A few weeks back I wrote a (rather lengthy) post on starting a blog. After reading through an overwhelming number of comments, the message was clear: the YouTube equivalent was needed. Although filming videos was one of the first things I attempted to do when I started Hello October, I didn’t really get into it for a good year, and it was almost another year before I really started to have fun with it. But now it’s become something I genuinely enjoy doing and I can’t imagine not getting up at 8am on a Saturday to chat away in front of my camera. No, really that wasn’t even sarcasm. Anyway, here are my tips for starting a channel of your own. Let me know if this is a topic you’d like me to go into in more detail, as I might be able to whip something up for you…
Your name and branding
Depending on whether you already have a blog or not, you might not need to think too much about your YouTube name. Either way, make sure it’s something you like and that isn’t already being used. As I mentioned in my last post I’m a sucker for branding, it’s one of my favourite aspects of any business I come across and something I pay particular attention to. I will normally have my blog branding at the beginning or the end of a video and always make sure the fonts and colours are the same. Consistency is key with both social media account names and branding.
I started off using a little bridge camera and have worked my way up to the Canon 600D. I’ll be honest here, although it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have the best equipment, (some of my favourite vloggers have used non-hd cameras) I prefer having a good quality camera. It’s also really difficult when you start out now, as viewers are far more used to seeing high quality videos on YouTube now than they were a few years ago. That being said I’m glad I started off with using what I already had, as I might have (and did for a while) hated it and given up. It’s always best to suss out whether you like being on YouTube first before investing, as it’s a very different world to blogging.
Sitting down to film your first video is very exciting, as a result you will come across slightly different to how you are in person – chances are you’ll be quieter so people you live with don’t hear and you’ll stumble and correct yourself a lot – but that’s okay, we’ve all been there . If you’re unsure of what to film, pick your favourite part of what you do – whether it’s a what’s in my bag which is more “show and tell”, a hair tutorial or (my thing) a makeup tutorial. My first video was everyday makeup and I felt completely comfortable sitting and chatting away with my buffing brush. It felt like I was chatting away to friends. At this point I knew I was going to upload this video and was pretty confident, but if you’re feeling unsure, film a few and edit them before you decide. That way if you like them you’ll have a back log of content to upload, and if you don’t like one? Don’t upload. Simples. To this day if I film a video and I’m not happy then I won’t upload it. You need to love what you upload.
Lots of people think I use something crazy complicated for editing, but I just use iMovie – the standard software that comes on a mac. If you work on PC then windows movie maker is just as good. I’ve used both as I’ve always been in to editing and creating my own videos since before I knew about YouTube – WMM provided me with hours of entertainment as a teenager. It’s important to play around with things a lot before you up upload your first video. Everything I do I’ve learnt myself and it’s really satisfying once you figure things out. In the beginning it’s important not to try and do too much too soon. You’ll notice other YouTubers using effects or overlays that you don’t know how to do yet – and you will have a bitch fit if you spend hours trying to do this on your first video. Been there, done that. My best advice would be to focus on the content and keep the editing simple. No one will notice if you simply cut the clips and put them together in a clear, concise way, but if you throw music and fancy transitions over a very nervous first time vlogger – people will notice. Take it slow, watch everything back at least twice (for me this is for PC purposes, I’m always swearing…) and enjoy making your first videos.
Once I’ve edited my video and saved it, I get ready to upload it to the world of YouTube. I like to make a little checklist to make sure there’s nothing I’ve forgotten before I upload anything:
- Did you take a thumbnail photo?
- Have you got your description box info?
- Do you have a blog post photo to go alongside your video?
- Have you written a blog post to go with the video?
- Have you tweeted letting people know when the video will be up?
The ability to upload a thumbnail is a weird one. Back when I started you didn’t automatically have it, and I think YouTube has changed the rules a little bit, so it’s worth browsing your account settings before and looking at your options whilst you’re uploading. It’s also important to pop as much info as you can into the description box. Blog links, what you’re wearing and products you were talking about are all important details. The last two points are only really relevant if you have a blog too, but they’re the ones I’m forever forgetting.
Remember – consistency is key
Even with your upload times. I love waking up to tweets at 8:56am on a Sunday morning saying that you’re excited for 9am. If your viewers know when to expect a video, they’ll check back. I also try and make sure I’m active on social media when my videos go live so I can chat to people about it and tweet that it’s live.
Responding to comments
Once you’ve uploaded your video, you might have to wait a while for your first comment, but once you start getting them it really is where the fun happens. I love chatting to people in my comments. It’s actually one of my preferred communication methods next to twitter as it gives you a notification once I’ve responded. Not to dampen the mood but I’m regularly asked about dealing with negativity, so I thought I’d give the golden rule: you could say what ever you want back to the person leaving a nasty comment, but they won’t care. So why care about what they have to say? As far as I’m concerned this space on the internet is reserved for positive vibes only, I have no time for anything else.
I’m slightly worried this post has got a little bit lengthy, so I’ll end this one here. If you have any questions then come on over to @hello_october_ on twitter and ask away!