How to Create a YouTube Channel in 7 Steps
Welcome to the world of YouTube! I’m Nikole from HealthNut Nutrition, a healthy food and lifestyle channel & Blog. I’ve been growing my channel for the past 3.5 years and wanted to share some of my tips and resources to help you through the process and get you on your way to creating a successful online business/platform on the Internet in no time.
- Getting Started
- Film & Production
- How to Upload a Video to YouTube
- Marketing & Getting Noticed
- Business Tools
Brainstorm: The first thing you want to do is to brainstorm and decide on a channel concept and name. You want to choose a topic that you are passionate about that way you won’t burn out or run out of video ideas. I love cooking and creating healthy recipes so me it was only natural to go with a healthy food channel. Targeting a specific niche can also go a long way and help get you recognized faster if people are actively searching for that topic but there isn’t a lot of information on it already.
Pick a name: Once you have your channel topic/theme you’ll then need to pick out a unique name that suits it best but is still easy to remember/spell. Many lifestyle channels will add their first or full name. You could choose to do something like “Caitlin’s Corner” to keep your options open for types of videos you might want to film in the future as your channel develops.
Set up a Google Account: In order to set up your YouTube Account you’ll first need to have a Google account. If you already have a Gmail account then that means you have a Google account. If you don’t then click here for an easy tutorial on how to set one up.
Set up a YouTube Account: Now that you have your Google account set up you can read this article here to find out How to Set up Your YouTube Account.
Design: Once you have the foundation in place you’ll then need to do some decorating and add in your channel art and icon. Having a unique look and style that is a reflection of yourself will help motivate you and attract people to your YouTube Channel. Since the channel art is responsive and changes depending on the size of the screen (mobile, tablet or desktop) you’ll need to make sure you keep that in mind when designing it so that text doesn’t get cut off. You can find a downloadable template guide here to get you started. For the channel icon you can insert your logo here or a photo of your pretty face. If you don’t have a logo or banner design you can always hire a designer to create on for you. There are many sites like 99 Designs or Fiverr that are affordable websites to get you started.
Housekeeping: Next, you will want to fill out the “about” section and add in any external links such as your website and social media sites. You can also add in a “business inquiry” email for brands to contact you. You’ll also need to sign up for YouTube’s “Partner Program” which will grant you access to uploading custom thumbnails, view analytics and monetize your videos aka make money! You can find more information about it here. YouTube also has a dedicated Channel called “YouTube Creator Academy “ where they provide helpful tips and advice for YouTube Creators.
Channel Trailer: This is a short introduction video that you can create to automatically play when a new visitor comes to your YouTube channel. It can be a welcome message, video montage, whatever you like to entice visitors to stay, subscribe and explore your videos. Once a visitor is subscribed they will no longer see this video pop up. On your homepage screen you’ll see two different options you can toggle between, one is “for returning subscribers” and another is “for new visitors.” This is where you can preview what your channel looks like for both options and you can choose which video you’d like to select as your channel trailer or main video that auto plays when someone lands on your channel for the first time.
If you want to get serious about growing your online business then I highly recommend investing in some professional equipment if your budget allows for it. Here is a list of equipment that I currently use for filming and photography.
Canon Rebel T3i- (My first DSLR camera that I used for the first 3 years of YouTube and still use it on occasion- it’s a great beginner camera and you can always find a used one online or at your nearest camera store).
Canon 60D- (My new baby- has amazing auto focus for filming and you can film in manual which means you have more control over lighting/settings when filming.
Scandisk 64GB Extreme SD Memory Card- (I go through so many of these and you have to make sure the cards you buy are suitable for HD video if you’re making YouTube videos and that they have enough room so they don’t fill up half way through shooting)
Canon 50 mm 1.4 lens- (my go to lens for up close food photography shots where you get the nice blurry background)
Soft box lighting- (I find Amazon or B&H Photo Video are great places to pick these up for an affordable price)
IMovie- This is a video-editing program that comes with your MacBook Pro or other Mac computers. It is so easy to use and can make your videos look a lot more professional and put together.
Final Cut Pro- This is another Apple editing program but you have to purchase this one. After using this for the last 2 years I would highly recommend getting this one after you’ve mastered iMovie since they are pretty comparable in terms of usability but you can do A LOT more with this editing software.
Adobe Photoshop– I love that you can just pay for a monthly subscription now so you can just download updates whenever they happen and not have to rebuy the whole thing.
Rocket Fish 70” Tripod/Monopod Combo – This is crucial to have if you are planning on filming videos since it allows you to be hands free if you don’t have a videographer and it keeps the shot stabilized and not shaky.
Whiteboards- These are super cheap at Michaels and are amazing for reflecting light when filming or shooting photos. I also use them to set my white balance setting before each photo shoot since you need a solid white background for this. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to set your white balance on a Canon camera.
Kitchen tools- For a list of my favourite kitchen equipment and essentials you can check out my shop here.
Video: You’ll want to determine what camera you will be shooting your videos on. I started off on an iPhone/iPad then worked my way up to a DSLR (Canon Rebel T3i). If your budget allows for it I would highly recommend purchasing a DSLR camera for the best video quality. I currently have a Canon 60D, which allows you to film in “manual” mode meaning you, have more control over exposure, brightness, and aperture when filming. It also has auto focus which has been the greatest thing ever for me when filming moving shots. To compare, this video was shot with a Canon Rebel T3i and this video with a Canon 60D. Having a good lens is also essential since this will help up the quality of even a low-end budget camera. You can also play around more with different looks like an up-close in focus shot with a blurry background or wide landscape shot for travel channels.
Sound: Depending on your space you may or may not have an echo when doing talking style videos. If filming in a bedroom with a lot of fabrics you can probably get away with just using the audio form the camera itself (this is what I did for the longest time, you can see an example here). Since I film in the kitchen now there is a lot of echo so I use a Rode Lav microphone that just attaches to an app on my iPhone making it really easy to use. For my voiceovers I use a Yeti Blue microphone. You can also use a microphone that attaches right onto your camera like a Rode Head or Tascam H4N Zoom.
Lighting: Depending on your location you may or may not be able to film with natural light as your main source of lighting. I use to do a combination of both natural and artificial but since now I use coloured backgrounds the sun would constantly change the colour of the backdrop so now I just use these artificial soft boxes. If you’re using natural light you want to make sure that the light is coming at you from behind the camera as this will illuminate you and create less shadows.
Backdrop: You will want to design/create a backdrop for your videos. I use a combination of my kitchen for intros and outros and coloured paper/boards for overhead food shots. You can use draped fabric or simply design a little corner in your space to use as filming background.
Editing software: If you’re looking for something budget friendly then you can go for a free editing program like iMovie (Apple) or Movie Maker (PC). Once you’ve mastered those ones you can upgrade to something like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier. These are both programs you’ll need to purchase but offer a lot more options and flexibility for editing your videos. I currently use Final Cut Pro but am slowly transitioning to Adobe Premier.
Intro Slate/Teaser: Having a short introduction whether a 15 sec teaser of your video or a short clip of your logo with an animation or song is a great way to get viewers to familiarize themselves with your channel and what they are about to watch. This also helps with consistency to make every video have a similar look and feel when watching.
End Slate/Outro: Having an end slate is where you can place all of your CTA’s (aka call to actions) at the end of each video. This is something you can create on Photoshop and then add in when editing. It’s a great way to keep your audience on your channel longer by recommending another videos or sending them to your social media accounts or even better, subscribing!
Audio: If using a microphone that doesn’t plug into your camera directly then you will need to sync your audio with your video footage within your editing program. The best way to do this is to CLAP before you beginning talking so that way you can easily find the audio wave peaks in both the camera and microphone and match them up.
Music: When adding music into your videos you need to make sure you have permission to use the music in order to monetize the video on YouTube. You want to make sure that the music you are using is “Royalty Free” this simply means the music has been approved for monetizing off of it. Don’t worry if you’re not best buds with The Weekend or Beyoncé because there are plenty of sites where you can gain permission by simply purchasing music individually or signing up for a year membership. I use Audio Network but you can also use sites like Audio Jungle or Free Music Archive. YouTube also now has a free audio library in your dashboard under “Create” where you can search and download a ton of different Royalty Free Music options for our next video.
Thumbnails: This is the image that will appear on your video once it has been uploaded to YouTube. Think of this as your cover and remember that saying don’t judge a book by its cover? Well guess what… people are judging every time they see a video pop up on YouTube and they’re deciding whether or not they want to click on it and watch it. The Thumbnail is a great way to advertise and show the viewer what your video is about by using attractive images and/or large easy to read text. You want to make sure that your thumbnail is 1280×720 pixels and under 2 MB in order to upload it to YouTube correctly.
Log In: The first step is you need to be logged into your YouTube account.
Upload file: Next, click on the “Upload” button near the top right hand corner of your YouTube channel homepage.
From there you will be taken to the Upload page where you can either drag and drop or browse your computer to select the video file you want to upload to YouTube.
Privacy Settings: Before you upload your video you want to select your privacy settings. Depending on the video you’re uploading there are a few different options to choose from. For example if you are uploading a video that you don’t want your audience to see until a specific day then you might want to choose unlisted or schedule it. I usually like to choose unlisted or schedule so I can go in and update the title, description, links, etc. before the video is actually live on my channel. Here is a break down of the different options and what they all mean.
- Public: Anyone can see your video, which means it can be organically searched, appear as a suggested video as well as will be visible on your channel.
- Unlisted: This means that only people who have a link to your video can watch it. Unlisted videos do not show up in the YouTube suggested views, on your channel or in YouTube search results. Having a video unlisted is a great if you need to share your video to only specific people.
- Private: you can only see Videos with the Private setting when you are logged into your YouTube account. Private videos do not appear on your channel and cannot be shared even with the link.
- Scheduled: This privacy setting allows you to upload and schedule when the video goes public on your YouTube channel. This is a great option if you are pre planning your next month of uploads and want to get a head start and have YouTube automatically publish your videos live as the selected dates/times come up. This is also a great option if you’re on vacation or won’t have access to Internet at the time you want your video to go live.
Choose file: Once you’ve chosen your privacy settings you can now select the video file you would like to upload. You can do this by clicking the upload file button and browsing your computer to choose your file or simply drag and drop the file into the window and it will automatically start to upload. Depending on your Internet speed and size of your video file it can take anywhere from 5 min to 1 hour or more to upload your video. Once the video is uploaded YouTube will then need to “Process” the video, which will show in the status bar as well.
Inserting Metadata: Now that your video is uploaded you can now start inserting all of your metadata aka your title, description and keywords. What you title your video is so important because this is what will come up in search results and let viewers know what your video is about. You want to use highly searched words/phrases and avoid puns or vague titles. You also will want to add in a description, this will help described what your video is about as well as is a good place to add in additional keywords which may help your video come up I search results. This is also where you want to add any product links, social media links, etc. Lastly, you want to make sure you add in your keywords. These are short descriptive words or phrases that describe your video and may be what people are typing in to find your video. You also want to add in commas in between each keyword to separate them. For example: healthy, breakfast ideas, avocado toast recipes, healthy breakfast. As I mentioned before there are some great online tools like VidIQ for researching and adding in keywords for your videos.
Add a Thumbnail: A Thumbnail is the cover image that appears on your video once you video is uploaded. YouTube will automatically generate three choices of thumbnail images for you to choose from but these are just randomized screen grabs from the video and may not be flattering or make sense. Remember you want to represent your video with a photo that explains what the video is about as well to entice people to click and watch it. I always recommend uploading your own custom thumbnail that way you can design a unique cover that represents your video well. Remember your thumbnail size should be 1280×720 pixels and no larger than 2MB. To upload your custom thumbnail just click the “Custom thumbnail” button and choose the file from your computer to upload.
Final Touches: Now before you officially start sharing your video on social media you may want to add a couple final touches.
Your video is now ready! Your video is now ready for watching and will have its own unique URL, which can be used to share or embed your video on websites or social media. After 48 hours you’ll be able to view the stats/analytics from your video to see things like watch time, views, subscriptions, etc. I personally love the YouTube Studio app that you can download on your phone since you can watch our views in real time as well as answer comments and access analytics really easily.
You can have the best quality and content on your channel but if no one sees it then its not going to get noticed or grow very fast. Marketing your online business is crucial if you want to stand out and gain a following online.
Create a content schedule: Having a consistent video upload schedule is probably one of the best things you can do to get noticed and grow your subscriber base. For example, if you upload your videos every Tuesdays and Thursdays you can let your audience know by adding it to your channel art and saying it at the end of your videos in the outro. Uploading consistently will keep your channel fresh in people’s minds, and have it so your videos appear more often in your subscriber’s subscription news feeds. I’ve been loving Google Calendar as a way for me to schedule in everything from recipe testing to filming/editing.
Share/Promote on Social Media: Social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are great ways to let people know that you posted a new video. You can share teasers, short videos, photos, and behind the scenes clips providing call to actions to get your followers to come watch your new video over on YouTube.
Get Involved in the Community: If you’re new to YouTube then you’ll want to get yourself out and network with other channels. That might be watching similar videos and leaving engaging (non spammy or self promoting) comments or connecting with other YouTubers by email or social media.
Building your audience: The easiest way to build your audience is to respond to all of the amazing comments they leave in the comment sections of your videos. The way I see it is that if someone took the time to write you a comment then you should try and take the time to respond to them when possible. As you grow it may be hard to answer every comment but you can always answer as many as you can on new videos or even do Q&A videos for commonly asked questions. You also want to engage your audience with call to actions by asking questions within your videos so they can respond in the comments section. This will help it feel more like a two-way conversation instead of just you talking to the camera all the time. Your audience will feel more like you are talking to them and engaging in a conversation. Other things you can do are give shout outs in your videos if it’s a video that was requested by a certain subscriber or if you run a poll on Twitter and the majority wanted a specific video over another. Letting your audience know you’re listening is a great way to build your connection with them online. Lastly, don’t forget to thank your viewers for watching and supporting your channel by offering perks like giveaways or discounts off merchandise.
Collaborations: Connecting with other YouTuber’s and working together on collabs is a great way to cross promote your channels and grow your audience even faster. If you have a DIY channel then you might want to get in touch with another DIY Channel with a similar subscriber count as you and collaborate on a fun video together to support each other and share your audiences. It’s a great way you to get exposure on a new audience and for subscribers to find other amazing channels in the same category that they already love. Using an online tool like Tubular is a great way to see what YouTubers your audience overlaps with or other channels that are similar to yours that you didn’t even know about. Alternatively you could also get creative and collab with someone on a totally different niche then you and target a completely new audience. This is also another great strategy but you just have to make sure that the collab makes sense and that there is a connection between both videos.
Research Keywords/Trending Topics: When brainstorming future video ideas its important to do your research and look up any upcoming holidays and what’s currently trending. For example right now for food, Sweet Potato Toast is a new trending recipe and might be a good video idea to try if you have a food channel like myself. You can also look up silly ones like “100 layers.” Using online tools like VidIQ, Tube Buddy and Google Trends are great keyword researching sites to optimize your videos for search results.
Personality: I’m saving the best for last but the best and easiest way to get noticed is to just be your amazing self on camera. Showing your true personality on camera might take some time but it will be the key component to what drives people to you and your channel. Once you’ve driven people to your channel through social media, you want to make sure they stay because they feel your possibility and energy and believe in what you are saying.
How do you make money on YouTube? This is probably one of the most commonly asked questions I get both online and in real life so I wanted to break it down for you here so you can get a better understanding on how this could become a part-time or full-time revenue source for you. Also, when making money online its important to have multiple streams of revenue incase one closes or doesn’t offer enough by itself you want to have options and backups.
AdSense: Enabling ads on your videos are how you make money on YouTube. You will have to create a Google AdSense account and link it to your YouTube Channel before you can start receiving cheques.
Affiliates Links: Affiliate links through affiliate programs like Amazon Associates is a great way to make a small commission off of the products you’re already recommending or using in your videos. A lot of independent companies like Vitamix also have affiliate programs with usually higher commission rates than amazon.
Sponsored/Branded Content: Sponsored/Branded videos are usually the main source of income that YouTubers/online influencers receive. As you start to grow your audience you will either be reached out to by brands or you can reach out to them yourself and charge your own rates for integrating their products into your video. For example I work with a lot of healthy food brands and will at times use their products in a recipe video I’m filming for YouTube. The key thing to remember is to only work/recommend brands that you truly believe in and would recommend to a friend or family member. Your audience trusts you and you wouldn’t want to break that trust because of a paid branded deal. I usually have to decline about 80% of the brands that contact me because they just simply don’t align with my brand.
Online Merchandise: Branded clothing/products (ex: shirts, water bottles, etc.),
EBooks (An Everyday Guide to 5 Super foods) is a great way to spread your online revenue outside of just YouTube.
Blog/Website: Having an associated blog or website with your YouTube channel is a great way to have all of your content live in one place on the Internet. You can also put up ads on here I currently am using The Blogger Network. You can get creative and also offer online membership sites and charge a entry fee or monthly membership. Essentially this is your home on the Internet, which you can utilize to build your audience and your brand.
Now that we have the basics down for creating a successful online business through YouTube lets talk about taking it to the next level. When it comes to running your own business whether online or not you need to constantly be growing, learning and trying new things. Know your market well and always be on the look out for new opportunities and ways to develop your business. I’m constantly learning new things and teaching myself through online courses, networking, asking questions from experts, etc. I wanted to share with you some amazing online business resources I’ve used over the years to help you even further in your career.
Podcasts- Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
Online Courses- Food Blogger Pro
Websites- The Blogger Project