Do you dream of becoming a YouTuber?
You wish you could just quit your soul destroying 9-5, forget college and start living your life on your own terms. You could wake up when you want, spend your entire day wearing your pajamas and actually earn money doing what you love.
Goodbye commute. Goodbye nasty boss. Goodbye uncomfortable suit. It would be just you, your camera, and your audience.
However, becoming a YouTuber isn’t as idyllic as it might seem. It takes a lot of hard work, effort and planning if you want to make it work. YouTube is also highly competitive and thousands of new YouTubers start every week then quit when they don’t become rich or famous overnight.
But if you’re willing to stay focused, work towards your dream and learn, you could become a YouTuber and make decent money doing so.
To help you get started, here’s an ultimate guide to becoming a YouTuber. You’ll find the exact steps you need to take to get you from the spark of an idea to an established, successful channel. You’re welcome.
- 1) Make Sure You’re 110% Committed
- 2) Decide on Your Niche
- 3) Choose Your Target Audience
- 4) Outline Your Channel Goal
- 5) Brainstorm Content Ideas
- 6) Develop a Content Schedule
- 7) Pick Your Filming Style
- 8) Upgrade Your Equipment
- 9) Create and Optimize Your Channel
- 10) Learn the Basics of SEO
- 11) Hit That Record Button!
- 12) Edit Your Video
- 13) Upload Your First Video
- 14) Get Feedback From Your Viewers
- 15) Learn From YouTube Analytics
- 16) Promote Your Channel
- 17) Keep Your Eye on Trends
- 18) Monetize Your Channel
1) Make Sure You’re 110% Committed
Before you do anything else, you must get absolutely sure that this is what you want and that you’re committed to the entire journey. Otherwise you could waste a lot of time, effort, and money at the beginning, only to get bored or overwhelmed and give up when the going gets tough.
Because, despite how it might seem when you’re watching your favorite YouTubers give a flawless performance on screen, it isn’t that easy.
Creating a successful YouTube channel and generating millions of subscribers is stressful and a lot of hard work. Planning, recording, editing, and marketing your videos can take a huge chunk of your time and it can take months or even years before you see any progress in the right direction. It’s most definitely not a get rich quick scheme and there are no guarantees of anything.
This is why, despite the thousands of people starting YouTube channels every year, huge numbers never make it beyond 1000 subscribers and end up quitting. The grueling schedules and huge amount of work involved is actually leading a growing number of established YouTubers to throw in the towel and move on to something else.
Therefore, before you upload a single video, make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons?
Do you love creating videos enough to get through the difficult times? Can you keep pushing forward and churning out content week after week even if you don’t seem to be getting anywhere? Are you ready to commit to the path? To constantly look for ways to improve, every step of the way?
If your answer is yes, then congratulations! You stand a much greater chance of success than many who have come before you.
Related: Best YouTube Starter Kit
2) Decide on Your Niche
Next you need to think long and hard before deciding on your niche. If you haven’t heard the term ‘niche’ before, it’s simply a smaller, more specialized part of a larger topic.
When you have a niche, you will be able to create very specific types of YouTube content targeted and have a much better chance at standing out in an already crowded market. After all, who wants to see another generic Minecraft channel in the world? Not me, that’s for sure.
When you have a solid niche, you’re more likely to resonate with a specific audience. This means that they’re much more likely to be engaged and become a long term fan/subscriber, Google will be better able to direct traffic your way and you’ll find it much easier to stay focused when it comes to creating better content. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
So how do you go about deciding on your niche?
It’s easy. You think about what you love doing, check out what other YouTubers are already doing and think if you could approach the topic from a unique angle or add something different to the conversation. Be wary of copying what you see others doing, unless you can put a fresh spin on it. But equally, make sure you don’t pick a topic so narrow that you run out of content ideas within a few weeks.
3) Choose Your Target Audience
Next you need to define who your target audience will be and get as specific as you can. This may sound like an unnecessary step dreamed up by marketers with too much time on their hands. But again, it can really make the difference between success and failure as a YouTuber.
When you know who your audience is, you can create content just for them. You know what they like and what they dislike. You speak the same language. You probably have similar hobbies, like similar music, shop at similar stores, and so on. With this knowledge, you can really boost engagement, build a loyal following and you can take your channel to the next level.
So how do you figure out who your target audience is? That depends on what your YouTube niche will be.
Most people starting YouTube channels are creating content on a topic that they’re already passionate about such as Roblox, Paleo cookery, trail running or even the mega-niche of vanlife.
This means that the most obvious target audience for them will be people just like them.
Let’s say you’re travelling the country in your RV and you want to make YouTube videos about your experience. You’ve got more specific about your niche and have decided that you’ll focus on the niche of being a single parent family living in an RV travelling the US.
Who is most likely to enjoy watching your videos? Most likely people aged 25-45 who are single parents dreaming of doing the same thing. Again, they likely enjoy the same books as you, enjoyed the same TV shows or Netflix series as you, and have the same hopes for their kids.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be only creating content for this group of people or that a grandmother in her 70s or teenage surfer wouldn’t enjoy your videos too. Everyone is welcome to watch and enjoy. But by being focused on just this core group, you’ll be more consistent with the content you create and start building your brand.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s absolutely nothing forcing you to target this audience if you feel like it’s not working. It’s not like you’re signing a contract for the rest of your life or anything. Give yourself at least a couple of months to check your metrics (more on that later), then move on if you want to.
4) Outline Your Channel Goal
If you want to reach success in anything in life, you need to set yourself a goal and set out to accomplish it. Starting a YouTube channel certainly isn’t any different.
Having a goal will help you stay focused and motivated, even when you’d rather spend your Sunday morning chilling out with your significant other than editing another video. It will give you that extra push, keep you accountable and help you grow your YouTube channel from zero faster.
However, it’s vital that you set yourself the right goals, especially when you’re just starting out.
For example, many people set themselves a goal of reaching 1000 subscribers within a certain time period when they first get started.
But, even if you’re putting the work in, you might not get the results back out. You might not get as many subscribers or comments as you had hoped, so you end up feeling like a failure and give up too early, simply because you got carried away setting your goals.
Here’s a better way.
Firstly, you start by setting yourself a goal that you can control, such as uploading a certain number of videos per week or posting to your social media accounts on certain days, then you set out to do it.
Secondly, you should follow the SMART goals structure that is used in business as much as possible. SMART is an acronym which stands for the following:
● S – Specific. Be clear on what you hope to achieve.
● M – Measurable. You should be able to measure your success.
● A – Achievable. Forget aiming for 1,000,000 subscribers just yet.
● R – Relevant. It should make sense within your overall YouTube channel goals
● T- Time-Based. You should be setting this goal for a specific period of time, e.g. 6 months.
5) Brainstorm Content Ideas
Trust me- there’s nothing worse than glancing at your calendar and realizing that you have just 24 hours in which to plan, record, edit and upload your next YouTube video. How the hell are you supposed to find inspiration when the clock is ticking?
The key here is to sit down and come up with your content ideas and loose content calendar beforehand. That way, you have everything under control so there’s no need to stress, you’ve given careful thought to what you’ll create, and you’ll have plenty of time to get everything. It’s what sets the amateurs apart from the pros.
The good news is there isn’t a right way or a wrong way to go about it. You simply need to consider your niche and start scribbling down some ideas for video content in a notebook, on an app on your phone like Evernote or even on your laptop.
When you do this, make sure you’re sticking to your niche and creating content that is relevant for your audience.
Could you create a video series around a theme? For example, if you’re teaching French online, could you create a series for new beginners? Or guitar solos from the 1970s for intermediate guitar students? Or perhaps how to build big structures in Minecraft?
Perhaps you’d rather take a more holistic approach to a topic and create differing videos as the weeks go by?
Whichever approach you choose to take, it’s best to select at least 12 topics (based on one video per week) to take the pressure off and give you ideas for at least the first three months.
And finally, make sure you write down your ideas. You’d be amazed to learn how many great ideas people have for content that just get forgotten because they didn’t make it onto paper.
6) Develop a Content Schedule
Once you’ve created some content ideas, you need to take it to the next level by developing a schedule.
This will help you stay consistent when it comes to producing content. When everything is written there in black and white, you’ll remember to post on the same day at the same time each week and you will boost your rankings immediately. It will also help your viewers know what to expect so they check in to see if you have new content and actually watch it on a regular basis.
It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Start by deciding which day(s) and time you’ll post. Most YouTubers tend to choose Thursday or Friday as this is when people are online more, although it’s worth doing some research to find out what works for your niche.
Then once you’ve done that, you can start slotting in your content ideas along with the date you will publish each piece and voila, you have a content calendar.
You may decide to post more often- many YouTubers recommend that you post every day. But if you have other commitments, this can quickly get overwhelming. The last thing you want is to become sporadic and post at random intervals- Google won’t rank you as highly if you do so and your views are likely to suffer as a result too.
7) Pick Your Filming Style
If you want to appear more professional and stand out as a ‘business’ (which is essentially what you are), you need to get your branding sorted from day one. One of the most important aspects of this is defining your own distinctive filming style.
This obviously isn’t something that’s easy to create before you’ve even recorded your first video. But it’s important to start with something so that you can stay consistent, even if you make tweaks and improvements as you go along.
If you’re a gamer, you’re more likely to include face-to-camera shots, headshots, and a snazzy intro sequence, perhaps even with a catchphrase. If you’re a travel vlogger, you might love action shots, drone footage, introductions, and so on.
Consider your niche, do your research, and try to think outside of the box.
8) Upgrade Your Equipment
Although many YouTubers started off on rubbish recording equipment, it’s a good idea to get an upgrade or invest in new items if you can. Anything you can do to improve the quality of your content will make a huge difference and you don’t have to spend big bucks in the beginning either.
You need to think about your:
- Computer/ editing software
You absolutely can start recording with your phone, provided that the video quality is good enough. Invest in a selfie stick and a tripod and you could be good to go.
If your camera isn’t great or you’re happy to invest, look for a high-quality camera with the best resolution you can afford. The minimum you should be recording in is HD (1080p) and 4K is better still.
Of course, your choice also depends on what kind of footage you’ll be shooting, what your conditions are, how durable your camera needs to be, and so on.
You might also want to consider a tripod so you can shoot steady footage with your camera.
Related: What Camera Do YouTubers Use?
Ever pulled up a YouTube video and could barely watch it because the sound was so bad? Unless you think about your sound quality, the same could happen to you. It’s worth doing a sound test before you upload your first videos and considering whether you should invest in a separate mic. Microphones are easily affordable these days and they can make a huge difference.
When you’re a new YouTuber, you’ll be astonished to find out how much lighting can impact upon your videos. Like bad sound quality, bad lighting can absolutely destroy what would otherwise be a great video, so make sure you learn as much as you can about how to make it work for you. Cameras need a lot of light to create awesome images and natural light is much more flattering than artificial. That’s why you should always make the most of the natural light you have and consider treating yourself to an affordable lighting kit if you absolutely have to.
Computer & Editing software
Editing is a key skill you need to develop if you want to become successful on YouTube. It’s how you turn your raw footage into quality content and start growing your channel.
That’s why you should ensure you have a computer that can handle video editing, then get your hands on some editing software. There’s a lot of free software out there such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie or you may prefer to pay for a more advanced package.
Depending on your niche- may also need a screen recorder.
9) Create and Optimize Your Channel
You’ve decided your niche, developed your content plan, and got your hands on the equipment you need. Now you get to do more fun stuff- actually create your channel and optimize it to make it look great, appeal to your audience, and attract new viewers and subscribers.
Here’s what you need to consider.
● Channel Name. What will you call yourself? Choose something catchy and include keywords if you can.
● About. Your ‘about’ page will get much more traffic than you expect, so make sure you take the time to fill it in. What is your channel bout? Why did you start it? Make it as user friendly as possible, breaking up the paragraphs to make it easier to read. Also make sure you add keywords wherever possible. (Keep reading to find out more on keywords).
● Channel Art. You need to create a brand image that is simple, easily recognizable, and consistent with your message. It’s worth hiring a graphic designer to do this, although you can do it yourself if you’re saving money or have talent. You should stick to the same colors, fonts and style and use it on all your social media channels.
● Thumbnails. Your video thumbnails will influence how many clicks you get so make sure they look good.
● Profile picture. Make sure your profile picture looks professional.
10) Learn the Basics of SEO
As mentioned in the previous section on optimizing your channel, you can use SEO ‘tricks’ such as including keywords to get your videos to rank more highly, attract more viewers and get ahead of your competition.
The best part is, you don’t need to start a long, intensive training course to get your head around the details. It’s easy to pick up the basics by reading blogs and books and watching YouTube Videos. Once you’ve built your understanding of the basics, you can start learning more and further optimizing your channel.
Keywords are the most important of these basics. They’re simply the words that people type into Google or YouTube when they’re looking for something. All you need to do is find these keywords, include them in any text on your channel and you could give your viewer ratings a significant push in the right direction.
It’s also relatively easy to find these keywords. Just head to a keyword tool such as Google Keywords or SEMrush and you can get a downloadable list of what you need. Before you dive in- a word of warning. There’s a lot of information in these tools that you may not need so try not to get overwhelmed. Learn what you need to look for and then ignore the rest!
When you know which keywords you want to target, you should include them at least 3-4 in your video description and also once in the title.
As well as including keywords, it’s a good idea to create longer videos as you can as these tend to do better on YouTube and get ranked more highly.
Don’t forget to ask for likes, shares, and subscribes too, even if you feel awkward doing so. Just a gentle reminder is all people need to click that thumbs up buttons or subscribe. Besides, everyone does it.
11) Hit That Record Button!
At last, it’s time for your big moment. Start recording!
This can be really nerve racking at first, especially if you’re not used to talking to a camera.
The trick here is to practice as much as you can and be patient with yourself. It can take time to improve and it doesn’t mean you should just quit making YouTube videos altogether. (Check out your favorite YouTubers’ early videos if you need reassurance- they can be quite cringe-worthy).
If you don’t like what you’ve created, you can always record again. Besides, even Hollywood movie stars need several takes to get it just right, so why should you be any different?
12) Edit Your Video
In the early days of YouTube, people just used to record a home video and then upload it. There was no editing, no fancy intros or theme tunes, no clever on-screen graphics. Just basic footage. It worked because that’s all there was- everyone was doing it.
But these days, there are no two ways about it. If you want to become a successful YouTuber, you need to edit your videos. What surprises many people when they first get started is just how many hours it can take to transform raw footage into something that their viewers will love. It’s often at this point when YouTubers realize that they’re not so keen on the idea after all, and simply quit.
It’s also a skill that isn’t easy to get right at right, so it’s worth practicing as much as you can and perhaps even investing in some extra training. There are tons of YouTube videos, books, blog posts, and online training courses from sites such as Skillshare that will have you trained up in no time.
If you’re using graphics or music, you must make sure that you choose them from a specialized royalty-free music site such as Universal Production Music or you have permission to use them from the creator.
Again, be kind to yourself in the early days. You will make mistakes, it will take hours longer than it should in the beginning, and you may accidently hit the wrong button and lose all your work. But it will get better over time.
13) Upload Your First Video
Well done for getting to this point! You’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to here and it’s time to start seeing the fruits of your labor by uploading your video.
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection before you get started (the last thing you want is glitching out part of the way through, trust me!) and the faster speed, the better.
Here’s how you do it:
- Go to your YouTube channel then select the video camera icon at the topic and click ‘upload video’ from the drop-down menu. Then simply follow the instructions.
- Make sure you select the right privacy settings to control who can see your video.
- While your video uploads, you will be able to see its progress across the top. Be patient!
- Next add your title, description, and tags, remembering to include those keywords we mentioned before.
- Choose your thumbnail or upload your own.
- Edit your video’s YouTube page, adding any enhancements, captions, or extras you choose.
- Breathe a big sigh of relief.
- Share and promote your video (check out our tips below for more info).
Don’t expect fame and fortune after you publish your very first video. It might only be your mom watching at first and it will take time to grow your audience. But if you’ve done everything right up until this point, you should soon start seeing progress.
14) Get Feedback From Your Viewers
Your work isn’t done once you’ve uploaded your video. You also need to keep a close eye on how your viewers respond to your videos.
Monitor their comments and response to all feedback you receive, whether good or bad. Thank them for the positive and use your judgement when it comes to responding to the negative. Always aim to be polite, helpful, and friendly when you’re responding, even if the person has left you a really hurtful comment. Remember that there are tons of trolls out there who might just want to say nasty things to you, so try not to take everything to heart.
Having said that, we can learn a lot by checking and responding to any negative feedback we receive too. Perhaps your audience has a valid point and you could easily make improvements and help you take your YouTube channel to the next level? Maybe you could use their feedback to create extra content that will grow your audience loyalty and help increase your subscribers.
In addition to responding to comments, it’s worth asking your viewers to share their thoughts in the comments section or even take it a step further by running a Q&A session.
15) Learn From YouTube Analytics
Another way to learn what is working is to check out your YouTube Analytics. This will give you data on things like watch time, audience retention, traffic sources, playback location, devices and demographics that can help you improve what you’re doing.
To find your YouTube Analytics, sign into the studio then select ‘analytics’ from the menu on the left. You’ll be taken to an overview, then be able to access more specific information on metrics like reach, engagement, audience, and revenue. Check out the Google help documents here for more information.
16) Promote Your Channel
You also need to make sure you’re promoting your videos on other social media sites. This will allow you to reach a wider audience, get more views, shares and subscribes.
Consider which sites your audience is most likely to hang out on, then focus your efforts there. Do they prefer Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, or another social media platform? Avoid spreading yourself too thin and trying to post content to every site as you’ll only burn yourself out but instead focus on a core few.
Once you’ve chosen your channel, have a look at what other YouTubes in your niche are doing. What kind of content are they posting? How often are they posting? Consider using teaser clips, photos to build anticipation as well as general posts to encourage more interactions between your fans. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your channel.
17) Keep Your Eye on Trends
Going forward, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the hottest trends and use that to give you ideas of what you can do on your own channel to drive engagement and get you more views.
Don’t automatically start copying other people’s content, of course. Check what is going viral, investigate how many views it’s getting, the origin and what views seem to like so much. Bear in mind that viral content doesn’t always translate to great niche market material- often these things are just a flash in the pan that disappear as soon as they’ve appeared.
18) Monetize Your Channel
Although money is often one of the primary reasons why people start their YouTube channel, it shouldn’t be your focus from the beginning. What matters most is creating high quality, engaging content that your viewers will love and growing your following.
Once you’ve done this, then you can think about getting money involved. Any earlier and you may end up coming across as less authentic and undoing all the hard work you’ve put in so far.
When you’ve built up at least 1000 subscribers and your audience is engaged, you can apply for the YouTube partner program that will pay you for the videos you provide. You must meet their criteria though- your channel must have at least 4000 public watch hours over the past 12 months and you must have those 1000 subscribers to apply.
There are also different types of ads you can include that will generate extra revenue. This includes display ads, overlay ads, sponsored cards, skippable video ads and non-skippable video ads. Whichever you choose, you should avoid making them too intrusive as they can get annoying and you might just put off your viewers.
Finally, you can also make money in other ways with your YouTube videos. For example, you can sell a product or service, get involved in affiliate marketing, start a channel membership scheme, partner with brands, or even take part in crowdfunding.
Related: Best YouTube to MP3 Converter
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a YouTuber
How do you earn money as a YouTuber?
Signing up for the YouTube partner program, using adverts, affiliate marketing, partnering with brands and creating products and services are all easy ways to start earning money as a YouTuber.
Is being a YouTuber easy?
Although picking up a camera and shooting a YouTube video is easy, turning it into a profitable career certainly isn’t. It’s highly competitive and you’ll need to offer something different if you want to stand out. However, if you’re willing to work hard and learn, you can make your dreams come true.
Is being a YouTuber a good idea?
Yes. Being a YouTuber is a great way to make money doing what you love, provided you’re willing to work hard.
How many views do you need to make money on YouTube?
If you want to make money on YouTube via the partners program, you’ll need to have at least 4000 view hours within the last 12 months and at least 1000 subscribers.
A Final Word from Run Gun Shoot
As you can see, becoming a YouTuber does take a lot of time, effort, and planning, especially during the early stages when you’re just getting off the ground.
But by working through the steps we’ve outlined here, working hard and staying patient, you can build yourself a profitable YouTube channel that will help you escape your dull 9-5 and earn money doing what you love.
What could be better than that?