Why I started a YouTube channel and what I've learned

Vlogging Apr 14, 2021

If you look back at the statistics I started my YouTube channel way back in 2006, but I never really invested in it.  I just posted some videos of random things not really understanding what or how YouTube worked and how to become successful in it.

My real journey started in August 2019 when I decided that I needed to learn how to talk to a camera.  Public speaking was becoming part of my job, part of my side hustle, my hobby and I wanted to get better at it and I wanted to be able to scale better.  

That's when I started my weekly update video, every Friday for 80+ weeks (at least at the time of writing) I've shared thoughts on my week, the Azure news and generally just shared.  

Over those 80 odd weeks I've changed the format, changed the location, changed the way I create the videos, changed the equipment I use, changed the way I share the videos. All of it has evolved.

It's been a really long learning curve and journey.

If you don't try, you'll never know!

One that's been frustrating and one that's been educational. I've so much, I'm not even sure I can really quantify some of the things that I've learnt fully.  There is such a lot of think about with YouTube, it is much like blogging but figuring out what works and what doesn't work.  As well as figuring out what you enjoy doing.  There is really no point doing something that you don't enjoy.

Branding
Branding is something you see and hear all the time from content creators.  You see folks creating logos, intro and outro videos, etc and it is something that can help your YouTube channel, your blogs etc.  But you can go overboard with it.

I have a unicorn logo that scattered across my blog, YouTube channel, and social media as a method of showing folks that all my accounts are linked together and that it's me. 😊

If your not sure what to do in regards to branding, take a look at your favourite YouTube channels, spend time looking at what they've got, where do they place their logos, where don't they.  Really look at their channels, analysis it and try to follow their lead, but don't copy. 😉

Thumbnails

YouTube Thumbnails

This is one thing that's constantly been a focus for me. You'll hear people talk alot of about thumbnail design on YouTube. It's your shop window effectively, it's the thing that will entice people to click on the video and watch it.  If you get it wrong it can mean people won't click through and view your content.

There is no right or wrong to it though, to be honest, every channel will have a different strategy, every content creator will have a different idea, and everyone watching videos wants something slightly different.

For me thumbnails need to fun looking, and legible on all devices.  Look at your channel on all devices, something you design on your desktop might not look great on a mobile phone screen.

Be conscious of experimenting with your thumbnail designs, having a thumbnail that is the same for every video isn't going to work. Don't be frightened to try new things and learn new techniques.  And again analysis what makes you click on a thumbnail, what makes it exciting to you? Can you use that for your own? (Again without copying completely.)

Routine

Getting into a routine is something that does take a while, whether you are new to creating content or learning a new hobby. But it's a hurdle you need to get over and then hopefully at the end of it results in the success that you are aiming towards.

Thinking of, creating and publishing new content is a lot of work and it takes a lot of dedication.  However, if your doing something you enjoy then it won't always seem like work. 😉

Pick a day or time when it suits you to release content, and stick to it. Only change if the data in YouTube tells you there are better times to use. Create that connection with your audience that they know and expect your videos to be released.   A few of my favourite YouTube channels have consistent schedules and I know when to look for a video from them and enjoy those days, do the same with your audience.

Look at the data but don't obsess

YouTube throws a lot of data at you, data about how long people watch your videos, where your subscribers are from, if people watch with subtitles, all sorts of data.  

It can be really overwhelming at first and hard to understand, but take the time to learn more about it and try and understand what the information is telling you.  But please don't obsess about it. Don't be refreshing every minute after you release a video waiting for it to go viral and get all the likes and comments, it's not a healthy hobby. (And take it from someone who has been there and done it!)

Focus on learning from the data, what thumbnails have worked, what content subjects have worked?

Don't be frightened to change it up

As I said I've been a "YouTuber" since August 2019 and I've changed it up, played with thumbnail designs, playlists, schedules, content types the whole lot.  As you learn new things or interpret the data don't be frightened to change it up.  Your audience and new audience members will appreciate it! 👍

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