If you have ever considered starting a YouTube channel, there is literally no better time to start than now. Video has experienced rapid growth in the past few years leading to global YouTube stars like Lily Singh, Pewdiepie and Casey Neistat. With 2,267 channels with over 1M subscribers (via Socialblade), it may seem like the opportunity to become a Gold Play Button YouTuber has passed, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, Facebook expects to be nearly 100% video by 2021, meanwhile 70% of all mobile web traffic will be video that year according to Google. We really are at the tip of the iceberg for video based content. So, no more questions – do it!
While I am certainly not a YouTuber with millions of subscribers (I just hit 2,000!), I have spent thousands of hours watching, hundreds of hours learning directly from YouTubers themselves and taken YouTube provided courses as well. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the things that you should do when starting to give you a great start. I also got in touch with some of my favourite Canadian YouTubers to get their insight as well!
Decide on an Idea
The very first thing you should do before uploading to YouTube is to decide what you want to do. It seems an obvious step, but many just create videos with no real idea of what they want to be known for. YouTube channels need to select a niche/single style in order to be successful. You may need to put weeks, months or more likely years into creating content before you’re going to have consistent success with each upload. As a result of it being a long road, you should do something you love and have a passion for. Figure out that thing and develop an idea around that. It needs to be something you can do for years – so make sure the idea also has longevity.
|Finding what you love most and sticking to it. If I had known sharing every single one of my different passions would cause me to get lost in the mix, I would’ve stuck to beauty and makeup from day one. My other videos don’t do as well since my viewership is looking for that specific niche. – Camille Co|
It takes a long time to get used to talking into a camera and coming off naturally. This is why you’ll see a lot of new YouTubers looking off camera rather than into the camera lens. Before you post anything to your channel, get familiar with your camera and the concept of talking to it. It won’t come overnight, but if you start doing it before you upload to YouTube, your initial videos will connect better. Also, in terms of camera gear, while you don’t need the best camera/mic gear, you do want some kind of quality. Smartphones are a pretty good starting point (especially if they have some advanced controls). Eventually, you will want to invest in a higher end DSLR for your videos.
|I wish I would have learned how to use my camera better and understand things like ISO and Aperture because the quality of your video is so important. Other then that I personally did things a little backwards where I studied YouTube for months before actually beginning my channel. – Rachel David|
Create a Content Calendar
Once you have your idea and you’re ready to start filming, you now need to think about a content calendar. YouTube audiences like consistency, so set a schedule and stick to it. Your content calendar should cover you a month in advance and include major events for tentpole content. Tentpole content is where the video ties into a major event. The idea being that people are going to be especially interested in that topic at that time (both existing and new audiences). December? Christmas. End of Summer? Back to School. The World Cup? Soccer.
|One bit of knowledge that would have helped me greatly before starting YouTube would have been knowing the importance of consistency. Very much like Television shows, viewers on YouTube expect to see content coming out regularly from their favorite channels. When I started I thought it would be okay to upload an episode or two a month. In reality it harmed my channel greatly, uploading consistently keeps people engaged and excited for that next video! – Shane Luis|
Monetize Your Channel
Now that you’re gearing up, you should verify your channel and become a “YouTube Partner”. This will enable ads to run ahead/during your content by connecting your account with Adsense. There are some that say you should NOT monetize your content from Day 1, but I beg to differ. YouTube is the one platform that everyone is used to (and accepts) ads before the content. In fact, I’m convinced that most people think it’s just part of the platform rather than opt-in. That said, people who love your content will be happy to support you by watching those ads.
|I started monetizing my content in 2013 and I made $11 that first month. It felt cool to be paid to be posting silly videos. Three years later it still excites me and has become my full time job. I’ll make 6-figures this year. Every dollar is an additional incentive to keep posting. – Requested Anonymity|
YouTube is a collaborative and social environment. Audiences absolutely love seeing collaborations between different YouTubers. Not only is it great for your audience, but it exposes both audiences to each others channels (and a chance at new subscribers). Once you’re up and running, your best bet is to find channels with similar content and a similar size audience to work with. Those channels can best benefit each other. That said, you may also find a much larger creators open to collaboration as well. Considering YouTube is a common experience (everyone started with zero subscribers), you’ll find some bigger, established channels are open to working with you.
|I’ve been on YouTube forever, but it was only very recently I decided to take it seriously. The one thing that I wish I knew when I started, was to be more social, and communicate more with others. For the longest time I thought to stay “solo”, but I only really found myself, when I was working with others. Essentially, be social, reach out to people and be more open to collaboration. Boom. – Canoopsy|
I won’t lie – YouTube is a very SLOW build. There are going to be days (weeks/months) where you’re going to feel discouraged. It’s in those moments of weakness, you have to remember to just keep going. Keep pressing record, keep editing, keep experimenting. Every time you record, edit, and post you’re going to learn something. Your content is going to get better. And if you keep improving in all aspects, eventually you’re not only going to be creating great content but an audience will find you.
|When you’re just starting out on YouTube, the world is your oyster! It gives you the freedom to experiment and test out different styles, themes, formats without the set boundaries that an existing audience would impose. Not only is experimentation important for developing your online presence or brand, it’s also important from a technical point of view. Things such as lighting, camera angles, settings, backgrounds, props, set, are all things that wont be perfect right off the bat and take time to develop. Simply taking the time to experiment and develop your craft will go a long way in establishing you, your brand and your voice. – VivaLaWatts|