BetterOn YouTube Curriculum - Part 1



Video should be fun.  However, thinking, planning, strategizing, etc is work.  This Curriculum is learning work.  The more time and brain space you but in, the more you'll get back.  The less you look at what everyone else is doing and focus on your business's current potential, the more authentic and original you will be.  Let us be the first to remind you that this curriculum, your video strategy, and anything you create moving forward IS NOT ABOUT YOU.  It's about your audience.  Your job is to GIVE them something.  

Now, the not so fun news.  You have homework (also called Labs).  Boo hoo.  The upside is that when you actually complete it, you enter a new area of potential fun.  Depending on your level of fun (Basic, Strategic, Universe of) there will be a BetterOn coach to help think through these assignments once completed. All Labs assignments are dual purposed.  The first purpose is to write down ideas that directly apply to your business.  The second is to record and send these ideas to your BetterOn coach in video form.  So, you'll need your webcam handy as well as a way to send video links.  I wonder if there is a video website you could use....

Second, if you are working in the Strategic or Universe of Fun area, you have brainstorms and reviews to schedule with your coach.  We use Calendly to do this and you will be prompted in the Curriculum on when to do so.


Online video is everywhere. It is dominating our screens, and by no accident - it is one of the most effective (and, may we add, exciting) ways to communicate in our world today. And it’s only growing - by 2019, an estimated 80% of all Internet traffic will be video. Woah.

Here at BetterOn, we LOVE making online video. Like, a lot. We think it’s SO cool that we want you to love making it too. But we get it - creating good video is a big mountain to climb, and it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why we’ve created this curriculum. What makes us so qualified to advise you, you ask? We are a training service that helps people and teams become more authentic on camera. Through education and guided practice, we teach you to be comfortable and confident in your camera presence and video knowledge. We’re video strategists, communication specialists, YouTube creators, acting coaches, and behavioral economists. We live and breathe video, so we’ve got you covered.

Oh, and one last thing before we get started - throughout this curriculum, BetterOn team member Ryan will be popping in with some videos to add his thoughts and elaborate on concepts.

NOW let’s get started!

A Brief Timeline of Online Video

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As you can tell, the online video landscape is rapidly growing and changing. We know there are numerous platforms to choose from, each with their own strategic road to connecting with an audience. This can be intimidating when you are just starting out. Therefore, in this curriculum we are going to focus on just one online video platform: YouTube.

Founded in 2005, YouTube was the first video sharing site to truly disrupt the media industry. It catapulted video into the online space in which it lives today. More importantly, YouTube has remained relevant in the 13 years since the first video was uploaded to the site. Check out these impressive statistics.

So, what does all this mean for you? Why should you care about online video? It’s about connection. Watch this video of BetterOn team member Ryan to learn more.


Your Content

Whatever your need for video is, this curriculum is going to help you. You are most likely here because you want to create video content that connects with others. The bad news is that there is already a lot of content out there. The good news is that YOUR content isn’t out there.

In order to cut through the crowded online video space, you need to first establish your purpose. Purpose is the unique thing driving you to create video; it is what sets you apart from the millions of other creators on YouTube. If you’re not clear on your purpose, your audience has other video to watch.  



Before we think about your video purpose, take a few minutes for (fun) research.  

  • What YouTube videos have made you feel a connection over the past few years? Why?

  • What YouTube videos have you ever found yourself watching more than once?

  • What YouTube creator/channel have you found yourself watching more than one video?

  • Whose purpose on YouTube seems to be crystal clear (business, creator, or beyond)?


Here are some questions to help you brainstorm your content and its purpose:

  • What is your content about overall?  

  • Why are you making this content?

  • What makes your content authentic?

  • What makes your content different?

STEP 1: Write down as much information as you can to answer these questions.

STEP 2: Record 2 videos to send to your BetterOn Coach.  

  • Video 1: Summarize your research answers above.
  • Video 2: Summarize your purpose ideas above.

Your Channel

Now that you have figured out what you want to create and why you are creating it, you need somewhere to put that content. This is where your YouTube channel comes in. A channel is your unique profile and URL on the YouTube platform. It is a place to establish your brand and organize your content exactly the way you want.

Before we dive in all the way, it’s important to understand that, statistically, the majority of the time your audience spends with your content will be away from your channel - likely on a YouTube watch page or embedded on another site or even inside of a social media feed.  Don’t think for a second that makes your channel foundation any less important. We see your channel like a house that holds your strategically made videos. Those videos are out all day trying to make friends with people on your behalf. If a viewer likes your stuff enough to come by your house, see if you’re serious about video, and ideally hit the ‘Subscribe’ button, you need to make sure it’s clean.  Too many channels out there are messy and unstructured. Don’t be that channel.

If you don't yet have a YouTub channel created, here are some steps to start:

  1. Create a Google account. We suggest creating a Google account specifically for your YouTube, even if you already have a Google account. This keeps things organized and saves you from receiving random YouTube emails to your main account. You have to create an email, a channel name, and a channel url. It is best to use the same name for each of these so that your channel is easy to find and has consistent branding. Need a quick setup tutorial video?  Here ya go!

2. Brainstorm your brand. Your channel is an opportunity to visually express your brand. This means you can use elements of design like color, font, and logos to give your content a recognizable and distinctive look and feel.  This is NOT an overnight process and can take some time.  Discuss with your team and peers or if you've got a BetterOn coach to speak with, talk it through with them. 

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Here are some questions to discuss with your BetterOn coach that are helpful in developing your brand:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your mission? (Hint: What do you want people watching to feel, then do?  You thought about this in the Content section.)
  • If your content had a personality, what would be some words to describe it?
  • What is the emotional appeal of your content?

Once you have come up with answers to these questions, you can work with your BetterOn coach to come up with the colors, fonts, and/or logos that visually represent your brand.

STEP 1: Write down as much information as you can to answer these questions.

STEP 2: Record 2 videos to send to your BetterOn Coach.  

  • Video 1: Summarize your research answers above.
  • Video 2: Summarize your purpose ideas above.

3. Create channel art. Channel art is the banner at the top of your channel page. It is the biggest visual element that viewers see when they visit your channel, so it is important that it is both professional and shows your personality. YouTube requires that you upload an image that is at least 2560x1440 px. The graphic design website Canva has an easy-to-use “YouTube Channel Art” template that generates an image of the perfect size. You can also design your channel are using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, if you know how.

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4. Create a channel trailer. This is a short video that introduces your channel and purpose when new visitors arrive. It may evolve over time as you develop your content, but when you are just starting it doesn’t need to be fancy. It’s very important that this be as unique to your channel as possible.  Remember when we said earlier that statistically most people will interact with your videos elsewhere? This trailer is one of your BIGGEST opportunities to grab viewers, make them feel appreciated, and explain exactly what they’ll find on your channel. Even if they’ve watch a few videos already, think of this as your ‘formal introductory handshake.’

Watch this example created by Ryan:

Or this trailer from YouTube creator Derral Eves:


Create your own baseline YouTube Channel trailer.  Will this be used in real life? Maybe.  The point is to practice welcoming your audience to your channel and trying to connect with someone you can't actually see.

5. Fill out the About section. You don’t need to devote too much energy to this, as this section is hardly clicked on, but it is important to have this section filled out anyway to be professional and consistent. A good About section will contain a short bio, your purpose, your email, and links to your other social accounts.



It has arrived...the time to actually think about filming and uploading some stuff. Ah! Scary! Yeah, we know. But fear not - producing video that looks and sounds good isn’t as hard as you think. For now, equipment isn't as important but in case you're curious about what's out there, we've compiled a starter kit below.


You do not need a fancy camera to make good content. One second - let us repeat that.

You do not need a fancy camera to make good content.........

If you have a fancy camera, great. If you don’t, no worries - any smartphone camera will do. Regardless of what camera you own, what’s more important is how you film your content. Here are our quick and dirty tips for filming good video for YouTube:

  • Shoot horizontal, not vertical

  • Prevent shakiness by using a tripod or setting your camera on something steady

  • Know your frame.  Let BetterOn's Briana explain:



Good video with bad audio = bad video. That means no matter how well-produced your video is, it has to have the audio to match. It is a lot harder to “fake” good audio than video, so if we would suggest investing in anything, it would be a decent microphone. However, there are some measures you can take to capture good audio without one:


  • Find a location with soft sound ambience. By “soft”, we mean that we know it’s pretty difficult to find somewhere completely silent. Find somewhere without distracting sounds like construction, loud air conditioning, people talking, etc.

  • Decrease reverb. Reverb is that echo sound you hear in small rooms or rooms with hard surfaces like metal or cement. Too much reverb can make voices sound distant and muddy. If you are in a room with reverb, you can absorb sound by using blankets and pillows to cover hard surfaces.

  • Use the built-in microphone on your headphones or phone. Most headphones have a little microphone on the cord, and most phones have a built in voice memo function that records solely audio. If you can get one of these close to your subject while filming, that audio could be better than the audio your camera is recording at a distance.



This is another element of video production that can easily make or break your video. Here are our tips:

  • Use flat lighting. Flat lighting is lighting that illuminates your entire face and eliminates shadows. It is simple and flattering.

  • Be aware of your lighting placement. If using natural light, position yourself pretty close to the window and experiment with the best angle to avoid shadows. If using artificial light, position your light source in front of the camera lens and just above your eye line.

  • Avoid shooting under overhead lighting. Light coming from above can create weird shadows on your face and give you raccoon eyes.

  • Create soft light. This is much more flattering. You can do this by using a white sheet or cloth in front of your light source, or bouncing light off a reflective surface like white poster board.

Camera Presence

Our specialty! We’ll let Ryan take it away with this one:


We're at the end of Section 1!  If you try all of these tips and decide you want to step up your game beyond just filming on your phone, we’ve created this starter kit of our go-to beginner production equipment.