This pandemic period made us realize two things:
- Nothing in life is certain: no job, no paycheck, maybe even no friends.
- We have to learn to adapt to any situation.
That’s why many people have either retrained professionally, changed jobs or even thought about starting a project related to their passions and hobbies. All the neurons of those who have suffered from the pandemic have been put to work to find new monetisation solutions.
If you fall into this category, you may have thought about starting a YouTube channel. Money is definitely being made. We see examples every day to confirm this. But how do you get started? What do you start with? What are the first steps? How does it work? We answer all your questions below, so stay tuned!
Find a subject you’re passionate about and know you’re good at
Have you ever worked for a client or on a subject that you didn’t like, at all? That made you procrastinate until you realized you only had one day left until the deadline?
If the answer is YES, then you know that task was far from the culmination of your potential. You only did it because it was an obligation.
So the first and most important step in opening a YouTube channel is to find a topic/passion/hobby that you like to talk about in class, that you never get bored of, that you like to look for news about and so on.
If you don’t know how to find your passion or subject that you are best at, take a step back and think about your childhood. Remember what you loved to spend your time on. Or think about the activity that brings you the most satisfaction and makes you forget that there is time or space. We’re also a bit poetic, as you can see.
That way you’ll know that the time you devote to your project won’t be a burden on you and that you’ll be truly engaged in what you’re about to do.
If you’re past this part you need to think about what category your YouTube channel content will fall into. As an idea, you should know that there are 3 big categories: education, personal promotion and entertainment. Ideally a channel should contain all 3 to reach as many users’ needs as possible, but let’s take them one at a time. Are you with us?
- Education – this is where, for example, all how-to videos, documentaries, tutorials, product reviews or simply videos that teach you things on a specific topic fall into… Youtubers have realised the explorative potential of this category, so you’ll find it in most professionals in this field.
- Personal promotion – this kind of content usually has a very limited audience, and that’s because the people who follow it either already know you or are clients and know your services. We’re not saying that personal promotion doesn’t have growth potential, we’re just saying that if you limit yourself to just that it will be very hard to reach impressive numbers on YouTube.
- Entertainment – it’s no surprise that this type of content is the most successful and that’s because it’s easier to digest. However, we have to tell you that it’s much harder to create it. You’ll need to be constantly creative, make sure you’re always bringing something new to the audience, that it’s exciting for the user to watch, etc. This is where of course: vlogs, sketches, reaction videos, prank videos and more.
Understand who you’re making content for
Once you’ve chosen your topic and have an idea of what it’s going to look like, make sure you understand who the people who will be watching your videos are.
How old are they? Where are they from? What are they passionate about, what are their interests? What do they want to learn? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself to understand your target audience.
How do you do that? You can start with friends or acquaintances who are interested in your chosen topic. Ask them questions about what they would like to see in a video, consider why they like the topic, who they are, what their education is, where they come from and so on.
Go further and analyse their Social Media pages in detail. What do they share or like? What topics do they comment on, what groups are they in? In other words, do some Facebook stalking 😀
Another way is to get on Reddit, the app that gives users a much more niche experience about their topics of interest. There you’ll find very specific discussion topics, where users comment, contextualize, etc. So do a search on what you’re interested in and you’re sure to discover who they are and what people are looking for who are also passionate about the same topic.
Once you’ve answered these questions you can go on to search for people who have a YouTube channel on the same topic. In other words, analyse your competition. The process will help you better understand your target audience. What’s more, once you’re familiar with what the competition is doing you’ll be able to see what works for them and apply the same strategies to your project.
Answering these questions will help you to tailor your videos more easily, put better headlines (i.e. SEO), find some topics that are in high demand in a given time period. Also, you should know that YouTube money comes based on the number of views, so the target audience you’ll be making video content for will drastically influence the amount you’ll make.
If you’ve done the above, start testing. Make a video on a chosen topic, and then send it to friends who are interested in it and ask for feedback. Ask them questions and find out what they liked or didn’t like or if there were things they wanted to know more about. All these answers will help you make your next video better and more qualitative in terms of content.
Be personal and consistent
You’re clearly not going to invent the wheel and there are still N+1 people who have a YouTube channel on the same topic as yours. But how do you make your videos the ones that users are looking for when they’re interested in a topic? Well first of all, the most important thing is to be YOU, as you are you because nobody else is like you. Be original and authentic and don’t try to imitate anyone.
Austin Kleon wrote “How to steal like an artist” – a super cool book in which he explains in a very understandable way that there are no new ideas and that the secret is actually how you take an idea that has been used before and adapt it to your personality or the context you are in, whether we are talking about a client or Youtube channel. So our advice is to pick up the book and read it because you haven’t read anything in the last year anyway.
Because we’re very nice and sympathetic we’re also leaving you below with some links to some content creators on Youtube, who we think are doing a great job because they’re genuine and have managed to do something that 2000 others do otherwise. And they too have started from the bottom and ended up with hundreds of thousands and millions of subscribers.
- Chloe Ting: https://www.youtube.com/user/ChloesAddiction
- STACS: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFmWe-9L4qM60q7uJOeGMRw
- The Film Therorists: https://www.youtube.com/c/FilmTheorists/featured
- MarquesBrownlee: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBJycsmduvYEL83R_U4JriQ
Beyond that, you need to know that it’s also important to be consistent in what you do. For example, if you make one video on Monday and the next one in a month, your audience will most likely forget about you. So set yourself a schedule from the start. Our advice is if you started posting on Tuesday at 12, the next video should also be on Tuesday at 12. And not 5 weeks from now.
Also, we feel we owe it to you not to raise your expectations too high and to warn you that it will take a while for your YouTube channel to boom. We say from experience that you should expect a year of trial and testing before you end up with many, many organic views, so arm yourself with patience and mental strength. You will do it! Eventually.
Follow the mandatory Youtube steps
Nothing good in life comes quickly, and on that principle Youtube has some rules you have to follow before you can start monetizing: have at least 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 hours viewed on your channel. To give you an idea, for the 4000 hours viewed you need 60,000 views, give or take. That’s a good thing because it forces you to work constantly and reach your goal.
Also, if you tick all this off, when you start getting money you’ll definitely know what the job is all about, you’ll already know your target you’ll know what works and what doesn’t and you’ll have already evolved. Buuuun, once you tick these requirements, make yourself a Google AdSense account because through it you will receive money and, very importantly, become a Youtube partner.
In short, the Youtube Partner Program allows content creators to monetize their videos and share the profit Youtube makes through ads. Yes, those ads in the middle of a video that you spot. Basically, it’s a partnership whereby Youtube provides the platform to content creators who attract a sizable audience, which then leads to a profit split between you and Youtube.
Promote your content
Obviously, when you’re just starting out, the chances of anyone seeing your videos are pretty slim. So you need to start promoting, either organically on Social Media (share on Facebook, Instagram, tell a bit about your project etc) or sponsored, on Youtube, Facebook or other channels.
And here we come back to the importance of point 2: targeting. If you choose to promote your video you will have to do it smart and show it exactly to people who are interested in the topic you are talking about. You can do this from Facebook, Google or Youtube by choosing specific audiences based on age, location, interests etc.
Not everyone can afford to put money into promotion, so if you find yourself in this situation, for starters, our advice is to start organically and see what feedback you get. We guarantee you’ll have at least two views: your mother and girlfriend/boyfriend.
To make sure there are still people who will watch your videos you need to understand the algorithm on which Youtube works because their ultimate goal is to get people to stay on the platform as long as possible.
So that they get as many ads as possible.
To make as much money as possible.
Even though they have changed their algorithm several times, starting in November 2020, the most important things to keep in mind are:
- How long do people watch a video after clicking on it?
- Do they watch multiple videos after they’ve completed the first one?
So your content strategy needs to:
- Make your subscribers want to click on the video and watch it to the end
- Attract other people interested in the same type of content to, you guessed it, watch your videos
Sponsored promotion is a bit more complicated, so we reserve the right to do a special article on that.
Other things to keep in mind to have a great YouTube channel
Understand your performance indicators – from these you will extract the most relevant data that will help you create better content that will reach more people, and this is where you need to pay attention to:
- Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – tells you how engaging the headlines and thumbnails you use are. That’s why you need to be very careful that the thumbnail tells a story right off the bat. Think of it as the first thing people see, and whether or not they click on the video depends on it. Also, the title should be cathartic, to make users curious. Test, test, test and once you find the best formula use it until the numbers start to drop. Then you’ll know you need to change something.
- Average View Duration (AVD) – with this metric you’ll find out about the quality of your content, in other words, how long people look at the content you make, and the goal is obviously to get them to look as long as possible. How do you do this? With a good intro that grabs attention and curiosity in the first 5 seconds, but also with a follow up that answers all the things we talked about above.
- Optimize – you understand what the indicators do, you’ve picked a title and thumbnail that work. Now the idea is to make it work even better
How do you do that?
- Use playlists – create playlists based on content, name them attractively to speak to the topic and organise them as best you can
- Use cards – cards are that YouTube feature and are used at the beginning or end of a video to promote other videos of yours.
- Community Management – an aspect that many people ignore not realising how important it is, so start responding to comments you receive, even the negative ones. This will keep people coming back to your channel and commenting on even more videos because they feel part of your community. You can also use the comments to get feedback on questions that interest you, so you can find out what your strengths/weaknesses are, but also what content your target audience is looking for or what topics they want to hear more about.
- Video description – I’ve already said a bit above how important SEO is in this whole thing. One way you can optimise and grow your YouTube channel is to use video description. This is where keywords come in again, which you can put as hashtags (no more than 10) to make sure someone who is interested in the topic gets to your video more easily. Also, if we’re talking about a short video you can transcribe all the text into the description. This will help you on the SEO side as well.
The thing is, YouTube is really a pretty big potential avenue for content creators, and the beauty is that you don’t have to be a star to make money with your videos. Success is all about being as original, as persistent and really liking what you do. Find a job that you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life. Yes, it’s cliché to end the article with a super famous quote, but it’s true and we love it 😀