There’s always been something absurdly scary about finding yourself stuck on YouTube, unrestrainedly clicking from video to video in the search for meaningful content. Whether you’re watching Zoella choose what lush bath bomb to use, or browsing a BuzzFeed video titled ‘Eyebrows Throughout History’ (which is an actual thing by the way), there’s nothing scarier than realising that you actually want to try this whole ‘YouTuber’ thing out for yourself. That is why I, an utterly clueless viewer, have decided to compose a fool-proof guide to creating your own, successful YouTube channel.
Upon writing this I was faced with the saddening fact that my knowledge on creating and growing a YouTube channel was somewhat limited; possibly due to the fact that I’d never actually made one. Ensuing this realisation I found it fit to acquire some specialist guidance in the form of 20-year-old vlogger, Joe Binder.
Apparently, YouTube isn’t just the quickest way to get a book deal or build an empire in which you scam 12-year-olds through your cosmetic range. In fact, as Joe reminded me, it can actually be an entirely rewarding hobby. Through YouTube, Joe has secured an impressive group of viewers, whom he brands ‘moss gang:’ an intriguing way to keep up the interaction and engagement between him and his viewers. Having only started his channel in July 2016, Joe’s subscriber count already amounts at over 6,000, making him the perfect archetype for a successful channel.
The Uncertainty of YouTube:
With just about every big YouTuber under the sun mourning the death of their channel and YouTube as a whole, the uncertain aspect of YouTube is pretty daunting for new starters. There is no doubt that every social media outlet is an ever-changing platform, so in order for success you must adapt as you go along. Joe told me that you can either wait for YouTube to become stable and secure, or you can cut straight to the point and start creating. He additionally states that it’s important to be aware of YouTube’s current climate; with a pre-existing list of established professional YouTubers you need to recognise that the success will not be an overnight venture, so instead, place yourself in a sort of ‘Tortoise and The Hare’ mind-set.
Networking is the looming shadow that follows every media career or pastime. The notion of selling oneself to another is quite frankly frightening, but not something that should hinder you from starting YouTube. Joe told me how its crucial, although seemingly shameful, to look at it from a business perspective; any one in a more traditional career would follow the same principles, so why not apply them to YouTube networking also? The key in all types of networking, whether it be collaborations or seeking exposure (one thing Joe highlighted as essential for channel growth), is to be friendly and above all fair, make sure the person on the other end is getting as much out of it as you are.
Something we all hate, but something we all still do. Joe explained that initially it had been something he experimented with, but ultimately it just didn’t work. However, he did note that an intimidating amount of the success your video will depend on its title. The majority of Joe’s vlogs contain similar content, but those that hold ‘Cambridge’ in the title tend to gain thousands of more views than those that don’t. Despite the saddening reality of clickbait, it never needs to be overdone. Joe recommends relating your video to something already universally recognised by audiences, even if it’s only mentioned or featured a few times in the video, as this will hopefully bring further attraction to your channel and thus gaining you more subscribers.
Just like everything else you do, there will always be one dickhead, or perhaps a united group of dickheads, who simply enjoy to criticise your pleasure and success. Joe tells me how he experienced this with assumed “friends” of his, then proceeded to tell me how he’d never fully understood the phrase ‘cutting negativity out your life’ more, something he had previously found overwhelmingly cliché. All in all, rid your life of the people who don’t let you thrive; if it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, don’t let the misconceptions of others halt your happiness.
Balancing Student Life and YouTube Life:
Taking on non-educational projects when you’re a student always makes life 10 times more difficult, and it’s no surprise to say that YouTube is no an exception. In his final year at Cambridge, Joe understands this feeling, and confessed that he produced lacklustre work in his most recent term to focus on building and sustaining his channel. Although a risky move, he tells me it’s something he does not regret. While this may not be the best route for everyone, managing your time effectively makes a huge difference. Setting yourself deadlines and making lists are among the suggestions Joe would give to new starters.
The quest for originality on YouTube scarce, therefore making ideas and inspiration for your own content that little bit harder. If we observe the category of vlogging, having original content is fairly easy, as two lives rarely mimic each other. However, Joe did tell me that in the region of vlogging there is often a complete forgery of stylistic approaches, something he considers cringe-worthy and disgusting. Instead, he favours taking inspiration from the likes of Casey Neistat, David Dobrik and even editing from TV and film he admires, applying it to his own content in order to develop a personal style.
Words by Georgia Hinson