When you want to start a YouTube channel, you immediately make a list of everything you think you need. And when you start doing research to see if you missed anything, everybody’s telling you something different! Here is a comprehensive list of EVERYTHING you need to start a YouTube channel now!
Everything You Need to Start a YouTube Channel in 2020
Want to watch a video version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
We’re getting back to the basics here. Understanding the strategy behind starting a YouTube channel is one thing, but the physical stuff that you need to make it happen is a really important one!
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What You Need to Start a YouTube Channel TODAY
1. A camera – but not a fancy, schmancy one
Don’t invest your money in a fancy, brand new camera! One, you don’t even know if you’ll like creating YouTube videos yet, and two, there is NO reason to go into debt to get a camera that is really not much better than the one you have on the phone in your pocket. Use what you have. Newer phones have amazing video quality that will definitely work for you. You always have the option to upgrade your camera later after you start making money.
Tip: When you’re using a phone camera, you’ll want to use the camera on the back of the phone because it’s better quality than the one on the front.
2. A good audio solution
Important note: this does NOT say that you need a mic! The mics built into your phone camera are not terrible – they’re actually pretty good. If you can record in a room without a lot of echo and background noise and sit closer to the camera, you’ll be good to go.
You can always upgrade! There are lavalier mics that plug into your phone or camera, top-of-camera mics, podcasting mics, and tons of other options. You can use whatever you want to use and you don’t need to spend the big bucks to start.
3. Good lighting
If you’re filming sit-down videos, lighting is critical! You can buy external lights that will make a big difference in quality. If you’re filming vlogs, your lighting is still really important, but you have a lot more freedom with where you are and how the lighting looks.
When recording a sit-down video, a window is all you need! Natural light is your best friend, folks. You can also get some daylight-style light bulbs for the room that you’re filming in to help with brightness.
If you don’t have access to a window (or you need to film at night) a ring light is still a great option. The most important thing is that you can be seen in your videos!
4. Editing Software
You’re going to need some sort of editing software to start posting YouTube videos! There are some people who are successful on YouTube and don’t edit their content, but for most of us, it’s a must. (Anybody else get tongue-twisted or say “uhm” way too many times?)
But again – this does NOT need to be something crazy expensive! If you have a Mac, you’ve got iMovie built in. Even better, if you’re recording on your phone, it has the iMovie built in, too! You can absolutely use iMovie on your phone to edit. As you go, you can definitely upgrade – but do not hesitate to start with the easy option! Learning expensive editing softwares can be tricky and there’s no sense in splurging on a software when you haven’t figured out your own editing style yet.
If you don’t have an iPhone, there are tons of apps you can get that allow you to edit video that are easy and free. Look for apps with good reviews on your app store! If you want to edit on your desktop, check out Filmora or Camtasia.
Graphics Editing Software to make Thumbnails
This is probably the last thing you’re worried about when you’re starting a YouTube channel, but it shouldn’t be! There are Three T’s on YouTube that are critical to success – your title, tags, and thumbnail. To be able to create good ones that will grab people’s attention, you need some kind of graphics editing software.
This doesn't need to be crazy! Sure, you can use Photoshop, but you can also use Canva, apps on your phone, or something else.
Keywords Everywhere (or another keyword-finding software)
You need something that will help you create titles and tags to get your channel started on the right foot – that’s where Keywords Everywhere comes in handy.
Not a lot of people talk about this when you’re getting started, but it is SO. IMPORTANT. Your title, tags, and thumbnails are the way that people find you, choose to watch you, and choose to come back to your content. If you’re not finding the keywords that your channel can rank in, you’re missing out.
Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension that pulls Google keyword analytics into a super easy-to-use platform. Information about the keywords will show up when you type in the Google and YouTube search bars. It does have a cost, but it’s pretty miniscule and very worth it.
Google and YouTube Account
You need a Google account to be able to register a YouTube channel. Get both of these out the way from the beginning!
These last two might seem out of left field, but I promise – they are MORE IMPORTANT than your camera equipment, your lighting, and your microphone. That’s saying a lot.
Y’all, you need a niche. Your channel has no chance for growth if you don’t know who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about. If you don’t, you won’t know how to keyword research or what thumbnails work best or what topics you should make videos about. You’ll just be flying by the seat of your pants and that is not a good way to do anything in life.
Know who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, and exactly where you channel fits in with the rest of the channels that exist.
YouTube is NOT EASY. It’s incredibly time consuming, especially when you’re doing it all yourself. Keyword research, filming, editing, thumbnail creation, uploading… the list of all the steps you have to do is long. In the beginning, it’s going to feel like a lot of hard work for nothing. You need passion, hard work, and dedication to make it to the point where your channel is growing. (Grit is CRITICAL, people.)
Now go out there and do it, friends! Start that YouTube channel and stick with it.