11 Steps to Becoming a Successful YouTuber
This post was last updated on November 10, 2021.
There is a general consensus that starting a YouTube channel is no longer “worth it” because “all the millionaires have already been born out of the platform." While it’s true that becoming an overnight YouTube sensation is rare, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it big on the channel — it will just take time. The success of former YouTube influencers has made marketers shift how they can potentially reach their audience, so it’s actually a very relevant dream to have for your own channel. The video platform has weaved itself into the marketing fold of many businesses or really anyone looking to share their voice with the world.
Here are the 11 steps you need to take in order to become a successful YouTuber:
01. Define what success means to you
Many define success in terms of money, but there’s so much more to it. If you earn a lot doing a job you hate, would you consider yourself successful despite your lack of fulfillment? Success comes in different forms, and it’s up to you to determine how you measure yours. Whether it's getting a higher view count for your videos, getting more YouTube subscribers, or making money on YouTube, keep this as your focus - anything else is just a bonus.
02. Decide on a niche for your YouTube channel
YouTube has everything you ever want to see in one place. There’s a lot of good content, and a ton of terrible content out there. The range is huge, from how-to videos, to humor and reviews. You’ll need to choose what type of content you will be offering up on your channel (educational, entertaining or inspirational) and align it with your goal.
Once you find a focus, see how you can make the videos unique using your brand’s personality. For example, you can niche down on a topic, become an expert and create videos about it on your channel. As a YouTuber, you should always show your true self to your audience because authenticity and uniqueness will differentiate you and allow your viewers to connect with you. Consider who your audience is in order to create engaging content that speaks their language.
Depending on your channel, you might want to give yourself some wiggle room to also cover new topics in your industry. Don’t hesitate to jump on a trend and upload YouTube videos on that topic.
03. Make a launch plan
Now with your content plan secured, think about how you will execute the channel's creation and everything in this venture. Treat this like a business plan and return to it every now and then to make sure you're adhering to the standards you've set up for yourself. You can also treat this part as a checklist of tasks you'll need to complete to create your YouTube channel, such as equipment to produce quality videos. Examples of this include a high quality camera, microphone, light-ring and recording software. That said, phone cameras are also a great starting point when you're on a tight budget.
This is also a good time to figure out who else will be involved with your channel. In essence, build a realistic timeline for your posting schedule, gather topics for your content, and make sure you follow this timeline consistently along your journey.
04. Create a channel that stands out visually
If you're trying to make YouTube happen for you, be sure to look the part. Since the medium is a visual one, presentation is key. Your profile photo, also known as channel icon, and your channel background banner image need to be the correct dimensions (see our social media size guide). Think about using a YouTube logo maker for your profile thumbnail and following these tips on making a YouTube logo that stands out. Next, come up with your channel name. You can use a YouTube name generator to streamline this part of the process. Try to create your own visual style that you will continue to reproduce consistently.
05. Optimize for SEO
Properly setting up SEO for your YouTube videos is beyond important. Since you took the time to produce your videos, make sure you make the most of them and get your channel discovered.
YouTube is a very sophisticated search engine and people use it a lot to discover new content without a specific creator in mind. This means that by choosing the right keywords, you'll better your chance to be found, seen, and enjoyed.
If there are videos similar to the one you're looking to create, take a look at the exact words you typed in for the results. Then try a slight variation to see how the results change so that you can see what a word or two of difference can make. Research the keywords you'd like to use, their popularity, and the keywords your competition uses.
Tips for using SEO to become a successful YouTuber:
Use keyword research tools such as Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner to see common queries and create videos that have a strong demand.
Read through discussion on places such as Quora, follow Google Trends and get active in relevant social media groups to understand which subjects are “hot” right now in your industry. This will give you topic ideas for your YouTube videos.
In your video description, use your target keyword 3-4 times. Also include the keyword in your video title towards the beginning to optimize for mobile.
Use your analytics to see which keywords are being used to discover your channel so you can best target more videos around that topic and possibly create a series.
Look at what the auto-populate suggests so you can get more ideas of keywords to target and videos to create.
06. Stick to a content creation routine
It doesn't matter how many of these articles about being successful on YouTube you read through, you will always find this tip: You must be consistent to see any kind of success. It's that or hope for instant viral luck. Sure, it would be amazing, but the viral route is not a guaranteed one.
No matter what type of content you’re producing, you want to stay consistent with your timing and kinds of videos. Set a schedule as to when you will release your videos and try to stick to it. Consistently releasing videos on the same day and time not only tells your audience when they can expect your new content, but it gives you a schedule to work with and abide by. Consistency is also about ensuring steady, on-brand content.
Let’s say you follow a baking channel on YouTube, but the latest episode is suddenly about the host’s vacation in Bali. The stark contrast in content, especially without warning, is jarring and may leave loyal viewers confused. If you want to experiment with your content, it would be wise to give your audience a heads up first.
07. Be straightforward in your videos
You know what’s completely unnecessary for a YouTube video? A five minute explanation for something you can (and intend to) show your viewer that only takes 30 seconds. Sounds funny when worded like that, right? Unfortunately, this is terribly common. To say it bluntly, people do not have time for you to waste their time, so just get right to it.
If you release how-to videos, it’s an absolute must to get to your point as soon as you can. Explain what the video is going to be about and then dive right in. The point of a video is to “show” your viewer something (if they just want to listen, they would tune into a podcast.) Of course, there will be instances where further elaboration or troubleshooting may need to be mentioned, but save that for later in the video. Your audience will thank you.
08. Stay informed regarding your niche
When presenting to your audience, you want to be seen as knowledgeable about your industry. This entails staying up with the latest news about your niche and peers. Keeping up with the happenings around your industry (including the competition) can help you to make relevant and fresh content for your viewers. Being an industry expert will also help you establish yourself as a “go-to” channel within your field.
09. Engage with your community
Your subscribers play a significant part in your channel’s success so make sure you regularly engage with them. This goes beyond just answering and liking their comments. Community management can be a job of its own. A great way to engage with your community instantly is to host a YouTube live stream. Live video is becoming increasingly more popular, as it allows you to interact directly with your viewers and shows a more candid, off-the-cuff presentation.
The Live feature is also great for hosting Q&As so your audience can get answers to their burning questions right then and there. You can also flip it and ask your viewers to leave questions in the comments, which you can then answer in your next video.
Beyond YouTube, you should engage with your community on other social media networks as well. Taking advantage of multiple platforms will not only allow you to tap into new audiences but also show you’re available and committed to your community.
A couple of ways to grow your community include:
Make sure to link from one social network to the other. A properly placed call-to-action (CTA) in your videos can help you achieve this action.
When releasing a new video, you want to announce it on all your other channels. Plus, don’t forget to add a link to your latest video.
Create a blog to keep your community interested.
Open an online forum to keep the conversation going.
Send out newsletters using Wix Email Marketing to promote your weekly blog, announcements or updates.
Start a podcast to share your ideas in a different format and inform listeners of your YouTube channel.
10. Promote your channel with a website
When your primary content is made for YouTube, it’s hard to give your brand another home. Sure, you can share your videos on other social networks, and you should, but a video website should be your YouTube channel’s home away from home.
The great advantage of creating a website for your channel is that you’re the owner of everything on your site. Essentially, you’re not confined to what a social media platform has to offer. Therefore, your site has all the benefits of YouTube without any of the limitations.
With a video maker, you can easily sync your YouTube channel to your site, enabling a smooth integration of your videos into your website. That means more views on your videos straight from your site. You also have the option to sell your videos, rent them or even set up a monthly subscription plan. You can start with one of these customizable video website templates that have all the built-in features you need.
11. Learn from YouTube analytics
Even the best can do it better. Several YouTube features, such as the dedicated analytics section for your channel, let you see how your videos are performing. YouTube Analytics will allow you to get insight into the people watching your videos, which enables you to hone into your target demographic even further. It will also give you a better idea as to why one video may have performed better than another. Basically, it's a powerful tool you should take advantage of for your growing channel and future YouTube marketing efforts.
By Blake Stimac
Community & Social Media Manager