So YouTube is 10 years old. Wow, is it only 10 years? The video channel that has changed the lives of so many of us, from the hugely successful vloggers like the Spanish superstar Luzu (thanks to Grainne Byrne of DIY PR for sharing that link on Google Plus ) to the worried TV executives in the likes of the BBC and RTE to the small businesses using video to market and engage – it feels like YouTube has been around for so much longer.
Of all the changes the Internet has brought us in our daily lives, YouTube has been one of the true game-changers. Here are some of YouTube official stats: 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute. There are over one billion users. Viral video is taken for granted. Video is here to stay, loads and loads and loads of it.
Yes, it is true that since Facebook made it easy to upload video directly from smartphones, it’s been giving YouTube a run for its money. But for meaty content, real engagement, and planned broadcasting, YouTube is the way to go.
So, as someone using YouTube (but not nearly enough) to show my own skills on my Smartphone Storytelling Channel here are my 10 tips if you are thinking about a dedicated YouTube channel to market yourself and your services.
1. Go for it.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Yes video is time consuming especially in the beginning but it’s worth it. For small businesses in particular, it’s a great way to tell you story in short and efficient videos.
2. Fear? What fear?
Of exposing yourself as silly or stupid on camera. Oh sorry, I’m writing for the over 35s here. Yes, I think it is right to be cautious, which is why you need to practice. Preferably in front of your own smartphone or videocam, where nobody can see you before it becomes available to your subscribers. The smartphone cameras these days are amazing, with light meters and filters to help you look your best.
3. Take your time.
Like all social media, it takes time and engagement to build up the conversation. You won’t become a superstar vlogger overnight, even if you want to. But it is worth the practice to get it right. Your audience will thank you for it.
4. Plan your stories.
Sit down with an old-fashioned sheet of A4 paper and a biro, close off the smartphone and the laptop and map out a few ideas for videos. Which brings me to….
5. Keep it simple.
Yes, the best advice of all I think. I’ve seen more complicated videos being planned on paper and then people lose patience and battery power and get fed up. Simple equals a one-shot video e.g. you or someone relevant talking to camera. Two other cutaway shots to illustrate your point to put at the beginning and the end bring you to the next level.
6. Fail to plan, and your plan will fail.
Or is that how it goes? You know what I mean. The 2nd A4 blank sheet of paper can be used to storyboard your filming before you hit the record button. Think visually about each shot and draw it on a 4-square grid. Think sequence, matching shots. Good tip? Watch the News packages on the TV news.
7. Don’t publish it until you are happy with it.
Yes I know that YouTube is fully of unsteady, poorly shot videos, but I am hoping that with a plan, you can execute a steady well-recorded video. Keep it in the Unlisted category in YouTube to share via email before you hit Publish in the Public category.
8. Invest in a bit of equipment to start, but not too much.
If you only buy one thing, get a decent tripod stand and a mount to place your phone on it. This makes a remarkable difference. I use the iStabilizer smart mount, which goes with me everywhere. It’s a US product, but it’s available on Amazon as well, and you can now buy a version for the bigger smartphones. This enables you to place the phone on a table or bigger tripod, just like the professional photographers and videographers do. We import a batch occasionally and there are photos of them on the training section of this website. We occasionally use a microphone attachment but it’s not absolutely necessary.
9. Look at YouTube for inspiration.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and the channel is full of good examples of videos you can emulate. Work out what you like, and the elements that make it work.
10. And see what works and why.
Here’s the top viral videos since YouTube began. I’m still a big fan of the Gangnam Style Korean dance craze. Psy’s 2012 video has had 2.3 billion views and made him a superstar but remember it was a very professionally produced video. . For something a bit unsteady, but easily made, I like the An Daire’s Irish dancing version best. Enjoy!