Over a quarter of the world’s population use YouTube to watch and engage with content. Its captive audience and creative format make YouTube an appealing prospect for any budding content maker or business with something to say. But there are over 3 billion videos on YouTube and counting. It is the second most popular social media network and search engine on the internet. From ASMR to mindfulness aides, mukbangs and unboxings, the possibilities — and indeed the stream of content reels — are endless. This means that you need a strategy to be seen amongst everything else on offer. This blog will guide you through the basics of how to create a YouTube channel that serves your purpose and connects you with your audience.
However, even the most seasoned content creators on YouTube learn something new with every single upload and each glance at their analytics. With that said, the How to Grow a Youtube Channel Diploma Course offers a more in-depth examination of the algorithm and YouTube best practices.
How to Create a YouTube Channel: The Basics
You are probably reading this because you have an idea for a YouTube channel. Don’t worry if you’re here without one, because there are some helpful prompts at the end of this blog post — the good thing is that you have identified YouTube as an opportunity.
If you have your idea, it’s a great idea to spend some time asking yourself why you want to start a YouTube channel and what you want to say to your subscribers. This is how you’ll find your niche. The beauty of YouTube is that it will host any ideas you can imagine, democratising video content and putting the power in your hands. But it really helps YouTube put your content in the right place to be watched if your ideas are tailored towards a specific audience. It’s very hard to create ‘general interest’ content for the masses and have it compete successfully with the existing content creators out there.
So, before you go as far as setting up your channel, you should have a concrete idea in mind with a unique selling point that will appeal to a niche community and offer them value you feel they can’t get elsewhere. Do some competitor research and see what content creators are already offering to your community.
While your brand and USP will certainly develop over time, and you will no doubt want to diversify your content once you have identified successful strategies, it’s a good idea to have strong branding from the outset. Take into account SEO and keywords when coming up with your brand, especially if your YouTube channel is central to your social media output. This is important, not just so you rank on YouTube, but also for traffic from external sites such as Google. Weave your branding in at every customisable opportunity, from your channel URL to your banner images and watermarks, as you create your YouTube channel.
How to Create a YouTube Channel: Content is King
Now you have your channel set up, you are ready to make and share some content. Before investing a lot of time and effort into making reams of content, only to find it doesn’t gel with your community, why not test out different ideas using your YouTube community tab or uploading YouTube Shorts — which are just shorter YouTube videos. For these, you probably won’t need a lot of fancy equipment.
Still, it’s a good idea to assess and acquire what you may need before you start creating quality content in earnest. For example, if you’re creating for the gaming community, you’ll need access to trending games and the appropriate recording software. If you’re creating for ASMR fans, it’s more than likely that you’ll need a decent microphone and audio set up.
By now, you should have done your competitor research and identified content gaps in the market as well as trends to jump on. Make sure you subscribe to and turn on notifications for channels within your community so you can quickly add your own unique voice to important and trending conversations. This should give you plenty of ideas to come up with your own content, too. After all, YouTube is the home of reaction videos!
Armed with some great ideas, you can start to shape a killer content schedule that suits you and the time you have available to create. A lot of time goes into each video shared to YouTube by the most-watched content creators, from the idea to the execution to the soundtrack and, of course, the all-important eye-catching thumbnails and video titles that you’ll optimise to your keywords! Make sure you don’t overexert yourself. Start slow and build on what works.
How to Create a YouTube Channel: The Algorithm
Speaking of what works, everyone learning how to create a YouTube channel must understand you are somewhat at the behest of the algorithm. This, in essence, allows YouTube to show the right content to the right users and, when understood, can work in your favour rather than against you. After all, the folks over at YouTube want people to watch your videos as it keeps users on their platform for longer! So, how does it work?
The algorithm uses machine learning to process data from its users to give them what they want. It takes into account video clicks, video views, watch time, likes, dislikes, comments, as well as sensitive content YouTube calls ‘borderline’ in terms of its community guidelines. It will also examine your channel for upload dates, upload frequency, and rate of growth and, before putting it on someone’s YouTube homepage or in their recommended videos list, it’ll match the video content to their interests, viewing history, subscribes, and location.
It all sounds quite complicated. And indeed, what we know of the algorithm comes from digital marketing experts making educated assumptions, as YouTube itself keeps the exact formula a closely guarded secret.
But remember, you are not completely at the whim of the algorithm and there are methods of getting your content seen with the SEO tools YouTube provides its creators – including tags, titles, descriptions – and applying these to your videos and playlists. Even creators who have been using the platform since its inception sometimes find themselves disappointed or confused about why a video didn’t rank. The trick is to use all the tools in your arsenal, alongside studying your own YouTube channel analytics, to help you create quality content that people in your community are actively searching for.
How to Create a YouTube Channel: What Not to Do
Picture the scene: You’ve spent a week or so storyboarding, filming, editing, and optimising your latest video and you’ve just shared it to little reception. Maybe you’ve been working on your channel for some time now and you’re still not getting as many subscribers as you’d forecasted. You might be tempted to give your channel and your content a little boost with a clickbait title or even by paying for subs.
Well, if you’ve ever set your sights on monetising your channel, stop right there. YouTube works very closely with advertisers that only want their ads to be placed on quality videos with authentic engagement from happy users. Don’t be tempted to shortcut your way to success because it could only end up hurting your channel’s reach long-term. Instead, spend your energy searching for a way to authentically diversify your content to reach a slightly different audience or ramping up your SEO.
How to Create a YouTube Channel: The Extras
Should you feel you’re stuck in a bit of a rut with your channel, the platform provides plenty of ways to get creative and push boundaries. We’ve mentioned community posts and shorts as a way to test out longer-form content. But they’re also fun ways to engage with your community in themselves.
If you want to mix up your schedule, why not go live or set your video as an Instant Premier and watch along with your subscribers when it is published. Reach out to other creators and see if they want to collaborate. Ask your subscribers in a poll what they would like to see from your channel moving forward. Try new end screen elements or hashtags to boost underperforming videos. Include video chapters for a better user experience.
And if you’re late to the YouTube party but have other successful social channels, try some 360-degree marketing and shout about your YouTube output elsewhere with cross-posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Every little helps!
How to Create a YouTube Channel: Trends to Get You Started
If you’re certain you want to put the time and effort into understanding how to create a YouTube channel in light of the reach and monetisation opportunities to be had, but you’re still not settled on an idea either for your channel or for the content you’d like to create, here are some handy tips.
- Presenter-led content with a unique voice is favoured on YouTube. Not only does it allow you to put a face in the thumbnail, thus making it more appealing, it also allows you to add subtitles to your video that will help with SEO.
- Unboxing and reaction videos tailored to your niche are prime real estate on YouTube. These are beloved formats on the platform due to their entertainment and nostalgia value.
- Pay attention to current trending topics. Nostalgia is fine for some formats but your content must be current. If your niche is TV and you didn’t, for example, make a video on Squid Game, you missed out on a huge trend that might have landed you on the Explore feed.
- “How To” videos add value to your channel, especially if you are an expert in your niche and that community is underserved. Even if you might think the topic is dry or obvious to you, check for it in the search bar to evaluate whether there’s a need for it.
- Use search terms. For example, ASMR is one of the most searched terms on YouTube — even if you don’t want to start an ASMR channel to compete with the experts out there, why not try an ASMR version of your own unique niche?
- The same applies to make-up tutorials and fashion hauls. These are big hitters on YouTube as they actually share skills and knowledge with the user. If done correctly, they can also help build lasting connections with your community members.
- A trend that everyone can get involved with is the Routine video format. It works well once you’ve developed your brand on YouTube. Just make sure you’re comfortable sharing details beyond your niche before you begin to share personal details.
- Another great way to engage your audience when you’ve developed your channel and personal brand is by creating follower-decided content. Let them decide what you do in your video that day. It’ll build trust and make them feel valued.
- If you’re still stuck and looking to have fun, try a YouTube Challenge video. Some creators may shy away from them but there are so many options out there and opportunities to connect with other creators that you’re sure to find one that suits you.
Any YouTube content creator will debate the pros and cons of every tool and trend on the platform with you and have had their own experience of each. You need to discover what works for you and stay true and authentic to yourself and your community. Yes, an unboxing video might help you rank, but if you’re not making it for the right reasons — to bring yourself joy and your community value — it won’t work for you long-term in understanding how to create a YouTube channel.
And YouTube isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so make these initial decisions count and learn how to create a YouTube channel that you’re proud of and keen to grow with over time.