For many creators, YouTube is the ultimate platform for publishing their content. But getting your big break and creating that viral YouTube video can seem an impossible task. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. With Riverside.fm, recording an HD YouTube video is easier than ever, and we’ve got all the tips and tricks to maximize the success of your video.
Follow our step-by-step guide to making a YouTube video from start to finish. We take you through content ideation, YouTube strategy, video SEO, all the way to recording your video with Riverside.fm, and finally publishing it on YouTube. Let’s jump right in.
- Creating a YouTube Video Strategy is important for producing consistent content for your target audience.
- Video SEO is crucial for making sure your video gets found
- To record your YouTube video you’ll need good lighting, a camera, a mic, and a recording and editing software like Riverside.fm
Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor gets your video ready in no time with an automatic transcription that you can use for subtitles
Create a Youtube Video Strategy
Before you start thinking about your specific YouTube video, it’s useful to consider the broader picture. This means creating a longer-term YouTube video strategy. This will help you come up with relevant video topics and ideas, as well as understand how each of your videos fits into your strategy.
Though it might sound intimidating, coming up with a YouTube channel strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s essentially a ‘branding’ exercise where you consider your overall target audience, what kinds of content would be effective, and what you want your output to look like.
Look at your competitors
Looking at your competitors and similar channels is always a good place to start. If you’re not sure where to start, simply type in keywords or broader themes and topics in the YouTube search bar to see what comes up.
Have a browse of YouTubers who are active in the same space and note down which of their videos have the most viewers or garnered the biggest response. Make sure to notice elements of their channel content that you like and dislike - this will help you to refine your own vision.
Consider your target audience, what are they looking for?
Your YouTube channel can be whatever you want it to be. However, if you want to maximize the views on your videos, it will pay to consider what your target audience actually wants to see.
If you’ve already got a subscriber base, however small, listen to what they’re asking for. First, look at your YouTube analytics to understand which of your videos performed the best. Take a look through the comments sections of your most successful videos to date, and see if any of your viewers are asking for a specific type of content.
Don’t limit your market research to YouTube. If you’ve got followers on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok, use this to your advantage. Ask your community what they’d like to see from you.
If you’re new to YouTube, don’t worry. Think about what kind of audience your potential content will appeal to, and as above, use existing ‘competitor’ channels to understand what kinds of videos are the most successful.
Consider your channel identity & branding
A major part of your YouTube strategy is your channel identity and branding. A well-branded channel will ultimately help attract the right audience, elevate the overall production quality of your videos, and help you refine your channel content.
For example, if you’re planning to be a lifestyle-fashion channel, publishing a factual and information-dense tutorial will probably be against your overall channel branding. Instead, you should be focussing on content that is in line with your overarching channel tone and theme.
Plan Your Video
Once you’ve settled on your YouTube strategy, you can turn your attention to your first video. The beauty of YouTube as a creator’s platform is the creative freedom you have to bring your vision to life.
What kind of YouTube video should you make?
The type of YouTube video that you publish will depend on your channel. Here are some of the most common formats:
- Tutorial or ‘How-to’
- Lifestyle or ‘Vlogs’
- Reviews and testimonials
- Reaction videos
- Comedy videos
- News & Current Affairs
For obvious reasons, some video formats will better suit your channel than others. That being said, as above, there are no limits, so you really can do what you want.
Ideas and Topics for your YouTube video
If you’re struggling to come up with some ideas or topics for your first YouTube video, here are some popular ideas, topics, and formats:
- Comedy sketches
- Comedy reaction videos
- How-to or tutorial
Fashion & Beauty
- Outfits of the Day
- Beauty product reviews
- Makeup tutorials
- Fashion hauls
Food & Cuisine
- Recipe walkthrough
- What I eat in a day’ vlog
- ‘Day in the life’ vlog
- Daily routine
- ‘What I eat in a day’ vlog
- Travel vlog
- Q&A video
Movies, TV and Podcasts
- Movie and TV reviews
- Short films
- Video podcast
News & Current Affairs
Come up with a video storyboard
When you’ve narrowed down your video concept, create a video storyboard or script. Obviously, this will be more helpful for some video formats than others. For example, a ‘day-in-the-life’ vlog will not require much planning, other than remembering to bring your camera with you.
If you’ll be filming in one location, writing a script or overall video structure is an effective way of organizing your thoughts and ensuring your content is clear and well-communicated. Plus, when you get around to filming, having a crib-sheet to hand will make sure you cover all your main points.
If you’re planning to shoot in a number of locations, a storyboard will help you to plan out your desired shots and structure your filming day accordingly.
How to make sure your video is found on Youtube
Once you’ve settled on your video idea, you’ll need to make sure it’s actually searchable on YouTube. Firstly, making sure your video focuses on a specific topic or niche will automatically rank your video a little higher and ensure your target audience finds your video.
Secondly, it may sound strange, but you’ll need to ensure your video SEO is robust.
SEO tips for your YouTube video:
- Do your keyword research using the same tools you’d use for any other SEO content. Try Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz, Semrush, or Ahrefs. Make sure to choose your keywords carefully, considering factors like search volume and how competitive they are.
Choosing the most obvious, and therefore probably the most competitive, keywords is not always the best way forward. Perhaps opt instead for lower-competition, more specific long-tail keywords. These have lower traffic, but you also won’t be competing with hundreds of other videos either.
- Use your keywords in your video title. This is all about answering your target audience’s search intent. If you can do this successfully, your video will rank higher in the search results.
- Use your primary keyword in your video file name. This may seem irrelevant, but it’s not. YouTube reads your video file name to understand whether it’s relevant.
- Use keywords in your YouTube video description. Using SEO best practices in your video description is crucial for maximizing your search ranking, and boosting views and watch time.
Here are some tips from YouTube’s Creator Academy:
- Make sure your description reads naturally, don’t just list your keywords.
- Ensure to use your most important keywords in the beginning of your description
- Focus on 1 - 2 keywords that describe your video and use them in both your description and title
- Avoid irrelevant words or information
- Use video hashtags in your description. Use hashtags that are relevant to your video to help guide your target audience to your content.
- Add tags to your video description. Tags are descriptive keywords that are relevant to your video content. They can help viewers to find your video.
- Make sure to categorize your video correctly. This will ensure your video is listed within the correct genre.
Add subtitles and closed captions. Firstly, this ensures your content is accessible as it should be. Secondly, in terms of SEO, since closed captions and subtitles are essentially transcripts of your video, search engines will read them and this will improve your searchability.
Luckily, Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor automatically produces a transcript of your video, so you don’t need to put in any additional effort to get all the benefits of a video transcription!
Essential Equipment for Filming a Youtube Video
When you’re all ready to go, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got the right filming setup. Here’s what you’ll need:
Clearly, you’ll need a camera to record your YouTube video. If you don’t have the budget to invest in a new camera, you can use your computer’s in-built webcam or use your phone.
If you do want to purchase a new camera, here are two of the best out there:
LogiTech C920s Pro HD Webcam - $59.99
Nikon D300 - $599.95
Explore more options in our guide to choosing the best camera for your setup.
Good lighting is essential. It will help maximize the quality of your video and help capture you at your best. You don’t necessarily need a professional lighting set-up, but you should endeavor as far as possible to shoot in a space with good and consistent natural lighting.
If you do have the capacity to invest in some lighting equipment, here are 2 of the best options out there:
Flashpoint Solo Softbox Head & Shoulders 320M 1 MonoLight - $169.95
Fovitec 3-Light Fluorescent Studio Lighting Kit - $189.95
Our guide to video lighting will help you get that professional setup you’ve always wanted
Investing in an external microphone will ensure you capture your video audio in the best quality possible. Here are some of the best on the market right now:
Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB - $99
Rode Podcaster - $229
Find other great microphone options using our guide to choosing the perfect mic for your setup.
Recording and Editing Software
Once you’ve got all the hardware, you’ll also need recording and editing software for your YouTube video. Choosing the best software for you will come down to your personal preference, what you’re used to using, your budget, and any specific functionality you’re looking for.
For example, not all recording and editing software offers the ability to include remote guests in your video or to record your screen during filming. Have this in mind when choosing your software.
Best Youtube Video Makers
Every YouTuber will have their own specific workflow, so don’t be afraid to go with your gut about what will work best for you. Here are some of the best YouTube video makers out there right now:
- Trim and cut your video
- Add music
- Blur out people or objects in your video
YouTube Studio is best for basic editing and simple processes. This might suit you if your video is basically ready to go and just needs a few tweaks.
- HD local recording that doesn’t rely on internet connection
- Multi-track recording, each participant is recorded on their own individual track for greater editing power
- Remote participants can join from wherever they are
- Magic Editor that gets your video ready in no time
- Automated transcription of your video at no extra cost
- Share your screen during your recording and it will be saved as a separate track
Riverside.fm is the best all-rounder YouTube video maker. Not only is HD quality guaranteed, but you can include remote guests in your videos, and use the Magic Editor to save yourself time.
Price: Free with all Apple Devices
- Add effects & transitions to your video
- Stabilize your footage
- Add text and overlays
- Add music and sound effects
iMovie is a great for both beginners and more experienced YouTubers. If you’ve got an Apple device already, using iMovie is a no-brainer.
- Magnetic timeline that’s easy to use
- Collaborative editing for team working
- Clips organized into ‘roles’ that help you organize your video
- 360 degree video compatible
Final Cut Pro is best for YouTubers looking for a more professional editing software. Though the price tag may put some creators off.
- Cutting, splicing, and other basic editing tools
- Colour grading and video masking
- Lens calibration and footage stabilisation
YouTubers who want a robust editing software on a budget.
- Custom animations that you can addd to your video
- Wide array of video effects
- Green screen
- Auto reframe
- Colour matching so that you can apply colour settings from on eclip to the next
YouTubers who want to get creative with their editing and really make their video their own.
How to Make a Youtube video (with Riverside.fm) from start to finish
First things first, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a YouTube channel.
- Head to YouTube and clicking click ‘sign-in’. Here you can log in using the Google Account you want to be linked to your YouTube Channel.
- Once you’re logged in, click on your profile icon in the top right corner and click ‘create a channel’
- Name your channel, upload a profile and cover picture, add your channel description, and link to any relevant social media accounts or websites
As we mentioned earlier, it’s good practice to personalize your YouTube channel as much as possible. This will reinforce and communicate a consistent and cohesive brand voice for your channel.
How to name your YouTube Channel
Although actually creating your channel is simple, naming it might not be. Here are some tips:
Top tip: your channel name should relate explicitly to your content.
- If you plan to be the ‘face’ of your channel, or your channel is about you and your life, use your full name or a web pseudonym you want to be known by. For example: Casey Neistat
- If your channel will be promoting your business, name it after your brand. For example, Apple
- If you’ll be offering a specific type of content, a descriptive name that explains what your channel content is about can be effective. For example, Mega Fails
- If your channel will publish content revolving around a certain theme, you could name your channel around that category. For example, BBC Comedy Greats
What makes a good YouTube channel trailer
It’s also worth taking the time to create a channel trailer. A good channel trailer should:
- Quickly and succinctly tell your viewer what your channel is about
- Give a quick taste of your content, brand, and style
- Mention how often you upload new videos
- Include good branding such as your logo and channel music
Finalize your video plan
Once you’ve got your YouTube channel set up, finalize your video plan. This could include reviewing and tweaking your script or finalizing your shot-list.
Set up your backdrop
If you’re going to be recording in a single location, ensure your backdrop is aesthetic but not distracting. You don’t need to set up a green screen, but plain or well-considered backgrounds tend to work best.
Review the frame of your shot to make sure your camera is positioned correctly and that you’re not accidentally filming details you didn’t want to be seen. This is also a good moment to check that your lighting is exactly as you want it.
Log in to Riverside.fm and create your recording studio
Once you’re all ready to go, log in to your Riverside.fm account. If you haven’t already, create your recording studio. You can do this in advance or on the day.
If you’d prefer, you can watch our video walkthrough on how to use Riverside.fm
Invite your remote guests
Share the recording studio link with your remote participants, again, you can do this in advance or on the day of recording.
All they have to do is click the invite link and they can join from their browser or iPhone (if they download the Riverside.fm iOS app).
Film your YouTube video in full HD
When everyone has joined the recording studio, and you’re happy with everyone’s set-up, click ‘start recording’.
Each individual participant will be locally recorded in full HD, so don’t worry about a dodgy internet connection - this won’t be reflected in your final video recording.
Share your screen with Riverside.fm
If you want to screen share during your video recording, simply click the ‘screen’ icon at the bottom of your screen. You can choose to share your entire screen or a single application window or Chrome tab.
You can also choose to share both your screen and its corresponding audio.
Your screen share will be automatically recorded in HD as a separate track so that you can edit your recording during post-production.
Remember to record a video intro and outro
Having a simple and consistent intro helps to reinforce your branding and channel recognition. Typically, YouTubers will introduce themselves, their uploading schedule and remind their viewers to subscribe. An outro will usually thank the viewer for watching and once again, remind them to subscribe.
Some YouTubers prefer to have a set opening and closing line that they say in each video whilst others have a pre-recorded clip that they insert to bookend their content. It’s up to you which option you go for.
Use Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor to get your video ready
When you’ve finished recording, you’ll find all your video files in your Riverside.fm dashboard. Use Riverside’s Magic Editor to get your video ready for export.
The Magic Editor is designed to make your life easier by streamlining your editing process. It automatically stitches your locally recorded HD video tracks so that you don’t have to. You can also make the most out of the AI Speaker View and Automated Transcription functionalities.
AI Speaker Mode
AI Speaker mode analyzes your recording and automatically switches to whoever is speaking 1 second before they start talking. This ensures your video has seamless transitions.
Riverside’s Magic Editor automatically creates transcripts for your video. Transcripts are important for ensuring your content is accessible to diverse audiences, have robust SEO, and that you can repurpose your content.
Read more about why you should be transcribing your videos in our guide.
Here’s how to use Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor:
- Click the ‘Magic Editor’ button on your recordings page on your dashboard
- Select the tracks you want to use
- Customize your video design by changing the background image, adding your logo, and selecting your layout style and view.
- Once you’re happy, name your recording, select whether you want a transcription of your video, and then export your file.
Note: Choose to download your transcript as subtitles
Design an Effective Thumbnail
When you’ve exported your video file and you’re ready to upload it to YouTube, it can feel like you’ve done the hard work.
However, don’t forget about the all-important video thumbnail. Typically, YouTubers will select a still from their video or a photo taken on the same day, and use this as the basis for their thumbnail.
Top tip: the dimensions of a YouTube thumbnail are 1280 x 720 pixels
What makes a good YouTube video thumbnail?
Here are four things that every YouTube thumbnail should have:
- High-quality photo or artwork as the background
- The title of your video in clear and bold font
- Attention-grabbing design that stands out
- Your channel branding or logo
How to upload your video on Youtube
Once you’ve got your thumbnail and your video ready, log in to your YouTube channel and follow these steps:
- Click on the video icon in the right-hand corner of your screen
- Select ‘upload video’
- Drag and drop or manually select the video file you want to upload
- As above, add your SEO video title, description, hashtags, and video tags
- YouTube automatically generates three thumbnails from your video footage, but you’ll be able to upload your custom thumbnail if you’ve verified your YouTube account.
- Ensure to add your end screen and cards to the conclusion of your video. These can link to your other videos, encourage viewers to subscribe, and more.
- You can also add subtitles at this stage. Simply upload your Riverside.fm SRT file and you’re ready to go.
Promote your video to maximize views
When your video is up on YouTube make sure to promote your video across all of your other channels. Share the link on all of your social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to maximize the exposure your video gets.
Track engagement with Youtube’s built-in analytics
Congratulate yourself for putting your video out for the world to see, then use YouTube’s analytics tools to see what kind of reception it is receiving.
The engagement tab of your YouTube Analytics tells you what your viewers are watching and how they are interacting with your content. The key metrics cards show your watch time and the average view duration.
You can track which of your videos are performing the best, compare likes and dislikes, and also track which of your end screens generated the most clicks.
Use this information to refine and rework your YouTube video strategy, then turn your attention to your next video.
FAQs about making YouTube videos
How many views do you need to get paid on YouTube?
To monetize your videos on YouTube, you need to join the YouTube Partner Program. There is certain minimum eligibility to be part of the program:
- You must be following all the Youtube channel monetization policies
- You must live in a country/region where the Youtube Partner Program is available
- Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel
- Have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months
- Have more than 1,000 subscribers
- Have a linked AdSense account
- Have an active channel and keep it active
How do I make my own YouTube video?
It’s really not as hard as it sounds, follow our tips above to make your first YouTube video.
How much will YouTube pay for 1000 views?
A YouTube channel can receive $18 per 1,000 ad views.
How to make a youtube video on your phone
The process is exactly the same. In fact, the quality of most phone cameras these days is on par with a DLSR, so you don’t have to worry about compromising that HD video. Plus, with the Riverside.fm iOS app, it’s even easier to record your YouTube video with your phone! Download for free from the App store.
Is creating a YouTube channel free?
Yes, creating your YouTube channel is free.
How much does it cost to make a YouTube video?
It can cost as much or as little as you want it to. For example, if you opt for a basic setup in one place, your only costs are your equipment and your time. However, if you choose to shoot your video in multiple locations, you may start to rack up transport costs.
How do beginners get famous on YouTube?
This all comes down to good video SEO, an effective thumbnail, and good promotion/marketing. Plus, a little bit of patience and investment of time.