CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - Creating a time schedule is essential for content creators and not owning fancy phones and equipment should not be an excuse to avoid starting a YouTube channel.
Anu Harchu is a YouTuber and content creator based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Anu spoke about how to start a YouTube channel on November 2 at Splice Beta in Chiang Mai province, Thailand, where 250 journalists, NGO workers and content creators from 45 countries were in attendance.
Anu creates educational content covering personal finance, technology, skincare, and vlogs. She has passed 100,000 subscribers in Mongolia, which has a total population of three million.
As Anu streamed her YouTube channel to the audience, she talked about how she has been the victim of online hate, including comments about her weight. However, she has moved on.
Anu’s talk about YouTube at the two-day Beta event comes as creators, YouTubers, TikTokers, Instagramers, podcasters and newsletter writers were welcomed as the new rise of journalism in the region.
Alan Soon, CEO at Splice, said at the opening of Beta that it is the new golden time for the media, with the rise of newsletters and podcasters, in which some of them were not there because they were busy writing newsletters.
“People say they are not journalists, we want to change that,” said Splice’s Co-founder Rishad Patel.
Alan and Rishad went on to introduce rising speakers, including Amanda Cua, who is not a journalist and is from the Philippines. She founded Backscoop last year, at the age of 19. The newsletter sends out curated news stories to subscribers as early as 6am about investment, business and startups.
Daravathtey Din, who writes fortnightly newsletter Campucchino about all things Cambodia, was also introduced. She also hosted the Startup Pitch at Beta.
In Cambodia, Voice of Democracy (VoD) launched its newsletters on Thursday. Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) staff also attended a workshop about podcasts in Chiang Mai on Friday.
“Who are you doing it for?
At Anu’s session about creating YouTube content, she said planning, filming and creating is essential to success.
“If you have a time schedule, it doesn't have to be weekly or daily, as long as you have a schedule to it, stick to it, you will be successful,” Anu said.
Anu said it is okay if videos do not get viewed much, but creators need to be able to provide something unique and add a different perspective to the content they are creating.
“Who are you doing it for? When you think about it, YouTube or any professional platform, it is almost like being a journalist anyway,” Anu said.
She said that when it comes to being a creator, people always hone in on the viewer or consumer of the content. However, there are two people creators are serving: those they want to work with and those they want to create for.
“You are serving two customers here, so be mindful of that. They can be potential employers, collaborators or sponsors even, or clients. If you are not really in the media landscape, or you are not serving entities, you are probably serving sponsors, or clients. That's my case for now.”
She added that it is a three-party issue and all parties must win: the creator, the viewer and the sponsor. “We don't really want to screw sponsors and we also want to respect the viewers and the people I am creating for, they want to win. They need to get something out of our content.”
Anu said when it comes to content strategy, the word strategy sounds big and involves a team. But, it can be a one-person team like herself.
Anu also introduced different trypes of videos on YouTube. For example, hero refers to highly-produced videos or collaborations with other YouTube creators and public figures. She said these offer "amazing rare content", which makes people keep coming back to YouTube.
Hub refers to regularly scheduled episode formats and live streams that make viewers return and subscribe. While Help is another form of content. It is evergreen content aimed at answering FAQs, explaining ideas, or diving into topics that hold resonance over time. It is something that is searchable and, if monetised, will bring in the money in the long-run.
Tips to plan, produce and publish YouTube content
Planning is like any media organization’s workflow and comprises pre- and post-production stages. An example was given for producing content on how to get tax returns in Thailand. Anu advised first thinking about the titles and topics that will be covered.
She uses project planning platform Notion, while many others use Trello, which she said is easy but when you add collaborators, it breaks down. For Notion and Clickup, she said they help. “We sometimes think that we are serving these platforms but these platforms serve you, so make it work for you.”
The platforms track each project along its production line, keeping the user accountable until the end. Anu asked, “How many people filmed themselves and left it there?” She added that putting pressure on yourself helps to finish the work quicker.
With regard to production, Anu said the talent is the content creator. “You are hosting the show or video,” she added. “People are coming to watch you, so for those who feel shy in front of the camera, you are the star of the show. You are there to deliver the content and information. People will stay on because of your information; you and your personality.”
Anu said this is applicable whether creating content under your own name, a pseudonym or as part of an organization.
When it comes to recording video content, Anu said keep it simple. “You just need the basic ideas - light, camera and action. Natural light is the best, so follow the sun like a sunflower.”
In terms of cameras, Anu advises using the best available. First wipe the lens and position the camera accordingly. She said to follow the rule of thirds when setting up a shot and to look at the lens when recording. If using a mobile phone, activate the do not disturb mode.
“I do not need a fancy phone and microphone. It would be nice to have one, but it’s not an excuse to not start a YouTube video,” she said.
Being unattractive should also not deter people from becoming video content creators. “Be accessible, don't try to be perfect, just be yourself. When I say this, it sounds easy to but it is hard to do, I know that.”
When it comes to post-production and editing, Anu recommends using iMovie. “Use jump cuts and don't think too seriously about it,” she said, adding to keep the Value Per Second (VPS) as high as possible and to avoid text and graphics in the beginning if viewers do not call for it.
Next is the packing content, which consists of the title, thumbnail and description. The title should be a maximum of 100 characters and be sometimes to catch viewers’ attention. The thumbnail is another tool used to lure in readers and is important.
“Think about the title and thumbnail together, so the same texts are not on the thumbnail and titles,” Anu added. Being clever with descriptions is also key as it aids marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The final stage is publishing, a phase that sees YouTube prioritize consistency over quality.
“When your audience knows you publish a video every Monday at 7am, people are there waiting for it. Because the algorithm recognizes your viewers are going to watch your video, I feel like they are suggesting videos around that time to people in their home feed.”