YOUTUBE: HOW TO START A CHANNEL FROM SCRATCH
Up until a few years ago, the sight of people ‘vlogging’ on the street would seem unusual, but today, it is merely commonplace. You may ask yourself, why is that? Well it is because of a video sharing platform that we all know as YouTube. Just when you think there is nothing left to see on the popular video sharing website, a viral video comes out or a herd of new influencers emerges with a popular trend. According to statistics, more than 24 hours’ worth of footage is uploaded to YouTube every single second. How can your business capitalize on that growth and become a part of this media culture that relies on user interaction as its model for success?
First, let’s get into the basics of what YouTube is and how it all started. Started by three former PayPal employees in 2005, the American video sharing platform quickly gained traction and was acquired by Google in 2006. While much has changed since that acquisition, with many content creators becoming millionaires from ad revenue on the platform, the framework of YouTube still remains the same. Content is free to upload and free to watch, with users being able to create their own YouTube channels, subscribe to other channels, engage with viewers in the comments section under the videos and reply to other users’ comments.
Here are a few examples of how YouTube can be used as a tool to market yourself, your abilities or your business to a large audience. Let’s look at an already established business such as popular fashion house Chanel. While Chanel may spend millions of dollars on other methods of marketing each year, it can upload its latest Métiers d’Art collection fashion show on its YouTube channel, garner millions of views and create thousands of potential customers, all for free. Then there is the influencer aspect! Influencers are people who mostly market themselves and the brands that sponsor them. They have something to offer to the audience; be it their looks, their personality, their lifestyle that they showoff, their opinion on various topics, their adventurous vlogs or a combination of all these aspects. Fact of the matter is, influencers form a large chunk of YouTube’s content creator community and they command an immense audience.
Popular YouTube personality Casey Neistat boasts close to 12 million subscribers on his YouTube channel as of early January 2020. With more than 2 billion total views, Casey is known for travel videos and other content of the same nature. He gets to fly premium flights for free and make videos about them, courtesy of his popularity and his unique reviewing style. He also makes a pretty penny with Google AdSense, as do all popular YouTube channels that have been approved for monetization. One of the highlights of December 2019 was the news about a kid who made $26 million from YouTube ad revenue that year by reviewing popular toys on his channel.
Finally, there are channels that rely on viral trends. These channels don’t involve a business or an influencer. They could be a single person filming on their phone or in their bedroom, while still creating millions of views and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars from ads that play on their videos. These channels cater to trends such as ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), slime videos, match lighting videos (yes, you read that correctly), mukbangs (eating shows) and a variety of other interests.
You may be thinking, how is this information important for your business’ YouTube channel? If you are serious about creating a YouTube channel that sustains an audience, you need to be aware of the dynamics of YouTube. Your main takeaway here should be that well produced, professional content sells. People will watch anything if it appears important or simply if it appeals to their aesthetic taste. Visual appeal is much more effective than any other form of marketing!
How to Start Your Own Channel
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! The first step towards starting a YouTube channel is to create your channel, decide a username and upload a profile icon and banner image. This will establish your visual identity. From your YouTube account, click on the gear icon and go to your account settings. Then, click ‘Create New Channel’ and follow all the steps. Now that your basic channel has been created, let’s get into a step-by-step approach to turn it into an optimal channel that instantly starts getting views and subscriptions.
1 – Research
The key to success in any field is to know your competition and that takes research! While you have been given a general idea of popular YouTubers in the article above, you need to research your particular niche, find popular YouTube channels within that niche and observe what makes them successful. You need to look at what keywords and tags those channels use. For example, if you are a rental car business and want to make detailed videos showcasing each car in your portfolio, search for YouTube channels in the automobile field that have more than a few hundred thousand subscribers. Don’t mimic them but it is in your best interest to pick up on the nuances that make your competitors successful.
2 – Content Strategy
Determine what kind of content you would like to produce and implement a strategy with your upload schedule. If you are a business trying to market a product, create a visually appealing product demo video with a title that commands attention. However, the thumbnail is more important than the title. Create a bright and visually appealing thumbnail that beckons people’s curiosity and nudges them to click on the video. Creating a set time schedule and uploading regularly will help you cater to your target audience and lay down the groundwork for a successful YouTube channel.
3 – Record
You need to keep track of everything that goes into creating your videos. This will keep you organized of how much money you spend on your videos and will assist you in creating a set algorithm for each video. By streamlining the process of content creation, you will make it easy on yourself to sustain your channel with fresh new content every week. Things you need to invest in and keep track of may include video equipment such as a high-resolution camera, editing software, a basic light kit (if you are recording indoor), a microphone and a background.
4 – Optimize
Once you have all the basic things in place and your channel has started getting a regular audience, optimization is your key to long-term success. Over time, you need to focus on making your content more professional and more accessible. Using new and relevant highly-searched keywords in your video title, description and tags will help you create relevancy for your channel and rank higher in YouTube/Google search engines. Regular keywords optimization has immense benefits and is a requisite if you want your content to be seen by your target demographic. You need to stay ahead of the curve and regularly customize your channel into the best version of itself, be it updated graphics, a professionally animated introduction or higher quality camera/sound equipment.
YouTube is a platform that continues to grow every single day. The cultural value of this global network and its potential for providing success to users never ceases to amaze. With an endless stream of content that is categorized and made accessible for a global audience, YouTube as a tool is always available for you to use, completely for free. How you utilize it and reap its benefits is completely up to you! By following the steps in this article, you could be positioning yourself for recognition from a global audience that engages with your content, shares it with their friends and buys your products and services. Now, lights, camera, action