How to Get Started on YouTube in 2018: Ultimate Guide.
In the summer of 2013 I started uploading weekly videos to YouTube with no real expectations. At the time I was focused on Software Tutorials, like Adobe Photoshop and Premier Pro. I wasn’t trying to be a “YouTuber”, grow a channel or become part of the community, I was trying to teach people what I felt was a life changing skill that could give them a career.
Fast Forward to December 2017, I currently have 275,000 subscribers, and am working directly with YouTube educating new creators on how to build a brand on the YouTube platform doing what they love or what they are good at. REPEAT THAT: “what they love, or what they are good at”.
Advice for New YouTube Creators
If you want to be a “YouTuber”, you’re already in for a rude awakening, YouTube IS HARD. It’s harder if you want to be a YouTuber because you admire Big YouTubers and are looking to them as an example. You’ll judge your starting point based on their finish line, its a mistake…
Here is what to do instead…
Write down 3 things you are good at. Write down 3 things you’re really excited and passionate about (making/watching YouTube videos doesn’t count). See if those things connect in any way and if they are similar.
Pick one or two of those things that are VERY CLOSELY RELATED, such as Tech and Video Games. Now you know what you can make a channel around.
Now think of what you would do if you had to a TV SHOW around those ideas once a week. Not a 5 minute video, think about what a 15 minute show would look like in terms of how you’d talk about something and keep people interested. Break down a beginning middle and end for your ideas. This is how you brainstorm and come up with something that hasn’t been done before, and how you come up with your catch phrases and segments. You might even come up with themes for certain days of the week.
DON’T START UPLOADING YET
One piece of advice I’d give you is not to upload until you’ve made 5 or 10 video you can use to launch your channel by uploading them every other day or so. If you start your channel with only uploading once a week it is easy to feel stressed out about getting another video out.
The other issue is that if you expect people to subscribe, they usually need to watch 5–15 videos and feel they are worth it first. This is one of the mistakes new YouTubers make that leads to disappointment and discouragement.
DON’T SET SUBSCRIBER GOALS: THEY ARE POINTLESS AND WILL DEPRESS YOU WHEN YOU START OUT.
I know this must be annoying having me start out with telling you what not to do, but trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.
One of the biggest mistakes YouTubers make is setting goals and expectations for their channel, around things they can’t control, like views and subscribers. They also compare themselves to other channels and how quickly they grow.
I’m going to be blunt with you CUT IT THE HECK OUT WITH THAT!!!
JUST STOP IT! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IGNORE EVERYTHING!
The first year you are on YouTube, ignore your subscriber count and do not compare yourself to any other channel or creator. You have more important things to tackle. If this was a sport and you had expectations of being good or winning anything the first year you play, people would tell you that you’re being ridiculous.
BUILD THE FOLLOWING YOUTUBE SKILLS
There are certain skills you need to build and grow a successful YouTube Channel. Skill and talent do play a role in why people are or are not successful on the YouTube platform. It’s not down to luck.
- Speaking in front of a camera
- Master your camera gear settings
- Figure out basic lighting
- Learn video editing software
- Learn either graphic design or photography for thumbnails
- Learn to optimize YouTube videos for Search & Discovery (SEO)
- Get on other Social Media like Twitter and Instagram
- Figure out how to research topics and trends
- Understand YouTube features and settings
- Learn to reach YouTube Analytics Data
EQUIPMENT AND GEAR
If you want to know what equipment and gear I recommend I have a list on Kit.com you can check out that will break it down.
Some thoughts on gear, you don’t have to overdo it honestly. Today you really can make quality videos with just a smartphone and some accessories. It’s fine to do that when you’re getting started or use a webcam or screen recording software. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
The thing that I feel is the most important investment is probably decent audio which is reasonable in terms of price to quality and in my opinion your computer for editing and the software. Everyone has their preference on this but if you hit up my channel I’ve talked about hardware and software quite a bit since it’s one the things I’m really passionate about.
BRING SOMETHING NEW TO YOUR NICHE
If you’re going to choose a niche in YouTube you have to understand that you can’t build a channel easily JUST ON PERSONALITY the way your favorite big YouTubers have. There are too many personalities. Your personality is why people will stay with your channel but not why they will show up in the first place. You have to think about what is in it for them.
Why should someone watch you instead of another BIG YOUTUBER in your niche? You have to offer them something new.
Nobody is going to subscribe to you to help you out, that would be a waste of their time (from their point of view). They need something to attract them that they are interested in, and you have to have an attractive thumbnail to get their attention. Once they are there, something has to be wildly interesting or different about your channel and presentation style. If not they will move on.
THUMBNAILS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
Yes I know quality content is important, it shouldn’t have to be stated. But here is the thing… I’ve reviewed HUNDREDS of channels at this point, and most of the time the thumbnails don’t do the video justice.
You have creators spending 8 hours editing and 4 minutes on a thumbnail that doesn’t help anyone click on their video they worked so hard on.
GET THUMBNAILS RIGHT!
If you’re struggling with thumbnails then consider buying the YouTube Starter Kit which has over 100 Templates you can download for just one price.
If nobody clicks on your thumbnail they will never see your video. It’s that simple. Get it right or don’t expect any new views or subscribers.
FIGURE OUT CONSISTENCY
You have to figure out how to be consistent. If you can be consistent in quality, upload frequency, visual branding and overall channel tone and content then your channel has a real chance at being successful.
Consistency can make or break a channel. I got where I am by uploading fairly regularly over the years and making 1000+ videos.
Yes there are YouTubers that upload infrequently and are successful, but you’re not them and the odds are that won’t work for you. You have a better chance and will develop better habits if you commit to consistency.
In terms of consistency pick a day of the week to upload specific videos. Also pick specific visual elements and themes for your thumbnails and artwork. Open and close your videos with a hook or catchphrase and create rituals for you viewers they can expect, kind of like an inside joke.
QUESTIONS ALL BEGINNER YOUTUBERS ASK:
Q: How long should my videos be?
A: As long as they need to be and not a minute longer. Okay, I’m sure you’re not satisfied with that answer, but it’s the truth. Every genre has different things that work for it and so if you just try to get a solid number you’re ignoring and opportunity to do something cool or unique.
Q: Isn’t it too late to start YouTube, isn’t it too crowded or saturated?
A: Stop worrying about it. Just make cool stuff.
Q: How long does it take to get your first 1000 Subs?
A: As long as it takes. Again, I know you don’t love that answer. But it’s the truth, some niches grow fast, some people have raw talent and charisma, some people have great timing. There is no point worrying about it.
Q: What if I don’t know what to make my channel about?
A: If you don’t know what to talk about it may be too soon to make a channel and you need to ask yourself why you’re doing this.
Q: Nobody watches channels with small sub counts, should I buy subs?
A: The only people who care about that are children, maybe. Buying subs is against the rules, and if you’re successful one day and people find out, they are going to say its the only reason you’re successful and your excuses aren’t going to matter to them…
Q: How do I go viral?
A: Wrong question. Also, I’ve done 1,000+ videos and not gone viral. It’s not something you can just decide you’re going to do.
SOME FINAL ADVICE
Don’t make YouTube your goal and don’t try to make it your job.
No I’m not saying don’t become a YouTuber, no I don’t care if you compete with me or get more subs, I’ve helped plenty of people surpass me, I consider it a badge of honor when someone I helped passes me on YouTube.
YouTube can do a lot of great things for you life, it can also burn you out and depress you if you become obsessed with it, especially early on.
If you’re not looking forward to making videos or uploading, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re getting depressed about views or subscribers, you’re doing it wrong. You should be on YouTube because you want to be, not because you want acknowledgement . Your reward is that you got to make something cool and somewhere to share it.
There are tons of people that don’t like when I say that. But I can tell you as someone who has talked to creators from 0 Subs to 5 Million Subscribers that your attitude makes or breaks you as a creator. If you can’t put YouTube in perspective, it will eat you alive. I want to be honest about that.
YouTube can be amazing if you put yourself in a position to enjoy it. If it becomes a job, well there is a reason so many people came to YouTube to quit a job, turning it into one is kinda the worst idea…