The process of starting a YouTube channel takes just a few minutes - pick out a username you’ll probably cringe at in a few years and upload a profile photo. But, what we mean when we say ‘how to start a YouTube channel’ is how to create a platform that has the potential to grow into something more than just a pastime. What should your videos be about? How often should you be posting? When do you start making an income from your YouTube videos? Here’s our top tips on how to start your YouTube channel. Here are ourtop tips when starting a YouTube channel.
You most likely already have a YouTube profile if you have a Google account, but if you don’t, the first step in starting a YouTube channel is setting up your account. You’ll have to pick your channel name, which we recommend putting a lot of thought into. Your channel name is how your future audience will find you, and how they’ll recommend you to other people. If your channel name isn’t easy to remember and doesn’t make you stand out enough, you’ll become that creator “that vlogs their day”. Definitely not something that makes it easy for you to be found by the search engine, especially with the thousands of videos that are uploaded onto YouTube every minute. When it comes to picking a channel name, here are our top tips:
Another part of setting up your account is uploading a profile photo and a banner for your channel. Your profile impacts the viewers’ first impression, and your banner is what will catch their attention and interest when they find their way to your channel. Your profile photo and banner are also another opportunity to make your niche known to your audience to ensure that they know what your channel is about. Our biggest tip is to check out Canva, an incredible free online design tool. You have thousands of templates to get inspiration from, or you can start with a blank canvas and see where it leads you.
Here’s a great tutorial to walk you through the process of starting a YouTube channel:
Knowing what your niche is incredibly important, especially at the beginning of your content creation journey. Are you making videos about books, DIY’s, traveling, cooking? Having a specific topic for your videos will help you to build up your audience and promote engagement with viewers that connect with your content. Make sure to pick a niche that you truly love and are excited about, because that excitement will naturally translate on screen, and your viewers will feel more connected to you.
Picking out a niche comes down to one simple question - ‘what are you passionate about?’. Move with Nicole loves yoga and pilates, so it makes sense that she started a YouTube channel sharing those types of workouts. As your channel grows, you can start to think about branching out into new niches. When your audience feels like they know you, they’ll watch pretty much any content you put out since it’s you putting out the content. For example, Steph Bohrer mainly created bookish content when she first started her channel, but now her audience loves any of the content she puts out - including content about studying abroad and traveling.
Another thing to keep in mind is that brands are searching for those content creators that are ‘authority figures’ of that specific niche, and it’s definitely easier to be considered an authority figure on a subject you already know and love. When a brand like HelloFresh, a food subscription service, is looking for content creators to work with, they will first look to channels in the food and cooking niche, since that’s the audience they’re trying to connect with. Though brand sponsorships are further down the line and it’s important to let your channel grow and develop organically, it’s definitely something to consider when deciding what path you’ll pick.
Starting your YouTube channel without a strategy is like jumping into the deep end without first figuring out if you know how to swim. Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? Having a strategy will not only help your audience but also help you in knowing exactly what you’re setting out to do. The main things you need to think about when developing your strategy are:
The YouTube algorithm is built in a way that it promotes trending videos, so creators of all sizes are going to want to create content in line with current trending topics in order to gain more attention. But, it’s hard to stay on top of what’s trending - there’s no guarantee that YouTube trends that were ‘popular’ a year ago, or even a week ago, are still relevant today. That’s why being a content creator also means conducting a lot of research about what’s currently trending,
It’s also important to try and make predictions about what might begin trending in a week, or in a month. If you can be one of the first people making content about a new trend, other content creators are going to look at you as inspiration for their own videos. A good way to brainstorm trending topics before they are trending is to look at what you think is missing in the current content creator world. Before becoming a content creator doesn’t mean you’ve stopped consuming YouTube content, so think about it from that perspective - what kind of content do you enjoy watching? What content would you prefer to see less of? Even more than that, what do you feel is missing?
Don’t think you need to spend thousands on equipment in order for you to be a ‘successful YouTuber’. Some of the biggest names on YouTube rely solely on their smartphones for their content creation. In the beginning, all you really need is a camera and a place to edit the footage that you film. Here’s a great video that demonstrates how it’s possible to create high-quality video content with just an iPhone:
Then, as you begin to progress in your YouTube journey, you can start thinking about what equipment you should add to your online shopping cart. Here’s our list of equipment that we consider essential to creating video content:
More than 500 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so you’re going to want to do everything you can to try and stand out in the eyes of the YouTube algorithm. This process is known as YouTube SEO - it sounds complicated (and it definitely takes time!), but it’s pretty much the practice of making a video appear at the top of the search results. There are a few aspects of your channel and videos that you need to work on if optimization is your goal.
How should you start with SEO and keyword research? Here are a few tools to help get you started:
We have had the opportunity to work one-on-one with creators to help them improve their ranking on YouTube’s algorithm, so we know the ins and outs of the process. Read more about how we helped to double PilotPhotog’s views in just one month.
Let’s be honest, aside from enjoying sharing the things you love with a growing audience, money is on your mind. As we’ve seen from content creators like MrBeast and Ryan Trahan, it’s entirely possible to make a couple million dollars a year from YouTube alone. And as you watch videos from these creators, you can only ask yourself, “when does it become possible to start making money on YouTube?”. This income comes from two main sources - AdSense and brand sponsorships.
Content creators looking for a helping hand in the realm of YouTube monetization should look into ThoughtLeaders. ThoughtLeaders has accumulated its vast experience in the creator economy, and has not only created a pretty helpful platform but has a number of experts that are here to help you nail your influencer marketing strategy. From helping you land brand partnerships, making sure you get paid for the work you do, helping you understand sponsorship rates, and even amplifying your YouTube content for better results, ThoughtLeaders is there for you, every step of the way.
The world of content creation is changing day by day, but what’s for sure is that there are plenty of tools and other creators to help you throughout your YouTube journey. Check out this list of the top YouTube channels for other creators, and this list of the best tools for creators that will make getting started on YouTube 10x easier. If you have any questions about content creation, get in touch today to find out how can we help you out!