Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has grown from a simple video hosting platform into a social media and marketing giant. With 30 million daily visitors watching 5 billion videos every day and 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, the stats are absolutely staggering; With that kind of exposure – and the monetization opportunities that come with it – it’s no wonder more and more users are choosing to make a living from it. However, you need more than a video camera and an interesting topic to be successful. To be a professional YouTuber, you need to be a jack of all trades, and that means understanding the basics of SEO and online marketing techniques, as well as creating and producing good content. Luckily, the rewards are worth the effort; The top 13 YouTube stars combined earned over $54 million in 2015. So if this sounds like this could be the career path for you, then check out these essential tips to help you on your way.
Define your success
For some people, vlogging is just a way to talk to friends about their interest in makeup or model train sets. Getting a few hundred followers offering some thoughts and opinions is a nice bonus, but essentially the goal is just to have some fun.
That’s fine, of course, but for people who want to make it a career, success is defined more seriously. Before you begin, you need to be clear about what your own definition of success is and understand what it takes to achieve it. Set realistic goals (e.g. 50 subscribers by the end of the month) and continually measure your progress against your goals.
- Research keywords
The first thing every aspiring vlogger should know is that good content is useless if nobody is looking at it. As we alluded to, a lot of material gets uploaded to the site – and all of it competes for views. Therefore, in order to be seen, you need to understand how keywords work.
Like Google, YouTube’s search algorithm is designed to return results that it believes are best suited to the searcher’s intent. And just like Google, it has tools that show you this data. Take the time to understand the importance of this as it should be the cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy. Once you know what people are looking for, you can create your content accordingly.
Know your competition
It’s important to watch what your competitors are doing – not just to understand what you’re up against, but because it can be a positive learning curve. Ask yourself what you like and don’t like about what they do. What could you do better? How can you stand out from others and give something your own perspective?
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However, don’t just copy what others are doing. You should compare your own work with that of your colleagues and not try to replicate it. “When you’re a needle in a haystack, it’s hard to get noticed,” claims YouTube star Street Light. “Don’t just follow a trend or you’ll get lost in the crowd.”
- Content, Content, Content
That brings us to the bread and butter of your YouTube project. While the marketing and the technical side of things are vital to building viewers and therefore your success, the content of your videos is what will always be there and what people will always judge you by.
No one can tell you what will and will not succeed here; After all, watching someone else play video games may sound boring to many people, but Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie) made $15 million from it in 2015 alone. However, as a general rule, your content should always be fresh, unique, and valuable to the viewer in one way or another.
The importance of production value depends on your niche; There are successful YouTubers who use nothing but a webcam and Windows Movie Maker. But remember, you’re on a visual platform and the more professional your videos look, the more impressed people will be. As you become more successful, you can invest in better video production hardware and editing tools, but in the meantime, make sure you’re well-lit, easy to understand, and that the setting has context.