Did you catch YouTube star Bethany Mota on Dancing with the Stars last night? I was completely fan girling over her being on TV! Bethany started her YouTube channel at 13 and five years later her channel has landed her a Teen Choice Award and millions of subscribers. In honor of her successes and the way YouTube stars are getting more media coverage, I wanted to share a how-to on how to start a YouTube channel. This is based on my experiences with five years vlogging (so grateful for my 10,000 Kind Friends!) and what I’ve seen other channels do.
1. First, you need a channel.
When choosing your channel name I recommend using your actual name (first and middle if you don’t want to share your last name) because then it gives you more control over the content. If you choose Makeup by Sarah then it would only make sense for you to make a beauty videos. But then using Sarah June will give you more control over changing your content if needed.
2. Choose what you want to talk about.
I started my channel with beauty videos and gradually changed to a variety channel.
You also need to think of your style. Are you going to vlog your daily life and bring your camera everywhere like a reality show or are you going to film in one location and chat like a talk show? I do a combination of both.
3. Gather your equipment.
Many people start making videos using their webcams. However, I suggest buying a camera and a tripod. Don’t go crazy with a DSLR camera right away, especially if you aren’t sure you will enjoy the video making process. Instead get a point and shoot camera like the Canon ELPH (what I currently use) because it has better quality than a webcam, can also shoot pictures, and costs about $140. If this is too much and you don’t have a birthday or holiday coming up where you can ask for the camera, stick with the webcam. Just make sure you are sitting in front of a light-source, like a window, so that the quality looks as good as possible.
4. Prepare and get filming.
I like to have a general idea of what I’m going to say before I say it. Sure, if I’m filming a video on a hairstyle I know I’m going to show me doing my hair – but I like to also make notes of certain products to mention or extra tips for people that may have a different hair type than me. It’s good to have notes on hand so that your video doesn’t become too long.
Make sure to also have a designated area to film. It actually makes a difference to have a consistent and “nice to look at” background.
5. Practice makes perfect.
If you get nervous filming, don’t worry. I actually cried in between takes of my first video. Now it’s as natural to me as talking. It will be for you too with time!
Editing your video takes a great deal of time. On average I’d say it takes me two hours to edit a 10 minute video. Some people may take less or more time. It just depends.
Every computer comes with some sort of editing software. Apple computers come with iMovie, Windows computers come with Windows Movie Maker. Try these products and get used to them. If you find you want to do more advanced editing later, you can use Final Cut. I was trained on Final Cut since that is what my fiance used at the time for his student films.
Now it’s time to upload to your YouTube channel! This is the exciting part. Make sure to add a catchy title, more information in the video description (like your social media accounts), and some relevant search terms in the keyword section. Keywords will help strangers find your video.
Now it’s time to promote. Share your video with family, friends, and on websites like omghow. Some people prefer to keep their videos private but I strongly disagree. I think it’s great to keep your family and friends involved because then you have immediate support.
On omghow you can share your videos by making a how-to. If you made a video on how to organize your closet, you can easily convert that into text and then share your video at the end!
9. Maintain your channel.
All successful channels need to be maintained. If the videos are incredibly elaborate (like those of Heather Traska) then you can wait months between uploads. If they are more casual like mine, once or twice a week is necessary to keep your channel interested. Some channels that function like reality shows, upload daily!
Success also depends on how well you “take care” of the people watching your videos. Make sure to respond to comments, take people’s feedback into account, thank some people in videos, ask for help from them if needed, etc.
It’s also a good idea to have a name for your community and subscribers. It helps them feel bonded. Bethany Mota’s subscribers are #Motavators and #Motafam. Her team on Dancing with the stars is #teammotough. I call my subscribers my “Kind Friends” and grav3yardgirl calls her subscribers her “Swamp Family.” It makes people feel connected!
That is all of the tips I have for today. Let me know any questions or feedback you have in the comments so I can get back to you!
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