YouTube Video Blog
By Emma Drew
As a third of all kids in the UK and US want to become a YouTuber when they grow up I was keen to write a book about what’s involved and how to get started. If you want to know more about this then check out my previous post on supporting your child when they say they want to be a YouTuber.
How to get your kids off their screens
As a parent I faced the same challenges as many others, I wanted my kids to spend less time on their screens and more time reading. I found that the kinds of things that would encourage my kids to get off their screens was when I set challenges. They could immediately relate and get excited when I package up a non-screen activity into a challenge. I would set a cake baking challenge (they like cakes!), a pizza making challenge (they love pizza!), a robot wars challenge (involving two remote control cars and an insane amount of batteries) and a TikTok or YouTube video challenge (they love watching videos!). You should try it.
In order for kids to create video they need to know where to start and what equipment to use as well as a number of very important video best practices. I thought that explaining the world of YouTube videos would work well in a book.
I wasn’t entirely sure how exactly I was going to write a book let alone publish one, I’ve never had any ambitions to become an author. I would love to make a film, I’m a frustrated filmmaker, I admit it but how did I end up writing a book? You may then be wondering then, why as a YouTuber, I didn’t just make a video about it how to start a YouTube channel for kids. That’s a good question.
I guess the answer is that I wanted to encourage my own kids to enjoy making videos rather than just watching YouTube all day long.
How I got started on publishing my first paperback
I knew nothing about the publishing world, only what I’ve learned from Younger and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Surely it couldn’t be that hard, right? After a little more research, it seemed like a minefield. You needed draft manuscripts, illustrators, book cover designers, proofreaders, editors, agents, publishers (who would inevitably reject your work, we’ve all heard the story of JK Rowling’s Harr Potter rejections). I was nervous to say the least, so I put it off.
I noticed that even though I was moving away from making kids YouTube content and had started my YouTube consultancy, my personal need to educate kids on how to start a YouTube channel kept niggling at me. My desire to teach my own children and kids today what I had learned over the last ten years far outweighed the obstacles I faced with publishing a book on the subject. The growing trend for kids wanting to become a YouTuber meant that there wasn’t time for me to jump through the various hoops it appeared I needed.
I couldn’t fight it any more so in Dec 2019, I took a typical YouTube creator approach and I sketched out my book plan just as I do with my videos storyboards. I wasn’t sure if this was the right way of starting a book but it felt right to me.
I wrote the headings, sketched out some pictures and padded out a little black A5 sketch book until the end. I showed it to my kids who approved of the concept. Now all I had to do was write the draft.
The next generation of YouTubers
In February 2020, I was invited to speak at VidCon London where I moderated a panel of top YouTubers, including Wilbur Soot, Lee Hinchcliffe, Adam B and Blanks.
Later in the day I hosted a session with my talk on How To Start A YouTube Channel – The Easy Way. I’d been given a 4pm slot and I wasn’t sure if anyone would stick around for this as it was late in the day.
As I set up my mic and presentation notes, I saw the room was filling up and eventually I was talking to a packed room with over 500 people. After the session, I had a large number of eager kids (with their not so enthusiastic parents) asking some great questions.
I knew at this point that I would need to get cracking on getting my book out as soon as possible and I was especially keen that the book spoke to the next generation of YouTube creators and their parents.
Working from home
Just 4 weeks after my VidCon sessions at Excel London, Covid hit and we went into lockdown and incidentally, Excel London was turned into an emergency Nightingale hospital. So just as I thought my new career as a YouTube Speaker & Coach was taking off, I was, like everyone else, thrust into working from home and finding new ways to pivot my business.
Without the hustle and bustle of everyday school, clubs and work routines, I had time to think carefully about what budding kid YouTubers really need to know and what I could offer them as a YouTube creator, a parent, and YouTube consultant.
There is so much to learn about starting and growing a YouTube channel and all the parts are equally important. The most important was to focus on the 5 key elements outlined in my previous post. I wanted the book to support all your budding YouTubers whether your kids want to be a gamer, entertainer or educator. The YouTube video principles are the same and haven’t changed much of the years.
Locked up in lockdown
As we all felt locked up in lockdown, it became clear that, even in the absence of activities and clubs, children need to feel connected with their friends and that’s why I created a group of 6 characters to narrate this book. They personify most YouTube creators I personally know. Charlie and friends were created to deliver all the very best YouTube support and give advice in an easy, relatable and inclusive way. This group of friendly characters are passionate, focused, knowledgeable, patient, hard-working, funny and very creative of course.
I thought that writing as a group of characters would help the book come alive, create a sense of friendship and conversation and would give the reader a sense of being part of their YouTube world. Each character has their own individual specialisation and personality. They guide the reader through the book and cover everything there is to know about starting a YouTube channel for kids – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Keeping in with the creative theme I wanted to create illustrations and an activity section at the back, so that there is practical fun and learning.
I also created the font which was based on my own daughter’s handwriting. There’s a lot to read in this book and I felt it helped to make the book even more accessible and easier to get through.
To make it easy to follow I also created a full colour version of the book so that it makes it even easier to dip in and out of the sections and enrich the reader experience.
I was ambitious and often asked myself why had started and complicated the process by adding these various creative elements. I know if I hadn’t tried, I would regret it later. Those late nights and early mornings soon paid off.
Mental health and social media
Thankfully we’re all more aware of the importance of mental health. Social media is great for creativity, connection and education however there’s always a downside and I wanted to highlight some of the ways to manage haters and negative comments that come with being on social media. Understanding the dangers of social media and learning how to stay safe, keeping boundaries is a good way to protect against the negative effects of social media.
I knew it was going to take me even longer to get this book done but there was no way I could release this book without including a section that offered support, tools and direction for those kids who felt they wanted help when they recognised they were not feeling right. I’ve also included some of the best children’s support groups and charities that can help young people when they are feeling uncertain or confused. I’m hoping that being aware of the help and support out there will encourage kids to create video with confidence
I’m not an expert in this area but having taken part in numerous conversations with the initiative HumaneTech.com. With movements such as this, I am confident that we will find a way to make social media a safer and less addictive place to be. But we have to take action and play our part if we want to see positive change.
YouTuber support for the book
When I spoke to some YouTuber friends about the book I found that they were incredibly supportive and very enthusiastic about educating the next generation of YouTubers. They were also very generous to give their exclusive top tips for kids who are serious about becoming a YouTuber.
Why I self published
As mentioned earlier, it was my first time entering the world of book publishing and it seemed so new to me. I planned, wrote and illustrated the book as fast as I could. It got to the point that when I finished my workday, I would start illustrating in the evening while relaxing in front of the TV, I’m not sure how long it took me exactly but I managed to get through the full series of Downton Abbey and Schitt’s Creek. With the draft manuscript and illustrations done I just needed an editor.
It’s funny how things happen, just as I finished my draft I bumped into Deborah Pezzuto, author of ‘Listen’, who promptly recommended her editor Claire Jennison. Bingo! Within just a week Claire was editing my book and encouraged me all the way to the finish line.
Just when I thought I was done, I had to learn how to format my illustrated ‘How To’ book for kids. I’m not going to lie, it was a steep learning curve. Fortunately with the help of Amazon support and many YouTube tutorial videos later, I did it. I had written, illustrated, edited, formatted, designed the book cover and uploaded my book to Amazon ready KDP’s approval within the year.
Thankfully it was approved and self-published on World book day 2021.
Just a few weeks later my book YouTube book How to Start A YouTube Channel – The Easy Way became an Amazon #5 bestseller.
Do you have a kid who wants their own YouTube channel? If so, you’re not alone. Research shows that around a third of all children in the US and UK want to be a professional YouTuber when they grow up. I guess it’s not surprising considering most kids spend more time watching YouTube videos than TV (an average of 75 minutes a day watching YouTube according to statistica). YouTubers entertain, inspire and teach so it’s no wonder kids want to be just like their favourite YouTube idols.
When I was young, my friends and I wanted to be supermodels, fashion designers or pop stars when we grew up, mainly because that’s what we saw in the media. But the media has evolved. Now I’m a YouTube creator, and have been for over a decade, with my own animation YouTube channel MyVoxSongs. With a tween and teen of my own, I want to help kids and parents learn how to start an awesome YouTube channel the easy way and, most importantly, the right way.
How to create a YouTube channel with your kids
There are a lot of myths flying around about being a YouTuber. Apparently it’s easy, fun and creates instant fame and fortune. While it is easy to set up, and fun to create videos, it certainly isn’t a path to instant stardom.
Feeling hesitant about allowing your tweens and teens to be online? Don’t worry, it is completely normal but thankfully you can do something about it. Verse yourself with internet safety measures you can take and children’s mental health effects beforehand. Check out Internet Matters, The Diana Award, NSPCC, Childnet International, Think U Know and Young Minds for more information. If your child says they want to start a YouTube channel, it is most likely because they want to discover, explore and express their creativity which is a natural stage of growing up. They see YouTube as the perfect medium for this. [See my free online safety PDF.]
There’s lots to consider when creating a YouTube channel for kids and it can be pretty overwhelming if you’re a beginner or a parent. Are you are a parent who wants to support your child’s YouTube passion? If the answer is yes, then here’s how to create a YouTube channel in 5 easy steps for you to work through together.
How to create a YouTube channel in 5 easy steps:
Step 1 – Brainstorm YouTube channel ideas
Step 2 – Plan your video content
Step 3 – Record YouTube videos together
Step 4 – Edit videos
Step 5 – Upload videos to YouTube
Step 1 – Brainstorm YouTube channel ideas
Although I generally advise my clients that a YouTube channel needs to cover one topic with a few related sub topics, when it comes to YouTube channels for kids, having a few different video ideas or topics is key when starting out. Kids usually want to experiment with various video topics and format types, whether that be gaming, skits, animation, reviews etc. Have a brainstorm session with your budding YouTuber and discuss the topics they are most passionate about. Here’s my top tip. Get your child a dedicated YouTube channel notebook (any note book will do) and have them write all their channel ideas and topics down in this book.
Step 2 – Plan your video content
Planning video content and formats with your kid(s) for their chosen topics is an essential part of the preparation process before they can get on with the fun video making bit. You need to ensure that they have all the right props and equipment ready before filming as well as a quiet space to record the video in.
Step 3 – Record YouTube videos together
Recording videos is an exciting activity for kids. It certainly keeps them busy and gives them an opportunity to use their imaginations, express themselves and create. In addition to video making skills, they’ll gain confidence and learn writing, project management, leadership and resourcefulness skills too.
Step 4 – Edit videos
These days, most kids are able to navigate and operate an editing app in a nanosecond and there are a plethora of great apps available. [Grab my video app & equipment listing PDF here]. These skills are invaluable and, again, a great opportunity for your aspiring YouTubers to express themselves creatively.
Step 5 – Upload videos to YouTube
The fifth and final step is to help your kid(s) upload their video and optimise their channel, meaning you will need to add the correct YouTube channel settings. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to use your [parent] account first to test things out and to supervise. You may also want to set videos to private mode until you feel comfortable sharing your child’s YouTube video links with family, friends and the world.
There’s lots involved with becoming a YouTuber but if you follow these bitesize steps then you will be able to help your kids create a YouTube channel the right way. By following the outline above you can easily support your budding YouTuber, keep the conversation going and understand your child’s passions.
In reality, most kids enjoy making videos but they may lose interest after a while. The important thing is that they have a go to see what’s involved and experience what it takes to be a YouTuber. As a parent, being part of this process with your child not only gives you quality and bonding time, it shows that you are really interested and supportive. As a result, your child will more likely want to keep you involved in their online video activities.
Learn more about how you can help your budding YouTuber
If you want to learn more about helping your kid start a YouTube channel then I cover all these steps and more in my book, How To Start A YouTube Channel – The Easy Way, with Charlie & friends.
Written for beginners from the perspective of a real YouTube creator but geared towards tweens and teens, the six cat character narrators offer lots of practical know-how as well as plenty of YouTube tips and tricks. Covering everything from gaming and animation videos to live action videos, it has something for every budding YouTuber out there.
The book is an enjoyable and entertaining experience, a learning companion to support kids as they start their video making journey. I want it to inspire the next generation of budding YouTubers to be creative and express themselves in a safe and fun way while also encouraging them to get their family and friends involved. (The book does not cover monetisation or social media promotion as they are much more advanced parts of a YouTube career.)
In my next post I talk about how my YouTube skill set helped me single handedly write, illustrate and publish my YouTube book for kids in less than a year.
When I found out that Prince William and Kate Middleton officially announced their new YouTube channel, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Not because I’m a royalist (although the odd romantic fairy tale never hurt anyone) but because I think it’s a pretty smart move on their part. It’s a perfect time for them to enter the world of YouTube right now. In the past, most of their videos sat on another YouTube channel called The Royal Family.
It seems Will and Kate created their channel back in Oct 2020, but officially launched on May 5th 2021. According to Social Blade, they got 175K subscribers on their YouTube channel launch day. All that with just one 25 sec video!
How did they do it? With the amount of press they’ve gathered on this story, it’s not surprising. They’ve done very well to create an action-packed first video. It’s a shame it was only 25 seconds long but I guess they’ve made it snappy and engaging. They’re up to around 540K YouTube subscribers. There was an initial surge of royal superfans subscribing to the channel after the announcement. Looks like subscriber gains slowed but this could simply be because they’ve not followed up with more videos.
The royal YouTube channel verdict
The real test will be to see if they can sustain this level of interest over time. It takes a lot of commitment to keep a YouTube channel growing. It will be interesting got see if they can continue to consistently release great video content.
I like how they have created neat playlists which are pulled in from The Royal Family’s channel. They’ve collated videos that they feature in, categorised them. They’ve added playlists to their currently sparse YouTube channel which makes it appear like there’s lots going on. Good move.
Another interesting element is their ‘About’ section. It has very little information and doesn’t say anything about what to expect. It just says, The official account of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Perhaps it’s early days and they’re still figuring it out, but hopefully, we’ll see a little more information about what their YouTube plans are.
What does the future hold for their YouTube channel?
Time will tell, maybe we’ll be seeing William & Kate Vs Harry & Meghan subscriber wars – who knows, but the channel that really wins is not the channel with the most subscribers but the channel with the most actively engaged followers.
But why have started a YouTube channel, now?
Are they a bit late to the YouTube party? I don’t think it’s ever too late to start a YouTube channel. The key is to be active with it. There’s been so many royal dramas in the press recently, maybe they see it as their private media space. I think it’s a great idea. Having their own YouTube channel gives Will and Kate an opportunity to present themselves how they want to be seen.
They have a chance to show their authentic selves allowing the public to see who they really are. They can see first hand what they stand for and the work that they do. It also makes them seem independent from the rest of the royal family. Perhaps it’s time for them to have their own voice and share their worldview direct with their fans and followers. Bravo!
I’m not so sure they’ll be posting their ‘morning routine’ videos or perhaps doing royal event ‘make up tutorials’ and ‘fashion tips’ BUT it will be interesting to see if they can bring something special and engaging to their YouTube channel beyond their official engagements. I have a hunch that their YouTube fans will be much more interested in them as everyday people and not just as royals with royal duties.
What can you learn from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on YouTube?
YouTube’s strapline is ‘Broadcast Yourself’ and I think that you can be confident that having a YouTube channel is your personal space to literally broadcast yourself. You can have a voice, present your values and even grow your business or personal brand. There are so many directions you can take with it.
It’s probable William and Kate felt that this was the right time to launch their YouTube channel and have their say in how they are to be represented as public figures.
Ultimately there’s no right or wrong time to start a YouTube channel. You will only know when the VALUE you need to share with your niche outweighs other priorities in your work life – that’s a sure sign to start and grow your channel.
Quick YouTuber Pro TIP
Create your own promotion to launch your channel or package it up as a ‘YouTube Channel Re-Launch’. Make a song & dance about it! Put up a new piece of video content that summarises why you have a channel and remind your followers why they are subscribed or why they should subscribe and what they can expect to see from you. Post this message on all your socials, newsletters, blogs, press releases etc and make a big deal of it, oh, and try and make your video is longer than 25 seconds 😉 with a few follow up videos.
If you want to learn more about how to start a YouTube channel and use YouTube and grow your personal brand and business then click here to check out my YouTube course, the YouTube Audience Growth Lab.
If you’re interested in getting real life tips from YouTube pros then head over to my podcast Confessions of a YouTuber, where I speak to some of the very best YouTubers about their YouTube journey and Youtube channel growth tips.