Considering starting a YouTube channel?
Whether you want to create a brand around a YouTube channel or create a YouTube channel centered around an existing brand, we think it’s a great idea.
YouTube is an outstanding and invaluable marketing platform, and it’s the second-most-used search engine on the market today, second only to Google. It also allows you to create long-form content in a place where users are actively looking for it, which is a huge advantage.
Whether you want to showcase product demos, educate potential clients, or even just share client testimonials, a YouTube channel is the perfect place.
So, in this post, we’re going to make the process easy by sharing how to start a YouTube channel. We’re going to go over the planning stage, the setup process, and some tips for content ideation and creation.
Let’s get started!
The Planning Stage Before Starting a YouTube Channel
It’s important to have some ideas in mind before you start posting to YouTube. Take your time during the planning stage. This process will help you choose the best ideas for your brand, which will give your channel its best chance at success.
Choose What Content You’ll Create
Before you start on the YouTube side of things, take some time to choose what kind of content you’ll create for your channel.
We know you’ll be creating and posting video content. But what will your videos be about? How long will they be? Will you plan to post standard YouTube videos, YouTube Shorts, or both?
Brainstorm some ideas and topics, either on your own or with your team, for inspiration. These answers will be unique, depending on your industry and the audience you serve.
For example, if you’re in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry, here are some of the content types you might include in your YouTube channel:
- Product education videos that teach them how to use your software
- Detailed product updates, especially if you’re rolling out upgrades and new features
- Q&As with experts in your industry
- How-to tutorials that teach users at all levels not only how to operate your software, but how to use other software that’s relevant to their brand, product, or service
- “What is” answers that educate your audience, particularly about related and peripheral industry topics
See What’s Already Out There
Before you start creating YouTube video content, you’ll need to get a feel for what’s already out there. Who’s posting in your industry? What are they talking about? How are they helping their audiences?
Do a little market research before you go full-force with posting your own content. It’s important to understand who and what you’re competing against. You don’t want to be too similar to other creators. On the other hand, you do want your target audience, who might already be following some of your competition, to be able to find your content easily.
Market research is an important step in this process because it will either help to validate your idea or help you course-correct. You might also spot gaps in the current market and decide to fill those yourself.
Think About What Your Branding & USP Will Be
Finally, you’ll want to put some thought into what your branding and unique selling proposition (USP) will be. Don’t skip this step before you start your YouTube channel.
If you already have a brand, you likely have a brand voice and visual branding. If not, this is a great time to develop one and decide on the look and feel of your content. Your branding details will inform the content you create, so it’s important to have that information in place before you get started.
Here are some important questions you should be asking yourself as you build or refine your brand:
- Do you have a logo?
- Have you decided what colors you plan to use on all your marketing materials?
- Do you already know your brand voice–in other words, the tone and cadence of your marketing content?
- Is your brand a personal brand, or is it more of a corporate brand?
- What objectives are you trying to achieve with your brand and your content?
It’s also important to make sure you understand the USP of your channel before you start posting. What can you offer that’s unique? How will you stand out from other content creators in your space?
Once you’ve landed on those answers and solidified your brand, it’s time to set up your YouTube channel.
The Creation Stage for Starting a YouTube Channel
Once you’ve got a solid idea of what kinds of content you’ll be creating for YouTube, it’s time to create your channel.
Create Your Channel
Setting up a YouTube channel is quick and simple. From your YouTube homepage, click your user icon in the upper right-hand corner.
A drop-down menu will appear. Select the Create a Channel option.
Next, you’ll see a pop-up menu that prompts you to enter your name and handle. You can also upload your avatar at this stage.
If you’re a personal brand, a headshot works really well. For corporate brands, try a small version of your logo that’s optimized for use as an avatar.
If you don’t have a headshot or logo, you can create one using a tool like Snappa. Just make sure the image is clear, easily recognizable, and aligned with your brand.
When you’re ready, you can click Create Channel to continue.
Now, YouTube will show you your channel’s dashboard. From here, you can start to optimize it for your brand.
Write a Strong Channel Description
To optimize your YouTube channel, you’ll need to start with a strong description that tells viewers exactly what to expect from you. Click the Customize Channel button in the upper right corner of your screen.
You’ll be taken to the YouTube Studio dashboard. This is the page where you manage your channel and its contents.
Navigate to the Basic Info tab to add your channel description.
From here, you can type in your description. Be sure to incorporate SEO keywords into your description to optimize it further. That way, people who are searching for content like yours will be able to find you.
Optimizing Your Channel
Now, head over to the Branding tab in YouTube Studio.
Under the Branding tab, you’ll see options for uploading your user picture, or avatar, and a YouTube banner image. If you want, you also have the option to add a watermark to your videos.
Want to know how to optimize your avatar? You’ll want a square image that’s 800 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall. We’ve created a tutorial to help you create the perfect YouTube avatar size here.
For your YouTube banner image, you’ll need your graphic to be 2560 pixels wide by 1440 pixels tall. Read more here.
Be sure both images align with your brand and represent it well for your audience. You can build both quickly and easily in Snappa.
Once you’ve uploaded your avatar and banner, YouTube Studio will show you a preview of both.
The Content Creation Stage of Starting a YouTube Channel
Now that you have your YouTube channel set up, it’s time to create and publish your content. Here are some best practices to follow as you get started.
Conduct Keyword/Topic Research
Take the idea list you created during the planning stage and use it to conduct keyword and topic research. Use YouTube’s built-in search engine to get an idea of what people are searching for and publishing.
You can also try using a YouTube SEO tool such as TubeBuddy to dive deeper into keyword optimization. Check the search ranking of any given YouTube video in combination with a specific keyword with a tool like YTRank.
Divide Your Content into Playlists
Once you’ve started building a library of YouTube content, you can divide it into playlists. Sort your videos by topic so your viewers can easily find what they’re looking for.
When a viewer selects a playlist, the videos will automatically play in sequence, making it super easy to view a series.
As with any marketing platform, you’ll want to make sure you post your YouTube videos consistently.
Your posting schedule will teach your viewers what to expect from you. Decide on a publishing rhythm you can sustain long-term so you can meet their expectations as you grow your audience.
YouTube can bring a large number of users to the table for your brand. You can use it for brand discovery, product education, and really build a reputation for your business. And by following these simple practices, you can have a YouTube channel up and running in no time.
Ready to get started creating your YouTube channel? Use Snappa to create your profile images!