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Take a moment to marvel at how far YouTube has come and how much influence it has in the world: with over 1 billion users, it reaches more than one-third of all internet users. As such, it’s the fastest way to propel yourself into stardom today.
There are many ways to become a YouTube personality or even a YouTube celebrity — vlogging, social commentary, instructional videos, product reviews, sketch comedy, short films, etc. — and if you succeed, you may even become an official YouTube Partner.
But it’ll take a lot of effort and practice to get there. Here are the three most essential skills you’ll need to make sure your videos are pleasing to watch, which will ultimately maximize your chances of going viral and building a fanbase.
1. Camera Shyness
Camera shyness is the first big hurdle that every aspiring YouTube star needs to leap over. For as long as you’re shy and self-conscious, your videos will end up feeling awkward at best and cringeworthy at worst.
Nervous energy is extremely easy to spot, so it’s best that you practice being in front of a camera when the shots are NOT rolling so that you will be more comfortable when the red light IS on. Being comfortable is key!
Note that camera shyness may not completely go away, even after decades of practice and experience. That’s okay! Some degree of nervousness is normal and, dare I say, healthy. Just make it a goal to minimize it as much as possible so it doesn’t detract from your videos.
1. Use the Red Light trick. Every camera has a light that indicates when it’s recording. The trick, as explained by Jackie Lee below, is to speak directly at that light as if it were a person — and it works because that red light is much less intimidating than the ominous void of a camera lens. But there’s one extra step that makes this trick even more effective:
2. Train your posture. Good posture is key to cultivating confidence. Indeed, body language can shape your attitude! So practicing good posture can instantly make you feel less self-conscious when standing in front of a camera. Here’s an excellent exercise that will help you stand tall and feel confident:
3. Film each video dozens of times. There’s no substitute for practice. For every video that you make, do a test run. Better yet, do several different test runs. And if you’re really nervous, do the first few with the camera off. This is a kind of immersion therapy that will help you feel a bit more comfortable, plus the test runs help to solidify your video material and make your more confident when delivering to the camera.
2. Public Speaking
Another big aspect that can make the difference between a great video and a not-so-great one is your enunciation. Are you loud and clear? Does your voice carry? Are you a mumbler? Do you have upspeak, vocal fry, or a monotonic sound?
These things can make or break your videos. Viewers are picky these days and you only have a few seconds to capture their attention once they tune in. If you’re boring or annoying, they will hop over to someone else’s video without a second thought.
Fortunately, all of these things can be rectified and improved upon with practice. It won’t be easy, and you’ll probably be very self-conscious at first, but you’ll reap the benefits if you just stick it through.
1. Always warm up your lips. Any physical activity will benefit from a bit of warming up beforehand, and speech is no exception. The Lip Flutter exercise below is a three-pronged warm-up: it helps with relaxation, breathing, and resonance, which means your speech will sound that much better afterward:
2. Use the Pen trick. Remember that speech is a function of your throat, lips, and tongue, all of which happen to involve muscles. If you have poor articulation then these muscles may be to blame, and you’ll need to stretch them and work them out. This pen trick from Jaeny Baik is a fun and nifty way to do this:
3. Read stories out loud. Inflection can be a hard habit to break, especially if you have upspeak or vocal fry. (Upspeak is when your statements sound like questions, vocal fry is when some of your words sound like croaking or scraping.) To develop better inflection, it’s best to find an article or book written in a conversational tone and read it out loud, all while being intentional about your inflections.
The third most important skill that you’ll need to succeed as a YouTube star is consistency, and that means two things: making sure the quality of each video is roughly the same or better than the last, but more importantly, sticking to a regular upload schedule.
If you put out four videos this week, then nothing for one month, viewers are going to wonder where you’ve gone. It’s better to spread them out to, say, one per week. That way viewers always have a reason to come back on a regular basis.
This is one thing that all successful YouTube stars share.
The hard part about this is that consistency requires commitment and persistence. Motivation will eventually run out, at which point you’ll need to rely on discipline until motivation returns. If you rely solely on motivation, you’re going to burn out. Quitters can’t be YouTube stars.
The exercise for this is simple but difficult: create one new video every day for 30 days. They don’t have to be good. They don’t have to be long. And they don’t have to be creative. All you need to worry about is getting them done so you understand what it feels like to regularly produce on a deadline.
What will you learn with this exercise? How to generate ideas when you have none, how to use your camera and video editing software, and how to export videos for YouTube. Every day, you’ll be practicing the video creation workflow from start to finish, and after 30 days you’ll be much more comfortable.
Chase After Your YouTube Dreams
Again, it’s going to be hard work, but becoming a YouTube sensation is still possible even in 2017! So don’t give up if you really want it. Take it seriously and you’ll learn a lot in the process, guaranteed.
For more guidance on where to start and how to maximize your chances of success, check out our guide to YouTube production. We also recommend getting acquainted with these free video editors for Windows or these free video editors for Mac.
Now it’s your turn: what do you think is the most important skill that an aspiring YouTube star should work on? What has the influence on one’s potential for success? Share with us down in the comments!
Image Credit: Africa Studio via Shutterstock.com