software to create your own custom thumbnails to really stand out! Canva (for beginners) or Adobe Illustrator (if you want amazing designs) are great tools.
Decide on your intro and outro
Remember my message about consistency? It applies to your intro and outro too! Your viewers are satisfied when they see consistent intros and outros. They feel in the right place because they are familiar with your brand.
Intros and outros don’t need to be long and complicated. They should be short and sweet.
For intros, you want to give the viewer a sense of what they are about to see without giving it away (just like a teaser!). A useful technique is provide a highlight before graphically introducing your video. An exercise to try is to select a 3-5 second clip that summarises your video’s message. Make it as bold and controversial as possible. You want readers to stay.
Note: if you use a graphic it can be your logo with the video’s title. But, if you want to get really fancy, you can create an animation or scene. Check out Gary Vee’s intro for inspiration!
Before your outro, you want to create a call-to-action. A CTA is an effective way to gain more subscribers, especially if you have just provided value (see next point!). It can be as simple as saying “please subscribe to my channel if you’ve found this helpful,” followed by a link to the subscribe button. If you have provided value, they will feel obliged to return the favour.
Your outro is the perfect opportunity to thank your viewers for watching and (maybe more importantly) direct them to the next video/content. These are called end-screens. They are annotations overlaying the screen that link to other videos and places, such as social media. Here is a tutorial to get you started!
3. YOUR FIRST VIDEO: HOW TO PROVIDE VALUE
Your first video is important. Yes, you can make a few mistakes. We’re human, and you have plenty more videos to perfect them. But, your first video sets the scene. It gives the viewers an idea of what to expect from you. So, it has to be good.
How do you do that? Just be you! It is really that simple. If you’re a nerd, embrace it. A massive theatre fan who has a wacky personality? Bring it on! People are probably more interested in you than you think.
With Finance Fred, people can find out information on tax returns anywhere on the internet, but people enjoy watching and learning from Finance Fred and so choose to. To further the point, travel back in time to school. Think of the teacher you hated and the one you loved. Didn’t your experiences of the subject reflect on if you liked the teacher or not? The same applies here. Be you, and if people like you, they’ll return.
4. MAKE A CHANNEL TRAILER SO PEOPLE KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
Ever visited a channel and had absolutely no idea what it’s all about? They need a channel trailer!
Just like a film trailer, it provides a taste of what to expect from the channel. For example, a gaming channel may include snippets of their game play, game releases, or reviews.
You can wait until you have several videos uploaded to create a “montage” of your videos, but if you start with a channel trailer straight away, your new viewers will have a clearer picture about you earlier. To keep it short and simple, set up a head profile shot, introduce yourself, and tell them what to expect. Don’t forget to add your intros and outros!
Providing value is vital to your success. Without it, nobody will be watching you. Think hard about what each video brings to the reader. It can be as simple as laughter or it can be an educating experience. For example, Finance Fred could produce a video on tax returns. If he thinks outside the box, he can make it entertaining AND educating.
- What value are you going to give your viewers?
- What message do you want to portray?
- Why should they be watching you and your video?
Answering these questions leads to better videos.
When you provide value, viewers often feel obliged to return the favour. Don’t forget to ask for a like, comment, or a subscription as mentioned above!
5. HAVE A DIRECTION FOR YOUR CHANNEL
Your first 10 videos will be all experimental. You’re going to be testing out effects, cut scenes, content, and much more. From this, you’ll determine from your audience what works and what doesn’t.
That doesn’t mean past those 10 videos you are stuck artistically. Always be on the hunt for improving your videos and channel by listening to your viewers. They are the ones who watch your video after all.
However, having a direction for your channel will help. I’m not saying to have every little detail penned out. I’m talking about a general direction. A goal that is reasonable and achievable, but more importantly, flexible.
For example, Finance Fred may want to focus on investing retirement funds eventually. Little by little, he works towards that with each new video. On the side, he trials other ideas like mortgages, taxes, and business accounting. Eventually, he analyses his views, comments, and likes (as well as asking his viewers what they want) and notice that videos about mortgages are in demand. He decides to focus on that. Later on, he finds videos about first-time mortgages are popular and moves slightly in that direction.
Notice how Finance Fred made adjustments to his direction in response to his viewers. They weren’t major changes and he kept within his niche, but eventually they’ll pay off.
Note: Ensure you make changes to your direction YOU want to do. You are the one making the videos. If you aren’t enjoying it, the viewers won’t either.
6. THE MOST AFFORDABLE ENTRY-LEVEL CAMERA
Most people freak out about not having a professional camera. Yes, they are high quality and make your videos look 10x more awesome. However, they cost a lot.
Good news! The most affordable entry-level camera on the market is the smart-phone. Surprised? So was I. For example, the iPhone X records in 4K at 60FPS. That’s almost as good as a DSLR. Check this video out if you don’t believe me!
In addition to the iPhone X’s camera, you get the added bonus of it being a phone. That’s two devices in one. Winner!
Note: Make sure to get a microphone for your camera. You can get a cheap one here
7. YOUR MOST IMPORTANT TOOL: YOUR EDITING SOFTWARE
Now that you’ve recorded your video, you are going to want to edit it. There are many different video editing softwares out there. They vary in difficulty and price.
For Windows I recommend Filmora. It’s super easy-to-use and has some cool features. In fact, a lot of people recommend it as THE video-editing software for beginners. With it’s GIF support, noise removal, and title overlay, you’ll be set to go. However, when you are ready to advance your skill-set, there is also green screen, video stabilization, scene detection, and background blurs for you to experiment with.
What I personally love about Filmora is the great YouTube community that has built around it. Stuck on a certain feature or need a full blown tutorial of the software? Just search your query into YouTube and someone will be able to help. Check it out!
If you’re on a Mac, you definitely need to check out Final Cut Pro. Some of the big names in the movie industry have been made on this software.
This concise beginner’s guide that shows how to create a YouTube channel should be enough to start you on your merry way. Remember: consistency is KING! Publish at the same time each week, make sure your profile name and picture is the same throughout all networks, and stay within your niche.
Are you planning to create a Youtube channel soon? Or did you already start one?
When you’ve created your channel and uploaded your first video, post a link in the comments below. It would be awesome if we could support each other!