We’ve all heard of someone who started a YouTube channel, gained a ton of followers, and made a bunch of money on advertising. Like with so many get-rich-quick ideas, the reality is more difficult than it sounds on paper. Gaining a YouTube following can take years of perseverance, and at least a little bit of luck. With these tips and tricks, however, you can be on your way to starting a professional-looking YouTube channel that has a good chance of success down the road. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Decide Your Niche
There’s a difference between getting viewers to enjoy a video and getting followers on a YouTube channel. Followers are invested in your channel and want to see that content you come up with on a regular basis. In order to gain followers, you need your YouTube channel to have a consistent feel to it. It should tonally stay about the same, and it should definitely have a topic, though the topic can be broad, like “parenting,” or narrow, like “hunting knives.” The narrower your topic—or niche—the less competition you’ll have for followers, but keep in mind that if you go too niche, you may not have any followers to be competing over.
Step 2: Invest in Some Equipment
In business, they say that you have to spend money to make money. If you’re just creating a YouTube channel for fun, you may not need anything more than your smartphone to make it work, but if you’re actually hoping to gain a following and make money down the road, you need to invest in some equipment to create high-quality videos. At a minimum, you want high-quality audio and high-quality video so that your viewers can enjoy your video without squinting or straining their ears. A vlogging camera will produce a much better video than the camera on your smartphone. Look into some inexpensive boom mics to enhance your audio quality as well.
Step 3: Create High-Quality Videos
To get someone to follow your channel on YouTube, you have to prove that you’re worth following. Though there is a quantity aspect to this, and you should definitely be creating your videos on a schedule, high-quality videos are key to getting a following. You want to show that you consistently produce the best videos in your niche. This means that your topic should be well-researched and that you should put thought into each of your videos to ensure that they have meaning for your audience, not just for you.
Step 4: Search Engine Optimize Your Titles
In order to gain followers, people need to see your YouTube videos. With so much competition on the web, it’s increasingly difficult for a new channel to get the viewers it needs to attract a following. Search engine optimization is the act of writing content, such as your YouTube titles and descriptions, in a way that search engines like Google will find your videos and know which viewers to show them to. The best way to do this is to consider what you might type into a search engine if you wanted to be presented with your YouTube video. What problem does your video solve for the viewer? That should be your title—that way, when someone types that problem into Google, they’re more likely to be shown your video.
Step 5: Advertise
The final and most important step to building any business is advertising. You can’t just put your video on YouTube and expect to amass a ton of viewers. Tell your friends and family about your channel, and link to new videos on your social media accounts when you upload them. If you have a blog, you’ll want to link your YouTube videos there as well. You can also go to forums about your niche and make connections there so that you can help direct the right types of viewers to your videos down the road.