Are you starting a YouTube channel, but you aren’t quite sure where to start?
Before you begin researching what camera you’re going to use, before you learn how to edit videos and do graphics, before you spend time optimizing a YouTube channel… there is one thing you MUST do.
Find out how to set yourself up for YouTube success:
Starting a YouTube Channel?
Do This One Thing Before Getting Started
A YouTube channel can be an extremely rewarding and lucrative business. But if you want to create a profitable channel that people will watch, there’s one crucial thing you must do.
Ask yourself: “Can I do better than what’s already out there?”
There are many different types of YouTube channels — vlogs, gaming channels, DIY how to’s, and many others (which we’ll talk about down below). Maybe you want to educate people, provide entertainment, or promote your products using video marketing.
No matter what type of content you are thinking about creating, before starting a YouTube channel you must ask yourself that one question: “can I do better than what’s already out there?”
YouTube boasts the world’s most comprehensive content creator base, with an estimated 400 hours worth of content being uploaded every single minute. That means you’re going to be facing a lot of competition, no matter what type of channel you create or what topics you talk about.
What, Who and Why?
In order to create a successful YouTube channel, you need to identify your own niche of content. Start by considering these three elements:
- Subject matter — WHAT topics will you be covering in your videos?
- Target audience — WHO are the viewers you are making your videos for?
- Motivation — WHY are you starting a YouTube channel, and why should people watch your videos?
If you are serious about using YouTube to tell your story, become a star or grow your business, you need to start with the right motivation.
I’m talking about more than motivation in the sense of being eager to start making videos. Think more in terms of what is motivating you to make videos. What’s your motivation for starting a YouTube channel?
Let’s look at my other YouTube channel, Sexy Confidence, as an example. Sexy Confidence currently has over 316,000 subscribers, and over 46 million views — and it’s still growing! How did I build this viewership? By identifying a unique niche and working hard to be better.
So let’s use those three elements above. We can see that Sexy Confidence:
- produces videos about dating advice (subject matter)
- for 21st century women (target audience)
- in a way that is meaningful, authentic, and approachable to help viewers create a love life they love (motivation).
Before starting a YouTube channel, summarize your goals using those three aspects. This will help to empower your channel and guide you towards success. But more importantly, it will help you understand how to create a channel that’s better than the others like it.
The path to YouTube success
You might be wondering, “how can I possibly create a YouTube channel that is better than what’s out there already? I’m just getting started!”
Don’t worry — the content you create doesn’t have to be better than everyone else’s right off the bat. It’s important to know that building a successful YouTube channel doesn’t happen overnight. Even the lucky few who strike viral video gold will have to work long and hard if they want to earn a loyal following of interested subscribers.
Like anything in life that’s worth doing, starting a YouTube channel means putting in a lot of time, effort and determination. You will need to learn how to create high-quality videos, how to promote them on and off YouTube, how to attract viewers, and many other tricks of the trade that can be learned by doing.
But what about after that?
When you are first starting a YouTube channel — when you have successfully defined your what, who and why — take a moment to envision your future.
Are you setting yourself on a path to be better than what’s out there? After the learning and after the practicing, will there be a potential for you to create videos that are among the best on YouTube for your niche?
If the answer is no, continue looking until you find an open opportunity. Where is there an opportunity for you to create videos that are different and better than what’s going on out there?
Here are some types of channels to consider:
Have you decided what sort of videos you are going to create? On YouTube, the possibilities are endless. You can make vlogs about your life, or DIYs about your favorite hobbies. You could start a gaming channel, a cooking channel, a channel about pets, politics, cosmetics, clothing, comedy, your industry, your business — the list goes on.
That’s why it’s important to find your niche and create the content that is uniquely “you”. If you’re constantly changing your video topics or intended audience, your subscriber base is likely to become confused.
But here’s a big mistake that many people make when starting a YouTube channel: they choose their niche not because they’re passionate about it, and not because they believe they can create the best content for it — but rather because they think it will be the most popular option.
You might think that starting a YouTube channel in one of the most “popular” niches is an instant shortcut to making big money. But remember, once you start creating videos for your channel, you will become fully immersed in your chosen subject matter. If you aren’t passionate about it, your viewers will notice and are unlikely to subscribe for more.
Think carefully about the type of channel you want to create and make sure it’s one that you care about.
Here are a few different types of YouTube channels to provide some inspiration. (This is just a small selection of the options available to you — find your niche and start becoming the best!)
Do you have a story to tell? Are you itching to share some daily life experiences? Starting a YouTube channel for vlogging may be perfect for you!
Vlogs are (as you might have guessed from the name) video blogs. These can come in many forms. They can be comedic and fun, or poignant and nostalgic. They might chronicle everyday life, or capture special moments. Your vlogs could provide a unique perspective on the mundane. Or they can address more serious topics like sexuality, equality, mental disorders and so on.
Authenticity is a significant factor for successful vlogging channels. Vlogs are a highly personal type of YouTube video. If you’re thinking of starting a YouTube channel and entering the world of vlogging, you must be prepared to create an engaged community of viewers.
The growth of your YouTube channel will depend on whether or not people connect with your videos. The more connected you are with your viewership, the more likely you are to succeed!
Remember that your subscribers want to see the real you. The best vloggers feel like close friends. In fact, 70 percent of teenage subscribers say they relate to YouTubers more than traditional celebrities. So be authentic, share your thoughts, and express your true self.
Need an example? Check out this vlog from Olan Rogers, a comedian and filmmaker who creates memorable videos using his own unique brand of hyperbolic storytelling.
Gaming channels are a massive part of YouTube culture. There are many different types of YouTube gaming videos, including game reviews, reaction videos, and educational walkthroughs). But “Let’s Plays” are the most popular choice for content creators and audiences alike.
Let’s Plays are videos where the YouTuber provides commentary while playing a game. Like vloggers, YouTube gamers typically speak to their audience as they would to friends.
The phenomenon of YouTube gaming channels seems to stem from the meaningful connections made between viewer and creator. Fans have cited several reasons for enjoying gaming channels, including the sense of community, escapism, and acceptance that it provides. Keep these motivations in mind if you want to create a gaming channel.
I won’t lie to you: starting a successful YouTube channel for gaming will be difficult, due mainly to the sheer mass of competition. In fact, studies suggest that over half of the world’s top YouTubers have achieved success through gaming, including top YouTube personality PewDiePie.
But if you are a video game enthusiast who wants to provide entertainment or and help viewers improve their gaming skills, why not consider starting a YouTube channel for gaming, and do what you love?
Do you have a passion for singing, songwriting, dancing, or playing instruments? A music channel could be the perfect way to showcase your talents and get noticed by the right people.
YouTube has helped to launch the careers of many stars. Pop star Justin Bieber was discovered by a talent manager after he posted several homemade videos on YouTube, and many other music and dance creators have used YouTube as a platform to enter traditional creative industries.
While we can’t all expect to post a couple of music videos and get noticed by Usher, starting a YouTube channel can be a useful way of building your confidence, gaining valuable feedback, and growing your brand. Many musical YouTubers have amassed a loyal following with their YouTube music channels. If you love music, consider starting a YouTube channel to share original songs, covers, parodies, comedy songs, music collaborations and more.
Here’s an example from a cappella group VoicePlay, who have earned 13.8 million views (and counting!) for their Disney’s “Moana” medley.
“Entertainment” is a broad term that could easily encompass other types of channels, like vlogs and gaming channels. But it is a popular variety of YouTube channel in its own right, where creators produce content for the simple purpose of entertaining their viewers.
From improvised skits and prank videos to full-scale media productions, entertainment channels are, quite simply, made to entertain their audiences. While there are many different ways to entertain someone, some stand-out channels on YouTube are known for their comedy videos.
Like other famous comedians, many iconic YouTube entertainers are known for their humorous and self-deprecating take on everyday human problems. Check out the example below by Lilly Singh, aka ||Superwoman||, who pokes fun at the process of getting ready for a night out.
An essential aspect of starting a YouTube channel for entertainment is finding your unique style. For some people, this may involve creating original characters, making musical skits, editing the video in an unusual way, or trying out experimental content. If you are an aspiring entertainer, YouTube could be the ideal way to climb the ranks.
Are you an expert in your industry? Do you have knowledge and insights about a specific niche? Starting an educational YouTube channel could help to share your lessons and establish you as an authority figure.
As the world’s second largest search engine (trailing just behind Google itself), YouTube has become a dominant source of information. People use educational channels to learn new things, find answers, and explore complicated issues in a way they can understand.
And because the content can remain relevant for a long time (there’s always someone who wants to know if the Earth is flat), educational channels and videos can benefit from a high amount of traffic and views into the future.
In order to be a successful educational YouTuber, you’re going to need to enjoy learning more about your subject matter. The best thought leaders on YouTube are in a constant state of learning and practicing. This is how they are able to bring the best and latest knowledge to their audience.
Educational YouTubers have found success by providing thought-provoking, interesting and educational content about a wide range of topics. Science, engineering, foreign languages, reading, psychology, marketing — if you’ve got charisma and a wealth of knowledge, share it on YouTube and start growing an interested viewership.
How-To and DIYs
How-To tutorials and DIY videos could be considered a type of education content, but they are worth exploring in their own right. Educational channels tend to answer questions or provide facts. But How-To and DIY channels are dedicated to teaching specific skills, often with step-by-step instructions and clear demonstrations.
Viewers love how-to channels. In fact, 91 percent of smartphone users seek out and watch YouTube how-to tutorials while completing tasks.
DIY and How-To YouTubers can create content for a wide range of topics. These topics could be practical (“how to change a tire”), personal (“how to braid hair”), creative (“how to knit a scarf”), or related to cuisine (“how to roast chicken”), fitness (“how to get fit”), home improvement (“how to install kitchen cabinets”) and much more.
For those interested in starting a YouTube channel of DIY tutorials, some successful traits seem to be creativity, frugality, and easy-to-follow instructions. Audio and video quality are equally important; your viewers want to be able to see and hear each step clearly. And of course, you should present yourself as an expert in your chosen subject matter. Research thoroughly and practice your skills to ensure you are providing valuable, factual content.
Here’s a cute, crafty example from BudgetHobby. She balances the use of fun music and editing with viewer-friendly instructions — a consistency of her DIY craft channel.
Love food? Starting a YouTube channel could help you to share your recipes and connect with your fellow foodies.
Cooking YouTubers can bring recipes to life with step-by-step tutorials about how to bake, fry, roast, and prepare meals. In some cases, cooking connoisseurs have been able to leverage their YouTube success to promote their cookbooks, gain sponsorships from top food brands, and even start their own restaurants.
Some popular cooking channels, like Tasty, explore an entire spectrum of recipes and food-related tips. But for those interested in starting a cooking channel, you may find it better to work within a particular niche. Try focussing, for example, on desserts, healthy meals, specific food groups, recipes for kids, and so on.
Remember, starting a YouTube channel for a niche community will allow you to focus your channel, research topic ideas, become an expert in your field, and better meet the needs of your audience.
A good example is Rosanna Pansino’s channel, a self-proclaimed “geeky cooking show” whose wheelhouse is producing videos about “nerdy nummies” — cakes and other sweet treats inspired by pop culture, such as this Pokémon Pokéball Cake video.
Art & Animation
Just as musicians have found their place on YouTube, designers, artists, and animators have also been able to promote their work and build a viewership on the creative platform.
Starting a YouTube channel for your creative pursuits could involve producing animations, reviewing art products, teaching others how to improve their artistic skills, or showing a timelapse or process video of how you create art through painting, graphic design, traditional drawing and so on.
Some content creators, like Cranbersher, attract subscribers with a variety of content, such as original animations, how-to videos, and (like the example below), animations that are based on the videos of famous YouTubers — a clever way to connect with other content creators and appeal to a broader audience.
Be sure to identify the value that your channel’s content will bring to viewers. Are you trying to entertain them with your own stories? Bond with them through mutual interests? Teach them new skills? And remember — how can you do this in a way that is better than other art and animation channels?
Beauty & Fashion Channels
YouTubers within the beauty and fashion genres are known for their expertise in makeup, hair, clothing, accessories, skincare and more.
Interested in successfully starting a YouTube channel around beauty and fashion? You will need a strong sense of style, a keen eye for trends, and the confidence to educate beauty novices and aficionados alike.
A unique sense of style or a particular focus topic may help you to stand out from the crowd. This might be men’s grooming tips, party makeup tutorials, vintage fashion, or style inspired by iconic celebrities (such as the video below by How To Be Fancy).
As you grow on YouTube, you may be able to access sponsorship opportunities for your beauty or fashion channel. Makeup and clothing brands are often on the lookout for ways to promote themselves to interested shoppers, and YouTube fits the bill. After all, over 60 percent of millennials say that they make buying decisions based on the recommendations of their favorite YouTubers.
Health & Fitness Channels
There are so many different types of YouTube channels out there, I could go on all day. But I’ll leave you with one final example, which is the growing trend for health and fitness YouTube channels.
With people searching for diet plans, workout schedules and tips for losing weight, the demand for good health and fitness video content is ongoing. YouTube is increasingly being used as a source of knowledge and an alternative to spending money on expensive gym memberships or personal trainers.
Some YouTubers have gathered a viewership of like-minded people by starting a YouTube channel to document their personal health journeys. Others are fitness fanatics who use their experience to teach viewers workout routines to do in their own home.
Like many other genres of YouTube, health and fitness channels provide an opportunity for you to work and excel in your own niche area. Cater to busy mums with 10-minute workout videos; target young men with tips to gain muscle; share some gentle exercise routines that are ideal for older viewers. Remember to identify the “what”, “who” and “why” of your channel!
So, do you have a passion for health and fitness? Consider starting a YouTube channel to inspire others to lead healthier, happier lifestyles. Build a brand around your philosophy for wellness, and enrich your content with your unique personality.
Identify what works for top YouTube influencers
Once you know what type of channel you want to create, you can conduct research to understand who and what is popular in that content category. Then we can start figuring out how to do it better!
Observing existing YouTubers is a great way to learn how to start a successful YouTube channel of your own. I’ve given you some examples above for each of the mentioned types of channels, but there are tonnes of other top influencers to be found throughout YouTube.
Identify successful YouTubers within your chosen category. Who is most popular? Which themes and topics are they addressing? What is working well for them? What are people saying in the comments?
There are a lot of content creators who are all bouncing ideas around YouTube. When you are first starting a YouTube channel, it is ok to observe and draw inspiration from more experienced YouTube stars. This is all part of knowing your market and learning how to be the kind of person that viewers will want to subscribe to.
Most importanly, stay true to you. Don’t copy the style of other content creators; be motivated by it. Do your research, get to know your audience, create the videos you love to make — and keep doing it better and better!
Considering starting a YouTube channel of your own? You’re going to need the persistence and self-motivation to become the best in your field. It’s not enough to produce good content — you’ve got to create the kind of content that your viewers can’t find anywhere else!
What are you passionate about? Who can your videos help? And why do you want to set up a YouTube channel?
The best YouTube channels are started by ordinary people who are committed to becoming extraordinary. So tell me: are you ready to start doing better than what’s already out there?
If so, I’m here to help! Check out this free Viewership training for extra tips and advice about growing your channel and building your brand on YouTube.