Monday, 2 June 2014

How to start a YouTube channel

It has been a year since Niki and myself posted our very first video online (which wasn't on Niki'N'Sammy(click)) and ever since then I've received so many questions from you guys in regards to 'doing YouTube', so I thought it was about time I scribbled down some answers! I asked you to send me them on twitter but, unfortunately, there were too many for me to answer them all, so, being the incredibly fair and divine human being I am, I've decided to answer your most frequent and popular question (please love me even if I don't get to yours!)

Disclaimer: I'm sorry. There isn't a secret recipe for success, no hidden way of gaining 1,000 subscribers over night. Hopefully I can help you in the right direction though!

Creating a channel and uploading a video wouldn't be half as difficult if we didn't care about the opinions of other quite as much. Unfortunately we're human and we're living in the 21st century, and we often (rightly or wrongly) prize what others think of us above all else. Starting something is so terrifying, it can be crippling and hold us back. I've already discussed how important it is for us to get out of our comfort zones in a previous post (clickety-click-click).
Megan hit the nail on the head and I wanted to address 'weird' (hopefully I already answered the first part of the question above!) First, we need to consider why you want to do 'it'. Do you want to upload a video to take part in the awesome YouTube community on a new level? Do you see YouTube as a viable career path? or a way of opening doors in your future? or do you just want to have fun? I'd see all of these reasons as perfectly normal, wouldn't you? It's fun to be silly! The world's a very serious place, so from time to time its best to make the most of small things like filling your mouth with cinnamon, or eating a range of vile, stomach-turning, vomit-inducing jelly beans (we all love a challenge video!) Weird is fun!
Both Becca and Jay have asked the second question: once you've grown the metaphorical balls to start a channel, what the hell do you upload? Here's an important word that I want you to ingest and also brand on your forehead: schedule. If you're hoping to build an audience, you need to make an agreement. An agreement with yourself and your viewers. This self-imposed, audience-reinforced schedule shows that you're dedicated to creating new content and you won't disappoint them. 

The first video is definitely important, but don't get too highly strung over it. If you're trying to be comical, be natural. If you're vlogging your life, be true. We're watching for your personality so have faith in yourself and just upload that video. Consider yourself tagged in the TMI tag - that's a great place to start!
I really wanted this question to come up and I'm pleased Austen asked it: video ideas or lack there-of. For years before starting our own channel, Niki and myself had watched a lot of comedians & comediennes on YouTube (you all know that we love Grace Helbig). ANECDOTE ALERT (you asked for it): in an attempt to stay topical, more often than not a video idea begins with a twitter trend, a viral internet hit, or a celebrity making a really stupid mistake (my favourite kind). I don't ever script videos which makes things a lot easier, and turnaround time a lot faster, but another way to think of video ideas is to literally get up (log out of tumblr) and go out. I get a lot of inspiration just talking to customers at work - inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. There are two things to remember: stay topical, stay relatable.
Luz, yes. 1005% yes. I often beat myself up over covering the same-old ground; the tags, the challenges, the Q&A's. I have an irrational fear of looking like I don't try (in all aspects of life) and recycling ideas doesn't always sit well with me... BUT - this shouldn't matter! So long as you approach something in your own way, making it unique and particular to you, it shouldn't matter that your video's called 'Chubby Bunny' or 'The Cinnamon Challenge'. It's all about you! (whoa, who let the cliché in)
So this question... I'll answer it in a second. First, let me break down what a network is and does! A network or MCN (multi-channel network) helps creators get the most out of their channel. They help with training and gaining sponsorship, amongst a lot of other things. They don't grow your audience for you, and they don't get you more views - that's all down to you. 

Myself and Niki knew exactly where to start because we grew up with the first wave of YouTube. We were there for the inception of GracenMichelle, and we were there when Grace first brought DailyGrace over to YouTube from MyDamnChannel. We wanted to get it all right, so we were careful and we planned it all out! We already had a lot of the equipment from our part time job, too. We were so lucky to see so much growth from our audience, and we're continually blown away (thank you all so much!) After Summer in the City last year, we went out on a limb and dropped our network an email (we only had 1,800 subscribers) and they said yes! They took a chance on us (to be fair the email was pretty incredible and our wonderful partner manager has even said so (nailed it))

It's easy to get caught up with numbers and analytics, but you need to remember why you started, why you wanted to create content in the first place. You're creative, embrace that and forget what everyone else says! Sure, there will be people putting you down or some that just don't understand, and that's fine (I don't understand boules, but that's not going to stop grandparents the world over from playing it religiously)

Above all else, you need to stay true to yourself. Trying to be someone else so that others like you won't get you anywhere and will end up with you either getting hurt, or not enjoying what you're doing. Be you, let everyone else love that. Find others like yourself, become part of the YouTube community - we're all tight in the UK and that's something special. 

∆ Welcome to YouTube, good luck! ∆