How to start a YouTube channel

Learn the key points of starting a YouTube channel, including how to monetise your content.

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Launching a YouTube channel has lots of perks: it's a great way to create playlists, share creative content or simply to express your opinion. In addition to being fun, it can offer a pathway to some very useful income.

Read on to find out what you need to know about starting a successful YouTube channel in Australia.

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What skills, knowledge or requirements do I need to start a YouTube channel?

To start a YouTube channel, you'll need to start by understanding all the basics of how the platform works. To that end, you might consider an online course to get yourself up-to-speed.

You'll benefit from having a strong knowledge of popular videos and the type of content that is the most popular on the platform.

In order to make money from your channel and create engaging content, you may want do develop a working knowledge of how to use annotations, cards and end programming.

Being aware of video editing tools and having basic editing knowledge will all be useful when it comes to producing high-quality videos without needing to invest in external help.


What courses or qualifications might I need to complete?

There are no qualifications needed to start a YouTube channel. YouTube has launched Creator Academy offering online courses to help those who want to make the most out of their time on the platform.

Whilst your focus will be on your YouTube channel, it's generally not enough to be active on one social media platform. Having a good knowledge and presence on multiple platforms will help expand your audience.

Again, there are a number of online courses aimed at teaching you to grow your channel, make money and teach yourself how to understand your channel's analytics.

Equipment and software needed to launch your venture

Having the right equipment in place is one of the most important parts of starting a YouTube channel. Investing in quality equipment and software can help your channel stand out and maybe even go viral.

Here's a list of some key equipment and software you may need:

  • Microphone
  • Video- and audio-editing software
  • Tripod.

What business structures do I need to consider?

The most common business structure types in Australia are sole proprietorship (commonly known as sole trader), partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation. If you want to start making income from your YouTube videos, you will need to choose the right business structure when you're setting up your company.

You'll need to pay tax on your YouTube income if it's income that is made for a non-recreation purpose. To get peace of mind regarding your tax obligations, get in touch with an accountant.

You may also want to trademark the name of your YouTube channel. By trademarking your name and logo, others won't be able to use it to turn a profit from your work.

In Australia, copyright gets attached to any original video you post on YouTube. If anyone wants to use your videos for anything that isn't fair use, they'll need to acquire your official permission.

If you want to use any music in the background of the videos on your YouTube channel, you'll need to have two copyright clearances. These are:

  • Synchronisation clearance
  • Master rights.

If the copyright owner has licensed a song for YouTube's platform, then you won't need permission to upload a cover of that song. Use YouTube's Music Policies tool to search whether the song has been precleared; it may be blocked in certain countries.

Some of the key legal documents you will require when starting a YouTube channel can be found on websites like LegalVision or Lawpath. These websites offer a range of useful legal templates, as well as supporting articles and legal advice.

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How do I build up my subscribers?

Here are some tips on how to grow your YouTube channel and gain more subscribers:

  • First and foremost, produce high-quality content
  • Watch your competitors and understand why they have subscribers
  • Plan scripts to your videos and rehearse these before filming
  • Invest in high-quality filming and lighting equipment
  • Create playlists
  • Have an end screen that encourages people to watch more of your videos
  • Create engaging titles and thumbnails
  • Post often and be consistent in your output
  • Promote your channel to relevant online communities
  • Engage with similar creators on all social media platforms
  • Optimise your channel for key search terms.

Read more about how to market your small company.

Factors affecting how much money you could make

The amount of money you make from your YouTube channel will depend on a few different elements. These include:

  • The type and pricing of adverts
  • How frequently an advertisement will appear
  • How valuable your channel or video is to advertisers (this is based on likes, shares, time people spend watching your channel and how many subscribers you have).

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to forecast how much you will make each video uploaded to your YouTube channel. The platform's algorithm will determine how much money you'll make. But generally speaking, the more viewers and subscribers you have, the more you're likely to make.

Questions you still may have

Can I include paid promotions on my YouTube videos?

Yes, but it must be disclosed. If an endorsement or paid promotion is featured in a video on your YouTube channel, you should:

  • Notify YouTube by selecting the 'video contains paid promotion' box in your Advanced Settings
  • Select the box that says, 'Help me inform viewers of paid promotion by adding a disclosure to this video'. This will add 'Includes paid promotion,' to your video.
  • Disclose in your video which specific items you are being sponsored or you are being paid to be endorsed.

How do I optimise my YouTube channel?

An important way to make sure your YouTube channel is optimised to rank highly in search engines and the YouTube search bar.

Here are some tips on how to optimise your channel:

  • Create searchable titles. Use popular keywords that will appeal to your target demographic. Try to keep the title of your YouTube video at around 50 characters.
  • Add transcripts to every video. Video transcripts are a great way to improve the SEO of your video and make them more accessible.
  • Optimise your descriptions. Create a well-written description with the right keywords.
  • Meta tags. Using the right meta tags will improve how searchable your YouTube videos are. For inspiration on your meta tags, search out videos similar to yours.

Can YouTube be a main source of income for me?

Eventually, with a lot of hard effort and patience, some content creators do indeed use the platform as the basis of a full-time career. But realistically, for most people, it's seen as a way to supplement income or as a hobby.

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