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YouTube Channel 101: How to start and grow a YouTube channel

YouTube Channel 101: How to start and grow a YouTube channel with Tim Schmoyer: Beauty and the Vlog Podcast 37

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On March 2, 2006, Tim created his first YouTube channel and started making videos with the girl who later became his wife. Since then he’s created and published over 2,000 videos, amassed millions of views, hundreds of thousands of subscribers, won video contests, worked with some of the country’s top brands, and became officially certified by YouTube in “Audience Growth.” In 2013 he started Video Creators to train other creators to master the YouTube platform and use it as a place to spread messages that change lives.

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When you evaluate a channel what are you looking for?

I collect information about them. Before the review, I will look through their channel and make some notes on some things I see, could be approved, general things like that. When I get on the call, the first question I ask, tell me the story behind the channel, where is it going, what is the goal for you here. I can give lots of tips but then I would be making the presumption on my part if I do that that I know where you want to go with your channel. Some people have different goals. Some people just want to make money, that’s an entirely different strategy than someone who wants to grow a big audience. They are not mutually exclusive but if you just want to make money there are ways to do that. I have friends who make 30-60k a month on YouTube who have 17k subscribers. There are different ways to do different things I want to know where you are going what you goals are, I reverse engineer it for you and say this is how we want to go, lets back up, how to we get there and this is the path you need to take. We outline that path together so the YouTube channel does what you want it to do. Everyone starts for a reason and I like to know, why did you start, what brought you to this place, and where are you going in the future and how can I help you accomplish your goals.

I started my channel as a hobby. In 2006 it was just my wife and I pranking each other, vlogging, going on dates with each other. That was before vlogging was a word, there was no money in it at the time. Lots of people start as hobbies, now people hear there is money to be made and some people do that.

Two most important things for your Channel:

What are some of the biggest mistakes YouTubers make?

One of the biggest mistakes I see comes from a branding perspective. By branding I don’t mean, make sure you have a good logo, channel icon and things like that. It goes deeper. It is two things, who are you trying to reach with your videos, specifically. Not, I make videos for a girl, that’s way to broad. What you need to do with your channel when you start growing it make somebody feel like, yes, this place is for me, Erika is talking exactly to me and exactly what I need to hear. If you talk to that person and call them out at the beginning of the video them, they are hooked. They feel you are talking to them, so you have to have a very clear defined audience.

The second thing is to have a really strong value proposition. What value are you proposed to deliver to that person every single time, with every single video you make so that when someone subscribes they want to watch every video you do because they know what value they get from you every single time. If you don’t do that and the value fluctuates its hard for people to want to watch that video. A lot of people miss that part of the branding and those two things are super important. The other part is the value proposition. The value prop isn’t what you are doing, like beauty tutorials it’s the why it matters. You tell people what you are doing, but most important you tell them why they should care. When you get to the why part it’s more of an emotional connection it’s more about beliefs. For example, I am teaching makeup because it helps you to be a more confident woman. Makeup isn’t selling you beauty products they are selling you confidence. That is the value and the motivation of why people like makeup in the first place. If you tie your brand into confidence then your brand is going to be so much stronger. Women are going to come to you not for just beauty stuff but other things. That branding is so important. People think, oh, I’m just going to make makeup videos and they rush out and get stuck at a couple hundred subscribers. The thing most people go to, is I have to have higher production value, better camera, equipment, microphones. And they think that if I have more of that stuff, my videos would be better. But it’s not true. There are people that draw millions of viewers with a webcam. There are other people that have entire production crews and don’t get many views. It’s not the production value, it’s the content. There are two values. Once, every channel has the content value, the makeup tutorial, that’s the what, and I care about the why which is you are going to make me feel confident and that’s the why I am doing this and those two go together. The third piece is the perceived relationship with the person who is watching. Its not just about the actual how-to but its, do I like this person, do I feel like I can hang out with her, trust her, consider her advice. Both f those values are important to put into consideration, its not just content and its not just relationship its both together. You kind of combine the relationship with the content. The vest YouTuber have a good balance between relational value and actual content value.

Production value in the makeup world does matter. It matters because there is a higher level of perceived credibility. Production value does matter,  but if its between using a go-pro and using 10k on equipment, I don’t know if that’s the solution. If there is a high relational value, you can get away with less production value but ideally you want both. Do your best. 95% of the time, the problem isn’t camera quality, it is making better use of the equipment you already have like your lights and manual controls on your camera. When your audience does start growing then consider replacing equipment when it makes sense.

How do you share your value proposition?

It’s a personal self reflection of why am I doing this. What is compelling me to do this. You have a message. You are talking about makeup but maybe you have a message along with that, like confidence. Does that mean something, does it matter, is it valuable? Absolutely, that can change a person’s life. The product isn’t the videos. Even if someone forget about your video and never watches it again, the life change that you have had the opportunity to do in someone’s life is what its all about. That’s what motivates me and that’s why I am talking because I know that there are a lot of women out there that have great messages that need to spread. For beauty, the why is usually something intrinsic and something that you intrinsically value. The cool thing is that communities form both on line and off line around shared beliefs, not common interest. Common interests will give us something to talk about but a shared belief is something that when you and I both realize we believe the same thing there is a different level of connection. When your channel starts revolving around beliefs and not interest, your community will be tighter. You will get haters, but you need the haters to solidify that community.

In your videos you state your why in almost every single video, do you suggest that beauty/fashion YouTubers do the same thing? How would they be able to implement that?

You need to communicate it succinctly and clearly. Make it part of your branding overall, not just your video, but your header image, your channel trailer, every video you do points back to that. It is important, just naturally integrating it in everything and all of your content.

Dealing with Hate on YouTube:

You do need haters, but Don’t listen to them.

If you actually believe in what you are doing on the why level, like this is an opportunity to change lives. You can take a little more battery if you know there are more people out there getting help than people that have something up their butt and feel bad about themselves and are taking it out on you. Usually it’s not about you its about something else. I told a client of mine I was talking to, “but the video has millions of views” don’t listen to the couple of comments, I know they say one negative criticism outweighs 7 positives, I get it, I totally do. As difficult as it may be, think, screw those guys, they are not people I am talking to, I don’t want them in my audience, they have nothing better to do in their day, I feel bad for them.

Haters lead to more sharing. People want their opinions to be heard. By the time I get to some of the hater comments, I don’t have to say anything, I just thumbs up the people that are saying tings I like. YouTube still counts dislikes as engagements. Likes and dislikes are counted the same. If you get a ton of dislikes, then thank you!

What YouTube looks at to help rank videos higher?

Couple things. The primary thing they look for is watch time. Simply, how much time has this video accumulated from people watching it. If you have video A, lets say its 2 min long and it got 30 minutes of watch time and you have video B and it has 3 min long and an hour of watch time, the longer video is going to get ranked higher because it has more watch time. It doesn’t mean that longer videos get more watch time it means that the more watch time you have, the more valuable Google values your video. What Google wants is people to spend as much time as possible on their platform. The more time people spend watching on their video. Even if its an hour long video and they only watch 5 minutes, that video is more valuable to Google than someone who is only going to watch for 3 seconds even if it might be 100% of the clip. There is also session watch time which is how does your video contribute to a viewers overall viewing session on YouTube. Say a creator ends their visitor saying go to my website or Facebook page, you are sending them off YouTube after each of your videos. Say you are super successful on that and most of your audience does that. You are then ending viewing session on YouTube and most likely Google is not going to favor that video highly in search results as another video that might be comparable in watch time but takes people for another 30 minutes inside YouTube. The question becomes, how do I get a lot of watch time? The title and thumbnail are important because it’s the advertisement and billboard of your video. People click on it hoping some kind of value for the video. A lot of people write these titles that seem like they are written by robots based off of key words. Instead of making it full of key words, it’s much better to think about a person and say, what value am I delivering in this video and how can I accurately describe why this video is valuable and important to my audience. About 70% the title needs to be enticing to people and 30% look at keywords. Its important because if you title it for people and entice more people and you set it up properly with a great thumbnail and keyword then you will accumulate your watch time. Take key words in consideration, but that metadata is only valuable for the first week or so after the video has been published. Then after that they look at user signals and other data that they collect based on users habits, etc. It’s to your advantage to craft it for people. If someone searches for how to do YouTube views and there is a high click through rate between that and other similar videos, Google will figure it out.  You can go back and update your tags and titles and force Google to re-index it and give your video another shot. After the first week, if you see in the YouTube search. There are videos that show a “new” tag, that is Google’s way of playing around with that video


How much can a YouTuber really make?

It’s not based on subscribers. I have a friend with 17k subscribers who is making 6ok a month. You get paid by views, well actually people who are engaging with ads is more likely to occur with more views. Most active YouTube subscribers are not that valuable in terms of engaging and click on ads and things like that. There are two ways to make money, one is ad sense, that averages between an average RPM. You get about $2-3 per thousand views. The way to see that is your ad sense, or your RPM. The subscribers become more valuable when you do brand deals. People are more likely to watch you and your ad. Even then, a brand that has done this, they are not going to look at subscriber numbers but average views. The third way to make money is just to sell something. If you are going to get $2 from ad sense but you have a $30 product to sell to that same 1k people if you sell to 1% of that audience just ten sells, that’s $300 RPM instead of $2, that is easily the best way to do it. My business model revolves around product sales and consulting.  What would be the cost of an average brand deal? It depends on the brand, how many deals you have done in the past, how tolerant your audience is of your brand deals, etc. I can tell you this, the more targeted and niche your audience is, the higher you can charge for a brand  deal. Say you just go after women in general, you charge a $20 per cpm. For me, I have a targeted niche, I charge 60-100+ CPM. I can charge a lot more because the advertiser can’t get that targeted niche anywhere else. You have to know who those people are. The ability for you to have a sponsored video has to do with the relationship you have with you audience and how much they care about you. If the audience feels like you are doing this for you and not for them that is where the problem lies. Now, you are using them instead of offering value to them. When I do a brand deal I only do ones that makes sense and that only offers value to my viewer. I have people thanking me, those are the types of deals I do. Do brand deals that are a win for everyone, a win for you, the brand and the audience.


The way MCN’s work is they come to you. They have certain value that they want to give to you. Royalty free music library, we are going to promote you across our network, if they say it then ask for specifics because it rarely happens, they say we are going to make you more money on your channel, things like that. You have to think, is this value that I need for my channel? For many creators, it is. The second question is, what should I pay for this? You are paying them a monthly fee for this service that they are proposing to give to you. If it’s a reasonable fee for the value that you want or need, then by all means, it’s good for you. I’m not with an MCN, most don’t provide value that I feel like I need.  There are ways to do a lot of what they are providing without being a part of a MCN. I ask them, what do you need for your channel, what are you looking for? Generally speaking, it seems like the smaller MCNs seem to do a little better. They respond more quickly to people, they are more reachable, they can work with you more personally. If I were to join one, it would be a smaller one where I could have a relationship.

What are you really excited about right now with YouTube?

People have different theories and opinions about where it’s going, a lot of that has to do with mobile. I think it’s a safe bet. Mobile is growing not only in the US but the developing countries as well. I’m not as excited about YouTube itself as the potential of YouTube to communicate messages that change lives. I’m not necessarily a YouTube fan boy, I’m a fan of any platform that allows you to reach people and inspire  and reach them. Every view and every subscriber represents an actual person who gives you some of their time and what are you going to do with that opportunity.

Is it feasible to be a you tuber today?

It’s totally possible, people do it all the time. It comes back to the branding, the value, the strategy. I worked with a lot of channels that have done the same thing for three years. Why did you do the same thing for three years and didn’t change? Try different things. Often, I found the hook at the beginning is really weak.

If you are a YouTuber, sign up for Grapevine (It’s FREE!)! You get connected with potential sponsors and other YouTubers looking to collaborate! (Plus you will be getting a special bonus exclusively for my listeners and you are supporting the show!) Click here.

You can find Tim and his channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/VideoCreatorsTV

Author: Erika Vieira

Marketing and sales expert Erika Vieira is the host and producer of the #1 influencer strategy podcast, Beauty and the Vlog. The podcast, with over 100 episodes and hundreds of thousands of downloads is dedicated to content creators who are looking to start, improve and grow their unique influence online. Erika works with influencers on personal branding, content improvement and defining a niche via customized strategy sessions, channel critiques and business support. She also loves makeup, beauty and her family and believes anyone who has the drive and passion can find success online. Feel free to send her a message here.