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Today we are going to talk about the steps to take to become an artist on Youtube.
In my video and post, I outline the steps I have personally taken to grow my channel from 0 to 10K subscribers in just 16 months, as well as grow my own brand as an artist and creator for acrylic painting.
Like this painting? Buy the print here!
To start, I want to preface this by first saying this controversial statement …
Youtube is more effective for growth and discovery than all social media COMBINED.
And THAT is because…
Youtube continually works for you, even while you are sleeping, eating, or watching your favorite episode of “The Office”.
Ok, Amanda. What does that even mean??? How does Youtube work for you?
Well, buckle in, Queen Bees. Cause I’m gonna drop some knowledge bombs on you:
Youtube is owned by one of the biggest, household names of the century – Google. Google is the number one online search engine, giving millions of people millions of targeted answers they are searching for – INSTANTANEOUSLY.
And Youtube works the very same way – and we as artists can take advantage of this!
When people type in, How to Paint a Snowflake on Youtube, they see a list of videos that are related to that keyword they punched in, the keyword being “how to paint a snowflake”. Those videos are the search results – and are the most likely to be watched.
And those search results will be relevant – today, next month, next year, and in the next 5 years.
Let’s just pause and think about that.
A video you made 3 years ago is still being discovered by people – at all times in the day.
THAT my friends, is the gold mine that is Youtube- and which- I believe- is much more powerful than the likes of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Once you make a video on youtube, it’ll be relevant and searchable and DISCOVERABLE for years to come, unlike a Facebook or Instagram post which might make you discoverable for 1-2 days, at most.
So with that being said, how can you use Youtube to grow your art career?
1. What do you want to accomplish on your channel and who is your audience?
- Do you want to teach people how to paint?
- Do you want to just showcase your art skill?
- Are you looking for free advertisement for your commission services?
And you also want to think about the sort of people that will want to watch your videos.
- Are your viewers aspiring artists looking to learn new techniques?
- Is your audience looking for inspiration pieces?
- Is your audience just interested in finding new artwork to buy?
Mind you, the answers to some of these questions might end up intermingling with one another.
For example, my videos are intended for people who want to be creative, but may find the painting process overwhelming and scary.
So, I make my videos in the long form – teaching my audience step-by-step how to create their own painting and embrace themselves in the process.
BUT, I also make some videos that target those people who just like being creative, but don’t necessarily paint – and I do this with my Saturday Storytime segments – where I talk about the more soft, emotional sides of being creative person.
See how enlightening that process can be?
The way you answer this question is a big deal because it essentially forms what sort of videos you will be making for your intended audience.
2. What are your favorite artists doing on their channels?
These are the current titans of the art niche – and they are the perfect examples of what WORKS on Youtube right now.
So, take the time to figure out who your favorite art Youtubers are. What are they doing for their videos?
As you are watching, take notes of why you like to watch them. Is it because of their art style? Their teaching instruction? Their sense of humor?
Whatever draws you most to someone are the traits you want to use and adapt for your own channel.
For example, I noticed there were lots of “long-form” artists who create 1-2 hour long tutorials that people can follow along with them. I liked this style and decided to adopt it as well, with my own original creations of course!
Now, I do want to put this out there…
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – straight up copying someone’s style or work is NOT cool.
That is why you want to put your own spin on what is working right now!
This is a concept I actually learned from one of my Youtube courses I took called JumpCut Academy – whose biggest lessons on creating viral videos is to take something that already works on YT and add your own unique spin to it.
Ok, now that you have an idea of who your audience is, what kind of video you will be doing, and who the big players out there are….the next step is…
3. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords!
Lol…yup, more research (yay!)
I know you want me to talk more about the “sexy” parts of being a Youtuber, like what kind of camera I use and my giant collection of swimming pools filled with hundo bills.
But, it’s not what makes a good art channel…
Although I wouldn’t mind a swimming pool of benjamins….but I digress.
So, we already talked about how Youtube is basically a huge search engine….
And when someone is looking for something specifically to watch, they will punch in words – aka keywords – into the Youtube search bar to find what video they are looking for.
These keywords are a powerful tool for discovery – because people can organically find you whenever they type in keywords you are using for your channel like “acrylic painting tutorials” or “pop art painting ideas”.
How To Find Powerful Keywords
Method 1: Use the Youtube Search Bar
Some ways you can discover powerful keywords can be as simple as using the Youtube search bar. Just type in what keyword you are interested in, and Youtube will start to autocomplete the phrase – giving you hints of some really popular search terms people are using RIGHT NOW!
For example, if you type in the words “sunflower painting” in the search bar, you’ll see this…
- Sunflower painting acrylic
- Sunflower painting tutorial
- Sunflower painting for beginners
- Sunflower painting easy
These autocompleted list of suggested keywords is SUPER important to pay attention to, because these are the most popular keywords people are actively typing and searching onYoutube.
Method 2: Automate the Process with TubeBuddy
My favorite way to research is by using a keyword analyzing software called TubeBuddy – which seamlessly integrates with Youtube to not only show you low competition keywords, but also what videos are currently using those keywords.
THIS is why I love using TubeBuddy.
Because I can look at real videos of what is working and then once I find something, I can then use my creativity to make it my own to film.
- I currently have a Pro Version of TubeBuddy, which has been a great investment (and business expense I can deduct on my tax return!), but you can also try TubeBuddy free!
When I say equipment, you probably think about a camera. And before we go any further or you desperately decry how broke you are and cannot afford a nice camera, let me lay some truth for you.
When it comes to using a camera for my videos, I keep it as ratchet and cheap as they come….I use my camera phone – more specifically, I use my husband’s old janky iphone 6 camera. That’s it.
You don’t need a fancy camera to become a Youtuber.
In fact, you can see tons of videos on this subject alone, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that many Youtubers started out with just a humble phone camera that helped them get recognized.
So, my point is….save your money, you don’t have to buy a new camera just yet. Use your phone!
Now, if I had to recommend one item for filming that every person MUST have, I would recommend good lighting.
And here’s why.
Anything you shoot with excellent lighting gets picked up really well with your camera, gives your work that extra look of professionalism, and takes out any unwanted shadows that may show up on your work.
and we being the visual Queen Bees that we are – good image is EVERYTHING!
How to Get Great Lighting?
So, if you want to get super basic, be sure to film by a window and have another source of light (like a lamp) on the other side to reduce any shadows.
Or, you can invest a little bit and get a softbox lighting kit and shoot your videos in any room at any time of the day. I shoot in my basement because my condo has very little natural light that filters inside, so I had to make do. I included my affiliate link to the softbox lighting kit I use here.
Next, I always recommend a tripod or a stand that can hold your camera (or camera phone in our case). You want to look for a tripod that is adjustable and can help you get multiple angles for your artwork.
I personally use the Akron Pro Phone stand, which if you have ever watched a Tasty video where they shoot from above, you can get some really amazing DIY shots, and I love it. I also included my affiliate link of the phone stand I use here.
This is kinda the same idea as cameras. You don’t need to go super crazy with editing software at the beginning.
So, depending on what type of computer you have, you can always start with the free basic softwares.
If you have a Mac, use iMovie; Windows: Windows Movie Maker. Both are free, easy to use, and can help you start your blooming art career.
5. Stay Consistent and Think 2 Years Ahead…aka slow and steady wins the race
I have heard of people who are gung ho about starting a Youtube channel, make 3 videos, see little growth, and give up on the platform.
And the reason why people like these fail is because they are expecting INSTANT returns, money, fame and glory. As much as we all want to be instantly famous and rich, doing butterfly strokes in dolla dolla bills y’all – it rarely happens overnight.
You need to put in some work, knowing full well that you may not be found, seen or discovered for quite a while.
My first few videos I put out on my channel had maybe 30 views over a span of a month. And even though I wasn’t really being seen, I kept a consistent schedule of posting 1 video a week, one because I wanted to keep flexing my painting muscle, but 2, I wanted to set a “heartbeat” for my channel.
Yeah, there was maybe 3 people watching my stuff, and if I had the mindset of “I need to be rich and famous from my art NOW”…I would have given up a long long time ago.
I kept at it, feeding the content mill, week after week every Wednesday.
I know I can maintain that schedule, and I stick to it, no matter what.
This shows people that I show up for them every week, giving them new content to see. It develops trust with your audience, and they now know when they can come watch you at this time every week.
And the beautiful thing about Youtube…. It just takes that one video to be shared before you start to really blow up.
Now, with almost 10K subscribers, I can say this process has worked wonders for me.
I hope these tips have given you a bit of insight, motivation, and know-how to get going on your flourishing art career on Youtube.
What are your thoughts?
- Are you thinking about starting an art channel?
- What did you think of my tips?
Comment below and please share your thoughts! I would love to hear from you!
Amanda is a self-taught artist and founder of The Buzzed Artist, dedicated to teaching adult beginners how to art with confidence using acrylic paint and love themselves in the creation process. If you want to get started right with acrylic painting, be sure to enroll in her FREE mini-course The Acrylic Artist’s Toolkit.