Most bloggers have a social media presence on platforms like Instagram and others, but one platform that some bloggers steer clear of is YouTube. Not everyone is into making video content on YouTube and there are some very valid reasons for that. Let’s talk about why bloggers don’t start a YouTube channel, how you can protect yourself if you do decide to start a channel, and then why you should start a channel if it’s something you’ve been considering.
Very valid reasons why bloggers don’t start a YouTube channel
Man, do I love YouTube. There are all sorts of videos from all types of creators. You can learn how to do just about anything. From fixing your toilet, to learning investment strategies, to applying eyeliner, YouTube has it all and it’s my favorite social media platform…. as a viewer. As a creator, YouTube scares the crap out of me and it’s why I didn’t start my channel until 2015 — three years after I started my blog.
I started taking YouTube more seriously about a year and a half ago when I become more interested in creating video content. I have just over 21k subscribers at the moment and my behind the scenes at a French bakery video went viral last year. I love YouTube, but it takes a ton of time. I don’t even know how many hours I spent creating content the first couple of years before I was monetized. But I did it because I loved creating and sharing. But I’ll say this right out of the gate. YouTube can mess with your head, so I completely understand why bloggers avoid creating a YouTube channel.
Experts say video is the future and that if you’re a blogger, you should be doing video. Really, only you know what you should be doing and what feels right to you. But the facts about video stand strong: 73% of adults in the USA are on YouTube and the platform has 2 billion logged-in monthly users, according to a report put out by Hootsuite.
As a blogger, I think video content (even non-YouTube video) is important to building a brand. It shows your audience more of who you are beyond what can be conveyed through words on a page. But it’s not for everyone and that’s OK, too. If you are thinking about starting a YouTube channel, what’s holding you back?
Many bloggers don’t have a YouTube channel because they have no interest in starting one. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about those of us who are interested but just haven’t done it yet. If you’re thinking about creating a YouTube channel, it means it’s something that interests you that’s worth exploring. If you have zero interest in creating a channel and aren’t even open to it, well then you wouldn’t still be on the fence. Your hesitation is valid and means you need some reassurance before you take the next step. So let’s talk about it.
Valid reasons why bloggers don’t start a YouTube channel:
The toxic comment section. I’m kicking off my list with this one because it’s a biggie. You don’t have to scroll too far down in a YouTube video’s comment section to find rude and insensitive comments that are even sometimes vile, hateful, and racist. Female YouTubers have it especially rough. So it’s no wonder that so many bloggers out there steer clear of YouTube entirely. It’s wild out there. Not wanting to deal with the toxic nature of the YouTube comment section is a very valid reason to not wanting to start a channel of your own.
(Sure, you could turn off the comments but part of the platform is the community. More on dealing with the comments below.)
People who find me randomly on YouTube don’t know me. They’ll make snap judgments off of one video. Now, it’s not that all of you here on my blog actually know me in real life, but if you’ve been reading here awhile, you know a bit of my backstory and take on things to understand my point of view. You know me more than someone browsing on YouTube. When people randomly find you on YouTube, they have free rein to be as judgy and horrible as possible because to them, you aren’t a real person. In case you needed confirmation, yes people can be horrible.
I don’t know about you, but when I watch someone on YouTube, I may notice someone’s appearance but I would never dream of commenting on it. Does a beauty blogger have a huge zit? Oh well. It happens. Who cares. Hair sticking up? Doesn’t matter. Mascara smudged? No biggie. It can make you self-conscious about things you weren’t self-conscious about before. The way you look, dress, speak, you name it, people will comment on it as if you’re not a real person with real feelings. If you’ve never seen nasty, critical, rude comments on a woman’s YouTube channel, it’s not because she is the exception. It’s because she has comments moderated and actively works to maintain a civil comment section.
Even if you get a bunch of nice, supportive comments, the one nasty one you delete will be the one that sticks with you. But what I’ve learned is that critical people who go out of their way to put others down aren’t happy with themselves and their lives. I feel bad for people who need to anonymously spew negativity online and their actions say loads about them as a person. When you look at it like that and rise above, it’s easier to deal with. You’re the one trying to put something good out into the world, not some anonymous loser behind a screen. But comments can still get under your skin.
You don’t feel “ready” yet. Guess what, you’ll never feel “ready.” The best time to start your channel, well, was yesterday, but the second best time is today. I’ve fallen into this perfection mentality of not wanting to start until I had better equipment and better video skills, but all that does is delay you from getting started. Learn enough about making videos to feel somewhat confident and use YouTube to do it. As my favorite Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell says, “Practice is NOT perfection. It’s progress.” Start now. Improve as you go. At least you’re taking action now.
If it’s not the tech side of things that’s making you feel like you aren’t ready, maybe it’s everything else that’s overwhelming you. Should you be on camera? Should you only be behind the camera? What should you wear? What should you say in your intro? Ahhh, so many questions that I totally get. I don’t like being in front of the camera. I’m a private person. But ever since I’ve moved abroad, being outside of my comfort zone is the norm, so I went for it. But that doesn’t mean it gets anymore comfortable or that I feel any more ready today than I did five years ago.
It takes a ton of time to make videos. Yes, making videos takes time. It takes time to conceptualize the video, plan it out, learn the tech side of shooting and editing, etc. My plan with YouTube was to make videos that have me out and about, talking to French people and showing you a side of French culture my way. That takes a ton of time. It’s way less time consuming (and less mentally overwhelming) to make “talking head” videos of me in my house talking to the camera. Those are fine. Some have done well. But I don’t want videos like that to take up the bulk of my channel although talking head videos are way easier to make.
Then once you do get started, you have to look at the time you’re spending on video creation versus the reward. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to refer people to your website? Are you selling something? Trying to earn a side income? Is this a hobby or a business? Whatever your goal is, it’ll be slow going for a while. Probably years. Is putting in the effort worth it to you and a good use of your time? Are you clear on why you want to start a channel? Those are questions only you can answer.
It comes down to this. We all have 24 hours in a day. If you say you want to make videos yet always find that you don’t have enough time, all that means is that you’re not prioritizing it. If you really, really wanted to make videos, you’d turn off Netflix, take a rain check on going out with friends Friday night, and wake up an hour earlier. When we want something and deem it important, we do whatever it takes. So it’s either important or it’s not. You either make the time or you don’t.
Let me touch on one important point here. Many of the reasons above boil down to fear.
It’s such a valid reason for NOT creating a YouTube channel (and frankly is the reason that holds us back from so much in life). While fear is a valid excuse, it’s not a particularly helpful one if your goal is to get started on YouTube. What are we scared of? Well, of not being good enough, of not being successful, of nasty comments, of messing up, etc. The list goes on and on.
Every time I publish video, fear creeps into my psyche. Yes, really. Guilty. I’m scared people won’t like my video or will be overly critical and rude. But know what? I do it anyway. I make the content I want to put out into the world because I know my subscribers enjoy it and I love making it. If you have your heart set on learning how to shoot video and creating content, then go for it anyway. The fear lessens over time and it’s worth the reward.
A saying I love that I come back to often is do not compare your starting point to someone else’s middle. Just don’t. Your Day 1 can’t look like someone else’s Day 303045. Everyone starts from somewhere and the only way to go is up.
All fear does is hold us back, stop us from creating and trying, and keeps our dreams and successes at arm’s length. Fear is very real, but don’t let it consume you to the point of not taking action.
So how do you protect yourself?
Now that we’ve talked about the reasons why people don’t start a YouTube channel, let me be clear. I DO think starting a YouTube channel is worth it if you want to expand your skill set and learn video. If you want to share something with the world, then go for it. If you’re passionate about making videos, that passion will rise up above all the BS and will fuel you to continue. But before you go for it, keep these tips in mind on how to protect yourself.
Set the tone. From the minute you open your mouth, you’re setting the tone for your channel. If you talk about polarizing topics that are rife with conflict such as religion or politics, it’s only normal your comment section will be full of conflict. I try to keep it casual on my channel with a friendly tone, but even still, people will be rude in the comments even if you don’t even talk about remotely controversial topics. So then take the next step and write a line or two in your description box that sets the expectation that rude/hateful/racist speech will not be tolerated and the user will be banned without warning. It still won’t prevent people from being dicks, but letting them know that they’ll be blocked if they break the rules does help.
Use the comment moderation feature. In your dashboard, you can set up a list of blocked words that will automatically trigger the comment to be held in YouTube purgatory. Any comments that contain one of these words are held from the channel’s public comment section until they are manually published or deleted by you. I have curse words and a bunch of other rude words in my block list and whenever a viewer leaves a comment with one of these words, I get to choose if it’ll see the light of day. The comment only becomes public if I say so. Most of them go in the trash and the user gets blocked from my channel. This feature is a MUST!
Take it one day at a time. No one says you need to go from 0 to 1000 subscribers overnight. You don’t need to go from hobby blogger to pro ever. You don’t need to create 100 videos by next month. Take it a little at a time. It’s not all or nothing. Make improvements as you go. Learn how to make better videos and become a better editor one day at a time and learn from your mistakes. You don’t need a fancy camera or lens to get started. The content of what you’re making is what counts so just get it out there and improve as you go.
Note: You do need to get a stable image with good sound. That’s non-negotiable. If you’d like me to write a post a YouTube basics for beginners, let me know..
Use the delete button. The comment section is yours. Think of it like you’re inviting these strangers into your living room. If someone is rude or hateful, you get to kick them out of your house, or in this case, delete their comment from your feed. If you tend to take the comments personally and just the act of reading them sends your blood pressure soaring, have a friend or family member moderate the comments so you don’t even have to see them.
Stand up for others and show support. I hate, hate, hate when people stand by and do nothing. They don’t speak up, they don’t help others, etc. There’s no need to engage with bullies — and 99% of the time I say steer clear — but at the very least, if you see a hateful comment, report it by taking a split second to click the report button next to the comment. If you see someone struggling, maybe leave a supportive comment or reach out to them via email or DM. Community is important, so be a part of it even before you get started with your own channel. We are stronger together. You get what you put out.
Surround yourself with people who get it. We’re a product of our environment and we need to have a YouTube support system. They can be family, friends, work colleagues, people you just met online in a YouTuber FB group, whoever. Support from others is an absolute must to keep you on track, give you a sounding board, and to listen when you need a receptive ear. We all need these people in our lives. So find your YouTube crew. And then return the favor and support them right back. You will never be less successful because you celebrated someone else’s win. Remember that. Boost others.
Don’t give too much of yourself away. Remember, you do not owe anyone anything. The content you produce on YouTube is free for viewers to consume. You don’t owe people your time, a reply, an apology for not getting content out fast enough, or anything else. I understand wanting to be nice and wanting to reply to everyone and getting to know your community. Yes, of course that’s important but do it in moderation. Do what feels right and what you can handle. When all of these expectations start stressing you out and people get into your head, that’s when you know you’ve hit your breaking point. Save some of yourself and your energy for the people who matter most in your life. The online world can get toxic, suck you into a dark hole, and make you feel like you owe people something. You don’t.
Phew, OK, I’ll stop there. The bottom line is if you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel, just do it. If you’re thinking about it and have been for a while, it means you want to do it, so just bite the bullet and get started. Protect yourself with my tips above and then get after it. When the tide rises, we all float, you know? Be a force of good and put yourself out there. It won’t hurt as much as you think. As always, I’ve got your back.
P.S. If anyone out there likes this type of content for bloggers and content creators, would you let me know so I can write more of it?