4 Easy Steps To Launching Your YouTube and SoundCloud Channels
Even if you are camera and mic shy!
I’ll be honest, despite being keen to turn my hand to many social media tools and opportunities, I’ve been resisting audio and video. It’s not because establishing YouTube and SoundCloud channels is difficult — and I’ll show you how to here — but as I have the double whammy of:
“Having a face for a radio,” and “not having a voice for audio.”
You can put the violins away. I don’t need sympathy as I have a nice trick thanks to a new tool — Woord — that Rishabh Sharma drew my attention to in his excellent article How to Add Audio Narrations to Your Medium Stories. I won’t repeat his advice, but would recommend you have a read of his article.
Instead, I’ll be guiding you through how you can take the audio output from Woord and use it as content on both SoundCloud and YouTube (yes, you can publish audio on YouTube too!).
Step 1 — Take the plunge
One security of the written word — whether on Medium or any other platform — is that you can keep your anonymity if you wish and let your words do the talking. There’s no need for you to get behind the mic or a camera if you don’t want to.
But we live in a world of 24-hour content where the demand is insatiable and where “fans” of your work have different ways they want to consume information. You don’t need to diversify from the written word, but if you’re keen to get to new audiences or you feel your attempts at getting to those who love your work are getting stale, then you should at least consider audio and video.
We return then to my dilemma was that I don’t like the sound of my voice and I don’t think I’m that natural in front of a camera. Both induce a serious amount of cringing on my part. I imagine many of you nodding in agreement. There are those who are naturals at both and have an innate talent for it. I’m aware enough to know I’m not one of these, but as technologies and tools develop, the barriers to these approaches are coming down.
Thanks to tools such as Woord, which through an easy interface allows you to convert a piece of text into good quality audio performed by an AI, this becomes the basis for content for channels on SoundCloud and YouTube for the reticent amongst us.
I should say, the Woord audio isn’t perfect, but with an array of voices and languages to choose from — and more with the paid version — this is the best “text to audio” I’ve come across to date. If, like me, you don’t want to read your own content — this is a great option. Once you’ve created your audio file, you have the option to download it as an MP3 audio file.
This is the route I’ve taken as I begin my SoundCloud and YouTube experiment and which I hope turns into an adventure!
Step 2 — Master SoundCloud
The free version of SoundCloud gives you 180 minutes of space for your uploads, which is plenty to get you going, with greater storage available as your channel grows.
Armed with the MP3 you generated from Woord, select the “Upload” option from the top navigation bar and then choose your file.
Once uploaded, you’ll need to enter some information about your audio file including its title, description, tags and whether you want to make this a public or private file and then hit “Save”.
If you now select “Your tracks” from the navigation, you’ll be able to see your audio file uploaded to your profile. From here, you can access several important options, and in particular the option to “Add to playlist”.
As you build up the content on your channel, this gives you the means to group content for your listeners. On my channel, I have two playlists — one for my “audio blogs” from Medium and Vocal and one for samples from my novel “The Codex file”.
With your audio now placed where you want it, visit your playlists so you can view what your future listeners will see.
You now have your SoundCloud channel up and running, so promote it on social media, in your newsletter, on your website and anywhere else you draw your fans and supporters from and introduce them to your new content offering.
Step 3 — Conquer YouTube
Now let’s turn the attention to YouTube and, if you are camera-shy, how you can re-use your audio content to become a video too. If you have yet created your YouTube channel, click on your avatar in the top right corner and select “Create channel”. Once setup, the next time you click on your avatar, the “Your channel” option will be showing.
We’ll come back to this after another important step using Canva, a tool you must have in your social media toolbox. If you’re not familiar with this free tool (paid version available too), take a read of my article on how it can boost the quality of your social media content.
Once logged into Canva, select “Video” from the “What will you design” options and then chose the first option from the new menu, also labelled “Video” — this will take you into the design window and a blank template.
I won’t go over how to use Canva here. I cover this in my previous article, but now you need to design what will be the “face” of your YouTube video using your audio file.
Once you’ve had a play with the templates, the free library for images and video clips, and have something you’re happy with, it’s time to add your audio track. Select “Uploads” from the left menu, then the “Audio” option and pick “Upload media” and import the audio file you created on SoundCloud.
With your audio file uploaded, click and drag it underneath your Canva slide. You’ll now need to do a little manipulation to allow your designed slide to be visible for the length of your audio. There’s a simple trick to handle this. Make sure you know how long your audio track is and then click on the thumbnail of your slide beneath your design. With the cursor over the end of your slide, drag to the right, noting the time duration as you do so, and lengthen this until it matches the length of your audio. You’ll notice that your audio file stretches too, and this ensures your slide will be visible for the entirety of your content.
Once you’re happy the two elements of your Canva creation are in sync, select download from the top right of the screen and you’ll have the option to download in MP4 video format. You now have a file ready to upload to your new YouTube channel!
Let’s get back to YouTube.
Click back to your avatar in the top right of the screen and select “Your Channel” so we can then get it ready for your first video upload. Once on your “Home” page, choose the “Customize Channel” button. This then takes you into the “YouTube Studio” tool where you can configure how you want your channel to appear to your viewers.
The first things to take care of are the “Basic info” and “Branding” tabs. Under “Basic info”, add your channel description and a few details of what your video content will focus on, and don’t forget to add a URL to other content, for example, a personal website if you have one. You can also add some contact details and translation options which are handy if your audience is multinational.
Under “Branding” you can add in your channel “banner image” with guidance on the pixel and file sizes you should aim for, and return to Canva if you need some help with the templates they provide. The “banner image” is your chance to make an instant impression on anyone visiting your channel and to tie it to branding elements you might have on your website or social media.
Once you have a few videos uploaded, I’d recommend coming back to the “Layout” tab where you can select a feature video and channel trailer, but you will need content to do this, so not the first task to worry about.
With all this now set, select “View Channel” to check out your handiwork. Here’s how I set mine up, featuring an initial combination of my audio blogs and samples from my first novel — The Codex File, which is also on Medium. You can see I have enabled the “feature” video at the top of my channel page.
Shameless promotion at this point — if you’re finding these tips and my work interesting and are a fan of podcast and video content, I’d love you to subscribe to my new YouTube and SoundCloud channels.
OK, plug over!
With your channel ready to go, let’s add the video content we created in Canva. From the top navigation, click on the camera icon and choose “Upload video”.
We’re now back in YouTube studio with the option to drag or select your MP4 for inclusion. While the video is uploading, set your video title and a description, use the “Playlists” option to create a grouping if you know you will have similar content coming in the future, and decide whether your video is suitable for kids.
Don’t forget, the thumbnail you will use with your video—this is what will appear in YouTube searches and in your list of videos, and is a means to attract viewers, so go with something impactful. Again, this is where Canva is a great tool to create this, and YouTube has a stack of videos on how to do this well.
In this example, I used Canva to create my thumbnail.
Depending on the length of your video and the speed of your broadband, uploading and processing will take a few minutes. Once complete, and the YouTube backend has checked your content for any copyright issues, you have the option to add an “end screen” to your video, but if you’re starting out, I’d skip for now and just familiarise yourself with the process. You can always add this at a later point.
If there are no copyright issues identified, you’re now able to publish your first video. Select whether you want your video to be “private”, “unlisted” or “public”. YouTube gives you the option to publish straight away, schedule a time, or set it as an “instant premiere” which will create a countdown to the publication for anyone visiting your channel before the time you set to release it.
Once you’re happy with your settings, hit “Publish” and your first YouTube video will now be available on your new channel.
Step 4 — Don’t be shy — shout it loud!
You’ve come this far and dipped your toe in the water of podcast and video content — so now this isn’t the time to be modest.
As with SoundCloud, think about how you will let your readers and fans know about your new video options, whether via your website, newsletter, social media or however you share your updates.
And that’s all there is to it to get going on YouTube and SoundCloud. With both platforms, there are more advanced options and features you can check out once you‘re feeling comfortable with the creation process and the platforms themselves. But getting going on both shouldn’t be an obstacle to broadening your creative outputs.
You never know after doubting whether you have a “face for video” or a “voice for audio,” you might end up loving this new creative outlet!