How to Become a YouTuber and Make Money
YouTube has become the ultimate place to be. Regardless of age, gender, interests, or personal preferences, everyone is on YouTube. To be more precise, over 30 million people check out YouTube every day.
So, how challenging is it to become a successful YouTuber? It can be somewhat difficult to stand out as an up-and-coming YouTuber, but with the right tips and tricks to guide you, no obstacle is insurmountable.
To make sure you achieve superb results, you need to be well-prepared for the competition and know what to expect and what steps to take. From patience and persistence, finding worthy ideas and organization, to the actual recording, and getting the right equipment for it, there are quite a few things necessary to ensure success.
And let’s not forget about managing your community and improving your channel over and over again to maintain your status (once achieved) and climb even higher. To start with, let’s see what qualities you need to possess.
What Do You Need to Be a YouTuber?
Nowadays, becoming a YouTuber can be a rather tricky business. With fierce competition and ever-changing trends, not everyone is ready to take the bull by the horns and go down this road. Those that do decide to take the plunge can never know for sure if it will be worth the risk or not. That’s why, to begin with, you can’t afford to let the fear of uncertainty paralyze you and stop you from pursuing your dreams.
If you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel, remember that it is not worth even considering without the following qualities:
- Positive attitude
- Hard work
According to Statista, more than 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute as of May 2019. So, it really does take a lot of courage to leave what you are doing now (especially if you have a stable job) to take a leap of faith and try to stand out on such a popular and crowded platform.
Since it can be rather difficult to become successful, being persistent is a must. Just imagine — if any of today’s best YouTubers had given up after their first failure, they wouldn’t have become as successful and popular as they are today.
To be able to stay persistent even when only a few people have watched your video and it seems you’re going nowhere, it is essential to adopt a positive attitude right from the start. Think about all those people who have made it, and believe that you can do the same.
For instance, look up to the four young men behind the fast-growing YouTube channel called Yes Theory. Each of them had a stable and potentially highly successful career ahead, but they decided to take the risk and work on a project today known as the Yes Theory. As Matt Dejar, one of the four, explains it, Yes Theory is “about answering the voice in your head telling you ‘yes’ when everything else is telling you ‘no’.” They’ve listened to this voice and built a channel that now has over 5.5 million subscribers.
Finally, no amount of positive thinking will get you anywhere without enough hard work and devotion. Being committed to what you do and putting enough effort in it is bound to pay off in the long run.
Where to Start?
When you’re just getting started on YouTube, proper planning and organization are of crucial importance. You need to have a clear picture before you can get down to the specifics.
Who are you creating your content for? What kind of content is most appropriate for your audience? Do you have enough to say to start a YouTube channel in the first place? And are you ready to be consistent enough in this endeavor? These are some of the crucial questions to answer before you can move on to actually starting your channel and equipment-shopping.
Choose Your Niche and Think about Your Target Audience
Before you can start creating your content, you need to decide what niche you want to cover. You can think about branching out to several areas later on, but for a start, it is necessary that you focus on a single niche and put all your effort into expanding your knowledge in that particular field of interest.
You want your viewers to feel that you really know what you’re talking about, right? Subscribers come back for more content on the same topic, so be sure you stick to your chosen field. If you’re not sure what niche to choose, you can look through a useful list of best YouTube niche ideas for your channel.
To make sure you pick the right topic to explore, you need to think about your target audience. Let the needs, interests, and expectations of your potential viewers guide you through this process. Does your field of interest match that of your future subscribers? If not, you may want to rethink your choice or at least adapt it to fit your target audience’s expectations.
It’s important to note here that you should do something that moves you, as your viewers will feel your passion. Just make sure you find the perfect balance between your passion and your audience’s interest when finding your niche and style.
Decide on the Type of the Content
Another crucial thing to decide on right from the start is the type of content you’re going to post on your channel. Some of the most common types nowadays include the following:
- How-to videos and tutorials
- Product reviews
- Unboxing videos
- Funny videos
- Shopping sprees
- Educational videos
Considering that people of all ages and interests are regularly checking new content on YouTube, it comes as no surprise that all of these and many other types of videos are almost equally popular. But that doesn’t mean that you should try a little bit of everything. Pick the type of content that is in line with your style and tone, and, again, your target audience.
You can spice things up from time to time and add something new so your channel doesn’t become monotonous. It’s advisable not to mix more than three types of content on one channel.
For instance, you can adopt the so-called “Hero, Hub, Help” strategy. Hero videos are supposed to grab your viewers’ attention, hub category videos are designed to keep them coming back for more, while help videos are there to answer their questions. Help videos are usually in the form of how-to content, which seems to be particularly popular. According to Search Engine Land, “searches related to “how-to” on YouTube are growing 70% year after year.”
Set a Realistic Timeline for Posting Schedule and Stick to It
Whether you’re currently able to post one video per month or per week, that doesn’t matter in the beginning. What’s important is that you have some posting schedule to stick to as you slowly grow your channel.
Be prepared to post even those videos that you may not be completely satisfied with at the moment — you can’t always stay on top of the task. To reduce the number of these cases, it is essential that you set a realistic timeline that you can, in fact, stick to. It is not a good idea to be too ambitious and expect to post a video every day. Such a tight schedule in your early days on YouTube can only add stress and pressure and jeopardize the quality of your content.
Brainstorm to Make Sure You Have Enough Content
Before you make your first video, you should also be sure that you have enough material for future videos, too. You need an idea worth starting a channel for, and a creative one, too. Even if you consider yourself the most creative person in the world, after a while, it will happen to you, too — you will run out of things to say, do and show your viewers.
To be on the safe side, start brainstorming ideas before you get started with your channel. You can find inspiration in many places when you start looking. For instance, you can start with some of the most popular videos on YouTube. So many people watch them for a reason, and that reason is high-quality content. Use them as a source of ideas for your own thought-provoking content.
Looking through the most viewed videos is important from another perspective, too — it can tell you what not to choose. If so many people have already said so much about a certain topic, what are the chances that your brand new channel will stand out?
What Do I Need to Start a YouTube Channel?
When you have a clear idea of what you’re going to post and you prepare your first video, you will, well, need a channel to post it on, right? So, what is necessary for starting a YouTube channel, to begin with? Yes, you need top-notch equipment. But before we move on that, we should address a couple of more significant “tools” that no equipment can substitute — good ideas, a clear goal and lots of patience.
Present an Old Idea in a New Way or Come up with Something Original
As previously mentioned, there’s no good channel without a good idea. The question is, what is a good idea? Is an old idea always a bad choice? It could be, but not necessarily. Not if you’re creative enough to present it in a brand new way no one has thought of so far.
Even if many have talked about it, if you approach a topic or an issue from a completely different angle, it can help you start a channel that people want to watch. The problem is that this can be somewhat difficult to achieve in the early days of your YouTube journey.
The safer option is to present something unique. In the sea of similar videos and pretty much the same topics all over the place, a unique idea is bound to stand out and spark everyone’s interest.
Set Your Channel Goal
When you choose this or that idea for your channel, you need to know why you’re doing so. Ask yourself what is your goal. What are you hoping to achieve with your channel?
To be able to set a clear goal, you need to think about your target audience again. The bottom line is that YouTube channels are there to serve the viewers, so it’s practically impossible to set the goal without taking their needs and expectations into consideration. Think about how you want your viewers to feel after they finish watching your videos.
Decide if your goal is to educate your audience, make them laugh, or prompt them to take action. You can, of course, combine several of them, too. An excellent example of how a channel can be both educational and entertaining at the same time is AsapSCIENCE, one of the most popular YouTube channels with close to nine million subscribers.
We understand that you are so excited about your channel and you can’t wait for it to gain in popularity. But you need to make your peace with the fact that it will probably take some time before you achieve enviable results. According to Justin Gayner, the co-founder of ChannelFlip, “it takes at least two years to build an audience.” So, if you’re planning to start a YouTube channel, it is crucial that you arm yourself with patience, or in his own words, you need to “prepare for the long haul.”
Equipment for Starting a YouTube Channel and Becoming a YouTuber
Naturally, your ideas, goals and the entire organization all go in vain if you don’t have the proper equipment to record everything. All those high-quality videos you love so much haven’t been made that easily. You need good enough equipment, and you need to know how to use it.
Think about equipment early enough so that you know how to plan your budget. You should also give yourself enough time to learn how to use every piece of equipment properly. You will, of course, learn as you go, catch on to the tricks, and find your own methods for recording. But before you get to that level, you have to grasp some basics first.
First Step: Assess Your Equipment
Before the actual purchase of the equipment, you should sit down and assess the tools needed for your channel. You probably won’t need all that expensive professional equipment right from the start, so it might be a good idea to assess the equipment you already have first.
As time goes by, getting high-quality equipment will become more and more important. Never forget that the quality of your video can make the content alone better or completely destroy it, which, in turn, will drive away viewers or attract more of them. So, even when the time comes to spend a little bit more on your equipment, rest assured that such an investment will eventually pay off.
Be Prepared to Invest in Your Camera
When you’re first getting started, your smartphone might do the trick. If your budget still doesn’t allow you to buy some of the best cameras for YouTube videos, you can capture solid footage with your smartphone or webcam, as well.
However, you need to keep in mind that this is not the solution you’re looking for in the long run. No smartphone is good enough for the highest-quality videos out there. And you want to be among the best, right?
As soon as your YouTube channel starts getting traction and you grow your audience, it’s time to take out your wallet and gear up. Think of it as an investment rather than a purchase. The camera is your way to the viewers. If you want them to stick around, you need to give them spotless footage so they can enjoy every single second of your video.
One of the best budget cameras to consider buying is Canon T7i or 8Ti. Other excellent options to keep in mind include the following:
You’ll Need a Good External Microphone
Whether you decide to buy a camera right away or not, you will need an external microphone. In case you’re planning to rely on your webcam for a start, you should know that built-in microphones usually have a rather bad audio quality. Or at least not a good enough quality, as you need a microphone that can record perfectly and eliminate the annoying background sounds.
When it comes to external microphones, you will have plenty of options. For instance, USB microphones are easy to use, have a good sound quality and they are affordable. Lapel microphones, on the other hand, are convenient because they can be clipped onto your clothes, belt and be completely discreet.
Shotgun microphones are an excellent choice because their shock mounts reduce the noise coming from the mechanical vibrations around the microphone. Plus, they are built to capture clear sounds right in front of them, with minimal capture of the ambient sounds. If you’re planning to record outdoors, a shotgun microphone is the right choice for you.
Choose the type you find most convenient for your needs and pick one of the best microphones for YouTube videos before you start recording your first video.
Get a Tripod or Gimbal Stabilizer
Nothing can ruin a video like unsteady footage, right? To be sure that doesn’t happen to you, you should add a tripod or a gimbal stabilizer on your list when you go equipment-shopping. You may not need these right from the start if you’re planning to use your webcam, but if you’re using your smartphone, a gimbal stabilizer is a must.
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s probably better to consider some budget tripods first, as they are usually the more affordable option. For instance, the iKan E-Image EG01A2 is an excellent low-cost tripod that can handle most camcorders and DSLRs. Its legs can extend higher than 5 feet, but when you’re on the go, you can fold it up into a compact package only 33 inches long.
Don’t Forget About Lighting Equipment
Even if you have the best camera available, it won’t do the trick without proper lighting. Whether you’re showing something in your video or it’s just you in front of the camera talking about something, lighting matters more than you may think.
Luckily, this is not where you have to spend a small fortune to get it right. After all, you can always get outside and take advantage of the beautiful sunny day, right? It’s just important that you never forget about this crucial aspect, as poor lighting could easily ruin the otherwise perfect material.
To look like a real professional, start thinking about the best lighting equipment for YouTube videos, including the following:
Video Editing Software
If you’re new to the world of video editing, a simple, easy-to-navigate video editing software is the right way to go. At least in the beginning. For instance, you might want to consider Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie.
To make sure your story takes the right shape, you will need to take some time and put in the effort to master different editing techniques as time goes by. An interesting software to consider is DaVinci Resolve. What makes it worth considering, among other features, is that it even has a “boring detector,” which helps you spot any mundane portion of the video that would be best left out.
How to Be a Good YouTuber
So, you now have an idea of what you need to become a YouTuber. The next question is how to become a good YouTuber. Did you know that about five billion videos are watched on YouTube per day? To find your place among those five billion videos, you need to work on your strategy a little bit more. You need to polish your channel, be consistently good and never stop learning if you don’t want to be left behind.
Build a Welcoming Channel Page
The first thing your viewers are going to see is your YouTube channel page. So, you need to make sure that it is welcoming enough to make them want to come back. One of the crucial elements to think about to make a welcoming page is your channel trailer. The trailer is your main hook, so make sure you post something brief and attention-grabbing.
Check out the SoulPancake’s channel trailer as an excellent example of how everything you need to say and show can be put in just 50 seconds.
Focus on Delivering Valuable Content and Be Concise
To be considered good, your content has to be valuable, worth checking out. You need to include valuable pieces of information so that your viewers can feel like they have something to learn from you. It’s no coincidence that YouTube’s ranking system prioritizes viewers’ experience — you will rank well if you offer your viewers real value.
If you want your viewers to stick around, you also need to be concise, which means learning how to delete any extra footage, no matter how much you like it. Learn how to be concise without jeopardizing the value of your content. If your content becomes repetitive, it won’t be long before even those loyal viewers move on to someone else’s, more dynamic channel.
Among other qualities, it is often said that consistency is the key to growing your YouTube channel. You need to be consistent in every sense of the word, from having a consistent voice throughout all your videos to a consistent schedule.
A case study by Flight Drummers is a clear example of just how much a consistent schedule can help with gaining more viewers. When they set a schedule of posting two-three videos per week, they managed to hit 1,000 views on a daily basis in just a month.
When you show up with some new content on the same day every week, your viewers will start to feel like they are meeting a friend. The closer you get, the greater your audience engagement. In case something prevents you from sticking to your schedule, let your audience know. Simply not showing up can do more damage than you can imagine, so never “disappear” without informing your viewers in advance.
Learn from Users’ Feedback and YouTube Analytics
A great part of what you need to know about how to be better comes from your viewers, so learn how to use their feedback to your advantage. Check out their comments regularly and ask them for opinions to see what things you should work on in the future.
You also need to learn how to understand YouTube analytics. The data you can find here will tell you a lot about who’s watching your videos and classify the viewers by gender, age, and location. It will also tell you which videos are the most popular among your viewers. Use that information to create even better content for your future videos by adapting it to your audience and their preferences.
Manage and Engage Your YouTube Community Properly
According to Think with Google, the number of YouTube users who engage with the channels they follow increased by as much as 70% in just one year. So, thinking about community engagement is crucial to achieving success.
The first thing to do is to establish a set of guidelines regarding the type of topics that will be allowed in the comments. Furthermore, make sure that you invite people to leave comments and make them feel free to provide you with negative feedback, too. As previously mentioned, their feedback is of utmost importance for your further growth, so you need to be able to welcome criticism.
Now that they are leaving comments, it’s time for you to engage with your audience regularly. Answer their comments. Let them know that their opinion matters. Another great way to engage with your audience is to host a live stream.
How to Become a Successful YouTuber
As time goes by, you will want to go from just good to successful. You will want to join the most successful YouTubers. Become one of them. To be able to pursue your ambition, you could use a couple of more tricks and pieces of advice. This is when you can start thinking about promotion, keeping up with trends and, finally, monetization.
Use Other Platforms to Promote Your Channel to Keep the Audience Growing
Are you ready to grow your audience? If so, it’s time to start promoting your YouTube channel on other platforms. This is an excellent way to promote your channel for free, and it can be quite effective, too, especially if you already have an existing audience on another social medial platform. For instance, you can use GIFs if you’re looking for a fun way to promote your video on Twitter.
You can also promote your YouTube channel on your website or use an existing email list to let your subscribers know that they can now follow you on YouTube, too.
Follow the Latest Trends
If you want to stay in the game, you have to keep up with the latest YouTube trends at all costs. Trends change faster than ever, so it won’t take you long to be left behind if you’re not on alert all the time.
When looking for ideas for the upcoming videos, make sure that your content is up-to-date. Otherwise, you can easily lose your precious subscribers — there are so many other places where they can find trending content. You can always check the latest trends on YouTube Trending dashboard or Popular on YouTube page.
Monetize Your Channel
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for, right? If you are wondering how to monetize your YouTube channel, here are the requirements you have to meet:
- You comply with all YouTube’s rules and regulations
- You have at least 1,000 subscribers
- Your channel has generated at least 4,000 Watch Time hours in the last 12 months
There’s no denying that YouTube has tightened rules regarding monetization, but when you make it, you’ll see that it was worth the wait and effort. Just look up to some of YouTube’s highest-earners, including eight-year-old Ryan Kaji ($26 million), Dude Perfect ($20 million), five-year-old Anastasia Radzinskaya ($18 million) and many others.
If you’re still not sure how to monetize your channel, you should consider some of the following ideas:
- Work with a sponsor — For instance, Harry Lewis, a top comedic gamer, got Samsung to sponsor his highly popular channel W2S video by showcasing the durability of Samsung Galaxy S6.
- Create useful online courses for your viewers — The team behind High on Life, a popular travel channel, created two online courses for their viewers offering valuable advice. One of the courses explained how to grow your Instagram audience and get one million followers, while the other one explained how to be a travel influencer. Each of the courses eventually generated $100,000 within only four days of launching.
- Offer exclusive channel membership — For example, Thip Joe, a popular YouTuber creating technology videos, offers different perks for joining his channel instead of just subscribing. It costs $5 a month to join. When you become a member, you get access to a variety of perks, from top fan badges to exclusive content visible to community members only.
- Use Patreon or some Patreon alternatives — An excellent example of how useful Patreon can be is Rob Swift’s channel Swift Lessons, where Rob teaches his viewers how to play the guitar. He uses Patreon to give the members access to exclusive videos, guitar chord sheets and other useful material. Rob now has more than 4,000 patrons who pay a monthly membership fee of $1-$15.
With the right tips and tricks, even becoming a YouTuber doesn’t sound that unachievable anymore, right? You shouldn’t expect it to happen overnight and you should definitely not expect superb results without much hard and consistent work. But, all things considered, your YouTube adventure can be a lovely experience from day one when you prepare for it accordingly.
Remember: choose one niche and focus on it. Make sure you deliver valuable content. Look up to those better than you, but stay original. Listen to your viewers and subscribers — the answer to the even more successful channel lies in their feedback. Learn how to adapt to the fast-changing world we live in — keep up with trends to keep your place on the second most popular social media platform. Finally, let your passion lead you, monetization will follow.