If you want YouTube fame, you need a product so good viewers would not feel cheated if they paid you to watch it. Every video needs an instant hook to grab viewer attention and keep them watching. In 10 seconds you should be able to introduce your video telling viewers what they will see and why they should keep watching. If your videos do not have spoken words, use visual hooks to grab viewer attention, and keep them watching. Now that you have their attention, here are tips on developing the rest of your YouTube product.
You are probably going to have a lot, if not all, of your content on YouTube, shot using your cell phone. Avoid vertical video like it is the plague. Turn your cell phone sideways and shoot horizontally. One thing that screams amateur is vertical cell phone video segments. On shows such as America’s Funniest Home Videos, it is a given that the vertical segments are shot by amateurs, so a pass is given by the audience. This is not the case with your YouTube channel. Shooting horizontally—landscape instead of the portrait—should always be your goal.
Nothing will get people to move on to the next video as bad sound does. Poor sound is more irritating than a poorly shot video. Wind noise is particularly irritating to the ears. Buy a wireless microphone set along with a specialized furry windscreen often referred to as a “dead cat” or “dead kitten” windscreen. The common name is a bit rude, but they are just windscreen made of fake fur, and their hairiness eliminates or greatly minimizes wind noise. Having the mic attached to you eliminates extraneous sounds and keeps your voice level even whether you face the camera or turn your back. Always do a soundcheck before making your videos. Professionals record sound separately and sync it to the video track in post-edit, but a wireless mic is a great compromise.
Your best videos will be made where you can take time to manipulate the light on your scene. Get some videography LED lighting to eliminate shadows and illuminate your subject thoroughly, or make sure you only shoot outdoors in the scene-flattering light. If your video is supposed to be moody, light your subject accordingly. Then, use software to color correct and manipulate your lighting in post-edit. Avoid muddy washed out the video. Your video should not look like HDR went wrong, but it should also not look like you were filming through a dirty lens.
YouTube viewers seem to prefer short segments and concise narration and dialogue. Keeping your spiel short and simple is probably an understatement. YouTube has given rise to a style of editing that cuts speaking subjects often in mid-sentence. The resulting jarring video is actually preferred by viewers over longer speaking segments that end more naturally. Ideally, you want to learn to keep your speaking segments short and to the point, but do not be afraid to edit out the extraneous in post-edit. A sudden stop and start edits that cut out the unneeded speaking are preferred over anything that can be considered long-winded for the YouTube format.
Forget about the viral attempts, and shoot for steadily climbing views and viewer subscriptions to your YouTube channel. Viral is like a one-hit-wonder. If you really want the monetizing to pay off, get your subscribers to actually crave seeing your next video release.