How to start a successful YouTube channel

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YouTube has revolutionized the way we consume videos but it’s also enabled everyone to create their own video channel, even you.

There are three key reasons for online video’s popularity.

  1. It removes barriers traditional television and film created—who needs a studio, expensive lighting or a catering budget when videos can be made for free? This means more varied content with much wider appeal.
  2. The people and the content are (for the most part) real. Being up close and unscripted is undeniably engaging and provides a way to authentically connect with audiences.
  3. Viewers can access the content they want to watch and when they want to watch it—and that’s a pretty good deal.

Plus, the numbers are impressive. YouTube has 2 billion users (about a third of the internet) and over one billion hours are watched a day*. That means there’s an audience out there ready to see what you have to offer.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to create, here’s another: Canva provides video templates(opens in a new tab or window), and editing tools like video resize(opens in a new tab or window), video trimmer(opens in a new tab or window), and online video recorder.(opens in a new tab or window) You can also add transitions(opens in a new tab or window) and even music(opens in a new tab or window) for your videos. It’s super easy to use and it’s free. To get started, here’s our guide to starting a successful YouTube(opens in a new tab or window) channel with the help of our pre-made templates and easy-to-use video editor(opens in a new tab or window).

It’s easy to create professional-looking videos. A great way to start is with an intro video that provides viewers with more context about who you are and what they are about to watch. You can create different intros that fits your interest such as news intro(opens in a new tab or window), gaming intro(opens in a new tab or window), or 3D intro(opens in a new tab or window).

Table of Contents: How to start a successful YouTube channel

Start by selecting a video intro that brings text, design, and video footage together. To create a YouTube intro video for yourself, why not try our templates below, or even check out our news intro maker(opens in a new tab or window).

Why building your own YouTube channel is a great idea

Whether for business or pleasure, there are so many reasons to create a video(opens in a new tab or window). Humans love watching and videos connect us in ways like never before. We’re far more likely to engage with a short video rather than read a document, sit through a presentation, or flip through every vacation photo. Plus, it impresses people like nothing else, and at the very least, creating a video on Canva is super fun. If it’s a creative outlet you need, look no further.

Creating videos is easier than you think

You don’t need expensive video equipment. Heck, you don’t even need a camera. Canva’s Slideshow video templates come with a series of customizable designs that automatically animate like a slideshow. Of course, you can add your own footage but you can also tell your story using nothing but the designs, which then convert automatically into a video file. You can browse hundreds of pre-made templates right here(opens in a new tab or window).

Discover a whole new audience

To reach people outside your circle, video can help you connect. Particularly useful if you’d like to promote a product or idea, or even establish yourself an expert on a subject. And if you’re putting out videos often enough, it will keep you in front of mind with friends, colleagues, distance relatives, talent scouts or potential customers.

Whatever you’re passionate about, there’s a video template for you. To connect to others who share your passion, try a template like People Blogs YouTube Video Intro(opens in a new tab or window) or Pets Animals YouTube Video Intro(opens in a new tab or window).

It’s all about you

Think about what you want your YouTube channel to be about. More importantly, what will viewers want to know about you? When you set up your channel, make sure you create your profile along with a channel title and description. This helps viewers understand what you’re all about, and keywords can help them find your videos when they search. It helps if you include imagery to set the tone. Canva’s guide to designing your YouTube channel art(opens in a new tab or window) is a great starting point.

Share with the world

When you pair Canva with YouTube, you become an unstoppable video-making force. Publishing your design will deliver your video in a file format that can be easily uploaded to YouTube(opens in a new tab or window), and then it’s out there for the entire world to access. While that’s amazing in itself, what’s even more amazing is just how easy it is to do.

With an audience of 2 billion ready to watch, you can create videos about absolutely anything, from telling your story or sharing expertise. Try a template like People Blogs YouTube Video Intro(opens in a new tab or window) or Education YouTube Video Intro(opens in a new tab or window).

How to start a YouTube channel

Canva makes it easy to get started straight away—just choose your template and off you go. But when it comes to the long-term success of your YouTube channel, you may want to consider the following before jumping in.

Do some research

Think about the purpose of your YouTube channel, what videos you want to create, and see what others are making. There’s nothing wrong with emulating your favorite videos to get an understanding of what makes a winning formula, and you can get inspired by what other people are uploading.

Choose your topic

Perhaps you already know what your videos will be about but having an ongoing theme or topic is a great idea. Will your videos be funny, educational or informative? Are you going to vlog(opens in a new tab or window), cook or show off your pet? Whatever it is, make it your thing. Consistency is the key. A good tip is to map out your video content ahead of time, that way you won’t run out of steam.

See things from your viewer’s perspective

YouTube is a visual medium so how will your videos and channel appear to your audience? They might all use the same template. Or perhaps the same opening video intro might be enough. A visual theme helps you to be recognized and stand out in a sea on online video.

Less is more

It’s tempting to make a feature-length film but YouTube is best short and punchy. When planning your video, aim for a length of no more than two minutes, even better if you can convey your ideas in less time. 10 minutes is a big commitment for any viewer in the world of online video.

Food is definitely a popular YouTube topic but when you focus on a particular aspect or subject, it’s easier for viewers to find you. Keep it short and sweet so videos are digestible. Try a template like Street Eats YouTube Video Intro(opens in a new tab or window) or Pets Animals YouTube Video Intro(opens in a new tab or window).

Creating YouTube videos with Canva

Canva makes it easy to design video the same way you would design anything else. You can customize existing designs by changing colors, layouts, and type as well as adding your own personal touches.

Choose your template

To create a video, go to Canva and type ‘video’ into the search bar. You’ll immediately see hundreds of template options, from the animated Slideshow templates to frames that can be used as a still video intro or feature footage within them. There are no hard and fast rules here, it depends entirely on what kind of video you want to make. So get creative, change the colors, edit the type. Create what feels best for you.

Get this look in Canva:

Add your footage

To add your own images or videos(opens in a new tab or window), export them from your phone or desktop, then drag and drop into your video template. You can have words sitting over the footage, or layer footage with animating elements. If the footage you have isn’t exactly right, find existing video footage in our free stock video(opens in a new tab or window) and image libraries.

Add music or audio

Got the perfect soundtrack in mind? As long as it’s a MP4 file, you can drag and drop to add to your video compilatio(opens in a new tab or window)n. Just make sure your song or recording doesn’t infringe on copyright as YouTube will not publish any video that does. To avoid this, you can choose a track from Canva’s free music library(opens in a new tab or window). It’s copyright approved(opens in a new tab or window), and it won’t cost you a cent. You can also add transitions, music or even sync beat for your videos(opens in a new tab or window).

Publish your video

Once you’ve reviewed your video, hit publish, make sure the file type is video. It will arrive as an mp4 file, which can easily be uploaded to Youtube.

Uploading to YouTube

Image by StockSnap

If you haven’t already, log in to YouTube. From there, you can upload a video thanks to YouTube Studio, the home of your new YouTube channel. Remember to personalize it with your channel title and description. Plus, add a channel thumbnail so you can be easily identified. You can also personalize your channel art design for YouTube(opens in a new tab or window) to make your channel even more unique! For a design that beats a profile pic, tease your video content with our YouTube thumbnail templates(opens in a new tab or window).

If you’re not a pro designer, don’t worry. There are lots of easy YouTube thumbnail makers(opens in a new tab or window) online to help you make a design that will get clicks. Canva even has free, awesome templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

How to grow your YouTube channel

Going live on YouTube doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get views, but fortunately, there are some ways to get those view numbers up.

  • Make sure the title, description, and tags attract the right audience

YouTube’s search engine is the second most popular after Google, and they operate in a similar way. Think about what people are likely to type into YouTube’s search bar in order to find you. Keywords will help you be discovered. Use trending terms or phrases if you think it will help. Plus, tags help distinguish what your content is about. If you’re unsure how to tag videos, look at videos similar to yours as a guide.

  • Upload often

When you’re starting out, it’s a numbers game—the more videos you have, the more likely they’ll get attention. Don’t wait to post either, keep the momentum going so viewers return.

  • YouTube Studio provides analytics on each of your videos

This provides insight into who’s watching, when they watched, and even viewing duration, so you can see if they stopped watching your video at a particular point. The more videos you upload, the better positions you’re in to see what’s working. Then you can adjust your videos accordingly.

  • Connect with your viewers

Listen and respond. Look at the comments to see what was said, or subscribe to the channels of people who are watching your videos. If you’re brave, you might even ask viewers for feedback. If you’re not brave, ask your friends.

  • Ask your audience to subscribe

Add a call to action as the end of your video that asks people to subscribe to your channel. That way, they’ll be prompted to view your next video as soon as you release it.

  • Tell people what your next video is about

This builds anticipation, getting viewers excited about what’s to come. It also encourages them to subscribe.

  • Cross-promote

Integrate your channel on your website and social platforms. You’d be surprised at how many of your friends and family will be keen to watch your videos and in turn, share them with others.

Keep creating!

One last thing we ask —and this is important— is that you keep creating. There’s always going to be a few people on YouTube who want to spoil the fun for everyone, and they love to be nasty in the comments section. Do not listen to them. Why bother when there’s so much positivity to gain from making video content for others to enjoy. Don’t let anyone dissuade you from doing what you love. We all start out shaky but with practice, we get better. Create YouTube(opens in a new tab or window) content with passion and positivity Upload as many videos as you can. Make videos like no one’s watching, because as you get better at it, people will. Happy video creating!

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