A blog or YouTube channel is a great way to boost your online profile and your CV – and if you can make some money off it too? Ideal.
We spoke to Youtuber Sunbeamsjess aka Jessie Lethaby, who has almost 400,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, to get the inside scoop on how to really maximise your online presence.
So, here’s what you need to know to take your blog from a readership of Mum to millions:
Firstly, make sure you are delivering content that people want.
You have to find some kind of niche; the internet is awash with bloggers and YouTubers so find a way to stand out. Although as Jessie told us, this can be incredibly difficult:
‘It’s a little hard for me to give completely relevant advice because I started to make videos at a time when nobody was really full-time working at being a YouTuber or blogger, and I can only imagine what it would be like to start now when there are so many YouTubers, and also an awful lot more subscribers.’
Don’t get disheartened though, as Jessie acknowledges, the process of building an online following takes time:
‘I coasted along for two to three years, but during my gap year I decided to put a lot more effort into making regular videos (key if you want to be successful as a YouTuber) and I also made a more definite switch from more beauty-based videos to fashion which has always been my main focus’
Secondly, as Jessie says, the key to growing and maintaining your followers is to put in a lot of work.
These days, people make blogging and YouTubing their full-time jobs, so be prepared to put in the hours:
‘Almost all the Vlogs I watch are from people who are full time YouTubers – whilst freelance blogging and making videos is by no means easy (and their Vlogs are certainly more interesting than my lengthy days in the library), I think it can be nice for people to see something more recognisable to their own lives sometimes’
Once you’ve done this, keep your content relevant and regular.
You need to keep your readers interested once you’ve hooked them, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what people respond to best. For Jessie for example, this meant a move away from beauty towards fashion.
This also means keeping up to date with new platforms, for example, Vlogging, which has a growing online community. As Jessie told us:
‘I’ve really grown in the past couple of years on the basis of doing uni-based videos, particularly on my second channel which is where I upload daily life Vlogs’
Use social media to promote your blog.
You already have access to a network through your Facebook friends or Twitter followers, so keep everyone updated on your work. As Jessie emphasises, it’s all about community;
‘I just think many of my subscribers find it comforting to know that I’m going through something similar to them’
Once you have a solid following, you can begin to think about advertising which generates money proportional to your hits.
Many companies pay to publish ads on blogs or YouTube videos and it becomes an easy way to generate income.
An alternative route is to offer subscribers products or services through your blog or YouTube channel.
Although, this is a little trickier but if you can find the right niche, it can yield big results.
For product-based blogs such as food, fitness or fashion like Jessie’s, you can always e-mail companies and ask for free samples in return for a review.
Once you get really successful, these companies will come to you, but in the meantime, be cheeky – if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Similarly, use this technique to secure items or services that can be used as prizes.
Competitions are a great way to draw in new subscribers and reward loyal followers.
However, as Jessie suggests, it’s important not to be consumed by your new online venture:
‘Finding your niche and maintaining a life outside of YouTube is also incredibly important; for too many it can become your whole entire life and the only validation you get is from your videos. One video with a bad reception can really tear down someone’s self-esteem, so always make sure you have friends and/or family who are completely outside that world.’ – This way your content will remain fresh interesting too.
Finally, we asked Jessie her top tip for taking your blog or channel to the next level:
‘Regular videos! They are a must, especially at the start (I’m bad at that bit), but also at the same time never force yourself and always try and have fun with it!’
Sunbeamsjess started out making beauty videos on YouTube in 2010 and has now been YouTubing for almost 7 years. She regularly posts videos and Vlogs centred on fashion and her daily life and has a regular following of nearly 400,000 people.
Subscribe to her channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV9f9VrkwR-EX9gtYHe11Tw