YouTube may have celebrated its sweet 16th earlier this year, but it’s still one of the most relevant and lucrative social platforms for creators.
With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube is the second most popular social platform in the world. It’s where creators can easily monetise their content with YouTube ads, the ‘applause’ feature and brand collaborations. According to YouTube’s data, the number of channels earning five figures per year on the platform grew by more than 50% year over year. (Note that YouTube says this growth happened year over year, but does not mention which years.)
It’s never too late to start your career as a YouTuber. But unlike TikTok – the home of raw, spontaneous content and an algorithm that can make you go viral overnight – building a YouTube channel takes some patience. To establish a name for yourself, you’ll need to meticulously plan content and take time to create it. That’s according to Crystal Conte, one of Vamp’s fashion and beauty YouTubers, who has spent eight years building her 227k+ subscriber base.
We asked Crystal for her top tips – and combined it with our insider knowledge as an official Creative Partner of YouTube – to bring you seven steps every aspiring YouTuber needs to follow.
#1 Set yourself up for success
It’s a no brainer but to kick-start your YouTube career, you must start with the basics. In no particular order, you’ll need to:
- Set up your YouTube channel with links to your other social accounts, a concise yet informative bio and a name that’s true to you and your content.’
- Acquire the right filming equipment. Crystal has some good news on this, “A while back you felt like you needed a Canon DSLR camera to start, but now you can just use your phone with good lighting. It does the trick!”
- Get comfortable in front of the camera. “It might take a while to warm up to the camera (my first videos were super cringey!) but in time your audience will get to know you and love you for who you are, so remember to just be yourself”, says Crystal.
- Get familiar with a basic video editing software. There’s plenty out there but the most popular ones include Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.
- Understand how to use YouTube Studio to manage your channel and keep track of your performance data.
#2 Solidify your signature look
You’ll notice that every video you watch by a successful YouTuber will generally look, feel and sound ‘like them’. Perhaps they’ll consistently use the same editing techniques, like Marques Brownlee. Or they may have a signature intro, like AmandaRachLee, use similar royalty-free tracks like Marla Catherine, or create cohesive thumbnails like bestdressed. These signature looks make their content look professional, well thought out and aesthetically pleasing.
There are a few ways you can discover your own signature YouTube look. Start by drawing inspiration from the content you already create on other platforms so it doesn’t feel forced. You can also mimic what you already love to watch on YouTube or adopt what’s popular in your niche. Once inspiration hits, you then want to add your own personal touches to make it authentic to you.
Being a YouTuber is super time consuming, so don’t try to over commit - you still want to live your life!
#3 Find your niche and create a content plan
“You need to have a plan of what your channel will be about and what kind of audience you want to engage and grow with. You don’t want to box yourself into a topic that is too small or run out of video ideas”, says Crystal. Once you figure out that you’ll be creating beauty tutorials, lifestyle vlogs, Photoshop hacks, video game reviews or styling tips, you need to plan out your content and come up with a posting strategy.
Start slow and simple to balance YouTube with your current commitments. “You need so much time to film, edit, upload, create thumbnails, write descriptions and reply to comments. It can be super time consuming so don’t try to over commit.” Advises Crystal.
If you only have time once every two weeks to shoot, edit and upload a new video, so be it! Quality matters. Give yourself enough time to create the best possible work. Successful YouTubers will usually pick a day of the week, fortnight or month to upload their content.
Once you start to build your audience, you can ask them questions about what other type of content they would like to see you create, or if they’d prefer a more regular posting schedule.
#4 Build your audience
It’s time to grow your subscribers. Start by cross promoting your YouTube channel on all of your other established social accounts. Your loyal followers will be thrilled they can get more, diverse content from you. Make sure you add your channel’s link to all of your social profiles, drive people to that link in your posts and create a Story swipe up every time you post a new video.
Also think about collaborating with other YouTubers. You’ll not only be able to shoot some great content together, but they can cross promote your channel to their audience. Be sure to partner with someone who’s relevant to your channel, will be able to add value to your content and will be welcomed with open arms by your subscribers.
#5 Don’t forget about non-subscribers
Growing your YouTube channel isn’t just about gaining subscribers. A lot of your views will come from users who aren’t subscribed to you, but found your content in their search feed or via Google. So it’s important you build relationships with these users too. Here are three easy tips to follow:
The success of your channel relies on the community you build, so community management should always be on your weekly to-do list. Engage with viewers in your comment sections, give them the opportunity to be part of your creation process by asking them questions, turn your FAQ’s into videos and engage with the wider creator community on YouTube.
Use your community page to engage with your wider audience.
Avoid clickbait-y titles and thumbnails. Although they seem like a great idea to begin with, they’re inauthentic, can leave a bad taste in viewers’ mouths and might mean they never watch your content again. To build loyalty, do the opposite. Fashion YouTuber bestdressed recently spoke to Forbes about her ‘reverse-click baiting’ principle, “I want the video to be better than the title implies, so people feel that the video was better than they were expecting.”
To get those non-subscriber views, you need to make your YouTube content SEO-friendly. YouTube isn’t like any other social platform. In order to find the content you’re looking for, you need to specifically search for it. Like Pinterest, YouTube is a search engine. Not only that, YouTube’s partner organiser is Google. So when someone Google searches something, YouTube videos will also come up as a search result. Keep this in mind when you’re titling your videos and adding hashtags. Use keywords and think about what you would type in the search bar to find your video.
#6 Start making money
YouTube was one of the first social platforms to start sharing ad revenue with creators. And they’re constantly updating their ad guidelines so more of your videos can be monetised. To start earning money off YouTube ads, you first need to become a partner. Here’s where you check if you’re eligible. Then you need to make sure you’re creating your videos in line with the platform’s monetisation policies. Here’s where you can learn more about those.
YouTube is also testing a new ‘applause’ feature. Users will be able to purchase and gift you with an ‘applause’ for a standard amount of $2. Like encouraging your viewers to subscribe to your channel, it’s important you also start encouraging them to ‘applaud’ you as a way to financially support you.
Finally, brand collaborations on YouTube are alive and well. Vamp’s platform can connect you with global brands, like Adobe and Benefit Cosmetics, to create sponsored YouTube content. Download the free Vamp app from the App Store or Google Play and apply to join our creator community.
#7 Remember to prioritise your wellbeing
YouTube is notorious for being a platform where users fall down the internet rabbit hole and land on your content accidentally. Internet trolls are also widely found on YouTube. These can then be the causes for hateful comments being left on your videos.
It’s important that if you ever start receiving hateful comments, you avoid reading and engaging with them and ensure you use YouTube’s comment filters that will hold inappropriate comments for review. And don’t forget that it’s OK to take mindful social media breaks to re-charge and prepare for the amazing content creation you have coming up.
Want to learn more? Read our ultimate guide to creating searchable and engaging YouTube tutorialas here: