Setting up a YouTube account is the first thing you need to do to get started. Many older businesses owners/entrepreneurs who aren’t as experienced with using the computer may see this as a barrier to using YouTube, but it is actually very easy to do. You can literally create your own YouTube account within five minutes. Just follow these simple steps to begin:
1) Set up a Google account if you already haven’t got one. Since Google has acquired YouTube, you now need a Google account to access the site. The easiest way to do this is to just set up a Gmail email address.
2) Once you have a Google account, go to http://www.YouTube.com.
3) Look in the top right-hand corner for where it says “Create Account.” YouTube will then take you through a few easy-to-follow steps to get your account started, including picking your username. Once you’ve completed all the steps you will have your very own YouTube channel.
4) Once your channel is created you can start to customize it.
5) At the top of your channel is a header box where you can upload a picture similar to what a cover photo would be on Facebook or Twitter. This real estate is always good for a photo that represents your company. Some people also find that putting a “call to action” photo here can be helpful.
6) In the upper left-hand corner of the header box you will see a small square box. This is for your channel icon. Your channel icon is what pops up when you comment on other videos and otherwise represents your channel. To change your channel icon you will actually have to upload the picture through your Google account. You can easily do this by selecting to change your channel icon. It may take a few minutes to show up.
7) In the lower right-hand corner of the header box, you will see some options to link out to other websites, such as your company website and related social media accounts. If you have a homepage, Facebook page and/or Twitter account for your company then it is definitely a good idea to add those links in.
8) Underneath the top of your channel you will see a large area where you can add a channel trailer on your page. This is a very useful area because it will be the first video your audience will see when they visit your channel. You can put any kind of video you want here, but a good strategy is to make a short video that explains your company and channel to new visitors. The YouTube channel The Gaming Historian has a good example of how to do that with a trailer. Click on the link or type in their name to go to that channel and observe how this user utilizes the trailer on his page to inform his audience about what his channel is about.
9) Below your channel trailer you will see a section where all of your uploaded videos appear. You can add different sections to this area by scrolling to the bottom and clicking on where it says “Add a section.” By breaking your videos into sections, you can organize your videos into different categories. For example, you could break your videos into categories such as “Tutorials,” “Reviews,” and “Commercials” if you had those types of videos.
10) Back at the top of your channel, you should see some different tabs below your username. These tabs read “Home, Videos, Playlists, Channels, Discussions and About.” The About tab is very important because this is where you can describe your channel to your audience. Be sure to make your About description rich with SEO terms related to your company so that your audience can find you.
11) At the very top of your channel you should see a tab that says Video Manager. Under the video manager you can easily manage your videos. This is where you can go to edit your video’s information and settings. Under this tab, you can also access the in-program editor.
How to Film a Video for YouTube
Now that you are familiar with how to set up your YouTube account, the next step is to familiarize yourself with how to film a video for YouTube. About 10 years ago, the only option for making a video was to use a digital camcorder, where you would have to dump the video onto your computer by using a special type of cable and program. Luckily, it is much easier to capture raw footage today because there are options. Hardcore filmmakers are likely still in favor of a digital camcorder. The benefits of this option are that you can film anything, anywhere and digital camcorders are designed to be small, compact and portable. Another benefit of digital camcorders is that the process for transferring the video to your computer isn’t overly complicated as long as you have some patience. The quality of video is often very good and most manufacturers give you options when it comes to video quality. On the other hand, I’ve found in my own experience that these video cameras tend to break easily. They have a special kind of battery that needs to be charged and the prices of one are widespread. You can often find an older model for around $30-50, but you can also buy a really high quality one for a couple thousand. There are also options that range between a couple hundred dollars. If you’re going to go this route, I highly recommend shopping around and doing your research.
An alternative to using a digital camcorder is to use the camera in your cell phone. Most smartphones are equipped with the ability to film videos. The benefits to using the camera in your cellphone is that it is portable and you are likely to have your cell phone handy everywhere you go, so you’ll have it right at your fingertips if needed. Also, depending on your phone, you can upload your video directly to YouTube. You can also usually transfer any raw footage from your phone to your computer by plugging the USB part of the charger into the USB port on your laptop.
There are also some drawbacks to using your cell phone camera. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges is the space on your phone. Videos tend to take up lots of space and if you don’t have a large space capacity on your phone, you cannot store as many videos on it (although this can often be solved with an SD card). Another drawback is that cell phones are more likely to be lost or stolen and you could lose your content if it is not backed up. The best cell phones for recording videos as of 2015 are the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC desire.
Finally, the last option for filming video is to film directly off your laptop or desktop computer. Most new computer models come with a built-in web cam, but if you are using an older model you can buy a webcam that plugs in. The main benefit of filming directly off a computer is that you don’t need to take an extra step to transfer your video because it will be saved right to your desktop. However, most video from a webcam is of low quality and you usually need third party software to actually record the video to your computer. There are many programs available, both free and paid, that you can use including Jing and Camtasia.
Optimizing Your Video
1) Stand in Front of Your Lighting
While most recording devices are designed to automatically adjust for light, you should stand in front of the brightest light that is around you. This will allow the light to fall around you, making you easy to see on film.
2) Use a Clip-On Microphone
Most computers, cell phones, video cameras and other recording devices come with a built-in microphone. Unfortunately, those microphones are poorly designed to pick up static noise and background noise, which can often affect the quality of your video. For the best results, I highly recommend investing in a small microphone that you can clip-on to your shirt. They are generally inexpensive and can often times blend in with the color of your shirt.
3) Stabilize Your Camera
There’s nothing more annoying to watch than a video where the camera constantly moves around or shakes. Be sure to stabilize your camera whenever you are filming. If you’re filming from a laptop, it shouldn’t be hard to keep the camera still, but if you’re shooting from a digital camera, I highly recommend setting it on a stable surface or investing in a small tripod. If you’re recording off of your cell phone, try to find a stable surface to set it on. Additionally, if somebody is holding a camera for you, have him or her lean up against a wall for stability.
4) Don’t Zoom In
Although using the zoom feature on a digital camera can be tempting, I highly recommend against using it for several reasons. First, only your camera can zoom, not your microphone. So if you’re trying to film something that is far away, you won’t be able to hear it when you zoom in. Secondly, zooming in can often make your camera more unstable because you have to lift your finger to the zoom function. If you need to get a close up shot, physically move yourself closer instead of relying on the zoom trigger.
5) Use Graphics and Special Effects Smartly/Sparingly
Using graphics in your videos can be very helpful. However, if you over-use them or don’t use them properly it can take away from the content of your video. A good video doesn’t need to have fancy graphics and special effects for it to be informative and helpful. If you have a special talent in this area, then by all means utilize it, just be careful about what you’re doing. If you really think you need them, consider hiring somebody to do them for you. A great place to get experienced graphic designers is www.Upwork.com.
6) Take Short Shots
When filming, be sure to film multiple, short shots. Short shots tend to hold your audiences’ attention better and it also gives you less time to make mistakes when filming. Think about your favorite television show-more than likely, each shot is less than 10 seconds long. Short shots of different things can also make your video more interesting.
7) Plan Your Video
Although it can be tempting to just jump right into your video, you shouldn’t. While you don’t necessarily have to write a script, you should know in your head what the basis of your video is going to be about. One strategy I find useful is to have a plan and then to start filming-you’re bound to mess up now and then, but the more shots you take, the better idea you’ll have of what to say.
Optimizing Videos with YouTube’s Built-In Editor
1) To access the built-in editor, go under the Video Manager and pick which video you want to edit. On the drop-down box next to it, select enhancements. This will bring you to the editor.
2) Here, you can apply quick fixes (such as auto brightness/contrast and stabilization) to your video. You can also apply filters and special effects to your video from a selection of predefined settings.
3) Next to the enhancement tab is the audio page where you can preview and add free audio tracks provided by YouTube over your video.
4) After the audio page is the annotation page. Here, you can add an annotation to your video by playing it through and stopping it wherever you want to write a note.
5) To get to the advanced editor, go back to the enhancement page and look for the link to it in the bottom right-hand corner. It should say “Try the YouTube Video Editor.”
6) The YouTube video editor is a simple to use advanced editing program that is structured similar to Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Here, you can drag video clips and images that you have in your library to the timeline in order to edit them in together. You can also permanently insert audio clips here by dragging them into the audio section of the timeline. You can also add transitions in between clips and add titles. One last cool thing you can do with the video editor is to use some of the free stock footage clips provided by YouTube in your movie/video. You can access these clips by clicking on the “CC” tab.
7) When you are finished editing/creating your video, you can give it a title and click “save” to upload.