Creating YouTube videos is the perfect way to explore your creativity, learn some new skills, and build an audience to turn your passion into a media career. But when you can make a video about literally anything, where do you start?
We’re here to give you a rundown on some of the most popular categories of YouTube videos—from game videos and comedy sketches to how-to tutorials and vlogging—to inspire your creative content journey.
Types of YouTube Videos
Gaming YouTube videos are among the most-watched on the platform (nearly 1.31 billion hours in summer 2021 alone!). And there are dozens of niches you can break into—everything from live streaming your evening Animal Crossing adventures to reviewing the latest game releases.
If you’re an expert on one or two games, filming walkthroughs can help you build a loyal audience. These game videos don’t usually go viral overnight, but over time, you’ll find them wracking up views as gamers get stuck and turn to YouTube for help.
In walkthroughs, you’ll take viewers through the game as you play, showing them hacks that can get them to the next level. A great way to increase the popularity of your video is to add commentary with insights your viewers can’t find anywhere else.
For other game YouTube videos, consider posting reviews of new games that you’ve managed to get your hands on. You could also host a live stream where viewers can follow you in real time as you play.
If the thought of whispering or chewing into a microphone doesn’t feel too strange to you, try your hand at making ASMR YouTube videos.
ASMR or “autonomous sensory meridian response” all comes down to the spontaneous physical response we have (think tingling or relaxing feelings) to a certain auditory stimulus. Some of the most popular ASMR videos feature repetitive noises like tapping or whispering or repetitive actions like someone cooking or brushing their hair.
Scientists aren’t quite sure what causes ASMR reactions, since they’re often unique to the individual. However, studies have found that some see an improvement in sleep quality when listening to ASMR. If you’re intrigued and interested in helping others, creating ASMR content might just be the avenue to pursue.
Animated YouTube Videos
Over the last decade, YouTube has become a real competitor to mainstream television, and that’s never been more obvious than when it comes to cartoons and animated videos. In fact, one of the world’s most popular videos is an animated children’s video that’s less than two minutes long. That’s right—Baby Shark!
Animated videos on YouTube aren’t just for children, though. Cartoon comedies like Cyanide & Happiness and parodies like the channel OneyNG routinely see hundreds of thousands of views per video. So, if you’re a skilled illustrator and storyteller, creating your own YouTube animated series could be the ideal way to share your craft with the world.
Toy YouTube videos have taken advertising to an entirely new level. Unboxing videos remain some of the most viewed videos on the platform, and toy influencers like Ryan Kaji, who started his channel at only 4 years old, make millions every year from sponsorships.
This type of video isn’t just for kids, though. Some adult creators build this content into their parenting or lifestyle-focused channels, sharing a parent’s take on different toys.
Just like with gaming videos, reviews or hauls perform well on YouTube. Kids want to see what the toys look like and other children playing with them, whereas adults might be interested in features or cost details.
Reaction YouTube Videos
You’ve probably seen reaction videos before, and they’re some of the easiest to make for YouTube. All you have to do is set up a camera and record yourself or others reacting to something, such as a food tasting, a “what’s in the box” surprise, or pivotal scenes in shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. In some cases, people don’t know they’re being recorded, which makes their reactions even funnier.
A simple next step is turning this content into a commentary video, in which you contribute your thoughts on your own reaction or those of others. Adding a personal touch is a great way to stand out in this popular genre.
How-To YouTube Videos and Tutorial Videos
YouTube is often the first place people look when they want to learn a new skill. Particularly during the Covid-19 lockdowns, viewers turned to YouTube to brush up on old hobbies or find something new to learn at home. So if you have a talent for a particular craft or are knowledgeable about a complex topic, creating how-to videos can open your channel up to a whole new audience.
Take some time to think about how you might break your work down into simple steps that beginners can quickly grasp. DIY, makeup, crafting, and life hacks all make for great tutorials and how-to instructional videos.
From product reviews to tutorials on particular looks, everyone from beauty brands to ordinary makeup-wearers has created makeup YouTube videos.
Fashion and beauty trends tend to move at lightning speed, so there’s always room for new videos on different topics. Maybe you have a specialized skill that you can adapt into everyday looks, like professional makeup artist Nikkie de Jager, who found fame online with her commissioned work and celebrity makeovers. Or maybe you love recreating looks by beauty brands, a technique that saw British YouTuber Zoe Sugg, also known as Zoella, grow so popular she launched her own line of products.
Whatever your interests are, you can find a home for your makeup videos and an ever-growing community of followers on YouTube.
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There are few things better than making someone laugh. If you have a gift for comedy, filming skits or standup routines can bring you a loyal audience. Take it from some of the world’s most famous YouTubers, including Colleen Ballinger, Shane Dawson, Jenna Marbles, and Lilly Singh. Some have even gone on to host mainstream TV late-night shows and Netflix specials after making a name for themselves online.
It’s important to remember that what people find funny is personal and unique, so don’t expect every comment to be positive as you start to see more success. But don’t let this put you off! Becoming a household name is all about finding your unique brand of funny, and comedy YouTube videos are a great place to experiment.
Educational YouTube Videos
While many educational videos on YouTube are targeted toward school-aged children, there are thousands of videos for all ages on a range of different topics. Want to brush up on your math skills? There’s a video—or 5,000—for that. Looking to learn more about stock market investing or building passive income streams? You’ll find plenty of educational videos for that too.
Language videos are popular, as are STEM subjects like math, science, and engineering, but if you have knowledge about any particular topic, you can easily create informative videos sharing your expertise. You don’t even need to have formal qualifications! While some channels are more focused on academic subjects, other channels offer educational videos from individuals who have lived experience instead.
Challenge videos were a YouTube staple back in the 2010s. Thanks to the popularity of online series’ like “Hot Ones,” watching people test their limits is back on the top of the viewing charts.
Kick it old school by recording yourself completing the Chubby Bunny challenge (where you see how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth at once while saying “chubby bunny”), or try something a little hotter with a spicy wings challenge. You could even test out the McDonald’s Roulette challenge by pulling up at the drive-through and ordering whatever the car in front of you had!
Food challenges may be some of the most entertaining, but they’re not the only topic that works for challenge YouTube videos. Couple challenges like “boyfriend/girlfriend does my makeup” and trivia quizzes like “guess the song” are just as fun to film and watch.
Why not round up a few friends and record yourselves trying out a few challenges? They’ll be hilarious to watch back, and you might even find yourself going viral!
Travel YouTube Videos
Travel videos are all about opening our eyes to new experiences and locations. If you love nothing more than jumping on a plane to head somewhere new, creating travel content could be for you.
Like most categories on YouTube, travel videos can go in a number of directions. Maybe you’re an expert at traveling on a tight budget and want to inspire others looking to do the same, like the Vagabrothers channel—one of the best when it comes to travel tips and hacks for would-be adventurers. Or maybe you want to show viewers new destinations they wouldn’t ordinarily consider, much like solo traveler Eva zu Beck does.
No matter your interests, next time you’re heading out on an adventure, grab your camera. Not only will the footage be an incredible reminder of your trip, but you can also share your experiences with others.
Just like blogging, what’s considered “lifestyle” content encompasses a range of topics. From makeup and skincare to parenting or home decor, lifestyle YouTube videos can reach audiences with all kinds of interests.
Vlogging is common in the lifestyle space, and it’s easy for new YouTubers to get started with. Morning and evening routines, especially work-from-home ones, saw large viewing numbers as people adapted to new norms during the pandemic. And there’s something incredibly relaxing (and motivating) about watching someone clean their home on a Sunday.
Since lifestyle is such a flexible genre, what you choose to film can be just as adaptable. You can share as much or as little of your life as you like, carving out space in a niche or trying a broader range of topics.
Product Review Videos
We see so many ads for different products every day, knowing who to trust and what to buy can be incredibly overwhelming. Because of this, it’s no wonder review videos for all kinds of things are some of the most popular videos on YouTube. Consumers typically view review videos less critically than they would traditional advertising. Hearing the pros and cons, rather than advertising sales material, instantly builds trust and credibility.
Brands are keen to make use of this type of content, so if you’re a prolific reviewer on YouTube, you could soon find yourself becoming an influencer and seeing brand sponsorships coming into your inbox.
Lights, Camera, Action!
There are plenty of different types of videos you could make to build a successful YouTube channel. And the topics here aren’t even all of the avenues you could explore! But if your interests tie into any of these categories, you could soon be building a loyal following of viewers who can’t wait for your next upload.
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