3 Steps for Making a Solid YouTube Video

YouTube has changed not just the way we entertain ourselves, but who entertains and informs us. From expanding a small brick-and-mortar business into a major player to turning people into global superstars, YouTube has changed the world. I sometimes wonder if YouTube (Google) knew that they would influence the global culture with such an impact, going into it. Of course, that is likely the dream of any company or brand, eh?

And that is not all, apparently, everyone wants to be a part of it! Over 300 hours of video, is uploaded every minute. That calculates out to be six billion hours per month from 50 countries around the world! Not bad for YouTube. Not bad for the world, either.

What Makes YouTube So Popular?

One of the things that makes YouTube so great is that the playing field starts at the same place for everyone. Whether it’s a series of videos for your business or letting an audience experience your garage band musical genius cover tunes, you have as much chance as anyone else, to grow a base of loyal followers.

What is the Basis for OUR Future Success?

The thing that we sometimes forget, in the midst of our passion and enthusiasm, is that sometimes that success and follower growth is based on the quality of the video. It is also based on the purpose of the video.

That’s not to say that there are not exceptions and that poor quality videos do not go viral. It is not to say that videos without purpose don’t just grab you and are funny enough that the comedic value takes them the rest of the way in viral popularity.

But, all that aside, and realizing that sometimes “stuff happens,” it is still a good idea to base your future success on some foundational basics. That is what we are talking about today. Now, I personally cover much more than this, when I tutor people on how to make videos, but let’s not get over-complicated, eh? Let’s keep it simple, and cover the three basics, to get you started (or keep you going). Ready?

Step One: Content Selection

If you truly want to succeed on YouTube, focus your attention as if you were a Hollywood producer or New York advertising executive. Sure, you could keep capturing video on your phone and throw it on YouTube, but if you want to create a presence, your content needs to have a purpose (or should have purpose).

The material doesn’t have to look like it came out of a studio, though that would help. But, it does need to speak to its target audience with a strong enough message to overcome any shortcomings, including poor production. (In fact, you will see an example of that in the next video example.)

Remember I mentioned this very exception or exceptions? You know, where something is popular and it hasn’t followed these three steps? Well, I have an example for you, below, where the sound needs help, the video quality needs help, but it still received over nine thousand views, which isn’t bad.

Disclaimer: I am not keen on the subject matter, so this is not an endorsement of doing anything to make puppies pass out on you. This video is used as an example and I mean no disrespect to the video creators or the animal.

If you check out the video, at YouTube.com, you will notice that the channel, though not optimized, is still very popular. So, it is possible to “make it” on YouTube even without following any procedure. However, it will help your odds if you do follow some basics.

An example, in terms of keeping it simple, would be to edit the video. Take out the sound, add a different audio track and see if the video can be brightened a bit (since it is so dark that it is difficult to make out the puppy’s faces). This is what is discussed in Step Three, below, along with a comparison video (or two).

Step Two: Recording Process

Yes, you can go into a studio with top equipment and engineers, but there are many YouTube channels doing quite well with a webcam. Yes, really! Both Windows and Mac have built-in features designed specifically for YouTube capture. YouTube itself and iOS have their own platforms as well.

Keeping it simple does not mean ignoring customization. Have a clear mic for audio. If you’re creating a professional blog, avoid using your bedroom as a backdrop.

I could go on and on on this topic, but aiming for basic quality is the first step and it is actually a major step. Example? Don’t have the television set on in the background while you are filming your masterpiece video. Like I said, being a professional sound engineer and being married to one, I have a lot to say on the subject, but let’s start with the basics (like turning off the TV and aiming a couple of lights in the direction of your subject). Oh, yeah, that sound engineer husband? He is also a professional photographer, so we talk a lot about lighting.

Step Three: Learning to Edit the Video

Before we discuss this step, I want to show you another video that has similar content as the video shared in Step One. Notice, I said similar, as in puppies, but that is probably where the content similarity ceases. You will notice, in this video, that there was some video editing that occurred:

As you can see, the video editing can be the difference between a visually stale or dynamic video. In the case above, there are three thousand more views. Some people would be happy with only three thousand views on their video, let alone 3,000 MORE views, for a total of over 12,000 views, at the time of the writing of this article.

Fortunately for you, there is plenty of software that is available to edit videos. And, we don’t have to make it overly complicated. Ok, I may make it overly complicated (shown below) using expensive software like Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Motion, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be that complicated.

Another less expensive and more intuitive software package is TechSmith’s Camtasia. And, if we want to go less expensive yet, some software comes pre-installed on computers and there are others that are free. I even added a screen capture program (free) to my tablet.

What you are looking for, in a video editing software, is one that allows splicing (like “cutting” for videos); special effects; titles; etc. In fact, you know what? Even YouTube does that! So, you have a video editing tool at your fingertips already (disclaimer: some limitations may exist, depending on what type of YouTube account you have).

Please keep in mind that in some cases, overdoing it can make you look amateurish. But, just the right amount can give your videos a connection that no talking head video ever will give you.

Here is an example of a video AFTER editing:

In Conclusion…

Regardless of how big your production project is or subject matter, without these three steps in proper place, you are simply throwing material on YouTube and hoping it sticks. Give it the “better odds” that it deserves and let your videos soar and give you the popularity you deserve on YouTube.

Written by
Deborah Anderson
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