The Ultimate Guide To Success on YouTube
With YouTube being the Internet’s second largest search engine after Google, the apprentice is well on its way to becoming the master. The ever growing platform that YouTube provides is creating opportunities every day for normal people to potentially become millionaires in the form of their own channel.
How To Start A YouTube Channel
1. The first thing to do is decide what your channel is going to be about?
This is something that needs to be considered carefully, for example, if you are going to do a channel about Mountain Biking, how much do you know about the subject? What are you going to need? What equipment will you need? What events can you attend? Who is the competition? What are the competition doing and how can you do it better? These are all questions the need answering, you may not know them all in the beginning, but the more you do know the better off you will be.
2. Become an expert in your chosen subject
If you are doing How-to videos for installing video editing software, a Lets Play on Minecraft or simply being entertaining in any chosen subject, make sure you know what you are doing. Audience Retention is key to building an audience and keeping viewers coming back to your channel. You don’t want viewers getting frustrated and leaving before the end of the video without liking, favouriting and subscribing.
3. Choose a name
This can often be the hardest part of creating a successful channel, a channel name needs to be easy to remember, easy to spell correctly and have something to do with your channel. This isn’t always necessary as some of the biggest channels have quite seemingly random names, for example: Yogscast, Pewdiepie and Machinima, however, those names had the potential to become brand names and were easily marketable afterwards. A good example of what not to do is, XI N0SC0P3Z IX. Keep it simple and keep it clean.
Before taking the leap of faith with a name try and make sure the same name or something similar is available on social media outlets such as Twitter, Twitch and Reddit etc.
4. Create your YouTube channel and Google Account
This is more than likely going to be the easiest part of the process! Fill in your details, choose a secure, yet memorable password and choose an appropriate email address. Keep in mind that if you do become huge, you don’t want 100’s of notifications going to your work email or a day to day email, especially if this becomes your full-time job!
5. Choose your branding
Branding is going to be your channel’s profile picture, header and any logos you wish to use on Thumbnails and Social Media. Branding can also be your video Intro/Outros. It is important with Branding not to breach any copyright laws, make sure you use royalty-free fonts, images, video and music and do not steal anyone else’s content.
Now you are ready to produce your first video!
How to create the best YouTube videos
Creating a good video isn’t really that hard but creating a great video is a little trickier. There are a lot of things to consider, both creative and technical.
1. Who are your videos aimed at?
Like the examples I used earlier, are you creating a How-To video about installing video editing software? If so, the chances are that the age demographic is going be teenagers-adults (approx. 18-40) obviously you will get people from outside of this age range but for this type of video you will want to make the video simple, clear and informative. Making demographic appropriate content is key to audience retention, audience engagement and monetisation.
2. Video Thumbnails
Having a simple thumbnail is a key ingredient to attracting views. Thumbnails are generally 1280×720 pixels with a minimum width of 640 pixels. The ideal thumbnail needs a related image and some simple text which can be the video title or something similar. Again this isn’t a “must”, but it is the best way to attract views, a lot of people use link bait in their images to attract views, the picture might not necessarily be to do with your video but may feature something topical at the time of upload, something generally appealing or something from pop culture. This is more for people looking to gain views on a video quickly however this will damage audience retention if it attracts viewers who are not looking for the actual content featured in the video.
3. Opening Credits & Introductions (Intros)
Having Credits and Intros on a video will improve the quality of your content. Opening credits will make your videos look professional and a small verbal commentary over your intro just discussing what the video is going to be about will help keep people on board until a specific section of the video (so leave the best until last!)
4. Outro & Credits
The rules are simple when it comes to an outro, always ask your audience to engage with your videos ‘Please, Like, Favourite and Subscribe’. ‘Like’, ‘Favourite’ and ‘Subscribe’ are your keys to the kingdom, when these actions are performed by your audience you will see higher views, better audience retention and most importantly higher ad revenue potential, they will skyrocket your rankings as YouTube has all signs pointing to you having great content. This can be, ‘If you enjoyed the video please like, favourite and subscribe’ you can also follow this up with a small explanation of how much it helps you (because it is priceless!). Always thank your audience for watching your videos and include video credits.
Video credits are a great tool for keeping people on your channel, for this you will need to take advantage of the annotation tool, this can be used to frame a small snippet of a video at the very end to try and get your audience to watch a different video on your channel, it is always good practise to have a preview of different videos in your closing credits. You can also use video annotations to provide a link for people to subscribe directly to your channel, try and take advantage of this as not everybody remembers to subscribe to your channel even if they love your content.
5. Content Quality
High-quality video and audio is an integral part to making the highest quality content possible. This might mean you need to upgrade equipment depending on what type of video you are producing. If you are going to be doing a lot of commentaries, a high-quality microphone would improve audio immensely compared to a webcam or built-in laptop microphone. Similarly if you are doing a lot of video effects or fancy transitions, professional video editing software may be a worthwhile investment. As you grow you can upgrade things like cameras, microphones and software/hardware in line with your channels growth.
6. Get Creating!
Try all of the tips above and create some great content; if you need help marketing and advertising your YouTube channel and content please continue to read the guide or contact us.
How To Manage Your YouTube Channel
Managing a YouTube channel is all about maximising views, growing a fan base and community as fast as you can and making the most money possible from your ads. It can be a huge task because it is not just your Youtube channel you need to manage.
1. Video Scheduling
This is one of the best ways to maximise views and grow an audience that comes back to watch new videos. Finding the best time to upload a video can take numerous uploads and competition analysis to see what other people are doing.
Once you have found the time that suits you best, ALWAYS upload as close to this time as possible, if you are uploading any content on a consistent basis and build any sort of following, uploading at a consistent time will attract people back into the routine that is your content.
2. Social Media Management (SMM) & Community Management
Social Media can be a tricky beast; there are many possible avenues for you to look into. Engaging with an audience can be very tricky via YouTube comments as the general opinion of this is they are a bit ‘spammy’ and even ‘trolly’ at times. Engaging with your audience is a lot easier on streams like Twitter and Reddit.
Twitter is a more direct contact between your audiences but can be hard to engage with everyone as you become more popular.
Reddit gets a special mention, it is your secret weapon, here you will find passionate people in an active community where all the best comments get ‘upvoted’ voluntarily by others which basically provides you with a filter for spam and trolls.
Other social media can help with self-promotion, gaining a lot of followers on streams like Instagram can present big potential for advertising on your account. If a company thinks you fit the profile of a product they may want to sponsor you with free endorsements or even pay you to associate with it.
If you have any sort of influence over an audience please bear in mind the ethics of a sponsorship, unless you truly believe in the product or it matches your genre well, ‘Selling out’ to a company to early in your channel’s life may cause your audience to lose confidence in you, although you cannot please everyone just bear in mind that a quick payday may damage your long term earnings.
For large channels, Ad Revenue can run a channel/community and can even pay for full-time staff such as editors, subcontractors and provide offices for them to work in. YouTube is now some peoples full-time job, people’s livelihood depends upon it. It is essential you get the most out of your ads, AdSense for video allows publishers with video content to generate revenue using ad placements, as your channel gets more successful you can tailor ads to your channel to maximise revenue based upon your audience demographic.
4. Merchandise Stores (e-commerce)
Some channels have the best fans; they will follow you to events, watch videos as soon as they are released, make personal donations directly to you and buy related products. This is where a bit of time and effort put into some merchandise, branded t-shirts, mugs, calendars, anything you can get your hands on and customise to make personal for your fans. This can be another stream of income that might help you upgrade equipment and at the same time is free advertising for your brand. Remember your channel isn’t just a place where your YouTube videos go, it is where your opinions are, it is where your influences are and it is a direct representation of you. This is important to keep in mind at all times as you directly influence others.
5. Attending Events and Logistics
For those of you who specialise in a specific field or genre, events are a great opportunity to network with fans and obtain new ones. If you represent yourself well at these events it really can help cement followers into hardcore fans. Going back to earlier in the blog these fans significantly help with things like, audience engagement, social media/community engagement and merchandise sales.
GOLDEN RULE – NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FANS
Logistics of events can be tricky, but the key is to get prepared early and get prepared with others. Find out what other channels and your fans are doing and where they are staying. Also do some research on the local area and remember your fans will no doubt know more than you, listen to them!
6. Business to Business (B2B)
B2B opportunities have the most potential to be lucrative if you get it right. However, getting it right is not going to be easy, there are many things to consider. You have to be careful with who you work with because like I said before, your channel is a direct extension on you, so just bear in mind what you are telling people to buy (endorsing).
7. Reviewing Products
There is one rule with reviewing products, be 100% honest. If you don’t like a product or wouldn’t buy it yourself, say that. You will get much more respect by giving an honest opinion than selling out to a product that you wouldn’t buy yourself, however if someone has been kind enough to ask you to review a product, there is no harm in seeing the positives in it.
[Case Study] Lewis Brindley, the best YouTube mind of the YouTube Generation?
Lewis Brindley is one of the original co-founders of The Yogscast, they are a group of YouTube broadcasters who produce gaming-related video content, focused around their main YouTube channel, YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon (formerly BlueXephos), with additional content syndicated through a wider network of YouTube channels. The main channel initially gained popularity with its videos about the MMO World of Warcraft, though videos about the sandbox game Minecraft brought it to widespread attention.
So Why Is Lewis Brindley a Marketing Genius
Generally thought to be the brains behind The Yogscast, he obviously cannot take all the credit as they currently have over 40 staff that includes other content creators, editors and admin staff.
What Lewis and the Yogscast have done very well is create quality content, on a regular basis whilst engaging and growing a massive audience. For me, this started when the story element entered their ‘Let’s Play’ Minecraft series in the form of a character called ‘Israphel’ it was a hook that the Minecraft community could not get enough of and promoted a huge amount of legacy views. Legacy views are views on the video after the initial hype stage. The ‘Hype Stage’ is widely accepted to be the period from release date of your content to approximately 2 weeks after and then any views after this stage are known as ‘legacy views’. The reason legacy views were powerful for The Yogscast was because a single series would be released gradually over several months, by doing this along with leaving episodes on cliff hangers it built hype making the content popular on its initial release – the hype stage, but it was then watched by fans after the hype stage and most of these fans would watch multiple episodes in one session hugely increasing revenue to the channel.
Here is where Lewis and The Yogscast’s genius is really shown. They created multiple channels under The Yogscast banner. They understood that on their own they couldn’t make enough content to satisfy the huge demand, so with obtaining existing channels that were already popular like ‘Hat Films’ and including cameo appearances from many others within their Multi Channel Network (MCN) on the main channel, The Yogscast network has grown exponentially.
In January 2012 they were at a “measly” 1.19 million subscribers and now as of Nov 2014 they are on a staggering 7.2 million, which is over a 500% increase in less than 3 years. Yes, there are examples such a PewDiePie who has the most subscribers on YouTube currently, but he is generally known as a phenomenon. There is nothing lucky about what The Yogscast have achieved and don’t forget this is only one of their many channels within the network.
In the same time period, they have gone from 508 million total video views in January 2012 to nearly 3 BILLION by the end of 2014. Of course you are going to want to know how much money they made right? Well, it isn’t a simple calculation but it isn’t an impossible one either. After doing some digging, well-optimised channels generally bring in around $3 per 1000 impressions so let’s do the maths.
3,000,000,000 (Total Views) / 1000 (Ad Impression Per $3) = 3,000,000 then multiply that by $3 per thousand views and you get $9 Million Dollars. Please don’t take these numbers as pure facts, although I am fairly confident with these figures from past experience, YouTube are very quiet around how much they pay out to channels and individuals. If they have got a good AdSense team these figures could be even higher, but assuming my figures are close this would mean they have made over $1,000,000 a year which is not a bad return at all.
These figures of course do not account for outgoings like travel expenses to events and shows, very expensive equipment, their offices, additional staff, but it also does not account for their other income avenues such as merchandise stores and getting ‘sponsored’ to endorse/play games (see more here)
The power that The Yogscast has goes far beyond the traffic they generate, they are influencers. They influence people’s purchases of games, equipment and even influence people into making charitable donations. This was no more evident than in December 2013 where in one month they raised $1,156,799.80 after two previous years of successful fund raising, for the likes of; Oxfam, SpecialEffect, Little People UK, GamesAid, and War Child. To find out more about the great work they do for charity and I implore you to do so click here.
To wrap up my Ultimate Guide To Success on YouTube, I hope you found it helpful whether you are just starting your journey into YouTube stardom or you are a seasoned veteran looking to improve, this guide is both for individuals and businesses alike. For any jargon, you may have questioned please see the glossary below.
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Audience Retention – Measures your video’s ability to retain its audience. It shows when viewers fast-forward, rewind or leave your video.
Thumbnails – The images selected to represent your videos or playlists on the site.
Demographic – Factors such as, Age, Gender and Location.
Audience Engagement – When your audience likes, comments, favourites and/or shares your content.
Monetisation – Allowing ads to be posted on your video in return for a performance based revenue share.
Link Bait – Content designed to attract attention and encourage those viewing it to engage with it.
Hype Stage – The initial time period a video is perceived to be popular and current.
Legacy Views – Views that are received after the initial ‘Hype Stage’.