Unless you have a crystal clear idea of what kind of channel you are developing, it may be overwhelming to think about all the different kinds of content you could be making. What is your brand? How often are releasing videos? What is the content? Who is your audience? These are all things to consider when starting your YouTube channel. I recommend taking a sheet of paper or opening up an excel spread sheet and coming up with 52 video ideas that you would be excited to make. One that bring value to you or the people you plan on building your community with. The idea is to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish in your first year of YouTube. Whatever the majority of the video ideas are about is what your brand and channel are going to be. Plus you won’t run into having nothing planned until you run through this list. If you already have a channel, you should still do the exercise and it may give you focus in what you are doing long term with your youtube channel.
Being a YouTube content creator can be daunting. There can be a lot of moving parts when making small or large scale videos. Whether its script writing, keeping track of release/filming schedules or the process of editing your video to look like a pro, there are tools available to help you. Here are 8 of my favorite tools that I use on a regular basis.
1. Dropbox – File Management [Free/$$$ ]
Collaborating with other YouTubers is a big part of growing as a creator. Having even a free account from Dropbox makes sharing files easy and should be an essential part of any creator’s tool box.
2. Celtx – Script Writing Software [Free/$$$ ]
Have a script idea that would make a great video, web series or movie? Everyone has ideas but unless you can make that idea into a flushed out piece that will help you get support to make it, it’s going to remain an idea. Celtx is a Hollywood quality script writing format software that comes in free and paid studio versions. The free version allows you to write properly formatted scripts while the studio version takes you through other phases of production on projects. Both are cloud based so you can share your scripts with others you may be working with as long as they have their own account.
3. Google apps – Calendar, Doc, Sheets [Free]
Staying organized is tough for a lot of creatives. Having a calendar or video release schedule that you can stick to will help you be successful. These free app tools from Google will help you tackle almost any project.
4. Youtube.com – Royalty Free Audio [Free]
Great videos need great music and YouTube has the hook up. YouTube has an entire collection of usable free music that you either has to credit the artist or don’t. The catalog of music has over a thousand songs as well as a sound effects library you can use in your video projects as well.
5. Transfer big file – Sending large files [Free/$$$ ]
Need to send one large file that can’t be emailed? Try Transfer Big File. You can send up to a 100mb file for free or a 20GB file with a paid account.
6. Clip Converter- Video Downloader [Free]
There have been several times where I wanted to reference videos that I had made in my end slate but couldn’t find the original or wanted to link to my friends videos visually but couldn’t get Dropbox to sync their overly large video. Clip converter is an ad supported site that allows you to download any video 20 minutes or less to your desktop.
7. YouTube Thumbnail Downloader [Free]
If you are a creator long enough there will be a time where you need to get the thumbnail from a video you uploaded. YouTube currently doesn’t have an option for you to retrieve it so this nifty site allows you to do just that.
8. Adobe Creative Cloud – Everything you need for editing your videos and designing your brand [$$$]
I consider this the holy grail of creative tools. The Adobe Creative Cloud is a professional and industry standard of design tools that include Photoshop (photo manipulation and art), Illustrator (vector illustration), Dreamweaver (website coding), Muse (Visual web design), Premiere (video editing) and After Effects (VFX) as well as many more. You can get started with a free trial then switch over to the monthly paid subscription if you wish to go this route.
There are many ways to make videos that can get a lot of views. Some creative, some basic, some intelligent, but then there’s the prank video. Prank videos seem to be trending more than ever and while some can actually be funny, others are going too far. In fact there is a whole category of videos known as “pranks gone wrong”. While some pranksters are respectable, others just push the limits of what they can get away with. When pushing those limits, prankster can expose themselves to the public in harmful way. I’ve seen videos attempts go wrong where the lead of the videos gets punched, slapped, arrested, had gun points to their heads or even stabbed. Let me make this very clear, when you are making videos that can interact negatively with complete strangers, bad things can go wrong. There is no amount of subscribers or views that is worth risking your life. But if you are set on making prank videos still here are some general rules. Be impressive, be creative, and be original, don’t prank people you don’t know. It’s okay to do a prank in public, just as long as you aren’t specifically targeting a complete stranger. Don’t be the person who goes to a typical “harder” area and asks stupid questions that could intentionally be mistaken for asking a strangers to fight. There are better ways to prank someone and here are serval examples of video that fit all the criteria above.
Crazy Plastic Ball Prank!!
RomanAtwood is a prankster and family vlogger who filled his house with hundreds of thousands of balls in anticipation for his wife to come home.
Frozen Grand Central
Improv everywhere is known for primarily being a flash mob group. They often gather for large pranks like all dressing like mannequins at the gap or freezing at Grand Central station.
Belif (Fake Hover Board)
Funny or Die made a Prank video claiming the back to the future hover board was real and the internet went crazy. They called upon the help of celebrities like Moby, Christopher Lloyd and many more. It took about 3 days for the truth to come out and Funny or Die issued an apology for the stunt.
This weekend was the first annual Central City Comic Con. Being the owner of a YouTube channel called Comic Shop TV, I was invited to attend as a special guest. Usually when attending these kinds of shows I will make cosplay videos involving VFX but this being the first year of the convention, we opted to have a booth instead. There were some things we didn’t consider when going this route and other things we really hit the mark on when attending. First, we didn’t have enough signage. That was the big one. The booth was bigger than we had anticipated. It didn’t help that we also had a corner section, so there were two tables to fill up instead of one. The other thing we didn’t consider was the amount of people. We had estimated about 800 people would show up to the con. But when it was all said and done, we heard reports of 2,500 people attending. Here are some tips on using a convention booth to promote your YouTube channel.
1. Video Display: You need a way to present your channel. We set a computer to play over 20 minutes of our most recent content. The videos ran on a loop and at one point a crowd of 14 people were crowded around the booth. There was even a child who watched close to four hours of our videos and was able to tell when his favorite part was coming up on the video.
2. Hand Outs : We brought stacks of cards and placed them in front of the computer monitor so people could pick them up to subscribe or watch more of our the channel’s videos if they decided to.
3. Make subscribing extra worthwhile: We held a raffle for those who wanted to subscribe to the channel. We gave two additional tickets to those who also liked the Facebook page and followed on twitter. Anyone who showed up to the booth that was already subscribed was automatically given a ticket without any additional work. Value your subscribers and they should be rewarded as part of the community you have built.
4. Get help: A single person should not run a booth all day. Having a second or third person will help when needing to get food, run errands or take bathroom breaks. The YouTuber Parejeda came to help me out during the two day convention. She even cosplayed as Harley Quinn from Batman for one of the days, so a lot of people stopped to take photos and in turn asked about the purpose of the booth. She was even able to get people to subscribe to her channel when they went to subscribe to Comic Shop TV.
5. Easy to read advertising for your channel: Every convention we have attended so far, we have been given a small table that our banner could comfortably fit on. The tables at CCCC were fancier being pre-dressed. We didn’t have hooks for the banner on the backdrop, so we taped it to the extra table we had then placed light sabers on it. Why light sabers you ask? To have light saber fights of course!
A last note about running a booth, ditch the booth chairs… When you’re sitting down, you can look tired, bored or unapproachable. The whole reason you have a booth in the first place is to interact with people who have either subscribed or might be subscribing in the future. When you’re moving around you will seem friendlier.
Let’s face it, making videos of the daily activities of a single person or group is one of the easiest types of YouTube videos someone can make. Most of the time you are just a talking head explaining about what is happening or about to happen. But to be successful at it takes practice and understanding of the craft itself. Here are 7 rules to help you as a vlogger.
Change up your location:
No more than 20% of your video should be set in your home… Unless your channel is specifically about you being in your home. For instance maybe you make travel vlogs and a big part of your journey is being inside your RV or maybe your video is about you fixing up a new house you just bought.
Set an agenda:
Go to events or make things happen. Try to make an agenda for every video. This maybe a little harder for daily vloggers but your viewers will appreciate it more. Is there a cool new restaurant opening up? Vlog it. Is there a town parade down the street? Vlog it? Are you hiking up a mountain? Vlog the journey to keep it interesting.
Put things into context:
Start every video with an intro and outro. Every video should have an introduction so the viewers, whether it’s their 1st time or 100th time seeing you, be sure to reference to your channel. It might also be helpful if you include the date or day of the week so they know when the video has taken place.
Plan to growth:
Cross Pollination will help you grow. Showing up in other people vlogs or you inviting vloggers into yours will help you grow and share audiences. Since there are more vloggers in the US than you have on your Facebook friends list, it should be easy to find other vloggers to be friends with. Plan fun days with some other vloggers as you go do fun things or challenges. Don’t strive for the vlogger in the area with a million subscribers unless you also have a million subscribers too. Look for other vloggers with an audience size similar to yours.
Composition and timing are important:
Change up your composition. Every shot doesn’t have to be from the view point of a selfie stick or you holding your camera out as you’re talking to it. Learn to take some B-roll. Learn the rules of thirds. Add some shots that don’t have anyone talking in them. Most of all keep your shots short and sweet.
Focus on making videos, not getting discovered:
How to get discovered on YouTube? Make videos! I often get vloggers coming into my office complaining that they “haven’t been discovered yet”. But when I check out their YouTube account they have less than 25 videos up. Even if they put up the right tags, interesting headlines and cool thumbnails they still might not get seen simply because they haven’t made enough content. Imagine trying to fill up a swimming pool with water but each video is worth about the thimble worth of viewership liquid. The best way to get “discovered” is to make lots more. Want a big audience? Try making 500+ great videos.
Love what you do, don’t expect others to:
So here is the hardest rule(or at least in my opinion) to swallow. No one will love your videos more than you will. It’s tough when no one watches your videos when you first start but it shouldn’t be about getting views or subscribers but making something that brings you joy. YoutTube is a community and we are all working hard to get views. But unless you love what you do it won’t be worth it.
We wanted to do something a little different this week on the blog. Thank you to everyone who has been using the site since we launched about a month ago. It has been overwhelming how many of you started tweeting at us, sending us messages for estimates and brands to connect with youtubers. As a thank you we would like to give you a little something. It won’t cost you anything but we do ask you to pay with a tweet or a FB post. That’s it! These are royalty free vectors that you can use on both on personal and commercial projects alike.
Also if you haven’t already be sure to sign up to the newsletter for when we have important announcements or end of month catch ups. Take it easy!
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The Holy Grail of YouTube marketing is making a viral video but just like the real Holy Grail, the formula to make a viral video is just a myth. Sorry about the misleading title, it needs to be understood you have a better chance of winning the local lottery than making a viral video. Never the less, here are 4 rules to make your videos actually get hits.
Topical or Mash-ups
Is there something that everyone is talking about right now? Then jump on the band wagon and make some relatable content! Is Super Mario still popular? Is there a song that just got released by a famous singer with millions of views already? Then make a super Mario parody of that song.
This is Cinemsauras’s Adventure Time: The movie. It has everything needed to become a highly watchable video and it did, 2.4 million times! It was a combination of the hollywood gritty reboot and the popular kids show adventure time.
Going back to number one, topical content isn’t relatable if too much time has passed. The longer you wait to jump onto a trend the less likely anyone will want to watch your video. You can actually prepare for this in many cases by checking for when something potentially big is going to be released and have time set aside in preparation to create content. The best topical videos are often released within 3 days after said big topic.
I feel like this shouldn’t have to be said but it does. There are so many youtubers who released terrible videos then complain about why no one is watching their stuff even if they have a relatable name and a good thumbnail. You shouldn’t have to trick people into watch your videos then pray they will stay. Your content should actually be watchable. If it isn’t you probably shouldn’t do number 4. If you want to get better then practice your craft. Make a lot of YouTube videos. Not everyone is going to be a winner and that’s okay as long as you are improving.
Again sounds like a no-brainer but trust me, it needs to be said. A 3 full hours of promoting and strategy should be accompanied with EVERY video you might consider viral worthy. Rather than uploading a video and hoping for the best you should be putting it everywhere. Is it on all the social media sites? Is it submitted to various blogs and publications relatable to your content? No? Better get on that. You can only count on your audience for so much and building a loyal viewership takes time. If the above rules are executed correctly they will help you get views even when you don’t have an audience to draw views from.
So maybe your branding sucks, maybe it doesn’t. But, I do know if you don’t understand your brand, no one will be able to tell where your channel is progressing to. When you create your presence on any social media platform, it’s important to know how to present yourself. When your first start you may just be testing the waters with some “stand-in” imagery. For example, a photo of your dog on a green background. But, before you know it that’s how your followers will know you, as green_dog34. Taking precautionary steps to future proof your branding efforts will prevent a lot of confusion down the road. This way you won’t have to reintroduce yourself when the time comes. Now, a lot of people think your logo and branding are the same thing. They aren’t. A logo is a small part of your overall brand. A brand’s identity is the overall look of its communications. It uses a specific set of images, show hosts, fonts and colors to convey a specific look to its viewers. At the core of these branding efforts is your logo. Before you have effectively established your visual branding you should know who you are. Here are some questions to think about to establish a strong brand on YouTube.
- What is the content you’re producing?
- What products and/or services are you promoting?
- Where do you want your channel to be in 5 years?
- How do you want to be perceived to your audience/community?
- What market is your channel in? (Beauty? Geek? Auto? Vlog?)
- Who could you collaborate with in your niche? (These are people in the same audience range as you: subscribers, views and videos produced)
- Why do people watch your videos? Are they funny? Do you learn from watching them?
- What are the guiding principles?
- What emotions are experienced with your viewers? (Example: Disneyland is Magical)
- If your Channel is personality oriented, can you describe your host’s personality?
- Are you down to earth?
- Are you light hearted?
- Are you sporadic and funny?
- Are you all business and informative?
Position or value proposition:
- Who are you speaking to?
- Which market segment does your product speak to?
- What does your brand promise?
- Why is your channel different from others in your niche? What REALLY sets you apart from similar channels?
Next week we will discuss what goes into a successful YouTube brand.