Whether you are considering starting a YouTube channel for business or pleasure, the allure of that big red play button can be hard to resist. YouTube is proven to be a great medium for expanding a brand, bringing attention to your business, or just connecting with an audience over something you are passionate about. And it is for these reasons that so many people want to start a new YouTube channel, even now when there are so many channels out there.
In this post, we’re going to look at some of the mechanical aspects of starting a channel, as well as some tips for how to go about getting those first views, but we wanted to start off by reaffirming your desire to start a channel (we’re assuming you do want to if you’re reading this!)
Is It Worth Starting a YouTube Channel?
One of the main roadblocks to a successful YouTube channel is a reluctance to pull the trigger on that “create channel” button. This can happen because of a variety of reasons—most of which we’ll cover in more detail in a moment—but the important thing to remember is that new channels are being created all the time, and plenty of YouTubers who are successful today started out recently or were shy to begin with or thought their chosen topic wouldn’t get much interest.
Ultimately, the majority of YouTube channels do not achieve the kind of success their creator hopes for, we can’t deny that. Whether they want to achieve financial independence through their content, become an internet megastar, or just find a small audience that is interested in what they are interested in, most don’t make it. But the one thing you can be certain of is that if you don’t start a channel at all, you definitely won’t succeed.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest reasons why people don’t start YouTube channels at all. And then tell you why you shouldn’t let those reasons stop you!
“I’m Too Shy”
Many would-be YouTubers love the idea of starting a channel, but when faced with the prospect of sitting in front of a camera and speaking to strangers on the Internet, they soon find themselves wilting away from the idea.
We’re not going to tell you that the shyness just goes away—though it does get less severe if you stick at it—but we can tell you that you don’t necessarily have to fight that shyness to run a YouTube channel.
There is more than one way to make a YouTube channel, and not all of them involve showing your face. In fact, it’s entirely possible to run a successful YouTube channel without showing your face or speaking! Granted, the style would have to work with your content, but many popular channels are clips shows, use virtual characters in place of on-camera appearances, and make use of text-to-speech technology.
“My Interests Are Too Niche”
Okay, we won’t lie and say there is no such thing as a “too niche” topic when it comes to an entire channel. You can certainly limit your potential audience to the point that you’re never going to hit those YouTube Partner Programme goals if you choose something extremely obscure.
That being said, assuming your interest is not so niche that you could start a support group for it and get everyone in a single room, being niche is actually a good thing!
Having a niche subject matter makes it easier to get noticed and build an audience when you are first starting out. It’s generally better to be laser-focused at the start of your YouTube career, build a small audience, and then gradually expand your niche to broaden the potential audience. So your niche interest could actually be the thing that makes your channel succeed.
“I’m Too Late to the Game!”
YouTube is easily the most popular platform for user-generated video content at the moment, and that popularity can make it a little intimidating to dive in yourself. With so many people already on the platform publishing videos, how can you hope to make a splash of your own?
It’s true that it can be hard to make an impact on YouTube when you’re just starting out, but it is far from impossible. In reality, the vast majority of successful YouTube channels got started under these circumstances. Whether there are two million or twenty million other channels, you’re still going to be trying to make your mark in a very crowded room.
Ultimately, if you release good content on a regular basis, you stand a good chance of succeeding on YouTube, regardless of how many channels are already taking up space on YouTube’s recommendations page.
How to Start a YouTube Channel
So, hopefully, we’ve convinced you that the excuses you’ve been making to yourself for why you shouldn’t start a YouTube channel aren’t valid, now let’s get to how you actually go about it.
Create a Channel
We said we’d cover the basic mechanics of starting a YouTube channel and we weren’t kidding. The first thing you need to do is create a YouTube account if you don’t already have one. There are no stringent requirements for creating an account; as long as you have an email address, you should be good to go. After that simply follow these steps;
- Sign in to your YouTube account and click on the user icon at the top right-hand corner of the page.
- Click the gear icon to open up your YouTube account’s settings page.
- Click “create new channel”.
- Choose “Use a business or other name”, enter the name of your channel and away you go!
Choosing Your Channel’s Name
The last part of that list—entering the name of your channel—obviously requires you to know what name you’re going to use. It’s worth putting a good deal of thought into this part of the process before getting started, as changing your channel’s name after it is established can be a bit of a headache.
Now, we want to stress that, while this decision is important, it should not be a decision that keeps you from starting a channel. There is a fine line between giving something due consideration and using that consideration as an excuse to not get started at all.
If you are starting a channel as part of a business or an existing brand, that should make naming a little easier. If you are starting a channel as an individual, it’s important to consider what you want for the channel’s future. For example, if you have plans to one day grow your channel to the point of having a team working on it, perhaps bringing other content creators on board, you will want to steer clear of using your own name, as that links the channel to you specifically, making it a little weird when other people are on there.
Alternatively, if your plans don’t involve anyone but you being in front of the camera, you should consider using your name in the channel name, as it will make it easier for you to parlay any YouTube success into success in other areas.
Set Up Your Channel
With your channel made, you need to spend some time setting up your channel. This means adding things like profile and header images and filling out your about section. You can also arrange how your channel page looks, but don’t worry too much about this until you have a few videos uploaded.
In your about section, make sure you explain what your channel is about, but try to keep it as clear and concise as possible. Many viewers won’t even click to expand the about section, so try to get the basic premise of your channel into the first sentence, but in a way that grabs the reader’s attention.
If you are tying your YouTube channel to something larger—such as a business, brand, or other personal projects—be sure to put links in your information. These should show up in the top right-hand corner of your channel pages, just below the header image.
Start Making Videos
The most important part of being a YouTube is, of course, being a YouTuber! Simply picking out a good name and creating a channel isn’t much use if you don’t then create content for it, regularly.
There is a veritable cornucopia of excuses to not make videos, and we’re not saying they’re all bad reasons. But, as with the channel name choosing, you should not let this become a crutch that you use to stop yourself from doing the deed. Remember, the quality of your video can always improve. The quality of you can always improve. But there’s no reason you can’t be improving while you make content, and there is no better practice than doing.
Just make the best content you can, and always strive to improve.
Once you’ve gotten over that initial hurdle that so many people fall at, you just need to worry about sticking with it. This is one area where bloody-minded persistence isn’t necessarily the best road to take. You should be persistent, yes, but in a smart way.
By ensuring that your channel grows, you will find it much easier to stay motivated and keep putting out new videos. Here are some tips for ensuring that happens.
Work Your Niche
We touched on this before, but a good way to get started as a YouTuber is to really drill down into a niche, finding an audience through the simple act of providing them something that not many others are. And if it’s something nobody else is providing, all the better!
The problem with such a tight niche is that it can severely limit your growth potential. To give an extreme example, if you start a channel based around talking local news for a small town with a population of 700 people, you’re going to struggle to find millions—or even thousands—of viewers who are interested in your content.
As you grow, try to expand your niche slowly and organically to widen your potential audience.
Take Advantage of Search Engine Optimisation
You don’t have to become an SEO expert (though it will certainly help if you do), but you should familiarise yourself with the basics of optimising your videos for being found in YouTube search and even other search engines like Google or Bing.
We’re not going to tell you that you need to upload new videos every day or week to be successful—many popular YouTube channels have upload schedules that involve months between videos—but you do need to be consistent.
If you start off uploading weekly videos and then abruptly don’t put out another video for a few months without warning, it will be a turn off for your viewers, and it will cause YouTube’s algorithm to question whether you are a reliable content creator.
Build a Community
Playing an active role in the community that arises around your channel will ensure you have some degree of influence over how that community develops. It will also give your viewers a strong sense of connection with your content.
You can do this in a number of ways, such as regularly replying to comments, or setting up and actively participating in a Discord server or subreddit.
Monetise Your Channel
When you reach a stage where monetisation is an option (whatever form that comes in), you should strongly consider doing it. YouTube doesn’t need to be about the money, of course, but it is hard work, and it’s much easier to motivate yourself to make time for it if you’re getting something tangible back.
YouTube continues to be the premier video platform for user-generated content, and there is still plenty of opportunity there for those willing to put the effort in.
So get out there and start making videos!