Getting started on YouTube

Youtube is easily the most efficient way to have your voice heard and share media content with the world. Although it is easily accessible and user friendly, YouTube’s market is a tricky one to crack, often taking years to establish a loyal fan base and subscriber list.  Professional YouTubers have mastered the art and formula for creating an online presence that is unique to their personality. An example of this is Daniela M. Biah having created a thriving self-titled Youtube channel. She is a Palestinian and Mexican Muslim from Vancouver Island. Having grown up attending Islamic schools, Daniela feels that her mixed heritage and Muslim upbringing contribute photo1-1greatly to her video content. Equipped with a degree from Western University and a passion for life, Daniela set off on her youtube journey in 2014 and has never looked back since. She now has almost 300k subscribers and over 14 million views on her channel. She recently stopped by to discuss her Youtube experience thus far.

Meinas:  What inspired you to start making youtube videos?

Daniela: A couple of years ago, I was upset about something and I created a video on my laptop to voice my concerns. I looked to youtube as an outlet to express myself with regards to controversial yet common issues in Islam.

Meinas: What did you learn most from your youtube experience?

Daniela: I learned not to take people’s comments too seriously and to focus on the positive. When you reply to positive comments, YouTube will rate those comments higher and more positive comments will start to show more on your feed. As with life, you get whatever you focus your attention on.

Meinas: At what point did you decide to take youtube seriously as a full-time job?

Daniela: When I realized I was obsessed with creating quality videos.  I would always be thinking of ways to grow my audience. I focused on the details such as my channel thumbnails and banner. I invested in a good camera lens and downloaded editing and analytical apps to help me.  The analytics allowed me to see where my viewers are from, their gender and how long viewers were watching my videos. I post one video every Friday and strive to create content that appeals to my diverse demographic.

Meinas:   When people ask you what you do for a living what is your response?

Daniela: I say I am a media content curator. It has not really hit me yet that I am a “youtuber”.

Meinas:   How does your family feel about your Youtube career?

Daniela: In the beginning, they weren’t supportive at all. However photo2with time, they became increasingly more supportive as they watched my fan base grow.

Meinas:  Where do you advertise for your channel?

Daniela: On Instragram, Facebook, Youtube itself and through meeting new people.

Meinas: What happened to make your views go from 200 to 10 000?

 

Collaborations & Career Goals

Daniela: I collaborated with Kareem from AreWeFamousYet. That was a great opportunity but after that it was up to me to do the hard work and create amazing videos to maximize on that exposure.

Meinas:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?photo6

Daniela: I would like to write a book with the goal of breaking Muslim stereotypes and show that Muslim women

on youtube can be funny, quirky and just like everyone else. I received a lot of hate in the beginning from more conservative Muslim viewers regarding my image and controversial videos but those topics needed to be discussed and I stopped caring what other people thought. I became annoyed that people were trying to silence me.

Meinas:  How would you describe your personality off camera?

 

Daniela: I am very introverted, quiet
and relaxed. It would be very boring to watch me if I was the same way in my videos.  When I film, I am an exaggerated version of myself. On camera, my voice is louder and has a higher pitch.

Meinas:  Does youtube pay you?

Daniela: Yes, based on the number of views and the ads at the beginning of my videos. Sometimes sponsors will contact me to feature their products in my videos. That is called product placement. It’s a great way to collaborate with businesses that I believe in.

Becoming a full-time YouTuber

Meinas: How many hours a week do you work on a video?

Daniela: Depends on the video but anywhere from a day to five days. Creating youtube videos is now my full-time job.

Meinas:  What are you willing to do to shoot a video?

Daniela: Anything as long as it is not forbidden in Islam or putting people in danger.

DanielaMBiahMeinas:  Would you ever do social experiment videos?

Daniela: No, those are not my style. I prefer creative videos like DIYs, makeup tutorials, hacks and recently pranks.

Meinas:  What advice do you have for people wanting to start a youtube channel?

Daniela: Just start, too many people say they will start but don’t end up doing anything. The other advice I have is to film against simple backgrounds.

Meinas:  What role does Youtube play in the social media realm?

Daniela: Youtube is taking over traditional media. I love that I can reach everyone and anyone. I love being in charge of own content.

Meinas:  How has youtube changed your life?

Daniela: My channel has connected me to my viewers and other youtubers. In the process I have made a lot of friends.

Lights, Camera, Action!

 Meinas:  What was your favorite video to shoot?photo5

Daniela: My cousin came from Mexico and could not speak English. So I made a video called “Teaching my Mexican cousin English”. I remember laughing so hard I forgot I was filming.

Meinas:  Which youtuber would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Daniela: There are so many it is hard to pick but I would have to say Casey Neistat, Bethany Mota and My life as Eva.

Meinas:  What advice do you have for readers who wish to collaborate with other individuals?

Daniela: You really need to understand the other individual’s subscriber base and make sure you have similar audiences.

Meinas: As a professional youtuber how would you know that you’ve made it?

Daniela: By having millions of subscribers.

 

 

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Meinas Elmusharaf

Dr. Meinas Elmusharaf is the Editor-in-Chief for The Platform Project and Executive Director for Think For Actions. She is a passionate women and social rights activist, writer, globe trotter and self-proclaimed foodie.