If you’re looking to become a professional YouTuber, you can make that happen. Having a YouTube career looks like fun, but it does require work. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort required, there’s no telling how successful you could become.
Before you get started, you should know that money shouldn’t be your goal. Start by making videos you love. If money comes, that’s a nice perk. Ready to get your 15 minutes of fame? Here’s how.
How to become a pro YouTuber and stand out from the crowd
Determine your goal with YouTube
You do not always have to strategize, but strategy will help any channel reach its goals. Ask yourself, “What do I want out of YouTube?” This question will help map out what you should be doing with your channel, and how to gain the success you’re looking for.
Some people get on YouTube with the goal of making money from their videos. But you don’t just get on YouTube and make money right away. If your goal is to make a profit, take time to understand Google’s AdSense and how you can also generate revenue from sponsorships, collaborations, brand deals, and creating your own merchandise and products. There are a lot of channels on YouTube, but only a small number of those make thousands of dollars a month from ads alone.
Learn how YouTube works
Most people understand the basics of YouTube – shoot a video and then upload it. But you may not know that YouTube works similarly to Google. A viewer types in the search bar what they want to watch. YouTube then tries to present the best possible video based off of metadata and the engagement and activity on a video. One important thing the YouTube Creator Academy wants you to know: YouTube’s algorithm follows viewers. Whatever viewers watch and enjoy, YouTube wants to give them more of that.
Creating good content is important, but you should also pay attention to providing sufficient metadata, encouraging viewers to stay watching at least the majority of your video, and getting viewers engaged. Upgrading your video and editing quality can help maintain audience retention, but what helps your video be seen is an understanding of the YouTube algorithm.
Today, it’s harder to stand out on YouTube than it was years ago. One strategy to help your discoverability is to create videos on moderate-to-highly searched topics that are underserved. In other words, create videos based off of what people look for on YouTube that do not have a lot videos created on them already. Doing that research before shooting a video will help you go a long way.
A lot of creators are accustomed to shooting a video first, and then hoping it will get views. Unfortunately, if you do that, there could already be a lot of competition on the same video topic and keywords you used. Study how to be discoverable on YouTube, and make this a part of your YouTube strategy.
YouTube’s algorithm follows viewers. According to the YouTube Creator Academy, it’s best for creators to focus on creating content that viewers like. The algorithm is paying attention to viewer activity, then deciding which videos should be recommended. Examples of feedback collected by YouTube include:
- Watch time
- What viewers watch
- Audience retention (how often people come back)
Getting people to click your video is a good first start for gaining positive video activity. If YouTube recommends your video and people don’t click on it, that also sends feedback to the algorithm. There’s only so much feedback YouTube can collect if no one watches your video.
You can see how things such as thumbnails, titles, and descriptions are important. So pay attention to them! The YouTube Creator Academy is a great place to learn tips and tricks. They offer tons of lessons and courses to everyone – and it’s free! You can also watch credible YouTube channels that focus on helping content creators. Here’s a short list of helpful YouTubers:
Popular categories on YouTube
There are lots of categories on YouTube, some more popular than others. If you choose to go into a popular category, spend time figuring out how your channel and your videos will be different from others. Similar to creating a business, you need to figure out what makes you different and how you are going to get people to watch you instead of someone else.
For example, there are a lot of makeup channels that review products and do tutorials. It can be difficult to grow as a new channel in this area because there are already more makeup channels than one can imagine; so, how will you stand out? This is where doing research before making your videos will help tremendously.
Here are a few popular categories on YouTube (not in any particular order):
- Product Reviews
- Howto & Style
- Shopping Hauls
Quick tip: use trends to stand out in a popular category
If you’re one of the first to create a video on a topic that is likely to trend right before it actually does, this could increase your discoverability. For example, let’s say a new product – especially a popular product – is about to come out. If you’re one of the first to create a video on it, you would be creating a video on a topic that does not have a lot videos created on it yet; therefore, your video is likely to surface once people start looking for it.
If you want to be a pro YouTuber, learn from the pros
If you watch a variety of YouTubers long enough, you’ll quickly discover that they’re all different. Some have better video quality than others, while others have better editing or engaging personalities. What works? Essentially, you should take what successful YouTubers have done well and adapt it to what you’re capable of doing.
YouTube Channels to Check Out
Below is a list of YouTubers you can check out. They have at least 3 million subscribers, over 300 million views, and have published videos recently. This is not a list based on highest-paid YouTubers, or channels with the highest subscribers. This is just to get you familiar with some popular YouTubers, so you can check out their videos and see what they do well.
Most of these YouTubers have gotten successful to the point that they can afford better video production quality. However, if you watch some of their older videos, you’ll see they weren’t always so polished. It’s okay to start small!
Be consistent, review analytics, and keep going
Finally, if you want to be a pro YouTuber, consistency is key. Be sure to focus on:
- Your upload schedule
- Your message in your videos
- Branding – channel art, intros, outros, thumbnails, and so on
Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you’re already on YouTube and are trying to grow, reviewing analytics will help you see what you could be doing better. If you notice a video has more dislikes than likes, or people stop watching after 20 seconds, take that into consideration and make changes as needed to your newer videos. If one video topic does well for you, consider making a series on the same topic. No matter how successful you become or how well your videos perform, you’ll want to regularly check your analytics.
In your first few months of trying out different ideas, don’t get discouraged. Sometimes it can take a while to see what kind of content you can make that resonates with viewers. While some YouTubers hit it big right away; others take years to find their groove. Just keep doing what you love, refining your process, and referring back to this guide, and you can make your mark!