While starting a YouTube channel is a heap of fun, it can also be a whole heap of work. It’s another entire platform to maintain and create content for – but it’s SO worth it! It’s not all about sitting in front of a camera and hoping for the best – there are a number of aspects that combine to create a successful channel, and by simply understanding and acknowledging them will provide a boost to your channel and increase its performance.
Before we get started, success doesn’t come from nowhere – you’ll be building from the ground up almost, just like you’ve done with your blog. This time around, you’ll be teeming with content and ideas to work with, and you’ve already got an existing audience who are willing to follow you on your new adventure – but be prepared for the road ahead, and all the new skills you’ll discover and build.
Rule number one: DON’T compare yourself to others! Many of the big names have been doing this since before being a YouTuber was even designed to be profitable, and they’re true veterans in their field. Keyword – THEIR field! Your channel will all about you, your content and YOUR audience – build your own success, and don’t measure yourself against others. Are you ready?
BE YOU! Just like your blog, your content is an extension of yourself. Don’t try and create a persona because you think it’s what your audience wants – there are thousands of inauthentic, over the top videos across the web, and to be honest we’re all a little sick of them. There’s nothing more painful than watching someone attempt (and fail) to craft a persona or bounce between styles – you’ll grow with your content, and we all change over time – but DON’T do a spurt of crazy style videos just because that’s trending. Cover the things you love, with your real personality.
While you might sometimes want to cover ‘hot’ topics or ones your audience are hungry for, your channel is all about you.
Work Out The Logistics
Managing workloads can be difficult, so stepping into Day 1 with a realistic plan will help you avoid filming overwhelmed. Consider how much time you think each task will really take – that means adding extra time for life, mistakes and fix-ups. How often can you reasonably record? How much time do you need to record, edit, upload and share your content? Are you ready to commit to a video each week, or do you need to test the waters and perfect your own processes first?
Don’t promise and under deliver. Your audience will accept your room for growth, the time you take to explore a new platform, and the authenticity these bring – they’ll be thinking “Hey, they still work 9-5 just like me, they’re not living in that mystical YouTuber bankroll land!?” rather than “Where did this person come from!? How can they make a video every 3 days when they’ve never done it before? How are they paying bills!?”
It’s also important to build trust with your audience, right from the start. This can be easily broken in the first few seconds of them getting to know your channel – avoid the”Hey guys, new videos every week!” in your very first / intro video, until you know you’re comfortably able to commit to that schedule. If they check in on your promises and don’t find what they’re after, eventually they’ll stop coming back. Constantly promising and failing to deliver doesn’t exactly instil confidence in your abilities – whether its weekly video output or your actual knowledge within them.
What will you vlog about? How often, and how much content can you create for these topics? Pick an overall theme (or interconnected niches) as the focus of your channel. You could do makeup tutorials, but could also review products and create ‘lifestyle’ content too, giving you diversity and further reach. You can’t be a master of all trades, so focus on what you do best – branch out when you can, but don’t spread yourself too thin.
Be prepared for your channel to change and grow over its lifespan – when first starting your channel, think of a few potential new paths and directions you could pursue in future – both short term and long term. Think of what you can produce now, and where you’d like to go! If you ever need to change directions, you’ll already have ideas on hand that will easily help you transition from your old path to your new one.
If you’re starting a YouTube channel as an extension of your bog, think about how it will complement or contrast your blog content. Will it be an entirely different focus, in a ‘face behind the blog’ style, covering your daily life and NOT any content on your coaching blog? Or will it reinforce the messages within your posts, and help you reach your main audience on their preferred platforms?
Get a feel for what your audience prefers, then refine and deliver what they’re after. But, DON’T forget about you!
Optimising Your Channel
Creating a YouTube account is simple – but creating a good one takes a few sneaky secrets. Take advantage of every feature your channel offers, and regularly evaluate their performance – what can you tweak, or update?
YouTube channel art is just like your Facebook Cover Photo, or blog’s background. It’s a large image that spans the top of your profile, and is one of the first things your viewers see – and a quick way to form an impression. Channel art is entirely customisable (you can even use Canva to create new banners) and can be modified by simply uploading an image.
Don’t try to overload your audience by throwing everything you’ve got into your banner – keep it simple, yet attractive. Include details about your channel name or brand, perhaps a headshot or familiar imaging.
If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at what others in your area are doing – certain niches have common styles that help audiences easily identify YouTubers or topics. That DOESN’T mean you have to do what everyone else is doing! If you find inspiration, take what they’re doing and make it your own – and make it better!
Your profile picture appears just below your channel art, besides your name and navigation. It’s automatically generated from your Gmail account, so no need to upload a new photo. If you’re using a broader image for your Channel Art (like a picture of people using your products), you might want to use a photo of yourself or your brand logo as your profile picture.
This is set up through your Google account (Gmail) and can’t be modified for different platforms – if you’re using a corporate headshot for your Gmail photo and want something different for your channel, consider using another email, or making a new ‘dummy’ one for your YouTube account – great for any other blog-related needs.
Your channel trailer is a short video that is ONLY visible to unsubscribed viewers – hinting at its purpose to hook in new viewers by introducing them to your channel, you, and your content! It doesn’t have to be your very first ‘content’ video, and it probably shouldn’t be. Take the time to record a separate video telling users a little about yourself, what you have to offer and most importantly, what they’ll gain from your videos!
Sprinkle it with a little personal style, a whole heap of charm and your expert skills, and you’ll have subscribers in no time!
Your videos are listed across YouTube – on your channel, in related searches, suggested videos and ‘up next’. Titles can help a user decide if they want to learn more about your topic, but your thumbnail will help them decide if they want to hear it from YOU!
Experiment with your thumbnail designs, and see whether you want to create templates or overlays to use for each video. Some YouTubers a cut out of themselves on a colour background with clear text, others use ‘stills’ from their videos with (crazy) overlays. Hot tip: these aren’t actually stills. Many YouTubers will take a normal, posed photograph that looks ‘natural’ – the image will be better quality, and you’ll be able to get the perfect shot!
To get you started, try taking a photo of yourself (or using a stock photo related to your topic) and overlaying text. Make the text related to, but not identical to your video title. If you don’t have a title yet, mock up some ideas from your latest blog post!
Remember when we said your SEO skills could go even further? Good keyword research has immense benefits for your YouTube videos as well! Not only does the YouTube search function behave in a similar way to Google, YouTube results ALSO appear in Google searches, with your thumbnail and a direct link!
Use your keywords in your video titles, will still clearly describing what’s inside. It’s a lot easier to skim through a blog post than it is scrubbing through a video with no idea what you’ve missed, without actually watching it! Keep your titles accurate, but search friendly – and don’t forget to throw in a little of your personal style!
Tags are another way users can navigate YouTube and explore content they may be interested in – think about how your visitors might use tags on your own blog, or the way we use them on Instagram.
Take a peek at what tags other YouTubers are using, and how they target certain videos.
Tip: with both YouTube Keywords and Tags, it’s the same as SEO – the more popular they are for users, the more competition there will be. Meaning more videos, bigger names and higher stakes. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them! Remember your long-tail keywords, and nail the lower levels before moving up the ladder!
Once your very own channel is up and running, why not share it with us? We’re always looking for new bloggers to follow, and we’d love to see what you create!