If you’re looking to start a successful YouTube channel, look no further. Today we’re joined by YouTube content creator Muaaz Shakeel, who focuses on teaching others how to do what he does.
We all have our favorite YouTube channels, and some of us want to give it a try. Why wait?
“If you don’t start right now, like this very moment, you might lose your shot.” -muaaz Shakeel
Stay tuned for more Q&As with successful content creators throughout the web to learn how to find a slice of the pie for yourself!
Without further ado, here’s our interview with Muaaz.
How to Create a Successful YouTube Channel:
Edgy Labs: Good day, Muaaz.
Thanks for joining this Q&A about Growth Hacking, focused mainly on building a YouTube channel but also on basic SEO practices and the best ways to drive traffic to your content–and maybe even a little bit about how to make quality content in the first place.
Do you think you could do a quick introduction of who you are and what you do?
Muaaz: Hey, thanks for having me on!
So, my name is Muaaz Shakeel, but on YouTube, I just go by my first name, Muaaz.
On my YouTube channel, I upload content in order to help aspiring YouTubers find success. I offer how-to’s, YouTube growth advice, and much more. To summarize what I do: I help people build their YouTube influence with content creation tips and tricks.
Edgy Labs: Awesome! So, first thing’s first, you’ve been YouTube-ing seriously for 2 years now. Mind sharing exactly how you got started?
Muaaz: Great question. So, I’ve had my YouTube channel since 2008. Back then, I was uploading on and off, initially trying to “make it big”, but–and I’ll get into this later–I never stayed consistent, and I never grew.
Early on, I tried a lot of different genres for my content like comedy and gaming. It just never clicked for me, so I decided to stop uploading and just focus on school and friends.
Although I wasn’t uploading videos during that time, I still went to YouTube to watch my favorite channels. Over the years, I watched a lot of content creators pass me up and end up blowing up on the platform, gaining millions of subscribers, while I stayed inactive. I wanted to be like the big dogs on YouTube–with an active fanbase of people always trying to talk to them–but I never thought that I would get that far.
It stayed like this until about August 2015 when I told myself, “I’m going off to college in a couple of weeks–this exact moment is my last chance to try YouTube.” Otherwise, I told myself, I’ll probably never get the opportunity again. If I didn’t seize this chance, I’d be asking myself a bunch of “what if?” questions down the road.
From there I put my foot on the pedal.
I started uploading consistently, taking my time with each video I uploaded. I aimed to have each video be better than the last. Ever since then, it’s been working out perfectly and I couldn’t be more blessed.
What I did differently this time was, instead of doing comedy and gaming content, which I knew was an area a lot of people were finding success in, I decided to do something I knew I was really good at–and that was tutorials.
In my personal life, I’m the person everyone goes to for their tech related issues. So, I decided to try making videos about questions I’ve received from friends and family.
A friend once asked me how to record his computer screen. So, I made a video on that during August 2015–it gained traction fast. That video has 581,000 views at this very moment and the updated version I created early 2017 has over 243,000.
From there, it’s been nonstop tutorials and advice videos which, honestly, have brought me an amazing audience and I couldn’t be happier to share with them.
Edgy Labs: What were some really enjoyable milestones?
Muaaz: Obtaining 10,000 subscribers was definitely one of my most enjoyable milestones. I was stuck in 4-digit subscriber numbers for so many years, but being consistent helped me hit the next level.
“Obtaining 10,000 subscribers was definitely one of my most enjoyable milestones.”
It was a number I never thought I would be able to get to and now I’m on my way to 60,000–which is ridiculous. Just in the last 30 days, I’ve gained over 6.2K subscribers, which is my all-time best subscriber rate for a month and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m projected to hit 100,000 subscribers early next year, but at the rate I’m going, I might even hit it before the end of this year.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll have the words to express my joy. I’ll most definitely be speechless–it’ll be a dream come true. I always wanted to have a silver or gold play button and by the looks of it, I have a good chance at getting the silver one in the next few months.
Edgy Labs: Why do you enjoy making YouTube videos?
Muaaz: There are a number of reasons why I enjoy making YouTube videos.
I would have to say the biggest reason why I enjoy making videos is that I can see my videos help others out significantly.
Videos that take me maybe 10-15 minutes to record and maybe 30 minutes to an hour to edit end up helping out thousands of people.
Whether the video is an advice video on how to pursue YouTube or just a normal tutorial teaching my viewers how to do something, I know I’m helping at least one person out. Not a day goes by where multiple people don’t thank me for uploading content regularly. It’s a really humbling experience.
Sometimes I have viewers who want to make a hobby out of uploading to YouTube and after watching my videos, these viewers decide that they want to pursue their dream of being a YouTuber.
I never thought I would have this much influence and positive support in my life and now I’m here. Again, I’m super grateful to all of my subscribers and fans.
I used to freak out whenever my favorite YouTubers would respond to me in the comments of their videos.
It’s just a great feeling to have knowing that you can make someone’s day with such a simple act.
Edgy Labs: Why do you enjoy helping others create successful YouTube channels?
Muaaz: YouTube is a hobby you can turn into a career. A lot of young adults and younger people (children) think about pursuing YouTube-ing in their free time but they rarely know how to do it the right way.
The reason why I enjoy helping so many aspiring creators find success with their YouTube channels is so that they can feel the way I do. You just asked me why I enjoy making videos. In short, it’s because it inspires me. I want thousands of people to feel the same way that I do.
I want my viewers to have a positive impact on their viewers and, hopefully, their viewers can pass that on. So on and so forth.
I know what it feels like to experience a lot of growth and positive support. It’s the least I can do to give back for everything my viewers have done for me.
Edgy Labs: What are some of the biggest mistakes you find aspiring content creators making which hinder the growth of their channel?
Muaaz: This is actually something I struggled with a lot when I was first trying to make it on YouTube. As I mentioned, my main issue was consistency.
I feel like it should be obvious but to a lot of people, including myself, it didn’t make sense until a close friend broke it down for me:
If your favorite content creator disappeared for weeks after every upload, you’d lose interest. To fill the time until that person to come back, you’ll find someone else to watch.
That someone else is always next in line to take your spot on the road to YouTube success.
Uploading one video per month on average, depending on your content type, isn’t going to help you build a dedicated and supportive fanbase.
At best, you’d have a bunch of inactive subscribers.
Taking breaks after videos is fine, I do it sometimes, too, but taking a break for too long means that someone is about to pass you up and is taking your potential fan base for themselves because you’re wasting the opportunity in front of you.
I found success because I decided to follow a consistent schedule. My viewers know when to expect a new video from me. I don’t just leave my viewers without content for months on end because one video does extremely well.
When I was hungry for more engagement, I went and got it by staying consistent.
Edgy Labs: Say someone already has a channel but it’s not doing so well. Mind laying out a few typical situations where this happens? How should someone in these situations go about fixing their channel?
This is a great question for YouTubers who have been uploading for quite a while but still haven’t gotten any recognition.
I myself was in this case for the longest time and that’s why I took so many breaks on YouTube because my gaming and comedy content wasn’t taking me anywhere and it was just really discouraging to see that my hard work wasn’t being noticed by anyone.
The first thing I recommend to people with slow growing channels is to try switching up your content. As I’ve said, over my journey I switched from gaming to tutorial-based video content and that’s what clicked for me.
Gaming channels are actually one of the typical situations where you can find an aspiring YouTuber struggling to find growth.
The reason why I think it’s like that is, to grow on YouTube, you have to be unique in one way or another. For the most part, people don’t want to watch your recreations to huge YouTuber’s videos.
The issue with gaming is that it’s pretty hard to be unique with a video game like Call of Duty or something along those lines because the games are so simplistic that there isn’t much you can do to set yourself apart from the thousands of others trying to make it on YouTube as gamers.
Edgy Labs: What kind of content is really popular at the moment–particularly those that are helping creators grow?
So, at the moment, there are 3 major content styles where YouTube content creators are finding a ton of success. The first one is ‘Reaction Videos’ where creators just record themselves reacting to a viral video, gif, event, etc.
Next up are ‘Challenge Videos.’ There are thousands of challenges content creators making videos out there. But one that never seems to die out is the ‘Try Not To Laugh’ challenge–which are just videos in which YouTubers play popular vines or short videos and if they laugh while watching it, they lose.
This is simple stuff, but it gets a ton of views and people enjoy it.
The third style of content that a lot of people seem to enjoy is Prank videos. They tend to gain traction fast if it’s shared on the right platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and from there, they can spark the growth of a channel significantly for the rest of its lifespan if done correctly–and consistently.
Edgy Labs: It’s clear that a ton of aspiring content creators are trying to make it on YouTube nowadays. What is the best way to rank higher in the saturated market that is YouTube?
Also, Let’s get into some mechanical SEO stuff. How do you make YouTube videos attractive even before people start watching them?
Muaaz: I always say this to anyone who wants to make it on YouTube but being descriptive WILL help you.
YouTube gives us plenty of resources to use to our advantage but a lot of people seem to think “Oh well, I know my video is awesome, I don’t need to worry about the video details for it to blow up.”
There are people out there who think a bad title or bad thumbnail will be fine as long as the video is good–not true. The issue with that mindset is that no one will click on your video in general if you don’t have a good title or an appealing thumbnail to begin with.
Your video won’t rank high in search results because you aren’t tagging your video or adding keywords into the description.
The best way to make your video appealing prior to anyone even clicking on it is to have a catchy title and an attractive thumbnail.
Those are the first two things about your video potential viewers will see. If you are able to catch the potential viewer’s attention with just the title and thumbnail, chances are that they will click on your video to see what it’s about. Think about it like this, would you click on the video you uploaded instead of your favorite YouTuber’s video?
If your answer is no, work on it until you think it’s attention grabbing enough to pull someone away from whatever else they’re looking for.
Edgy Labs: Anything you want to get off your chest regarding aspiring content creators?
Muaaz: Haha yeah, this something that I think is super important:
If YOU yourself cannot sit through your entire video when it’s all done and edited then what makes you think someone else could?
I feel like a lot of aspiring creators have this common misconception: no matter what you upload, it will get views.
I WISH YouTube was that easy. But, no, nothing on YouTube comes without hard work. Especially with a platform that is becoming as saturated as YouTube is day by day.
It’s hard to grow unless you’re working harder than your competition. Something I do to make sure my video isn’t boring is that when it’s all done and edited, no matter how long it is, I watch it all as if I’m the viewer. If there is ever a part where I start to get bored or start looking at my phone to pass the time, I go back and edit it so that it stays engaging the entire time.
If you’re a gaming YouTuber uploading 30-minute gameplays with no commentary or anything, just know that your watch time is going to be incredibly low.
Edgy Labs: What is clickbait and how do you create that kind of draw?
Muaaz: Clickbait is essentially modifying your thumbnail or title to make it more appealing in order to attract attention from a potential viewer.
The best way to do this is make the most interesting part of a video, no matter how short of a segment it was, the title and the thumbnail.
The viewer will click on the video as it caught their attention and most of the time they will watch all the way through to get to the part they saw in the title.
The issue with clickbaiting is that a lot of people do it in a disrespectful way. These users clickbait to gain someone’s view but then they don’t provide them with the content they promised, or they provide only low-quality content. This usually results in them receiving a dislike on their video.
The best way to clickbait, which I talked about in my How-to video on YouTube, is to have quality content for the viewer to watch once you’ve got them watching your video. In this case, you have the viewer’s attention. Now you need to do everything you can to capture a potential subscriber who will return for future videos.
Edgy Labs: What are some good goals for a starting YouTube channel?
Muaaz: My biggest piece of advice is to have fun.
Don’t focus on your subscriber number or your views or how much money you’re making.
Just focus on the fact that you’re having fun uploading videos and sharing content with the rest of the world.
Goals can sometimes get in the way of all that but in the end, it’s on you to not let that happen. If you set a goal and don’t hit it fast enough, you could easily get demotivated and discouraged and stop uploading completely so always remember that you’re doing this because it’s something you enjoy. Never feel forced to make videos if you don’t want to–that’s not what this platform was created for. If you enjoy running a YouTube channel, you’ve accomplished a big goal right there.
Good goals to have when you’re starting out are:
- Try to make sure you have active subscribers by gaining the same amount of views as the number of subscribers you have. As you grow, it gets hard to keep a good viewer to subscriber ratio but if you are able to pull it off from the beginning, you have a great chance at keeping it when you start to grow even more.
- Another goal would probably be getting 100 subscribers. I know it’s small in comparison to bigger YouTubers like myself and thousands of others but you need to be humble early on (and always).
That’s 100 RANDOM PEOPLE across the globe that ended up liking your content enough to hit subscribe.
Edgy Labs: You upload videos really often, how do you continue to do it without getting bored or irritated with how repetitive it must be?
Muaaz: I make YouTube videos because it started as a hobby of mine. I liked doing it even before money was a part of the equation and I wanted to share content that I created with the rest of the world.
This definitely does get repetitive sometimes after uploading some of the same content with little changes but the way I’ve pursued this is that I don’t treat it as a job.
Since I don’t treat it as a job, I honestly don’t feel obligated at all to upload videos. If I don’t want to upload a video, I won’t upload a video.
If I want to upload a video, I’ll sit down, brainstorm, and work on something that would benefit my viewers. I never want this to become something where I only push out videos because I HAVE to and not because I want to. I know that I mentioned that I hold myself to a consistent schedule, but if I didn’t want to do that, I wouldn’t.
YouTube is definitely up there as a priority in my life but it’s definitely not something I would consider to be a job or chore. It’s just a hobby that I’ve had for the past 8 years and I won’t let it turn into something that I do even though I don’t enjoy it.
Edgy Labs: Mind giving us a final word of advice for those who wish to take on the challenge of creating a YouTube channel?
Muaaz: If this is something you’ve been thinking about, stop putting it off and just start uploading.
It is getting harder to grow on YouTube every week as thousands of users are signing up for their YouTube accounts daily to try and be the next big thing. If you don’t start right now, like this very moment, you might lose your shot.
“If YOU yourself cannot sit through your entire video when it’s all done and edited then what makes you think someone else could?”
If you have time to be reading this article then you definitely have time to grab a pen and a sheet of paper to start jotting down ideas for your first video. Again, if you don’t start now, you might be looking back at this whole YouTube thing in a few years asking yourself those “What if?” questions that we all dread.