More than 122 million people use YouTube daily, spending approximately half an hour per visit on average.
It’s no wonder the world’s second most visited website, YouTube’s total viewership is expected to reach a whopping 210 million.
And, like 88% other marketers, if you’ve been thinking about how to start a YouTube channel, you’re thinking in the right direction.
Given how long people spend time on this video-first platform, there’s a lot of opportunity you can reap from it.
But to be able to do so, be ready to put in resources to planning and starting a YouTube channel.
Because here’s the thing: there are over 51 million channels on YouTube and standing out in this sea of noise is not going to be easy.
It’s why we recommend taking a planning-first approach to starting your YouTube channel.
The 46 YouTube channel owners who we talked to understand how to start a YouTube channel agree as well.
Read on to learn more:
- How Often Should You Post New Videos on YouTube
- The Biggest Faux Pas for a YouTube Business Channel
- 8 Tips for Starting a Successful YouTube Channel
How Often Should You Post New Videos on YouTube
Before we begin, it’s important to understand that starting a YouTube channel is making a commitment to consistently publishing new video content.
In fact, consistent publishing is the key to winning at YouTube marketing as it helps you:
- Get better at creating engaging videos because you learn by doing
- Understand your target audience by reviewing what content resonates with them
- Build your audience as you set expectations around when you’ll publish new videos
But how consistently should you be publishing content on YouTube? It turns out more than half of our respondents post videos at least once a week.
This comes from people who have found a lot of value in YouTube as a marketing channel. In fact, more than 80% of them admit YouTube is a very important channel for their business.
Related: YouTube Video Ideas That Helped 40 Businesses Grow Their Audience and Attract More Customers
The Biggest Faux Pas for a YouTube Business Channel
One more thing before we get to the meaty bid: what’s a YouTube marketing mistake you should be aware of so you can avoid it?
Our respondents say the biggest mistake a company YouTube channel can make is inconsistency in their content and voice.
The good news is that you can easily avoid this faux pas by planning your YouTube channel’s content strategy including the content you’ll publish and when and sticking with the strategy you create.
Let’s talk about all that and more next.
8 Tips for Starting a Successful YouTube Channel
Although there are a million things to do before starting a YouTube channel, they all boil down to these 8 tips based on what 40+ YouTube channels shared with us:
- Evaluate whether you need a YouTube channel
- Analyze what your competitors are doing
- Create a value-packed content strategy
- Stick to the content strategy you create
- Optimize your YouTube channel
- Create a video creation workflow
- Create a plan to optimize your videos with YouTube SEO
- Put a distribution plan in place
PRO TIP: Analyze Your YouTube Channel Performance Like a Pro
To find out what types of video content perform best with your audience, you may track video engagement metrics such as watch time, number of views, likes and dislikes of each video individually using a variety of tools, including YouTube itself.
Now you can quickly monitor your video content performance in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
- Average watch time. How much time do viewers spend watching your video content?
- Watch time by video. Which videos drive most of your audience watch time each month?
- Subscribers gained vs lost. How quickly are you gaining or losing subscribers?
- Number of likes, comments and shares. How engaged is your audience?
Now you can benefit from the experience of our video marketing experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important metrics for measuring your YouTube channel performance. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your YouTube account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
1. Evaluate whether you need a YouTube channel
Admittedly, there’s a lot of research confirming the effectiveness of YouTube marketing. Even so, it’s essential you start with taking the time to determine whether starting and growing a YouTube channel is a commitment you want to make.
Two most important questions to ask here are:
- Does our specific target audience use YouTube to learn about a business like ours?
- Are we ready to commit the needed resources to start and grow a YouTube channel?
The best way to understand whether your target buyers use YouTube for learning about and engaging with businesses like yours is to talk to them.
Whether you reach your buyers via phone, email, or social media, it’s important to ask them if they use YouTube for business research/education.
Polling your current audience on whether they want to see you on YouTube is another way to gauge their interest.
Equally important here is doing an honest evaluation of whether you’ve the time to start a YouTube channel.
Since growing your channel involves producing video content consistently, SoStocked’s Chelsea Cohen recommends “you should find, analyze, and evaluate whether you can create enough content for it.”
Sharing their experience, Cohen writes, “In our case, as a SaaS company, we realized that there’s always something we can talk about on YouTube, so it was an easy decision to pour resources into YouTube.”
The fact of the matter is that consistency is very important on YouTube. It’s why Cohen advises you “make sure you have enough content ideas which will allow you to be consistent with the content.”
In short, after you’ve determined your target audience’s interest in your YouTube channel, make sure you have the necessary resources needed to put into consistently creating content for the channel.
2. Analyze what your competitors are doing
Another way to confirm whether a YouTube channel is the right marketing channel for you is to look at whether your competitors are using it.
Jeff Moriarty from Moriarty’s Gem Art is of the same view. “The best way to begin a YouTube channel is to watch your competitor’s videos and see what people are interested.”
If your competitors are doing well on YouTube, you can easily conclude that your target market uses the video search engine to interact with a business like yours.
Start with reviewing your competitors’ channels for the:
- Types of videos they publish
- How frequently they publish
- What engagement their videos are driving
- Their content’s strengths and weaknesses
As part of your competitor analysis, Fernando Lopez from Circuit also recommends you “build strategies to see what they are doing well and work to outdo them through differentiation.”
Competitor research will also help you create and plan videos for your YouTube channel.
To do so, Moriarty suggests looking “at the comments and questions people have [on a specific competitor’s] video. Create your own video, but make it better, and answer those same questions that people asked in your competitor’s comments. This should help you gain traction in your industry and build up your channel.”
Related: How to Create a Comprehensive YouTube Analytics Report: Step By Step Guide
3. Create a value-packed content strategy
Know what’s a surefire way to confuse your YouTube viewers and waste your efforts on YouTube? Creating videos without a strategy behind them.
Such a haphazard approach means you’ll constantly find yourself pausing to work on new ideas for videos to create. Not only will this slow down production and impact your publishing consistency, but it’ll also deliver poor results.
After all, it’s challenging to retain YouTube viewers when your videos have no clear focus.
So where should you start in creating a valuable content strategy that drives growth on YouTube? ORACLE Lighting’s Tiffanie Hartenstein suggests you kick off strategy planning by understanding your target audience and their interests.
“To start a successful YouTube channel, a business needs to understand what its audience needs and then create videos that meet those needs.”
As a result, you’ll be able to “make videos that your customers and potential customers want to watch because they meet their needs and answer their questions,” Hartenstein adds.
Once you’ve created a list of your audience’s interests though, review how they align with your business. Why? Because the aim is to create YouTube videos that interest your audience and are relevant to your business too.
Harrison Tanner Baron from Growth Generators advises this. “If you want to start a YouTube channel you need to make sure your videos are related to your services.”
On their YouTube channel, Growth Generators, Baron takes the same approach — creating videos relevant to both their audience and their business so they can grow their brand awareness.
As Baron explains it: “People find YouTube videos to help them with anything they have problems with, especially when it comes to starting their own business. Therefore, if you make videos that offer advice on how to start a business similar to yours people will more likely pay attention. That’s what I’ve done; I’ve started a video sharing online marketing tips and, when I create high-quality videos and use the most interesting tags, I tend to get more views.”
ORACLE Lighting’s YouTube channel also creates content that’s both relevant to their audience and the business. In that, the videos they create focus on showing how to install and use their automotive lighting product.
This way, their video strategy focuses on creating useful content that their customers want to consume.
Related: How to Make a YouTube Video Go Viral (with 8 Easy Tips)
4. Stick to the content strategy you create
It’s one thing to create a YouTube content strategy and another to consistently execute it.
One way to make sure you stick to your strategy is to bake your interest in it. How so, you ask? By planning to create videos on topics that interest you.
Think of it, really. Do you honestly think you can keep creating and releasing YouTube videos on topics you aren’t interested in or can’t build your interest in?
Even if you can manage to get a few videos out, you won’t be able to enjoy the production process. This can quickly take a toll on your mood.
Zack Duncan of Root and Branch Group whose YouTube channel recently crossed the 1-year mark of consistently posting on YouTube agrees. “It can be challenging at times to produce a video a week. If the content wasn’t personally interesting, I doubt we would have stuck with the regular cadence of publishing at least once a week.”
It’s why Duncan insists on creating a video strategy on topics that interest you too — not just your audience. “Choose a subject area that is interesting and relevant to your customers AND to you (or the person producing video).”
Another reason why this approach works is that “consistently creating content about a niche subject allows your audience (and the YouTube algorithm) to get to know you” according to Duncan.
“This helps your search performance. So instead of creating content about all things marketing, consider a more focused take on say, search marketing or social media marketing. You can always branch out in the future.”
Another tip to stick with your YouTube content strategy is to not cave into every other viral trend.
“Though the temptation may be to experiment with every new viral trend on YouTube, they may not align with your branding so you should instead focus on those that will enhance your brand, not derail it,” advises Greg Gillman from Mutesix.
“Posts can go viral for any number of reasons, so trying to chase fleeting trends rather than sticking to a strong content strategy can prevent you from appearing authentic and consistent, which is critical to building brand awareness and equity,” Gillman goes on.
In short, “customizing YouTube content to your target audience, maintaining a consistent tone and messaging, and leveraging only the more on-brand trends, will ultimately attract more engagement in the long run. In sticking to a content strategy that leverages viral trends in-line with your brand, you will acquire new followers, as well as better maintain your current ones” as Gillman puts it.
5. Optimize your YouTube channel
After you’ve made a plan to dedicate resources to your YouTube marketing endeavor and worked out a video content strategy for the platform, work on optimizing your channel.
“For businesses that want to start benefiting from YouTube marketing, the most important thing is to make sure your channel is optimized for viewership,” notes Kinsta’s Jade Suzarte.
“Releasing state-of-the-art content is crucial, but that won’t matter if you don’t have a well-defined target audience, and you’re able to reach it.”
What helps here is creating a living document of who your ideal YouTube viewer is. Reference this document for finalizing YouTube video ideas to work on and promoting your video content.
At the same time, it’s important you optimize your YouTube channel. Take the following steps to do so:
- Put a keyword in your channel name if you can. This makes it easy for users to find you
- Write an About page for your YouTube channel and include keywords in it too
- Create a channel trailer so viewers know what your YouTube channel is about
- Create playlists to organize your videos by categories and increase viewers’ watch time
See how Kinsta’s YouTube channel follows these steps to optimize their channel:
6. Create a video creation workflow
Having audience-resonating topic ideas for your YouTube videos is just one part of the puzzle. The other part? Making sure you’re telling a story around those topics.
Put another way, each video that you create for your channel has to be engaging from the start till the end.
This doesn’t mean you waste time obsessing over your video production gear. You can start with recording videos with an iPhone and upgrade the gear as your YouTube channel grows.
What’s important, however, is making sure you brainstorm the hook, structure, and call-to-action (CTA) for each video in your pipeline.
EduHubSpot’ Varun Anand whose YouTube channel grew from 0 to 32k subscribers organically says with each video “always try to provide something valuable to the end user.”
Anand also suggests a defined video structure is key to growth. “Try to create a beginning, middle, and end. Work towards it, plan it properly before you record the video.”
To make sure you’re producing only publishing valuable YouTube videos, break down the production process into stages to create a streamlined workflow.
For instance, try putting each video through these stages:
- Brainstorming. Run each idea through a solo or team brainstorming session to determine a hook and structure for it, and the keywords you’ll target for SEO.
- Video scripting and storyboarding. Visualize how each scene of the video will lead to another. Also, create a narrator’s script so the person in the video isn’t rambling.
- Video shooting and optimizing. Shoot your videos. Then optimize them by adding captions, video descriptions, and so on.
Anand advises about optimizing your videos too. “Make sure, you use proper tags and put your keywords in the YouTube description. Analyze the analytics of the video to understand where your viewer is dropping and why.”
At the same time, it’s important “to spend an inordinate amount of time on the title and thumbnail. Having a clickable and keyword rich title is more than half the battle when it comes to attracting views to your videos,” observes Steve Chou of My Wife Quit Her Job.
“The more time you can get a viewer to watch your videos the better, but it all starts with getting them to click,” Chou.
On Chou’s YouTube channel, all his videos have thoughtful titles. For example, the video titles are clear, to the point, and front-load the target keyword. See for yourself:
7. Create a plan to optimize your videos with YouTube SEO
Within the brainstorming stage of your video production workflow, spend time on YouTube keyword research too.
YouTube SEO is an effective way to grow your new channel. “YouTube uses similar algorithms to Google, and the right wording can help tremendously,” observes Manick Bhan from LinkGraph. “As a positive side-effect, your video may also appear in Google search results.”
YouTube keyword research tools like Tubebuddy and Ahrefs can help you with this.
Once you’ve identified the keyword, “have a look at who is ranking for your target keywords and analyze what makes that video successful — get some inspiration.”
During your research, look for “synonyms and long-tail keywords in addition to target ones to add in the description box.”
In fact, Circuit’s Fernando Lopez shares they’ve “seen the best results by using long-tail keywords that some of our smaller competitors use to help break into the market. Once we’re building ranks, we push for some of those highly competitive, but highly lucrative short-tail tags!”
With your keyword list ready, add them to your video’s opening lines and “make sure to use targeted keywords in the video file’s name, title, and description,” Bhan shares.
8. Put a distribution plan in place
Lastly, create a distribution plan to make sure you’re getting the most eyeballs on your YouTube channel.
One way to do this is by paying attention to YouTube keyword research that we talked about above.
Another way is to build your creator network and grow by engaging with them.
“Building a steady base of followers to your YouTube channel does not mean you have to do it in a vacuum, so it is important when starting your business YouTube channel to network with other creators,” opines RexMd’s Anthony Puopolo.
“Though YouTube is not a traditional social networking platform, there are still specific communities and creators that gravitate towards each other or have a certain synergy between their channels.”
So it’s important you network and engage with other creators. But make sure you reach out to
“other creators in which you share a similar audience,” advises Puopolo.
Not only can you collaborate on sharing each other’s YouTube content with each other’s community, but “you can share ideas, collaborate on posts, and build your subscriber base by gaining access to others’ platforms.”
Lastly, repurposing your YouTube videos into bite-size videos can help you drive more traffic to your channel.
For example, trim a value bite from your video and share it with your email subscribers, TikTok or LinkedIn followers, or any other channel you use. Then encourage people to watch the full video.
Optimize the Performance of Your YouTube Channel with Databox
In a nutshell, starting a YouTube channel begins with answering whether you actually need a YouTube presence and if you can commit to growing your channel.
Because running a YouTube channel takes a lot of time, it’s important you give careful thought to answering these questions.
If you think YouTube marketing will benefit your business, go ahead and analyze what your competitors are doing and start creating a video content strategy for the channel.
From there, it’s about sticking with and consistently executing your content strategy on the platform.
Keep in mind though, the strategy you create isn’t set in stone. After every 3 months or so, it’s important you revise it based on what you learn from your videos’ performance.
This brings us to a crucial step in winning at YouTube marketing: reviewing your videos’ performance metrics.
Studying these metrics will help you understand which topics resonate the most with your audience so you can refresh your strategy based on what you learn.
Tracking key performance metrics on YouTube can be a tad bit tricky and time-consuming though given all the metrics are scattered in different reports.
Fortunately, creating a YouTube performance dashboard with Databox can make things super easy by showing all the important metrics on one screen.
The best part? You can also review performance over a defined period to understand how your YouTube channel is doing over a certain period.
All you’ll need to do is to connect your YouTube channel with Databox and choose the metrics you want to display on your dashboard. From there, drag and drop the metrics in a dashboard and you’re done.
So who wants to start and grow a winning channel without having to go through boring reports to analyze performance? Sign up for Databox for free today and start growing your YouTube channel.