In January of last year, I took a leap. I decided to throw my self-consciousness out the window and start my YouTube channel. One year later, I've become obsessed with making videos and learning how to make them better. I've also been receiving a TON of questions about how to start a YouTube channel for DIY, home decor and lifestyle bloggers, so I thought I'd share some of what I've learned with you today. I hope my fellow bloggers find this information helpful!
I've always been quite shy and introverted, so the thought of speaking in front of people often frightens me. What's REALLY weird is that ever since I started my YouTube channel, I've become more comfortable with speaking and I've even started speaking in front of hundreds of people at home decor shows and other events! I find it's like most things -- practice makes perfect. The more you practice speaking in front of your video camera, the more comfortable you'll become.
The most important step here is to START. Before I started my YouTube channel, I thought that my boring "mom-ness", the way I talk, and even my style might not appeal to anyone, but I was wrong. As I'm writing this, I see that I have 429,105 views on my YouTube videos. That's crazy! Obviously I've realized that there are other shy, geeky gals that enjoy watching my crafty videos and appreciate my way of speaking and editing. It's humbling and very exciting.
Why should you start a YouTube channel?
If you want to establish yourself as a DIY and/or home decor expert, if you want to get some speaking gigs, if you want more reach on social media, if you want to be approached by more brands for sponsored post opportunities, and/or if you want to become a spokesperson for a brand, starting a YouTube channel will help you with those goals.
To be perfectly honest, I only get about 7% of my blog traffic from people watching my videos on YouTube. (There are ways to make that higher, and I'll share those with you later). I think the true value in starting a channel are the things I've mentioned in the previous paragraph. After I started my own channel, I was successful in all of those areas. If you're looking to market yourself as an expert (your WHOLE self, not just your blog) and want more opportunities outside of writing blog posts, a YouTube channel is a great idea.
If you're a home decor, DIY and/or lifestyle blogger like me, I say DO IT. Start a YouTube channel and see what happens. You only need a few tools to start out, and you might be surprised at who will watch you!
Here are the basic steps to starting your own YouTube channel. If you have more questions after reading these, PLEASE leave comments below this post and I can try to address them in a future Your DIY Blog post.
How to create your YouTube channel
You'll probably want to create your YouTube channel under your blog or business name, right? To do that, sign into YouTube. Then, go to "All My Channels". Choose your blog's Google+ page here. (If you don't have one, make one!) Otherwise, choose Create a new channel to set up a channel with a different name than your Google account name. Fill out the details to create your new channel!
How to make your new YouTube channel look pretty
To upload a custom profile picture and cover picture, simply hover over them until you see the pencil icon. Click that, and upload your custom artwork. Browse other channels to see what other people have done for inspiration.
I think customizing the layout of your YouTube channel is a very important initial step. It's nice to see a "channel trailer", your latest uploads, and maybe a bunch of playlists instead of ALL your activity in a random order on your channel's main page. Before you can customize your channel's layout, you need to turn the feature "on" by going to your channel, hovering over your channel name, and clicking the "edit" icon that appears on the right. (You'll have to do this in desktop!) Next, select "Edit channel navigation" and next to "Customize the layout of your channel", click "Enable".
YouTube support does a great job explaining how to organize your channel's content with channel sections right here.
Here's my personal channel that I've never customized:
And here's my blog's channel that I've customized with a header image (made in Photoshop), channel trailer, custom layout, and sections:
It makes a difference, right?
How to make a channel trailer
Your YouTube channel's trailer is kind of like your "commercial" for your channel. You'll want it to be a minute or less long, and it should tell your viewers all about you and what your channel is or will be about. Here's mine. I didn't make my first trailer until my channel was about 3 months old, but it would probably be a good idea to make your trailer first. You can always re-make it later when your skills have improved! Check out this guide from YouTube on how to make your channel trailer.
Preparing to shoot your first video
Whether it's your channel trailer or your first video tutorial, shooting your first video can be somewhat intimidating. You may want to shoot several videos that you don't publish first for your own purposes. I often shoot videos and watch them back only to realize some really strange habits I need to curb (any fellow hair flippers or "UMMMM"ers here?!). It's also a great way to perfect your lines.
Here are the basic tools you'll need to shoot and edit videos for your YouTube Channel:
- video camera (I use my DSLR which is a Nikon D3100)
- a mannequin or massive teddy bear for focusing your camera (or a person to shoot the video for you if you're not DIYing it!)
- a lapel mic
- a smart phone to plug your lapel mic into (IF your camera doesn't have a mic input like mine)
- a computer with video editing software (I use the free Windows Movie Maker)
Originally, I thought I'd be able to share all of the YouTube tips I've learned this past year in one blog post. NOPE! There's so much more. Please come back next Wednesday when I share:
- How to shoot your first video
- How to edit your first video
- How to publish your first video
- More YouTube channel tricks for beginners
And here's your homework for this week:
Start watching and subscribing to some of the TOP (most subscribed to) DIY, HOME DECOR and LIFESTYLE bloggers on YouTube. Study how their channels are laid out. Study the format of their videos. Do they have a short intro? A long intro? Do they shoot some frames with their full body and some with their hands? Do they voice over previously shot videos? Do they use lots of music? What kind? Do they include lots of links within their videos? What do they put in their descriptions underneath their videos? How often do they post new videos?
By studying these details on other YouTube channels that you're drawn to, you'll start to establish how you want your YouTube channel to look and feel. Here are some of my favourite top channels in the DIY, HOME DECOR and LIFESTYLE arena:
- Debi's Design Diary (80k subscribers)
- JENeration DIY (715k subscribers)
- The Sorry Girls (422k subscribers)
- HeyKayli (459k subscribers)
- MADE Everyday (132k subscribers)
- LaurDIY (2 million subscribers)
- Dominique Sachse (99k subscribers)
- Mr. Kate (396k subscribers)
- Threadbanger (2 million subscribers)
- HGTV Handmade (228k subscribers)
And of course you're welcome to subscribe to my channel and snoop around: The DIY Mommy.
Check back in next Wednesday for part two of this series, and please comment below with your YouTube channel questions!
Your DIY Blog is a collection of information on my blog and my YouTube channel that explores how to have your own successful DIY & lifestyle blog. I've had many questions about blogging and how to turn it into a part time job, and I want to share the knowledge that I've gleaned from several years of blogging with you! I hope you find this series helpful and please comment below if you have any specific questions about blogging that you'd like me to cover.
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