Something unprecedented is brewing on one of the most popular online platforms, affecting every industry and medium. As such, we felt that we would be doing you a disservice if we did not share it with you, and set you on your way to benefit from it yourself.
Why Focus On Building Your YouTube Channel?
YouTube is currently the second most popular search engine, inevitably behind Google, and there’s nothing surprising there.
Naturally, we like videos because they engage us on more levels than most media. Watching a video, both our senses of sight and sound consume and comprehend data that is then processed into information greater than the sum of its parts. On a more basic level, they are quicker and easier to digest, and we’re willing to admit that videos can conveniently be left playing in the background, so that we can focus on other things simultaneously.
When it comes to videos there’s a lot more than the satisfaction of watching moving images than meets the eye.
For well over a century, advertising giants had proven to be masters of the colossal conversion power of moving images. As innovations in broadcast television became commonplace, ad agencies soon had channels pitted against one another, desperately trying to provide audiences with attractive content, in an effort to guarantee greater popularity. Knowing exactly when and where vast numbers of viewers would be, became the key to efficient and instant mass exposure to any sales message or campaign.
Imagine the panic that US ad execs found themselves in one morning, reading the Nielson report over their bowl of cornflakes, discovering that more than half of traditional broadcast television (also known as live and time-shifted TV) audiences had snuck out in the night to elope with streaming service providers such as Netflix.
The Growth of YouTube and Videos
This new frontier of commercial video content is professionally known as Over-the-Top (OTT) TV and encompasses all streamed digital video content accessible on connected devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet, or Connected TV).
Across the globe, millions of so-called ‘cord cutters’ (preferring OTT content to conventional cable TV) are challenging and changing the face of this massively money-making medium.
This significant shift in viewing habits not only forced production companies to provide higher quality content, but it also has the advertisers scrambling to regain the masses of potential target audiences that have made their exodus to OTT …and of course, you know that this means more money.
As of 2019, marketers have increased their annual video budgets by 25% in all categories, to assure that “nearly two-thirds of digital budgets are allocated to video—with Mobile and Desktop video reaching parity”.
Moreover, direct to customer (DTC) brand ad buyers expect to spend “an increase of more than 50% from last year” on their brand’s digital video advertising, with spending on Original Digital Video (ODV) “expected to substantially increase in 2019”.
2019 Average Expenditure on Digital/Mobile Advertising
by Market Sector, in Millions of US Dollars
Where will all this expenditure be heading throughout the next 12 months, you ask?
The same place it ended up last year, YouTube.
YouTube remains the most widely used online platform among U.S. adults. So much so, that “YouTube ranks first as market leader among video and entertainment websites, leaving behind big names such as Netflix and Hulu.”
Quick to cash in on this, Google launched YouTube Originals (aired on YouTube Prime), and not a moment too soon.
Top Tips on Making a Successful Youtube Video Channel
Below we’ll be sharing the same tips and advice that we used to expand our own YouTube channel, from 0 to well over 80k subscribers, over the past 3 years.
1. Encourage Viewers to Subscribe to Your Channel
I know that this seems as though this tip belongs in a YouTube 101, but you would be amazed how many potential subscribers are lost because of something as simple as that. Always make sure to ask viewers to subscribe to your channel. Don’t worry, you won’t come across as nagging. Your viewers will understand. Unless of course, you’ve made a video where you’re pleading and begging users to subscribe. But then again, it could go viral and make you a hit.
2. Document Your Work and Turn It Into YouTube Videos
‘How to’ videos consistently get the most views, especially if they deal with digital content. This is probably because viewers can imagine themselves repeating the steps and advice that they’ve been shown, making that complicated task or unattainable goal suddenly seem achievable.
Take the most interesting or creative projects that you’re working on, and document them. You can turn them into ‘speed-art’ videos, tutorials or even case studies.
Viewers watch your tutorials, learn about your work, and in many cases, eventually hire you to build their site, or give a lecture!
When it comes to ideas for tutorials, you could explain how you solved a challenge, or answer a question raised by a colleague or a fellow user.
Great resources for such questions are Facebook groups, like the Elementor Facebook community. And of course Reddit and Quora.
You can also follow the popular design and marketing YouTubers in similar fields and see what videos are topping their channels.
Keyword research with wonderful tools like Ahrefs is another great way to come up with ideas for video content.
3. Write a Script Before You Ever Publish on YouTube
It’s important to plan ahead, and nothing is more comforting than having a complete and clear script ready before you even switch on your camera.
We recommend that you do not improvise and ad-lib, like some YouTubers, at least not for your first 5 videos.
Remember that having a script also reduces the time that you’ll be spending editing out all the bad takes.
It’s true that scripts have particular formats, but you really don’t need them to create the sort of videos that we’re talking about here.
We suggest using a simple two-column format in something like Google docs. In the one column, you write what you’re going to say, in the other, write what you’re going to show.
4. Let Your Video Narration Be Your Guide
Don’t let something like being camera-shy, which is completely understandable, get in your way of creating good content. You can always narrate over your videos while showing screenshots of screen captures. Nothing is wrong with having entire videos of narration and screenshots. There are plenty of successful examples of those on YouTube.
If you are self-conscious about your accent, you can add captions to make it easier for viewers to understand what you’re saying
You may feel that your voice sounds strange the first few times you record yourself. This is something common to all humans and it soon passes. Not to worry.
5. If You’ve Got a Face, Flaunt It Across Your YouTube Channel!
If you’re anything like me, or my colleague Ben Pines, and you’re anything but camera shy, you could use that to your advantage. Putting a face on a video is a proven way to really rack up those views, as well as establish your recognizable face and your brand.
Don’t forget that no matter how rough a day you have had at work, you still need to put on a happy and energetic face in front of the camera.
Then again, if you feel more comfortable not having your face plastered all over the platform, you could always use a graphic or gravatar to win the same form of brand recognition.
6. Make Sure Each Video Starts With a Hook
Make sure you have a compelling hook to really grab the attention of your viewers within the first 5-10 seconds of your video, otherwise they’ll bounce. Respect and value their time and attention and give them a good reason to keep watching. Ask yourself what would make you stay a watch your video?
7. Have Fun While Growing Your Channel!
You know this as well as we do, but it’s important to keep in mind. Nothing is more inspiring than watching someone truly enjoys what they do.
8. Every Part of Your YouTube Channel Needs to Look Great
It’s high time that we started to get into the more technical aspects of video creating.
It’s essential to make your channel really stand above the rest to get viewers’ attention.
You’ll want to create a look and feel for your videos
When making a Youtube video, I wouldn’t skimp on the effort I put into the following design elements:
- Thumbnails/Cover Art — Try to be consistent with regard to the design. Consider including your face on the cover art.
- A Specific Caption or Catchphrase — This is something that you could tag on to your artwork, together with a short but big enough title, that can also be read in the small thumbnail image.
- Backgrounds and Page Designs — It’s worthwhile spending time on them, even if you’re explaining something very technical, make sure the frame, what’s inside it, and around it looks nice. You could use a template as we did in a previous video.
The video frame itself is another thing to consider. If you don’t have a green screen, find a nice spot where you shoot, maybe put up a poster in the background, or arrange some objects to form an interesting composition. Some YouTubers will appear to be in an office setting or meeting room. Personally, I find backgrounds like Tyler Moore’s living room to be very inviting and relaxing. You may want to use objects in your frame that relate somehow to the topic of your video (the way that we’ve recently been doing).
Now let’s talk about gear.
9. Start Small in Terms of Video Equipment
We know that this subject is a huge challenge for many of you, and a major obstacle preventing you from making videos.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on gear to create a good channel. It’s better to begin with less, and build an amazing channel using budget-priced gear. Like we said, it’s unique quality content that users want (and subsequently, advertisers want users).
There are a few basic things that you’ll need:
It’s worth investing in a decent mic, and the Blue Yeti is a great option. It should only cost around a hundred bucks, and it’ll do the job well, and for a good while.
Footage Editor & Screen Capture
If you think that you’ll need a lot of editing and screen capture, we recommend trying Camtasia. This is a simple editing piece of software, and is perfect for making tutorials.
When it comes to choosing a camera, let me just stop you there, and remind you to start small.
Your smartphone can provide great quality footage, to begin with. As your audience expands, that’s when you’ll want to invest in a decent camera, as your channel evolves into something great.
10. Conversion or Making Your Youtube Channel Work for You
Once your unique content has drawn enough following to turn your channel into something that begins to gain attention at an accelerated rate, that’s when you can start to reap the rewards that we spoke of earlier.
There are many ways to monetize your channel. You can create courses, webinars, or ebooks, and promote them on your channel.
You can also promote other products and make money through affiliate commissions, product placements, and reviews. Once your channel has established a large reliable audience, you can take advantage of all the money that advertisers are laying down to promote their campaigns.
Create Your Own Smashing YouTube Channel!
We’ve covered everything you’ll need and need to know, in order to start off your very own YouTube channel. If you are a web designer, developer or marketer, this could be a great way to generate awareness, even a following, and get new clients.
It takes years until we figure out how to perfectly convey ideas and generate engagement in a medium. Technology and research, creators and audiences, need time to experience a medium and perfect the way we correspond through it.
But imagine starting your online business 10-15 years ago with the knowledge you now have for web design. Imagine being — not at the dawn of online commerce — but on the cusp of the moment when technology and user behavior were at just the right levels to allow online commerce to truly awaken. All signs are pointing to 2019 being just that moment for unique original video content.
By now, you should be running out of excuses keeping you from creating your videos. And we can’t wait for you to begin to experience something that we all genuinely enjoy creating.
Ready? …aaand, action!