How To Become a YouTuber
A Complete Guide to A Successful Channel
Growing up, did you ever imagine that you could make money by posting videos of cutting random things in half to see what’s inside or by putting things in a blender? Today, It doesn’t sound so ridiculous.
The generation that wanted to be doctors, lawyers and astronauts raised kids that would rather be Youtube stars – streaming videos playing Minecraft or makeup tutorials.
Why wouldn’t they?
What started as a place to share a video of yourself at the zoo has turned into a giant marketing platform for getting attention.
Let’s face it…
Starting a Youtube channel right now seems daunting.
Whether you’re an influencer or a business owner, this article will reveal the actionable steps to starting and running a successful YouTube channel that makes money.
The 5P's of YouTube:
Each builds from the last so it is best to first read this article all the way through and later refer to sections.
This section serves as the foundation for any (and in this case, YouTube) marketing strategy. Do not skip – or downgrade – this important step!
The Art of Storytelling
Let me tell you a quick story about a little girl…
Charlotte had suffered from a very rare form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome. Ever since she was born she would get seizures that got worse over time. By age five, she would have up to 300 seizures a week!
When doctors told her parents that there’s nothing they could do for Charlotte, they started looking for alternative treatments. They later found several stories of parents who had successfully treated their children’s epilepsy with cannabis.
Having exhausted every other option, Charlotte’s parents started giving her CBD oil – and she seized less often, eventually to zero seizures.
Their story inspired the Stanley Brothers to change the name of their marijuana dispensary to Charlotte’s Web in her honour.
That powerful story tugs at the heartstrings of parents who want their children to be able to walk, talk and eat again. To not see their kids in pain and to be normal kids. And it is that story – and many others like it – that helps drive Charlotte’s Web to $22.8 million in revenue by the end of 2019.
Why is that important to you, the aspiring Youtuber?
Well, think about it…
If you are a parent whose child suffers from debilitating seizures, don’t you think a story like that would get your attention and keep it?
A story like that is definable, relatable and shareable. That’s the key to growing a sustainable YouTube channel.
Whatever industry you’re in, you’re up against massive competition. Giant corporations with big budgets, brand and resources. If you decide to swim in the ocean that is Youtube, you are swimming with the goliaths of your industry. How are you going to beat the bigger fish?
You are also swimming with – not just the whales, but with – billions of other fish fighting for your target viewers attention.
How are you going to overcome those other players?
The answer is simple – It’s you: your passion, personality and energy.
Your strategic advantage as an entrepreneur, business owner or influencer is your story. That’s how you win.
First, when you have an impressive and captivating narrative (like Charlotte), people will want to please their curiosity. Especially if the story is relatable.
Second, having a strong narrative helps build trust with your audience. People trust you more when you open up and share personal stories with them. Before they buy from you, they have to first know then like you. You build trust further the more videos they watch.
By opening up and sharing your experiences, you allow people to buy into your story.
Like Tai in his Garage…
Tai Lopez’s main story theme is how he went from sleeping on a couch in a mobile home with $47 in his pocket to living in Beverly Hills and having a Lamborghini in his garage. All by reading books and seeking mentors. This one viral video has now racked up almost 70 million views and made him 8-figures through his 67 Steps program.
Consider DNA (Writing, Audio, Video)
Before embarking on the journey of becoming a Youtuber, you must consider your strengths. That is to say that not everybody should be a YouTuber.
There are various ways to present your story; through the written-word, audio and video. Focus on what works for you and your skillset.
Historically, humans don’t naturally develop the skills to read and write. We are taught to do so and so not everybody does it well or regularly. Think about the last time you read a book cover-to-cover. Or even the last time you read a 3,000-word article all the way through.
There are lots of people who love reading and writing can be a great way to establish your authority in a particular field – especially if you are a bestseller. Just consider the tremendous effort and low odds, even for naturally gifted writers.
Generally speaking, audio is easier to digest than reading as we are more hardwired to process speech than to read text.
The benefit of audio is that you can consume podcasts and audiobooks, while you are doing other things: driving, walking, washing the dishes or working out.
Which means, this medium opens up the number of people you can reach with your story. However, it seems that everyone and their moms have a podcast.
Though, if you can’t string a proper sentence together and you have a face for radio, grab a microphone and talk, but make it interesting.
Video is the best platform for telling stories. Think about how many people would rather wait for ‘the movie to come out’ of a popular best-selling novel. There’s no effort to consume video, you sit there and watch.
It just has to be compelling.
What used to be limited to companies with big budgets is now accessible to anybody with a smartphone and a wifi connection.
You have a better chance of a video going viral than a photo or an article, as people are more likely to share video content than anything else.
The Power of Video
There’s a hundred stats illustrating the rise and power of video:
- In 2018, 87% of online marketers used video.
- 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions
- 64% of customers say that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy.
- A third of online activity is spent watching video.
- Internet video traffic will be over 80% of all consumer internet traffic in four years.
- Having a video on your website increases the chance of a front-page Google result by 53 times.
You get the point.
If you want to reach and impact more people, grow your audience and increase engagement, you need video content.
As fewer people watch TV, more people watch video online.
Video In Social Media
Social media is a significant part of our world and it must be a dominant part of your marketing strategy.
Deciding how to tell your story includes deciding which social media platform should you focus on.
Each platform has a unique voice and all of them have value.
Twitter is the loudest of all platforms and is best suited for shorter and more frequent ‘tweets’. Yet even the majority of Twitter users watch video content.
Facebook – which owns Instagram, a photo-based app – suits a news-feed style, which is also focusing heavily on video content.
Snapchat tailors towards short videos that disappear. You use TikTok to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos.
The bottom line: Whatever platform you use, people prefer to watch a video. Focus heavily on including video but tailor to each platform.
If video is the best vehicle for telling your story and if social media is going video, then Youtube is your first best bet.
Then look at Facebook as half a billion people are watching videos on Facebook every day and even LinkedIn next for its organic reach.
How Youtube Works
How does YouTube find your videos?
Hundreds of hours get uploaded each minute and one billion hours are watched daily.
Since no team of people can keep up with watching all that, YouTube relies on a sophisticated algorithm to match each viewer to videos they’re most likely to watch and enjoy.
The algorithm is a real-time feedback loop that tailors videos to each viewer’s different interests. Have you noticed that after you’ve watched a few videos on ‘Paleo Recipes’, your home page feed will be plastered with cooking-related videos.
Try this as an experiment when you’re on YouTube. Search for ‘Home Workout Videos’, ‘Vegan Recipes’ or whatever you like, watch a few videos and see how your homepage feed changes based on what you’ve previously watched.
The algorithm does its best to show the viewer the right video at the right time. Also like Google, YouTube’s search aims to surface the most relevant videos and channels according to what people type in the search box.
For each video, YouTube looks at things like title, thumbnails, description, comments, likes, watch time and before watched videos (we’ll cover more on these later on).
The algorithm wants to 1) help each viewer find the videos they want to watch and 2) keep viewers watching more of what they like.
Get your audience to like your videos; The algorithm follows the audience. If people like your videos, the algorithm will surface them to others.
Have a YouTube plan like you would have a blueprint to build a house.
Before you lay down the foundations, make sure you know what you want to create and understand the direction your channel could go.
Think of your channel like a storefront.
It is one of the first things people will see when they find your channel. When people go there, they need to know what you’re about and what types of videos you have.
Decide what your channel is about.
Your channel brand is a set of unique characteristics that differentiates your channel from others. It delivers your key message and content strategy.
Your brand is how people perceive you. Although you can’t control this, you can influence how people feel about you by focusing your story and being consistent with it.
People are too busy to remember everything about you. So, think of branding as: ‘what do you want people to remember you for?’
‘That book guy?’.
‘That big butt girl?’
‘That Swedish gamer?’
If you’re all about healthy baking, then you wouldn’t make videos about stock trading; it’s incongruent and confusing, and a confused mind doesn’t stick around.
Sum up your main story theme in a simple sentence and stick with it.
First, ask why?
Why do you do what you do?
According to Simon, it’s better to communicate your ‘why’ – your purpose, than it is to explain the ‘what’ – your product.
For example, The product could be posting home-workout videos on YouTube but the ‘Why’ could be living long enough to see your grandkids.
As a result, people may remember you as the ‘ripped old man/woman’.
How else can you fine-tune your brand?
Look back at the past 18 months and ask yourself:
- What has worked every time you’ve done it?
- What’s your messy message? (e.g. You had a brain injury resulting in learning difficulties. Now you’re a speed reading coach).
- What do people always compliment you on?
- What are you passionate about?
- Where does most of your time and effort go?
- What do you spend most of your time doing without reward?
Remember: Marketing messages bombard us every day. We do not have the luxury of boundless energy or time to process all that information. If you do not cut the fluff and go straight for the jugular, then you’re drowning in vagueness and you’ve got no one’s attention.
Use those questions – and your own – to get clear on your message.
You want to end up with something similar to Nike’s mission statement:
Your channel’s success is tied to finding the fragment of the 59 percent of the population of active internet users who are just as excited about Toe Wrestling as you.
Branding Best Practices:
- Keep it simple.
- Clear and representative: People who find your channel will understand what your videos are all about.
- Consistency is key across all the places where your branding appears!
You have two routes when deciding on your brand name:
1 Personal Brand – your first and last name, which when creating an account, YouTube will default to.
2 Brand Account – Think of a brand name that is memorable, relevant and legible. The previous principles of branding apply.
For example, If you decide that, as a personal trainer, you want to truly understand your overweight clients more by getting fat, then losing all the weight again. Then it makes sense to call your channel Fit2Fat2Fit.
Take your time with it but remember that you can change it later.
Your icon is your signature image or logo that represents your channel on YouTube. It appears in many places: your channel homepage, video watch page and next to all your comments.
You want people to see it and instantly recognise that it’s your channel.
Your profile image should complement your channel banner. Consider using the same colour and style. It should be clear and easy to recognise.
Make sure it pops, even at small sizes (mobile).
Meaning, don’t use tiny text.
More than likely, if you’re going down the personal brand route, your icon will be an image of yourself. And if you’re going down the branded route, you’d use a symbol.
The banner is a large space for you to show what your channel is about.
Your banner should be 2560×1440 px to achieve the best display on all devices. Include a title, your name, a photo, a posting schedule.
You can create this with your favourite photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Canva.
A short video that’s on your channel page and can be the first thing that is displayed to unsubscribed viewers.
It’s a summary of your channel’s content; a quick snapshot of a Youtuber’s personality. It helps to engage the viewer before they subscribe and a way to pull in new subscribers.
Make it fun, engaging and clear.
Pro Tip: Use your most viewed video as your channel trailer to boost views.
A short overview of what people can expect of your channel. The About Section describes your channel and helps people know more about you and your channel. It should describe the types of content you produce and include your upload schedule.
Pay more attention to the top lines to ensure they are keyword optimised, as you can see these lines on Google searches.
You can also include links to your website, contact info and your social media accounts.
Think of your playlists like different episodes on a TV channel. Playlists can be a great way to increase watch time on your videos as they play automatically.
Sections are a way to organise your content, brand your channel and can help viewers find what they’re looking for.
YouTube can tell if your video is great by how much of the video people watch. Thus, you want lots of videos that people watch right to the end.
We’ve determined your mission statement, so what exactly do you make videos about? The first step to making great videos is keyword research.
Even with the best equipment, script and editing, your video will probably fail if it isn’t what people are looking for.
To know what videos to make, find your competitors most popular videos to see those topics that have already performed well and make similar videos.
What are people typing into YouTube search to find your videos?
Note: Youtube keyword research is different from Google’s. People don’t search for the same things, so treat them separately.
Remember: The goal of YouTube’s algorithm is to show the viewer videos they like. Since YouTube wants them to stick around, they’ll show them another video that they’re most likely to watch and enjoy.
As suggested videos are where a lot of your views will come from, pick highly-competitive keywords (that gets the most search results) so that you’re more likely to appear next to videos that lots of people are watching.
Simply put: Make what’s already working.
YouTube is an incredibly social platform and is all about personality. Make sure you know who the audience is that the video is for. Know your demographic: age, gender, location, language to relate to them on a deeper level.
Value-based, paid and viral videos (covered later) work when you speak directly to your audience. Being conversational can help build a bond between them.
Preparation Versus Improvisation
When creating videos, you may be the person who wants to get all their ducks in a row before they even think of filming.
It’s great to prepare, though over-preparing may lead to procrastination.
Don’t overthink it.
On one extreme end of the spectrum, you’re over-prepared. You don’t want to be too scripted. You’ll sound like a robot (inhuman), and as a result unrelatable and untrustworthy.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’re completely improvising.
You don’t want to be totally unprepared and ‘wing it’. People won’t stick around to listen to your stumble through your video.
Get less than halfway prepared and start filming.
To become an intermediate or expert YouTube creator, you must have a foundational knowledge of video production. Though, every creator has their process based on their style or goals.
Quantity Leads to Quality
Like any skill, the more you do the better you get. And like any skill, the first time you tried something, you sucked.
If you haven’t done so already, launch your first video today.
Go to YouTube and set your channel to private, that is so only you can see it. Get whatever smartphone you have and start recording yourself.
Keep it simple and talk about anything:
“Hey, I’m Julie and I’m taking a walk outside on this beautiful Sunday. Look there’s a ginger cat. I love cats, but I’m more a dog person…”
The first thing you want to do is get over any anxiety about being in front of the camera. Like public speaking – even though there’s no one there – there’s anxiety around speaking in front of a camera.
“What do I say?”
“How do I look?”
“Oh my god, I’m horrible at this!”
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
The first step to making great videos is making bad ones – a lot of them.
Hone your skills by creating more and more videos.
In this case, quantity leads to quality.
How you open your video is supercritical.
Pay particularly close attention to the first 15 seconds of every video. You have that time to hook someone and keep them interested so they watch the rest of the video.
Hit them right away with an appealing hook.
Tai’s appealing hook in “Here In My Garage” is a Lamborghini. Not many people own a $300,000 car. Because it is so scarce, you’re immediately hooked.
The Squatty Potty commercial hook is unicorn poop.
The pilot episode of Breaking Bad (one of the best television dramas) starts with Walt blazing down a desert road in his tighty whities and a gas mark on with Jessie passed out in the passenger seat and two dead bodies in the back.
These hooks stop you from doing whatever you were doing before and makes you pay attention with something shocking, exciting, novel, interesting, weird, crazy or exceptional.
Your videos must start with your best stuff so include the most interesting and attention-grabbing shots in the beginning.
Remember: The attention span of your viewer is less than that of a goldfish. You want to hook them in immediately or they will click off and watch something else.
What’s something that will grab someone’s attention right away?
The plot forms the majority of your video. The hook/intro attracts the viewer, but it is the middle section that provides the most value and ultimately convinces the viewer to buy from you.
What Types of Videos Can You Make?
Broadly speaking, the 3 different types of videos you can produce are Value, Paid and Viral.
Value videos are the Gary Vaynerchuk type videos; they provide free value. They teach, make an impact and share your mission. These are great for building trust with your audience.
Examples of value-based videos include:
A Google Ipso study: 68% of Youtube users watched Youtube to help make a purchase decision. You could be the tech go-to person for when someone is deciding which smartphone to upgrade to. Your income can come from YouTube ads and branded deals.
Similar to product review videos and as it sounds, are videos of people showing you the contents of a product and talking about it. The kid who earns millions of dollars, that’s basically what he does.
Favourites / Best of Videos
These are online video forms of mixtapes. The formula for Evan Carmichael’s entrepreneur-focused YouTube channel is to consume and compile content of people like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Broad Educational Topics
If you’re trying to learn something new, most likely you’ve been to YouTube. Not only a platform for entertainment but a great tool to educate yourself.
Millions of people go to YouTube to learn how to do something… like play piano, rank higher in Google’s search, or how to cut your own hair.
It helps to know your audience.
That way you know what they want – or don’t want.
‘How to… [what they want]’.
e.g. ‘How to… [Make Money on YouTube]’ or ‘How to…[Look Good at Age 50]’
Video blogging is a way to share short stories of your life and your experiences. Think of each video like an episode in Seinfeld, in particular the episode where they have an idea for a sitcom – ‘A Show About Nothing’ that they’re going to pitch to NBC.
Which is funnily what Seinfeld is about, nothing.
What seems mundane to you could be entertaining to others. Bring people along the journey with you. Where are you and where are you going? In your business, what has worked? What hasn’t?
Tell a story to connect with someone. Let’s say you’re angry about unjustly getting a $50 ticket for riding your bike outside the bike lane even though you can’t sometimes because of obstructions (barriers, people, taxis).
One way to redirect your anger and express your frustration in a creative way is by making a video of you crashing into common things that are on the bike lane.
You have a unique story you can tell, it’s up to you to figure out what yours is and how you can use it to grow your business.
In addition, If you can piggy bank on hot topics by addressing them in your videos, you can tap into the rush of people looking for those subjects.
What’s your take on covid-19?
Share your point of view on the elections, the Olympics, holidays, big news stories, events or pop culture etc.
The trick with creating a talk-radio type video is finding people worth interviewing. It’s not so difficult to get a camera and a couple of decent microphones and create your own Joe Rogan Experience.
Example: Key & Peele | Comedy Central
I can’t imagine a better time for comedy than today.
If your value you bring to the table is making people laugh, you can have a comedy podcast, or sketch show or post your stand up routine.
A majority of viral videos have been either funny or music videos.
Entertainment: Live-Streaming Gameplay
Broadcasting yourself playing games online became popular as eSports and streaming services like Twitch gained popularity. I presume the value you get from someone else playing a game – like League of Legends – rather than playing it yourself, is part learning to play on a higher level and part entertaining as they narrate.
Trendy, Weird, Unexpected
There are some value videos I haven’t covered and you may later discover that your value videos may be something as unusual as Mukbang. It turns out people enjoy watching people eat, and you can make money with it.
What a world we live in!
Paid videos like a video sales letter or commercial are specifically designed to help you sell something in that video right then.
They don’t build your following, community, trust or have high-engagement but they do increase sales, provided that you have already built trust with your audience.
We’ve all seen many viral videos – from Gangnam Style to Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. From Rebecca Black’s Friday to ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ to ‘David After Dentist’…and many more.
A viral video spreads like wildfire organically. With little effort, a chain reaction is started and it explodes onto pop culture.
You see it everywhere and you can’t get away from it.
What makes a video go viral?
The key components of video going viral are gaining instant traction and also compelling in a way that people would want to share the video.
“OMG, Have you seen this? I can’t believe it!”
First, it provokes an emotion in us: makes you laugh, cry, angry. Or it shocks or inspires you and it’s extraordinary enough for you to share it with our peers.
“LOL, you have to check this out! This is hilarious…”
It’s like gossip, but online. People love to share stuff that makes them appear to be well-informed.
It seems that the most viral videos are extraordinary moments that are captured. It’s not as though most people wake up and say: “I have an idea for a video that will definitely go viral… Let me put this Chewbacca mask on and laugh.”
Trying to actively create one is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.
Though it’s more reasonable to try creating a viral video for advertising.
If you can create a viral video for marketing purposes – like this one from Dollar Shave Club or Old Spice – it helps you generate leads, create brand awareness, increase website traffic, and drive sales.
Another significant benefit of having your content go viral is you could cut or reduce your marketing expenses.
How are you going to end your video?
A call to action is getting someone to do something after they’ve watched your video. A simple way to get people to like, share, comment and subscribe is to ask them to.
So, what do you want viewers to do when they’re finished watching your video?
Subscribe: At the end of the make sure to ask people to subscribe. But, give them a reason to.
Share: Make videos that people want to share. Have a strong ending that gets the audience to share the video.
Keep in mind: Can you summarize what the video is all about in one sentence that is easily understood and compelling enough to share?
If you can’t summarise it in one sentence, it’s going to take someone longer to explain when they are trying to share it.
When starting, it’s irrelevant what gear you use.
Most content creators think that since they’ve spent all this money on expensive equipment, that it automatically grants them access to a swarm of viewers and subscribers.
A lot of people wait to start making videos because of the equipment they have. Get started with what you have and don’t spend money on equipment until you have to.
Making videos is intimidating enough – having to decide where will you record? Which camera do I use? What microphone? What about lighting and editing?
What type of camera should you use?
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to get started with what you have. If you have a smartphone, you’re good to go. Whether it’s a Samsung Galaxy, Huawei or an iPhone, you have in your pocket what used to cost tens-of-thousands.
Beyond that, you can get a point-and-shoot camera. These tend to be much lighter, easier and cheaper than a DSLR. Though, you do get a higher quality, cinematic look with a DSLR, but you’ll need more technical knowledge.
It’s better to have poor lighting than it is to mess up the sound. Viewers overweight sound over lighting.
Which is the best type of microphone for your videos?
Besides the on-board microphone, there are three types of microphones you can use: Shotgun, Lavalier and Boom.
1 Shotgun: Rode VideoMicro
Shotgun microphones are a great point-and-shoot microphone to improve the sound quality of your videos.
2 Lavalier: Rode smartLav+
With any microphone, the closer the microphone is to the audio source the better the audio you are going to get, which also means you capture the least amount of background noise. That’s where Lavalier or Lapel microphones come in handy.
Pro Tip: You can mount and hide any lavalier microphone by taping it to the inside of your t-shirt.
3 Boom: Rode NTG5
A boom mic is a shotgun mic attached to a pole; it’s what you typically think of in a blockbuster movie production with a dedicated sound crew.
You’d typically go down this route if you are a serious film creator.
Which microphone you pick depends on whether you are recording interviews or presenting in front of the camera and whether you are recording indoors or outdoors.
Tip: If you are using your onboard microphone, make sure you’re staying between 3-4 ft from the camera.
Even though it’s not as important as getting your sound right, lighting is still a key ingredient in your video production recipe.
The various sources of light come from Sunlight, Softboxes, Ring Light, LED Lights.
Let’s start with a free and easiest source of light for your videos, the sun.
The great thing about sunlight is that it’s the most natural and thus most pleasant looking light source. The downside is that you can’t control the intensity or the weather.
When you are starting out and getting comfortable being in front of the camera, that is also the time to test how light affects the shot.
So, go outside and record yourself, and while you are rambling on about the economy, walk around and take note of where the shot looks the best.
‘Is it better with the light behind me, or in front or to the side?’
Softbox lights are a great cost-effective option for a DIY studio and can be used for all video production needs.
These lights are typically found on makeup tutorial videos. They’re easy to use and they cast a flattering, soft and overall light on your face. The downside to these are the unnatural glare you get in the eyes.
In closing, wherever you get the light from it doesn’t hurt to have more. Just make sure your shot isn’t too dark and that people can see your face.
Post-Production / Editing
How do you turn what you’ve shot into a great video?
The editing is where the magic happens where you take the raw footage and turn it into a professional video.
- Windows Movie Maker
- Adobe Premiere
- Final Cut Pro
Tip: Shoot several videos all at once, and release them over time. Also think about how you can make lighter, less time-consuming videos?
Twelve Basic Steps:
- Shoot many takes: so you have plenty of performance options to choose from.
- Back up your footage.
- Your edit space: Find somewhere quiet where you can focus.
- Organising your files.
- Watch your footage: Get familiar with all your footage.
- Beginning to edit: Mark the best takes. Lay them into a sequence in order on your timeline called an assembly edit.
- Fine cutting: Jump cuts, transitions
- Watch over and over.
- Building up your edit: B-Roll, title card.
- Working with sound: People can’t stand bad sound. + Music.
- Mixing your sound: Close your eyes and listen. Tweak.
- Colour correction
Tip: Don’t wait for the perfect equipment! Practice with whatever you have.
How Long Should My Videos Be?
Remember, YouTube ranks videos based on how long people watch your videos. Again, you want lots of videos that people watch the majority of.
The general rule of thumb is: Aim for at least 7 to 20 minutes of quality content. The essential word there is quality. YouTube is certainly tailored-made for long-form content, though not at the expense of quality.
Remember, YouTubes algorithm follows the audience. It doesn’t look good if people click off your 3 hour video in 30 seconds but also don’t make really short videos – that’s for other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
As good as your video may be, it won’t matter if no one clicks on the video in the first place. The title summarises what the video is about and gets the audience to watch.
Put some thought into your video title. A good title is searchable & attractive. Make titles that catch people’s attention.
Being searchable means it must first accurately reflect the content of the video. Second, make sure the title is short, concise, and keyword optimised.
To make the title attractive is to add curiosity; ways that create intrigue and make the viewer want to click the video. Those include making the title emotionally driven, adding cliffhangers, numbered lists and dates e.g. SEO for Beginners: 3 Powerful SEO Tips to Rank #1 on Google in 2020
The bottom line: Your title must be to-the-point enough so people immediately understand what it is about and competitive enough so viewers watch your video instead of someone else’s.
What kind of title will stop you from scrolling through your feed?
Although, not everyone is going to read the title.
The thumbnail is one of the first things someone will see of your video.
Imagine the timeline of the person who has subscribed to more than a hundred channels. Every day this person is going to see dozens of new thumbnails, which means yours is going to have to stand out from the rest.
Make thumbnails that catch the eye.
Make sure that it’s:
- Clean (Don’t Make It Too Busy)
- On Brand
- Human Element: They Want To See Your Face
- Use Variety: Use different styles for the variety of shows on your channel.
- Dimensions: 1280 x 720 pixels.
Simply put: A great thumbnail is a high-quality, customised image that features bold and clear text that, like the title, accurately reflects the content of the video.
Most of your views will come from the recommended section – not search.
Suggested videos are videos Youtube recommends based on what viewers were watching before, related topics and past watch history.
You find them to the right of a videos watch page – or below on mobile – or YouTubes home page.
Suggested videos can be from any channel including more from the same channel you are watching. Viewers click on suggested videos based on how compelling the title and thumbnail is.
Having a strong thumbnail is like having a great movie or book cover. And like any great cover, they catch your eye and invite you to give the video a chance.
You can design your thumbnail on your favourite photo-editing software like Photoshop or Canva or you can get someone else to design it for you on Upwork or Fiverr.
The bottom line: Youtube is a visual platform – people come to watch videos and often they choose what to watch based on the thumbnails. So, make it pop! When you are shooting your video, spend some time shooting some still images to use for the thumbnail.
Writing a description is another element that helps YouTube and viewers find your videos more easily. After all, they’re there to describe what the video is about.
Provide an overview of your video and include relevant and popular keywords, especially at the beginning. The first few lines of the description will appear in search results.
You have 5,000 characters to provide as much information and value as you can. Make sure to include what is necessary and relevant.
You can add all sorts of information:
- A table of contents with time stamps
- Affiliate links to products or services
- Links to other social media links
Add keywords, descriptions and phrases that are most descriptive of your video. You want to provide enough tags to thoroughly and accurately describe your video.
Think about what your potential viewer may be searching for on YouTube. You can find this out by using tools like VidIQ, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, and Keywordtool.io
- Have at least ten tags
- Use both one-word and phrases
- Tags that accurately reflect the content of the video?
- Have tags that have high search volume but low competition
If you want to be discoverable, be sure to become an optimisation expert.
Know how to write effective titles, tags and video descriptions.
End Titles & Cards
Drive as many views to your newest videos. End screens are a great way to keep your audience engaged for longer.
To extend watch time on your channel, are you including youtube cards within your video to drive traffic to other relevant videos you’ve posted?
Comments, Likes & Subscriptions
You don’t just want people to sit back and watch your video.
YouTube will rank your videos higher if it sees people actively interacting and engaging with your content. Comments, likes and subscriptions are signals to YouTube that the video is getting audience engagement.
Listen to your audience by looking at your comments, likes and dislikes.
Make sure to reply to every comment as they’re more likely to subscribe.
Take into consideration what they want to see.
Consider involving them and getting them to take part. It empowers them; it makes them feel like they helped make the video.
That leads to more engagement.
Subscribers are people who like your video enough to sign up for more.
Subscribers are people who want to see more of your content and potentially get notified every time you put something new.
Subscribers are important to your channel as they tend to spend more time watching your channel than viewers who aren’t subscribed.
Note: Having more subscribers doesn’t guarantee more views. You still have to persuade your subscribers to watch a video. A good title and thumbnail is a key element in attracting people to watch your video.
The 24 Rule
YouTube will look at what happens to your video within the first 24 hours. If it doesn’t do well in that time frame, it won’t get promoted. You want to push your videos hard in the first 24 hours of posting.
To rank higher in YouTube SEO, you want to push your videos hard in the first 24 hours of posting.
While you are building your YouTube presence, make sure that you are also capturing people’s email addresses. Having a decent email list is more important than your social media following.
To capture somebody’s email goes beyond the scope of this article, but the following principle applies: Offer your audience something of value for free in exchange for their email.
That way you can email blast your list to notify them of every new video release. The con of this approach is the suboptimal 10-25% open rate.
Which is why you want to build a massive list.
Beyond your list, you’ve got other social media platforms. Recap the section of this article: ‘Video In Social Media’ – think of ways you can repurpose your video to tailor towards each platform.
It’ll be too much to dive deeper into constructing a social media strategy here, but in general, ideally you want to post quality content every day throughout all platforms.
Then when it comes time to posting a new video on YouTube, you’re primed to getting more attention.
How Many Times Should You Post?
Aim for a video a day.
I know, that’s insane. Especially now. But, remember you’re playing the long game. So, don’t be discouraged. Wherever you are, try to do a little more than you’re doing.
It’s important to think of yourself as a TV channel – with many shows. Not everyone is going to watch every video you post.
Updating your channel regularly with content will keep your feed active, increase your presence on YouTube, and help you build an audience.
You should aim for at least one video per week, but how often you post depends on your audience, your goals, and your content.
One simple way to create a steady stream of content is to produce shorter versions of long-form content. Build a theme around a topic and then post bite-size versions of the theme every week. This will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
Remember, it may not work on the first try, but continuing to produce high-quality content on YouTube can deliver amazing results.
Success on YouTube comes with time and practice, so get out there and shoot.
Distribute your content to popular Facebook pages. Some may share your video for free and others – especially the bigger pages – may charge you a premium. There’s no chance your video will go viral with you posting a video on your own.
Repurpose your content over many platforms.
Measure, analyse and get better insights on your videos.
You should have a decent amount of videos on your channel by now. Out of those videos, there will be videos that didn’t perform well and others that crush it.
At this stage, you want to figure out the reasons a particular video did or did not perform well. Head to your Youtube analytics and examine the videos with the highest audience retention. Then figure out what exactly about those videos made people stick around.
Simply put: Figure out what people like and do more of that.
You can read every article on “How to Be A YouTuber” but ultimately it comes down to testing your assumptions and letting data (the market) dictate what works and doesn’t.
How do you know whether something in your channel could be better?
You don’t…unless you run a split test.
Take a video that’s working and test it against something else that you think will give you a better result.
Tubebuddy allows you to split test different titles, thumbnails and images.
Remember: The key is getting someone to click. If no one clicks, then it isn’t working. In your split test, If option B gets more clicks than A, B wins.
Pro Tip: Test one thing at a time. If you test multiple things at once, you won’t know exactly what made someone click.
Bonus: How to Make Money on YouTube
Before you even think about making money with YouTube, first you need an audience.
Out of the three different types of video content (value, paid and viral), the vast majority should be value-based videos.
Consider taking Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook approach: Give three times more than you receive.
In other words, consistently make videos that viewers like watching. Then, over time, ask them to buy.
The trick is knowing when.
Especially at the beginning, you don’t want to worry too much about making money. Instead, worry about making great videos. You will eventually be rewarded for the value you bring to the table.
Remember that branding is how people perceive you and that YouTube is about personality. If people sense that you’re only trying to get them to buy your merch, they’ll tune you out.
When and how you make money all depends on your industry, your audience and your goals.
YouTube is an excellent pool of traffic and customers. Once you’ve built a solid foundation – a YouTube channel that has a decent amount of quality videos, subscribers and engagement, it’s up to you what to do with it.
YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
Once you’re getting enough people watching your content, you can join the YouTube Partner Program. The success of the YPP relies on advertisers willing to associate their brand with Youtube’s (your) videos.
To make money from ads, content must follow Youtube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines.
Ad revenue is a great source of income for creators. After joining the YouTube Partner Program, you can turn ads on in YouTube studio and earn money.
Though sometimes you need more than just ad revenue to support your ambitions. Diversifying can bring in more money and empower your channel to bring on more projects.
Like Casey Neistat, you can get 6-figure branded deals from one video. Why would companies pay so much for a video from you? First of all, brand deals have to make sense to you and your channel. You don’t want to hurt your reputation in the long run by accepting deals that don’t make sense or you’re not passionate about, even if it is a life-changing amount of money.
When it comes down to brand deals, it makes sense to get them from brands that you use – or think are great products – even if you weren’t getting paid to use them.
Like Evan Carmichael, who runs the biggest YouTube channel for entrepreneurs has four books. Even if your communication style is through the writing, you can sell a heck of a lot more books with a solid YouTube presence.
You can make money by sending someone from your video to a product that already exists and making a commission on the sale. Some examples of affiliate partners include Skillshare, Amazon or Wix. With Amazon, for example, you can sign up for their affiliate program and post a video reviewing the best video lighting equipment and include your affiliate links to those products in the description and earn every time someone buys.
Products or Services
You may want to send people to your funnel where you offer coaching, consulting service or mastermind. Or you have an eCommerce website selling apparel. If you don’t have anything to sell online, often the easiest things to sell are educational products.
It all comes down to what type of business you want to be in. You can fund the lifestyle you want. The goal then is to create multiple streams of passive income, so you may consider pursuing most of these sources.
The information in this article is very important if you put in place it. Remember: It’s not what you know, it’s what you do. The difference between top Youtubers and most people is massive action.
Reading this article is the easy part.
Not just read, but execute.
And I’ve done my best to make this simple, easy to understand and practical for anyone wanting to get started on Youtube, rank their videos and make money with Youtube.
Hopefully, this gives you the confidence to do something.