Social media has seen a persistent rise in the past decade. While many platforms have emerged in these years, one platform that has seen a spectacular rise is YouTube. Yes! Video blogging (or vlogging) is one of the most influential and evolving trendsetters of the decade. If you are an avid social media follower, you must also be subscribed to at least one of the video bloggers.
People find it interesting to see the life of others through the lens and what better way than to bring it right to the audience in the form of a video. To add to that, the success of several YouTube and TikTok influencers has reemphasized the potential that a video blogging platform has in reaching its target audience.
There are several video blogging platforms such as IGTV, Tiktok, YouTube, etc. Since YouTube is the most visited video site and the second most used search engine on the web after Google, it is an obvious choice as your vlogging platform. With its wide outreach, it connects your vlog to a global audience of over 2 billion!
So, it’s relevant in today’s context to invest in a YouTube Channel of your own. If YouTube blogging is something on your mind and you want to try your hands on it, we have the ground set for you to begin.
Though it is a fairly easy and free way to connect with a global audience, there are some nuances of vlogging that one must familiarize themselves with, if you are seriously contemplating starting your own channel.
Through this article, we bring you some of the essential steps that you must undertake to get your YouTube vlog started.
To start with, you need to identify and understand the platform that you would be using. This would require some thorough research into the platform. Acquaint yourself with YouTube’s copyright policies and content posting guidelines so that you do not end up flouting any of them.
Let’s take you through a step-by-step guide on how to begin.
Step 1: Prep-work
Start with some in-depth prep-work on some existing content. Subscribing and following some key influencers to see how they present their content and get some cues. Identify the type of vlogger you aspire to be and also what your vlog shall be about – food, beauty, wellness, travel or any other activities. Or, you may be interested in interviewing people – one of the easiest and fastest ways to create content for your vlog. There are typically three categories of vlogs that work best on YouTube:
- Informational: These bring together curated content and information such as news, product reviews, etc.
- Entertaining: These include fun content, purely put together with the intent of entertaining the audience.
- Educational: These include interviews, how-to video guides, tutorials, demos, home improvement, beauty, wellness and cooking guides, and product reviews and unboxing.
Step 2: Create your YouTube Channel
Once the ground is laid, get started with the creation of your YouTube channel. Follow these steps to get your channel live:
- Log in to YouTube using an existing Google account.
- Go to your channel list and select ‘Create a new channel’
- Now, create a fresh brand account (with a different YouTube name than the Google account you have logged into YouTube with).
- Follow the steps to verify your new account
- Customize your channel and the channel URL by clicking on ‘Customize channel’
Step 3: Procure the right equipment
Viewers tend to prefer watching videos that come with high quality. Undoubtedly, we cannot downplay the importance of getting yourself set up with the right equipment. That said, it does not mean that you have to overspend on the equipment.
One of the most important equipment is a good vlogging camera. You can procure a good low budget camera such as Sony W800, Canon SX620HS, SEREE Digital Camera, Panasonic DMC-ZS45 LUMIX GoPro Hero 8 Black or Sony DSC-RX100MV. Whatever you chose, make sure that it supports HD video (at least 1080 pixels)
Sound is equally important for a good quality vlog. So, invest in a good mic such as Samson Go Mic. If you have the budget, you may add some other equipment like a wind muffler, a tripod, or artificial lighting.
Step 4: Prepare your content
It is important to plan your video content before you hit the ‘Record’ button. Determine the goal or intent of your video filming before you proceed with the actual filming i.e. brainstorm on ideas about what you want to film and write down a draft script. Remember that your vlog should have a good mix of both contents and accompanying commentary shots. If you would rather not have these, then be sure to maintain this presentation style across your future vlogs for the sake of consistency.
Make sure to keep your content and commentary engaging. Include stimulating visuals and footages and complement these with interesting background score to keep your audience engaged through the entire vlog.
Step 5: Film your vlog
Once you have planned your vlog content, it’s time to get started with filming the same.
While it is difficult to predict or entirely nail down what may appeal to the audience, remember that vlogs are a way of entertainment to people. So, making it interesting, shareable, and entertaining enough is the key to pulling audiences to your vlog and increasing the footfall.
Here are some tips to make your content interesting:
- Perform keyword research to understand your audience and their viewing patterns and preferences. You may use an online tool like Keyword Tool for YouTube.
- Conduct thorough research into your competitors to understand what works.
- Keep a tab on social networks and other news related to the trending topics in your niche.
- Remember that YouTube has the ‘ContentID’ system in place that ensures that copyright owners are able to keep track of any video content that used their proprietary material. So, ensure that you use only original material or material that you have explicit permission to use.
- The first 15-minutes of your video are crucial. So, be sure to make that as interesting as possible or you may lose the audience.
- Create a preview for your video to provide your viewers a sneak peek into the vlog.
- Keep the vlog and its content engaging and interactive so that you are able to connect with your audience at a personal level. Make sure to ask them questions, seek their opinion, and remind them to subscribe to, comment on, or share the vlog.
- Add a signature style to your vlog to personalize your videos and make it more memorable.
Finally, relax, smile, be genuine, and be yourself!
Step 6: Edit Your Vlog
Once you have filmed your vlog, it is important that you edit it. Also, ensure that you compliment your video content with appropriate and good music and imagery wherever needed. Some places where you can find royalty-free, good quality music and imagery include Creative Commons, YouTube Library, SoundCloud Search, Jukedeck, or Audionautix.
Several free video editing tools (both for desktop and mobile) can also be found on the web to aid your video editing work. Some of these include MovieMaker (Windows), iMovie (Mac), OBS Project (a free and open-source tool), Kap, Shred Video, Filmic Pro, Mix kit, and the like.
Step 7: Upload Your Vlog to YouTube and Optimizing the Videos
One must remember that unlike other video platforms, YouTube also serves as a search engine. So, it is important that you optimize your channel and the videos within to get a better search ranking.
While several factors affect the YouTube search algorithm, some of the factors that you must be aware of and work around include:
- YouTube channel optimization
One of the key elements that affect the optimization of your YouTube channel is the size of the channel. The size is determined by the number of videos uploaded on the channel. Follow a publishing schedule to increase your video count.
Next, the frequency of upload is important. The more regular you are with your uploads the better. Include high definition videos to increase your visibility in the search results.
Next are the number of subscribers. A larger subscription base means greater influence and more viewership.
Finally, your YouTube video metadata is an important factor in the optimization of your channel. Optimized video metadata (such as title, description, tags, thumbnail, and cards) ensures greater exposure in search results.
Step 8: Promote Your Videos
Once you have uploaded a few vlogs to your platform, start promoting these videos and your channels on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to grow your channel’s collective audience.
Gradually build your audience base to create a community. Make sure that you keep your channel SEO-optimized so that you can attract more views.
Step 9: Increase your audience retention, watch time and viewer action
First, you need to understand how vlogs work. The most important aspect of vlogs is to watch time. Each video is ranked based on the cumulative time it is watched. So, the key to increasing this search ranking is to get your viewers to watch your vlog for a longer time.
Second, you need to get them to take action (leave comments, like, subscribe, share on social media, etc.) once they have finished watching your content. This is important for your channel and videos to grow organically.
Let us help you with some tips to help you increase viewer action:
- Card Overlays: You may use the ‘watermark’ feature in the ‘Branding’ settings of your YouTube channel to enable an overlay on your videos that prompts people to subscribe.
- Subscription: As part of your video content, including a request to viewers to subscribe to your channel Add a channel trailer that showcases your videos and inspires non-subscribers to subscribe. Embed your videos within your website content and include a ‘subscribe’ call-to-action on your blog.
- Comments: Encourage your viewers to comment or share their opinions through the comments area proactively. This will help you to create a community.
- Cross Promotions: Connect with other bloggers in your niche and collaborate with them by cross-marketing content for one another. You may use the ‘Featured channels’ list to showcase their content. This will allow them to feature as ‘suggested channels’ to your subscribers.
- Video Thumbnails: Include attractive, custom images (ideally 1280×720 pixels) as thumbnails alongside the title. A thumbnail that accurately represents the video and is attractive would encourage potential viewers to click on your video. You may also put the title/headline of your vlog on the thumbnail.
- Playlists: Organize your videos into playlists based on their themes. You may also include video collections on specific topics including videos from other channels on the topic to increase your viewership and shareability of the content.
Step 10: Monetize
Once your subscriber base has grown, it is time to let your vlogs earn you some money. Here are some ways you can monetize your YouTube Channel:
- YouTube Partnership Program
Once your subscriber base reaches over 1000 and you have more than 4000 public watch hours in a 12-months span, you become eligible to apply for the YouTube partnership program. With this membership, you are ready to start earning some money from your channel. The program works by showing ads before or during your videos. Do remember not to include any copyrighted material in your vlogs) including songs, as YouTube does not allow monetizing such videos.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an effective way to monetize your vlogs. Get some affiliate links from platforms such as Amazon or LinkShare.com and integrate it in your vlogs. If one of your subscribers buys through that link, you get paid!
You can reach out to businesses that you would like to be sponsored by.
- Sell your brand merchandise
Once you have reached a certain volume of viewership, you may also plan on creating and selling your brand merchandise, such as T-shirts, mugs, caps, etc. Loyal subscribers would want to purchase these as a way to build their association with your brand. What’s more, you get some free marketing too!
- Create a Patreon account
Finally, once your subscriber base hits the 1000 plus mark, you may also create a Patreon account. This account would enable your subscribers to support your channel.
We hope you are set now. So, get your vlog started!