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I started a new Youtube channel and here is what I’ve learnt.

What happens when you start a new youtube channel in Europe in 2018?

Have you noticed that there aren’t really any youtubers in talking about tech in Europe? For a large part they exist on the other side of the pond in the United States.

I’ve always had a fascination to know more about the experience of people who get in-front of a camera and natter on about themselves and their niche journeys. For the most-part I thought this was gamers and lifestyle vloggers from PewdiePie to Riyadhk. A spectrum of product testers, style gurus to LGBTQ+ oriented channel hosts, there was alot on offer.

Its good to know where you are targeting and if there is hunger for the content you want to start a conversation around.

The where and what of good content

Does European countries use Youtube and consume as much as the United States for example? The answer is that Europe still divides itself due to amongst other things the language barrier. I’m currently living in the Netherlands who according to statistics I’m now reading aren’t heavy users in general of the platform. So its good to know where you are targeting and if there is hunger for the content you want to start a conversation around.

YouTube monthly active users number by country, in millions

Tutorials do dominate where it comes to tech and looking for individuals rather than brands who have their own channels. I’ve personally been drawn to some channels like Peter McKinnons tutorials on Adobe Premiere Pro and his recommendations on building your visuals and channels on Youtube.

What I’ve taken away from this exploration is that visual storytelling blended with strong content is crushing it on Youtube. McKinnon style (being a photographer, videographer and editor) has helped his meteoric rise to fame, primarily due to the lucious, dynamic visual stories he brings to each one of his videos. Well paced, lots of movement (very little static explanations to camera) and very well structured tutorials that I am quite jealous of.

A screenshot of Peter McKinnon’s latest youtube video.

Are podcasts the way forward?

Did you know: The term “podcasting” as a name for the nascent technology was first suggested by The Guardian columnist and BBC journalist Ben Hammersley,[7] who invented it in early February 2004 while “padding out” an article for The Guardian newspaper.

After quite some explorations on the topic I do see that some more profile tech people have tried a Youtube channel then swapped over to doing a Podcast. I can totally understand why this would be. The ease of a good podcast is much more approachable and the rise of this form has really taken off in the last few years. I myself have recently taken to some fantastic podcasts including the No such thing as a fish Podcast from the QI elves (in love with this right now).

For the most part Podcasts are audio only and this negates the fact that for video there needs to be a certain entertainment element even if the point of the piece is more informational.

It’s no secret people’s attention spans are shorter and the offer of variety is much wider than ever before. The iphone has opened these mediums up to all and sundry (including my good self)

The secret ways of the Youtuber

If I’ve learned anything it’s that you need to own a niche that you build your channel around.

I’ve been in tech for a good 8–10 years in Europe building companies, social channels and networks in as many tech hotspots as I could. But youtube is a very different beast. The dynamics are different and the requirements of a certain entertainment value make this a more time consuming enterprise.

Getting subscribers and engagement can’t be hacked and getting views on your content gets harder and harder. Your channel needs to grow and people need to be interested in what you have to say.

If you’re working from the very very bottom you need to get some basic equipment. An iphone and a tripod or grip (something to put your iphone on while recording). You need to light your face well ( The iphone 8 still struggles with dim light…) and make sure people can hear you. This is all before you even think about what you are going to say — Phew.

What do I say on camera?

I started my channel with subjects that I know well like ‘How to get on stage at a tech conference’ and ‘tech books I recommend’. Even though they were a week ago and I had no idea what I was doing I thought they were good to launch a new youtube channel on tech, recruitment, branding and events. Talk to what you are passionate about and what you want to start conversations on. That was my initial drive and still is.

Putting my face on video was not easy. I ‘amed…’ quite a lot, stumbled, forgot what I was talking about and kept forgetting to put the goddamn microphone of the camera. I was a mess but I’m slowly getting better. There are so many variables to just getting the video done its just amazing there are so many out there doing this.

I’ve seen that the top youtubers really plan out their videos in great detail. From storyboarding, scripts, preplanning clips and B-Roll to key visuals they will be using during the shoot it all takes time in working out! Who knew there was that much effort involved? I’m amazed.

As with everything in life, dive into it, learn as much as you can and see what happens.

To date I’m on a steep learning curve to take in as much information as possible on building a good visual narrative for videos. As I said I’m not comfortable talking into camera but what I do find is that this gets easier the more I force myself to do it. As with everything in life, dive into it, learn as much as you can and see what happens.

After the video’s published, what now?

When you have a video that somewhat makes sense you go to publish it and they start the whole work of getting people to see it. As I’ve said to many startup founders ‘You can have a great product but if nobody uses it, then it’s a shit product’. The same can be said for videos that nobody watches. You don’t do all this work just for yourself.

Spreading the word through other social channels will drive eyes but not necessarily subscribers. I’ve heard alot of ‘I meant to subscribe but I can’t find my youtube login details’ when I’ve asked people that I know have seen the videos. The more approachable answer is to get people on the Youtube platform to connect and help each other succeed. But this still requires you to have some profile on the platform. Chicken and egg problem here. This feels a bit like being an intern again.

So what have I taken away from this, thus far?

To sum up some key areas I’d say:

  • Know what market you want to talk to.
  • Create valuable content you are passionate to talk about.
  • Be consistent to build up a profile people can find you on.
  • Tell a story to keep the viewer engaged.
  • Talk to the audience and build a relationship.
  • Enjoy the learning process.

Here are some of the first videos that I stated with. From creating the thumbnails to making sure there were searched SEO keywords in my title and description and knowing when to publish them. There are bounds of learnings going into publishing each one!

My Channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGd96Mw5y_7R_QLNl6iWIBw?view_as=subscriber