So you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel?
Awesome. Well, let me tell you the 5 things you must definitely do before you publish your first video (and the things I wish I knew sooner)…
Hey Posse! What’s up? It’s Alex.
Now – you have been asking me for tips on starting a YouTube channel for YEARS…
So I’m so excited to write this blog for you. Today I’m sharing the 5 most important factors you need to consider before you publish your first video.
Now, a lot of people who start a YouTube channel, jump right in without considering these very important factors… including yours truly.
While I have hundreds of thousands of subscribers NOW, it was a slow journey in the beginning.
It took me 6 months to reach my first 1000 subscribers and, looking back, there are some things I definitely could have done differently before getting started… and that is what I’m sharing in this blog.
Now, when it comes to YouTube, there is SO MUCH that goes into creating and running a successful channel. Way more than I could ever cover in one blog so you better believe I’ll be doing more tutorials on my YouTube lessons and strategies…
So if that sounds good to you, you know what to do.
Subscribe to my email list to know when my next tutorial goes out!
And if you like this blog, and want to read even more tutorials about starting and growing a YouTube channel, make sure to drop a comment below and let me know what you want to know about next.
Okay, so let’s get started with the first thing you need to do before you start your YouTube channel…
#1 – Select Your Niche
That’s right! Before you start creating content, it’s important for you to know WHAT content you’re going to be creating…
I know this might seem relatively obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people start a YouTube channel without putting ANY thought or consideration into the direction of their channel. They just post a hodgepodge of different stuff and this is a huge mistake.
So the first step is to get crystal clear on what your channel will be about…
What do you want to be known for?
Will you have a lifestyle vlog? Will you talk about dog training? Will you teach people how to bake sourdough? Talk about video games? Review products? Share photography tips? Are you super knowledgeable about a certain topic that you can educate others about? There are even “faceless” channels if you don’t feel comfortable showing your face.
The possibilities are literally endless…
Now, if you’re sitting there and thinking: “Well shoot. I don’t really know WHAT I want to talk about…”
Here are some questions to help you hone in on a potential niche:
- What am I good at?
- What do I have experience or credibility in?
- What am I genuinely interested in?
- What am I so lit up and excited about that I can continue to show up and talk about – and this is the key – every single week for years?
YouTube is not a short-term platform. Don’t expect to show up for a few weeks and get results. It’s a commitment.
In those early months, your channel may be slow to gain momentum. Sometimes it will feel like you’re talking to no one and like no one cares (ask me how I know lol).
After your friends and family like that first video and you feel like a rock star for a hot second, you’ll fall into the crickets phase… that time between starting and gaining actual traction (you know, where actual strangers watch and like your stuff).
It might take a while to get any sort of external validation for your effort and that’s why it’s SO IMPORTANT to select your niche based on what YOU genuinely enjoy – something you’re passionate about.
Because if you start a channel based on what you “think” is hot and trending and what you “think” will be successful, then you’re going to lose motivation and throw in the towel when your channel doesn’t take off as quickly as you thought it would.
Like I mentioned earlier, it took half a freakin’ year before my channel started to pick up momentum.
If I wasn’t genuinely passionate about what I was talking about it, then I definitely would have given up before I hit that milestone. So pick something you love, something you’re good at, and something that you are totally cool with talking about EVEN IF you’re the only one listening.
And look – don’t be afraid of niching down.
I hear from so many entrepreneurs and aspiring creatives that they’re afraid to niche down or “box themselves in”. But listen…
It’s hard to be known for anything when you talk about everything.
So start specific then you can absolutely pivot the type of content you produce as your audience grows and evolves. And in fact – you almost certainly will!
When I first started my channel I talked EXCLUSIVELY about copywriting. So this tip is actually something I did follow and I’m glad I did.
Then as my business began to grow and my followers began asking me for more tips to help them scale their businesses…
So you’re totally allowed to pivot and change direction, but you need to START with a clear direction.
Alright, let’s move on to the next thing you need to get clear on before starting your channel…
#2 – Determine Your Target Audience
So now that you know what niche you’ll start in. You need to figure out WHO this content is for – and most importantly… how you’ll make it relevant to THEM.
Yup… marketing 101. It’s not about YOU.
Yes, yes, yes I know I just said you need to be totally okay with creating content EVEN IF you’re the only one listening, and that’s true. But you also need to keep in mind that your channel is about your audience.
And if you don’t know who that is, then you’re going to have a pretty hard time creating your content to be USEFUL for them.
I made this mistake in the beginning. When I started my channel I THOUGHT I was doing it to find more copywriting clients. And that my DREAM clients would be the ones watching my videos and think, damn, I need to hire her!
So my first few videos spoke to this audience.
It wasn’t until I got a comment from someone about 5 weeks in who asked, “Hey Alex, can you tell us how to become a freelancer copywriter like you?” that I thought hmm interesting, okay! So I created a video on that – speaking to an entirely different audience – and boom.
To this day this ONE video is my most viewed video.
So it’s good to get suppppper clear on who your audience actualy is.
- Who is your target audience?
- What are their pain points?
- What are they struggling with?
- What do they want to learn?
- What do they want to accomplish?
- What do they need to learn to get there?
Remember, if you try to speak to everyone then you’ll end up speaking to NO ONE.
So what I recommend doing is thinking of an actual person who you’re creating all your content for. ONE PERSON – with a name, an occupation, a clear set of beliefs, desires, and challenges. This will make scripting your videos a lot easier and…
I actually have an entire Customer Avatar Worksheet that will walk you through this process.
After you create your Customer Avatar, you should have a pretty good idea of your ideal customer’s interests…
This is going to help you big time in the next step.
#3 – Create Your Content Pillars
Alright – so you’ve got your niche and you know who you’re talking to…
Now it’s time to map out the topic categories you’ll talk about in order to help your ideal customer. This is something a lot of people overlook – they think “oh I’m going to talk about dog grooming!”
And they start making videos and then they QUICKLY realize…
“Shoot. I’m running out of things to say. Or ways to say it. I’M OUT OF IDEAS!”
Even in a niche as specific as dog grooming, there can be a variety of content categories…
For example, you could demonstrate different grooming techniques, do a series on specific breeds, review doggy hair care products, or talk about grooming safety!
So, whatever your niche, map out a list of 5 related topics or “content pillars” your audience might be interested in. Going through this process makes it a lot easier to map out sub-topics under each pillar that you can create videos about.
Now you’re ready to move on to the next phase which is…
#4 – Research The Competition
Now this one is something that most people probably do… but they do it incorrectly.
When it comes to researching the competition you want to do more than simply take a look at what they are posting…
You want to turn into a performance detective!
Search some of the keywords of your niche, pillars and subtopics and find the videos that perform really well.
Then watch the video and ask yourself….
- What is this creator doing really well?
- What AREN’T they doing well?
- Where are the gaps?
- What is missing and how can you differentiate yourself from them?
One of the best ways to answer these questions is by scrolling through the comment section of the videos!
Most of the time, if someone is going to leave a comment – it’s either because something was super awesome, or because something was not so great. Either way – it’s great insight for you to consider when creating YOUR content.
Another thing to take a look at when performing your research is to consider why the video performed so well?
Take a close look at the title they used and their thumbnail – what was the hook? This will give you a good idea of what captured so many people’s attention.
What keywords did you search to find their video? This is all super important information you’ll be able to utilize when it comes time to posting your first videos.
Okay and the last step you need to do before posting your first video is…
#5 – Map Out Your First 10 Videos
You guys TRUST ME ON THIS.
Please plan ahead. Plan further ahead than you think you’ll need. Record and edit your first 5-10 videos BEFORE you publish your first one.
When I first started my channel, I planned out my first 4 videos and I’m so glad I did. It gave me a nice runway to plan and prepare more content.
Keep in mind It IS GOING TO take you a few weeks or months to find your groove and flush out your process…
And what you don’t want to happen is that you miss a week because you fell behind and couldn’t get everything ready on time.
If you start ahead then it will be so much easier to keep up and stay consistent. And when it comes to YouTube…
Consistency really is the name of the game.
Especially in those beginning days.
The YouTube algorithm Gods aren’t going to show your content very many people until you’ve proven that you’re a consistent creator in the space.
That’s why it is soooo important to really take this prep work seriously.
So set yourself up for success. Plan ahead. Stick to a schedule that you can stay consistent with. And most importantly…
KEEP GOING and give yourself grace throughout this process. Good luck and if you want more YouTube tutorials like this one, leave a comment below! And as promised, don’t forget to grab your Customer Avatar Exercise here.
Until next time, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!