How to Write a YouTube Channel Business Plan

how to write a youtube channel business plan

Since 62% of businesses use YouTube to post video content, you probably don’t want to miss the opportunity of using this booming platform.

Writing a business plan for your YouTube channel can be huge guidance in your journey to turning your channel into a real business.

Anytime you feel lost, you can go back to your original plan and find the guidance that you need.

But for that to work, your business plan has to cover every aspect of your channel.

Use this guide to go step by step through everything you need to write a YouTube channel business plan.

1) Write down the ultimate objective of your Youtube channel

Knowing WHY you’re doing this will keep you going when things don’t go right.

It has to be a really strong why to be able to keep pushing through the tough times and the hundreds of videos you’ll have to record.

There are probably better ways to make money than YouTube, so there must be a better reason why you want to do this with this video platform.

For example:

  • Do you like helping people with their problems?
  • Do you enjoy connecting with other real people through the magic of video?
  • Do you want to make an impact in the world?

As long as it’s a strong desire beyond money and your plan makes sense, you’ll be successful.

Hint: if you don’t like recording videos, this type of business might not be the right for you.

2) Define your target audience

Think about different potential subjects that can attract a lot of people, and write them down.

Use the following questions to help you choose the perfect idea for your channel:

Will it be a single-person YouTube channel?

YouTube is very similar to having a job.

You HAVE TO show up constantly.

It’s not like having a blog, where things are more passive since an article will attract people for years.

Videos on YouTube do that too, but they periodically start attracting fewer and fewer people if you’re not active:

life cycle of a youtube video

And that’s just because of the way the algorithm works.

So when it comes to defining your target audience — and consequently, the subject of your videos —, you need to choose something you really like doing.

Think about it:

You’ll have to record HUNDREDS of videos.

Do you see yourself talking every day for years about the same subject?

Just look at how long the biggest YouTuber has been doing this:

pewdiepie uploads and user creator year

This is vital if you’re doing everything on your own.

Or Will it Be a Team YouTube channel?

If instead, you want to hire a team to do the videos with you, then just go for the type of videos that get tons of views.

Subjects extremely popular like makeup, business, health and fitness, or entertainment are an excellent choice for a YouTube channel business.

The wider the audience and the bigger your budget, the more people you’ll be able to attract with the power of video.

Create a Buyer Persona

When defining your target audience, you must be extremely specific about who you’re targeting.

What age, where they’re from, what are their pains, hopes and desires should be defined as clearly as possible.

Your Persona is a semi-fictional character that will represent your audience.

It should be like describing a fictional character in a novel, and even giving her/him a real name and face will help you remember your ideal audience:

Remember this person every time you’re planning your next video and make the videos specifically for them.

You’ll be able to connect with people that watch your videos much more easily this way.

3) Planning the products you’re going to sell

From the target audience ideas you wrote down before, choose 3 ideas and research the products that are being sold to that audience.

What types of products are being sold to those audiences?

Are they digital or physical? 

  1. Go to YouTube and study where your competitors are sending their viewers to find the sales funnels they’re using:
youtube channel description link to opt in page

Is there a strong pain point in your target audience that allows you to create a product for selling?

  1. How are your competitors talking to their audience to persuade the purchase?
studying your competition language
  1. Finally, study their prices determine how profitable each niche might be.

Take those prices and define:

  • Profit goals
  • Possible profit margins
  • Revenue if 0.5% of people that watch your videos buy one of the products.
  • How many views you’ll need to hit your profit goals
  • How you’ll raise awareness about your products

Define alternative monetization methods

Besides selling your own products, what other income methods are you going to use?

Some of the popular ones for YouTube: 

  • Affiliate marketing: helping sell other people’s products and get a commission.
  • Sponsor videos: getting paid by big brands to mention or show their products in your videos.
  • Crowdfunding: opening an account on Patreon can help you get direct support from your most loyal viewers.
  • Ad revenue: money YouTube will pay you directly for every 1,000 views.

It’s important to not depend on a single one of these.

The best strategy is to have your own products where the profit margins are the highest, and also use different methods mention above to diversify.

4) Choosing the format that will connect better with your target audience

Remember the buyer Persona you defined earlier?

Here’s where you’ll use that persona to define the best type of video that will connect with them.

You have to create videos that provide value to your target audience if you want to get any attention.

For example:

If they’re Gen Z, focus on content that makes them laugh:

gen z youtube videos preferred

If they’re Millenials, news and human interest stories will keep them entertained:

millenial preferred youtube viddeos

If they’re Baby Boomers, try online tutorials to teach them new skills:

baby boomers prefered youtube videos

Don’t use a format made for Boomers with a Gen Z audience, or you’ll never be able to deliver value to your audience.

5) Equipment Budgeting

Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to have a professional crew to record videos that people want to watch on YouTube.

One of the beautiful things about this platform is that normal people can grow a huge audience, even recording with a simple smartphone.

Because of that, carefully evaluate if you really want to spend a big part of your budget on video production.

Also, bear in mind that you don’t only need a camera, there is also other equipment you’ll need:

  • Lighting
  • Audio
  • Teleprompter
  • Tripods
  • Backdrops
  • Editing software
  • Thumbnail creation software
  • Computer for editing

Besides your equipment budget, you also need to define the budget for hiring a team — if that’s your approach.

6) Hiring Budget

You can approach your YouTube channel in two ways:

  1. You can do it all yourself
  2. You can hire others that can do a better job

In case you want to delegate to others the things that you don’t know how to do very well, make sure you take into account every job:

  • Project manager
  • Scriptwriter
  • Host
  • Editor
  • Producer
  • Camera crew
  • Marketing team
  • Product development team

You might want to hire someone only for the jobs that you struggle the most with if you want to save a bit of money.

7) Filming locations

Now you need to define where you and your team will record your videos.

Setting up a studio

It’s better to build a studio at home or office so everything is always set up and ready to start recording:

youtube studio at home

Set your lighting, camera, and your background so it looks appealing and it’s consistent in every video that you make.

That’s the best approach to create tons of high-quality videos in a short time.

Planning filming locations

However, if you want to do it outside and constantly change the location, you need to plan very carefully the locations you’re going to use:

  • Do you need permission to record in said location?
  • Is the weather proper for recording?
  • How are you going to handle transportation for your team and equipment?

Generally, setting up a studio for video recording is the most efficient way to create videos at the lowest price.

8) Create a system to find new ideas for your videos

How are you going to constantly come up with new refreshing ideas for your videos?

You need to be constantly innovating if you want to captivate your audience for a long time.

Some of the most common methods to come up with ideas:

  • Track what your competitors are doing that is popular right now.
  • Do keyword research and find outdated or boring videos that you can produce better.
  • Carefully study your channel’s analytics to see what videos are performing the best in terms of watch time and engagement — and make more similar videos.
  • Ask your audience what they want to watch next.

9) Recording routine

How will the usual recording day look like?

Is the teleprompter the first thing you’re going to set up, and then you’ll get ready with your makeup?

Or is it first makeup and then a bit of practice before recording?

Come up with a system that allows you to record more videos in less time.

The more efficient you are, the more videos you’ll be able to publish and the faster your YouTube business will grow.

The ideal system will allow you to record more than 1 video per day without too much stress.

10) Promotion plan

If you already have some following in other platforms, or you have a long list of clients, define how you’ll make them aware of your new video content.

Some options are:

  • Targeted Instagram or Facebook ads
  • Email outreach
  • Direct telephone calls

If you’re using YouTube instead to attract new customers (which is the best way to use this platform), then you don’t need to promote outside of YouTube.

This video platform has over 2 billion visitors per month.

You don’t need to look for more people outside.

In fact, most of your views will come organically from users that are already on YouTube:

youtube traffic sources

Instead, you need to know how to reach your target audience that is already using the platform constantly.

For that, you’ll need to learn something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

YouTube is a search engine that recommends videos automatically to people that its algorithm thinks will like them.

You need to learn to communicate to the algorithm with good SEO so YouTube knows whom to recommend your videos to.

A good SEO strategy includes the following aspects:

  • How to write titles with the right keywords and that also attract people to click
  • How to design thumbnails that attract clicks.
  • Use the right tags to tell YouTube what your video is about.
  • Uploading your scripts to each video so YouTube knows exactly what it’s about.
  • How to get more likes and comments in your videos to increase engagement.
  • Using cards to link to other relevant videos for your audience.
  • Knowing when to stop production a video format that isn’t working.
  • Knowing how to double down when something is working.
  • What hashtags to use in your videos to make them more discoverable.

These are all things that you should know about before starting your channel or you’ll find it really hard to get eyeballs on your content.

We offer a free course about this. Click here to sign up if you want to learn more.

11) Defining a strategy to keep the audience for the long term

You don’t own the audience that is subscribed to your channel on YouTube.

That’s why one of your main concerns has to be how to keep them in case your channel is terminated or YouTube suddenly stops promoting it.

youtube killing a channel

Most YouTube channels simply send their viewers to another social media platform like Instagram.

However, you don’t own that audience either.

The only real way to own your audience is by collecting their email addresses or phone number.

Email marketing is the most popular way to go about it, and it’s also the most effective marketing strategy.

Here’s how to collect email addresses from your audience:

First, put a link in your YouTube channel banner and in the description of your videos to send people to an opt-in page:

In the opt-in page, offer your audience something they’d want to get for free and that isn’t complicated to make (a checklist, a report, etc) in exchange of their emails:

opt in page example

Then, set up an automated email response when they join.

You can take advantage of this by asking them right away what their main struggles are.

Use that data to come up with good product ideas that may solve the problems of your audience.

12) Funnel and product building

Once you’ve built the base of your email list, you’ll want to come up with your final product idea.

To know if it’s the right idea, simply ask your subscribers if they’d be interested in buying a product like that:

product confirming idea emails

Test different prices until you find the perfect balance between price and demand.

Once you’ve confirmed your idea with enough people, develop it.

Finally, set up a new email series promoting your new product and prepare for your first launch.

13) Plan your marketing

Define where all your marketing efforts will focus on.

What social media platforms are you going to use to build a better relationship and more trust with your audience?

Try to focus on only 1 social media platform besides YouTube if you’re just starting or it will be too much for you. 

The good thing is that you’re already using video to talk to your audience, so you’re already using the best content format for a business:

video marketing ROI statistic

On the other hand, if you plan to hire social media managers, then write where you’ll find the candidates and what jobs you’ll assign to each one.

14) Scale and expand plan

What other products can you offer later on as an upsell or to keep your clients happy?

What improvements could you implement to your first product to better fix your clients’ problems?

Do the same as with your first product and ask your current clients what they want to learn next.

If you’re already selling one product successfully, then you should keep reinvesting in new, improved ones for your customer.

After all, once someone buys from you, they’re much more likely to buy again.

This is how you keep scaling your business until it becomes an amazing money-making machine that is also helping thousands of people.

Congratulations, you’ve reached your objectives and you’ve built a YouTube channel business.