Nobody tells you this. Here’s what I learned from starting a YouTube channel and growing it to 1,000 subscribers and 15,000 monthly views.
Why I started a YouTube channel
As a marketer, I enjoy trying new social media tools and platforms. And while Instagram and my blog were staples from day 1, I was quite late to the YouTube game. Mainly because I don’t know much about long-form video editing.
But that changed 2 years ago when I finally started my YouTube channel to share marketing tutorials. But it wasn’t until this year that I reached my first milestone: 1,000 subscribers!!! Yay!
So, it’s clearly time to share some of the things I learned along the way – with the only purpose to help you decide if starting a YouTube channel is a good option for your brand.
What I learned from Starting a YouTube Channel and reaching 1,000 followers.
#1: Experiment with a few different topics, you never know which ones will explode!
I was sharing marketing tutorials for almost 2 years and had only <200 views per post and 100 followers. Even though I was spending 2-3 days filming and editing videos, I felt that my time and effort were wasted.
One day, I thought of posting a review of my new Nespresso coffee machine, and it suddenly started getting thousands of views and comments. That’s when I switched my niche to more lifestyle and coffee videos and this helped me reach 1,000 followers in 6 months.
#2: People are mean in the comments, so don’t take it personally
One of the main realizations I had, when I started posting videos on YouTube, is that people scrutinize everything. “Why on earth would you review such an old product“, and “Disgusting. This ruined coffee for me” some people commented on one of my videos. So, be warned, YouTube users are not holding back on their thoughts. My advice is to switch off the comments for videos that are attracting too much negativity or spammers.
#3: Recording & editing videos takes more time than you may think
Before starting a YouTube channel, I didn’t understand why most YouTube creators only share 1-2 videos a week. Now I GET IT. Besides planning & scripting my videos, I also have to do the cutting, editing, adding text, transitions, filters and a few rounds of checking to make sure it’s in the proper sequence. This usually takes upwards of 8 hours to several days to produce a 20 min YouTube video. My advice is to start with shorter videos (up to 5 min) and stick to a simple video format.
Tools I use to create YouTube videos:
- iMovie – FREE video editor: This has all the features you need to start editing long-form videos (minus the fancy text and transitions).
- Canva – FREE image editor: You can create thumbnail photos for YouTube and other graphic elements to add to your videos.
- YouTube Music Library: For finding royalty-free background music and sound effects.
- SEMrush – for researching keywords & topics to write about.
#4: YouTube is a video search engine, so you can optimize your videos with keywords, descriptions and tags
Google owns YouTube. This means your YouTube videos can appear in search results on Google search results if you can optimize them for search.
How to optimize your YouTube videos for search:
- Do a keyword research to identify topics
- Look at Google’s “People also ask” section to find what questions people are asking
- Create videos that answer those questions
- Add keywords into the title, cover photo, description text, and video tags
- Use location tags so your videos get shown to people in a specific country
- Add your YouTube videos in your blog posts to boost their traffic and ranking
- Create content that is helpful, informational or educational
#5: Not every YouTube creator makes millions
We’ve all seen YouTubers post about how much money they make each month and blah, blah. But the majority of YouTube accounts aren’t even monetized. For an account to start earning ad revenue, it needs to have 1,000 subscribers, 4,000 watch hours in the current year and pass an identification test. While 1,000 subscribers seems easy to achive, the reality is that YouTube success starts at 1,000,000 subscribers. And there are just over 2,000 accounts that have over 1mil subs.
Here’s how much money YouTube creators make based on a recent study:
- 1,000 subscribers: $2-$12 per video
- 10,000 subscribers: $80 – $200 per video.
- 100,000 subscribers: $1,000-6,000 per video
- 1,000,000 subscribers: $3400 – $50,000 per video (depending on viewer demographics and location
Here’s how much I made on YouTube in the first 3 months of monetization with 1,000 subscribers:
Spoiler: Not a lot! In fact, with a small channel like mine (1,130 subscribers) YouTube pays me an average of $2.55 per 1,000 views. So in an average month with 8,000 – 14,000 views, I make around $20.4 – $35.7. Multiply that by 3 months… and technically didn’t earn anything yet. YouTube will only issue payouts once your earnings amount reaches $100. So at this rate, maybe in 1-2 month’s time, I’ll get my first YouTube creator cheque!
Summary: What I learned Starting a YouTube Channel
Q1: Is it worth it to start a YouTube channel in 2023?
Q2: Is it difficult to start a YouTube channel?
No, but it takes time to grow your subscribers.
Q3: Can you make a living on YouTube ads revenue alone?
Not with a small channel. Success starts at 100k+ subscribers, and posting more than 2 videos/week.
Q4: What are the benefits of having a YouTube channel then?
There are many benefits to having an active YouTube channel even though you don’t earn much from YouTube’s monetization program. The best way to use a YouTube channel in 2023 is to attract traffic from Google and direct your visitors to your website, landing page, store or blog and from there push them down your marketing funnel.
Check out my other articles on Content marketing to learn more.