As far as YouTube achievements go, this feels like the first one. 100 subscribers, I’ve now officially made it. Small pickings by a lot of channels standards, but a milestone achievement none the less. When I started posting regularly in August this year, I certainly didn’t expect to be here already.
I’m a blogger and small business social media coach, so I applied a lot of those same methods to growing my channel. This post is for those of you wanting to do the same thing, or who are curious about such things. It’s especially for those who thought that maybe someday they might start but who are a little worried that no one would ever watch.
But, they did. Not in droves, and I certainly won’t be rivalling the big guns anytime soon, but they did show up. With a consistency that is both charming and motivational. From everywhere. From the blog, from YouTube search, from browse functions and other social media. Thank goodness, because there’s no hiding your success or failure on YouTube. It’s there for everyone to see.
The main thing I learned being a blogger who started YouTubing, is that not everyone who reads your blog or enjoys your photos on Instagram are interested in your videos. Perhaps even fewer will take the time to move from Facebook to YouTube to watch them. And that’s okay; people have their ways to consume media.
That point, about people viewing media where THEY want, is worth keeping in mind if you decide to start a YouTube channel. I had no idea who Casey Neistat was until I started getting interested in YouTube. It’s one of those platforms that you’re either into, or not. So, don’t expect your existing audience to care automatically. That doesn’t mean they won’t. Keep sharing on whatever platforms you have available to you.
Don’t have an existing audience? Start to build one just as you would for business, a blog or a brand. Your YouTube channel needs that support from social media to drive traffic. I learned that. YouTube rewards those who can bring the audience to them, so you need to be doing that for every single video, or it will crash and burn into YouTube obscurity.
Which is a big pile, let me tell you.
Then, there’s the whole your content probably sucks thing. New to making videos? The sucking thing, yeah, that is probably you especially if you haven’t invested a lot of time into learning the tricks of the trade. When I started out, I thought to get on or behind the camera would be the hard part. It turns out to only be a quarter of what’s going on.
Learn as much as you can so your content is the best it can be. The best way to do this, in my experience, is to choose a posting schedule and stick to it! Practice makes perfect, right? But done is better than perfect. I’ve learned a lot by just doing it and getting my videos out on a regular schedule. I did my best to determine the best ways to deliver it. Which meant watching a whole heap of tutorials about using, at first, iMovie, then Adobe Premiere Pro.
Like anything online, consistency is critical.
When I was creating content, I tried to figure out who would be interested in it. Everything from the actual video material to the supporting shares or blog posts, to the titles and thumbnails of the video. Since I started back in August, I’ve changed some of my thumbnails three times. Not ideal. But also important because I learned better ways to do things.
Another thing that “just showing up” did for me was to put me in front of the camera week after week. Sometimes on multiple occasions just to make the one video. I’d practice recording with my camera, my webcam and my iPhone 7+. I learned how uncomfortable I could be in front of the camera and how often I say um or so. I pity Samara and all the work she has to do with our podcasts now. Haha.
Thanks, Samara, I owe you one.
My next lesson was that sound is almost, if not more, important than the actual video quality. I found that people left my videos faster if there was s sound issue. So, I made videos where I could use my podcast microphone. This strategy worked fine for the social media posts and blogging tutorials. But it wouldn’t work for moving content. After about a month, I purchased the Rode Video microphone; the little one, not the boss pro one. I’ve used it once so far, so it’s hardly been essential.
Which brings me to the next point. The gear, while it does impact your end result, shouldn’t stop you from making something. As I mention in the video, I’ve recently upgraded my webcam as a sort of reward for the work I’ve put in so far. But I didn’t need any of it to start. And you don’t either. So, forget the excuse that you don’t have the right gear and get started creating.
And that is some of what I’ve learned in my first three months as a YouTuber.
3 months, 20 videos, 100 subscribers and countless hours of fun, frustration and f-bombs. Thanks for coming along for the ride! If you’re on YouTube, I’d love to have you join us. Leave me a comment or a like, the algorithm over there likes that kind of thing, apparently. If not, I’ve embedded this video below. Enjoy!