If you have access to the internet, you’ve heard of YouTube. Period. The Google-owned video network boasts some highly impressive statistics, with over 2 billion active monthly users and a whopping 79% of internet users have signed up for a YouTube account. Oddly enough, only 9% of small businesses are optimizing YouTube as a way to spread awareness about their brand.
Whether you’re looking to grow your business, or you’re an influencer looking to promote your own personal brand (yourself), uploading to a YouTube account has every reason to be successful. Among the sheer number of visitors that YouTube receives each day, comes potential customers who are looking to buy products and services, often reaching out to the channel itself to find reviews before purchasing. Worried that the production value of your videos just wouldn’t be good enough? Well, studies show that relevance to personal interests is 1.6x more important to viewers than production value. Now have we got your attention?
We’re going to take a look at the very basics of starting a successful YouTube channel in 2020, starting from creating an account, down to uploading your first video. If you’ve dabbled in the world of YouTube and just haven’t yet found your feet, or if you’re feeling lost and have no idea where to start, this article is definitely for you.
1. Set Up Your YouTube Account
Head over to http://youtube.com and click Sign In in the upper-righthand corner. From here, if you have an existing Google account, you can proceed to enter your email and password to sign in to YouTube. If you do not, you can select Create an Account.
From here, you will have the option to create your account for yourself or to manage your business. We would recommend starting a brand account, especially if you see your channel becoming a tool that you regularly use for your business. Personal accounts are most often used for sharing videos with family and friends and not if you’re looking to grow your outreach and subscriber base as a business. However, if you do start with a personal account, you have the option of changing it later from a personal account to a brand account.
Another reason to select the option of a brand account as opposed to a personal account is that your personal account is going to be labeled as your first and last name to your subscribers. With a brand account, you can have a different brand name on top of your username and you can add colleagues to your account to help manage your business. The best part about this is that you do not have to give them access to your personal account (therefore, you don’t have to give them your username and password!) and also grant these users different permissions.
When you create a branded account, your own personal account will still be created and can be found under Accounts, allowing you to switch back and forth at your leisure. You can also have multiple branded accounts under your accounts page.
2. Create a Channel
If you’ve just logged in for the first time and are ready to get started, go up to your icon in the upper right-hand corner and select Create a Channel, followed by Get Started.
You will now have the option of creating your channel using the name and the profile photo of your Google account, or you can create a custom name using a different photo.
We’re recommending that you use your branded account to create your custom name, where you’ll have to then decide what you want your channel to be called. It’s important that you put some thought into your channel name, as this will allow viewers to get a sense of what the channel’s all about. From here, tick the box that confirms that “I understand”, then select Create.
From here, it’s time to upload a picture for your profile photo. Since you are creating this channel for business purposes, you may want to use this space to upload a logo, or a photo of yourself if you are your brand. You want your profile photo to be an accurate representation of your channel.
The next step is to tell viewers about your channel. A channel description (or a YouTube About page) is a brief outline of what type of content you publish on your channel. It appears on your channel page and in YouTube’s search results, so you should use important keywords to let Google know what you’ll find on your channel. You can include links to social media in this section, which you will notice also show up in a bar near your channel art. Hit save and continue and go to the next step. If you want to go back and edit again, you can find your About Me section under the Customize Channel option.
3. Verify your channel
While you can start technically uploading videos right now, there are a few more things that you want to take care of first in setting up your channel, including verifying your channel. To verify your channel, you need to head to settings and then hit Channel Status and Features.
Here you can find what features you are eligible for and what’s enabled or disabled (uploading, monetization, live streaming, etc.). There are different conditions for all of these features. By verifying your channel, you can be eligible for custom thumbnails and longer videos.
To verify your channel, simply select Verify. From here, you can choose your country and insert your phone number to receive verification code. You have the option of receiving a text or an automated voice message.
Either option you choose will generally only take a few seconds. You’ll now have your 6-digit verification code, which you can enter and submit. From here, your channel is now verified! You will now have access to more features such as custom thumbnails, which are essential to creating a professional-looking YouTube channel.
4. Upload Channel Art
Next, it’s time to customize your channel art! You can customize your channel art by selecting View My Channel, Customize Channel, and then Add Channel Art.
From here, you have the option to select a photo from your computer to upload it. Once you upload your photo, it’ll show what it’ll look like on a desktop, TV, and mobile. Make sure that your channel art is sized properly to ensure that you’re getting your entire image in your channel art.
5. Keywords and Additional Settings
To input your keywords, you’ll need to first select Creator’s Studio. You’ll find this under the icon with your profile photo now in it, in the upper right-hand corner. From here, you will select Settings, followed by Channel.
Keywords are going to help people find you when they’re searching. YouTube channel keywords are terms that give YouTube information and context about your channel. Specifically, they help YouTube understand the type of content you produce and who your target audience is. Optimized Channel keywords can also increase the visibility of your channel on YouTube. You can separate your keywords by including commas. You also have the option to select your country under Basic Info.
In this same settings section, you’ll be able to find advanced settings, which will allow you to select whether or not your channel is aimed towards children. While you can skip this question, you’ll have to review each video individually to inform YouTube of whether or not it’s made for kids, rather than simply selecting yes or no.
You will also be able to find Branding under Settings, which is where you can upload a watermark to approve brand awareness and channel recognition. After you choose your image, you can set a display time for your watermark. This will set your watermark to appear in the bottom right corner of your video for either the end of the video, to begin at a custom start time, or for the entire duration of your video.
6. Upload a Video
Your next step is what you truly created a YouTube account for: to finally upload your first video! From your channel page, there are two ways to upload a video, which include the Upload Video option under your home tab, or you can select the camera icon from the upper right corner of your screen.
Here, you’ll be given the option to either upload a video or to Go Live. Here, you can share livestreams with your viewers, as a way to communicate with your followers in real-time. If you are in your YouTube Studio, you have an additional option to upload your video from there, under your channel dashboard.
From here, you’ll simply need to select the file that you would like to upload, or drag and drop it into the same location.
You are now able to insert all of the details of your video, including the title, description, as well as upload your thumbnail. You can also select a playlist to add it to if you already have one made, or create one right from here.
If you have not yet chosen a default setting for your audience, you will be required here to select whether or not this particular video is made for children, as well as whether or not there’s an age restriction (this is an advanced, optional setting).
You also have an option under this same page to add keywords or tags to your individual video, much in the same way as you did for your main channel page.
From here, you’ll get to select visibility. You can immediately make your video public for all to see, or you have the option of selecting Unlisted or Private. You can also schedule a date to make your video public if you’re on a particular upload schedule and are looking to get ahead of the game.
If you click over to More Options, you have many more advanced settings to choose from. These include if you wish to set a category on your video, language and subtitles, comment settings, and whether or not your video contains paid promotion such as a product placement or endorsement.
Upload Video Defaults
You can find your video defaults by heading back over into your YouTube studio and selecting Settings, followed by Upload Defaults. If your videos are similar and you are consistently writing similar content in your title and description, you can create your video defaults from here under Basic Info. You can also create default tags, as well as visibility. From here, you can go ahead and select save, so you’ll have all of this information saved and ready to go for future use.
Add or Remove Channel Managers
If you wish to add or remove channel managers, you can do so through your channel homepage. By selecting the icon with your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner, head over to Settings, and then Add or Remove Managers. This option is extremely helpful if you’d like others to work on your channel with you, but do not wish to give them your own personal username and password. While we did touch on this option at the beginning of the article, you have the option to add and remove them at this later stage if you change your mind.
By selecting View Advanced Settings, you can create a custom URL for your channel, which you are not eligible to do until you reach a certain number of subscribers. If you wish to know when you are eligible, you can click Learn About Custom URLs (but generally, you just need 100 or more subscribers).
Time to Get Started!
We hope we were able to give you some valuable insight into how to start a successful YouTube channel in 2020. Once you get these important basics ready to go, there will be nothing stopping you from reaching your 1,000-subscriber milestone in no time. This is one of the major factors in being able to qualify for AdSense and starting to make money off of your videos! YouTube is a great way to promote your brand, earn some extra money, and most importantly, have fun!