So you’re thinking about starting your own YouTube channel, eh?  Before you pick up your camera or choose a username for your new YouTube account it’s important to ask yourself some questions.  These ten questions will get you thinking about your goals for your new channel and will get you on the right track to YouTube success.

Note: While just thinking about the answers to these questions is fine and dandy, you’ll get the most out of this process if you actually take the time to write your answers down.  That way you can take a look back at what you wrote later on down the road to see how you’ve progressed.

1. Why do you want to start a YouTube channel?

What are the reasons you want to start making YouTube videos?  This is probably the most important question to ask yourself before you dive into the world of YouTube content creation.  Do you have a passion for video production?  Are you looking at online video as a vehicle for driving more traffic to your personal website?  Do you want to voice your opinion about an issue that is important to you?  Do you want to gain exposure and recognition for your talents?  All of these are great reasons.

On the other hand, if your answer to this question is something like “I just want to go viral and make tons of money,” you may want to rethink things.  Yes, sometimes people luck out and go viral with a video they uploaded of their baby laughing or their cat acting surprised, but you can’t bank on this.  For most people, finding success on YouTube takes time and effort so if you aren’t ready to put in the work then you may be sorely disappointed.

2. What will you make videos about?

Have you decided what you’re going to make videos about?  The possibilities are endless—you can make videos about your everyday life, your pets, your industry, your hobby, your political views…anything.  However, it’s important to note that when it comes to building a subscriber base it’s best if you stick to a specific topic or niche.  If you are making a video about video games one day and about how to roast a turkey the next you’re going to have a hard time building a consistent fan base.

3. Is this a niche that you’re actually interested in?

A big mistake that many people make when starting a YouTube channel, a blog, or really creating any sort of online content is that they choose a niche or topic because they think it will be popular and not because it’s something that they actually care about.  Keep in mind that once you start creating your videos you’re going to be fully immersed in the subject that you’ve chosen to make videos about, so it better be something that you’re passionate about.

4. What audience are you targeting?

What do you know about your audience?  How old are they?  What part of the world are they from?  What sort of style to they like?  Do a bit of research and create a profile of your average viewer.  This will help you cater your content to the people that are most likely to become viewers and fans.

5. Are other YouTubers serving this audience?

Before you jump in, do a little research to find out whether any other YouTubers are catering to your audience.  You can find them by searching YouTube for key words related to the niche you’ve chosen.  If there are other YouTubers making videos about the same topic (and odds are, there are), how will you do things differently?  How will you add to the coverage of this niche in the ways that other YouTubers are not?

Note that just because somebody else is already making videos about the topic you want to make videos about doesn’t mean you can’t.  In fact, you may be able to collaborate with similar YouTubers later on down the road.  We’ll get into YouTube collaboration more in future posts.

6. How often do you plan to upload new videos?

Posting regular content is incredibly important when it comes to building a successful YouTube channel and subscriber base.  Have you thought about how often you’d like to upload new videos?  Twice a week?  Once a week?  Once every two weeks?

Be realistic with this.  Consider how long it will take you to make a video and then jot down a schedule that takes this into account.  You don’t want to stress yourself out or feel forced to pull all-nighters in order to get your videos uploaded in time.  But at the same time, you want to make sure you’re uploading content often enough that your viewers won’t forget about you.  Try to find a happy medium.

7. How are you going to make your videos?

Have you thought at all about format?  Will your videos be animated or live action?  Will you shoot them with a web cam, on your phone, or do you have a video camera?  How will you edit your videos together?  Think about what tools you already have at your disposal, and figure out if you can make due with what you’ve got or if you’ll have to invest in any equipment or software.

8. How much time do you plan to spend on your YouTube efforts?

Building a successful YouTube channel takes time, and not just time spent on creating your videos.  You’ll also spend time on promoting your videos, building your subscriber base, and interacting with your viewers.  Figure out how much time you can reasonably spend on all of your YouTube efforts and then break it down into time spent on production, promotion, and so on.

9. How patient are you?

It’s important to understand that building a successful YouTube channel isn’t going to happen overnight.  You are going to have to put in a lot of work if you want to get noticed and this takes patience.  You can’t expect to have your subscriber count or view count where you want it after only a few weeks, or even a few months.  It takes time, so don’t give up if you don’t see the results you want immediately.  If you stick with it the results will come.

10. How are you going to measure your success?

In order to determine whether your YouTube efforts are successful you’ll have to set a few goals to help you measure your success.  Your goals may differ depending upon your reasons for starting a new YouTube channel, which you listed in the first question.  Maybe you’ll set a goal for the total number of views that you’d like to achieve on your channel, or the number of views you’d like to achieve on a single video; maybe you want to get x number of subscribers; maybe you want to drive a certain amount of traffic to your personal website or get a certain number of people to take action on a cause that’s important to you; or maybe your ultimate goal is to become a YouTube Partner.  You can monitor your progress by seeing how close you are to your goals and when you reach (and ultimately surpass) them, it’ll be time to celebrate!

Feel free to share some of your goals with us in the comments below and stay tuned for more guides in the coming weeks as we continue through the process of planning and starting a successful YouTube channel.  Oh, and good luck as you embark on your own YouTube adventure!

Image credit: porcorex via iStockPhoto.com