How to Make a Successful YouTube Channel

From personal traits for equipment, discover how to engage and increase your subscribers on YouTube.

by D. Starry
on June 12, 2018

So you’ve been watching the latest Casey Neistat or PewDiePie videos and you are thinking “well...I can do that”. And you wouldn’t be wrong either. The barrier to entry for YouTube is far lower than any other media platform in the history of mankind. But while you might be able to set up a camera and start vlogging right away, the work, perseverance, and marketing savvy it takes to reach influencer status is by no means a walk in the park. Use this guide as a starting point to help you map out the path towards YouTube stardom.

1. Niche Your Audience and Have a Genuine Personality

Before you start shooting, you should first figure out who your target audience is. YouTube is a platform with global reach. Roughly one billion viewers watch close to four billion views a day and there isn’t a very great chance you’ll be able to appeal to them all. Even a fraction of a percentage of the total reach would make a video go viral. Instead, focus on what your audience cares about. If you continuously push out authentic content for a certain niche of viewers, you can achieve success by getting repeat views on your channel.

Make a list of things you are extremely passionate about and find out what kind of audience would benefit the most from what you wish to talk about and craft your content around it. Perhaps vlogging is the way to go for your main audience or maybe sketch comedy is what will make them want to come back. Some audiences might find point-and-shoot adventure films engaging while others will enjoy pranks. A great place to start is finding out what kind of content you most enjoy and going out and creating the same kind of content. Your passion will bleed into the videos and will engage whoever your target audience is.

2. Be Consistent and Persevere

In the beginning, you will upload a few videos and only see single digit to double digit views trickle in. This might seem frustrating at first but fear not for this is how all successful YouTubers started. At the start, you are still finding your bearings, learning what kind of content works and what doesn’t and thereby honing the content quality on your channel. Once you do figure out what is sticking, it will require perseverance to keep your core audience engaged while growing new followers.

For example, when lifestyle vlogger Zoella began posting, she amassed only 400 followers in the first year. After figuring out exactly what her core audience wanted she grew tenfold to 40,000 subscribers the next year and 400,000 the year after. As a result of consistent posting, she grew her follower count via word of mouth or articles from websites where her target niche was known to visit. You can see how important a role consistency plays when you are trying to grow your channel. Creating content about what you are passionate about can also make consistent posting easier.

3. Be Professional and Use High-Quality Equipment

Though it isn’t impossible to generate a large following with just an iPhone and it might even be beneficial to do this when you are first starting out to figure out what kind of content to post, eventually you will want to make the upgrade to a higher quality YouTube vlogging camera. Depending on the style of content you create, whether it is a vlog, point-and-shoot video, or sketch, you’ll need a camera that gets the job done and gives you a sense of authority. Here are some of the more popular cameras used by successful YouTubers broken out according to the main kind of content they produce:

Vlogs:
  • Canon PowerShot G7 X: Used by PewDiePie, this camera is extremely sensitive and delivers a high-quality image at 20.2 Megapixels. 
  • Panasonic GH5: Casey Neistat’s primary camera for vlogging, the GH5 shoots in HD at 60 frames per second and comes with a 21.77 total Megapixel resolution. 
  • Canon EOS 70D: Zoella’s vlogging camera of choice, the EOS 70D is the cheapest on the list but the easiest to use as it operates like a high-resolution camcorder.
Point and Shoot:
  • Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V: The king of the the point-and-shoot style, Casey Neistat, uses this extremely small camera with the world’s fastest autofocus system. This makes it perfect for shooting video content with a lot of movement and action.
  • Canon G7 Mark II: Zoella uses this camera for her on the go footage. It is a compact device that captures video at a formidable 20.1 megapixels.
Sketch:
  • Panasonic DMC-GH1K: One of the only influencers to use an iPhone for vlogging, Shane Dawson uses the DMC-GH1K to shoot his comic sketches with and it’s not surprising since the camera delivers soft focus in HD that is ideal for filming.

Once you understand who your core audience is and have mastered the kind of content you wish to deliver, consider investing in a high-performance camera as well as lighting and sound equipment. With consistent posting about what you are passionate about, it won’t be long until you yourself are making big moves on the world’s largest video platform.