Today’s generation loves all things content creation! Dropping out, moving out to Los Angeles, and pursuing a career in social media is the ultimate dream. Many get lucky and quickly rise to fame, while others don’t. Almost every day, a new talent’s career skyrockets while another falls off. Fame doesn’t last forever (unless you’re Justin Bieber). No one can predict the future, so all you can really do is take risks and hope you succeed! But remember, one mistake can risk it all. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not that lucky.” Truth is, you’ll never know until you try it! Different personalities worldwide are being discovered, and who knows! If you have a talent, why not share it?
Read on for a 7-step strategy on becoming the next big thing on YouTube!
STEP 1: FIND YOUR NICHE!
Figuring out what type of content you want to put out has to be one of the most challenging parts of creating a channel. You can go thousands of different ways when it comes to your content. Between makeup videos, challenges, vlogs, and commentary videos, you have endless opportunities for creativity. The key to having a successful channel depends on you knowing what interests YOU want to hit and focus on. Your brand depends on the direction you want to follow. Do you want to be that makeup artist, everyone’s favorite dancer or maybe even a go-to ASMR channel? This step sets up the rest of your career.
When it comes to the YouTube world, you may experience some trial and error until you find what content works best for you. “When I first started YouTube, I had an entirely different persona. I thought I had to be loud and outgoing like everybody else. I did that for so many years and my views were stagnant; it was really hard for me to grow,” said Sam Collins, an LGBTQ+ YouTuber known for his commentary and comedic LGBTQ+ content. After feeling pressured to create specific content, Collins decided to start creating content he enjoyed. “After that, my channel really took off. My advice to others is to be yourself and make the content you enjoy; you will find others who love it, believe it or not,” Collins said. Many YouTubers create repetitive content that they don’t enjoy making solely because their numbers do well. Repetitive content the creator doesn’t enjoy making leads to a decrease in viewership. If you don’t choose a niche wisely, you may fall into the same boat Collins found himself in.
STEP 2: STAY CONSISTENT
Consistency is key! A consistent schedule benefits both you and your subscribers; that way, they know when and how often they can expect new videos from you, and you have a complete timeline for when to plan, film, edit and post videos—a win-win! “Word of advice to aspiring content creators: stay consistent! Building up your followers may come easy for you, but if you don’t stay active, you can lose them all at the same pace that you gained them,” said Storm Ryan, an LGBTQ+ YouTuber best known for his vlogs, fashion and challenge videos. People follow you to watch your content! Inconsistent posting causes confusion and lots of unsubscribing.
STEP 3: SET UP YOUR CHANNEL
Alright, so you have most of the basics figured out. Now comes the easy part: setting up your YouTube channel. You have to come up with a catchy channel name, an “about me” bio, and a unique banner and profile image.
Make sure you know what type of aesthetic you want your graphics to have; whether you prefer minimalistic or bright and crazy, you get to decide it all! This gives your future subscribers a feel for your channel’s vibe. Remember, first impressions last forever. Try applications like Canva, Pic Monkey and Photoshop to create custom YouTube graphics.
When it comes to your bio, make sure you thoroughly describe what’s in store for future subscribers. Who are you? What should subscribers expect on your channel? How often do you post? Your fans want to know! Make sure not to get ahead of yourself and write out essay-length descriptions. Make it short, catchy and straight to the point! Your bio should be one of the first things your subscribers see when examining your channel, so make sure you perfect it.
STEP 4: RESEARCH COMMUNITY GUIDELINES & COPYRIGHT STRIKES
This research has to be one of the most important steps when launching your YouTube career. If you want to profit off your videos or see YouTube as a long-term career, keep reading. YouTube sets up a strict set of guidelines for content creators on their platform. Some of the most common rules people tend to break include using copyrighted music, incorporating stolen and uncredited content in videos, excessive swearing and graphic or dangerous behavior. Whether it was unintentionally or on purpose, the most commonly broken guidelines come from this list.
If a creator breaks one of the listed guidelines, YouTube has a simple solution: a three-strike-termination policy. If a creator breaks a more serious rule, they add a warning strike and put the channel in question under strict supervision. Three strikes in the same 90-day period on YouTube result in the channel’s permanent removal. “I got terminated after my third strike and contacted someone at YouTube. Thankfully, I was able to get my account reinstated,” 21-year-old YouTuber Kalvin Garrah said. While Garrah had two pre-existing strikes, the third one had been a mistake, causing the termination of his account. He is best known for his controversial commentary videos. “Because of the community guidelines, it’s hard to make educational videos that may seem controversial to some people,” Garrah said. Since his termination scare, Garrah remains cautious about what he posts.
When a creator breaks one of the lighter guidelines, such as copyrighted music or “risky” word use, their video simply gets demonetized. In addition, YouTube puts a copyright warning on the video if the creator decided to use content or music that did not belong to them. YouTube automatically gives the funds raised from their video to the person that the content actually belongs too. “Some of my videos have definitely been demonetized for no specific reason, but it’s not terrible. It’s just something that you have to get used too as a content creator,” said Ryan. Demonization could happen to anyone, even if the creator isn’t. So, don’t stress too much! When editing your content, just make sure to keep your content clean, fair and original.
STEP 5: SIGN UP FOR ADSENSE.
AdSense provides a way for publishers and creators to earn money from their content. The Google-owned program matches advertisements to videos based on content and audience demographics. As the content creator, you can block ads you feel uncomfortable sharing with your viewers. Whether you prefer a political advertisement or a movie trailer running, you have full control.
YouTubers like Sam Collins, widely known for his commentary and comedic LGBTQ+ content, earn five figures a month with AdSense alone. “YouTube is one of the best jobs you can have. I wouldn’t say it’s very stable because anything could happen, but to me it’s worth it,” said Collins. Though the amount of income a creator makes fluctuates, it all varies on how many advertisements run throughout the video and how many countries viewers watch from.
All you need to start your AdSense account is a Google account, a phone number and postal address, a bank account and a channel (or website). Once you fill out the form, you have just one final step before making a YouTube salary!
STEP 6: EDIT. POST.
Now that you have a good understanding of YouTube, AdSense and the guidelines, you can begin filming! You should take a few things into account before putting out your first video. Filming, editing and posting may not be as easy as it sounds. Your early content sets you up for the rest of your career, so you need to perfect it!
- LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! When filming, make sure your lighting and set up stay on point throughout the video! This means no messy backgrounds and no shadows. The quality of the video itself remains crucial when it comes to what potential new subscribers see.
- Camera Recommendations: Canon 80D, 90D, T7i, R6, T8i—the list goes on! For sit down videos, any Canon camera would work. The phenomenal video quality and smoother-autofocus rise above alternative brands. You can also use the Canon PowerShot G7X for sit down videos. While the camera may be a smaller and cheaper alternative, the quality matches the higher-end Canon cameras. The G7X works for photos, videos and even on-the-go vlogging. The convenient flip-screen has every big content creator obsessed. Additionally, this camera does not have a bulkier feel compared to other Canon cameras, so you know you can take it anywhere. With a perfect camera and set up, you’re on the road to YouTube fame.
- Editing 101: After filming, upload your content onto a laptop, iPad or smartphone and get to editing! Making standard cuts will help spice up your video and help it look more professional. For example, if your mom called out for you while filming, you need to cut that and any other distractions out.
Once you made all your necessary cuts, enhance your base video by adding text, images, sound effects, music and transitions. However, remember the music and other embellishments should not and cannot be copyrighted or licensed. You can find non-copyrighted music on YouTube by simply looking up “Non-Copyrighted Music.”
The most recommended editing application (and a go-to for many YouTubers) is iMovie. This application comes free with any Apple product with an option to upgrade to a Pro version. Another popular application would be Final Cut Pro. This application offers an array of advanced filters, fonts and transitions. Users have the option to download additional presets, transitions, effects and titles off third party sites. Overall, both applications will work in your favor, carrying anything and everything you need to create the perfect video.
- Time to Go Viral! A few things should be taken into consideration when scheduling the video to go live. First of all, do not post your video at a ridiculous time. According to TheBoostApps.com, Friday, Saturday and Wednesday show the highest level of engagement amongst viewers. “Videos have always done best for me when I post at around 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time but, it all varies on who and where your viewers are based,” said Ryan. Generally, the best time to post lies between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends or 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.
- Clickbait 101: Before a viewer clicks your video, they take two things into consideration: the title and thumbnail. As the creator, you have to make your video as enticing as possible. Many YouTubers’ recommend Canva and Pic Monkey for all your thumbnail-editing needs. The sites also carry multiple templates to choose from! As for a title, which provides a quick and sweet description for the video, refrain from overdoing it! A few words, including a keyword, will do. If you are unsure of what keyword fits your video best, you can use the YouTube browser extension TubeBuddy, which helps you with channel management and posting.
Additionally, thumbnails take your video’s title to the next level! Some creators go the extra creative mile with their thumbnails while others choose a minimalistic vibe. Regardless of what route you go, make sure you have a custom-designed thumbnail instead of letting YouTube choose one from your video.
STEP 7: Marketing
Contrary to what you might think, you do not need thousands of dollars to market your videos. New creator or seasoned YouTuber, you need to let people know whenever you put out a new video! Post swipe ups across your social media accounts and make some Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter posts. Make your friends and family aware of your video and ask them to post about it. This way, their posts might reach other viewers that may not know you (yet). Who knows—they may recommend you to their friends and family too!
In addition, use hashtags that relate to your video and boost engagement on your social media promotions. If you posted a makeup tutorial, use hashtags like #Makeup and #MakeupTutorial. If you posted a storytime video, use #StoryTime and #StoryTelling. You can also have your friends retweet your tweets or repost your posts on their story.
Since it all may seem a bit daunting, you may have some doubts about taking on the social media world. However, with a positive mindset and lots of research, you have endless opportunities to pursue a career in content creation. With the right connections and dedication, you will rise to the top of the world in no time! Remember, all of your favorite creators started at the bottom of the totem pole. Don’t allow that to get in the way of something you feel passionate about. Follow these steps, and your dream career and lifestyle can quickly become a reality.