The best advice and inspiration to launch and grow your video business.

How To Make A Killer YouTube Video – A Full Guide

YouTuber making a YouTube video

What if we told you learning how to make a great YouTube video could be free and easy?

That for every $500 course, $50 guide and $5 eBook you could learn all the skills you need in one simple blog post or video?

Well here they are!

Learning how to make a good YouTube video is the first step to starting an online video business, and that’s something we feel should be free to learn for everyone. Don’t you?

In this article, we’ll tackle the basics and give you the information you need to create your best YouTube video yet. From planning to editing, we’ve got you covered.

For the more visual folks, here’s a video version of this blog post. For those who prefer reading, it’s all here!

Read on to find out more…

What You’ll Learn 

Use the table of contents below to navigate through this post:

Should You Be Making YouTube Videos In 2018 (And Beyond)?

There’s been a lot of panic around YouTube lately.

Bloomberg recently cited a study showing 96.5% of channel owners won’t make enough advertising money to break the poverty line.

This has been backed up by many of the world’s top YouTubers, who have openly complained about “demonetization” and the toll that’s taken on their income. Philip DeFranco, host of The Philip DeFranco Show, even came out saying his channel “might not survive” thanks to the recent changes on the platform.

This can (understandably) leave you thinking, “is it even worth getting started on YouTube?”

Well, let’s take a moment to cut through some of the hysteria.

YouTube is still alive and kicking with a growing viewership. They have over one billion users and, on mobile alone, reach more 18-49-year-olds daily than any cable network in the world.

Because of this growth and reach the potential audience you can reach is huge. Which is why many entrepreneurs and social media experts still vouch for its potential. Gary Vaynerchuk even said in his book, Crushing It!:

“No platform has created more wealth and opportunities than YouTube..”

So, yes you should still be making YouTube videos in 2018 and beyond. But not for the reason you might think. What do I mean?

Well, YouTube has evolved into more of a marketing tool. The videos you create there help you to grow an audience. But the way you’ll predictably and profitably monetize that following is by getting them to buy your off-site products.

That means:

Doing this puts you in control of your income and allows you to continue to make money, even if YouTube decides to keep slashing payments and restricting views to your channel.

Think of YouTube as the gateway to the rest of your video business, and you’ll have lots of success. And if you want to know more about how to make money on YouTube, you should check out our free guide here.

But before you can do any of that, you should first learn how to make a killer YouTube video.

Let’s look at getting started.

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Step #1: Plan Your Video

Why are you creating this video?

Your video content usually falls into one of these three categories:

  • Education: You want to teach a skill, idea or concept
  • Engagement: You want to create something that sparks an emotional reaction from viewers (like likes, comments or shares)
  • Awareness: You want to bring a problem or cause people’s attention

Being aware of what you want to achieve with your video will help you create an actionable plan about how you’re going to do it.

This plan should include everything you’ll need to help you create your video. From the target audience, through to whether you’ll need a script, it should all be in there. Trust me; this plan will make your life ten times easier.

If you’re not sure how to plan a video I recommend grabbing a piece of paper and trying to answer these 13 questions:

  • What is the message of my video?
  • Who is this target audience?
  • Do I have a budget?
  • How many people do I need?
  • What is the target length?
  • Where will the video be shot?
  • How will the video be shot?
  • Will there be speaking in the video?
  • If yes, will I need a script?
  • If no, what sounds do I need in the video?
  • What equipment do I have available to me? (More on that in step #2)
  • Will I edit the video myself or send it off to be edited?
  • Do I need to include any text or images in my video?

If you’ve answered all of these questions and you still feel a little lost, don’t worry! We’ve put together an article showing you the 15 most engaging types of video content, with examples, to help you get a clearer idea of what you want. Just click the link to view it!

Suggested read: How to Grow Your YouTube Channel Using Buyer Personas

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Step #2: Prepare Your Equipment

With your plan in place, it’s time to see what tools you can use to bring it to life.

Depending on the type of video you want to create you’re going to need different types of equipment. An illustration tutorial has different needs than a Vlog about last night’s Dancing With The Stars.

Your budget will also play a factor. And I know you probably fall into one of these two categories:

  1. The Bootstrappers: You have a limited budget, and you want to make this video spending as little money as possible (preferably none).
  2. The “I’ve Got Some Cash To Splash”-ers: You have some money to spend on equipment and don’t mind investing some of it in a new camera of little extras.

Because of these factors, we’re going to avoid getting into the weeds about exact items you need.

Instead, we’re going to show you the essential items needed to make a YouTube video, and you can pick your equipment from there.

To create your video, you’ll need the following:

  • Camera: Anything from a fancy DSLR through to your mobile phone
  • Microphone: Preferably external
  • Lighting: Natural or artificial
  • Storage: Memory cards (or enough space on your phone)
  • Editing software: More on that in step #6

If you don’t have any of those things, you’ll either need to invest in them or look to lend them from a friend.

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Step #3: Set The Stage

When you make a YouTube video, you need to “set the stage”.

That means preparing the place you’re going to record so that it looks its best on camera.

If you’re recording an entertaining Vlog, this could simply mean choosing the spot in the room with the best lighting and creating a background for behind you.

A great example of this is Amy Landino from AmyTV. Her videos all contain a “branded” background that fits her personality. This may change per series of videos, but she keeps the same for a long period:

Amy Landino from AmyTV

This helps to keep the speaker the focal point and use the background as decoration. Notice how it’s not distracting but instead adds atmosphere to the video.

If you’re recording a video that’s less flexible and needs to be done in a fixed place – like a cooking tutorial – you’ll need to prepare the area as best you can.

Much like Vlogging, it pays to have a consistent and non-distracting background. But you’ll also need to decide what needs to be “in” your video and what’s going to be “out”. This will help you decide how to set up your lighting and where to place the camera.

To stick with the cooking example, Buzzfeed’s Tasty use a top-down shot and only put the absolute essentials into the videos. That is usually ingredients and the tools needed for cooking, nothing more. Not even the chef themselves is in the shot!

If you’re trying to keep it as simple as possible just remember to keep clutter out of the shot and allow the subject of your video to take center stage.

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[Optional] Step #4: Prepare Yourself To Be On Camera

Being on camera can be scary.

If you’re anything like me you go red-faced, stutter and fill your blooper reel with profanities, while trying not to sound wooden.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can make being on camera more pleasant and enjoyable for yourself and your viewers.

My best advice is to treat it as a conversation with the camera. Think of the camera as one person from your target audience and talk directly to them. You’re not presenting or putting on a show; you’re just talking to someone.

This means doing the same things you’d do in a conversation: look at them directly, be energetic, smile and stick to the topic. If you can tick those boxes, your video will be off to a great start.

If you want a little more advice on this I recommend you check out our seven expert tips for being comfortable and confident on camera.

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Step #5: Hit Record!

If you’ve followed the steps so far, it’s time to turn your camera on and hit record. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Regardless of what you’re recording, there are a few things for you to keep in mind.

The first is to keep the camera rolling.

If you misspeak, or there are little mistakes, don’t stress out and restart everything. Just pick up from shortly before the mistake and try again without turning the camera off. This makes the entire process much less stressful. You can fix everything else in editing!

The second is to embrace what you don’t know.

You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to make a YouTube video, and you certainly don’t need to know as much as him. What you don’t know can be a huge advantage and help you make a really creative video, because you don’t know you can’t do something.

The final one is to have fun.

Making a YouTube video should be fun. Enjoy the learning process and don’t stress about it too much. Play around and see what works! If you make it all hard work and no play, you probably won’t want to do it again. So keep it fun!

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Step #6: Editing Your Work

When you’ve recorded your video, it’s time to edit your work. This is where you clean up any mistakes you’ve made while recording and make your work ready to go online.

This is where the magic happens!

In the editing process you’re looking to:

  • Put your scenes or takes into the right order
  • Synchronize the sound
  • Remove unnecessary footage
  • Add intros or outros

You can also perform extras like adding images or clips from other videos if you’re feeling creative. But the list above is the main goal for this first YouTube video you’re creating.

Editing software may be the most important equipment investment you make. It has the power to supercharge what you’ve created for YouTube and turn it into a video worth of the pros.

However, it can be confusing to know which one to choose. That’s why we’ve put together a buyer’s guide for beginners to help you choose the right editing software for your needs. You can read it here!

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Want to learn how to launch your first profitable online video business? Check out Uscreen’s brand new Video Business School

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Suggested read: How to Grow Your YouTube Channel Using Buyer Personas

Wrapping This Up…

I hope by now you have a clearer idea of how to make a YouTube video.

The key is really to plan as much as you can, create a nice environment to record in, relax and have fun while you’re doing it. The rest can be picked up in editing!

But I’d like to know; what made you want to record a YouTube video? And what kind of video did you want to create?

Let me know in the comments…