Wednesday, June 28, 2017

5 Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel!

Today I'm sharing some of my top tips for starting a YouTube Channel! A few years ago, I did a "Stay at Home Mom September" series where I talked about this same subject, and since this this topic seems to come up in the comments every few months with viewers asking for suggestions on how they can use YouTube for memory keeping and start a channel of their own - I thought I would tackle it on the blog! So whether you are interested in starting YouTube as a business (which I'll talk a little bit more about in #4 below!) or whether it will strictly be intended for memory keeping for your family, here are some tips below on how to get started!

Screenshot from a recent video!

Here are 5 Tips to get started on YouTube!

1. Just Press Record!

This is my number one and really main thing that I always tell people when they ask how to start a channel on YouTube, "Just press record and start doing it!". That's how I and basically every other YouTube channel started out, we just decided to press record one day and so it began. Once you have the momentum to get started, I've found it gets more natural, video idea come to you, and you become more and more inclined to just pick up the camera and press record!

What camera do I vlog with? This is a popular sub-question asked a part of number one - and I vlog with a Canon g9x camera that was purchased on Amazon. We filmed our Spring 2016 Disney vacation, August 2016 Disney Cruise, and February 2017 Disney Land and Sea Adventure all with this camera!

2. Pick a channel name or brand that represents you...

... and will for some time. If you currently have one child and are thinking of having more, it make not make sense to select a name that projects you being a parent of only one child, and other scenarios similar to that I've seen come up a lot in YouTube groups. Also make sure that this name or brand is available across all of the social media platforms you're intending to use. For YouTube, one of the most important things about your "brand" may be that it is memorable, and people can remember how to get back to your channel through search or find you on other social media outlets.

A lot of people recently have gone to using their name and this is a growing trend within social media as well as on YouTube itself. I don't see anything wrong with using your name as your brand - it certainly makes the branding easier! However, I would say in the early days if you have a name that has a number of common spellings it may be a bit harder for people to find your channel or social media outlets.

I've chosen to stick with a "Channel name" myself, because it is my current preference and I've tied in my other social media, as well as this blog that you're reading, to go along with it - however if you've known my channel for a while, you probably also know that I am involved in a number of "side channel" venues as well, so maybe it would make sense to eventually some day go to my name as an umbrella over all of them. However my advice on this topic is simple, make it memorable, make it easy to say since you'll be saying it in vlogs over and over, and make sure it is easily searchable.

3. You don't need the "latest and greatest" equipment

Speaking to the last part of #1, you really do not NEED the latest and greatest equipment. Just press record... with whatever you have available to you!

When I started YouTube, I used a little $100 point and shoot camera that I already owned and eventually took over my husband's Nikon DSLR for sit down videos that he had purchased to take pictures of the girls when they were babies. I used what I had available to me. Nowadays, phones are such great quality that vlogging from your phone is a very real and possible solution.

Over the years, I've upgraded my equipment as my channel(s) have grown. I went from a Windows laptop to a MacBook for editing, and I purchased a slew of point of shoot cameras, mainly Canon - before I've finally been using the Canon g9x, which I love! I plan to add another Canon g9x and a waterproof likely Go Pro camera into our mix soon... but the point of this point is you don't need anything fancy to start out. Use what you have and just press record!

My current filming area in my office to film YouTube videos.

Light kit wise, I just use an inexpensive umbrella lighting kit from Amazon that I purchased a number of years ago. I have thought about getting a ring light for my camera as well, but since we film a number of "on the go" vlogs - I've opted to keep upgrading camera equipment over the basic lighting equipment that I have. Depending on the types of videos you do, other equipment may be more important to enhance your videos - however I think for most genres starting out just a regular camera or phone and regular lighting is good enough to get started!

4. Do it because you LOVE it

Okay, so regardless of your initial reasoning for starting a YouTube channel, you NEED to be doing it because you LOVE it. After being on YouTube for over 5 years, you definitely learn that there are constant ups and down within the industry. Preparing for them is the best thing you can do, but there are no guarantees in the YouTube world. You can be the hottest growing channel one minute and the next month the YouTube algorithm changes and your numbers tank. So my point is, do it because you love it... because there is no guarantee that you will make big bucks doing it. Sure, there are lots of YouTubers making a full time income from their channels, but persistence over time and consistency are worth a lot and generally are what make channels successful.

When you love doing something, that will come through in your videos and audiences are more receptive when they feel like you're being real with them. For a lot of people it doesn't happen overnight, in the beginning the growth is generally slower and then it snowballs into something more - so if you love it, stick with it and watch it blossom.

Filming on a cruise ship has definitely been a YouTube highlight for me, I poured love into every minute of that project!

5. Don't get consumed with the numbers

Ah, numbers. I have a love/hate relationship with numbers. Sure, the numbers are useful because they give you information from your audience about what videos they prefer to watch, when they like to watch them, and what they like to watch them on, however I want to make sure to impress one thing before I go any further...

"Your numbers on social media DO NOT define you as a person." Do not get bogged down in the thought that numbers some how reflect how likable or good of a person you are - because they don't. The truth is, numbers of social media can be affected by a number of variances, both within our control and out of our control. All you can do is put forth your best effort every day and give your genuine self to the audience, try to stay on top of trends and changes with the YouTube algorithm - but a down turn in numbers does not mean that you're suddenly bad in some way.

Use the numbers to gain insight into what your audience likes, where they are located, what time of day they prefer to be online on YouTube, and where they are finding your videos from. All of this information can help you figure out what types of videos you should be focusing on and when you should set them to upload. Social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc - are great ways to connect with your audience and build report, but may not necessarily have a one to one increase in your viewership on YouTube, so you should use those social media outlets as an audience outreach tool and "reminder" that you're around, so to speak.

The Wrap Up

I hope that these tips above have been helpful to help you just "press record" and get started doing YouTube! It is a great hobby that can turn into the best profession, but above all is a wonderful industry that you can meet lots of great people while doing it. I've enjoyed my time on YouTube immensely and connecting with my audience 5 days a week in videos is something I look forward to doing every week!

Check out those old videos from Stay at Home Mom September on the "Getting Started on YouTube" playlist below, because a lot of those tips are still great ones as well!

Let me know if you have any questions... and I'll see you on YouTube!

** This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.


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