By learning how to start a vlog on YouTube, and create a successful channel in 2018, you are tapping into one of the most exciting opportunities online for building an audience and earning some money.
Does that mean it is easy?
Definitely not. Like anything worth doing, starting a vlog is a lot of hard work, and will take patience before you see the results you are looking for.
The good news is that there is still lots of potential for new vloggers, and this guide will walk you through every step along the way.
You can also check out our 10 Step Guide to becoming a YouTuber who doesn't necessarily need to be on camera. If you want to be the star of the show and vlogging successfully on your channel, then keep reading.
Sarting A Successful Vlog - Steps 1-7
Step 1 - Choose Your Audience
One of the most important steps in starting a new vlog channel is deciding who you want your audience to be. If the answer is 'everyone' then you need think harder about this.
YouTube is a huge landscape with hundreds of thousands of channels that focus on every type of content you can imagine. There is something for everyone, and that is a good thing.
To be a successful vlogger, you need to determine what type of audience your videos will connect with so that you can focus. Will they be gamers? Will they be people looking for makeup tips? Will they be history buffs? Will they be travel enthusiasts?
If you are hoping to make money with your vlog, you can check out these profitable channel ideas and how to monetize them. Anyone looking to make some money with YouTube should checkout this ecourse that you can access for free for 2 months.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
We recommend that you focus on passion before you worry about profits. It can take some time to earn money vlogging, and even once you are earning, you will be much happier if you have curated an audience that is excited about what you are talking about.
Step 2 - Invent Your Vlogging Brand
As a vlogger, your 'product' is yourself. By definition you are the star of your vlog videos and you want people to associate you with your channel.
The most successful vloggers deliver a consistent 'brand' in their videos, channel art, marchandise etc. If your new vlog is for your business, then there is even more reason to pay attention to the branding.
Here are a few things to consider, and to make sure that you are keeping consistent.
Consistency and meeting expectations is an important factor in successful vlogging.
From the first moment of your video, you should make it clear exactly the style and tone your vlogging channel is going to have. Use a standard intro that will become familiar to your audience, and matches the style you want.
There are lots of good video intro templates to choose from in most editing software - choose one that suits your style and use it every time!
Beyond your intro, your vlog delivery, music, and editing all contribute to the overall feeling of your video.
Whatever energy and tone you want to convey while vlogging, try to make every aspect of your video consistent. If you deliver your vlogs with high energy and enthusiasm, then choose energetic music and edit your videos with lots of jump cuts in a way that matches that energy. If you are more instructive in your videos, then lean towards a video style that has a more trustworthy, or even professional feeling.
if you are looking for tips on how to edit your videos like a pro, then check out Skillshare which can give you 2 months of free lessons on things like video editing, and building a YouTube following.
Step 3 - Create Your Channel Art
Your vlog channel art on YouTube will often be the first impression that you give to a new viewer. Don't blow it!
You don't need to have gallery worthy artwork on your channel, but you do want to keep it consistent with your brand, and with the content of your videos.
Tools like Snappa are easy to use, and free to try with a lot of helpful channel art templates to draw inspiration from.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your channel art.
Make sure to take advantage of all the awesome features that YouTube provides, and to use eye catching art at every opportunity.
Start with your channel icon and work out from there. This small image will be everywhere that people stumble onto your videos and will represent all other vlogs you film.
Deciding what you want to use as an icon is a great first step because it forces you to focus your imagery. You can use that founding idea to make a related channel banner, and potentially even incorporate it into your video thumbnails.
A popular way to monetize a vlog, and spread your brand to the world, is to sell YouTube merchandise to your fans.
If you have channel art that resonates with people, you can put it on tshirts, hoodies, or other clothing items and have your fans wear it proudly. Some vloggers have turned catch phrases or running jokes into popular merch that their fans love because they are a part of something cool and exclusive.
This might not come until you have built up an audience for at least a few months, but it is a great way to deepen loyalty among your biggest fans, spread the word about your channel, make some money vlogging on YouTube.
Step 4 - Plan Your Vlog Content
If you want to succeed as a vlogger, you will need to plan. As much as possible.
To start with, you may want to brainstorm good video ideas that are likely to get people's attention and get views.
Certain vlog niches have reliable picks that people are consistently looking for. Look at other vloggers that inspire you and choose some video ideas they have tried to make your own - with your personal twist.
Some ideas are always classics. Videos like reviews, YouTube challenges, Top 10 lists, and unboxing products are often reliable favorites that attract viewers.
One thing that really helps a vlogger stand out is having their own recognizable segments that viewers enjoy and can come back to. Every late night talk show host has their own recurring segments because audiences get to know the format and get excited to see something familiar they know that they like!
If these segments resonate with your audience, they can be like anticipated episodes of their favorite TV show, and greatly increases your chances of turning a viewer into a subscriber.
Here is a good example from successful vlogger, Zoella, who frequently generates a ton of views with her popular 'what's in my bag' segment.
These videos are simple rundowns of products that Zoella is enjoying these days, but it is one of her most popular and requested videos. Whenever she releases a video like this, she can count on millions of views and happy subscribers!
Step 5 - Get Comfortable On Camera
If you are just learning how to start a vlog on YouTube, then you should be thinking about how you will be your best self while on camera.
For some people this comes naturally, while others need some practice being in the spotlight.
No matter who you are, there are always ways to improve! Here are a few tips on how to look and feel your best while vlogging.
5 Ways To Get Better On Camera
Watch Your Own Videos: Some people have a hard time watching themselves on video, but it is a very important step! If you don't carefully watch your vlogs, how will you notice your habits that the audience will see, and recognize ways to improve?
Watch every vlog you post all the way through at least once or twice and take a mental note about what you liked and what you would like to try differently next time - and then move on and keep getting better!
Use a Flip Screen Camera: Using a flip screen camera for vlogging is the best way to get immediate feedback on how you look on camera. These flexible display screens allow you to see exactly what is going on in the frame, even while the camera is facing you. This removes doubt, and lets you feel confident in each take.
Get Feedback: Don't vlog alone! Asking people you know (or your audience) for honest feedback about how to improve your videos is a great way to learn how you can improve your videos. Don't be afraid of criticism - even the most successful vloggers have areas where they can improve, and if you look at feedback as an opportunity to grow, then you will have a successful channel. Also - don't worry about any YouTube trolls who are just mean because they are bored 😉
Practice: This might be the most overused advice of all time, but YES you can practice vlogging. The more videos you film of yourself, the better you will become. Even if you don't plan on posting something, bust your your camera and start filming so that it feels like second nature.
Prepare Script/ Outline: Even if you want to vlog organically, you can still benefit from preparing your thoughts ahead of time. Considering the big points you want to hit in advance is a good way to avoid stumbling for words on camera. Even good editing isn't as effective as smooth, confident delivery on video
Step 6 - Find Your First Subscribers
There are many different strategies in getting your first subscribers. Making your way to your first 1000 subscribers can be a challenge, but it is definitely doable, even for vlogging beginners just getting started.
For one there are many different places to promote your channel. By finding online communities that resonate with your style and niche you can find early champions of your channel who can give you those early views and early feedback.
We recommend you resist the urge to spend time seeking Sub 4 Sub trades, or buying YouTube subscribers.
In addition to raw promotion, there are many different tips that will get you more views on your channel over time. Here are 3 things to consider:
Promoting In Niche Communities
There are many places online where you can find your specific audience. Communities like Reddit or Facebook Groups are almost certainly dedicated to the topics that you will be vlogging about, so in the early days you can always share your new videos to those groups and try to find early adopters.
This isn't the most sustainable process, but it might get you your first subscibers, or even get some social shares on your video. There are a number of useful apps that you can use for managing and promoting your YouTube channel.
Being discovered through the YouTube platform itself is the most effective and sustainable way to build your subscriber count long-term.
If you can get your vlog to appear in specific search results, or recommended videos, you can expect a flood of new viewers.
In order to maximize your YouTube SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effectiveness, make sure to use catchy titles that will attract clicks, and lengthy, keyword targeted descriptions. You can also do things like recommend related channels on your own channel, or use tags to let YouTube know what your channel is all about.
YouTube is always trying to match viewers with things they are interested in, so the more information you can share about your content, the better.
Collaboration is a strategy that is used effectively by the most successful vloggers - read the next section to fund out how and why!
Step 7 - Network and Collaborate
No matter how much work you put in, you will never be as successful as you can be if you take on YouTube alone.
Collaboration is a wonderful thing. Not only is it fun, and a great way to learn from other vloggers, but if you are featured as a guest in someone else's vlog channel, that gives you a chance to gain new subscribers from all of their followers. You can do the same for them, and everyone wins!
Rosanna Pansino is a great example of a successful vlogger who frequently collaborates with fellow vloggers. Both she and her guests benefit from filming entertaining content for their viewers, while also building their audience through the exposure to one another's subscribers.
Here is a collaboration example on her channel with Joey Graceffa.
These collaborations have helped Rosanna grow to over 9 million subscribers, and a position as one of the richest YouTubers in the world.
To collaborate effectively, you need to network with other vloggers. There are many ways to do this. You might meet through online communities, but you can also be proactive by reaching out to vloggers who have similar channels.
Include some sort of contact information in your 'About' page on your YouTube channel. This will give fans and other vloggers a way to reach you, and potentially share cool opportunities to collaborate.
Always think about how you can help them, and how you can make great content for both of your viewers - the benefits to you will come naturally. If you approach your peers with only yourself in mind, it will quickly become obvious, and you are less likely to succeed long term.
Step 8 - Sart to Earn From Vlogging
This is the most challenging and (for some) most rewarding part about starting a successful vlog channel on YouTube. Many people have made vlogging their full time profression, and earn a great living at it.
Our advice is to save this step for last - until you understand your niche, are making great videos, have some subscibers and are working on building your network, you won't have much luck monetizing your channel.
However once you have accomplished those things, there is lots of opportunity!
If you want a full rundown of 10 proven ways to earn money on YouTube, you can download the 10-step checklist here.
Monetizing your channel is a good thing, but don't lose sight on what makes you and your channel great. People want to watch authentic vloggers, and don't want to feel like they are being sold.
Always be transparent about anything that is earning you money and be genuine by endorsing products and companies that you truly appreciate and think that your viewers can benefit from.
If you do this right, and the content doens't suffer, then your true fans will be happy to support any money making efforts in your vlog.
Earning money on your vlog through YouTube monetization and AdSense is the easiest method once you have reached 10,000 cumulative views, but it is not as lucritive as it used to be.
As a result you should look into different opportunities to earn money through alternative methods. Merchandise is good, and crowd funding sites like Patreon have changed the creator landscape, but these are tough for new vloggers.
To get started monetizing, lookin into affiliate marketing on your YouTube channel. This is a way to tell your audience about products and services that you love, and get a small commission for any viewers who decide to buy the product themselves through personalized links that you can include in your video description.
You can also find sponsors for your YouTube channel. If you have curated your audience, and they have commonalities in interest or demographic, then you might be a very attractive to potential sponsors who will pay to have you mention or show off their product in your vlogs.
Starting a vlog channel in 2018 is a very exciting opportunity, and by following the steps above, you can have a successful channel to be proud of.
What will you make your vlog about? How will you make unique videos people will love? Who do you want to collaborate with?
Let us know in the comments below, and good luck!