By 2021, it is estimated that 82% of all internet traffic will move towards video. This indicates that in less than 5 years, marketers are going to broaden their content from text-based to video.
It also tells us that this is the perfect time to start a YouTube channel and cash in on it as well.
With more than 1.57 billion monthly active users around the world, YouTube is the channel to build your personal brand as an influencer and boost your visibility.
Video blogging is the new popular culture and YouTube has levelled the playing field and given everyone an opportunity to become a celebrity while getting an income from it.
So if you are looking to tap into this growing field, here are some few insights to get you off the ground;
*Do Your Research*
The first thing you need to do before creating a YouTube channel is conduct some background research.
The 3 basic questions to ask yourself are:
*Why do I want to start a youtube channel?
*What is my YouTube channel going to be about?
*What are the current YouTubers doing that I can learn from?
People start YouTube channels for different reasons, the most common being to promote their business, build a personal brand, showcase their talents and share their hobbies.
It is great to experiment and try out different things but it’s better if you figure out from the beginning what exactly you want your channel to be about.
Before you settle on your topic, ask yourself these questions:
*Do I really have passion for this topic?
*Is there demand out there for this topic?
*Is Youtube oversaturated with this topic? If yes, how can I stand out then?
Some topics that are currently really popular on YouTube are: tutorials, vlogs, tech, product reviews, healthy lifestyle, how to’s, fashion, beauty, food, travel, comedy and life stories.
*What are others doing*
Take time to watch other people’s content in your field:
*What kind of content do they share?
*How do they engage with their audience?
*What kind of comments do they receive?
*What can you do differently?
Once you have completed your background research, and settled on what exactly you want to do on YouTube, you will need to have a few things in place before you are ready to click the ‘create a channel’ button, and these are:
*A content plan:* This is a calendar complete with dates, topics, when to do the shoots and anything else that will go into creating your YouTube content.
*A catchy and memorable name for your YouTube channel:* Your channel name is crucial since that is your brand. An important tip is to have the same username throughout your other social media channels to brand consistently. You can also use your other social media channels to promote your YouTube content but first study how each works so as to make the best of each channel.
*Search Engine Optimization (SEO):* For people to discover and watch your content, you need to rank highly on YouTube search results. That is where SEO comes in. Ensure you always put up high quality videos that draw people to like, comment and share your videos which in turn boosts your search result rank.
*The right keywords in your title and description box of each video:* Keywords are those words/phrases that searchers enter into a search engine and that is why they must be included in your title and description.
*A launch date:* Set aside a day when your content will be going out. This is important because it will help your subscribers know when to expect new content. Start out by posting at least once a week and you can increase the frequency with time.
*A pipeline of ideas for future videos:* Always carry a notebook and pen to note down random content ideas so that you can build a pipeline of ideas.
Among the things you need to be a YouTuber are basic video equipment. YouTubers make it look so easy but creating good quality videos that are visually appealing is harder than it seems.
However, you do not need to be perfect when it comes to the whole video production process. All you need is the right equipment.
*Camera:* Obviously, your most important equipment is a good camera. You do not need the most expensive camera when starting out but any camera that can record high quality videos of at least 1080p. You can get a good quality camera from Ksh.10,000 – Ksh.25,000.
*Smartphone:* A smartphone with high resolution front and back camera is also a necessity. This is because at times you may want to shoot outdoor vlogs where you don’t necessarily need to carry a camera. A good smartphone will set you back Ksh.15,000 – Ksh.20,000.
*Microphone:* It doesn’t matter whether your video is of the best quality, it’s hard to keep your viewers watching with poor audio quality especially since the built-in microphones in cameras and smartphones are not always the best. A lapel mic is the best to start with since it can be easily clipped onto your clothes. You can get a good one for only Ksh.1,800.
*Tripod:* A tripod basically ensures your video footage is steady. One goes for Ksh.2,500.
*Lighting:* If you plan to shoot most of your videos indoors, lights are important to stabilize the brightness and mood of the video. One approximately costs Ksh.17,000.
*Flash Disk:* As you keep shooting more footage, you will eventually fill up your computer space so having at least a 32GB flash disk can help with the storage. You can get one for Ksh.2,500.
*Laptop:* It is essential to invest in a good laptop where you can edit and post your videos from. You can get a second-hand laptop at Ksh.20,000 but it’s better to invest in a brand new one that might cost anything from Ksh.40,000.
*Video editing software* – After getting all your basic hardware, you also need to invest in a good video editing software for post-production. There are a variety of software’s you can use either as browser or desktop apps both free and paid. Most of them have a 30 day free trial after which you have to pay a fee. As a beginner, we recommend Wondershare Filmora which most youtubers use. You can also check out ShotCut, HitFilm Pro and Cyberlink Powerdirector 18.
*Being a YouTuber comes with a lot of benefits:*
You have the freedom and flexibility to run your channel as you wish. You don’t need a degree, work experience, office, etc. All you need is your equipment and great content.
You can earn money directly from YouTube by enabling your channel for monetization through setting up a google adsense account where you can earn a certain amount every time YouTube runs an ad through your video.
With time, you can approach or be approached by brands in your target content area to market their products at a fee.
You do not need startup capital. Even if you do not have all the equipment from the beginning but start with what you have and you can get better equipment with time.
YouTube is also the only video platform that makes it so easy to share content on other social media channels, embed videos in websites etc. This makes your video distribution so much easier.
You will also get to meet and interact with a lot of new people in your comment section only if you actively engage them.
Managing your YouTube channel will also boost your confidence, you will gradually learn how to present yourself better, you will learn so much about the topic you are creating content around and all these will contribute to your own personal development.
A few challenges you will encounter as a youtuber are;
If you are starting from scratch, with no smartphone, no laptop etc, getting all the devices may be more expensive than someone who already has some of them.
YouTube is extremely time consuming. The whole process from planning content, setting up the shoot, shooting the footage, editing, posting, engaging with the comments takes more time than you can imagine. Especially if you have an 8 – 5 job with YouTube as a side thing, you may end up spending most of your free time working on your content
One thing that for sure you will not avoid as a youtube beginner is negative comments. Even the best of the best in this field get them. You just need to have thick skin, learn from the criticism and encourage yourself with positive self-talk.
Also be prepared for a lot of competition and at times even copycats. Don’t let this derail you though. Stay true to yourself.
Prepare yourself for a lot of work. As a YouTuber, you take the role of a whole production process. From graphic designer, video editor, social media manager, content creator, etc.
One thing we would like to stress is the numbers will not be encouraging initially. Your first videos will probably get 2 or 3 views but don’t obsess about that. Be consistent and your following will grow with time.
Is being a YouTuber something you would consider?
I leave it up to you to decide.
Business Man & Mentor