Advice on Starting a YouTube Channel & Blog | Q&A

Advice on Starting a YouTube Channel & Blog | Q&A

What’s up guys? It’s Aileen. Today’s video
is going to be jam-packed with a lot of information. You guys always give me a lot of questions
on how to start a blog, how to start a YouTube, and today I’m just going to try to answer
all of your questions. It’s essentially a Q&A video but I’m going to skip reading the questions
and go straight to sharing the content itself. This video is going to be focusing on the
advice portion on content creating, and I’ll make another video where I get into
the technical side of YouTube: what camera I use, what editing software,
etc. And if you’re into blogging, I’m going to make a separate blog post on
the technical side of blogging like what platforms and hosting services to
use. And later on, I’m going to make another video on how to
start a podcast. So if you’re interested in any of those things, make sure to click in the description and
check them out. First off I want to share what advice I have
for anyone starting out as a content creator, whether you’re going to be on YouTube, a blog,
a podcast, or something else. The first thing: You have to know your purpose.
Why do you want to start your blog or YouTube or podcast? Why do you want to
be a content creator? And it’s really important to know your ‘Why’
because that sets the foundation for everything else. Ask yourself: is this just going to be a hobby
where you just want to express yourself and do something creative for fun? Or do you
want to take it seriously and actually create a career out of it. Whatever
it is, it’s really important to just get down to why you want to do this.
Maybe have a mission statement and put it on a notebook or somewhere you
will read really often, so that you’re reminded of why you started. Next up is crafting your brand. Your brand
is an extension of your voice. It’s your message. It’s the feeling that you
give your audience. It’s your perception of the world. Essentially,
your brand is usually an extension of yourself. So for me, my brand is Lavendaire, and it’s
all an extension of myself. It’s really dreamy and airy, and I like to
talk about personal growth and all these things. Ask yourself: what kind of feeling do you
want to give your audience? What kind of message do you want to share?
And you craft your brand around that. A question that I get very, very often is:
how did you come up with the name Lavendaire? And I think it’s because a lot of people
have trouble coming up with that name for their YouTube channel and blog because
it’s so important; your brand starts with the name. For me, I had been on YouTube and had been
making music under my own name Aileen Xu. My old YouTube handle was ‘Aileenwithit’ and
it was just something- like a screen name from high school. But when
I wanted to start Lavendaire, my new blog and YouTube channel, I really,
consciously created a word. I wanted to create one word that sounded really
pretty, dreamy, airy, something that reflects my personality. And I wanted to make sure that word was not
something that was already on Google because I cared about SEO and stuff. So I
spent a lot of time brainstorming what kind of names would be good and I kind
of listed a bunch of words that described what my personality was and
what kind of feelings I like. And there’s no right or wrong way to create
a name. You just have to spend a lot of time brainstorming.
It’s not going to come to you at once, but I think once you’ve found a name that
sticks with you and you can’t forget it, then you’ve found your name. In short, my
tips on creating a name are to: brainstorm, take your time, be really patient
with it, and it will eventually come; also be mindful of what else is on the internet
so you don’t choose something that somebody else is already using. Just
make sure that name describes your personality or that brand feeling
that you want to create. The next tip I have is that you have to make
sure that passion and joy are at the center of everything you do. Everything
you create has to be created out of passion and joy. If you create something
that you’re not excited about, that you’re like, “Ugh, this is so boring,” it’s not going to
be good and people are not going to enjoy reading it or watching it or listening to
it. You really have to put your zest for life into everything that you create. You have
to put that passion there, and also that passion drives you as you continue
creating because being a content creator is fun and
it should only be fun. It shouldn’t feel like a drag, it shouldn’t
feel like work. You should always focus on having fun first and focus on the creating
aspect. Don’t worry about the results or the rewards that you want to get. Don’t
do it for the numbers, the money, whatever. Do it because you love it. Do it because of
the passion and the joy at the center. The next tip for new content creators is a
huge one, and this is like the most important thing that I tell all of
my friends who ask me about content creating tips. So you have to remember these four letters:
Q V C A. Full disclaimer: I did not come up with this. I learned this
from Alex Ikonn from a podcast he did like two years ago. I don’t know if I could
find that link but if I could find it, I will post it in the description as well.
He said this in the podcast and I took it and learned a lot from it. It’s
basically a foundation in all the stuff that I create. So QVCA stands for: Quality, Value, Consistency,
and Authenticity. When you’re creating content, you always have
to have these four letters, these four words in mind. When you create
content, you have to make sure it’s the highest quality you can create as
possible. It’s okay that you don’t have the best camera or the best resources, but
you do the best with what you have right now. Just try to create high-quality content, because
in this day and age, no one’s going to watch a very blurry video
or a blog post that’s not very well edited. You just have to keep quality in mind. Do
your best, just create the highest quality content you can imagine. Next up, you have to make sure that your content
delivers value to your audience. Value can come in many different forms. As
long as you give your audience something, whether you entertain them, educate them,
inspire them. Value is something your audience can take
away from your content. If your content doesn’t deliver value to your audience, they’re
not going to come back and they’re not going to watch more of your
stuff. They’re just not going to be engaged unless they’re getting something from your
video. Think about the videos that you watch on Facebook. You watch them
because they’re interesting, they’re funny, they’re inspiring, they teach
you something. Make sure your content always does something
where it delivers value. C stands for consistency, which literally
I think is the most important thing in becoming a successful content creator because
consistency shows that you are a pro. Consistency means that you are uploading frequently
at least have some sort of schedule where you’re uploading once a week or twice
a week, whatever you can handle. Being a content creator is really flexible.
But you really have to be self-disciplined and have that consistency. You have to put
yourself on a schedule to create and upload things, post things on a schedule. Having a schedule
shows people that you’re not an amateur, you’re a pro. And it kind of lets them know
when to expect to come back to keep following your content. It’s so important.
Consistency is everything in life. The last letter stands for authenticity. Whenever
you are creating content you have to make sure you’re being your authentic
self: be real, be genuine, just be yourself because that is the best version of you that
you can be. Don’t try to be anybody else. Don’t try to mimic other people. You can be
inspired by other people’s styles but ultimately, you have to bring your own original flavor
out and that’s how your content is going to be engaging. That’s how people
are going to connect with you because people can’t connect to fake personas.
They connect with the real person deep down. Again, those four letters: QVCA are quality,
value, consistency, and authenticity. It’s really one of the most important foundation
parts to think about when creating content. My next piece of advice for people starting
out is to just start now, start with what you have right now. It’s better
to start now with less resources and work your way until you learn more eventually,
than to wait until a later, future date to start your blog or YouTube
channel. If you really want to do it, start now. Start with what you have. It’s better to start
earlier, and get through those sucky stages when you’re not that good at doing everything
to eventually grow and build and improve and get to where you want to be sooner. So
the sooner you start, the sooner you can get to that expert level
that you want to be at. And the last tip I’ll share today on people
starting out as a content creator, is to stop caring what other people think
because you really have to just be you. Stop caring whether people are judging you
for putting yourself out there, whether people don’t approve of what you’re
doing. I know that there’s a lot of factors that a lot of us face while taking that risk
to start being a YouTuber, blogger, whatever. But you can’t let that get to you because
none of it really matters. What really matters is that you have that
fire in you that wants to do it and you can’t ignore it. You have to follow it and do it, just for
a while, just to try it out, because you’re just going to regret it if
you don’t give it a try. Moving forward, let’s talk about my process
as a content creator. It really varies depending on what I’m going
through, but I’ve tried to set up this general structure that I follow through
my week. Mondays and Tuesdays are my shooting and editing days. Wednesdays
are my editing and writing and meeting days. Wednesdays I’ll write my emails, my blog posts
and I’ll have meetings for the podcast, and I’ll write the podcast on Wednesday too.
Thursdays are the days where I record my podcast, I have more meetings.
Then I have the afternoon to catch up on whether I need to edit or shoot
some more. Fridays I try to make my creative and learning
day, where I can work on music or take some online classes. But honestly
most of the times I end up catching up on more work on Friday, whether
I’m replying to emails, doing interviews with people, or answering
comments or something. When I’m filming videos, I’m usually filming
one to two videos at a time. I’ve tried to film like three videos at a
time but time just doesn’t work out for me because I like to use natural daylight and
when the sun sets, I can’t shoot anymore. So it takes me about an hour to two hours
to film a talking video. Videos where I have different scenes, I would
probably spread that out over a few days, so I don’t know how long
it really takes. Editing videos ranges from like 4 hours to
10 or more hours per video, again, depending on what kind of video it is. So
if you guys watch my Words of Wisdom videos, it’s just me talking. It’s really easy to
edit. That will take like 3 to 4 hours. And a video that is more complex with more
scenes and voiceovers, that can take like 10 to 12 or more hours
to edit. Another question I get often is how do I come
up with videos for content? How do I stay inspired? First off: if you
are truly passionate about this topic of choice, then you will never run out of things to talk
about. You might have little spurts where you’re not inspired and you’re stuck,
but if you really love it, there’s always some way you can go deeper,
there’s always different angles for you to go. You’ll never run out of ideas if you’re truly
interested in it. For me, I get a lot of my ideas from either journaling, reading, or whatever’s
happening in my life at the moment. I do morning pages where I just write, journal
freely. Sometimes I’ll write things that I’m learning and going through, and I’m
like, “Oh my god, that’s a great idea! I should share that with people on YouTube.”
So that’s where I’ll get some ideas. Other ideas, like when I’m reading a book
that’s really inspiring or that’s teaching me something really important,
I feel like I’m obligated to share those things because I’m like, “Oh my god, this is something
that everyone should know about.” So for me, I get inspired by knowledge, learning,
inspiration, as well as art. I think music really inspires me as well.
And because my topic is personal growth and lifestyle design, I’m always learning
and sharing what I’m learning. And I know that, when there are times that
I feel like I don’t have that much to share, that’s a sign that I’m not growing as much
as I could be growing. So when I don’t have anything to talk about,
I know that’s a problem with me and I’m like, “Oh my god, I need to go out and learn something
so that I have something to talk about.” So that’s how it is for me. Essentially, you
get inspiration by pushing yourself to keep growing in that field of your choice. Also it’s really great if you could keep a
document where you have a whole list of content ideas and you have a content calendar
where you’ve kind of scheduled out loosely what kind of content you’ll be posting
in the next couple months. So it’s really good to have these ideas brainstormed
beforehand so you don’t run out of ideas when you’re
there. You’re like, “Oh my god, I don’t have anything to post
this week.” No, you always have to plan ahead. Have a list of content ideas and when you
get to that week you can either talk about that idea, or you can talk about something else if you
want. What’s important is you have those backup ideas. You have a list of what
you can talk about in the future. This is the Google Doc where I put all my
content ideas. I call it “Just Write 2016”. I had one for 2015. Up here, I keep QVCA.
All the things I want to remember while creating content. And then down here
is where I start. I have my goal and I start with the month and I have all
these content ideas for that month. You go down, next up I have all these ideas
that I just transfer over to the next month. In June I have a few ideas. Whatever ideas
I don’t do, I transfer to the next month and the next month. And here I have some more
ideas, down here. At the bottom of the document, I have “DONE”.
So these are all the videos that I’ve finished. Once I’ve finished them, I just scoot them
over to the bottom of the doc. These are videos that I did in January, all
the way up to now. This is all my content, all the stuff. And if I open up my calendar,
this is how I plan out when to post my content. Going back, I have a label for Lavendaire.
Anytime a video is coming out, I post what video I plan to share, whether
I have to write an email that week, and what podcast I’m going to post, etc.
All the other things I have to do. Next up, a lot of people ask: how do you promote
yourself online? How do you start gaining a following? First
off: the content you create must be solid. It must be amazing content that people actually
want to see, something that actually benefits people’s
lives. That’s the first and foremost, because you can’t sell a product that is broken
or that is something that people don’t want. You have to give people something that they
want, first of all. And the question here is: how do you get people to find your amazing
content? For YouTube, I guess we could start with the thumbnail.
Your thumbnails are really important. Thumbnails are like your advertisement for
your video. I’m sure you guys know, as you’re scrolling YouTube, you really look
at the thumbnails. If it’s interesting, if it’s engaging, then you’re like, “Oh my
god, I want to watch this.” I guess, when you’re creating your thumbnails,
keep that in mind. Think about what’s engaging. Does this thumbnail really depict that this
video’s going to be about? It has to be high quality and get people’s
attention and make people want to watch it. Next up are your titles, descriptions, and
tags. You really want to make sure your video and the descriptions are optimized for SEO.
SEO is ‘search engine optimization’, and you don’t have to get too crazy into it.
It’s like a whole other industry. But you just have to know that your titles
have to describe the content that you’re creating. It’s very obvious but don’t have titles
that are like clickbait, and don’t have titles that don’t correlate with the content. You
want to make sure that people understand what this video is going to be about, just
by reading the title. You want to pick the keywords in your titles,
pick keywords that are frequently searched. You could use Google AdWords search tool,
I’m not sure what it’s called. I’ll link it below but you can use that to
see what are the hot, popular keywords, and you can pick the popular keywords to put
in your titles. What’s most important is your title, the first
few words of your description, as well as your tags. Tag what is relevant
to your content. Next up: make sure you take advantage of YouTube’s
playlists, annotations, and cards, because I know, more and more, YouTube ranks
playlists in the search as well so if you group your videos into playlists
that are a good group with good keywords, whatever, then you have more chance for people
to find your content. And annotations and cards are great to keep
people on your channel, watching your videos because once one video’s
over, you can direct them to something else that’s related and it’s
just easier for people to find you. The point is you want to make things easy
for your audience. You want to make it convenient for them to
keep watching your stuff. Now we can talk about promoting yourself outside
of YouTube. Definitely take advantage of your social media.
I think when you’re starting out, you have to start posting and sharing on your
personal social media: your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat,
and be shameless about it. Just share what you got, because if you worked
hard to create great content, then someone out there will enjoy it. There
are a lot of different ways that you can go and market yourself online. You just have
to be creative, and you have to make sure to stay authentic. For example: you can go
on forums related to your topic and you can post in those forums. Make sure
that you’re actually being genuine and helping other people. If someone has a
question in that forum, you could genuinely give them a real answer
based on your knowledge and then say like, “By the way, check out
my video, it’s relevant. Blah, blah, blah.” You could also do this with other people’s
blogs, so if you see a blog post that’s relevant then you could comment below with something
you have to say about that blog post and say, “By the way, here’s my website. Blah,
blah, blah.” So there’s a lot of small things you can do
to put yourself all over the internet. I remember I put a lot of my videos on reddit
when I just started because there’s a whole personal development
group on reddit. You just have to go out there and find your
niche. Find where people are hanging out online and promote yourself in front of them. But
do it in a very honest, genuine way. Actually try to add value to people’s lives.
Don’t just be like, “Look at me, look at me,” just because. You
actually have to help people and give them something. Another way to grow
is to collaborate with people and I’m sure you guys have seen tons of collaborations.
You have to find somebody that has a similar audience to you, and when
you work together, it can be fun and help you grow because the
audiences crossover. Lastly, you can also start guest posting on
other blogs or magazines, so if you like to write and you’re a blogger,
then feel free to write up articles for other people. That’s a good way to promote
yourself too. Alright, before I go, I want to leave you
with one last piece of advice: don’t sweat the technical stuff. If you truly
want to be a content creator, I know a lot of the times, those technical
things can be scary. There’s a lot of things you have to learn,
a lot of skills you have to pick up to be able to do it, but everything technical can be learned. There’s
so much knowledge online, all these YouTube tutorials that you can watch
to learn how to shoot, how to edit, how to design, how to use Photoshop, how to
do anything that you can imagine. So really, you have to just do your best.
Create the content that you want to create, and all of that technical skills, that will
come over time with lots of practice. So don’t sweat the technical stuff, all those
things can be learned. The most important thing is your drive, your
passion, and your desire to create and share with the
world. Thank you guys so much for watching, make
sure you like, subscribe, share if this video helped you in any way.
And I will see you in my next videos. Bye!

100 thoughts on “Advice on Starting a YouTube Channel & Blog | Q&A

  1. FYI for all my bloggers who use WordPress – I personally use & highly recommend using StudioPress to make life so much easier. It's an add-on to WordPress that handles site security, advanced SEO, and optimized performance, basically streamlines all the back-end tech stuff so you don't have to deal with it! More info here:

  2. This is my second video of yours I’m watching and it’s been sooo super helpful! Thank you so much for sharing :):):)

  3. you are so beautiful and very smart and you know what you are talking about in this video and I love that about you and this video is helping me out a lot and it is making me excited to make videos on YouTube and I like to see more videos like this one

  4. I learn so much from you and just found you on YouTube recently! Your videos are airy and crisp your content isnt fluff either. You are organized and detailed in your explanation of things. Keep up the great work.

  5. Such great tips and inspiration! I loved hearing about your schedule but are you a content creator full time or do you have another job as well? If so… how do you balance all of that?

  6. Thank you for this video. I'm having a hard time getting over "what people think". My mom, of course, wants me to be successful in life, but thinks that YouTube isn't the way to do that. If it were anyone else, it wouldn't matter but since it's my mom, her thoughts are so important to me. I keep fighting myself because of it and stressing out like crazy. This video has given me a little more confidence and I just wanted to say thank you.

  7. I love your personality, your voice and your style of speaking. Your really talented and a great speaker. I can listen to you all day.

  8. Hi! I love this video! I am just starting out and it's so helpful! I wanted to see if you happen to have a video on Social reporting or how you track your KPI's?

  9. Thank you soo much for these tips. I truly needed it to get that boost I needed to grow my channel to new heights!

  10. I have tried to start a youtube channel, but my videos are not good. Plus I don't want to show my face because I have teeth missing. I am not photogenic. does this matter.?

  11. Thank you do much for sharing this knowledge and being so honest and descriptive about this topic; from all the videos that I have watched so far, I feel that the most Youtubers don't open up that much! This video (along with another's ones) have been so helpful to my along my journey to my dream. I'm very grateful for finding your work, it has been very enlightenment! 🙂

  12. Omg I have a G-Doc just like yours! This just tells me I'm well on my way on the right path :3 ♥ Thank you for sharing these tips!

  13. Thank you so much for sharing ypur knowledge with us. You are a fantastic teacher and have a true gift.

  14. thank you SO MUCH for this video. just subscribed, such great tips!

    i've been thinking more and more about how important it is to live a life i love. now i feel like i'm finally losing some fears and considering taking the steps to it and i'm so excited!

    thank you for all your help and work, it really means a lot <3

  15. Thank you very much!! I was totally clueless and now I am ready to start….I love your vibe (and your hair)

  16. Wow best tips ever all together!!! I was watching some of your videoa and I remember you said you went to business school and I was like OMG! How did you manage to build such a creative and successful career?

  17. You are my inspiration aileen…I am trying my best.its so difficult to get noticed..i just uploaded a videoon my new youtube channel..would appreciate if ppl watch

  18. Hii Aileen.. m from India.. first of all you r doing a great job..your ideas, dressing sense,hair color everything is Soo nice.. so much words to say but space is limited..
    am watching this vdo over and over again.. but m procrastinating filming a vdo of my own.. I also want to open a YouTube channel.. make videos.. share my thoughts and opinions to the world but not doing it.. also I can sing.. thinking of making a singing vdo but also m like waiting for something.. donno when I'll be able to make my own channel.

  19. Also one thing I want to ask you do so many things..I want to do so..
    I want to sing
    I can create something or recycling things..
    Can crochet..or weave..
    I love to make
    These are the creative side
    Also want to make life update vdo,
    I want to open my own Craft brand,can write draw paint also love to read.. and most importantly I want to make videos in English language,so people around the world can watch my vdos.. but m a little bit weak in English too. .. so many issues are in my mind.. can you help me??how can I be able to do aàaalll these things as a YouTuber??

  20. Very helpful video. I want to eventually start some sort of vlog channel, but I’m currently saving up for a computer and quality camera.

  21. Thank u so much I found this Vedio I’ am newly inspiring YouTuber
    I really hope that I can be successful someday ☺️☺️☺️

  22. Very practical and comprehensive tips! Thanks a lot. ( I actually found my old comment here a year ago, and I still haven’t started my YouTube channel yet, 😂 time to take action).

  23. Lavendaire, question, is there a certain set of numbers like views, clicks, number of subscriber. total video, total views that can tell a person what he needs to hit to make a monist living on YouTube. thanks that was a very good video.

  24. Thank you so much for this video Aileen. I’m just starting my YouTube channel and I am struck but I think this video really helped me figure out one or two things.

  25. Hello, first to view your video feel free to come see mine I will leave a link come check them out like subscribe me!

  26. I have watched a lot of How To Get Started videos, and this one a few time. It is one of it not the most helpful video. Thank you so much! 💕

  27. THANK Your so much for your generous sharing. 🙏I am gonna to build my mindfulness eating YouTube channel. This is a new career for me. 😚💓💖

  28. One of the very few 20+ minute youtube videos that i sit through passionately from beginning to end! Great Job, Awesome material, Amazing presentation, and professional yet super friendly approach. You're such an inspiration! keep up the great work. Just earned yourself an additional subscriber. cheers

  29. Amazing Aileen! Thank you. I just started my self-love and personal growth blog and I will be creating Youtube videos soon so this was very helpful. Congrats on hitting 800K subscribers!! whoohoo

  30. I think quality isn't just an in focus video – it's about how the video is structured, if you can deliver your message the right way

  31. Your thumbnail made me click on your video. I am glad I did because I loved your tips. Your voice is so relaxing and soothing as well. You got a new subbie here.

  32. You are the best, and you are the reason why I finally took the step to creating an Inspirational YouTube channel. After 7 years of contemplating, I finally started. I owe you and thank you for pushing me to pursue my purpose.

  33. I love seeing the weekly structure of others. Time blocking/management is my jam. Without a plan like that, it's so easy to be in reactive mode, versus proactive mode. I'm surprised how much time you spend on editing though, Aileen! What are your thoughts on outsourcing that? I've been outsourcing mine and it's been a lifesaver.

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