Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beginner's Guide/Tips to having a YouTube Channel



Please be aware that I'm writing this from my experience, other's may have different ideas and tips and that's all good too. I get asked quite a lot for help with starting a 'Beauty Channel' so I thought that this may be helpful to those starting out. Most of the tips will work for any type of channel, not just beauty, but remember that's the type of channel I have so of course this information is based on that! :D  If you have a comedy or more 'hardcore' type of channel just adjust the information to suit that, who knows, you may like bad comments and trolls, hahaha :)


MY STORY

A lot of you may know that I started my YouTube Channel when I was 15 and bored during the April School Holidays, just for fun I decided to upload a tutorial of my own with no real plan of keeping it up but mainly for something to do and that was it, people started watching and asking for more tutorials and I was amazed that people wanted to watch me so I did ... hehehe i remember how excited i was when i had my first subscriber XD

Back then we were on ‘dial-up’ internet with a very strict limit each month so I could only upload at the end of the month if there was enough downloads left so it was one or two (if I was lucky) videos a month for the first few months. That made it hard for me to get many views but somehow I did, people liked my tutorials and that made me happy.

It was hard at first to feel really comfortable in front of the camera, I had to learn everything myself and hope I was doing things right. I had my mum’s dodgy little camera for the first year or so which made me sound like I had a lisp and I would get a lot of criticism for this too, people still leave negative comments on my older videos about this :(

Back then it was harder to get noticed on YouTube because there weren’t many Australians doing tutorials or even watching them in Australia and the YouTube front page only showcased those that had thousands of views from other countries so you had to really earn your spot if you got there :/ The set up youtube has now is much easier for people to get views which is great for anyone just starting out and for those that have been doing videos for a while :) Australia has it’s own section that showcases Australian channels.

When I got to about 1,000 subscribers which took me about 8 - 9 months I was offered a Partnership (yes they were much stricter back then, you had to have at least 1,000 subs to get partnered and been on youtube for a few months) I was so excited and quickly went about making a banner for my Channel  :D

As our internet changed to broadband sometime the next year I was able to start uploading more videos but still restricted to some degree, I was also really restricted on my computer usage as it was a shared computer in the living area so I think I had a time limit of 1 hour a day, this included doing my homework  :(

So as you can see, even with quite a few obstacles I kept my Channel going and it grew accordingly :) I love to make videos and really get a buzz when I upload a new one :D

SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT FIND HELPFUL :)

If you are thinking about starting your own Channel and uploading videos there are a few things that are important.

LIGHTING

 I know everyone seems to think lighting is easy and they can’t understand when it’s off in one of your videos but honestly, lighting is probably one of the most annoying things when filming, you really do have to try to get the best lighting in your room that you can.  You should ideally have lights in front of you, it could be a window (always take advantage of natural lighting when you can) or artificial lamps set up behind your camera but whatever it is try to make sure it’s not casting a yellow glow or that it’s too ‘cool’, you want it to look as natural as possible.

I have a small desktop lamp that I sometimes use with a ‘daylight’ globe (thrifted $2), a taller lamp with two heads (Kmart or Target?? $20) and then another tall lamp with another daylight globe (thrifted $5) and even with these lights my lighting still has problems at times, usually when it’s raining!! :(

CAMERA

Try to use a decent camera, I used my mum’s Canon Powershot A520 to start with, I didn’t update this until I had quite a few thousand subscribers and I bought a Sony Camcorder which worked wonderfully until it died in December 2011, now I use my Canon T31100 which I’m still trying to work out but I love all the same, although I do miss the Auto Focus of my old one hahahaha

Whatever you use or buy, try to make sure it has pretty good quality and good sound. It’s also handy if you have a flip screen that you can see yourself in too. If your camera doesn’t have one of these screens and only has the screen on the back, set up a mirror behind your camera so that you can see yourself in the screen this way, this is how I used to do it when I started and it’s how I do it now because my new camera doesn’t have a flip screen. This method is also good because you’re not tempted to look directly into the screen while you’re talking which can make it appear like you’re ‘looking at yourself’ all the time :) haha

Remember to look into the lens of the camera as much as possible, that is your audience, not the screen.

Camera position is also something you should play with, don’t have the camera so low that people can see up your nose :/ it’s not a good look! If you’re recording from your laptop this is the angle that usually happens, try propping your laptop on a few books or something to get a more flattering angle. Play around with different heights with your camera, use books and boxes and find out what angle makes you look the way you want to appear. I find eye level or a little higher is a good height. If you have a tripod, use it but it’s not a necessity at all.

CHANNEL NAME

Make is something relevant to what your videos will be about, think it through and make it simple to remember if you can. Try not to copy someone else’s name and use simple spelling as well.

I didn’t think this through at all when I made mine, I was 15 and there wasn’t much information on ‘how to start a channel’ back then, but if I was to do it over I definitely would put more thought into it!!

BACKGROUND

I know it’s not always possible, but whenever you can try to be conscious of what’s in your background, it’s amazing how people can be distracted by it. Try to move any bottles and mess from around you and at least tidy up a bit before filming. Always try to keep true to yourself though, a fake background can sometimes seem very ‘unfriendly’.  It’s a personal choice really, if you’re a ‘makeup artist’ and just want to do tutorials and that’s it, a plain background is perfect but if you want a more personal channel, then keep it friendly and casual. I know I like to see people’s rooms behind them, it makes them seem more real to me like a friend, but that’s just my opinion :)

RELAX AND BE YOURSELF

Take a few deep breaths before turning the camera on, imagine your camera as your best friend, smile laugh and try to relax as much as you can while you’re filming. Be yourself and have fun with your videos, people will  enjoy them much more if they can see the real you and they will also know if you are ‘faking’ your personality so be yourself.

Don’t try to act perfect because everyone knows that ‘no one is perfect’, people will love you for your little imperfections a lot more :) YouTube is about you, it’s not a show like on tv!! You are not ‘famous’ just because you have a few thousand subscribers, there are millions and millions of people on youtube and you are but a speck, so keep it real. :)


BE PREPARED


If you're filming a makeup tutorial or something similar, have all your products ready to use beforehand, it will make things so much easier when filming :) Try and know what you are going to say in your introduction, I'm not saying have a speech ready but more like work out what you're going to say beforehand :) and try to take a stillshot or picture of the finished look, it's great for your for your intro and also if you get partnered at some stage you can use it for a thumbnail too :) 

EDITING

Unless you’re vlogging or something, you will probably want to edit your video after you have filmed it, most laptops and PCs come with editing software that will have all the basics to do the job. Windows will have ‘windows movie maker’ and mac will have ‘imovie’.  If you have something better then you are very lucky! :)

Be sure to take the time to edit as best you can, this can be very time consuming when you first start out, learning the program and knowing what’s important to leave in and what can be ditched. Try to make your transitions as smooth as you can, cut out footage of you answering phones, looking for products etc and of anyone film/photo bombing unless it’s what you’re going for .... hahahaha

Keep your videos to a suitable length, a quick makeup look doesn’t really need to go for 12 minutes but a TAG video may need to. If your video isn’t entertaining and goes for too long, people will X out.

GETTING VIEWS AND SUBSCRIBERS

To grow your channel takes time and effort, there’s no quick and easy way to do it. You should make videos like the ones you would personally want to watch :) If you are doing the same videos as everyone else then what makes you any different?

Upload videos regularly, start off making one a week or fortnight if you can, people like to see regular content but not every day, this can be a bit annoying seeing the same person uploading all the time and filling up your subscription box :/

Leave nice comments on other’s videos, remember you are representing your channel so if you are rude it will not work in your favour of gaining views and subscribers. Try and make friends with other youtubers, this can be a bit hard for some, I tend to keep to myself because that’s my nature .... but if you are outgoing then make friends with likeminded people and make a twitter account too, a blog and facebook can compliment your channel and give you a place to write things that seem out of place in a video and even formspring for answering questions, but just remember with formspring that you are in total control of what questions you answer so keep in control and delete any that you don’t want to respond to.

Of course you can get heaps of subscribers from shout outs, sub for sub or even go to the extreme and paying for views (just to let you know, I haven't done any of these) but honestly the best kind of views are by the people that really want to watch you. Lots of people ask for shout outs and are given them but then they find they might get lots of negative comments on their videos and trolls etc, the kind of subscribers that genuinely like your videos are the BEST kind :) they are the ones that leave lovely comments and have found your channel and subscribed for that reason hahaha that's not to say if someone sweetly gives you a shoutout that you can't enjoy it though :D :D and if they do, when you have a nice subscriber base, maybe you could do the same for them :)

Don’t go spamming other’s channels trying to promote yourself, leaving a nice comment will get people taking a look at your channel in a better way. Don’t ask for shout outs, you will get so much more pleasure knowing you earned your views and subscribers yourself rather than being given them.

Don’t forget, when you are starting your channel and getting subscribers it’s good manners to thank people for subscribing, a quick thankyou on their profile goes a long way. Once you have a few thousand subbies and are gaining lots each day this is very hard to keep up, I still try to do it every once in a while when I can  :)

The same goes for messages, it’s not always possible to answer every message when you get a lot, but I still try to do this as much as possible, it’s good manners.

BEST FRIENDS

That’s exactly how you should treat the people that leave comments, always be nice even when the comment may not be, you don’t need to answer every question, if a comment is vulgar or just plain crude then delete it, I do this because lots of younger girls watch my videos and I don’t want them reading creepy stuff that may sometimes be said. I don’t get a lot of bad stuff at all but if I find something in very bad taste I will delete it. I do not delete negative or constructive comments or even rude comments but I will answer them politely with a smile :) If I find an argument arises in the comments and someone starts to get ‘bullied’ I will also delete all the relevant comments because no one should be bullied. Remember, sometimes it can be hard to 'read' what a person is really trying to say because the internet shows no emotion, they may not be 'hating' on you at all they may just have worded a comment wrong :/ use your best judgement.

Give your faithful subscribers your attention, not the trolls or haters :) Not everyone will like your videos, you just can’t please everyone so don’t let it get to you.

Just remember if you don’t have the time to thank people and answer all the nice comments, don’t bother answering all the negative ones.

Also, ratios on likes and dislikes are not something you should get stuck on, a lot of people will dislike a video for no apparent reason, as you get more views on your videos this is something that may happen. If you know that there is nothing 'wrong' with the video to deserve lots of dislikes just relax.

There's usually a 10% rule for comments, dislikes etc all over the net so if the ratio is within that % there's nothing to worry about :) If however, people are telling you something constructive about your video in the comments, take notice :)

PRIVACY

My mum always said, “If you don’t want it splashed all over the front of the newspaper, then don’t do it” or “if you don’t want your grandparents to see it, then don’t”!!!!! Don’t jump around in a tiny bikini on youtube if you don’t want anyone to comment on it :) what ever you put out there you are going to get comments on – Just remember that :)

In other words, keep your personal and private life just that if you’re going to get upset when people get too curious or personal with their comments.

I always go to youtube to feel happy and uplifted, the last thing I want to see is someone in tears or giving me ‘advice’ all the time. Once in a while it’s ok to do a ‘serious’ kind of video about your personal life but don’t let it take over. I’d much prefer to watch a funny or uplifting video than a sad one and I’m sure I’m not alone.

It’s a good idea not to use your surname on the internet or give out any personal information like your address etc, always be cautious!

IT’S NOT A COMPETITION

It’s exciting when you start getting subscribers and views, each day you will look to see how many you have, yeah it really is exciting :) Once you get to a certain amount however, you really should stop looking so much, some people get obsessed with numbers and their channel goes from being about fun to being about ‘winning’ or something like that :)

When I got to about 5 or 6,000 subscribers I stopped checking my channel page for the numbers, I was so happy to have got that many that I was ok with not looking any more. I still don’t really look, other people tell me from time to time how many I have and it’s a nice little surprise :) Honestly, don’t obsess over your numbers, youtube is not some sort of competition, you can’t compare people’s channels because everyone is different and everyone has something different to offer. As long as you are happy with where you are and what you’re doing,  that’s all that counts.

If you loose the fun from youtube, there’s no point in doing it any more :)

I hope this post is helpful, I know I would have enjoyed knowing some of this stuff when I started out. I may add to this post over time if and when I think of anything else :)

3 comments:

  1. WoW!!!! this helped so much, and I'm sorry I didn't say thankyou to you for subbing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its really cul readin thru...i ws actually plannin to start a youtube channel 2 complemnt my (new) blog and this has really given me an over view, thanks 4 d tips! however i think u'ld follow my blog as wel.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment, it's really appreciated :)

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