So, you want to take the leap and make a career out of creating YouTube content? This guide is for you, then! YouTube is a diverse and widely-used social media platform, containing billions of hours of video content and one of the highest user bases of any website; reaching about four billion people per year.
With so many users, YouTube has become a platform for political discussion, tutorials, entertainment, music, and so much more. There are several YouTubers who have actually made millions uploading to the platform (though not directly from video uploads; usually, there are endorsement deals included).
If you’re interested in making a career out of YouTube, there are a few things to know before you get started. We’ll cover everything from the challenges you’ll face to the best strategy to grow your audience and become a top-grossing channel. Good luck!
It’s A Challenge
Make no mistake; growing a following from nothing is no easy task. You’re going to be putting in a lot of hours into crafting your content, perfecting your style, and reaching your audience. You’ll face late nights, setbacks and disappointment, and even potential bullying online. The fact is, YouTube is home to billions of users, and not everyone is going to like your content.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do as a YouTube content creator is to ignore the nasty comments you’ll likely get as your audience grows. Remember that some people just have nothing better to do than to bring others down. Stay true to your niche, your channel, and yourself; despite the naysayers.
Now that you’ve mentally prepared yourself for some flack from the internet trolls, you’ll need to consider other challenges. You may find yourself interested in a niche that’s dominated by fierce competition, but don’t let that scare you. Often, creative types fear their content isn’t “original” enough. The fact is, pretty much everything has been done already. What makes your content original or unique is that it’s coming from your perspective.
You Won’t Get Paid Right Away
If you want to making money on YouTube, you’ll need to be patient. It simply doesn’t happen right away, even if your content is amazing. Making money on YouTube takes time, and you can’t even benefit from YouTube’s partner program until you reach 1,000 subscribers or more and have at least 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months.
Once you’ve been partnered by YouTube, you’ll want to focus on your channel growth and engagement in order to (hopefully) attract the attention of some sponsors. This, of course, isn’t a guarantee, but it’s one of the best ways to make a good living off of your uploads.
Think of YouTube as an investment. If you put the right time, effort, and care into your channel and your content, your chances of attracting sponsors are much higher. All of that effort will pay off when you land your first sponsorship deal!
Quality Is Key
YouTube has become an incredibly competitive platform since its launch. No longer is the platform riddled with grainy cellphone videos of cats (though there’s still an entire niche dedicated to cute cat videos). The quality of YouTube’s content has improved greatly, so you’ll need to follow this cadence in order to succeed.
Quality will always beat quantity. If you’re uploading seven videos per week with grainy video, garbled audio, and no real point, you probably won’t attract many followers or get many views. People want compelling, useful content that’s both high-quality and informative and/or entertaining.
That being said, you should still stick to an upload schedule. It’s just like a favorite TV show; your subscribers will want to know when the next episode airs. Some YouTubers upload once per week, some twice or more. What matters is that your videos maintain a quality standard and keep viewers engaged.
Focus on Engagement
Did you know that most people click out of a video within the first 5-10 seconds? That’s right, you only have a few seconds to capture a viewer’s attention, and keeping them engaged is a whole other beast. Compelling content keeps viewers watching, which is good for you. It shows that your content is both entertaining and useful to your subscribers.
Keep your videos short and sweet when possible. Anything over 30 minutes requires a significant time investment for the viewer and is more likely to end up in the “closed tabs” section of their browser or app.
So, how do you increase engagement? First, your thumbnails need some work. These are the little pictures on each video before you click on it. A good thumbnail can attract new viewers and make your videos more likely to be watched.
Thumbnails should be crisp, clean, and to the point. Custom thumbnails help your content stand apart from the millions of other videos and identify the content as uniquely yours.
Next, you’ll need to identify your target audience and improve how you reach them. What’s your Google ranking? What keywords separate your content from others? Do you have an SEO strategy?
There are plenty of guides on how to craft an SEO strategy for YouTube (and probably even a few YouTube videos).
Buy The Right Equipment
Remember the talk about the quality of your videos? Well, you can’t exactly upload high-quality videos without the right equipment. This probably means buying an HD video camera, a good mic, and some decent video editing software. If you’re doing gaming or PC stuff, you’ll need screen capture software as well.
This upfront cost can be quite a lot, but it’ll pay off in the end. The higher the quality of your videos, the better they’ll perform. Subscribers will appreciate a channel that puts quality first and uses top-notch equipment to create it.
Now that you know what it takes to get started, it’s time to take the leap! Gather the right equipment, figure out your niche, and most of all, stay true to yourself, your content, and your fans. You’ll be on your way to YouTube stardom in no time!