How to Start a Vlog: Guide for Beginners to YouTube (for 2021)

How to Start a Vlog: Guide for Beginners to YouTube (for 2021)
Zain Zia

Written by:
Zain Zia

Aug 26, 2021

Whether you want to create a video diary recording your daily life or share expert advice on traveling on a budget, YouTube is the place to be for vlogging.

It’s the world’s second-most visited website after Google, and attracts users from all over the world who watch a cumulative of 1 billion hours of video on the platform every day.

If you want to start a vlog but aren’t sure how to go about it properly, we’ll help you get started with this detailed step-by-step guide.

Create branded assets like thumbnails, banners, logos, video intros and outros for your YouTube channel using Visme. Access customizable templates, built-in graphics and animations and more.

 

6 Simple Steps for Getting Started with Vlogging

Step #1: Find Your Target Audience

Step #2: Create a Brand

Step #3: Create Your YouTube Channel

Step #4: Buy the Right Vlogging Equipment

Step #5: Shoot & Edit Your First Video

Step #6: Publish & Promote Your Videos

 

Step #1: Find Your Target Audience

Before you hurry over to YouTube and create your own channel, the first thing you need to do is identify the target audience for your videos.

Doing this will not just help you understand the type of content you need to create, but also help you position your channel better on YouTube.

Remember, these are the people who will watch your videos, engage with your content, and ultimately help grow your channel, so make sure you get started on the right foot.

Start off by listing down all the expertise you possess, and narrow down the exact problem your content aims to solve. Keep in mind that you need to love the content you’re producing, or you might not be able to do justice to it over the long term.

A secret tip is to use the Four Ps framework to find your dream vlogging niche:

  • Problem
  • Passion
  • Proficiency
  • Profit

As you can see below, all four Ps are interconnected and can be visualized in the form of a Venn diagram. The spot in the middle — where all four Ps overlap — is your sweet spot, or dream niche.

We'll go into more detail about each P below to help you find a profitable niche you love.

Create your own infographics and Venn diagrams!Get Started For Free

 

Problem

When you’re brainstorming topics, the first thing you need to keep in mind is whether you’re solving an actual problem.

When it comes to defining a problem, think in the broader sense of the word. Entertaining content can also solve the “problem” of people who are looking for an opportunity to relax when they come back home after a long, hard day at work.

The point is, if the world needs your content and it has the potential to help them in any way, it’s solving a problem.

 

Passion

The second step is to write down all your passions. These are all the fields or topics that genuinely interest you, including those you have only basic knowledge about.

For example, you might not know much about cars, but if the idea of talking and learning more about cars excites you, write it down.

 

Proficiency

In this section, write down the things you have good or expert knowledge about.

These should be topics that you have full command over, and can confidently speak about for hours and hours without getting bored or blanking out.

Remember to not get confused between proficiency and passion. You might love to sing, but if you don’t know the technicalities involved and aren’t sure how to teach it to others, it might not fall under your “proficiencies.”

 

Profit

Lastly, you need to find subjects or topics that are profitable — in other words, topics that have the potential to make money.

Do some research online to find profitable niches. These could be trending products or even trending aspects of life like healthcare and the environment. Any solutions that people are willing to pay for fall under this category.

You can find global and local search volume for specific keywords and trending topics using tools like Ahrefs and Google Trends to find profitable niches faster.

Now that you know what the four Ps are and how you can use them to find your target audience, let’s put this into perspective with the help of an example.

Marques Brownlee is an expert tech vlogger who specializes in gadget reviews, unboxing and first impressions.

If you study his niche closely, it’s the perfect mix of all four Ps. He’s helping people spend money on the right kind of products (problem), he loves tech (passion), he clearly knows a lot about it (proficiency) and there’s a huge demand for tech products (profit).

Finding the perfect niche has helped this YouTuber create amazing, tailored content, and amass more than 14 million subscribers!

 

Step #2: Create a Brand

Even if you’re just making videos of what you eat for breakfast every day — remember, you’re a brand on YouTube. The way you brand yourself will help attract the right kind of viewers to your vlog and make your channel stand out from the rest.

Once you’ve finalized your niche and identified your target audience, you can now begin to develop your own brand.

There are four main branding elements you need to prepare before you create your YouTube channel and upload them.

 

1. Brand name

The first thing you’ll have to do is to decide on a name for your vlogging channel. This will be your brand name, and might impact the rest of your branding, what people think of you and the kind of content you create.

If you’re already active on some other social channel, such as Instagram, and you want to expand to YouTube, we recommend using the same name for consistency and recall.

But if you’re starting out from scratch, you can pick any brand name for your channel. Here, you basically have two options:

  • Your real name
  • A made-up name

Using your own name is more flexible as it gives you more room to experiment with different topics and even pivot your content at a later stage. It’s also a good idea to use your name if you want your channel to be about “you” and your life.

On the other hand, using a made-up name like Film Alliance or Unbox Therapy can help you focus on very specific topics and niches, and associate your channel more with the industry you’re in rather than your own self.

If you’re feeling more creative, try combining both — like Lost LeBlanc or Refika’s Kitchen.

 

2. Profile picture

The next thing you’ll need to prepare for your YouTube channel is your profile picture or brand logo. You can either choose to add your own picture or incorporate an element that represents what your channel is about.

For example, if you’re starting a fitness channel, you can either add your own picture while working out, or use images of weights, dumbbells, fitness equipment or text to represent the same.

Eva from Eva Fitness, for example, uses her own picture as her channel’s profile photo.

On the other hand, Fitness Blender uses their brand logo for the profile picture.

Both are equally good strategies, and the one you choose depends on your preferences and what works well for you. Remember, this is your vlog, so don't be afraid to show your personality.

 

3. Channel art

Now that you’ve finalized your brand name and profile photo, it’s time to create your YouTube channel art (or YouTube banner.) This is the header graphic that goes at the top of your channel.

Ideally, your channel art should embody the theme of your channel so your subscribers and visitors know exactly what your channel is all about.

Makeup artists, for example, usually prefer elegant or luxurious banner designs for their YouTube channels. Here’s an example of Tati Westbrook’s channel art.

She uses a sleek, gold font and a photo of herself against a dark background. She also uses her YouTube header as an opportunity to announce new video timings to her subscribers.

To create engaging channel art of your own, you can use a tool like Visme to whip one up in minutes. Use pre-made templates and add in your own content and photos to accelerate the process.

YouTube Channel Art Templates

Create engaging YouTube channel art quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s eye-catching templates. Customize it with your own colors, fonts, images and text, and download it in high-quality. Find a YouTube channel art template that fits your brand.

Some best practices include adding your channel name, an illustration or image that goes with the theme, and optional details about when or how often you’re going to post videos.

 

4. Video thumbnail

Regardless of the theme of your new YouTube channel, there’s a high chance that there are other creators already on the platform making similar videos. But that shouldn’t demotivate you.

Aside from creating highly engaging, value-packed videos that solve a particular problem, one way you can help your videos make their way through the clutter is by creating unique, creative and attention-grabbing thumbnails — the image you see before you click on a YouTube video.

If your thumbnails are boring, regardless of how good your content is, people might not even click on your videos let alone watch them till the end.

To create attractive thumbnails, you don't need to be a designer. You can simply use thumbnail templates — such as the ones in Visme — to quickly create your own.

YouTube Thumbnail Templates

Create an engaging YouTube thumbnail quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s attractive templates. Customize it with your own colors, fonts, images and text, and download it in high-quality. Find a YouTube thumbnail template that fits your brand.

There are different styles of thumbnails you can create. Some vloggers prefer to add their own faces to their thumbnails, while others prefer adding only text and other graphics.

At Visme, we like using a mix of both in our YouTube thumbnails:

The speaker is on one side of the frame in all videos, the combination of font and colors is on-brand and the graphic elements on the left side of the frame make the thumbnail pop.

Visme uses a similar style of thumbnails for all of their videos, so whenever a subscriber scrolls through their YouTube feed, they’ll recognize Visme's videos instantly.

Pro-tip: If you want to keep all your thumbnails on-brand, you can create a branded YouTube thumbnail template in Visme, and then edit and download it every time you create a new video.

 

Step #3: Create Your YouTube Channel

Now that you have all your brand assets ready, it’s time to create your YouTube channel.

Setting up your YouTube channel is super easy. All you need is an email address to get started. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to walk you through the entire process.

 

1. Sign in to your Google account.

Before you can create a YouTube account, make sure that you have a working Google account.

Head over to YouTube, head over to the top-right corner of your screen and click "Sign In". You’ll be redirected to a Google sign-in page.

If you already have a Google account, log in using your email address. In case you don’t have a Google account, simply click on “Create account” to follow the steps to making one.

 

2. Create a YouTube channel using your Google account.

To create your YouTube channel, click on the user icon at the top-right corner of your screen. From the drop-down menu, find and click on “Settings.”

You’ll be taken to your account overview screen.

Scroll down till you find the section called Your YouTube channel.

Click on Create a new channel.

Once you do, you’ll be redirected to a new screen where you’ll enter a name for your channel.

Remember the pointers we talked about in step 2 while naming your channel? Make sure your name aligns with your channel theme and helps your audience identify you easily.

Add your channel name and hit Create.

 

3. Customize your channel.

Great, you've successfully created your YouTube channel. Now, it's time to customize its appearance so it looks like your channel and not someone else's.

From your channel dashboard, click on Customize Channel on the upper right-hand side of the screen.

You’ll be redirected to your YouTube Studio, where you can track analytics and make changes to your channel, including settings related to videos, subtitles and playlists.

There are three tabs you can start making changes to: Layout, Branding and Basic info.

Layout

In the Layout tab, you can upload a trailer video for your channel — sort of like a welcome video for new subscribers or casual visitors.

Scrolling further down, you’ll be able to choose the layout of videos on your channel — YouTube allows you to create up to 12 sections. It’s totally fine if you don’t make any changes to this tab at this stage.

Take your time to create a good-looking trailer video, and create sections only when you need to.

Branding

In this tab, you might want to upload the brand assets we talked about in step 2: a profile picture and a banner image (channel art.)

You can also add a watermark here if you want to — this will be a tiny logo-like image that appears at the bottom-right corner of your videos.

To upload each brand asset, simply hit Upload and select the image from your computer. These brand elements will give a nice shape to your YouTube channel, so don’t skip this step.

Create branded visual assets in minutes.

  • Choose from our fully customizable templates
  • Customize fonts and colors to match your brand
  • Access built-in design elements that tell your story
  • Upload your logo, brand colors, fonts and more

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Basic Info

In the third and final tab, you can add details about your channel. Focus on writing an attractive, concise and effective description about your channel.

For example, if you’re a qualified motivational speaker, mention your credentials in the description so your audience takes you seriously and watches your videos with enthusiasm.

Moving further down, you’ll be able to link your website, email address and other social channels to help subscribers, viewers and potential business partners reach out to you.

Remember, you can always come back and make changes to these tabs by going to your YouTube Studio. Click on the user icon on the top right, and select YouTube Studio.

Now that your account is all set up, let’s discuss the vlogging equipment you need to buy to shoot your videos, along with the software you need to edit them.

 

Step #4: Buy the Right Vlogging Equipment

If you look at popular vloggers on YouTube, you'll see that most of them have invested heavily in building a dedicated studio, bought the best lighting equipment, expensive cameras and lenses and own the greatest mics on the market.

But if you ask your favorite vlogger about equipment, they’re more likely to say that the best equipment is the one that you can get your hands on without any hassle.

Here’s a list of the most essential vlogging equipment you need to start your vlog.

 

1. Camera.

The first thing you’ll need to film yourself is obviously a camera. There are a number of options to choose from; DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and camcorders.

With so many options out there in the market, it's easy to get confused.

For vlogging purposes, particularly, it's ideal to invest in a camera that has built-in image stabilization, a flippable screen, good autofocus and a decent built-in mic.

Some cameras that fit this criteria may cost thousands of dollars, but there are still some great budget options to choose from. Here’s a roundup of 10 cameras you can buy for under $300:

 

If you don’t want to spend extra on YouTube gear, you can always shoot with your phone camera.

Many smartphone cameras out there can shoot in 4K up to 60 FPS — that’s more than enough to produce a high-quality video for YouTube.

 

2. Video editing software.

The next thing you’ll need to do is invest in good video editing software that can help you make your footage even better.

There are a number of mobile-friendly applications that come with built-in audio libraries, filters and other useful features that make video editing easy.

Here’s a list of mobile video editing apps you can use:

  • Adobe Premiere Rush (iOS and Android)
  • KineMaster (iOS and Android)
  • InShot App (iOS and Android)
  • VivaVideo (iOS and Android)
  • Splice App (iOS only)

However, if you’re looking for a more professional option that offers you more control, flexibility, and advanced features, then you’ll need to get your hands on desktop video editing software.

Here are some popular desktop video editing software you can use:

  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • iMovie
  • Lightworks

In the beginning, a mobile application may seem enough, but as your channel grows, you’ll need to invest in professional software that lets you enhance your vlogs.

Make video production easier than ever with Visme.

  • Enhance your videos with YouTube intro and outro templates
  • Customize fonts and colors to match your brand
  • Access animated design elements that tell your story

Sign up. It's free.

 

3. Microphones, tripods & other gear.

To take your videos from good to great, you might need to invest in other gear that helps you produce even better quality videos. You can upgrade over time or all at once depending on your needs and the size of your wallet.

  • Microphone. A great-sounding mic will produce better quality sound, especially when you're making vlogs with live audio narration.
  • Tripod. A tripod is useful for shooting yourself outside without holding the camera all the time. Plus, it gives you more stable footage.
  • Gimbal. This specialized piece of equipment can help stabilize your footage and assist you in producing very high-quality videos, especially when you're walking, running or moving your camera.
  • Lights. Natural lighting is great, but if you're working with indoor/outdoor scenarios, you might need to invest in some nice, studio lighting. It can help increase the quality of your videos and add cinematic colors to your footage.

Now, once you have the right tech, it's time to shoot and edit your vlog.

 

Step #5: Shoot & Edit Your First Video

With everything said and done, it's time to shoot your first video and edit it into an engaging vlog that people would love to watch and share.

Here are a few steps you can follow to cover this part.

 

1. Do your research.

Before you hit that record button, make sure you have clarity of the general theme of your video along with the details of the specific content you're going to cover.

Start by researching the content your competitors are creating. Analyze the comments under those videos. If there are any gaps that your competitor has left, create content that fills those gaps.

Remember what we talked about before; your videos should solve a problem. These will automatically be ranked higher in YouTube’s algorithm over those that are created without any homework.

 

2. Create an outline.

Once you finalize your topic, it’s always good practice to create a general outline for your video.

This shouldn’t necessarily be a word-by-word script for your video, but a general overview of the main headings you’re going to talk about.

This will help you achieve two things:

  1. Avoid accidentally skipping an essential topic
  2. Maintain some level of spontaneity in your vlogs

Even if you find yourself short on time, just write down bullet points or keywords on your mobile phone or a notebook so you cover everything that needs to be there.

 

3. Film yourself.

Press record!

This may feel like a difficult thing to do at first, but as time goes by, you’ll become more and more comfortable in front of a camera, and get rid of any camera shyness.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when filming yourself:

  • Make sure your video has an intro, a middle and a conclusion
  • Be personal — talk to the camera as if you are face-timing your family or best friend
  • Speak clearly and try not to blabber too much
  • Discuss all the points you wrote in your outline
  • Talk about each point at length

Also, if you’re shooting outside at a park, on a mountain top or in a street, make sure you plan your trip in a way that’ll give you enough time to shoot your video in the daytime.

 

4. Edit your vlog.

Now, it’s time to bring all the footage together and edit it in a way that gives your video a nice, engaging and logical sequence.

Here are a few steps you can follow to ace this part.

  1. Upload the footage to your PC
  2. Trim the videos to remove all the "ums" and "aahs"
  3. Add music or voice overs to your video
  4. Add creative text, icons and special effects
  5. Color grade your footage
  6. Review the final video

Here are some other things you can add to your videos during the editing phase to really make them stand out:

Intros

Intros are 10-20 second clips you can add to the start of your video to help you grab attention, set the tone and get the audience pumped and excited for what’s to come.

They can also help highlight the name of your channel or brand to keep it on the top of your audiences’ minds. This works especially well for newer audiences who have just stumbled upon your channel as it can help them become familiar with your channel name and logo.

YouTube Intro Templates

Create an engaging video intro quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s engaging templates. Customize it with your own colors, fonts, images and text, and download it in high-quality. Find a YouTube intro template that fits your brand.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating an engaging YouTube intro from scratch, you can use one of the ready-made video intro templates in Visme.

Each template is fully customizable and ready-to-go with built-in music, special effects, animations and more. Simply switch out the content, tweak the colors, fonts and graphics and download your intro in MP4 format to add to your videos.

Outros

YouTube allows creators to add an ending screen to their videos, which includes a subscribe button, playlists and other videos. The purpose is to keep your audience engaged with your channel.

If you want to get creative with this ending screen, or outro, you can also check out Visme’s library of video outro templates.

Here’s an example of a versatile outro template that will work well for all kinds of lifestyle, art, fashion and even travel vlogs.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

There’s also a space for the subscribe button, and two extra rectangles where you can recommend two other videos from your channel.

Graphic Elements

Depending on the software you’re using to edit your videos, you’ll have a several text types and titles to choose from, including headings, lower-thirds and credits.

But you’ll probably need to find another resource to create and download graphic elements for your videos. For example, you might want to add sparkles, fireworks, special effects, or icons like a light bulb or lightning symbol to your videos.

You can download these graphics, presets and templates from third-party websites, such as Motion Array and Envato.

You might also want to add screenshots and illustrations in the background of your videos. Visme, for example, uses a lot of graphic elements in the background for their videos.

You can create similar graphics and animated illustrations in Visme, download them in image or MP4 format and add them to your vlogs.

 

Step #6: Publish & Promote Your Videos

Once everything is done, it's time to export your video in high quality and publish it on YouTube.

To upload your video, go to your channel dashboard, click the “+” icon at the upper right corner, and hit Upload. You can either drag and drop your video to YouTube or select the file on your computer.

While the video uploads on YouTube and is rendered in the highest possible quality, here are a few things you can do:

  • Add a title
  • Add a description of your video
  • Upload a dedicated thumbnail (or let YouTube pick one for you)
  • Choose the playlist you want to add the video
  • Configure your audience settings
  • Add subtitles manually or upload subtitles documents
  • Choose an end screen for your video
  • Insert video cards into your video
  • Select the time you want to make your videos public

That’s it for publishing your video.

But once your video goes live, your work shouldn’t end there. Now, it’s time to promote your newly published video and get as many eyeballs on it as possible.

The first thing you need to do is promote your video on any other social channels you have, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Let's take an example of how Unbox Therapy does it.

First, they post a video on YouTube unboxing a product.

Then, they upload a photo of the same product on Instagram, and mention that the video of unboxing it is live on their channel.

This simple technique can help bring your existing audience on other channels to YouTube to watch your content.

Additionally, there are other ways to promote your YouTube videos:

  • Boost your video with paid YouTube ads. Paid promotions can help you increase views and watch time, especially if you're a new channel. YouTube offers options for display ads, bumper ads, overlay ads and more.
  • Post your vlog on Reddit. There are a number of subreddits for YouTubers and vloggers that you can join and share your videos in, such as NewTubers and Vlogs.
  • Embed your video on your website or blog. If you have a website (and you should), you can write a blog post about your new vlog and embed your video in your post.
  •  Comment on other YouTube videos. One of the best ways to get more views and engagement on your vlogs is to engage with other, like-minded content creators. Comment on their videos, engage with their subscribers and viewers, and maybe even leave comments like "Hey, amazing video! I've just created a vlog on a similar topic. I'd appreciate it if you'd check it out and let me know what you think!"
  • Optimize your video for search and clicks. Do some research to find trending and searched-for keywords, and incorporate them in your video title, description and tags to optimize its search visibility. Also, make sure you add an eye-catching thumbnail to drive more clicks.
  • Share new videos with your email list. This tip is especially relevant for businesses. If you already have an email list of your target audience, send them an email every time you upload a new video to drive them to YouTube.

Promoting your video is an essential part of taking your vlog to success. Without the right amount of exposure and engagement, it will be very difficult for your video to hack the algorithm and get on top of YouTube's search results.

 

Now Over to You

We understand the work that goes into becoming a professional vlogger, but with persistence, hard word and passion, anything is possible.

Even if it's a highly competitive, saturated niche you're working with — if you love it, know your stuff, and continuously produce quality content, you'll build a loyal following in no time.

So, what are you waiting for? Find out the value you can provide to your audience, get your hands on the equipment, create your channel, and begin your journey on YouTube.

If you're looking to create brand assets like channel art, thumbnails and profile pictures for your new YouTube channel, check out Visme's template library. You can also edit video intros and outros using our drag-and-drop video editor that works in your browser.

Happy vlogging!

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    About the Author

    Zain is a freelance writer for eCommerce and SaaS businesses. When he’s not crafting converting copy and insightful content, he can be found making travel videos or discussing soccer on social media.

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