Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Successful YouTube Influencer

You love being on video, have a strong desire to share your expertise or passion on a topic with a wider audience, and are inspired by those who are creating income from their work on YouTube. Now all you have left to do is figure out the steps to get from where you are to where you want to be on the influencer ladder. Sure, it’s harder than it was when the platform was the wild west of social media. While it may not happen as quickly or as organically as it once did, you can leverage the experience of those who have already found success to chart your own path.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Your Definition of Influencer

The first step is to define what it means to you to be an influencer. It can be tempting to use a vague standard and say something like you want to make as much money as possible or to be a top ten earner on the platform. Both of these sound good in theory, but aren’t all that useful when you start planning.


Think about what success on YouTube really looks like for you. What is your first monetary goal? What would your days be like if you were living the dream? That might mean making extra money for travel while filming your trips to give other travelers advice on what to pack when you’re on vacation or have a little extra downtime. Or maybe you want to replace a full-time income so you can work while the kids are at school but be completely free when they’re home. Maybe you just want to talk about the books you love and get sponsored by Audible, a bookstore, or a publisher to promote the books you love. Your goals are your own and measuring yourself by those set by someone else isn’t helpful.

Take the time to really think about what success will look and feel like and let it dictate all of your other decisions.

Make a Plan

Once you know what you want, realize that It won’t happen overnight. Make short and long term goals that seem like a stretch now. That way you have something to work towards that is within reach and something to grow towards. As you hit your goals, constantly be thinking ahead to your next conquest and what it will take to hit them incrementally. This will help you stay motivated and hitting your content creation and engagement goals. Whereas if your only goal is to hit 100k subscribers, you may give up before your first 10k.


Then decide what it is you want to offer. How often you want to post, how often you want to be filming, how much time you can dedicate to editing, and even the ratio of one type of video to another. Planning out all of these details is the difference between having a YouTube hobby and becoming a successful influencer on the platform.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Stats Matter

Even if you aren’t a numbers person normally, you’ll need to learn how to fake it til you make it. Brands will want to know your audience demographics. Fortunately, YouTube makes it easy to identify this information. You can find the age ranges and gender makeup of your viewers and even where they are from. If you know who your ideal market is, it’s important to see if your content is bringing them to you and if it is holding their attention. If not, adjust either your content or your demographic expectations.

You’ll also need to keep an eye on how long people are staying on your videos, where the drop-off point usually is, and how often they click through on ads or links you supply. When you do this consistently you can see patterns and determine what content or link integration is working and what isn’t. This is valuable information not only for you, but also for any brands that may be interested in collaborating with you.

Look in the Mirror

Look at your page with critical eyes or get your influencer bestie to look at it. Would you go to a job interview without making sure your resume and outfit were the best they could be? Of course not and you shouldn’t be satisfied with a YouTube profile that looks like it was thrown together last minute.

A few things you can do to give a good impression is to use great channel art, which is what YouTube calls the banners at the top of a channel. You’ll also want to pay attention to your channel icon and make sure all of your video thumbnails are instantly appealing to potential viewers. All of these visual elements are critical if you want to stop someone mid-scroll who isn’t taking the time to read your video description.

As the amount of content on your channel increases, you will also want to consider customizing the layout of your channel. This allows you to select the featured video and create custom playlists to group videos together that may be of interest to viewers.

 Image Features the YouTube Account of Anaysa


The YouTube profile above is a good example of optimizing one’s assets. She has a banner that clearly displays her brand aesthetic, name, niches, and encourages people to follow her on various social media platforms. Her profile image is her channel’s logo which is also used in video and her thumbnail covers are not randomly pulled from the videos but crafted to show off highlights from the video and include a title to make it clear what they are about.


Don’t Be Annoying

You know all the things you hate when you watch a youtube video – bad lighting, bad audio, endless rambling, no editing. Don’t do any of that. Unless you are a gamer streaming sessions live, you probably need to at least have an outline of what you want to talk about and many find creating an actual script to be helpful. Use whatever you need to make sure you stay focused and on point.

Even with the best of intentions, you may find yourself saying uhm, having a coughing fit, or just blanking on what to say. That’s fine – as long as you edit it out. If you want it to be authentic, have a blooper reel at the end but don’t think your audience is going to stick around to watch you fumble.

Own Your Niche

You are not a unique snowflake in the blizzard of YouTube.

Image Credit: Pixabay

 There are other creators in your niche, and you should be paying attention to what they have to say as well as what industry experts and traditional media are saying so that you can stay relevant. If there is a controversy or fad happening relevant to your audience, you should be talking to them about it. Not only because it’s something they’ll be interested in, but because current events are SEO gold. You don’t want to always be talking about trends, gossip, and news because that doesn’t help cultivate evergreen content. However, it is great for helping your people find you.

Honestly, there are so many little things that go into growing a thriving YouTube channel, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. But the universal truth you can take with you as you endeavor to become a successful YouTube influencer is this, create valuable content, make it easy for people to find, and engage with your subscribers. As long as you keep doing this you’ll continue to make strides towards your influencer goals.

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