When a prospect asked me to share information on using YouTube, I turned to Barbara for information. Barbara, known as Book Club Mom, has been using YouTube to talk about books she’s read. Here’s what she had to share in response to the questions I asked her.
How do you set up a YouTube channel?
All you need is a Google account to set up a YouTube channel. If you use Gmail or Google Drive, then you already have one. Once you set up an account, sign in on YouTube and you can manage your account in various ways, through your channel and also through YouTube Studio, which is one of the options. YouTube Studio offers more details and stats about your videos once you upload them. You can customize your channel, add a profile picture, banner and select other options through settings. I recommend you choose your profile picture and think about how you want to brand yourself ahead of time, but not worry too much about it. You can always change things as you go along and learn where you fit in in the YouTube world.
Do you need any special equipment to create the videos?
If you have a smartphone, you can use the video feature on it to record your videos and upload them directly from your phone. In fact, that’s the best and fastest way to do it. I don’t recommend using your laptop to record a video because the quality isn’t as good.
Why did you decide to set up a YouTube channel?
I wanted to reach a broader audience. I have a book blog on WordPress and noticed a lot of other bloggers sharing their own videos. And I think because people are always in such a hurry, they use YouTube as a go-to spot to learn how to do things and get information. I’m also lucky to have the frequent advice of my four adult children, who know social media and YouTube very well. They encouraged me to set it up.
What type of content do you share on YouTube?
I talk about books I’ve read or want to read, reading and anything relating to the book world. I’m a Reference Librarian at a public library, so I also talk about my job there as it relates to books. I don’t share a lot of personal information or my location, but I like to talk about my general experiences as a librarian and as a mother. People want to hear those kinds of things, so you have to give a little. They want to know a little about who you are – that makes them relate to you.
How do you promote your channel?
I promote it on my blog and on social media, mostly Twitter and Instagram. I’ve experimented with how best to do that and often use Canva (a free graphic design app) to create promotional pieces. I also use Canva to make thumbnails of my videos, so that they all have a similar look to them on my channel. That makes it easier to promote them too, because I can use the thumbnail image on social media. I recommend playing around with Canva to learn how to make thumbnails. They have a template for it. Once you upload your first video, you’ll see why. YouTube gives you a few random options for thumbnails. You might not like those.
What tips can you give an author just starting a YouTube channel?
Be natural. Smile. Don’t script your videos or practice (too much). Have an idea of what you’re going to say and then take your time talking. Pretend you’re talking to a friend. That makes it a lot easier. Don’t worry about it being perfect because viewers actually prefer a regular person talking and they don’t mind if you pause or occasionally misspeak or even drop something. Some of my more popular videos are the ones in which I’ve made mistakes and caught myself. In my opinion, the more polished it is, the less interesting it is. Also, don’t obsess about how you look when you talk. We all know what we look like in still shots. It’s a bit of a shock to see yourself talking. You might not like the way your mouth moves or how your face is. You may discover that your face is uneven or that your glasses don’t sit perfectly on your face. I’ve been through that! Viewers are not watching you like that. They’ve clicked on your video because they want to see you and hear what you have to say. Don’t worry about views and followers – unless you’re a YouTube star, they will build slowly. And most important, be confident!
About Book Club Mom: I was a stay-at-home mom for twenty years and now that my kids are nearly grown, I’m also a part-time Reference Librarian at a public library. I like to read whenever I get the chance, and then I like to talk about the books I’ve read. I started a blog eight years ago and slowly added social media to my world. I’ve made great friends on my blog and on social media. Adding YouTube to the mix has made blogging even more fun!
You can find Book Club Mom here: