If you’ve been thinking about starting a Youtube Channel for some time, the number one question on your mind might be: “What sort of videos should I post?” You’ve already watched countless hours of uploads with the thumbnails “Get Ready With Me” and “Summer Haul 2019” and you know makeup tutorials get a lot of views, but you’ve never been that great at makeup and definitely don’t feel qualified to give someone else advice on how to use it. You want to post fun vlogs following a day in your life, but you also want to establish yourself as someone who doesn’t shy away from topics that might be considered taboo - so how do you balance these two totally opposite types of content and create a channel that draws in all kinds of viewers and is something you are proud of while ensuring that is remains something you enjoy doing?
The answer is simple: create videos that are as authentic as they are relatable.
It’s not hard for people - especially those who spend a lot of time online - to detect dishonesty (see: “cancel culture” and subsequent apology videos) so one of the most important things to keep in mind while coming up with content ideas is to stick to the facts and speak on behalf of your own experiences, not those of someone else. While it might be difficult to brainstorm ideas you’d be uncomfortable sharing with friends - let alone thousands of viewers - the memories or stories that are the hardest to talk about will likely be the most important ones to share.
Take Imogen Russell, an Australian influencer with over 350,000 views on her YouTube channel, for example; Russell - who is a national sprinter and fitness junkie - has been extremely open about her struggle with an eating disorder and has made it a priority of her platform to discuss these issues with her viewers. In a recent interview, Russell was asked about the vulnerability she must feel revealing this private aspect of her life with so many people to which she responded: “[I was] ‘really worried to do it,’ but [I] knew [I] wanted to do it for [myself] as well as everyone else out there dealing with the same struggle.”
While many YouTubers like Russell have come to find the process of sharing their stories with others therapeutic, this is and will not be the case for everyone. It’s incredibly important to know your comfort level when it comes to posting about personal trials and tribulations and to err on the side of caution if you’re feeling hesitant about filming a revealing or intimate video. Authenticity should not only describe the narrative you are telling but also how you tell it.
Relate To Your Viewers
The genuine nature of both the story and the storytelling is what allows for the second trademark of a successful channel to surface: relatability. Personal storytime videos can impact all types of viewers, but most often they resonate with those struggling with similar events or issues. Where people used to look to the lyrics of songs or the characters on TV for representation, young people are now able to go on YouTube where the effortless ability to find common ground has completely changed the way in which people can find kindred spirits or role models in their day-to-day lives.
The main reason for the new accessibility is because the content being uploaded to the platform now offers people a larger and more diverse spectrum to find a “friend” or “older sister” who understands what they are going through and provide them with a feeling of comfort or companionship. Additionally, storytime videos centering around topics such as coming out of the closet, sexual assault, or in-school harassment has given way to larger discussions about these events that now involve more people who feel empowered to share their accounts and support those who haven’t.
Channel Your Inner Voice
As influencer Lucy Massam recently stated, “If you are not being 100% yourself and giving your unique insight, then you’re going to fail … You will get nowhere by trying to replicate what other people are doing.” Her advice could not be more fitting for young people wondering how to jumpstart their YouTube channels. As cliche as it is, being yourself is what will gain you the audience and support you actually want and will give you the ability to have created something you can look back on and be proud of because of the impact it had on the lives of not only those who watched it, but also on the one who uploaded it.