YouTube 101

By Linda Xiong





So you’re thinking of starting a YouTube channel. Let me do you a favor and give you a speedy course on what it takes to have the most successful launch. I should know, after all, at the time I’m typing this article, I have a whopping 38 subscribers to my channel.

Tip #1: What is your value? What is your brand? Saying, “I want to start a YouTube channel” may be easy, but it’s actually more complicated than you think. Who will your audience be? Why should they care? What will you promise to give them every time they spend those valuable minutes on your channel? Instead of saying you want to start a channel, instead, try setting up a brand that is consistent and offers what you promise. Take for instance DanTDM, a gamer. On most nights Mr. DanTDM will play the most popular games for a younger audience. I say younger because he does not curse or swear. Odd1sOut, on the other hand, you will have to wait a month before he publishes his funny storytelling animation. Then there are the videos for ladies, such as ItsJudyTime, where make-up tutorials are shown and talked about. These channels, for the most part, will show consistent video content to their audience.

Tip #2: Niche on niche. At first, you might want your channel to be about everything from sewing handbags to running basketball drills. Stop! If you want to start a channel, you must hone down your target, and even further whittle it down. Want to do make-up? Sure, how about make-up only from the Dollar Store. Or if you want to vlog about your family, then focus on vlogging and even further it with vlogging Asian families.

The mistake is that when you want your channel to be about everything, it eventually becomes a channel about nothing. Yes, there is strategy involved. Let’s say you want to cover a few topics that you really love. Choose one, and really focus on that channel. If a year from now your channel does do well, then you can branch off to start other channels as well. Focus on one thing at a time.

On my channel, Mom Gamers, my focus target is for mothers, I narrow it down further by mainly talking about relationships and budgeting. Do not think of trying to be the most popular channel on the history of YouTube ever, but rather targeting that smaller group who would appreciate and enjoy your channel.

Tip #3: Subscribers versus views. What do you think is more important? It is views, more accurately watch time/minutes. Subscribers are an indicator of how successful the channel is, but watch time gets you paid from YouTube, roughly two dollars per thousand views. Your job as a YouTuber will be to have viewers stay on the platform for as long as possible. Even if you have short videos, say just one minute, and they stay on the entire minute, YouTube likes those statistics and will try to promote your channel on people’s home pages. Also, ‘Session Time’ which is a viewer’s entire time on YouTube by clicking the suggested videos from your first video is the most popular way viewers stay on.

As you can tell, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of this amazing platform, a platform where anyone can produce anything. The next issue of Hmong Times, I’ll go deep into starting a channel with logos, banners and equipment. Look up my channel, Mom Gamers, where I occasionally show you audio techniques and how to set up a channel. Tell a mom about my channel and remember to like and subscribe.