Always had dreams of a job where there were no rules, and you could let your imagination run wild and free?
Well, there is a perfect way to fulfil such a dream: YouTube
YouTube – sounds familiar, right? It is one of the leading social media platforms and has taken the world of Internet by a storm. A platform that provides you with the golden opportunity to ‘make it big’, show the world your concealed creative side and express your opinions at a global level.
With the world becoming digitised by the second and the boom of smartphones, this red and white play button has given birth to a new profession – The YouTuber
There are thousands of Indian YouTubers and YouTube channels that rule the Internet – Superwoman, MostlySane, Bhuvan Bam, Sherry Shroff, AIB, TVF, Komal Pandey, Shirly Setia, to name a few.
Ever wondered what is it that they do or how they made a career in it?
And the biggest question of all that I am sure would be boggling your mind –
Can You Really Build a Career Through YouTube?
Yes, why not? YouTubing is one of the most upcoming and promising careers in contemporary times. It is a field that offers tremendous scope for growth and other benefits such as flexibility of work, the ability to express yourself, opportunities to showcase your creativity, and a shot at earning popularity and fame.
While it may not be a full-time career option right off the bat, but over time you can make it your profession like the many other YouTubers before you.
There are several ways you can earn money as a YouTuber. Some of them are:
- Becoming a YouTube Partner and Monetizing Videos: After you have established your channel and have a decent amount of subscribers, you’ll get an option to become a partner with YouTube. This will enable you to earn revenue by allowing YouTube to add advertisements before and during your videos. So every time a viewer views the advertisement featured on your video, you earn a certain amount of money.
- Collaborating with Brands: When you have a good fan base and a net market value, brands will offer you to collaborate with them to feature their products in your videos. In exchange, you will get a fee and some added benefits. You can use your image and persuasion skills to your advantage, so that both you and the brand benefit.
- Selling Merchandise: It is also common for YouTubers to collaborate with brands to come up with their own line of merchandise. This includes T-shirts, pens, makeup and beauty products, clothing lines, etc. This is a great way to promote yourself as a brand while simultaneously generating revenue.
Youtube gives you the golden opportunity to build a career out of something you love. There are several examples of YouTubers who started out small but due to their immense talent and hard work are doing really well for themselves.
This brings us to our next question.
How Do You Start a Career as a YouTuber?
Creating a channel and making it successful would require a lot of hard work and perseverance your part. Making a career out of YouTube is not about coming up with a single viral video and getting shot up to fame, it requires careful content development, distribution and promotion to be sustainable.
Here are a few avenues to work upon to get started with a career in this field.
1. Choose the Genre and Motive for your Channel
This is a crucial step as it will help you choose the type of content you’ll create and will reflect the message you want to send out to the masses. It can be anything ranging from beauty and fashion to comedy, gaming or technology.
Here are a few of the most common categories/genres of content on YouTube channels:
- Music (including covers)
- Art and DIYs
2. Determine Your Style and Voice
No two Youtube Channels are the same, even ones belonging to the same genre. The difference lies in not just the content, but also the video’s creator(s) and the voice/style of the channel. Your channel’s style will often be a reflection of your own personality and unique individuality. It can come from the way you talk, the views you express, any catchphrases/taglines, your dressing style, or even the causes you stand for.
Look back to any of the famous Youtubers you follow and after some comparison, you will realise that each of them has at least one unique quality that sets them apart. A fresh and original voice are an essential element for making your channel stand out from the noise of the hundreds of channels out there.
3. Develop and Polish Your Content
Content is the heart and soul of any YouTube video. Your video cannot get by on presentation alone, and there needs to be strong content backing it up. It’s important that you spend proper time conceptualising your ideas, writing content/script, and editing it to polish and perfect it. Make sure it is catchy, relevant, precise and to-the-point.
Start with what you know well and use it to build and test new ideas as you go on. Keep coming up with new and creative ideas to keep on improving your content with each subsequent video.
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4. Use the Right Equipment
Poor video or audio quality sends a message to the user that very little work has been put in the development of the content. Thus, it is highly suggested you invest in a good camera (DSLR/ point-and-shoot), quality lighting and sound equipment (microphone). However, if you want to test the waters first and don’t want to invest in expensive equipment from the outset, you can borrow it from friends or use a good quality smartphone camera with a tripod.
5. Work on Your Filming and Editing Techniques
Good editing and filming can go a long way in increasing the virality of videos. They are the two most crucial elements that determine the final quality of your videos, and thus cannot be ignored.
Make it a point that you use the right lighting settings and filming techniques while filming your videos. Knowledge of the basics of photography and filming (camera angles, lighting, aperture, shutter speed, framing, etc.) will really help, and thus you should spend time learning these. You can even take up some short-term courses in photography and film-making.
Again, filming a video is never enough, and editing it in the right manner will serve to deliver the final product. So make sure you spend enough time at this step. You can use editing software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid, etc. To start with, you can also look for many free editing tools available, or the standard Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to edit your videos.
6. Get Comfortable With YouTube’s Interface
Since YouTube is going to be the lifeline of your career, it is important that you know the platform inside out and use it to its maximum potential. Spend proper time getting familiar with the interface and its features. There are many new features that also keep getting introduced, so make sure you stay updated with all changes by reading up.
7. Customise Your Channel Page
YouTube gives you the chance to reflect the voice and identity of your channel through your channel page too. There are many ways to personalise the page – you can edit the layout so that visitors see the content you want them to see first, add a channel trailer, post a custom thumbnail to give your channel its identity, and also display vibrant artwork as your cover picture to make it look fresh and draw attention.
You should also group your videos into playlists to help visitors find your content better. An attractive and well-organized page will go a long way in getting more subscribers, so spend time customising your channel well.
8. Choose Relevant Titles and Tags
The title of your video and the tags you use help to ensure that your video gets featured in searches and ultimately starts getting noticed by a wider audience.
Tags are basically descriptive keywords you can add to your video to tell YouTube what your video is about, and thus increase the likelihood of it being displayed in searches related to those keywords. There are many great free keyword tools available online that will suggest you many more relevant keywords/tags based on your existing keyword ideas. You can use them not just in the keywords section, but in your description too.
The title of your video is equally important since it conveys to the audience what your video is about. A clickable, descriptive and attractive title also helps in ranking your content on YouTube search.
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9. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
In getting your videos to be viral and earning money off of YouTube, social media are indispensable tools in your kit. They help you distribute your content to a wider audience and the more platforms you get it on, the better. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, not only help you increase the reach of your content, they also help you stay in touch with your fans and get more likes, comments and shares.
You can look at any popular YouTube channel or YouTuber, and would see that they maintain an active presence on multiple online channels. E.g. Mallika Dua and Tanmay Bhatt constantly make their presence felt on Snapchat with their engaging snaps.
10. Stay Engaged With Your Audience
YouTubers leverage their fame and subscribers to gain popularity for their videos, distribute their content, and highlight other brand’s products to make more money in addition to what they make off YouTube. For this reason, an engaged and supportive audience is essential. Engage with your followers regularly by regularly replying to comments and messages, asking them questions and taking up their suggestions.
YouTubers often organize ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions regularly so that their fans get a chance to meet and know them better personally. It is important to keep on thinking of such ways to increase your fan base and build a supportive community of followers.
Do You Need Any Educational Qualifications to Be a YouTuber?
Being a YouTuber, of course, doesn’t require you to have any minimum qualifications as such, a laptop, editing software, camera and a steady Internet connection are the only things needed to get started.
However, a degree in mass communication, media or journalism can definitely be a value-addition because they will equip you with adequate knowledge of editing software, filming techniques, camera handling, advertising and PR.
You can also pursue a diploma or certification courses in acting, video editing, film direction, editing, cinematography or audiography. Online courses in digital marketing, brand building, content marketing and online promotions will also surely help!
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YouTubing is a field where you need to keep expanding yourself constantly and not be afraid to try new things. If being creative and thinking outside of the box is what gets your heart pumping, then this may be your go-to profession!
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