Carla Marshall has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com, and as a journalist and video marketer, she's covered news stories, creator journeys, and digital-first publishing initiatives across all the major online video platforms. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the Shorty Awards, as well as the UK, US, Canadian, Global, and EU Search Awards.
How to Start a YouTube Channel: 10 Brilliant Tips
JUMP TO SECTION:
- 1. Start Your YouTube Channel Right Now
- 2. Learn How YouTube Works
- 3. Develop a Strategy You Will Actually Follow
- 4. Find Your Niche and Build the Hell Out of It
- 5. Confirm Your Value Proposition
- 6. Invest In the Right Audio Equipment
- 7. Create a Formula With Template Videos
- 8. Learn to LOVE YouTube Analytics
- 9. Verify Your YouTube Channel
- 10. Create an Interesting YouTube Channel Banner
If you haven't started a YouTube channel because you’re overwhelmed by everything that entails, worry no more. This is the only resource you need to fulfill your video creator dreams.
To kickstart your YouTube channel the right way, you need to know quite a few things – 20, to be exact.
1. Start Your YouTube Channel Right Now
Guess what? Right now, thousands of people are thinking of starting a YouTube channel. My advice to you is, ready or not, don't just think about it; start now. Each day you hesitate, thousands of creators will start a YouTube channel and claim your potential audience. You don't want that.
It's OK to be scared, but don't let that emotion stop you from acting. Record whatever you want today. It doesn't matter if it doesn't end up on YouTube. You need to gain experience in front of the camera, behind the camera, and using your editing program. You also need to confirm whether you enjoy making videos in the first place. That realization only comes after you get started.
2. Learn How YouTube Works
Chances are, the first video you make will absolutely suck. But hey, at least you've made a video! You took the first step, and in six months you'll look back at that first piece of content and think, "Wow, that was terrible." And hopefully, you can point to a recent video that's much better.
But as your skills grow, don't forget to learn how YouTube works. There are so many ways to make your videos better, identify competitors to study, and measure your progress.
To start, learn the YouTube basics:
- How to use YouTube's video editor
- How to write good video descriptions
- How to customize your YouTube channel
- How to add info cards to your videos and suggest more content to viewers
- How to use video chapters to index a video
- How to create good YouTube thumbnails
- How to get a custom URL for your YouTube channel
- How to analyze YouTube analytics
- How to do keyword research
- How to avoid copyright claims and strikes
The last thing you want to do is create a brilliant video with little knowledge of how YouTube works. The links above should give you a basic overview!
3. Develop a Strategy You Will Actually Follow
Getting practical YouTube experience is a good thing. Additionally, you also need a winning strategy to start growing your channel.
Answer these questions to create the right game plan:
- What do you want your channel to achieve on YouTube? Answer this from a viewer's perspective. Identify what they will gain from your content, and deliver that value as often as possible.
- Who is your target audience? Think about age range, gender, and other demographics. Also, what is your potential audience interested in? You need to know who's going to watch your videos and what they like.
- Why should people watch your content? Just think: There are millions of channels out there. How are you going to distinguish your content from everybody else? You need to disrupt the status quo, not join it.
- How are you going to deliver this content? Will you post daily, weekly, or somewhere in between? What time of the day will you publish videos? To answer these questions, think about when your audience is most likely to watch YouTube, as well as how often. A college student and a stay-at-home mom have very different schedules and habits.
4. Find Your Niche and Build the Hell Out of It
If you're a regular viewer of our YouTube channel, you'll know this one by heart. Niche down. Let me give you a quick example. If you were to create a channel with videos on beauty and traveling and vlogging, that's too many topics.
Get rid of all of the "ands." Your channel should be about one specific topic, especially at the start, because you need to appeal to a specific audience.
Once you've grown your channel, and you have thousands of subscribers who fall in love with you, you can take them on a journey wherever you want. But in the beginning, viewers are only interested in the content. They have no interest in you. It's a tough lesson to learn, but a vital one when you're just starting out.
5. Confirm Your Value Proposition
Once you've answered all these questions above, wrap everything up in a nice little present called your value proposition. This is your elevator pitch. Tell your audience who you are and why they should watch your videos in about six words.
For example, our value proposition is "educating your YouTube journey." That phrase tells you who (YouTubers, video creators) should subscribe to us and why ( learning how to grow a channel). We've managed to do that in four words. Now it's your turn.
6. Invest In the Right Audio Equipment
When you start a YouTube channel, one of the first questions you might ask is, "Which video equipment do I need? We strongly believe your first real investment should be in your audio.
Here's why. Bad audio is so much more distracting than bad video, and everybody hates onboard microphones. So if you can, get yourself a dedicated microphone for your camera. If you're recording from a computer, you can't go wrong with a Blue Yeti.
7. Create a Formula With Template Videos
Videos need structure. With your next project, think of how you will develop a show formula that becomes a template for all your videos. Every video needs a strong hook, teaser, or introduction that reels viewers in. At some point, you'll introduce yourself to everyone who's new to your channel. You also need a call to action that encourages people to subscribe, and of course, the main part of your video offering tips or entertainment.
Your show formula will take time to structure, and it will evolve over the course of your YouTube journey. Keep an eye out for this when you watch your favorite YouTubers. As rough and as random as they might appear, there is always structure and story behind each video, and that's why you watch them.
8. Learn to LOVE YouTube Analytics
Some people love analytics. Others hate them. No matter what side of the fence you're on, know that YouTube analytics are extremely helpful.
Certain metrics are crucial to keep an eye on, and the first is click-through rate.
This represents how enticing your titles are and how clickable your thumbnails are. Check the click-through rate for your channel as a whole, and on individual videos as you test. The rate varies with every creator, so establish your own benchmark to meet and exceed. You can do that by checking your current click-through rate, whether that's two, four, six, or eight percent. Try to improve that by two to three percent this year. It will bring in so many views.
The other metric is Watch Time. Generally speaking, the more Watch Time you get, the more YouTube is going to promote your content. But if you make shorter videos, that doesn't necessarily mean you must make longer videos. Your audience might not embrace the switch.
What I will say is, maximize the value of your Watch Time. Looking at your video's audience retention. How does it stack up to similar videos, in terms of whether people are still watching or not? Try and improve this metric. Having said that, if your average view duration is 60%, 70%, or 80%, you're doing really well.
9. Verify Your YouTube Channel
Have you verified your YouTube account yet? Doing this will give you access to the most important tool on YouTube, which is custom thumbnails. We've got a video below on how to do it.
10. Create an Interesting YouTube Channel Banner
Last but not least, create a channel banner that reinforces your value proposition. If I see another generic cityscape or rolling hills in a channel banner, I'm going to rip out my hair!
Loved these tips? Here are 10 more on starting and growing a YouTube channel.