YouTube Tip #1: Lurk Moar

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"I'm thinking about starting my own YouTube channel. Any advice?" I get that question a lot. 

I don't really like to give advice, so I usually respond with my own question: "What channels do you currently subscribe to?"

I wish I was kidding, but 9 times out of 10 they say, "Oh, I don't really use YouTube."


"Lurk Moar." That's a popular phrase on internet message boards. Posters use it when some newbie jumps onto a thread and starts acting like an obnoxious tourist. In other words, "Read this message board for awhile before you post something, you idiot." Get a feel for the vibe of this place. Then join in the conversation. Lurk more.

The same is true for YouTube.

If you don't have an account, get one. They're free. Don't post any videos yet. Just join. 

Then, look around. Find some channels you like. Subscribe to them.

Start watching. Every day. Yes. Every day. (Hey, you want your viewers to watch every day, don't you?)

Eventually, start leaving comments. Interact with your fellow viewers. And (occassionally) the content creators. Even simple things like, "your parodies are always so hilarous" are appreciated.

Become part of the community. You'll be amazed what you'll learn. Things successful YouTubers do. Things to avoid -- like when channels do things that make you (the viewer) want to unsubscribe.

I know, it sounds so obvious, but you'd be amazed how often I've had this conversation.

Would you ever say this to a TV writer? "Hey, any tips on creating a successful TV show? Keep in mind, I don't actually watch TV. Sure, I've seen a few random episodes of a few shows here and there, but I don't actually follow any series." He would think you're insane.

Create a YouTube account. Watch. Subscribe to channels. Watch. Comment on videos. Watch.

Watch. Watch. And watch some more.

Then, and only then, start thinking about your own channel.

Lurk moar.