As we head into 2020, it's time we sit down and examine what you can do to succeed on YouTube moving forward. Both the platform and the path to success has changed significantly in the last few years.

It's no longer as simple as sitting down in your college bedroom and recording a vlog. Instead, new creators have to compete with celebrities, 4K cameras, and professional editors. If you want to succeed on YouTube, you need the 1-2 Punch for Creators.

Punch 1: Community

A community is an x-factor that can propel you to success by building around your content. It's something that most existing creators haven't done, and few celebrities have the time for. We wrote an entire blog post about the ways you can build community over on the Buffer Festival blog.

Punch 2: Production

Without quality content, it will be difficult to build a community. You need to be working hard to create the best videos you possibly can - but what does that mean? What are the minimums? What does a successful production look like? Let's dive deeper into production and what you should consider before you press 'upload'.

Plan Your Video Ahead of Time

As the saying goes 'Failure to plan, is planning to fail,' and this holds true with video production. A key to creating quality content that any successful video creator will tell you is planning ahead. Casey Neistat's rise to fame was due to his innovative vlogging style. BUT, that style was only made possible by planning ahead for each edit. Those videos didn't blow our minds without planning for time-lapses, b-roll, and story elements. Before you press record, you should be planning out the core elements of the shoot so you know what you need when you go to edit.

Make the MOST of What You Have

The arms race to have the best cameras, lights, audio, and special effects have left many on the sidelines feeling they can't compete. The reality is that while new and fancy equipment can make your life easier - it doesn't immediately make it better. That said, most people don't use their current gear to its max potential. Any modern smartphone camera is capable of cinematic quality with the right settings. If there's a button, a setting or a function that you don't know how to use - figure it out! By getting MORE from what you have, you'll find your existing gear is suited to the task!

Sound Matters More than You Think

If you do want to invest in something, make it an investment in audio quality. While in general, most people are forgiving for less than perfect video - audio is a different story. You want clean audio for any words spoken by the person on camera. There should be clean audio for sound effects and music. And in post-production, it should all come together perfectly to build on each other. Movies often have great special effects and acting, but it’s the sounds that bring those things to life. This is something that MOST YouTubers are NOT currently doing!

Juice up the audio production of your videos! Sounds of the street can be improved with sound effects. Add in rain or street noises. If you’re in nature, add some bird sounds or crickets. If you’re just walking and talking, add background noise such as cars, or the sound of children playing in parks. Building up the audio profile of your videos will immediately set you apart from the vast majority of creators who simply do not do it!

You already know that Epidemic Sound has a catalog of tens of thousands of music tracks perfect for your edit, but you may not know we also have sound effects! In fact, our database consists of over 60,000 unique sounds, foley and world-building effects for your production. So whether it’s dripping water, birds, doors closing, footsteps or just the breeze rustling leaves - we’ve got what you need!

Finish Your Edit - Then Finesse It

The one thing that many creators do is edit and then export. They take the time to trim their videos down, they add audio, they build the story, add transitions and get it ready for viewing. Once they are satisfied with the video they export it and get it ready to post on YouTube. What we recommend doing is take ONE final re-edit of the video. What can be tightened up? Is there any part that isn't perfect? Even if you're happy, what's the ONE thing you can do to make it better? That act of going above and beyond will do wonders for your end production - and your audience WILL recognize it.

Do the Standard SEO Stuff + the Non-Standard

When it comes to posting your content, don't neglect SEO. That includes making an eye-catching thumbnail, adding proper tags, and an intriguing title. You should also explore some of the often ignored SEO strategies such as A/B testing. This allows you to run different thumbnails on videos to test what gets more clicks. It's often not done by creators because it's extra work - but the insight you'll gain through it can help boost the future quality of your content!

Being a video creator in 2020 will take a lot of EXTRA work that existing creators often neglect. Between your production, and building community - you'll increase your chances of success. It's a 1-2 Punch that you simply cannot ignore. The bar is consistently being raised, and to get over it, you need to go above and beyond what the current creators are doing. But the rewards are worth it! So keep pressing ahead!