“Should I start a YouTube channel?” If you’ve asked yourself this question, it could be time to take the idea more seriously.
After all, YouTube is the second-most visited website in the world. Creating and growing a YouTube channel puts you in front of a wider audience, including people who prefer video over other media like blogs, social media, or even podcasts.
But how do you even start a YouTube channel? We break the process down into necessary steps, crucial info, and smart tips to start a YouTube channel, even as a beginner.
Decide If YouTube is Right for You and Your Brand
As a business owner, entrepreneur, or content creator — there’s always something more you could be doing to expand your reach and grow your audience. But since you can’t do everything, you have to decide which platforms and media make the most sense for you, your message or mission, and your audience.
“Youtube was a natural progression for me,” says Melanie Allen, springing out from the blog Partners in Fire and her experiences live streaming. Since she already had video recording and editing experience — and a message to share — starting a Partners in FIRE YouTube channel seemed like a natural evolution.
But video and YouTube can be the right medium for anyone, Melanie adds. “There are a lot of different ways to use YouTube, so I wouldn’t say it’s geared towards a specific personality type,” she says. It can be helpful if you enjoy acting, public speaking, or being on camera. But even creators who prefer to be off-camera can create videos with just images, captions, and voiceover.
“I was hesitant to start the channel because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time acting, filming, or creating video content,” Melanie says. But she decided to experiment with simple videos based on her existing content — and started seeing results. “I see it as making my existing content more accessible to everyone, and I think any content creator who has the time to do it should consider it.”
Explore YouTube Channel Formats and Strategies
Just like there’s no right or wrong way to film and format your videos, you can also find your own style and approach to your YouTube channel itself. Sure, uploading on the same day once a week can be effective for audience growth. But it’s not the only way to use YouTube to grow your audience and brand, both on the video streaming site and elsewhere.
YouTube channels can serve different purposes. You can create exactly what will best serve your business or brand. Your Youtube channel can host marketing materials and explainer videos for your brand. It can house uploads of content you’ve created elsewhere — webinars, livestreams, Instagram stories or reels, TikToks, and more.
Or you can create explainer videos to supplement and boost your blog posts. “Once I created the channel, I realized that it would be a good idea to use it to not only drive traffic to my blog,” Melanie says, “but also to keep people on my blog page longer by embedding videos.”
Watch other channels that are succeeding in the ways you’d like to, and take note of the types of video topics and formats that tend to do well. Review your own content and what your audience responds well to. And start brainstorming ways YouTube content and formats could help spread your message further.
There are a lot of ways to include a YouTube channel or videos in your marketing and content strategies. Putting your YouTube channel in the context of your overall brand or business can point you toward approaches and strategies that fit your goals.
How to Launch Your YouTube Channel
Still unsure? Don’t overthink the decision to start a YouTube channel. Go ahead and dabble a bit. You’ll learn a lot about whether a YouTube channel makes sense for you and your brand by just getting started.
Here’s a step-by-step look at how to start a YouTube channel — and grow it, too.
1. Create Your YouTube Channel
First, you’ll need a Google personal or brand account to create a YouTube channel. (A brand account is required if you want to use a different name on Google than is on your Google account, or set up more than one manager of your channel.) If you don’t have one, you can create a Google account through the YouTube sign-in page.
Once you’ve logged into YouTube with your Google Account, you can click on your profile picture to create a channel. You’ll go through a few steps to provide details about your channel, and click “create” to create it. Congrats, your YouTube channel is live!
Next, you may want to add channel branding and materials that can help introduce new viewers to your brand and content:
- Upload a channel profile picture
- Create a channel banner, the image at the top of your channel page
- Fill out the “About” section with information about your channel
With your YouTube channel live, you can now upload videos and access YouTube analytics and creator tools.
2. Record or Create Your Visual Content
Besides learning how to use YouTube itself as a platform, you’ll also need to get familiar with creating video content. As covered earlier, you don’t have to be a video whiz to start a channel. You just have to be willing to dive in and get started with recording and editing video.
First, figure out how you will record the video and audio for your planned video. This can be a simple as setting your phone up on a stand. If you have an upgraded camera, microphone, lighting, or other equipment — make use of that, of course.
For many creators, it makes just as much sense to upgrade your equipment as you go (and know for sure it’ll be well-used and worth the cost). And even if you do choose to purchase some equipment, keep in mind that you don’t have to get the priciest option to get great results.
Once you have your available equipment together, it’s time to set it up. Look for a shooting area with good lighting; natural daylight is best if you don’t have lighting equipment. Shoot for minimal background noise, too, and a good camera angle to frame your shot. Then, hit record and get started!
As mentioned earlier, not every video will be created this way. You can also use screen records, screenshots, photos, create your own graphics, record some b-roll or use stock video to gather the visuals needed for your video. For some formats, like a podcast episode, even a branded image could be all you need. In this case, you may want to launch your editing software and get to work.
3. Edit Your Media to Create a Youtube Video
Next up is editing the video you’ve shot to align with your vision for the content, as planned.
To do this, you’ll likely need a phone, tablet, or computer on which to edit. Then, you’ll need to find a video editing application or software to use. Some simpler options include Shortcut, Apple iMovie, or Lightworks. Video editors with more experience might prefer an option with more comprehensive features such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro. Research some options and try them out to compare.
But if you find this process frustrating, don’t quit. “The hardest part for me is editing videos,” Melanie said. She started with an app, Vidnami, that made it easy to turn blog posts into videos. Her first “real video,” then, was a screen capture of a slide presentation on Coast FIRE with a simple voice-over. “I then embedded it into my blog post on Coast FIRE,” Melanie said. “That video has over 8,000 views! It can be that simple.”
With your video editing software set up, you can start adding all of the materials you want to include: video, of course, plus images, voiceover, music or other sounds, and effects or filters. Then you can snip video clips, add in different media, and adjust as needed until you’re happy with the results. If you get stuck on an editing issue, use Google or YouTube to find answers to get past it.
Note: It can help to learn a bit about YouTube’s copyright policies to understand what is considered fair use of media on the platform. When adding media to your videos, make sure to follow these guidelines and use only media that you own or have the rights to use.
4. Upload and Promote Your YouTube Video
With your video created, it’s time to upload it to YouTube. Logged into the platform, click on the video icon in the top right hand and select “Upload Video.” From there you’ll select the correct file to upload and choose the settings for your video.
An important step at this stage is adding a video title, description, and tags. Take your time with these steps, identify the best keywords for your video, and optimize this text for search engines. This will make your video easier to find and discover, and draw in new viewers.
You can also take advantage of some editing tools within YouTube to set your video’s thumbnail, add music, add end screens, include cards to link to other videos, or adding closed captions. Complete the process and your video will be processed and uploaded.
With your video live, it’s time to share and promote it! Integrate and promote videos into your website content, such as embedding it into a blog post or landing page. Share the video, including clips of it, on social media platforms.
Overall, creating video content and maintaining a YouTube channel can be time-consuming. But adding this content format and platform to your brand’s efforts can also net big results. The increased accessibility of video content can get your message in front of a new, wider audience.