Youtube Essentials

I’m very excited to get started on this new series for Soaring. We’re taking a look at social media and what it can do for your writing career. Since it’s 2017, most people are online in one capacity or another.  This series is great for those of you who are still holding out on joining the party or for those who are online, but need some help using social media as a way to promote your writing and your brand.  In this post we’ll look at Instagram and go over some essentials for getting started and marketing ourselves as writers.

This series will lead up to the launch of our new Spalding MFA Alumni website. While we’ll go over the new website in more depth, for right now, I’ll tell you that the site will be a great resource and community for alums.

What you can look forward to in this series:

        1. Intro to Social Networking for Writers
        2. Facebook Page Essentials
        3. Twitter Essentials
        4. Instagram Essentials
        5. Pinterest Essentials
        6. YouTube Essentials
        7. Blogging Essentials
        8. Our New Alumni Website

Youtube is the most popular video site on the Internet. It’s the first large-scale video sharing site and is available in nearly every country and over fifty languages. Anyone can upload content here so there is a vast array of watchable content.   Most content is uploaded by individuals—like writers—but media corporations like CBS and BBC offer some material on the site. Not only is Youtube a great place to market a business or writing career, it is also a place where you can potentially make an income. While this isn’t an overnight solution, it definitely makes the site an attractive place for anyone looking to create an online presence.

What Can Youtube Do for Your Writing Career?

  1. Youtube is particularly popular with Young Adult writers and readers. Young Adult book enthusiasts love seeing their favorite writers “behind the scenes.” This is usually because these readers are younger, middle or high school age, and therefore spend a lot of time online and already engaged in Youtube culture.
  2. Video is one of the most popular ways to market a business, even one based in text. Even avid and prolific readers aren’t reading all the time. Sometimes people need a break from the page, or they just enjoy other mediums of creativity.
  3. Get non-readers interested in you.


Stats of Youtube

  1. Youtube overall reaches more 18-24 year olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  2. YouTube sees over one billion unique visits each month.
  3. 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute.
  4. Thousands of Youtube channels are making six figures annually.
  5. Youtube is the third most visited site on the Internet after Facebook and Google.
  6. 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.

Creating your Channel

Step by Step:

  1. Go to
  2. If you already have a Google account, like Gmail, you will see a Youtube homepage.
  3. Either create a youtube channel with this linked account, or log out and start new with an email address you prefer, (it’s a good idea for Youtube to be linked to Google Plus).
  4. Once you have a Youtube login with an email you want, click your profile picture in the top right corner. A dropdown will appear.
  5. Click the settings Icon.
  6. Click “Create a channel.”
  7. Give your channel a name and select a category that fits you, like Arts, Entertainment, or Sports.
  8. You officially have a Youtube Channel!

Customizing your Channel

  1. Give your channel a background image, similar to your Facebook Page.
  2. Upload a profile image
  3. Write an intriguing bio.
  4. Create a channel trailer or intro video.
  5. Once you have uploaded videos—we will go over this later—you can create playlists to organize your content for your viewers.
  6. Add featured channels. These are channels similar to yours or ones that you enjoy that your viewers might like as well.
  7. Add links to your other social profiles and websites.

Uploading Video

How to:

  1. Click on Upload at the top of the page
  2. Choose video privacy settings before uploading
  3. Select the video you’d like to upload from your computer.
  4. As the video is uploading you can edit the basic information and the advanced settings of the video. You can also decide if you want to notify subscribers when published. This is where you can also adjust your Monetization settings but we will talk about this later.
  5. Click Publish to finish uploading your video.

Creating Videos

There are so many ways to create videos. You can capture moments on your phone, your camera, or even your computer. It’s up to you, what you like, and what your channel calls for. I’m going to give some general tips to make your videos on par with the other great content on Youtube today.

  1. Have a decent camera. You don’t need the best DSLR, or professional camera, but you need something that captures quality video. No one wants to watch blurry images when it’s so easy now to have clear, crisp video with inexpensive tools.
  2. Make sure your audio is decent. Just like having a decent camera, you need decent audio. Most of the time you can
  3. Edit your videos. Whether you use a free service like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Or the expensive alternative Final Cut Pro X, you need to edit your video to some capacity. Editing will clean up your transitions and the beginnings and endings of your videos to give a more professional appearance.
  4. Be consistent about posting. Like anything
  5. Keep videos short


What Kind of Videos to Create:

This is obviously up to you but there are some tips you can follow when trying to come up with ideas.

  1. Find something that you like and won’t have a problem creating hours of content about. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a video about something you don’t like. If you’re like me, making a video is way more difficult than writing so I need any help and inspiration I can get to get in front of my camera.
  2. Talk about your writing. You don’t need to only talk about your writing, unless that’s what you’ve come up with. If you decide to make videos about travel, or your home life, or another hobby, make sure to let people know you write. That is the end goal after all.
  3. Make sure it’s interesting. It goes without saying that a boring video won’t be viewed. No one wants to see you sitting in a room alone typing on your computer. Come up with something that people will look forward to watching every week.

Creating engagement.

  1. Create simple and eye-catching tumbnails. Increase engagement by 154%
  2. Add annotations to drive desirable actions from users- tell people what you want them to do, share, like, subscribe.
  3. Keep videos short. This will keep viewers happier and give you a higher user retention in your analytics
  4. Optimize your videos. Include keywords in your title that relate to the content of your video. The title should accurately tell people what’s in the video and be something people might search for in Youtube or Google.
  5. Include Tags. Tags tell Youtube what your video is about. Use only a few to accurately describe what you’re video is about.
  6. Promote your content on other social media channels. Adding videos to your Facebook or Twitter timeline will help to vary what you’re sharing, possibly catching the attention of someone new. It will also get your videos out to a wider audience of your followers.

Popular Writer Youtube Channels

  1. John Green (VlogBrothers)
  2. Jenna Moreci
  3. The Creative Penn
  4. Katytastic
  5. Vivien Reis
  6. bookishpixie
  7. Ellen Brock
  8. Rachael Stephen
  9. Chris Fox
  10. Kim Chance

Additional resources

Social Media Marketing Statistics
Beginners Guide to Youtube
Beginner Tips If You’re Starting Out On Youtube
Youtube Visibility

I’m looking for contributors for the following posts:

DEAR SOARING!: Send me your questions to be featured on the blog. Other alumni will help in answering your questions.

Where in the World: Where have you gone recently? Send me a picture with information on your trip and any writing you may have done about the trip.

Awards and Accolades of Alumni: Time to brag! What have you accomplished recently? I want to help spread the word and show just how great our alumni really are.

Email me at to be featured.

Mackenzie Jervis is a Summer 2016 Graduate. She lives in Texas with her husband, two cats, puppy, and newborn baby. She has way too many books, more cameras than she knows how to properly use, and a never ending need to keep moving. She writes about her life and adventures at home and around the world at A Wandering Scribbler.

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