Starting A Youtube Channel: A How-To Guide

For the longest time I have been wanting to express myself in some sort of external way. I normally keep things bottled up and that can be very unhealthy mentally, emotionally, and even physically. I needed a creative outlet but I didn’t know what it should be. I can’t paint well, don’t feel supported as a musician, only dabble in theater and don’t have the time with other extracurriculars to dance. The truth is, the intersection of the identities that make me “me” are not well reinforced at Colby and I wanted to change that. But, I realized these are all things I could explore and talk about on my Youtube channel!

Other than talking about my creativity, I also want to make videos where I share my thoughts while eating delectable foods found around my city (maybe even shipped from somewhere else in the nation). I know I want to have videos where my friends join and we sit there doing challenges while laughing so hard we don’t remember whose turn it is. I don’t want to do these things for an audience to see, I want them so that I can keep them as memories. I want to be able to look back on my life and see these fun moments. Almost like a video diary of sorts, something that I can look at when I’m old and gray.  My thoughts are MY thoughts but if they help someone else along the way then that would be the best thing I could ask for.

From the beginning, starting a Youtube channel was not at all what I thought it would be. It takes a lot of time and dedication, and right now I lack the time to film and edit and thing that’s not getting me a grade. But the summer is coming up and hopefully I will have more time to get in touch with my Youtuber side. Now having this desire is one thing but even if I had the time what else would I need know in order to have a “successful” channel? I put success in quotation marks because success is really up to what you want to get out of your channel. Fame, fortune, awareness, connection, it’s all up to the creator of the channel and it can be all of those things simultaneously.

Here are some steps for starting a youtube channel. These steps cannot guarantee a success but again isn’t “success” subjective to the goal of YOUR channel?

1. Plan Your Content!

What do you want your videos to be about? Make a game plan for at least the first 6/7 videos. Many Youtubers have a theme for their page which allows them to interact with the audience in ways that they normally wouldn’t. Viewers like to live vicariously through the Youtuber so the more engaging, the better.

(Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash)

2. What’s Your Name?

This is probably one the hardest parts about making a youtube channel. Coming up with a creative name that will be the symbol of your channel is very crucial to its “success.” Get your friends and family members to help you brainstorm some possible ideas. You never know what may come up since two heads are better than one.

3. Create Your Channel.

Make sure you know how to physically create a Youtube channel through the Youtube interface. It’s not that complicated (basically making an account then uploading a video). However, there are some stylistic choices that need to be made. These include what you will say in your bio and what picture you will use for your cover art. Designing the cover art is a task of its own and many youtubers use editing apps or even graphic designers to create a cover. Even a simple photo collage would suffice.

4. Tools! Tools! Tools!

Now in order to maximize your vlogging clarity, having a nice vlogging camera (like a camcorder or even videophone) is not everything. You have to pay attention to auditory and lighting needs. You might need to pick up a microphone and studio light ring. And of course, you must have a tripod!

5. Video Editing Software?

Editing videos can seem a bit intimidating at first but I promise they make very easy programs for people who aren’t as tech savvy. I haven’t had that much experience with video editing programs but there are free programs like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Shotcut, Blender and Openshot (visit Best Free Video Editing for the pros and cons of each of these programs). There are tutorials online for many of the programs so figuring things out won’t be as hard as you think.

6. Optimize Your Titles

If you want to increase your visibility on youtube use titles that will optimize your content rank on Youtube. Using a catchy title like “Bon Voyage America!” is actually not a good title because it’s not that descriptive. Instead, choose something that is easy to look up in the search bar for your viewers, like, “Graduation Trip out of America Vlog 2019.” Next, don’t forget to write a very good description with at least 150 words including all your video tags. If you have trouble coming up with relevant tags for a video, you can always draw inspiration from tags on other Youtubers’ videos.

7. Involve Others

Do I even need to explain this step? Get you friends and fam involved in some of the videos! Part of Youtube’s draw is that it’s a platform meant for sharing, connecting, and collaborating, so it’s not out of the ordinary at all to have videos featuring others. By including others, even other Youtubers, you are building networks that will help gain success for your channel.

8. Connect with Your Viewers

Viewers like watching someone they can relate to, so simply being open and honest is the way to be. I guarantee if you invite your viewers to give feedback and read it in a video, or conduct a simple Q&A video, you will spark interest to your page. Also, inviting your viewers to send products to you for promotion and reviews on your channel is a great way to network as well. This can be intimidating but you will never know if you don’t try.


Do not give any attention to the clowns in the comment sections. Instead use those views as a time to request likes, shares, and subscriptions. Even allude to the next video.

(Photo by @MARK.C courtesy of Nappy)

There can be many different themes and types of videos that one can cover in their Youtube channel, like eating delicious food with friend and families or even videotaping the actual restaurant.

(Photo by @SNAPAVELLI courtesy of Nappy)

Fashion vlogs can keep you updated on the latest trends while how-to vlogs can center around hair styling and maintenance (especially for women of color).

(Photo by DELLON THOMAS courtesy of Nappy)

There are also how-to make up tutorials (also especially for women of color), or just general conversational and daily vlogs, which are entertaining and fun! 

(Photo by Fox from Pexels)

People even review the latest movies, musical, political and religious issues going on in the present moment. In these types of vlogs the subject is offering a public view into their own intimate thoughts. This puts their motivations, desires, history, and creativity on display for not only Youtube to see but also the rest of the world. Furthermore, it does create a virtual way of living forever because once it’s out there, it’s really out there.

Maybe now since its summer and since I have written this article I will launch my own fabulous Youtube channel. Stay tuned for further announcement on my various social media outlets and here’s hoping you start your own channel too!


Check out these great sites to learn more about starting a Youtube Channel, they helped me create this article!

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