How-To Guide

YouTube Guide: How creators can start and grow a YouTube channel

YouTube is the perfect platform for creators who enjoy creating video content, and the best part? It’s not too late to start your own channel and expand your reach.

    Part 1
    How to start a thriving YouTube channel in 2022
    21 min read
    In this Article

    Being a creator is one of the best jobs in the world.

    You have the opportunity to reach thousands of people and change lives, all while doing what you love. But let’s be honest: being a creator brings its own set of challenges. The digital world is noisy, and you need ways to rise above the noise to reach your audience.

    The best way to reach your audience (aside from your email list) is to create content where your audience hangs out. Considering YouTube is the second largest website globally, there’s a good chance your audience is cruising through YouTube and looking for videos in your niche.

    Starting a YouTube channel lets you reach more people, grow your business, and most importantly, make a greater impact.

    Is it too late to start a YouTube channel?

    Jawed Karim, co-founder of YouTube, uploaded the first YouTube video nearly twenty years ago. Unlike side parts and skinny jeans (depending on who you ask 😉) YouTube won’t be going out of style anytime soon. Statista projects YouTube’s user base to grow from 2.24 billion users in 2021 to 2.85 billion by 2025. As YouTube continues to grow, creators will have no issues reaching their intended audience.

    ConvertKit creator and business and marketing strategist Brittany Darrington recently started her YouTube channel in 2021. She has just over 100 subscribers and already feels the benefits from her channel:

    “YouTube quickly generated leads to our email list which led to over $6,500 in revenue in less than 4 months.

    It also allowed my audience to get a sneak peek of what they are going to get in my courses, memberships, or coaching programs.” – Brittany Darrington

    And Deborrah Ashley, the founder of Thrivoo, launched her channel in September of 2021. She notes that while starting her channel put her out of her comfort zone, she’s already benefited from it:

    “Starting my Youtube channel five months ago was uncomfortable, intimidating, and scary, but it has already paid off.

    It has brought a lot more brand awareness which I see in the growth of views on my channel and connections on LinkedIn.” – Deborrah Ashley

    So, is it too late for you to hop on board? Most certainly not.

    Why you should make videos on YouTube

    Although YouTube shows no signs of slowing, there are even more reasons why starting a YouTube channel is a great idea.

    1. You can build a stronger connection with your audience

    Each person in your audience likes to consume content in different ways. Some like long in-depth videos on YouTube. Others prefer snappy and short clips like Instagram Reels or TikToks. And some enjoy reading blog posts.

    Offering multiple mediums for your audience to consume your content allows you to build stronger connections with everyone—regardless of their preferences.

    But don’t forget: your ultimate goal is to take everyone from each content medium (i.e., TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, your blog, etc.) and funnel them to a platform you own, like your email list.

    Brittany Darrington grows her email list via YouTube subscribers by promoting her lead magnets throughout her videos:

    “YouTube is an excellent lead generator. By providing value and encouraging subscribers to check out my lead magnet, it allows my business to grow our email list.” – Brittany Darrington

    Connect with your audience

    Share what you love to connect with your followers and grow your business with a free ConvertKit account.

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    2. Small niches can thrive

    Niches like gaming, pranks, comedy, and family vlogging dominated YouTube in 2021, but that doesn’t mean your content needs to fall into these categories to see success.

    With over 2.24 billion people using YouTube, you have a fantastic opportunity to reach your audience, no matter how obscure your niche is.

    Take The Typewriter Collector, for example.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Typewriter Collector.

    The Typewriter Collector restores and sells antique typewriters—a topic many people probably don’t think about on a daily (or even yearly!) basis. However, his videos rack up thousands of views, proving there’s no niche too small for YouTube.

    3. You can increase your revenue

    While allowing you to reach your audience, YouTube can also be a money-making machine for creators through:

    1. Ads
    2. Brand deals
    3. Product sales
    4. Affiliate marketing

    Ads

    Just as you can make money by placing ads on your blog, you can do the same with YouTube videos. YouTube offers different types of ad formats creators can choose from, including:

    • Skippable video ads
    • Non-skippable video ads
    • Bumper ads
    • Overlay ads

    You can see an overlay ad in action on The Life of a Writer’s YouTube video:

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via The Life of a Writer.

    Earnings vary greatly for ads, and YouTube doesn’t disclose how much different creators make. However, YouTuber educator Greg Preece did some digging and found the average cost per mille (CPM) for YouTubers playing ads in 2020 was $7.56, meaning the average YouTuber may earn $7.56 for every 1,000 video views. Keep in mind this is a rough estimate, and your CPM will vary.

    Brand deals

    Working with brands is a lucrative hustle for creators, especially those who don’t have their own products to promote (yet). Consider partnering with brands to do unboxing videos, product testings, product placements, or product tutorials. When YouTubers partner with a brand, the videos will have a disclosure, just like YouTuber Jimmy Tries World’s video does.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Jimmy Tries World.

    Use this YouTube brand deal calculator to see a (rough) ballpark for how much you can earn. When choosing brands to work with, be sure it’s one your audience will be excited to learn more about so your videos generate views and interaction.

    Product sales

    Create videos discussing your products to encourage more people to buy. Photographer Jana Bishop sells Lightroom presets and creates videos to showcase images using her presets. Viewers get to see her product in action, so they feel more comfortable pulling out their credit cards.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Jana Bishop.

    Affiliate marketing

    Another attractive option to earn money for those who don’t have their own products to sell is to promote ones you use and love and earn commission through affiliate marketing. In Katie Stickly’s YouTube video about podcasting microphones, she discusses her three favorites and includes affiliate links for two of the mics in her video’s description.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Katie Steckly.

    When doing affiliate reviews, discuss what you like and dislike about certain products and why you think your audience would enjoy the product.

    5 steps for starting a successful YouTube channel

    Step 1: Decide if you’re ready

    Before diving headfirst into a new creative venture, take time to decide if you’re ready. As a creator who’s already spinning multiple plates, ask yourself whether adding another plate to the mix will lead to exhaustion or even burnout.

    But if you have the time and energy to tackle another project, answer these three questions:

    • Am I excited to create video content for my audience?
    • Do I have something I’m passionate about sharing with people?
    • Am I willing to learn along the way?

    If your answers are a resounding ‘yes!” then you’re ready to start a YouTube channel.

    Note: Being ready to start a YouTube channel doesn’t mean you’ll feel confident and comfortable straight out the gate, and that’s ok! As you film more videos, your confidence will grow. Nerves are normal—don’t let them get in between you and your YouTube channel.

    Step 2: Create your business YouTube account

    Click here and either log into your email or create a new email to manage your YouTube account.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Google.

    After logging in, click your photo in the upper right corner to reveal the flyout menu and click Create a channel.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via YouTube.

    Name your channel and upload a photo. Keep your channel’s name consistent with your business name so your current audience can easily find you by typing your name in YouTube’s search bar.

    For your photo, you can upload a photo of yourself or your logo. Then, click Create Channel.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via YouTube.

    Your channel is officially live! But there are still a few steps to go. Click the blue Customize Channel button.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via YouTube.

    Clicking here opens YouTube’s studio, where you’ll have lots of options to brand your channel.

    Layout

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via YouTube.

    While in YouTube’s Layout tab, you can set a trailer to share a preview of your channel with potential subscribers, set a featured video to returning subscribers, and organize the sections on your channel’s homepage.

    Food blogger Lauren Toyota’s vegan YouTube channel, Hot for Food, has a trailer before her video categories for unsubscribed folks. The trailer tells people about her channel and encourages them to subscribe. For people already subscribed, you can replace the trailer with a featured video instead, like something that promotes your paid offerings.

    Under Lauren’s trailer, she has added featured sections like popular recipes, #hotforfoodapproved, her latest videos, and more.

    Start a YouTube channel
    The video under Lauren’s header serves as her trailer or featured video. Beneath, Lauren adds sections to popular categories, so viewers see her best content. Image via Hot for Food.

    Branding

    Use your branding section to update your profile photo, add a banner image, and add watermarks to your videos if you’d like.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via YouTube.

    Canva’s YouTube banner creator can help you design a stylish banner for free (no design skills required).

    Basic info

    In the third tab, add your channel’s description, add links to your website and ConvertKit landing pages to collect leads, and enter your email.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via YouTube.

    At this stage, you won’t be able to customize your YouTube URL. According to Google, creators must meet certain criteria for URL customization which includes:

    1. 100 or more subscribers
    2. An account that is at least 30 days old
    3. A profile picture
    4. A banner image

    After meeting the criteria, check back to customize your URL.

    Step 3: Verify your YouTube channel

    Verifying your YouTube account is not the same thing as a verification badge (which requires 100,000 followers). You can verify your account with any number of followers. Verification lets you upload custom thumbnails, live stream, dispute content ID claims, and publish videos longer than 15 minutes. All you need is to add a phone number to your account for verification. Click here to walk through the quick verification process.

    Step 4: Gather the necessary equipment

    Now comes the exciting step—filming your videos. Let’s go over some essential video equipment to help you whip up sleek videos.

    Quality camera

    If you’re not ready to buy a new camera quite yet, use your smartphone’s built-in camera. But if you’re in the market to buy a new camera, here are a few top recommendations on Amazon:

    Microphone

    The microphone you purchase depends on the type of content you choose to film. If you plan to do lots of voiceovers, a USB microphone that plugs directly into your computer will be quite handy, like these ones:

    If you want to film directly from a camera, an external video microphone will do the trick:

    Tripod

    Unless filming daily vlogs (where you plan to hold the camera) a tripod will free your hands and stabilize your camera. Here are two options:

    Lighting

    Don’t forget to invest in quality lighting for your videos. Good lighting takes your videos from drab and dreary to bright and clear.

    Here are some different options for professional lighting:

    Video editing software

    Your computer likely comes with pre-installed video editing software to do basic edits like add text, cut and crop, and slow down or speed up areas of your clips. That might be all you need to create your YouTube videos, but if it’s not, consider looking towards professional video editing software. Premiere Elements is Adobe’s video editor for beginners and novices and gives you access to features like masking, double exposures, and automated editing.

    Step 5: Plan and film your content

    After collecting your equipment, it’s time to start planning (and eventually filming) your videos. With a rock-solid plan, you’re more likely to upload consistently and attract a loyal audience.

    Brittany Darrington says the biggest mistake she made when starting a YouTube channel was her lack of planning and consistency:

    “My biggest mistake when starting out with YouTube was not having a strategy or being consistent.

    That’s when I started planning my topics for the entire month and recording my videos in batches. Content creation needs to be planned so it’s not random, as well as consistent so your audience stays engaged.

    Now, I have a dedicated day just for recording YouTube videos, planning, researching, and everything else YouTube-related.” – Brittany Darrington

    After planning and filming your content, schedule your videos through YouTube’s scheduler. This way, you don’t need to worry about ever missing a beat.

    10 different types of YouTube videos you can create

    To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve put together ten different kinds of YouTube videos you can film for your channel. Keep in mind that your channel can be a mix of different types of videos, or you can focus on one. It’s entirely up to you!

    1. Tutorials and how-tos

    If you have in-demand skills to teach your audience, put together some tutorials and how-to videos for people to follow along.

    Pneumatic Addict’s video teaches viewers how to build their own outdoor sofa with hidden storage using limited tools.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Pneumatic Addict.

    The secret to a great tutorial is to take viewers by the hand and walk them through a process they couldn’t complete without your help.

    More examples to inspire you:

    2. Tips and tricks

    Share uncommon knowledge with your audience and help them perform a task better by spilling your top tips and tricks. Katie Jobling Art shares acrylic painting tips to help viewers learn the dos and don’ts of acrylic painting.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Katie Jobling Art.

    More examples to inspire you:

    3. Vlogs

    A video blog (or vlog) is when you share your day-to-day life with your viewers. People tend to associate vlogs with influencers and public figures, but don’t let that stop you from creating a vlog showcasing your unique day-to-day experience. Shantanu Kumar’s vlog shows his typical day as a graphic designer from the moment he wakes up to the second he finishes his projects for the day.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Shantanu Kumar.

    More examples to inspire you:

    4. Product roundups

    Compile your favorite products within a specific category and explain why they’re your favorites. Creator Jeff Fallout’s video talks about various products within The Art of Sport’s product line, giving his honest opinion for each product.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Jeff Fallout.

    When discussing products, make sure to provide an unbiased opinion and talk about what you like and don’t like for each product you mention. Being honest will help you come across as a trustworthy source to your audience.

    More examples to inspire you:

    5. Product reviews

    Create content people are already searching for: 89% of consumers check online reviews before making a purchase, and by making product reviews, you can drive more views and traffic to your channel.

    Over one million people have watched Brad Colbow’s review of the reMarkable2 tablet, where he talks about who this tablet is for and just as importantly, who shouldn’t buy one.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Brad Colbow.

    More examples to inspire you:

    6. Unboxings

    Unboxing videos are similar to product reviews, but instead of focusing on the product, unboxing videos focus on the entire experience of the product—from its packaging to how it works straight out of the box. Unboxings give viewers a raw, unfiltered glance into the product.

    To create a successful unboxing video, discuss every part of your buyer’s experience, all the way from pre- to post-purchase. Chelsea Jackson does this by touching on the order process, the packaging, and the product itself.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Its Chelsea Jackson.

    More examples to inspire you:

    7. Behind-the-scenes

    Sharing behind-the-scenes of your life and business gives viewers a unique perspective of something they may be otherwise unfamiliar with. Andrea Eppolito’s video shares the intricacies of being a wedding designer in Las Vegas for people who might want to get into the industry or have a deep curiosity about lavish weddings.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Andrea Eppolito.

    More examples to inspire you:

    8. Music videos, lyric videos, and visualizers

    For musicians and bands, upload music videos, lyrics videos, and visualizer videos. Include links to buy your music in your video’s description so fans know how they can support you.

    ConvertKit creator Amanda Brown’s YouTube channel has lyric videos and audios of her latest hits for fans to enjoy.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Amanda Brown.

    More examples to inspire you:

    9. Reactions

    Film yourself reacting to something popular in your niche. As your audience watches your video, they’ll feel like they’re sharing the experience with you. Graphic designer Fuel Your Future films himself reacting to logo designs, sprinkling his professional opinions throughout each reaction.

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Fuel Your Future.

    More examples to inspire you:

    10. Series

    Turn long content into series and keep your viewers tuning in time and time again. Rather than post one long video, break it up into smaller chunks. These videos work great for artists, big DIY projects spanning several weeks or months, and courses. Artist and painter Tawnee Corning uses her YouTube channel to showcase quick clips of her working on her art:

    “I post process videos of my paintings and viewers enjoy seeing the process, so they opt-in by subscribing to my YouTube channel for updates in order to follow along and see the finished product.” – Tawnee Corning

    Start a YouTube channel
    Image via Tawnee Corning.

    More examples to inspire you:

    5 quick tips to make the most of your YouTube channel

    Like most areas of being a creator, experimentation is key. You’ll never know what truly works until you try. But these five tips will help you make the most of your channel even while in experimentation mode.

    1. Turn viewers into email subscribers

    While YouTube is an incredible platform to grow an audience—and in turn, grow your business—YouTube is still rented land. Plus, you need to wrestle with YouTube’s algorithm to get your content in front of as many subscribers as possible each time you upload.

    The solution? Encourage YouTube subscribers to sign up for your email list.

    YouTuber Nick True creates lead magnets for select YouTube videos. On those videos, he directs viewers to his ConvertKit landing page where viewers can sign up to access the freebie. Doing so lets him communicate with subscribers directly and eventually pitch them his products.

    So while your subscribers may just be subscribers for the time being, they can eventually turn into paying customers down the road.

    2. Optimize videos for search

    Beef up your video’s description, tags, and title with relevant keywords. Adding keywords helps YouTube understand where to put your video in the search results so searchers can find it (also known as YouTube SEO).

    And adding keywords can help your videos appear in Google’s search results—giving you greater opportunity to attract your ideal viewer and get more subscribers.

    3. Include a CTA on each video

    What do you want viewers to do after landing on—or watching—your video? Use a call-to-action to give explicit instructions to viewers.

    Here are some examples:

    • Add a card to your YouTube videos to feature a video, playlist, channel, and if you’re in YouTube’s Partner Program, a link. Ask viewers to click the link.
    • Ask viewers to like your video or leave a comment to build interaction.
    • Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel.
    • Encourage people to sign up for your email list by adding a link to your opt-in landing page in your video’s description.
    • Promote a product you sell and add a link to your ConvertKit Commerce landing page in your description so people can easily buy what you’re promoting.

    4. Promote videos to your email list

    Jumpstart your YouTube channel by promoting it to people already passionate about your brand—your email subscribers.

    After announcing your YouTube channel to your email list, create an automated email sequence that promotes your channel to new email subscribers. Use this sequence to send out popular videos to entice people to subscribe to your channel.

    5. Repurpose your content

    We love when creators work smarter, not harder, which is why it’s essential to repurpose your content.

    Revitalize videos by turning snippets into TikToks, Reels, and YouTube shorts. For full-length videos, publish them on Facebook and Instagram TV, and add them to your blog posts to satisfy people who prefer to watch rather than read.

    Lights, camera, action!

    YouTube is the perfect platform for creators who enjoy creating video content, and the best part? It’s not too late to start your own channel and expand your reach.

    And by encouraging YouTube viewers to subscribe to your email list, you’ll always have a reliable way to reach subscribers to promote your latest videos.

    Connect with your audience

    Share what you love to connect with your followers and grow your business with a free ConvertKit account.

    Dana Nicole

    Dana is a freelance writer who works closely with B2B SaaS brands to create content people enjoy reading. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sipping on a warm cup of tea and reading a good book (the scarier, the better). See what she’s up to at www.dananicoledesigns.com