Nowadays, you’ll see many YouTubers on the red carpet, billboards, music videos, and streaming shows. And it’s hard to believe that many of them started out by posting videos on their channels for fun or as a hobby.

While YouTube wasn’t considered a viable career back in the day, it’s now very much a valid career path for many. Many online academies and YouTubers have even designed special courses you can take to learn the skills of a successful YouTube content creator.

As professional video editors, we’ve been able to work with many YouTubers and have edited their content. So, through our work, we’ve seen what kind of skills successful YouTubers have, and what skills they try to work on to become better.

So, let’s glance at some of these skills. Generally speaking, they’re divided into technical and non-technical (or soft) skills.

YouTube creator skills

Technical skills required for YouTube Creator

These skills you’ll need to learn by working with someone, taking a few courses, or doing some online research.

1) Keyword research

Finding a niche, starting a YouTube channel, and posting videos won’t guarantee that anyone will come and watch your videos. To get people to even notice your videos, you need to know what people are looking for. That’s where keyword research comes into the picture.

Actually, you’ll notice that keyword research is an important skill, no matter what type of online content you’re making.

So, what are the keywords? They’re words and phrases people use in their online searches. For example, ‘5-star restaurants new me’, ‘best hiking boots’, and ‘easy birthday cake recipe’. Make use of such keywords in your videos, titles, and descriptions so it’s easier for viewers to find them on YouTube. But, to make it easy to rank at the top, choose keywords that don’t have too much competition. Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMrush are some good tools you can use to get keywords. 

2) Video-making

For a YouTuber, we think this is an obvious skill requirement. If not you, then you at least need to work with someone or take training from someone who knows how to make videos.

behind the scenes video making

Video production is not simply pointing the camera at something and recording. There’s also a lot of planning that’s needed for making a video. There’s script writing, lighting and sound, set design and staging, etc. You’ll also need to know what kind of equipment to use, the aspect ratio, video resolution, bitrate, etc., to guarantee that your videos are of good quality.

If you’re a beginner YouTube content creator, it might be overwhelming for you to consider all of these things. Even the right equipment can be expensive. But there’s no need to panic. Many YouTube creators start their channels with simple equipment (like a smartphone) and natural lighting. With good enough video-making skills, you can make good-looking videos with even simple equipment. 

3) Video editing

Your work is not over after making the video. You can’t post the raw footage on YouTube and expect it to do well. You need to edit it. 

Now, video editing is a whole different skill set compared to videomaking. So, it’s understandable that not everyone can do both. But you can still make decent videos with even basic editing skills. Your videos don’t have to look like a movie or trailer to be good.

The main points you have to take care of when editing your videos are:

  •  Cut out the footage where you make mistakes
  • Trim the video
  • Add music (make sure it is not copyrighted)
  • Add text, graphics, and transitions
  • Color correction, etc.

Once your channel starts to grow, advanced editing skills are needed to improve video quality. There are enough courses you can do and video editing apps and software you can use to get good results.

The more you do this, the more experienced you’ll become as a video editor. But then again, it’s not something that everyone can do. So, once your channel is big enough and you are earning enough income, you can hire someone to edit your YouTube videos for you.

You’ll still need to hire a YouTube video editor once your channel grows. A lot of big video content creators do this because they get more time to plan out and film their videos. 

4) YouTube channel analytics

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a YouTube channel is posting videos and nothing more. Simply making and uploading videos to your channel is not enough if you’re serious about becoming a successful YouTuber.

YouTube channel analytics

Your job is not over once your video is uploaded to the platform. On the technical side of things, you need to analyze your channel for views, clicks, likes, dislikes, comments, subscriptions, members, etc. Analytics is a huge part of the backend work for a YouTube content creator. You get to know what works or doesn’t work, what to change, what viewers want, etc.

YouTube has made analytics easy for its creators and even has a simple guide to help you get all the information you need.

Some things you need to keep a check on are:

  • Click-through rate
  • Views
  • Audience watch time
  • Subscriber numbers
  • Comments
  • Shares and likes
  • Repeat viewers

5) Writing good video titles and descriptions

Your title greatly influences a user to click or not click on your video. The video title acts pretty much like a news or blog headline. It should give just enough information to tell the viewer what the topic is, but it should also be intriguing. Here are a few things you can do to make your title pop:

  • Use keywords that will land your video in the top results on the search page.
  • Add power phrases that tap into people’s emotions (e.g., “The truth about,” “For beginners,” “You’re doing it wrong,” “Do this”). The emotions can be fear, desire, curiosity, love, etc.

The same goes for your video descriptions. The character limit for descriptions is greater than the title, so you have more room to explain what your videos are about.

video title and description

The character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 5000 characters, but that doesn’t mean you should use up this entire provision. Most people barely even look at the description, so you can give them a short explanation and include keywords and hashtags to increase the reach. 

6) Graphic design skills

You don’t need to be a master graphic designer, but you at least need to know how to use Photoshop, Canva, or any other photo editing tool. Why? So, you can make gorgeous thumbnails for your videos.

We spoke earlier about how the video title is what attracts a viewer. But honestly, the thumbnail is what the user sees first. Here is where your creativity really has the chance to shine. If it is eye-catching and interesting enough, they’ll look at the title and see if the topic interests them. That’s why some YouTubers include some text in the thumbnails to hint at the topic.

Soft skills required for YouTube Creator

Now we come to the non-technical skills you need to have as a content creator on YouTube. These skills can be inherent (present from birth) or acquired through experience and training. 

7) Communication skills

Communication is a skill you’ll need to have no matter what you do in life. A major component of being a YouTuber is presentation. That means that you’ll have to possess good communication skills (storytelling also falls under this category). It’s a skill you’ll need if your content has mostly to do with narrations (e.g., a true crime, news updates, commentary).

For good communication, you need to speak clearly and confidently and hold the viewers’ attention with your storytelling. It is certainly not an easy task to keep the audience interested from start to finish, but you can get better with practice.

It is generally agreed that people’s attention span is limited, but there are YouTubers who post one- to even four-hour-long videos, and people still watch them. If you have good communication and storytelling skills, you can even pull this off. 

8) Creativity    

Creativity is also an extremely vital skill for a successful YouTuber. Creativity is required for coming up with topics, writing an entertaining script, filming the video, and editing. Just like any other skill, creativity can also be harnessed as you keep making videos.

A positive thing to note here is that creativity can be inspired. You don’t have to come up with everything by yourself. You can take help from others, follow and analyze other YouTubers, and collaborate with other creators to create videos. 

9) Networking with YouTubers and sponsors

Another skill to have as a content creator is networking. Networking is when you interact with people in your industry or in industries related to yours. As a YouTuber, you’ll need to get in touch with other creators and sponsors.

networking with YouTubers

When you interact and collaborate with other content creators, you increase your chances of increasing your subscriber base and, subsequently, your views. Sometimes, even a shoutout from a fellow YouTuber can go a long way.

Interacting with sponsors, on the other hand, will give you a chance to increase your income. Some businesses sponsor every episode; some may sponsor a few episodes a month. The more sponsorships you get, the more diverse your income sources will be. 

10) Marketing   

YouTube’s algorithm automatically suggests your videos to its users based on several factors (including preferences and watch history). But you shouldn’t leave it all up to the platform alone. You too need to put in some effort and promote your content.

Many content creators post on many different platforms to engage with different kinds of audiences. They also create pages on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Reddit, Twitch, Patreon, etc., to share their YouTube videos.

You can also turn your longer videos into shorter ones and post them as YouTube Shorts, reels, and TikTok’s.

Promotions are not limited to sharing your videos on other platforms. Even making contributions on Quora and Reddit can help get attention.

These methods are quite effective for small content creators and beginners.

11) Community building and engagement

Subscribers and viewers who keep coming back to your channel to watch your videos are loyal. They are hard to get and even harder to maintain. That’s why it is so important to build an online community and engage with them.

Even so, it’s not entirely impossible to have loyal viewers. You just have to do the following:

  • Responding to and ‘liking’ comments
  • Encouraging engagement by posting updates and engaging polls in the community tab
  • Starting a membership plan with special perks for loyal subscribers
  • Giveaways
  • Fan meets (if possible)

12) Consistency

For any content creator, being consistent is paramount. Consistency shows viewers and subscribers that you are committed to your channel and to them. Keep a schedule of when you will upload a video, and as much as possible, stick to it.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any views. It can be tough to get many views when you’re just starting out. But keep uploading good content and you’ll become successful soon enough.

Many big-time YouTubers tend to follow a schedule. Some post every day (which is possible only with a large team) or thrice or twice a week. However, make sure that you’re uploading content at least weekly. That way, your content will still get to your subscribers’ feed.

Now, it’s over to you

Each YouTuber has their own definition for success. Some might say fame and getting endless brand and sponsorship deals are successes. For some, stable viewership, monetization, and constant subscriber growth are success.

Whatever your definition of success is, there are some common skills you’ll need to grow and become a successful YouTuber, like video making, editing, analytics, marketing, and networking.

Remember that your viewers should matter more than anything. Keep giving them quality content, and they will stick by you.