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How To Make Popular YouTube Videos and Get Them Viewed - A Guide For Beginners

Updated on July 14, 2017

A Fictional Video Character


Finding Ideas:

For the purpose of this article I'm going to assume that you want to make an entertainment video. Whether it is a Comedy video, Science Fiction, Drama, Romance, Horror, or a video in some other genre, you are going to need an interesting plot and characters that will make people want to watch your video again and again. In other words, you are going to need ideas.

Where do I find ideas for my video, you ask? Ideas are everywhere. But you need look no farther than YouTube itself to find an avalanche of ideas.

How about entering one of the many contests that some channels promote? If you do, you will get your main idea from their guidelines.

Or you could do a collaboration, also known as a collab. Look up collab in the youtube search box. You will find videos that ask for collaboration help as well as videos that are part of a collaboration. If the video is part of an existing collab you can follow the link provided in the video description back to the original collaboration video to see if the request is still open.

How about a spoof? Spoofs are great both for providing video ideas and for getting your video viewed. First you find a popular video, come up with a way to make an alternative video that plays off the original in a funny way, then use the popular video title for your title along with the word "Spoof."

Another idea is to take popular video and do a remix of it. In this case you edit the video repeatedly to make it funny, wacky, or weird. You can do a remix that includes clips from more than one video as well. Just be sure to get permission when using someone else's material.

Also, you could do what is called a video response. Many popular vloggers and other YouTubers ask for or allow video responses to their videos. You watch their video, film your response to it (and yes you can use an entertainment video as a response if it is related in some way to their video) and after you upload it you link it back to their video under the video response option.

Of course, another great way to get fresh ideas is to watch what other people have done and let it spark your imagination to come up with your own original video idea.

A Scene From A Contest Video

The Collector Thingy!
The Collector Thingy! | Source

Planning Your Video:

Once you have your main idea for a video script, start asking yourself questions about it. For a full demonstration of how this can be done see the hub entitled "Overcoming writer's block." The point is, the more questions you ask about your idea, the more possibilities you will come up with for your video. The more questions you ask about those possibilities, the more your initial idea grows.

When you have completed your question and answer session. Pick the best ideas you have come up with (it is ok to mix and match several) and write a simple outline of what you want your video to become.

Next is the fun part. Start writing your script and let your imagination go wild! The more you allow yourself to enjoy this part of the creative process, the better your video script will become.

Finally, after reading your script out loud and editing the things you think should be changed, show it to a few other like-minded individuals and get their input. They may come up with some ideas that will really add to your video and its appeal to your viewers.

Professionals at Work


Getting Volunteers:

Getting volunteers, especially younger people who are into the internet video scene is pretty easy. Many people want to be in a YouTube video, but either don't have their own channel, or if they do, can't come up with ideas of their own. Ask around at your local college campus drama department, at church youth groups, at the clubs in which you participate, and even at work. Anywhere you find a number of people congregating is a potential source of volunteers.

Just make sure from the start that you treat participation in your video as a privilege that not everyone can partake of. You don't want to be stuck with someone that had to be pressured or browbeat into participating in your video. You want people who are eager to be involved and don't want to miss out on the fun. You don't want someone who is going to drop out on you before your video is done, setting you back as you struggle to re-film every part of the video that they were in.

Also, if you make it a privilege to be in your video, for most people that is reward enough. You won't have to worry about paying anyone to be in your video. Another important consideration is to get parental consent from any volunteer under the age of eighteen (while your at it, ask their parents if they would like to be involved as well).

Another Fictional Video Character


Building Props And Backgrounds:

Props for your video can range from the simple (I've seen great videos using cardboard boxes or with crayon colored backgrounds) to the complex (expensive costumes, green screen technology, and computerized special effects). Go with your budget and experience level. If you can afford the high-tech stuff, and know how to use it, by all means go for it!

If you don't have a big budget or don't know how to use complex video editing software, use that incredible imagination of yours. I have seen many low budget videos that were as enjoyable, and sometimes more enjoyable, than videos with large budgets and high technology. Don't forget, the great outdoors provides many props and backgrounds that don't cost a dime to take advantage of. Also, city streets, buildings, your kids toys, etc.

Still Image From Car Crash Scene

Just a bump in the road.
Just a bump in the road. | Source

Filling Roles:

Now it's time to assign parts to those volunteers you have found. Having "try-outs" or "auditions" adds to the image that this is something special that people are participating in. It lets them see that they have to earn their place in it. Assign parts based on the best fit for ability, motivation, and appearance.

For those who don't make leading roles, perhaps there is a background part for them. Also, you'll need help with those sets and backgrounds, with sound and lighting, with editing, etc. You should be able to find a place for everybody that deserves one.

The Director is in Charge


Who Is In Charge?

Here comes a potentially contentious area. Who is in charge? The obvious answer is the person who is making the video. But, be prepared for actors who want to re-write scenes in their own images. For camera operators who want to make up their own artistic shots. For equipment owners who want to control the action.

Everybody may want to feel like they are in control, but this can only lead to confusion, bad feelings, and the end of a project before it is finished. Make it clear from the start who is in charge and what is expected of those who are privileged enough to participate. If you don't keep a firm hand from the beginning, you won't get to the ending. And for crying out lout, make sure that "Quiet on the set!" means "shut up and stop making noise!"



Filming Your Video:

Now that you have volunteers willing to help you create your masterpiece, it is your responsibility to see to it that you don't waste their time. This involves planning scenes out ahead of time so that you know exactly who and what you need for each particular shoot. You don't want to waste somebody's time by bringing them along to every shoot if they don't have to be there. This is a busy world we live in and people do have other things to do. Also, you don't want the people you do need standing around waiting for someone to go get the camera, the microphone, or the important prop that was forgotten.

You also don't want to waste time going back to the same locations over and over. If you plan ahead, you can get all the shots you need from one location finished in one or two shoots, even if you end up filming the script out of order. As long as you pay attention to wardrobe, make-up, the condition the characters are supposed to be in, etc. your editing software won't care which scene was shot first.

Still Shot From Animation Video


Putting It All Together - Editing Your Video:

When you are sure that you have gotten all your shots and the filming portion of your project is over, double check and make sure again. Once you are completely sure, you come to the next exciting part of creating; editing your video!

In this phase, you are going to have to use your video editing software to arrange your video, taking the best shots for each scene and putting them in order. You are going to have to add transitions, special effects, and sounds that don't already appear in your video. Also, make sure that you have not cut all ties with your acting talent. You may need to overdub some lines of dialogue that did not come out right, or that was covered by a background noise, or that was added later.

Another big consideration is where you are going to get the music for your video. Will you have someone make original music for you? Will you find copyright free music that fits the mood you want to express? Or will you pay for permission to use copyrighted music?

YouTube Poll

How Familiar Are You With YouTube?

See results

The Final Format - Exporting Your Video:

When your video is complete and edited to perfection, you are still not done. Your video editing software is a tool that puts your video together the way you want it. However, at this point it is just a file in your editing program.

Your next step is to export your video out of your editing program and into a format that is compatible with video players. You will have several options available to you. If you are a beginner, pick the option that is the standard preset. It is probably the most compatible with video viewing programs. If you play around with settings that you don't yet understand you can cause yourself a lot of headaches. If the standard presets are not right, you will have to get some help from someone who does know what they are doing. perhaps you can find help from an online forum or from a friend who has more knowledge about these things than you do.

Uploading Your Video:

You are now about to embark on the most hair raising part of making a video. Uploading it to YouTube and waiting for it to become active on the site.

The instructions for uploading a video are simple. You just follow them in order. Next, you sit and twiddle your thumbs while you wait for it to be uploaded and formatted at whatever connection speed you are stuck with by your internet provider. Finally, when YouTube has all the data it needs and has spent the needed amount of time formatting your new video, you will be able to let out the breath that you have been holding when you finally see your complete video online.

Don't relax though, you are not done yet!

Steps In Video Making

How To:
Find an Idea
Look At Other Videos To Spark Your Imagination
Plan Your Video
Ask "What-If" Questions
Get Volunteers
Drama Clubs, Youth Groups, Clubs, Your Workplace, Other YouTubers
Build Props And Backgrounds
Go With Your Budget
Assign Roles
Auditions and Try-Outs
Take Charge
From The Very Start
Film Video
Plan In Advance To Save Time And Keep People Busy
Edit Video
Arrange Scenes, Add Transitions, Special Effects, Sounds, Music, Etc.
Export Video
Go With Preset Format or Ask An Expert
Upload Video
Click Upload And Hold Your Breath
Get Viewed
Get The Word Out

Getting Your Video Viewed:

Now that you have gone through all this trouble and work to get your masterpiece put together and uploaded to YouTube, you want people to view it. There are several things that you can do.

Number one is community. Hopefully, as a member of an online video community, you have been subscribing to other video makers, watching their videos, and commenting on them. If you do this regularly, some of these YouTubers will subscribe back to you and will automatically be notified of your new video. They may then send it out to others if they find it worthwhile.

You also can send your videos out to others. You can email it to your friends and family and ask them to email it to others. You can contact friends and acquaintances who have online sites or blogs and ask for a link or a video embed. And of course, you can link to it on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others.

As mentioned before, you could be part of a collaboration, in which case your collaborator will let their viewers know about your video (and you will let your subscribers know about his or hers). Now your video has a chance of being viewed by the other YouTuber's subscribers as well as yours.

If your video is a response to another video, people will see a link to it when they watch the video you responded to. if you have made a spoof of another video, your video may show up as a "similar video" when people watch the video you have spoofed.

Also, lets not forget Meta Tags! When you upload your video you are given a chance to add searchable meta tags about your video. This is an important step. Include every relevant tag that will describe your video and make it show up in searches for those tags. This will also help make it show up in the related video section of similarly tagged videos.

Finally, ask for help from the experts. Other video makers on YouTube have a wealth of information and experience. Ask for their help. You'll be surprised at how many of them are willing to give it.


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    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Billybuc, I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have to start following you. Your pictures alone are worth the visits, and information like this is invaluable. Thanks!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

      Rajan, good luck with your videos. Now that I've upgraded my computer I am going to start working on some more videos myself.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Eric, just came back for a refresher. I have 5 videos out of a total 21 that I have on youtube, that have views ranging between 1500 - almost 10000 views. Gives me hope that I'm not doing bad.

      I need to share them on social networking sites. I believe that should give some push.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

      You're welcome, vickycristina

    • profile image

      vickycristina 4 years ago

      Thank you for your comment. I started my tiny Vlog Channel. But I became didsouraged because it did not really make that much view. I heard of the collabs thingy and I learned about the "spoofy" tip.

      I can tell you that I learned from your text. Thank you!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

      Ocfireflies, Thank you for the kind words. I will have to check out Pinky and the Brain sometime.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Eric Calderwood,

      Greetings! Sir, you are having way too much fun! Smiles! This is a superstar hub with super information. After watching Professor Sphincter, I kept thinking about Pinky and the Brain--one of my fave toons of all time. Anyway, not that you probably even need it, Vote Way Up and Share.

      Best Always or at least on some occasions,

      ocfireflies aka Kim

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Hi Rajan, with most youtubers, a video is doing well to get 1000 views. It used to be easier years ago, but now with all the professional content they have the community has somewhat collapsed. They used to put more homemade videos on the front pages and if your video made it to one it would really take off. I had one video, which I have taken down for personal reasons, that made it to over 700,000 views. It was quite exciting when that happened.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I've made a few but have no ideas how the views compare to average views. Any ideas on what how many views monthly would be considered good?

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you, billybuc. You have the right idea, fun is the best reason!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well you obviously know what you are doing, Eric! I have done some videos but never really had a lot of was just fun doing them. :) Thanks for the tips.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada


    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Christy! I'm thinking of new ways to connect my accounts so I may even make some videos about HubPages in the future.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Great tips here Eric for any newbie to the YouTube scene. I have debated getting started on YouTube and if I do then your hub will prove a good reference! Best of luck to you with future videos.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks, moiz17. It is always a lot of fun to be involved in making online videos.

    • moiz17 profile image

      moiz17 5 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Surely love the advice. I participated in a home-made video too which got quite popular in my native country. I was just a part of the video and can understand that part about people trying to change their lines and stuff. It's in Urdu but just in case you want to have a look.

      Great tips. Voted up!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks, girltalksshop! I love watching the home-made type videos a lot more than the professionally polished ones. Like the other sites I'm on, I usually get into the community and interact with the content providers. It makes it more fun that way.

    • profile image

      girltalksshop 5 years ago

      Hmmm...interesting. Never had the desire to do so, but I know I watch them. : ) Voted up!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you, Cathleena! Videos are a lot of fun to create and are another good outlet for a writer.

    • Cathleena Beams profile image

      Cathleena Beams 5 years ago from Lascassas, Tennessee

      Very fun and entertaining hub - Enjoyed the humorous videos and photos.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you, urmilashukla23! So glad you came by.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Wow! Awesome advise. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up and shared.