Now, if you ask that same friend or relative if they’ve ever uploaded their own video(s) to YouTube, their answer would become less predictable. From an embarrassed maybe to a firm no, I would never, the thought of starting one’s own YouTube channel can be intimidating—especially if you aren’t greeted with immediate success, a story social media loves to put emphasis on when printing articles on popular YouTubers. The truth is, however, that it’ll take time and effort to draw in a loyal and dedicated audience to your channel. While being an instant success might seem ideal, the longevity of it isn’t likely to maintain itself as time passes.
- CREATING YOUR ACCOUNT AND CHANNEL
Since most are already acquainted with YouTube and thus have an account, starting your own channel should begin with the question of: should I make a new account specifically for this channel or is using my regular account fine? The truth is that there’s no real answer to this question. It’s a matter of preference for most, and some would rather add an additional level of privacy between operating an online persona and then their real self. Assuming you’ve already made the decision to begin your career or hobby as a content creator on YouTube, this question should not pose a particularly heavy challenge. After all, making a new account is free and of no charge unless you wish to acquire YouTube Premium, which is similar to a cable subscription.
- BRANDING YOUR CHANNEL
When one imagines branding, the mind might be quick to jump to McDonald’s and their Happy Meals or IKEA and their build-it-yourself furniture, but a brand doesn’t necessarily have to produce a physical item to sell in order tobe a brand. For instance, take the Queen of England and corgis. Does she sell corgis? No, of course not! It is, however, an associated image that makes her memorable—well, corgis and a few other things. So don’t worry about things like merchandise or products when just starting out your channel. The world has us convinced we should monetize our hobbies to get the best out of our time spent, but as you begin to dip your toes into the world of creating YouTube content, you should first focus on the content itself and the effort you put into its quality.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to customize your YouTube profile picture or header with items or images that you love. If you’re a dairy farmer wanting to post vlogs of your adventures, draw some cute cows and put your channel name amongst them! If you’re more into fashion and trends, go for a classical sleek design with your lettering for your slogan or catchphrase. YouTube is highly customizable in the fact it gives its users a lot of freedom over the content and self image they produce.
- FILMING YOUR FIRST VIDEO
Since YouTube primarily functions as a means to share and view videos, it’s obvious that having a YouTube channel thus means you should now produce and edit your own in order to publish them. While more high-ranking YouTubers might mention specific editing software like Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, you don’t necessarily need to start out paying monthly fees for editing programs, especially when you haven’t found your flow in terms of production. Instead, you should focus on the mere basics.
One of the foremost important items to possess is a microphone. Lucky for you, however, some cameras and phones already come equipped with a decent quality microphone and audio recording software. Sometimes, though, especially if you live in a particularly noisy environment such as a city, you’ll need something with a higher performance capability. Amazon provides numerous cheap options, which is great in case you want to switch to a different brand of microphones later on. Instead of having to commit to a $300+ priced mic, you can purchase one under $80 and change your mind later.
Because Amazon offers such an array of products from sellers, you’re also able to purchase just what you require. If you’re looking for a simple microphone that has one button and only requires you to plug it in, Amazon has this microphone listed for only $15.99. If a more bulky-sized mic with a particularly sturdy boom arm set is more your calling, this mic is being sold at a mere $61.99—but what if you prefer something in between the two? one not too simple but also not too complicated? Well, Amazon offers one just like that as well! At $29.99, this FIFINE model combines the basic holder design of the first but with the microphone quality of the second into this specific microphone.
The second most important would have to be what you use to record your videos, whether it’s your laptop camera, cellphone camera, or even that little camera your grandparents bought you ten years ago when you were totally into taking pictures of sunsets and trees! Nowadays, cellphone camera quality has evolved to such a point, it’s not uncommon to see YouTubers mention that they’re filming on their iPhone—and you wouldn’t have even known if they’d not said anything!
Since most technological devices have more or less a decent way to capture whatever you’d like visually, you don’t need to go to BestBuy and hunt down the bestselling camera with the largest lens and the sturdiest tripod with the biggest SD card! Not at all! You can order a tripod for your iPhone off of Amazon and start filming tomorrow. Don’t want to have to purchase something? Then don’t! Just grab a stack of textbooks and prop your phone against that instead. Starting your own YouTube channel doesn’t have to break the bank. Instead, it requires you to think of creative ways to fit your budget and release your imagination to the world.
The last thing to keep in mind while recording your videos is lighting! People won’t keep watching your video if they can’t tell what’s happening on screen, so it’s important to make sure you have ample lighting that doesn’t envelop you in darkness nor in complete light. You don’t want it so bright your audience can’t tell what is what, and the same goes with it being pitch black. Once you’ve found your groove with video making, you can feel free to explore the world of set design, soundproofing, and more!
- EDITING YOUR VIDEOS
Like it was mentioned earlier in this article, editing software for your videos doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. While it’s a-okay to do so, especially if you’re experienced or already use it for your day-to-day life, there’s absolutely no obligation to go out of your way and spend money in order to edit your recordings. Most iPhone and MacBook users are familiar with iMovie, a free software that comes with your Apple device that has a function to directly upload your finished video to your YouTube channel. Along the same line of free software, Lightworks functions on Windows, macOS, and Linux, as opposed to iMovie’s limited macOS. Although it has a slightly more complex interface, Lightworks comes with numerous tools to customize your editing experience and to even play with how you choose to edit your videos.
And, if choosing the editing software wasn’t enough, you might feel as if though you are unsure how you should edit it, what style of cuts and sound effects you should go for. But that’s where the almighty YouTube itself can come in handy! YouTube will always have its trends in terms of editing styles, but there are some consistent aspects that can be noted from numerous popular creators, such as gaming channels like Markiplier or Jacksepticeye, podcasts like The H3 Podcast or Kurtis Conner’s Very Really Good, or even social media influencers like Emma Chamberlain and James Charles. Watch any of their videos and notice the comedic timing of camera zoom-in’s and heavily memed sound effects used throughout. Instead of cutting out awkward pauses and brain farts, some YouTube creators like the aforementioned leave them in, both as a source of comedy but also relatability. YouTubers are people, after all.
- MAINTAINING A CONSISTENT UPLOAD SCHEDULE
If you’re interested in having your own YouTube channel and producing your own videos, then it probably comes as no surprise that you should strive for a consistent upload schedule. Not only does this assure your audience when they can expect to have a new video listed for them to enjoy, but it also affects how YouTube pushes your videos out to those who normally don’t consume your content. The YouTube algorithm is sometimes infamous for how it goes about with its selection of what videos to prioritize, but it’s still an important side of owning and maintaining a channel to consider.
While there are articles and videos on this algorithm and its evolution throughout the years, it’s ultimately still unknown exactly how YouTube’s programming decides what it decides. One notable way, however, to combat being shadowbanned (aka when your posts aren’t visible to your subscribers) is to maintain a steady influx of videos. Doing this while also being able to keep your audience in tow allows for YouTube to recognize that this is what people are interested in viewing and that this can therefore be suggested to those who normally watch similar videos. Other ways to prevent shadowbanning differ, such as avoiding making videos with controversial opinions or particularly graphic, age-restricted content, but you can read more about this in YouTube’s guidelines
While having a normal upload schedule is recommended, it’s also suggested to begin engaging in community tab postings! A relatively newer feature of YouTube allows channels to have their own threads of written posts that are sent out to subscribers with their notifications turned on. Here, you’re able to send out personal thank you’s to your subscribers or reminders that maybe this week’s scheduled video will be posted later than normally! It’s up to you to decide what to post, and that’s ultimately advantageous in helping you connect with your audience firsthand.
Although this doesn’t have to do specifically with your schedule, one element of YouTube that can assist in navigating its algorithm. Recently, the site has implemented a performance ranking system as part of the analytics it supplies you as the channel owner and operator. On a scale of one to ten, YouTube ranks your latest ten videos in order of the highest performing (1) to the lowest (10). Though there isn’t necessarily any specifics as to why a particular video might be lacking in views in this system, it still can be a valuable tool at your disposal—free of charge, of course!
- SOCIAL MEDIA BEYOND YOUTUBE
Though YouTube is often counted as a social media platform in its own right, using the likes of other platforms, such as Facebook or Twitch, can aid and abet in your YouTube career. Each of these contain their own means of live-streaming, posting reminders, and engaging with your audience; and due to the fact not each subscriber will receive information via the same social media platform, it can be beneficial to holster various social accounts in connection to your YouTube channel and/or brand. Posting an Instagram story with a link to your latest video can entice followers who don’t know your channel to check it out, and the same goes for other social media. You could even use your YouTube community posts to shout out your Twitter account!
Ultimately, however, it all comes down to what you as an individual would like to do with your channel. The future is unknown, so your channel could dip into an infinite amount of directions as long as you put in the effort to maintain it and interact with your audience—they’re just as excited as you are for the journey ahead!
Cooper, Paige. “How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work in 2021? The Complete Guide.” Hootsuite, June 2021.https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-the-youtube-algorithm-works/
Cubbins, Dwayne. “[Update: Oct. 22] YouTube bugs/issues & pending improvements tracker.” PiunikaWeb, 22 October 2021.https://piunikaweb.com/2021/10/22/youtube-bugs-issues-and-pending-improvements-tracker/
Southern, Matthew. “YouTube Introduces ‘Typical Audience Retention’ Data.” SEJ, 1 October 2021. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/youtube-typical-audience-retention/421700/
Whatley, Tom. “A Complete Guide to YouTube Analytic.” Business 2 Community, 24 September 2021. https://www.business2community.com/youtube/a-complete-guide-to-youtube-analytics-02432198/amp