Want to make a YouTube video and post it online, but not quite sure how to do it? Fear not, we’ll show you how!

Whether you’re a small business owner interested in expanding into YouTube video marketing, or a person who wants to post a YouTube video just for fun, we’ve got the quick-and-easy way to make it happen.

Here’s how to make a YouTube video in 5 simple steps:

Step 1. Understand YouTube

Why host your video on YouTube?

  • An instant, huge international audience. Over 1.3 billion people watch YouTube!
  • It’s free. Would you rather pay to use a lesser-known video platform?
  • It’s simple. In only a few minutes, you can post a YouTube video… even from your smartphone.
  • You can link and self-promote. There’s no fee to use YouTube as a commercial space.
  • Huge bandwidth capabilities. No matter how much traffic your video gets, YouTube can handle it.
  • Get an unlimited number of videos. Didn’t cover all your material? Make another video. And another. And another.
  • Instant viewer feedback. The faster you know the effects of your video, the more efficient you can be with your next move.
  • Simple navigation. It’s easy to post and easy to watch.

What type of video are you making?

After you decide that you’re going to create a YouTube video, you need to choose which kind of video to make. It’s important that the style of your video matches your brand. If your brand is lighthearted and fun, consider making a comedy video. On the other hand, if your brand is dark or serious, comedy might not be the way to go.

Here are a few basic types of YouTube videos to consider:

The spot

The most classic kind of video you can produce is the 15- or 30-second commercial, commonly referred to as a “spot.” Spots have been around for decades and (even despite the decline of traditional television viewing) will be prevalent forms of advertising for decades to come.

Video series

A regularly updated video series typically features a host (or multiple hosts) talking about a specific subject, usually for 10 minutes or less. This is especially good fit if you or someone in your company has a charismatic personality.

Tutorials

If you have a special skill, life-hack, trick, you name it, chances are there are people in YouTube-land who want to learn how to do it too. If you’re a small business, offer a tidbit of your expertise and turn your tutorial into a commercial for your brand.

Say you own a bakery. Every week, create a different baking tutorial, then promote all your social media and email list channels in your video. You could even include a “secret” discount code in your video for customers to get a free chocolate cookie on Fridays. Share your know-how with your viewers and invite them into your shop.

Slideshows

A montage is a slideshow-style video filled with images or video clips set to music, sound effects, and voice-over narration. These are great options if you want a tight, efficient presentation, and if you’d rather feature photos, screenshots, and other visuals rather than real people. Spots, tutorials, reviews, and comedy videos can all be done in the montage style.

Reviews and testimonials

According to Google, 62% of customers look at product reviews before they buy something, and they’re actually 52% more likely to buy after seeing a YouTube review. That means you can have considerable influence as a reviewer.

Comedy

Comedy videos feature funny stuff like practical jokes, silly dancing, scripted sketches, and more. People often turn to YouTube to escape the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, so why not become a doctor of YouTube comedy? Laughter is the best medicine—and it might be great for your brand.

The key to YouTube success: Focus on viewers

Aside from driving traffic to your product or service, the goal of your YouTube video must be retention, or getting viewers to watch from start to finish. That’s how YouTube and Google measure whether you have high-quality content, which determines how high you rank in search results.

Keep this goal in mind at every stage of the process, and always stay consistent with the quality of your presentation. After all, you could have a great video with all of the best information in the world, but if no one sees it, then your time and money are wasted.

Step 2. Create a YouTube channel

First, let’s open an account. Not only is this step a requirement for uploading a video to YouTube, but it’s also a great way to get your mind into the process. When you sign up, it feels more like you’re all in. This is your first official step into YouTube-land.

Sign into your Google account

If you don’t have one already, create a Google account. Your Google account automatically gives you a YouTube account, which you need to create a channel and upload videos.

Create a new channel

Go into your account settings and click Create a new channel.

Automatically, the channel name will default to your first and last name.

Create a brand account

If you want to use a different name (like your company/organization name or a unique branded name), click Use a business or other name.

You’ll then be prompted to create a Brand Account, which will be separate from your personal account.

A Brand Account also allows multiple people can access your account as “managers.” That’s great if you have a team assisting you. It’s like giving your most trusted generals keys to the castle, so they don’t always have to bother you if they need to get in and make a necessary change.

Step 3. Create your video

Pre-production

Pick a big idea

Take a look at your marketing goals, and start brainstorming big ideas. If you can, make your ideas as simple and specific as possible. Maybe your idea for a tutorial about “How to walk without tripping” should really be “How to tie the perfect shoelace knot.”

Kick the idea around with your marketing team or even a friend. This will help to flesh out your ideas, understand the direction for your video, and determine what main points you need to cover. Something might seem important in your head, but when you discuss it with your team, it can become clear that it’s lower on the priority list than you originally thought.

Keyword tools like TubeBuddy can help you create your title and research video ideas about your topic and business.

Do your research

Research your idea on YouTube by searching for keywords and phrases used by similar videos or by using marketing tools. Take note of the titles and thumbnail images they’re using.

Choose a (quick) title

Your title will probably change a bunch of times, but start with a rough draft title so you have something to work with.

Begin with a solid keyword or phrase. Use a keyword tool like TubeBuddy to help you out. Simply type in your topic and it lets you know the probability of it working for you.

For informational videos, select a title which suggests the value of your video. Generally, you can do this one of two ways: either plainly state the value (“How to fry an egg”) or you can pique curiosity by surrounding the value in mystery (“Weird trick for frying an egg”). For video blogs, consider a title which capitalizes on viewers’ tendency to make mistakes without realizing it (“6 common mistakes when frying an egg”).

Keep track of any other possible titles which pop into your head as you create your video. No doubt this is a little puzzle your subconscious mind will be working on until you pick your final title toward the end of the process.

Script it

Once you’ve got a solid idea and a preliminary title, list the points/questions you want to cover in the video. Again, simplicity is the rule here. Viewers have short attention spans, so keep the number of main points to the minimum if you want viewers to remember them.

Draft a rough script with an intro, your main points, and an outro. Remember, we want retention. How many times have you started watching a YouTube video and stopped before it ended? Don’t give viewers an excuse to turn off your video! You need to include certain elements and have a working knowledge of engagement techniques.

Create a shot list

Go through your script and list your shots, so you can check them off as you’re filming. This should include all of the elements that will augment your video, like photos, b-roll, interviews, and more. Put everything in a folder so they’ll all be in one place and you can pull them out during editing.

Get the right camera

Do your research and find the best camera for the type of video you’re shooting. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can definitely use your smartphone or the webcam on your laptop. Whatever camera you use, make sure you have a way to stabilize it . Shaky footage looks amateur-ish, unless that’s your gimmick. Use a tripod, a flat surface or even a selfie-stick (though your arm will most certainly get tired!).

Production

Select a location

Your setting must support your content. Find a quiet location with an environment that matches the goals and story of your video.

If you’re shooting in multiple locations, don’t worry about shooting your video out of order because you can rearrange the order in editing. Shoot scenes that take place in the same location at the same time so you don’t have to keep moving back and forth from location to location.

A basic ring light is a great way to start making your videos look more professional. Via Spectrum

Get great lighting

Lighting done right will make your video look professional. Illuminate your scene with a pro lighting kit or natural light and always make sure your lights stay in front of your subjects. You don’t want to end up with a back-lit silhouette.

Capture audio right

Always use a microphone (check out our list of the best ones). Bad sound quality can be a deal breaker. If you don’t have access to a mic, keep your camera near the subject so it picks up the sound properly. Also, make sure it’s quiet where you’re shooting. Barking dogs, lawnmowers, and police sirens in the background sound very unprofessional.

Shoot in sections

Divide your shots into groups so you can avoid confusion in the editing phase. For example, shoot your introduction, main content, and additional B-roll footage all individually. This keeps your footage organized so you can easily find the clips you want when you begin editing.

Get a quick thumbnail

For your thumbnail (that little image in a YouTube search list), select a choice frame from your footage or intentionally shoot a bunch of different poses you think will look good. You might as well get exactly what you want while you’ve got your sweet lighting and everything set up!

Also, make sure your thumbnail complements your title. You can even include your title in your thumbnail to hook more visually-minded viewers who may only be browsing thumbnails and not the titles underneath.

Post-production

Review your script

Check back to your original script and make sure your footage captures everything you needed. If you’re missing any elements, go back and re-shoot them now. If you’re going to create a YouTube video, do it right. That missing piece could be the difference between making a conversion and not making one.

iMovie is a powerful, free video editing app available for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Via Apple.

Edit the final piece

If you’re working with a professional editor, upload your footage to a Dropbox folder you share with your editor so they can start on it immediately. If you’re using a DIY editing app, here’s how you can get started:

  • Assemble your clips in the order you want them. Cut anything you won’t use.
  • Select the best takes of each scene and drop them into your timeline. Keep trimming and rearranging until you get it feeling right.
  • Add your photos, b-roll, interviews, etc. from your pre-production file.
  • Add any transitions, color corrections, audio adjustments, and reaction shots.
  • Add titles, your logo, sound effects, and music.

Screen your video

Pop some popcorn and screen your video to trusted members of your circle. Get their feedback. Note any good suggestions and make the changes. It’s not always easy to take constructive criticism, but it’s always good to get a fresh perspective. You probably won’t use all the suggestions, but there might just be some golden nuggets of wisdom in there!

Export your video

Once you’ve made the final changes, export your video and save an additional copy to a backup drive if you can. You might want to make additional edits in the future, and it’s always good to have a backup for a little peace of mind.

If you want to learn more about the video production process, check out our guide on how to create a video.

4. Upload your video to YouTube

We’re getting close, can you feel it? It’s time to get that sucker online! Go into this portion fresh, the description portion of this process might take more effort than you think. But remember, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. Let’s roll…

Upload your video

Sign in to YouTube and click “Upload video“ in the drop-down menu. Drag your video into the upload area and select “Public” so everyone can view it.

select files

Add title, description and tags

Select a final title based on your keyword research. In the description field, tell viewers what your video is about in simple written language. Break up big paragraphs. Include your keyword phrase towards the beginning so YouTube decides where to rank you. Add any other keyword phrases or variations as tags.

add a description

Your description can also include a subscribe link, social media links, and lead generation links for newsletters or e-books. While you’re linking, include links to any products or services you may have mentioned in your video.

Select a thumbnail and publish!

Choose an eye-catching thumbnail that will attract viewers and also represents the content of your video. You can also consider including your title in your thumbnail to hook more visually minded viewers who may only be browsing thumbnails and not the titles underneath. Then, click “Publish”!

5. Engage your audience

BOOM! You’ve posted your first YouTube video! Congrats! But your adventure has just begun. It’s time to engage with your viewer comments. This is one of the coolest features of YouTube. Reply, answer questions, and suggest other resources. In other words, be helpful! It will come back to you.

Don’t forget to promote your new YouTube video on all your social media accounts, blogs and email lists. Check out this article on video marketing on social media if you want to learn more.

It’s your turn to YouTube

Finally, the mystery of how to create a YouTube video is revealed! Now you know the importance of retaining the attention of your audience, how to open a YouTube account, the types of YouTube videos, what goes into pre-production, production, post-production, uploading your video to YouTube, and how to engage your audience. Do all of these steps to the best of your ability, and we know you’re gonna have a YouTube success story on your hands!

All the best YouTube videos you’ve seen have gone through this very same process. Yours can be one of them. No, yours can be the best!

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