First of all, I can’t express how YouTube has changed my life and it has brought my friends and me even closer. As mentioned in my previous post, I do run a YouTube channel with some of my closest friends. We’ve been doing it for close to 7 years and we’re still learning about how we can maintain a successful channel, how to improve it and overcome the many challenges. Whether you want to create a review, Photoshop tutorial, cooking, or gaming channel - YouTube can accomplish that for you. The great thing about it is that you can pursue whatever style or content you desire. Your channel is like any business out there, you need to plan, know who your target audience is, develop a brand, create a strategy alongside goals, execute, and much more. With so many viewers and potential eyes watching you, anyone can become a content creator and benefit from - what I think, is the best social media platform available.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to run a YouTube channel as I outline and explain the various steps you need to take!
What’s Your Channel About?
The truth is, it will take time to develop your brand and your personality with your audience. Take the time to understand what it is you’re about and what makes you unique. It may take some time or you might have an idea already, but you must stick to that idea. Look at what is out there already and ask yourself “what is missing?” “How can I differentiate myself from the other channels?” “Can this channel bring value for years to come?” “What am I good at?”
I will admit, just because you have an idea it does not mean it will work right away. Be prepared for failures and for things to not work out/go your way. It’s all about going with the flow and tweaking along the way. At Time Vision, it took us a while to clearly define our brand and know what we are all about. All we knew was that we wanted to be storytellers and we wanted to tackle sensitive issues as well. We wanted to be a channel that plays on various emotions and gets you thinking. We’ve created funny skits and have also produced emotional/serious topics like mental illness.
Develop Your Strategy
A Strategy is a long term plan of action that seeks to achieve an overall goal. It can help distinguish you from other channels you may feel are doing the same videos as you. By developing a strategy, It enables you to create a competitive advantage that aims to differentiate you from your competitors by focusing on your strengths and your uniqueness.
A great example that I can think of is a channel called “First We Feast”. They have differentiated themselves from other forms of interviews with celebrities by asking some of the best questions, while at the same time running through levels of spicy sauces placed on chicken wings. When have you seen an interview with a celebrity where these celebrities are challenged to run through a gauntlet of spicy chicken wings? Check it out.
Create SMART Goals
Goals can help you achieve your strategy and can guide you throughout your journey to run a successful YouTube channel. It’s all about aspiration and can hold you accountable on whether or not you’re sticking to your plan. Your goals need to be SMART, which means when creating a goal it should encompass 5 aspects.
Specific goals need to be concise and well defined on what needs to be accomplished.
Measurable goals allow you to assess whether or not that goal was achieved or not.
Attainable goals are realistic and can be done based on time, resources, and knowledge.
Relevant goals are significant to you and can help you achieve bigger goals.
Time-Based goals have a specific time frame and specify when they can be achieved/completed.
For example, one of our goals is to reach at least 75,000 subscribers on YouTube by the end of December 2019.
Know Your Audience
Who will watch your videos? And why?
Your videos need to be created for a specific audience that you want to reach and make them want more of it. Who are you targeting? Who will watch your videos? For example, if you are making a photography channel, you will have to tailor your videos for photographers. And depending on your level of experience, you can create content for amateur, intermediate, or advanced audiences. Also, you need to talk in a certain way and use terms that your audience will resonate with.
There are many tools offered for YouTubers to gain insights on their audience once they start their channel. The “YouTube Studio”, although in beta, can provide you with various data that you can use to better understand who your audience is, how they reach your videos, how they engage with you, how many minutes they watch on average, and much more.
Let’s take a look at some data from our Time Vision channel.
Planning Your Videos
Planning your videos is just as important as planning any other aspect of your channel. This does not necessarily mean making a script. That depends on what style of content you’re creating. If you are like us, creating skits and short-films then a script is a must. Moreover, you need to take into consideration:
How your videos will flow
What language will you use and being transparent in the way you speak
Deciding what your ideal video length will be
Certain locations you might want to visit or record at
Lining up your talent (if you have more than one member) based on strengths each of you has to offer
What equipment to use so that you can optimize your content’s production quality
What is your budget? This can impact much of the previous considerations such as the equipment you’re able to get and the locations you can film at.
As mentioned, this will vary from channel to channel. For instance, our channel is based on storytelling and creating skits/short-films or even a mini web series like our “2 and a Half Muslims”. As a result, we need to scout and plan for locations that we can use to make the videos based on our budget. Take the time to plan, you can find free places to film. We’ve managed to film at restaurants for free just by taking the time to find the right spots and getting to know the owners. Moreover, research what equipment you need so that you can create the best possible videos. The more we film, the more we know what equipment we might need to create better shots. We have invested in a drone and even stabilizers to enhance our production quality.
Brainstorm X number of Videos
I can’t stress how efficient this can be for any content creator out there on YouTube. Take some time out of your day to brainstorm 10, 20, 50 or even 100 video ideas. Create an excel sheet or open up your notebook and start throwing out all your ideas. The idea here is to just keep putting your ideas, some are bound to be good ideas and some may not be so good. But that is all good! Eventually, you will have a sufficient amount of videos to keep your channel going and staying fresh with content.
Watch Out For Trends
One of the best ways to gain views, subscribers and traffic for your channel is creating videos that relate to certain trends/challenges that might be happening on the internet. For example, let’s say you read about the Area 51 raid, then you can produce content that is similar to that trending topic. There are tools provided by Google and YouTube that enable you to stay up-to-date on what topics are being searched the most during each week.
Share Your Channel
Start with your personal network on the various social media platforms you may have such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Ask for people like your family members, relatives, close friends, and co-workers to help spread your content. You have to start somewhere, and if you do not have any social media accounts then I strongly recommend you create one! It does not have to be for yourself but for your channel only. That way everything you share on those platforms are related to your YouTube channel.
Engage With Your Audience and Community
It isn’t all about the video you upload. You also need to be engaged after the video by reciprocating with your subscribers. Take 5-10 minutes on your video to read through comments, reply, and create a conversation. This also extends to the activity you engage in on your social media platforms. You should also visit other YouTubers in your community who create similar content as yours. Comment on their uploads and social media posts, ask to do some sort of collaboration - it is a win-win situation for both channels as you will both benefit from the growth of subscribers and more video ideas.
This right here, hands down, is possibly the best tip I can give you. It is among the most challenging tasks that any YouTuber will face. It also has a strong correlation with the planning of your videos. You need to create a publishing schedule/calendar and it is crucial you stick to it. Also, it is not just the publishing schedule but staying consistent with your video quality and personality. If you don’t stick to it you will quickly see the consequences. Your subscribers will lose interest and eventually unsubscribe or simply become inactive subscribers. Consistency is key!
Just like any hobby/endeavor you partake in -this a journey. It needs dedication and determination on your behalf (and your team, if you have one). This blog post is my personal opinion on how to run a successful YouTube channel. Although I believe we are successful, we still have a lot coming our way, much to achieve and opportunities to get better. It is important to have faith, plan wisely, and remember to stay consistent. The Time Vision team and I have been doing this for a long time, and personally, this is what I feel to be the foundation of any great YouTube channel. So, for those of you who read this post… thank you and I wish you the best of luck on your journey - it is worth it!
Make Me Proud :')