Imagine what it would feel like to be able to get up every day and make videos for hundreds of thousands of adoring fans.
It would be a strange experience, right?
Well, that’s precisely what literally thousands of people are doing right now, thanks to the power of YouTube.
The Google-run video sharing platform is the second-largest search engine in the world, and the third-most-popular website, after Google itself and Facebook.
That fact alone makes it one of the biggest opportunities to ever come the average person’s way. You can set up a channel, upload content, and start having fun with the platform almost immediately. It’s a kind of miracle opportunity for the creative mind.
How you make it big on the platform, however, is something of a mystery. You have some individuals who consistently put out amazing content and never get anywhere. Then you have others who seem to have very little great content, but millions of views.
Some naysayers say that the YouTube opportunity is pretty much exhausted. The platform has already made dozens of millionaires, there isn’t room for any more.
So what’s the truth of the matter?
Well, while outcomes are all over the place, some rules of thumb will shift the needle in the direction of success. They won’t guarantee it, of course; nothing ensures success. But life is a game of probabilities. And you’re living it.
In this post, we take a closer look at some of the tactics you can use to become a successful YouTuber, the vocation of the century.
Think Carefully About How You Define Success
The first step is to define what success means for you. Everyone has a different opinion on the matter.
The social zeitgeist is that success is equal to money. If you have a couple of million dollars in the form of banknotes and stock certificates, you’ve made it.
But is that really it?
For others, success comes in the form of having more time to themselves. They don’t want to spend their lives working for a faceless corporation. They want to feel like they did when they were children again: care-free and fun-loving.
Then some people have a message and want to share it with others. Their goal is to bring a little more peace and joy into the world, and they think they have the means to do it.
So before you even begin your journey as a YouTuber, you want to thrash out this question. Usually, it’ll mean taking a pay cut – at least to start. It’ll also mean a move away from drudgery and towards a topic you actually want to cover.
Have this goal at the center of your YouTube efforts. So long as you have enough money to cover the basics, just loving the process is often enough.
Plot A Course
The next step is to think about what you’d like your channel to do. Yes – considering the content you’ll cover is part of it. But you also want to think about the emotions you want to evoke in people. Think carefully about how you’re going to change their experience of the world. Remember, people can always go on Wikipedia to learn the facts of the matter. So why would they come to you?
Here are some emotions you might try to evoke:
Remember, when it comes to plotting a course, the content is second to the emotion it creates. Some YouTubes spend weeks creating highly detailed, highly accurate videos that hardly get any hits. Others just go with the flow, evoke an emotion, and gain millions of views in a couple of weeks.
Get Your Backend Sorted
Just because being a YouTuber is a creative endeavor, doesn’t mean you can neglect the “backend” of the operation – all the stuff you have to do to make it a commercial success.
We get it: you’re a creative person. Business doesn’t interest you. But business just means finding ways to produce more value than you consume. And that’s every artist’s dream.
First, you’ll want to learn how to make an invoice. As a YouTuber, you’ll be working with a bunch of other companies to get the show off the ground. SEO agencies, private clients, marketing companies, distribution firms, equipment vendors, and so on. Remember, not all of your revenues will come from advertising. Some will come from third-parties outside of YouTube.
Next, you’ll want to get to grips with SEO.
SEO on YouTube? That’s weird. Isn’t SEO just for search engines?
Well, that’s true – it is. But YouTube is actually a search engine. So you have to prod it in the right way. Like all the others, it relies on keywords to funnel users to the content they want.
Minding your SEO is hard if you’re starting from scratch. But there are plenty of companies out there who can help you achieve greater visibility. Just hire them.
Get To The Point Fast
Some YouTube channel hosts waffle quite a lot before getting into the meat of their content. That’s okay in some very special cases. But, mostly, YouTubers need to launch right into it, without any prevarication.
Long-winded introductions to ideas are more common than you might think. YouTubers could communicate the essential content of many of their videos in half the time or less. But, instead, they think that drawing it out is what counts. It’s not.
Getting to the point fast is actually what a lot of people want. Say you’re running a repair channel that shows people how to fix stuff around the home. Does your audience want your life story, or do they want help?
The same goes for cooking channels. Sure – talking about how you came up with a recipe is great. But what people really want is to eat the darn thing.
Upgrade Your Equipment
Next time you watch a video on YouTube, take a look at the comment. If the audio or visual is poor, you’ll see a bunch of people complaining noisily. It’s such a massive problem that a lot of YouTubers will actually apologize at the start of their videos if they know there’s a problem.
The solution is to simply upgrade your equipment.
Here’s a YouTuber equipment checklist:
- High-quality camera
- A decent optical lens (if you plan on shooting videos outside)
- High-quality microphone with spit guard and muffler
- Lighting equipment, such as ring lights to evenly illuminate your face
- Video editing software
The equipment list is actually a lot shorter than many people imagine. But it’s critical to get it right. The more you spend at the outset, the less you’ll have to spend upgrading later on.
Keep Up To Date With Your Niche
Your audience will want you to keep bang up to date with the latest happenings in your niche. Remember, they’re likely avid consumers of content like yours. And so they’ll want you to differentiate yourself by offering a new commentary or the most up-to-date information.
If possible, try to conceptualize yourself as the “go-to” channel for information on the topics you cover. You want to make it so that there aren’t good reasons for going elsewhere. Where possible, try to retain a neutral frame. Play with arguments and ideas through your audience’s eyes. Try not to preach at them from on high, even if you know you understand something and they don’t.
Manage Your Community
Being a YouTuber is about more than just creating great content. It’s also about managing the community as a whole.
There are all kinds of ways you can do this. One option is to hold regular live streams with the community – something that you can now do using YouTube features.
Another idea is to host question and answer sessions so audience members can field their most pressing questions.
You can also link your YouTube account to other platforms, either by embedding it or including social sharing buttons.
If possible, respond to the community every time you upload a video. Make sure that your viewers feel the love and want to keep coming back for more and more.
Back It Up With A Website
Your primary content offering should be on YouTube. But you always want a website for people with a deeper interest in what you have to offer.
Yes – you can always plaster links to your YouTube content on other channels. But having an actual website allows you to do and say things that the regular channels themselves do not.
Perhaps you need to use naughty words. Or maybe you want to cover topics outside of what big tech companies consider acceptable speech. Whatever it is, your site is the place to do it.
Being a YouTuber is very much a modern creative pursuit. It’s so much more fun than doing a regular job if you can make a living from it. It frees you from drudgery. Make it work by following the advice given here. Important, turn your life into something genuinely exciting.