With the rapid increase in popularity of the video blogging (vlogging) culture, it’s easy to see why a tech-savvy teenager or millennial will be attracted by the idea of starting their own YouTube channel. And why not? What starts as a fun and interactive hobby has the potential to turn anyone into an online celebrity – with the chance to meet countless new people, be sent freebies from companies, and earn impressive amounts of money!
But, in reality, to maintain a steady and consistent increase in followers, or to at least publish good content that attracts decent numbers of views and likes, it’s not enough to just become a contributing member on YouTube. We have some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your own vlogging and content creation project.
Before you’ve even registered your YouTube channel, you’ll have already decided on the type of video content you want to create and share. By far, the best way to increase the views you’re getting and gain followers is to make sure your content is as interesting and engaging as it can be. If you can create content that people can relate to, they’ll be more likely to click and watch right to the end, which is what you want.
As far as possible, you should stick to your chosen theme (if you have one). If you’re thinking of starting a YouTube channel, you will already be aware of some of the themes such as travel, tutorials for a wide variety of activities, or simply daily life. Viewers love to live vicariously through their favourite online personalities, so let them know what you’re about and give them interesting content that they’ll enjoy.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use your smartphone to record videos, and many YouTubers do this. But, if you want your viewers to really enjoy the content you create, investing in the right equipment can really make a big difference. Most YouTubers use DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, as well as other very useful accessories for videography, including tripods, lenses, and even studio lighting. For anyone who vlogs on-the-go, typical gear essentials are a mirrorless or action camera, a decent monopod or a handheld gimbal stabilizer.
A decent vlogging camera is one thing, but if you neglect any of the other important elements such as lighting or audio quality, you’ll find that your viewers may well lose interest after the first few seconds, which could cost you subscribers.
It’s well worth investing in a good microphone that can be mounted on your camera. When you’re recording, be mindful of the conditions and get into the habit of checking to make sure your audio is clear enough so that your viewers can understand every word. A shotgun microphone gives the best results – these are designed to pick up sound from the front more than the sides and the back, so any noise that’s not directly in front of the mic can be cancelled out. If you’re an audiophile (and many vloggers are), you might want to invest in several microphones for different recording situations. A lavalier mic (the small microphone that you can pin to your shirt) is great for shooting fitness videos, where you’re moving a lot, or in any situation or setting that needs you to be a good distance from the camera. A good condenser mic (or any mic usually used for podcasting) allows you to record nice, clear voice-overs.
At first, the ideas are likely to flow freely, but it can become more challenging to think of ideas for new content that’s fresh and interesting, and that will match up to the excitement and intensity of your first few videos. Try not to worry – this is really common, and even the most established YouTubers will experience this type of idea drought now and again. The secret is to look for inspiration wherever you are – including those times when you’re not even recording. Keep a list of your ideas, and add to it whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. Keep watching other videos and build on ideas that grab you, making them yours by adding your own twists and styles.
Don’t be tempted to compare yourself to other YouTubers – watch others, but your main focus is your own channel. If you enjoy the ideas you decide to run with, your viewers will sense this, and your sincerity and the enjoyment you get from your craft with be very clear, so that you’ll pique the interest of anyone who comes across your videos. To enhance your content, strive to improve and evolve in other areas as well, so explore filming techniques and editing styles, and think about how you’re presenting your ideas.
It’s important to make sure you’re producing quality content, and you should delete anything that won’t enhance your videos, so you can be selective with the material you include in your final cut. Be firm with yourself, and choose only the best shots so that you hold your viewers’ interest and they stay engaged throughout the whole video.
Once you have a good number of followers, you’ll have more freedom to play with ideas that are a little more arty (or crazy!), but never forget that you need to think like a viewer so that you’ll always create the type of content you would want to see.
Creating videos for YouTube doesn’t mean you have to invest in advanced editing software (like Final Cut Pro). Software programs like this won’t necessarily guarantee that your content is improved, especially if you’ve never used it before and will need some time to get to grips with it.
Simple programs such as Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie can be great for anyone who’s new to video editing. They’re much more user-friendly and very quick and easy to download (for free!) – and you might already have them on your computer.
To increase the visibility of your videos, optimizing your content will help it to rank higher on YouTube. When you upload your first video, take a bit of time to come up with a nice, descriptive title that viewers might be likely to type into the search bar – and always make sure you include your main keyword or key phrase. So, for example, the title ‘Italian Lakes Tour Vlog 2019’ is much more descriptive than ‘Italy Here We Come!’.
Make sure you use enough relevant tags as these will help to ensure your video is included in a number of related categories. If you’re not sure, check out a few of your competitors’ videos to see which tags are being used. The last thing to do is write a description of at least 200 words; in this, you need to your target keywords, some synonyms, and long-tail keyword variations. Your description will help potential viewers to work out exactly what your video is about, and it will help your video to rank higher in search results.
Although it’s not exactly a social networking site in the same sense as many others, YouTube is used very widely for connecting, sharing, and collaborating with other users. To be a successful YouTuber, you will have to put in some effort to build yourself a network. This is even more important in the YouTube community than other social media platforms – collaborations between content creators are very effective at helping channels to grow and gain new subscribers. Both collaborators gain exposure from each other’s subscriber base.
It can be intimidating at first, but talk to other creators. You’ll soon find that you’re making friends and being inspired by other YouTubers. Don’t be afraid to contact YouTubers with bigger numbers of subscribers to ask if they’d like to collaborate with you – they might say yes!
You’ll start to gain followers over time, and fans will comment on your videos more frequently. Eventually, you’ll start to receive messages on your personal social media accounts – if you choose to, you can share your PO Box, and you might even get some fan mail! It’s important to take some time to connect with your viewers – remember, you know what it’s like to be a fan. You should treat your social media accounts as an extension of your YouTube channel, so it’s nice to share little bits of information about of your life on the most popular platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. As often as you can, you should try to read and respond to all comments, tweets, and messages you get (until there are just too many!).
These interactions are important because your subscribers will love learning more about you. But more than that, it really helps you to create a sense of community and online camaraderie among your little fan base. It’s great if people like your content, but if you want to build something that lasts, your viewers need to like you and also value and enjoy their overall experience with your channel.
Your viewers can also be a great source of inspiration for new content ideas. At the very least, you’ll be inspired to keep going when you’re faced with difficulties growing and sustaining your channel.
However many viewers your channel has, you will always get negative comments. Everyone knows that YouTube is rife with troublemaking trolls who hide behind their avatars. Even if your content is amazing and you work incredibly hard on your channel, there will always be someone who delights in making hateful comments and whose aim will be to try to bring you down.
It’s absolutely essential that you don’t let them affect you. The old idiom that you can’t please everyone is certainly true in this case. Instead, remember those who do appreciate you and what you’re trying to do with your video content. These people can be a source of strength and can really help you to move past any negativity so that you can keep producing content for your fan base.
A final important tip is to make sure you’re uploading videos regularly and consistently. Even if you think your latest video isn’t quite perfect, it’s important to keep getting your videos seen, so that your viewers know you’re still around and look forward to the next one.
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