posted by Benedict Townsend

Your first steps to YouTube success

So you want to start a YouTube channel: fantastic idea! Having a channel can be super fun, lead to new friends and experiences and even become rich and famous. The only thing stopping you is, you know – actually doing it. But have no fear, top tips are here. In this article, I’ll give you five crucial tips that will help you get your YouTube channel up and running in no time.


A dramatic reconstruction of the feedback you’ll get on your channel


As someone who has a reasonably successful YouTube channel (three cheers for shameless self-promotion) and who also works with someone with a more successful channel, I feel I am in a great position to help you take your first steps into the glorious wonderland of #content that is YouTube dot com. So if you’re ready to party, let’s go party:


Great to hear


Put Content First

As exciting as it can be to have a ‘brand’, the brand is useless if it not supporting anything. As I spoke about in my article about mistakes new YouTubers make, you have to make sure you’re always prioritising thinking of what you’re making and why. This means working exactly what kind of videos you enjoy making, can make and which an audience would want to watch. It may be tempting to just do whatever the hot challenge video is that week, but everyone and their aunt will be recording that and, let’s face it, it’s not gonna be fun for you to make.



Instead, think about what you enjoy making and make that. The audience can always tell if the person on screen is having fun and when they see that, they have fun too. It’s win-win babyyyyyyyyyy. Whether it be personal vlogs, songs or something straight out of your crazy lil brain, people will embrace it if it’s all about fun (and not like, a staged murder).


Make Ya Thumbnails POP

This is something that will tell you time and time again but it’s undeniably true: you have to make sure your thumbnails are on-point. If you do, you can massively improve your video views – and in fact, if you get it wrong, you can actively turn people away from your videos. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about right now. A ‘thumbnail’ is the picture you see on a video before you click on it:


Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.39.00


A good thumbnail is one that’s clear, simple and which immediately catches the viewer’s eye. A good rule to remember is that people are very attracted to clearly visible human eyes, so a thumbnail like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.41.09


Is more effective than one like this (if you ignore the titles lol):

 Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.41.44

But remember that ‘eye-catching’ doesn’t mean ‘lying’ or ‘filled with boobs’. If you’re going to use misleading thumbnails to try and trick people into watching your videos, it’s not going to work.




Collaborations Are Super Fun And Super Useful

Collaborating with YouTubers whose work you enjoy is a great way to have fun, make new friends and reach a whole new audience. Now, this should go without saying, but I’ll drop it in anyway just to be sure: your YouTube faves are not going to collaborate with you. As amazing as it may be to think of yourself collaborating with Tyler Oakley or PewDiePie, there are way too many channels out there that want to collab with them and, realistically, they will have no interest in collabing* with a tiny channel.

*(I am aware that the correct word is collaborating but this is 2016 and I’m trying to be edgy)




Instead, focus on collabing with channels that have around the same amount of viewers as you – that way you can grow to fame together, like a couple of beautiful media beanstalks. Just don’t be all manipulative about it – people are people, not just sources of subscribers!


Aim For Nice Looking Videos – But Don’t Let That Limit You

You may be disheartened when you watch your first video on YouTube and find that its a dark, echoey affair, but don’t let that stop you. The truth is that although videos from your favourite YouTubers may look somewhat effortless (it’s just a camera in their room!) they are actually made using a variety of expensive equipment. Popular vloggers splash their cash on fancy cameras, microphones and lights in order to make their videos as bright and clear as they are. You may think that sounds unnecessary but honestly it actually takes quite a lot of work and equipment to make a video look good – let alone sound good.




But hey, that really shouldn’t discourage you! Your videos don’t have to be million dollar Hollywood productions, they just have to be good enough. Put as many lamps in the room as you can, put the camera on a tripod to keep it still – or even just a pile of books or a shelf. It’s 2016, Cloverfield is over, there should be no excuse for Shakey Cam.


Clear Branding Is The Best Branding

Make sure that when people see your awesome video, they remember who made it. DO NOT take this as me saying you should have a 2 minute long intro with dubstep playing – I’m just talking about having a simple, memorable channel name (aka: Zoella, PewDiePie) and maybe a nice, eye-catching logo. You’ll probably find that you can immediately name a lot of these channels, for example:




Remember: Nothing Should Hold You Back!

Aside from a camera and an internet connection, there is nothing that can stop you becoming a YouTuber – or the number 1 YouTuber in the world. Take Joe Sugg, that dude was literally working as roof thatcher, and now he’s an online star! Even taking his famous sister out of the equation, he’s had a huge amount of success just through hard work and personality – and you can too. Good luck out there, amigos.