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Has there always been a small part of you—or maybe a giant part—that feels as though you’re destined for some sort of fame? Have you daydreamed about what it would be like for people to recognize you or know your name? Do you aspire to stardom without quite knowing what kind of star you want to be?
Fame is complicated.
But here’s some good news: Today, it’s actually easier than ever to achieve a piece of stardom. While social media gets its fair share of negative press, it also empowers so-called “regular people” to claim the fame they’ve spent their whole lives thinking about.
We’re all so connected through the online world that all it really takes to capture an audience is your phone (though a camera and a laptop can help you go an extra mile or two). There are no guarantees that your audience will be huge, but they’ll be attentive to the things you create! Plus, with hard work and consistency, you can grow that audience over time.
YouTube is a fantastic place to cultivate that audience. As a YouTuber, you’ll have tons of freedom to explore your passions and interests on camera. Build an engaged, enthusiastic following, and you’ll have a community of supporters cheering you on. You can even make money as a YouTuber!
This is a lot of information to take in, so let’s slow it down and take things one step at a time. Keep scrolling for an in-depth look at what it takes to become a successful YouTube creator and how to keep that success going. By the time you’re finishing reading, you’ll feel more inspired and prepared than ever to pursue those dreams of being in the spotlight.
What Is a YouTuber?
Let’s start with the basics. What even is a YouTuber? To put it simply, a YouTuber is anyone who produces and posts video content to YouTube with some regularity.
That sounds pretty obvious, right? Of course it does! But here’s the thing: there’s actually a lot of variety within the YouTuber community, which means there’s more than one way to be a YouTuber.
There are, of course, the big-time YouTubers who make content creation their full-time job. They might be video production pros or simply self-taught creatives. These YouTubers might also consider themselves YouTube influencers, since they likely work with brands to put together campaigns that will appeal to their audiences, earning some cash in the process. This is what affords them the opportunity to make YouTube their primary profession. But we’ll talk more about earning money through YouTube later on.
You don’t have to spend all of your time filming and editing videos to call yourself a YouTuber, though. Many people work in the YouTube world on a part-time basis, using it to supplement their income or as an outlet for their creativity. YouTubers get to have total control of their content, so if you’re craving a project that’s all your own, definitely consider taking up YouTube in your spare time.
YouTubers can make videos about just about anything, as long as they’re appropriate for the platform’s guidelines. If you want to explore a personal passion or learn something new, a YouTube channel might just be the perfect place to do it—and for the benefit of audiences who would love to be along for the ride.
Now that you have a sense of just how broad the definition of “YouTuber” can be, it’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of actually becoming one. Ready to get started with your own YouTube journey? Read on.
How to Become a YouTuber
One of the best things about YouTube is that it has a relatively low barrier to entry. If you want to start a channel and begin creating and posting videos, you can do it at a very low cost—practically free, in fact—and without prior experience.
All you really have to do to start a YouTube channel is follow these basic steps. Maybe the path to fame isn’t so complicated, after all!
Choose a Topic for Your Channel
Let the creative process begin! This is the part where you sit down and consider what your YouTube videos will actually be about.
You might have a passion that you already know you want to explore. On the other hand, you might know you want to start a YouTube channel without having a clear picture of your ideal subject matter. If this is the case, your best bet might be a good old-fashioned brainstorming session.
Here are a few popular topics to consider:
- Vlogs (a shorthand for “video blogs” or “video logs,” in which YouTubers pretty much just post stories about how they spend their days)
- Product reviews
- DIY/home decor
Keep in mind that if you’re going to commit to being a YouTube, it’s probably going to be quite time-consuming. Choose a topic that you’ll be happy to spend many hours thinking about!
Start Your Channel
Once you’ve chosen a topic or theme for your channel, you actually have to start that channel. This is as easy as navigating to www.youtube.com on your computer or mobile device. If you’re already logged into your Google account on this device, YouTube will automatically log you in with that information.
In the top-right corner of your screen, you should see your own profile picture or avatar. Click it! In the drop-down menu, you’ll see a “Create a Channel” option. Go for it.
From there, YouTube will walk you through the process of starting your channel. The site will prompt you with questions about your personal information and how you’d like your channel to look.
Once you’ve answered all of those questions, it’s official—you’ve got yourself a YouTube!
Plan Your Videos
Eventually, you might find that you don’t need to spend a lot of time planning video content before you shoot it and put it together, but if you’re still a beginner, it never hurts to do some extra prep. In the interest of efficiency, you might also consider planning out three to five videos to start with instead of just one. That way, you can populate your channel with plenty of content for new audiences to get lost in right off the bat.
Some YouTube videos will benefit from a pre-written script, while others should be more spontaneous. Even unscripted videos, though, can benefit from planning. Jot down all of the shots you want to get for your video, as well as everything you’ll need to get them. What props should you have on hand? Will you be shooting using your phone, a camera, or something else? Do you need a tripod, or will someone be there to help you?
Spending time thinking through these questions ahead of time will make things run a lot more smoothly when you actually start shooting.
Shoot Your Videos
You can’t post a video to your new YouTube channel if you don’t have a video to post. Lights, camera, action… it’s time to shoot!
Whether you’re a total newbie to video production or have some experience, you might want to brush up on this step with one of these courses:
- From Clueless to Content Creator: Make Engaging Videos That Attract an Audience
- Essential Lighting Skills and Techniques for Video and Content Creators
- Videography For Creatives: Film & Edit Videos That Spark Action
You’ll become more confident in shooting videos for your channel over time, but for now, you just have to get started.
Edit Your Videos
Now that you’ve shot footage for your YouTube videos, you’ll need to edit it together so that it’s aesthetically pleasing and engaging for your audiences. Unedited footage might be sufficient for home videos, but it’s not quite right for a content creator who is taking their work more seriously. Even a few basic video edits will help to legitimize your channel.
Check out these courses in video editing:
- Video Editing Techniques: A Practical Guide to Creating Visually Appealing Edits
- Advanced Video Editing: Essential Graphics & More in Adobe Premiere Pro
- Video Editing Techniques: Create Smooth Edits
Post Your Video to YouTube
When your video is edited and ready to go, find your way back to www.youtube.com, then click on your profile photo or avatar in the top-right corner again. Click “Your Channel.” Select the “Manage Videos” tab. In the top-right corner of the screen, you’ll see a “Create” button. Choose “Upload Videos’ from the drop-down.
From there, you’ll be prompted to upload your edited video and to answer a series of questions about your video so that it looks the way you want it to and to help people find it. You’ll also be asked to upload a thumbnail image to represent your video.
Spread the Word!
If you really want to establish a larger following for your YouTube, you’ll need to take the time to promote your videos once they’re created and posted. You can do this by sharing the link with friends and loved ones via email and by posting about the video on social media. You might even choose to establish dedicated social media accounts for your channel.
Kick your social media promotion up a notch by learning to make graphics and images on Canva.
Tell a Good Story From Start to Finish
Storytelling through Film: How to Create Engaging Videos for YouTube
Make Money as a YouTuber
You’re probably aware of professional YouTubers and other influencers who earn a living—or maybe some extra income—by creating content online. If that sounds enticing to you, here’s what you should know.
How Do YouTubers Make Money?
There are a few ways to earn money via YouTube. The simplest and most common way to earn money as a YouTuber is through ad views. Since Google owns YouTube, YouTubers can easily sign up for Google AdSense, which then displays ads on their videos. The videos are selected by Google based on the viewer’s online history. YouTubers will earn cash based on how many followers they have. There’s not a lot of money up for grabs here, but you can earn more as you grow your audience.
Other YouTubers will earn money by working directly with brands and companies. A deal like this might require a YouTuber to advertise a particular product or to share their experience with a company in a particular number of videos. Some branded content will come off as a traditional TV commercial, while some of these videos are more creative. An influencer who’s cut a deal with a meal kit company, for example, might seamlessly work a cooking segment into a day-in-the-life vlog.
Affiliate links are another great option. When a YouTuber mentions or shows certain items in a video, they can supply specific links to viewers. When people shop using those links, the YouTuber will earn a small commission. Various retailers will have their own affiliate programs, so do a little online digging to see if shoppable links are available for the items you expect to showcase in your content. Amazon, eBay, and Fiverr are three major brands you might be familiar with that have solid affiliate programs.
How Much Money Do YouTubers Make?
So how much do YouTubers make? Well, there’s a huge range in the amount of money YouTubers earn through their channels. It depends on how exactly a YouTuber plans to make money and how large their audience is, among other factors.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the average YouTube channel linked to Google Adsense receives $18 per 1,000 ad views. But truly, the sky’s the limit: Forbes notes that Ryan Kaji—the top-earning YouTube star of 2020—earned $29.5 million over the course of the year.
Benefits of Being a YouTuber
There are many benefits to building and maintaining a YouTube channel. Here are just a few of them:
It’s a Great Creative Outlet
Sometimes, you just need a way to flex your creative muscles and take on a fun project. If you feel like you don’t get a chance to do those things in your daily routine as it is, adding YouTube to the mix is bound to help. You’ll feel inspired by the process of brainstorming ideas, creating new content, and sharing it with your audience.
You’ll Learn New Things
Whether you’re exploring new-to-you subject matter on your channel or learning about the basics of video production, you’re going to walk away with so many fresh skills and information to share. Who knows? You might even be able to use what you’ve learned as a YouTuber in other parts of your life.
You can make and edit YouTube videos on your own schedule and in the comfort of your own home… or wherever else you happen to be. It’s all on your terms.
It Can Generate Income
You’ve already read about the various ways you can earn money as a YouTuber. That’s a definite benefit!
You Can Have a Lot of Fun With It
Ultimately, making videos for YouTube can also just be a lot of fun. And that might just be reason enough to get started as a YouTuber. We could all use a little more fun in our lives, right?
It Allows You to Share Your Passions
If you have a message you want to share with a large audience, YouTube could certainly be the right platform. Whether it’s an important cause, a passion, or simply a message of positivity, it can reach plenty of people through YouTube. After all, according to Global Media Insight, YouTube is the second most popular social media platform in the world, with 30 million active daily users. There are a lot of people there to hear what you have to say.
There are more than 37 million YouTube channels currently live on the site, so there really are limitless YouTubers from which you can draw inspiration. There’s something for everyone! Here are just a few creators whose work you are sure to find both useful and entertaining.
Lilly Singh is an author, a late-night host, and an executive producer at her own company, but she began exploring her own storytelling abilities by starting a YouTube channel, which now has more than 14 million followers. Her channel primarily showcases skits she writes and performs herself.
Sorelle Amore’s one million YouTube followers are treated to beautiful travel videos and helpful advice videos like How to Afford a Life of Non-Stop Travel (Even If You’re Broke AF) and 14 Realistic Ways to Make Money Online. Plus, she’s one of a handful of famous YouTubers who offer classes right here on Skillshare!
Techies, look no further than Marques Brownlee’s YouTube channel. His videos explain tech phenomena, review various products, and offer advice for people who want to make the most of technology in their lives. You can learn the secrets to his success here.
Anyone who believes that the internet can only make you feel bummed out obviously hasn’t met Ali Abdaal. He focuses on content intended to help his millions of followers “lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives with the overall aim of helping people do more of what matters to them,” according to his profile. What’s not to like about that?
There are lots of health and wellness influencers out there making helpful, informative content on YouTube, and Tori DeSimone is one of them. Tune into her videos to learn about wellness of all kinds.
Go Forth and YouTube!
Thanks to YouTube, there is so much opportunity for aspiring stars to make their mark on audiences. All you need to grab your own piece of fame—big or small—is a few devices, some time, and the drive to succeed. Consistency in creating and posting also goes a long way.
There’s no right or wrong way to become a YouTuber. The only way you can really make a mistake is, well, to not get started. So stop waiting! Brainstorm what you’re most passionate about and start building your YouTube presence around that. Audiences will sense your enthusiasm for the topic at hand, and they won’t be able to look away. You might even become one of the most popular YouTubers in the game.
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