On February 3rd of this year, I started a channel for my three children. They had been asking me for a YouTube channel for a long time. I kept putting it off because I knew it would mean a lot of extra work for me, but I wanted to encourage their desire to be producers and not consumers only. They came up with the name of their channel (3KidUTubers), the subject matter (fun, safe challenges and life experiences), and how many videos they wanted to put out (one per week). I designed their color scheme, branding, and logo based on the usual marketing consultations I have with grown ups when I do it for them. They made a list of ideas, we shot our first video, and the rest is history.
Not quite…a lot comes into play when creating a channel. It’s a good thing that my children love making these videos and sharing them with friends and family members. Now that we’re moving to Puerto Rico, it’ll be a great way for them to keep everyone in the loop of their new adventures. Assuming your children want to make a YouTube channel and are comfortable in front of the camera, here are some tips:
5 Tips for Making a Children’s YouTube Channel
1. Decide on the branding ahead of time.
It’s easy to start a channel on YouTube and start throwing videos up, but the more focused your channel is, the more engagement you will receive. For instance, I have a personal YouTube channel that has been up for several years and is barely up over a hundred subscribers. By contrast, my Young Living YouTube channel broke 500 subscribers fairly quickly and continues to gain momentum daily. One is all over the place, the other is quite specific in subject matter. So pick something for your channel that you’re passionate about. There’s comedy, vlogging, gaming, DIY, reviews…the options are endless. The more specific you can get, the better. Make sure you also have real estate on other social media sites and post regularly. I made a Facebook page for the kiddos where I post almost daily about things they’re doing, along with their once a week YouTube video.
2. Know that you’re in for the long haul.
YouTube is chock full of abandoned channels. Lots of people start making videos and then quit cold turkey once they realize how much work it is – for a very little reward at first. You likely will get few authentic views, comments, subscribers, and even fewer shares when starting. It takes a while to get the ball rolling, but consistency is key. Chances are, if your kiddos are like mine, they will care very little about numbers. They will just love the time they get to spend with you doing something they enjoy, and they’re super happy just knowing their family and friends are watching. Be willing to stick it out, even when it seems like no one is viewing. Doing it for money or internet fame will burn you out quick.
3. Come up with a list of ideas in advance.
Posting videos regularly (minimum once a week) catches up to you quickly. You may think you have a slew of ideas to keep you going for a while, but there will always be something that comes up where you may not be able to devote as much time to recording or editing as needed. In those times, have a backup! I pretty much always record when we’re hanging out with friends or doing something special. That way I can throw up a slideshow in a pinch. Since their channel is about fun, safe challenges and life experiences, it fits the brand. Also, whenever they are spending time with friends or family, I like to have them all come up with something they can do together. Collaborations are wonderful. Other children like seeing themselves in the videos, it adds variety and increases the likelihood of views outside your immediate circles. See how many ways you can involve others, and keep a running list of ideas/backups for when life gets in the way. Watch other YouTube videos for ideas and inspiration, but be authentic.
4. Know the rules.
YouTube has very specific rules about children on the internet. Since it is owned by Google, and Google is in the business of collecting our data, they have no interest (or legal right) in youth under 13. For this reason, children under 13 must post to a parent account. I made a separate google email address for them and the rest of the data on the account is mine. When they get older, I can switch it over to them completely. Also, fill up the description box and tags on your video. So many people leave those fields empty, but they really help your video get found when someone is searching on Google or YouTube. Lastly, interact with the YouTube community. Subscribe and leave comments on other people’s videos. Do unto others…
It won’t always be fun. Sometimes it’s a drag and you’re up late editing to meet a deadline. Other times you’re not in the mood to film your children making a big mess 😉 Know that you are making lasting memories that your kiddos will cherish for years to come. If it starts to stress you out, remember, it’s really not that serious. Just have a blast and laugh at all the bloopers together. Take pride in the content you’ve created and know that the channel will continue to grow and evolve as your children do…so enjoy the journey!