In the age of more and more Youtube restrictions and changes to their monetising system, is it still worth creating a channel as an artist? And how should you go about it?
When I started The Part-Time Artist, I planned on spreading my message using different kinds of media: book, blog, social media, podcast and videos. And I created a Youtube channel. So far, though, I don’t have many videos on there because I ran out of time to develop it properly. But I’ve researched a lot the pros and cons of Youtube, and I thought my findings would be interesting for many aspiring Youtubers.
So today I will aim to reply to questions you might have about creating your own channel, and to give you some tips to get started on your Youtube adventure.
Can Youtube Help My Artistic Career?
As an artist, you probably have a ton of interesting content that would passionate viewers. But would that really help your goals? This is the main question you should ask yourself if you are thinking about creating a new channel.
Without even thinking of becoming a big earner on the platform, you need to determine what these videos will bring to your career. Will you gain more exposure? Will it help you become a reference in your field? Or will it help people find your website, your art and perhaps bring more potential clients for you? Will it help you meet other creators and therefore grow your network? And will it push you to improve your craft so you have better and better stuff to show your audience?
There are a lot of ways that Youtube can help you grow your artistic career. Youtube is the second most popular search engine. It means that having a channel will definitely increase the number of people finding out about you. You might not get that many views, but will still place better on other search engines because Youtube will find your videos. It’s a very good SEO strategy if you try to get people to visit your website, and it increases your online presence.
Apart from the exposure, posting videos gives you credibility as an artist. Especially if you demonstrate early on that you know your stuff and that what you produce is of good quality.
Am I Good Enough to Be on Youtube?
Now, I said that you need to produce good quality content. But I didn’t say that you needed to be the best at what you do to be a Youtuber! You might hesitate to create videos because you are afraid of bad comments and people telling you that you’re not talented or experienced enough.
I’m here to reassure you. While it’s true that some commenters are harsh trolls, I find that a lot of people are encouraging when it comes to artists. As a viewer myself, I often prefer to watch people who are still learning, still improving, because I feel like I can learn more from them than from perfect professionals.
If your perfectionism is the only thing that holds you back, I’m here to tell you: do it anyway! You’ll never feel completely ready and good enough, you might as well start now.
Do I Need Professional Equipment?
I’m not going to lie: I don’t really like watching bad quality videos. I like a little bit of professionalism in the Youtubers that I watch, because I feel like I can trust them more.
However, nowadays, it’s very easy to have an acceptable quality without having to buy expensive equipment. In my experience, you can use your phone camera when you are starting. You just need a good microphone and a good lighting (which you can both find for very cheap on Amazon).
If you REALLY want to do this, equipment should not be a deterrent. I love to watch early videos of Youtubers that I follow, and none of them started with super professional equipment. Your content needs to be interesting, that’s way more important than the quality of the image.
What Do I Talk About?
This is THE question! The subject of your channel is crucial to the success of your videos. Some famous Youtubers talk about many varied subjects, but it’s much easier to focus your effort on one subject, even if you diverge later on.
Your subject should be vast enough that you don’t get bored immediately, but narrow enough so that your channel doesn’t come across as too generic. To help you zero in on your subject, here are a few questions:
- Is there a subject can you talk about over and over, work in different angles and still keep fresh after fifty videos?
- What is interesting enough that you know you’ll have an audience?
- What are you competent at?
- Are there other Youtubers talking about the same subject?
- What are you willing to research more?
- What subject could potentially bring some money through partnerships or affiliate sales?
- Is there a niche that is underdeveloped on Youtube?
Hopefully after replying to these questions, you have a better idea of what you want to talk about in your channel?
How Do I Keep Posting Content Regularly?
The key to a successful channel is consistency. If you decide to embark in this adventure, you have to commit to publish videos very regularly: at least once a week or (better) several times a week. Your new audience will need content, therefore you’ll have to provide it regularly.
The best way to achieve this is to start by filming several videos without posting anything. Get a head start and always have a couple of videos ready just in case you can’t film for a few days. Commit to a rhythm and a calendar, and plan your recording sessions accordingly.
I’m not going to lie: this is going to be extremely time consuming. Filming, editing, uploading and publicising your channel can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days, depending on your content. You’ll also have to deal with monetising, replying to comments and integrating these videos on your website or social media. This is a lot of work.
So if you decide to do this, you’ll need to manage your time so that you can do this AND still work on your art. A lot of Youtubers have full-time jobs and businesses on the side, so it is absolutely possible but it’s not going to be easy. Plan as much as you can, streamline everything that can be and commit to a rhythm that is comfortable for you.
And don’t forget that you don’t have to do all of this on your own! You can team up with a friend who can help with the filming or editing for example!
How Do I Publicise My Channel?
There are loads of things you can do to publicise a new channel. Social media should be your first priority, of course. But you should also not ignore the Youtube algorithm and favour keywords, “hooks” and enticing titles.
Unless you are very lucky, your audience will grow slowly. Don’t despair! Make sure you continue uploading, replying to comments and publicising. If you see recurring questions, aim to answer them in a new video. That’s a sign that there is demand for your content.
Use every tool that Youtube gives you: make interesting thumbnails for your videos, use playlists to link your videos together so people can watch more than one, enter links in the description to send people to other videos or to your website, and comment on other people’s videos so your profile gets viewed more. You can even go live and do Q&As to increase your viewership!
And don’t forget collaborations: if there are other Youtubers in your subject, it makes sense to organise videos together so that you can share your audiences.
I believe that Youtube is a fantastic tool to publicise your work as an artist. However, you have to be aware that it is very time consuming and will require a lot of effort to work. If you are ready to do this, good luck! And don’t hesitate to share the link to your channel in the comments!
Céline is an author and podcaster passionate about helping fellow artists reach their potential and live a happy, balanced life.