How to Start a YouTube Channel in 2020

A YouTube channel is a great way to share your knowledge and creativity with the world and has the potential to earn a pretty decent income as well. However, starting a channel from scratch can be scary and overwhelming, and attracting and growing an audience can seem harder than it looks. 

But, with YouTube as the second largest search engine on the internet after Google with over 1-billion unique visitors each month, there is no time like the present to start your channel and share your message!

In today’s article, I'll be walking you step-by-step through the entire process of starting your YouTube channel from scratch, to make the process easy and painless! I’ll explain how to decide what your channel should be about, what to name your channel and some tips on how to get your channel started.

Most importantly, we're going to talk about how to start getting VIEWS, even if your channel is brand new and you don't have any subscribers yet! So, let’s get started and walk through the seven steps you need to take to start a YouTube channel in 2020!

1. Decide what your channel is about.

In order to start your channel, the very first thing you need to do is decide what your channel is about. You might already know exactly what you want to talk about on your channel, or you might be feeling a little conflicted because you have several different ideas. If that's the position you find yourself in, here are three main things that you'll want to keep in mind:

  1. Pick one topic to focus on.
    If you’re brand new to making videos, it's totally fine if you want to just start making videos about anything you feel like to get your feet wet and to get your channel off the ground. Don't feel like you have to narrow it down right at the beginning –but your channel probably won't start to grow until you do pick one main topic to focus on.

  2. Don't get too stressed out about it.
    It's okay if you pick a topic and then later change your mind. That’s because, when you first start your channel, no one will watch your videos right at the beginning. (Call it tough love… but it’s the truth.)

    At first, you’ll just be learning how to make videos, and after you start talking about a topic, you might discover that it’s not what you want to stick with long-term. Maybe you don't have that much to say about it or there's simply something else that you'd rather talk about.

    So, don't feel too much pressure when picking a topic, just pick something that you're interested in and go with it so that you can get your channel off the ground.

  3. Different things are more popular this year than were popular in the past.
    If you want your channel to be as successful as possible, then you'll need to pick something that other people are also interested in. Now, of course, you don’t have to do this — you can choose to talk about whatever you’d like to.. But, a topic’s current popularity is something to keep in mind, especially if you're trying to decide between a few different ideas that you're interested in.

Bonus: To figure out what’s popular right now, you can use a free tool called Google Trends to look up different topics that you're thinking about talking about in your channel to see whether they are gaining or declining in popularity. You don't necessarily need to pick something that is super popular, but you do want to pick something that is becoming more popular, not dying away. 

2. Brainstorm video ideas.

Once you've decided what your channel will be about, you can move on to step two and brainstorm video ideas. This is something that I always recommend people do before they start a channel for two main reasons:

  1. It's going to make starting your channel easier because you have to have video ideas in order to start making videos.

  2. It can really shed some light on whether or not you picked the right topic for your channel.

Specifically, I recommend that you brainstorm 100 video ideas. Now, I know that that might seem like a lot, but hear me out: if you can't think of a hundred video ideas on that topic that you're considering starting your channel on, then that can be a sign that you might need to pick a different topic — something that you have more to say about.

Coming up with these 100 video ideas will give you a lot of confidence that you're not going to run out of things to say and it will also help you to find the very best video ideas because you'll be picking from such a long list!

3. Research video ideas.

Step three of the process of starting your channel is research! You need to look up these video ideas that you are considering making on your new channel and find out which ones other people will be most interested in. This is going to take you a step beyond just using Google Trends. You're going to do two different kinds of research to discover whether these specific video ideas will be popular — keyword research and competitor research.

  1. Keyword research
    Keyword research is discovering how many people are looking for a certain keyword each month. You're trying to discover how many hundreds or thousands of people are looking for certain words that are related to your video idea.

    Definition: Ideas or topics that define what your content is about.

    For example, if I was thinking about making a video about how I edit my YouTube videos, then I might look up the keywords “video editing tutorial” to find out how many thousands of people are searching for that on Google or YouTube every month. Then I can compare that number to other videos that I'm considering filming to find out which one is the most popular idea. There are many different free tools that you can use to do this type of research, including Google's AdWord Keyword Planner tool Keywords Everywhere.

  2. Competitor research

This technique involves looking at the videos that you and your competitors are making to see which ones are performing well and how well your ideas have performed on their channel. In order to do this, you'll need to:

  • Identify your competitors.
    All that means is you need to find some other channels that are similar to the channel that you want to create and are making videos similar to the videos that you want to make. Once you've identified these competitors, you can take a look at the videos on their channel and then sort them by “most popular” to see which videos have done really well for them. This is going to give you ideas for videos that you might want to make on your channel…

  • Search for your video ideas.
    Search for your video on YouTube and see how many views that video has gotten when other people have made it. The more views they have, the better they are performing.

4. Name your YouTube channel.

For this step, you could either use your own name or you could use a different name related to the topic that the channel is going to be focused on. As you're trying to make this decision, I recommend that you think about what the channel is really about. You might automatically think your channel is about your topic, but there are many channels out there that are actually personality-driven that are really about the creator who's making the videos and that creator's take on that topic.

*Think about whether your channel is about the topic and you're just the person who's presenting the information, or if the channel is really about you, and your interest in this topic.

If the channel is really about you, you'll probably want to use your own name, and if the channel is really about the topic, you'll probably want to pick a name related to the topic. Now, it's not a hard and fast rule — if you really want to use your own name, you're of course welcome to do that. Or if you don't feel comfortable with that for some reason, you're welcome to use any other name you want.

Lastly, make sure that the type of name you pick fits the style your videos will have. For example, if you want your videos to be really polished, professional, and corporate, then you wouldn't want to pick a silly or random name that doesn't have that same feeling. But on the other hand, if your videos are more casual, laid back, or funny, then you wouldn't want to pick a name for your channel that is more corporate feeling or too official-sounding. 

5. Create your YouTube channel.

The reason you needed to name your channel first is that YouTube is going to ask you what you want to call it. Creating the channel is actually very simple, and I have a video about exactly how to do it that you can watch here.

If you already have an account, you can click the “upload video” button, and if you don't have a channel yet, YouTube will prompt you to create the channel so you can upload your first video.

6. Make your first YouTube videos.

This is obviously going to be the biggest part of the work that you do for your YouTube channel. So, if you don't get it right at the very beginning, don't worry. Almost everyone's videos are pretty terrible at first, so if yours are even half-way decent, then you're doing better than average!

For the first year and a half of running my own YouTube channel, I was shooting all my videos with my camera on automatic mode because I didn't really know how to work my camera — but it got the job done. People are way more interested in the content of the videos than they are for technical quality.

Now, when I say that, I don't mean that people only care about the information. They need to be somewhat entertained or have some other reason to stick around. They need to wonder what's going to happen because if they get bored, they will not keep watching your videos. They'll click on one of those suggested videos instead, and you'll lose them, which means YouTube won't promote your videos and you won't get very many views.

So as you're starting to make videos, just keep that in mind. Your quality will improve, but make sure your videos aren't boring! Add as much into them as you can to keep them interesting.

If you want to learn more about how to create videos for YouTube, then click here where I walk you through everything you need to know, including what equipment you should use, how to set it up, and how to get that first video filmed. 

7. Get views on your videos.

Getting views on your videos is the key to success on YouTube, so your final step is to promote, promote, promote! There are two main ways that you can achieve this:

  1. Promote your video on social media.
    The most common thing that people do is promote their videos on social media such as Facebook or Instagram. However, there are two potential problems:

    • Most social media platforms want their users to stay on their platforms, and so if you share a link to your YouTube video on the platform, that link or post probably isn't going to do very well, which means not very many people will see it, not very many people will click on it, and it's not going to really earn you very many views.

    • The other potential problem is that if you don’t have a large following on any of your social media platforms, it's really not going to make much of an impact on your YouTube channel. Now, that's not to say that you shouldn't still take advantage of that opportunity to get views, especially when you're first starting out. Every single view counts, so you should be telling anyone and everyone you can about your channel!

  2. Promote your video on YouTube.
    Now, I'm not talking about paid advertising. Paid advertising on YouTube doesn't typically work very well to grow a channel and it is expensive if you want to get hundreds or thousands of views. Instead, this means making good quality videos that are interesting and that people like watching so that when they do watch them, they keep watching — YouTube’s algorithm will perceive that people like them and will promote them for you, which is the ultimate goal for growing your audience.

Because getting views on YouTube is such an important part of the process, I put together a FREE complete hour-long workshop that will give you WAY more information about this part of the process. It’s called  How to get Views on YouTube with Zero Subscribers and I know that you'll find it really helpful as you get your channel off the ground!

So there you have it! Now you know exactly what to do in order to start your YouTube channel from scratch. You’ve decided what your channel will be about, what to name it, and some helpful tips on how to get it going. Lastly, you’ve learned how to get more views, even if you are just starting out. And remember, it’s never too late to start a YouTube channel, and 2020 is a great time to begin!

Here’s to your success!

I love hearing from you! Have you started a YouTube channel yet? What do you want your channel to be about? Let me know in the comments below!

Learn how to GROW your audience and get VIEWS on YouTube with Zero Subscribers with our FREE hour-long workshop here!


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Gillian Perkins

Hi, I’m Gillian! I’m a marketing strategist who helps online entrepreneurs 10X their sales with FB ads + sales funnels. I love combining tech, analytics, and psychology to create powerful marketing systems. When I’m not helping my clients scale their businesses, I’m spending time with my husband and two little boys, exploring new places, or seeking out choice espresso.