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How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel: A Beginner’s Guide

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by Kyle Handy       Updated October 22, 2020

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Have you always wondered how to start a successful YouTube channel for your business? Have you always wanted a channel, but didn’t know where to begin? Now is the time to harness this lucrative tool and make YouTube a star in your business plan. We’ll go over everything you need to know to get the ball rolling, even if you are new to the game.

What We’ll Cover

  • Have Realistic Expectations
  • How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel
  • How to Optimize Your Channel
  • How to Optimize Your Videos
  • Create a YouTube Business Plan

Have Realistic Expectations

Between researching, filming, editing, and optimizing, it’s more than possible to make a full-time career creating content on YouTube. But it doesn’t happen overnight; it can take a while before you start to make a living off of your videos.

The best advice when learning how to start a successful YouTube channel is:

  • Make time
  • Be consistent

YouTube for real estate agents is worthwhile, but only if you are willing to treat your channel like it’s a business. If you put in the right amount of time, effort, and consistency, you will see your channel grow exponentially over time.

The Basics of How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel

Focus on searchable content

Realistically, even if you are making amazing content, you won’t have a good chance of ever getting discovered unless you’re creating content that people are actively searching for.

A good way to get started is to type the first few words of your topic into Google and see what comes up as a popular search. You can also use tools like TubeBuddy, VidIQ, and Morning Fame to help you decide what content to make, which we will talk more about later. 

Once you have a better idea of your audience, you can start creating videos that are not necessarily keyword specific.

Don’t worry about analytics

While it can be interesting to look at your analytics to see what your watch time is and which videos are getting more traction, none of that really matters in the beginning.

You have to create content consistently for the first 6-12 months before those analytics have any relevance.

Of course, once you get to a certain point, analytics will be an important way for you to optimize and improve your content.

Choose a niche

Focusing on a niche is a key component of how to start a successful YouTube channel. Focusing on a small niche is good in the beginning because you’ll develop a relevant audience that will see you as an authority on that subject.

In this case, it’s likely that your niche will be real estate. 

So you would focus on creating a resourceful YouTube for real estate agents. Provide any helpful information that you think new realtors or others could benefit from.

Once you have your niche and start to build traction with your audience, the YouTube algorithm will suggest your videos to more people, which will eventually let you expand your niche.

Optimizing Your Channel

Personal or brand

When you start up your channel, you need to decide whether you want to use a personal or brand account.

A personal account is for individual use, and will have the same name as your Google account. You will not be able to customize the channel name.

However, it can later be transitioned to a brand account where you can choose a custom name, as well as assign multiple people as managers as part of an organization or business.

Channel name

When building your brand, your name is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Including your niche in the name of your channel can have some SEO value. For example, if you're a DIY channel you can include “DIY” in your channel name. 

Since you are creating a YouTube for real estate agents, try including a term related to real estate in your name.

Channel customization

There is a “Customize Channel” button on the main page of your channel. 

You can click on that to add some artwork in the banner, fill out the “About” section, and add in any links to your website or social media accounts.

Channel settings

YouTube has created a dashboard called the YouTube Creator Studio that allows content creators to edit channel and video settings in one place. This is accessible from your main YouTube account.

In the YouTube Creator Studio, you’ll notice a button labeled “Settings” at the bottom left of the screen. Click this and go to the "channel" tab. 

The first three tabs within the channel settings allow you to customize things such as the keywords you want to rank for, whether your videos will be kid-friendly, and the option to add a “subscribe" watermark on your videos. 

The “Feature Eligibility” tab is important to note if you aren’t verified yet as a YouTube Creator.

Until you are verified, you’ll have some limitations on the features you can use, such as making custom thumbnails or publishing a video longer than 15 minutes. 

However, the process of getting verified with YouTube is very easy. In the “Feature Eligibility” tab, just click on “Status and Features.”

Below your channel name will be a button that will verify your channel by sending a text message to your phone number.

Channel art

Next, make sure you spend a little time setting up your profile picture and channel art.

Don’t just put up a plain image, though. Good channel art incorporates a brief reason why people should subscribe to you. Try to include what someone can expect if they subscribe, as well as a call to action, something like “Videos Uploaded Weekly” or “Get Notified When I Go Live”.

Canva is a great tool for channel art because it gives you guidelines to make sure your text is easy to read, regardless of the type of device your audience is watching on. 

Optimizing Videos

Another tip for how to start a successful YouTube channel is to optimize each and every one of your videos. If you're going to spend the time to create content, spend the time to optimize it.

The more information you can give YouTube to include in your description, tag, and title, the better chance you have to rank and reach your intended audience. 

Keyword research

It’s a good strategy to do all of your keyword research up front.

As previously mentioned, a few of the best web-based tools to do this are TubeBuddy, Morning Fame, and VidIQ. 

These tools will give you a framework to make sure that you’re including everything you need in each video, as well as give you ideas for titles and keywords.

Title

Make sure to include your keyword in the title of your video. One option for structuring your title is to put the keyword first, followed by a hyphen or dash, and end with the benefit that your video will give to your audience. For example, “Blogging for Real Estate - 5 Tips For Massive Traffic”.

Try to keep your title to 70 characters or less. If you don’t have enough space, just use the keyword as your title.

Description

Take time to fill out your description and include your keyword in the first 500 words.

Make sure you have whatever you want your video to be ranking for in the beginning of the first paragraph. If you want to add in links of any kind, add those in after.

Thumbnail

Don’t just restate your title in the thumbnail.

Instead, list key terms that give the viewer an idea of what outcome they can expect from your video. Ideally, you would want to keep this to three words or less. 

If your thumbnail is a photo of yourself, make it a close-up photo. You ideally want it to be close enough to show the whites of your eyes and show some expression on your face.

Canva can also be used as a tool for creating the perfect thumbnails.

Tags

Tags are a way to organize and categorize the topic of your video. Additionally, Youtube uses these tags to rank your video for relevant searches.

Tags have a 500 character limit, and you’ll want to use all 500 if you can. TubeBuddy and Morning Fame can give you suggestions on what tags to use. 

Playlists

A lesser known tip for how to start a successful YouTube channel is to utilize playlists to structure your channel.

Typically, people create playlists based on different categories and then throw their videos into them as they go.

Instead, create playlists with a series of three to five videos in each one. 

Start by creating a general, overarching YouTube video on a topic, and then use the playlist to go in-depth on all the subtopics. 

Setting up a playlist like this can help people binge watch your content, which YouTube really likes. If they see this, they’ll start to promote your videos.

Creating a YouTube Business Plan

Equipment

Want to start a successful YouTube channel, but don’t have a camera? Don’t let a lack of professional equipment hold you back.

Put what you already have to work, even if that means shooting video with your smartphone.

Once you start getting traction, you can invest a little and get better equipment.

For a great, budget-friendly camera, I’d suggest looking at the Canon M50 or SonyA6400.

Mics

A quality microphone doesn't have to be expensive. There’s a variety of options out there that won’t break the bank.

For example, the Lavalier mic can plug directly into your smartphone. Or, check out USB microphones if you're recording from your computer.

Lighting

Good lighting is important in videos. You can find great quality studio lighting for only 80 dollars.

If you aren’t ready to invest in studio lights, simply positioning yourself to get the best lighting can be a great improvement. Natural lighting from a window may be all that you need.

Upload schedule

Aiming to upload every single day when you’re just starting out is an unrealistic expectation. Try to make one to two videos per week, and go up from there.

If you keep it up, after one year you can have around one hundred videos on your channel, and that’s when you can really start to gain traffic.

Also, consistently uploading your videos on the same day and at the same time can have a significant impact on your channel’s success.

The YouTube algorithm will pick up on this and optimize so that your audience will see your video show up on their feeds at the right time for maximum exposure.

Goals

Any advice on how to start a successful YouTube channel will tell you to set goals. Goals should be set for your first month, first quarter, and first year.

Ask yourself:

  • How many videos do you want to have created in that amount of time?
  • How many subscribers would you like to have by that point?
  • What is your long term monetization plan? How do you start working towards that?
  • What is it that you want to get overall from building a YouTube channel?

As a real estate agent, you need to specifically ask yourself:

How will you transition your audience from simply watching your YouTube videos to actually contacting you?

Are there other things you can do to monetize? Can you become an affiliate? Create a course? An email list or a blog?

Keep learning and always improve

Make sure you are continuing your education constantly. Learn from other creators. Take note of what they are doing, how you can improve your videos, your quality, your value, and your monetization.

Content planner

When you start creating, have some form of a content planner to pre-plan your content and keep you organized. This can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet with all your keyword research and video ideas that you check off as you go.

How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel: Get Out of Your Own Way

YouTube for real estate agents can be highly profitable, but it’s a long term game. Don't overthink it or second guess yourself. Don’t just scrap everything and start over if you feel like it’s not working. 

It takes time for things to catch on and gain traction.Trust that you had a great plan in the beginning, and stick with it consistently.

After six months or a year it will be a lot easier to make any changes using the data and analytics available, at which point you can evaluate what’s working and what isn’t.

If you follow these tips on how to start a successful YouTube channel, you’ll be sure to see significant benefits to your real estate business. 

Once you have your channel set up, be sure to check out my other video below so you can learn the best techniques to optimize and grow your YouTube for real estate agents.

We'll discuss:

  • The importance of setting up a channel trailer
  • How long your videos should be
  • Why you should try to create 100 videos as soon as possible
  • Why the first 15 seconds of your video are critical
  • How to use TubeBuddy for keyword research and tags
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