What separates a beginner YouTube channel from a highly successful one? Is it the camera, the cinematography or the advanced video editing techniques? While that equipment and those skills can certainly play in your favor, they are hardly the most important aspects of what it takes to be successful on YouTube.
As it has been said so many times before, the best camera is the one that you have with you. Of course, it helps if you have a better microphone to block out background noise and of course your video will present better if you use a higher quality camera, but if you have genuinely awesome content that’s shot just on your phone, you can still make it big. And then you can invest more in skills and equipment at that point.
I was invited out to a special YouTube Content Lab workshop in Vancouver, hosted by YouTube itself, and they went over a number of the key areas where you can focus in order to take your YouTube channel to the next level. How will you get more views? How will you get more subscribers? How will you grow your audience?
10 Fundamental Principles
The workshop, which was limited only to YouTubers in the area who had at least 10,000 subscribers, started out with an exercise called Stargazer. We looked at a sample channel as a group, dissecting how this channel could improve and then applying those learnings to our own YouTube efforts.
No, Stargazer doesn’t really have anything to do with astronomy or breaking out your telescope on a particularly clear night in the middle of the countryside. Instead, it lists ten fundamentals that you can implement (or implement better) in your YouTube channel in order to grow your audience and improve engagement.
- Discoverable: Are you doing what you can to optimize your video to show up in search results and related video lists? Are you filling out the video description and tags and optimizing your title?
- Accessible: Can a new viewer fully appreciate and enjoy one of your videos in isolation? Or do they have to watch your old videos to get the context?
- Shareable: Will someone who watches your video be inclined to share it with other people, like on social media? Are you videos too long?
- Collaborative: Do you work with other YouTubers on projects for mutual benefit? Are you working with other brands to tap into one another’s respective audiences?
- Targeted: Do you know who your ideal audience is? Are you targeting this specific demographic, either on the channel level or with playlists? Or are you far too general?
- Conversational: Do you engage with the viewer, talking directly to the audience in some way or another? Will they feel a human connection?
- Interactive: Are you interacting with the audience in some way? Do you respond promptly to comments? Can they connect with you on social media?
- Consistent: Do you have a reliable content release schedule that your fans and subscribers can count on? Are there recurring themes or elements that clearly define your channel and what it’s all about?
- Sustainable: Are you using a video format that you can keep up over the long term? Have you picked a niche where you can come up with new material for years to come?
- Inspiration: Are you genuinely passionate about what you’re talking about? Does that passion, interest and enthusiasm come through in your videos?
What Are Your Next Steps?
Something that was made very clear by the people running the workshop is that not every channel is going to be able to hit all ten points. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice a bit of performance in one if you want to expand your success in another area. That’s just the nature of the beast.
It comes down to a matter of prioritization. Looking at your own YouTube channel, assuming that you want it to be as successful and as large as possible, which of the ten fundamental elements do you think needs the most work? How are you going to do to address that deficiency?