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Leo Wattenberg

Becoming a YouTuber: The Basics

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If you are doing some research on how to become a YouTuber, you'll quite quickly find a lot of information that leave you standing like a deer in headlights. Which inspired this post: A quick guide with the absolute basics you need to get started.

  1. Love being creative. Just like all other arts, a YouTube carrer demands that you love creativity. If you have trouble coming up with creative ideas, you may want to approach the topic from an "Let's see if I can make something creative" angle, rather than "I want to be successful quickly" one.
  2. Just Do It. If you have an idea for a video, execute it. There's no use in having the perfect plan if you never execute it. You don't need to buy any expensive equipment if you have a smartphone to be able to execute most things.
  3. Practice makes perfect. The first video you make will suck badly. Your second video probably will be slightly better, your third one even more, and so on. This however is only true if you look actively and self-critically at your videos, try to find any flaws and work out a plan to fix them next time. If you don't, it's easy to fall into a routine where you grind away video after video, not get anywhere, and blame other people ("Big YouTubers! Society!") or things ("The Algorithm!") for your lack of success - which also won't get you anywhere. 
  4. Follow laws. In the creative process, it may occur that you do something illegal, possibly unaware of the legal situation and suddenly find yourself in a situation where you have to pay hefty fines, get strikes on YouTube or face other consequences. This entire thing is a complex topic which is covered a bit more in-depth here: 

    The following is only relevant if you are out for success
  5. Define your audience. Who do you want to reach? Are the formats you have suitable to reach your audience?
  6. Pick the best formats. If you notice that a certain format or series of yours isn't as popular as your other stuff, don't be afraid to kill it. If you have a format that performs way better than your other stuff, perhaps consider making your other formats a bit more similar to the successful one.
  7. Check the market. Is someone else basically making your formats and saturating the market? Is there still a market niche you can fill? Is there a YouTuber with a similar audience to yours that you could collaborate with? What new innovations are there in the video industry, and how can you use them? These, and basically all other questions entrepreneurs have to ask themselves, are also valid for people who have "being a full-time YouTuber" as goal.

This was part 1 on the topic. Part 2 can be found below.


Edited by Leo Wattenberg
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re 5,6,7: It's very true that it wasn't until we started narrowing our focus to a few areas that our channel started growing more reliably. 

We started out making all kinds of educational videos, for all sorts of ages, and even in several different languages. We made whatever videos popped into our heads, plenty on topics that no one was looking for. 

Each year, we narrowed our focus (splitting off other channels where we could keep up production - for kids and for Spanish and Portuguese) until now we are much more tightly focused on topics you need to learn if you are in college for math & science. We stray a tiny bit from time to time, but really it was defining that audience and then giving them the content they wanted/needed that helped us grow more than anything. 

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I find defining your audience to be something a lot of people don't do nearly enough. It's very important to understand who you're making content for and knowing what you're target audience is. Without this, you can't be nearly as efficient with marketing your content to potential viewers as you could be had you narrowed down your perspective in audience.

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