Why I Started My YouTube Channel & Blog

Hey y’all! I thought today we could talk about why and how I got interested in doing YouTube and being a Blogger! Today it has become popular to start a blog and make YouTube videos which means there is even more of a curiosity of the behind the scenes of it! I wanted to put all of my frequently asked questions into one single blog post so that anyone who is interested in starting a blog can come back to this post! If you have a question and it is not covered in this blog post, please DM me on Instagram (so_narly) and I can answer your question and add it to this post as well!

___________________________________ FAQ ___________________________________ 

Why did you want to start a YouTube Channel/ Blog?

It was the year of 2013. A hot, boring, summer day. I got ready and decided to wear my newest Urban Outfitters teal crop top. After watching my 20th YouTube video of the day, I decided to go through my dad’s closet and find his Nikon camera. I found it, got the tripod, and started filming. I wasn’t too familiar with the camera settings so I set it to Auto and pressed the film button. Later that day I used iMovie to edit my first video and posted it that same night! It was an exciting day that I didn’t share with anyone. I was embarassed, but I knew this was something I was passionate about and it became my hobby and creative outlet. I have always been really tech savvy with computers and with the basics of point and shoot cameras. I loved being creative ever since I was in kindergarten and ONLY smiled in class when I knew it was an art class day. I didn’t make a channel for the money because getting paid from YouTube wasn’t really a thing when I started, at least it wasn’t talked about as much as it is today. A few years later of having my YouTube Channel, I decided to create a blog where I could share all of my photos I took for Instagram. There were so many photos that didn’t see the light of day so I wanted to create a blog because I realized that some people like videos, but others like to read blog posts and look at photos.

How did you get motivation to keep posting when you first started and only had a few subscribers?

I started my YouTube Channel as a creative outlet, but at the end of the day I was talking to an audience especially because I started off making beauty and fashion videos, not vlogs. I actually posted a few videos when I started and then didn’t post for 6 months because I was embarrassed and I got discouraged due to my subscriber count. I had to remember that I started the channel as my hobby, so I started making videos more consistently and had so much fun with the filming and the editing of my videos. I have been doing YouTube for 6 years and when I am posting this blog post I only have 18,700 subscribers. That is nothing compared to all of the YouTubers with millions of subscribers. Are there days when I get discouraged? Yup. But again, I have to remind myself why I started my channel. To the people who want to start a channel to make money; Good luck. Literally, it’s all about luck. There are so many people that start and make videos with just their iPhone and have close to a million subscribers within a year, but there are also so many people that start with the best equipment and have a hard time gaining followers. If you do want to start, and not for the wrong reasons, do it now. It’s just one more day of having the opportunity to be found and gaining subscribers.

How long did it take for your YouTube Channel to takeoff?

I personally don’t feel like my channel has “taken off”. 6 years of creating content and I still don’t feel like it has. But, I have grown a close community. I am very content of where my channel is at right now because I have a very engaged audience and that is really all I care about. It means so much to me for my followers to take the time out of their day to not only watch my videos, but to engage and comment on them!

What is the best way of gaining a following and how did you do it?

Back in the day there was an app called Gifboom. It was basically vine, but in gif form! There weren’t too many people on it at the time so I was able to get on the Popular Page a couple of times where I started to gain a following. I always promoted my Instagram to my followers on Gifboom, so slowly a good portion transferred over.

  • Cross Promotion: Promote your Youtube Channel on your Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook– literally any social platform you have!
  • Collaborate with People: This is not as common on YouTube anymore, but it doesn’t hurt to ask people to collab. Just make sure that the person you are asking is around the same follower count as you and that they have a similar brand. For example, I wouldn’t ask a Moto Vlogger to collaborate because I don’t know much about motorcycles and he won’t know much about beauty. Also my followers will most likely not want to follow him since they follow me for my specific beauty and lifestyle brand and his followers probably wouldn’t be interested in my content either.
  • Collaborate with Brands: You will most likely  have to start doing collaborations instead of brand deals when you’re first starting off. So companies will ‘gift’ you free products in exchange for a video shoutout or an Instagram post. I would definitely make sure that somewhere in your emails or contracts that it says that they will cross promote your content that you made about their product on to their social platforms. Not only is this beneficial for them by getting to put up User-Generated Content (UGC) which looks more genuine than what the brand usually posts, but you also benefit from the exposure to their followers.
  • Use your Resources: For Instagram specifically, use the features that they have such as tagging locations and using hashtags. You may not think that this will do much for you, BUT IT DOES. Tagging brands you’re wearing makes you pop up into their tagged section which consumers are probably taking a peep at. Tagging the locations will get you infront of the eyes of the locals in your community. Hashtagging can make your posts be seen through so many different categories especially since you can now follow a single hashtag. You probably think that it looks bad to hashtag on your photos, but I am encouraging you to put at least 5 minimum and always make sure they relate to the photo you posted because that will keep the attention on the viewer.
  • Use Keywords: Just like hashtagging on Instagram, you should be sure to use keywords on YouTube. You have to be strategic while using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because that is how google puts your videos above others. For example, if my video is about my sorority recruitment experience I would probably title it “My College Sorority Recruitment Experience | University of Central Florida”. You should also fill your description with keywords as well.

How did I learn to edit videos and take photos?

It took YEARS of practice, but I understand that not everyone has the time to just learn from trial and error. I recommend taking online courses such as Skillshare! I got a free trial of the subscription for two months so I made it a point to sit down and do at least one course per week. I thought it was soo helpful because it has courses on ANYTHING like how to use a camera, beginner’s Photoshop course, how to make text disappear in Final Cut Pro, etc. If you’re interested in trying out Skillshare for FREE click here and sign up! If you don’t want to sign up and you want to try something else, I also recommend YouTube tutorials, again you can look up pretty much anything you want to know! The last way of learning how to use a camera or edit is to be mentored! I have been really lucky that I have always had creative people around me that knew more than me so I was able to learn from them. I would suggest getting an internship that way you don’t feel the pressure of being perfect, but you have so much room to learn and grow.

How do you stay consistent with your videos?

Majority of my YouTube career was very sporatic and not consistent. I would post maybe 3-4 times per month, but when I got to college and I started working with the UCF Marketing Team I was introduced to content calendars! THIS CHANGED MY LIFE! I have always been a planner, but this was on another level. I went to Google Sheets and picked the template of the calendar. Then I started to fill in some video ideas into the calendar and if I was doing fun things I would also plan to vlog. July 2018 I posted every other day so I wanted to show you all what that looked like.

What’s great about Google Sheets is that you can color code everything. So if you wanted to label the days you were filming and editing each video you could make those two separate colors. I personally didn’t want my content calendar to look too busy because that would have just made me overwhelmed so I only put what days I was posting what videos. I would also recommend having specific days that you upload because it is a good way of holding yourself accountable of getting a video up every week.

How do you come up with the topics you talk about?

My YouTube Channel and Blog are lifestyle based. Most blogs have a niche or something that they specialize in for example, cooking, makeup, or photography. I like having the option to be able to talk about anything that I want so I have made my brand just anything that goes on in my life. That being said, I am always in a phase. For awhile I went to UCF and was in Greek Life so I made my videos geared toward that and about my life in a sorority. Right now I just recently moved to Austin, TX so I’m focusing on updating my followers about my move and my job hunt. I feel like I always have things to talk about especially since my followers love to just see a normal day to day life.

Even when you film vlogs rather than sit down videos, I encourage you to map out what you will be doing and some points you’d like to talk about. It’s honestly easier because then you actually can plan a title and make sure that you cover the topic of the title so it won’t be clickbait. For example, if I wanted to vlog today, I would quickly write down some updates that I want to tell my followers and maybe even write down some products that I have been using recently. I would also think of what I am going to be doing that day so that it won’t be a vlog of me sitting at home.

What equipment do I need to start my YouTube Channel?

Nowadays it’s so normal to film on just your iPhone! I think that’s the best way to start out because you don’t want to spend too much money on equipment if you’re not going to stick with it. I would set a goal for yourself. If you post consistently for two months you should reward yourself by buying a camera! I personally am ALL about the quality. I don’t love iPhone vlogs, but I also understand that we all start somewhere. You can also start with just editing in iMovie or whatever video editing application comes with your computer. I edit with Final Cut Pro, but I only invested into the program about a year or so after I started posting consistently because it is a heafty chunk of money.

I think that two of the best beginner cameras are these:

My Sony Pick: Sony a5100

My Canon Pick: Canon 80D

One of my biggest pieces of advice when buying cameras is to not be afraid of buying used gear! I have bought 99% of my camera gear from Ebay and the Facebook Marketplace. It can literally save you hundreds of dollars for the same piece of technology! The other piece of advice I have is to ALWAYS buy only the camera body. The kit lens will never really be something you will use long term so might as well save some money and buy another lens that you’ll be happy with. I always recommend buying lenses that have an aperture below f/2.8. The lower the aperture is the more blurry the background will be. f/2.8 is the highest I would go, but my favorite lenses are around f/1.4 or f/1.2. I made a YouTube video about ALL of my Canon lenses that I use for my channel and my paid photography sessions. I also broke it down for beginners and explained why I used certain lenses for certain situations. Click here to watch My Canon Lens Collection.

Other things you may need:

Do you reach out to brands or do they reach out to you?

When you’re starting out, you will most likely have to be the one emailing brands for collaborations and brand deals. I remember the first time I decided to reach out and a day later I got an email back agreeing to send free product for a post. It was a company that I have already purchased products from and loved so I was so excited! Nowadays, I find that my time is very valuable and my platform is too. I don’t have the most followers compared to many influencers, but I do have a really great organic engagement rate which is what brands tend to focus more on these days. I get emails from super small brands every other day, but since they are smaller brands they usually don’t have too much of a budget so they would gift me the product. Sometimes even if I like the brand and support the brand, I won’t do the deal since it’s not worth my time to make a post just to get free products. I have been doing this for some years now so I feel that I can be picky. There are days where I do say yes to free product for a post, but it will most likely be more well known brands.

It will definitely take some time before brands start reaching out to you, so I would definitely recommend trying to reach out to some of your favorite brands. Be realistic when you are emailing companies and send them over your media kit with your statistics and why you are a great fit for their brand to collaborate with. If you are a micro influencer, maybe start emailing small businesses to collaborate because it will be hard for even just your email to be seen when reaching out to a large company.

I would highly recommend joining platforms that are the middle man between brands and influencers. My favorite and the one that I have gotten most of my brand deals from is InfluenceHer Collective. It’s basically a platform that you join that emails you whenever there is a campaign opportunity so then you are able to apply and hopefully get picked to work on the campaign! My favorite and unreal brand deal I did was with EF Language Centers. I was flown to Rome, Italy to study abroad for two weeks. While learning the culture and language of Italy, I was vlogging and posting about my experience. Click here to watch my vlog!

It was THE COOLEST thing I have ever done and I am so thankful for InfluenceHer Collective for making it possible. There are so many more platforms out there that link influencers and brands together so I would research it and start emailing around!

I just got my first brand deal… should I take it?

I know that you’re excited, but make sure to think this through. First things to think about; do you support the brand, are you a fan, do you use the product already? Think about if this product or service that you are going to promote aligns with your brand. Look at what they are expecting of you. Map it out and see what it looks like for you and how much time you have to give to this one project. How much are they asking you to post, do you really want to bombard your loyal followers that much with just one brand deal?  The final question is; Is it worth it?

If you are getting a good amount of emails I would really recommend putting a limit on how many sponsored posts you do in one month. Influencers tend to get less credible if they have a sponsored post every single day of the week. I am all for influencers getting paid because it is a lot of work! But there are a few influencers that just care about the money AND IT SHOWS. Don’t be that influencer.

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That is all of the questions I have received, but again, if you have a question that has not been answered in this post, feel free to direct message me on Instagram so_narly!

Updated July 11. 2019

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