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How to start a successful YouTube channel in 2021

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Youtuber Austen Tosone working on a laptop
Tosone, YouTube creator: focus on one main topic while creating content for the platform

It is relatively easy to start a YouTube channel. Or several.

But judging by the amount of ‘abandoned’ channels with little or no content, one would assume it isn’t that easy to create relevant content and maintain constant growth, at least until a channel becomes popular and monetizable.

The video platform with an estimated 2.1 billion users worldwide has turned into a source of entertainment and ‘how-to’ videos, from comedy channels to how to assemble a 280-piece Ikea table. And some of the people creating regular content for YouTube have the guarantee of millions of views on their next video, such as beauty influencer Jeffree Star and Swedish YouTuber Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie), who, with a solid 110 million subscribers, is netting nearly $8 million in monthly revenue, according to a study by Purple Moon Promotional Products. So, it is perfectly understandable that everyone seems to want to become the next Jeffree Star or PewDiePie.

Despite these aspirations, an estimated 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. This means it’s an increasingly competitive market out there, making the road from videos shot in the bedroom – and watched barely by anyone – to having a channel with thousands of subscribers, one hard to navigate.

“I’ve had my YouTube channel since 2018 and just hit 4k subscribers earlier in 2021.
It took me about a year to reach my first 1,000 subscribers and my biggest challenge during that time was to figure out what content my audience was most interested in and do more of that.” – says content creator Austen Tosone. “Studying my YouTube analytics really helped me see which videos got the most views, how many were watching the videos all the way through, and which videos landed me the most new subscribers. I now focus my channel on beauty product reviews and tips for beauty creators.”

“If I were just starting a YouTube channel from scratch, I’d focus on making videos on one main topic and finding video ideas by researching keywords with a high search volume (monthly searches) and low competition (under 100,000 videos in the search results). I use a tool called TubeBuddy to help me find these keywords. This will help you show up higher in search results and, over time, you can start to target bigger keywords.” says Tosone.

For London-based Italian chef Fabio Errante, it was only when the allocated time and patience to work on his YouTube channel about homemade pizza, Fabioulous, that things started to work in his favour.

“I started my YouTube channel around one year ago but, for a long time, it was one of the abandoned ones with little to no content.
At some point, last summer, I started to work on the channel harder and more consistently. Finally, a few months ago, I hit my first 1000 subscribers and I have more than 100k views!” – celebrates Errante.

Are you still looking forward to creating a YouTube channel to share your expertise and, with a bit of luck, even get some extra money on the side? Here are the tips you need to make your YouTube success a reality:

 

First things first

Although most influencers and content creators use DSLRs or mirrorless cameras to film their videos, you can start by simply using your smartphone. This means you can also avoid investing lots of money on new equipment that you probably won’t know how to use anyway.

Audio is key. Finding a quiet area with decent natural light will help you create a video as good as those filmed on £6,000 cameras. And, of course, make it interesting and do your homework about the topic you will shoot before pressing ‘rec’.

 

Things to keep in mind to grow your YouTube channel:

Find your tribe

Instead of appealing to everyone, you will have to niche down and work hard to serve a specific audience through your videos. YouTube values “topical expertise” and, as someone starting a channel, you will have a better chance by narrowing down to a clear topic that you can easily create content on over several months.

 

Quality over quantity

Time and again, YouTube has determined that viewers don’t pay as much attention to the production quality of videos. But they decide what to watch based on their “interests and passions.”

So, you don’t need to get all fancy, especially in the beginning. Just focus on providing value to your viewers and serving high-quality content.

 

Consistency will get you places

Don’t ghost your viewers, even if you only have 20.

There are thousands of other videos online about the very same thing you are passionate about. So, if you don’t show up on your subscriber’s timeline, other creators will.

As the YouTube algorithm is rumoured to favour those posting consistently, there is a chance that if you disappear for long periods of time, the platform won’t make too much effort to show your new content to current subscribers or other people searching for content around your topic.

 

Useful tools to help you with your new YouTube channel

Free audio library

Besides YouTube’s own audio library, which offer free music and sound effects for those creating content on its platform, FMA (Free Music Archive) is another very useful tool. It was created in 2009 by radio station WFMU, offering free access to open licensed, original music. Remember to credit the artists, though!

 

Free graphic design tool

Web-based graphic design tool Canva offers a decent free version to help you create great thumbnails for your videos. You want a thumbnail that can grab a viewer’s attention, even before they start watching the first minute of your new content.

As well as creating YouTube thumbnails, you can also use Canva to design custom YouTube channel art and a logo for your channel. You could also design end screens to display at the end of your video, inviting viewers to subscribe, share or watch the next video available on your channel.

 

Measuring your video performance

Social Blade, an American website that tracks social media statistics and analytics on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, amongst other social media platforms, is an excellent tool for seeing what is not easily exposed.

You can use the tool to have a look at what your competitors are up to, so you can learn from others, too.

 

 

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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How was the first ever Metaverse Fashion Week?

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Young woman taking part in a virtual event
Game mania: Gen-Z has been spending an average of 7.3 hours per week in virtual worlds

You will surely be forgiven if you missed the first Metaverse Fashion Show, hosted by the blockchain-based, 3D virtual world Decentraland, which took place between 23rd and 27th March.

Although dozens of brands, including Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce and Gabbana, showcased their collections on the catwalk of the virtual reality, three-dimensional, browser-based world event – where the price tags of printed bucket hats, puffer jackets, and tuxedos by German fashion designer Philipp Plein range from € 1,500 to € 2,500 – glitches and basic visual graphics left room for vast improvement.

Challenges with low-quality visuals and streaming speed, though, didn’t seem to affect the enthusiasm of brands and marketers eyeing-up the multibillion potential of the gaming industry, a trend backed by recent studies. According to a 2021 Morgan Stanley Research Report, a 31% year-on-year increase can be seen when it comes to how people have been turning to games. The number is even more impressive if compared to the previous two years, when users grew by just 7% – the study reveals.

Currently popular across all ages and demographics, gaming has been of interest to young consumers before, during, and after the global pandemic. A recent study conducted by management consulting firm McKinsey, in partnership with fashion business intelligence portal Business of Fashion, found that 81% of Gen-Z played video games in the past six months – with the younger generation spending an average of 7.3 hours per week in virtual worlds.

No wonder longstanding brands are keen to enter the game:

“When I founded my namesake brand in 1985, I never imagined I’d see a time when fashion weeks would be held in a 3D, fully virtual world,” says Tommy Hilfiger. The American designer showcased his Spring 2022 collections and hosted a digital retail platform during the virtual event, where consumers were able to shop NFTs for their avatars or purchase physical items from within the Metaverse. “As we further explore the metaverse and all it has to offer, I’m inspired by the power of digital technology and the opportunities it presents to engage with communities in fascinating, relevant ways.” – says Hilfiger.

Online, the event received mixed reviews, with London-based Digital and Social Strategist Candyce Costa sharing: “I went to Metaverse Fashion Week, and it was awesome (and weird!).”

Tech & culture journalist, Elsa Ferreira, shared the technical challenges her avatar  faced trying to enter the event:

“For this first Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW), it was, above, all necessary to find a computer powerful enough to access this virtual world. Four computers later (including one borrowed from a developer, which will not prevent execution times worthy of Windows 95), here we are in Decentraland.”

Designer Julia Rosti celebrated the fact that the week-long virtual event also connected to the current happenings in Europe:

“So great to see that even @decentraland Fashion Week has found an opportunity to support Ukraine.” – Tweeted the founder of the digital fashion atelier BlancdeBlanc.

The free event, where Ethereum, a type of cryptocurrency, was needed to buy the fashion items showcased in the virtual world, is already confirmed to be coming in 2023 via the Decentraland platform.

 

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Elon Musk hints at paid Twitter verification

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Twitter user reading Elon Musk's Twitter feed about verification processes
South African Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, reportedly paid $2.9bn (£2.3bn) for 9.2% of Twitter this month | Photo: © Marcio Delgado

Entrepreneur and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, Elon Musk, has just bought a 9.2% stake on Twitter and, as it seems, the Tesla owner is already planning new ways to monetize on the social media platform.

On Sunday morning Musk hinted on Twitter about a possible paid authentication checkmark service for those willing to purchase premium features on the social media service.

‘Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (ie pays $3/month) should get an authentication checkmark”, posted the new Twitter board member, adding that the paid feature ‘should be different from the “public figure” or “official account” checkmark’ already in place for notable users such as media outlets, government, large businesses, established fashion brands, influencers, and those officially competing in sports.

Elon also reiterated that current verified accounts already benefit from some perks, including free ads and the ability to retract a tweet before it’s visible to others.

“Blue already has a modifiable 20 second time to edit tweet feature” – celebrated the entrepreneur and social media shareholder.

However, Kevin Paffrath, a 30-Year-old financial analyst and YouTuber who joined Twitter in 2009 –and has a verified account – quickly pointed out that such existing button, for verified accounts, is not that straightforward:

“I have Twitter Blue & it’s lame. It’s not an Edit feature; it’s a tool that delays your tweet going out for a set period of time so you can reread it. But I find myself just quickly hitting “send now” because I want my tweet to go out when I hit Tweet. No edit possible once sent.” – says Paffrath.

Another user not remotely thrilled by Musk’s idea of ‘pay-to-play’, is writer Elvira Daukaeva:

“I don’t want to pay for tweeter! Brad! Advertising doesn’t bother me and I learn new technologies and products from it!’ – Daukaeva shared on her Twitter account.

Accountability for the content shared on Twitter has also been mentioned as a potential concern that could arise if the platform, currently with over 300 million active users worldwide, introduces an edit button for all in the future.

“Edit is a terrible idea. Imagine the damage people could do by changing what they tweeted historically when thousands retweeted the original. Therefore, aligning them with a new opinion they don’t agree with.” – questions Liverpool-based songwriter, Carl Bode.

While Elon Musk is planning new ways to use Twitter to enhance his $270+ billion net worth, users on the platform quickly suggested that those posting and engaging on a regular basis should also be rewarded for the time spent creating content – a practice already tested by Instagram and Snapchat.

“If you want Twitter to improve and become more widely used and engaged with, how about we get paid for our activity? We collectively provide the value of the whole thing so maybe we should get a slice of the pie too? Maybe coins/tokens.” – user Graham Lay, a holiday home sales manager based in Britain replied to Musk. “So maybe a small one-off registration fee (to cover admin of verification) and then we get rewarded back for the value our content and contribution bring. Allocating say 20% of advertising revenue towards users (us). The more we use it, the more we get rewarded”, suggested Lay.

For American talk radio host and journalist Kim Iversen, who joined the platform in 2021, genuine users not afraid of proving they real people should be the ones getting the coveted verification blue mark.

“People who can verify they are who they are via official ID should get a blue check. If people want to be anonymous, fine, but I like knowing I’m talking to an actual person” – shared Iversen.

Twitter is not the only social media platform offering direct access to a verification request form, within its settings. Instagram has a similar process, with almost identical categories considered to be eligible based on notoriety, and an average 30-day response time for those applying for a blue checkmark.

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Applications for a Barclays virtual academy for early-stage FinTech founders is now open

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Start up team in an online meeting
Programme participants will join the largest single-bank alumni of seed-stage Fintechs boasting a market cap of $7.8 billion

British bank Barclays is launching new initiatives targeted at FinTech founders across the globe, from early-stage to scale-up and beyond.

The first to launch is the Rise Start-Up Academy, a virtual digital skills-building accelerator targeted to early-stage FinTech founders. Applications are already open for founders addressing emerging FinTech trends including wealth equality, climate, the future of money and more. At a later date, Rise Growth Academy will be launched to provide capability development around key areas such as investment readiness, recruitment, accelerating sales and leadership development.

A FinTech Venture Studio will also go live later this year and focus on co-developing new FinTech ventures through working with internal talent, start-ups and other leading companies.

Corporate venture builder Rainmaking has been chosen as an innovation partner to support Barclays in its goals with the new initiative.

“Innovation is critical in driving growth in today’s challenging business environment and in solving some of the most pressing problems society faces today,” – says Mariquit Corcoran, Group Chief Innovation Officer at Barclays. “We have been humbled and changed by the incredible FinTechs we have worked with, and we understand first-hand the power of collaboration to evolve and unlock opportunities for our customers, clients, colleagues and the communities in which we operate. We are very excited to work with Rainmaking to further push the boundaries of corporate innovation and ensure collaboration is at the heart of our FinTech strategy.”

Rainmaking brings a track record in partnering with large corporates to build successful new ventures. Its approach is based upon the proven methodology used to build 65 of their own ventures and through its subsidiary, Startupbootcamp, to accelerate over 950 start-ups and over 100 cohorts. While only 10% of early-stage start-ups typically survive, over three quarters (76%) of Startupbootcamp companies are still active or have exited. According to Rainmaking, this has led to the creation of 4,626 jobs and raised over $800 million in funding.

“We are working with Barclays to drive positive change and play an active role in stimulating growth and opening up future revenue opportunities for founders of new businesses. By providing the tools to enhance digital skills, founders can build and scale their businesses for future revenue growth. The new suite of meaningful and cutting-edge FinTech programmes will combine the power of entrepreneurship, whilst unlocking the scale strengths and the deep domain expertise of Barclays.” – says Chris Locke, CEO Europe at Rainmaking.

The partnership will be led by Sonal Lakhani, Global Head of Programmes and Strategic Initiatives at Barclays Innovation Office, who also led the expansion of the Female Innovators Lab by Barclays and Anthemis last year across the UK and Europe.

Barclays has played a key role in supporting the evolving FinTech ecosystem over the past decade through Rise, its award-winning FinTech platform. With offices in London and New York, Rise has been at the forefront in building the future of FinTech.

By partnering with Rainmaking, Barclays intends to continue expanding the limits of corporate innovation and accelerate co-creation with key players across the ecosystem. Together they will also expand Barclays’ critical role of supporting the creation and scaling of early-stage Fintechs.

to apply for the, visit the RiseStartUpAcademy 

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