I’ve been creating videos on Youtube for two years now (TWO YEARS! That’s insane!), and one of the most frequent messages I receive is from people who want to start their own channels. I wanted to create videos in the first place because I loved watching videos. And I felt like I had something to create that no one else was making.
Have I 100% figured out what that content is yet? Nope. I’m maybe about 48% there, on a good day. But that’s a lot better than the 0% that I was when I first started two years ago.
So I feel like it’s my duty now, as somewhat of a Youtube veteran (lol), to give you some tips if you’re just starting out. I hope these are helpful to you. Because if I can’t help you with stuff then I’m not even sure what I’m good for other than making terrible jokes and talking about cats.
P.S. If you’re curious what cameras/equipment/software I use to make videos, make sure to check out my resources page.
1. You’re not going to have everything figured out
Especially with your first video. I mean, my first video was a hair tutorial and I have not filmed one hair tutorial on my channel since. But when I first started my channel, that is the video everyone wanted me to create. It may not have been my first choice, but I knew it was going to please a lot of people. After that, I focused on ‘get to know me’ and Taylor Swift related videos because I knew that was what my viewers wanted to see.
Since then, my content has gone in a lot of different directions as I’ve tried to find the sweet spot between what I like to make and what my audience likes to watch. Maybe I still haven’t figured it out, but I think that’s OK. I want to create honest videos about my life, and so the things I like and care about are going to change. I want it to change and I want to get better over time.
So I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I look back at old videos and don’t cringe. But I think that just means I’m getting better, which I see as a good thing. So don’t let the fear of not liking something later keep you from making it now. Be proud of what you’re making now. Even if it’s a cringy hair tutorial with terrible lighting in your parents’ bathroom. We’ve all got to start somewhere!
2. Don’t be afraid to try things out
The funny thing about the internet is that some things catch on and other things don’t. Some cat videos go viral while others never see the light of day. So don’t limit yourself to something that isn’t working or that you don’t enjoy just because it’s popular. You’re never going to know exactly what you want to do until you try things out.
Plus, a big part of succeeding online is to do things that others aren’t doing or to do them in your own unique way. But finding that always takes some trial and error. All of my most watched videos are ones I never expected to take off, mostly because I thought they were too weird or unique. But sometimes, that weird and unique stuff really works.
So come up with new ideas or put spins on old ones. Try new editing and filming techniques. Bring it all together and find your content sweet spot. You’ve got to stay creative to be creative, my friends. That probably makes no sense but it sounds inspirational, so let’s just go with it.
3. Plan as much as you can
My favorite tips are ones that rhyme.
There are going to be times (and lots of them, believe me) where you have literally no idea what to make. There will be times where you have no motivation to make a video. And there will be times where you think maybe you should quit because you’re terrible at making content and no one is ever going to want to watch anything you’re making. Not that I’ve been there or anything…
But if you are really dedicated to making videos, you have to be able to push past these feelings. And the best way I’ve found to do that is to plan out your content. The best thing about planning videos is that you don’t have to follow it, but that safety net is always there if you need it. And trust me, you’ll need it.
4. Figure out how to be yourself
My #1 tip for people starting out on Youtube is to be yourself. Don’t scream at the camera and wave your arms around if you wouldn’t do that with your friends. Unless of course you’re an actor, then go ahead and play a character. You do you. That’s kind of the point.
But that doesn’t mean you should be super shy and quiet either, even if you are. Sometimes just “being yourself” requires some thought and planning. What draws people to you? What makes you unique? Those are the things you should highlight about yourself at all times. For me, I can go from being super serious and inspiration to being goofy and weird at the drop of a hat. That’s kind of my thing. And it’s how I manage to be myself while also being helpful and entertaining to an audience.
Figure out what make you unique, and then use that to “be yourself” to the fullest extent.
5. Find your why
In addition to being yourself, you also have to decide why you are creating videos in the first place. Sometimes this is obvious, but with my experience, it took a little more careful consideration. I wanted to talk about my life, but I had to figure out how to do it in a way that was useful to the people watching. And I still don’t feel like I have this fully figured out.
With every video you create, you should have a reason why you are making that video. And that reason shouldn’t be to make money or to get famous. It should be to add value to an audience. With every video I create, I ask myself: Does it fulfill a want? Does it fulfill a need? Or does it provide entertainment? Every idea should answer “yes” to one of these questions, and if it’s a really good idea, you will answer “yes” to all three.
If you’ve found a good content idea, maybe this will be the same with every video. But sometimes it’s not so easy. But you should continuously touch base on whether or not your content is valuable to anyone other than you.
I hope these tips are helpful to you if you’re planning on starting a channel of your own! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or concerns you have and I will do my best to help you out. If you’re already a Youtube creator, make sure to leave your own tips in the comments!
And if you haven’t yet, make sure to check out my video where I talk about the “journey” (I hate that word, but what else am I supposed to call it?) my channel has taken over the last two years. If you’re curious about where I get my ideas, how my content has changed, and my plans for the future, then this video is for you!