Starting a channel on YouTube has become so affordable, just about anyone can do it.
Yet, once you launch one, you realize that blogging goes far beyond just shooting videos and publishing them online. Besides gadgets – lights, camera, mic – time becomes your main investment. Truth be told, that technical part between shooting and hitting the “Publish” button sometimes requires much more effort than expected.
Good thing, there are hundreds of free tools that can help automate your workflow when it comes to post-production, thumbnail design, tagging, and social media posting. Some of them are reviewed in this article, so be ready to bookmark.
Free video editing software for Mac: iMovie
Clearly, video editing software is where you’ll be spending most of your time with, so take a serious approach to choosing one. If you’re on Mac, iMovie will probably be your best option so look no further. Apple has made it available for free to every iOS device owner and feature-wise it is so capable, many famous YouTubers stick to iMovie even after surpassing a million of subscribers.
iMovie has a clear concise interface, it’s intuitive and offers just about every feature you might need as a YouTuber – including color correction, title templates, transitions, and a decent audio editor.
Find iMovie for iOS here.
Free Video Content Creation Tool from Design Wizard
Design Wizard is a really unique content creation tool. Think Canva, Promo and Shutterstock all on the one platform. This is what you get with Design Wizard:
- An easy-to-use image editor + premium template library
- An easy-to-use video editor + premium template library
- Free video and image stock website – completely copyright free
- And, so, much, more.
Content creation just got easy. Marketing just got easy. (And cheap!)
Find Design Wizard here.
Free video editing software for Windows: VSDC
PC users have a much wider choice of video editing software. There is a good dozen of great video editors available for Windows at zero cost, including Movie Maker some may still have installed on their computers. For relatively tech-savvy bloggers, VSDC Free Video Editor might be a workable solution to start with. It’s a lightweight, powerful, and simple piece of software with over 50 built-in effects and various transitions.
You’ll be able to quickly cut and merge footage fragments, zoom in, create timelapses, add contour text, replicate effects often used by bloggers (such as picture-in-picture) and publish clips to YouTube directly from the program interface. On top of that, VSDC has built-in screen capture and webcam capture tools which might come in handy when recording tutorials or, say, reaction videos.
Download VSDC here.
Those on the latest OS, may proceed to a detailed review of free video editors for Windows 10.
Free tools for creating thumbnails: Stencil and Fotojet
If you are a student of YouTube Creators Academy, you have probably heard that thumbnails are like billboards. They have a tremendous impact on the number of views your video gets. When someone is looking for answers on YouTube, and several relevant videos appear among search results, the choice often depends on the thumbnail. That’s why a well-designed image is so important for channel growth.
Luckily, you don’t have to educate yourself on Adobe Photoshop to create a decent visual anymore. Consider using Stencil or Fotojet – online image editors and absolute no-brainers to use. You get access to hundreds of templates, stock images, and icons to build your own creative from scratch by dragging-and-dropping elements on the canvas.
The best part about both tools is that you can instantly resize your image based on where you’re planning to publish it. While neither app is positioned as completely free, both have robust trial versions that should be more than enough for a beginning YouTuber.
Free audio-to-text transcription tools
Video transcribing is the most efficient way to create descriptions, subtitles, and repurpose your content for other social media channels. It saves a great deal of time and effort. Audio-to-text transcription used to be performed manually and that was quite a pricey service just a few years ago. Now, there are free automated tools available, and you’ll probably regret you didn’t start using them earlier.
For starters, YouTube has a built-in tool that will transcribe your video and embed automated subtitles within several hours after you upload it. You’ll be able to access them in Creator Studio and download the entire text as a single document. Another way to turn your speech into text is using Google Docs.
Simply open a new text document in Google Drive, go to Tools and choose Voice Typing. One great thing about this feature – you can transcribe text in various languages, not just English. Note, voice typing works better if you’re using it in Google Chrome browser on a desktop. However, you can do it on a smartphone as well – just make sure to minimize background noise when recording.
Finally, there are few dedicated smartphone apps for converting speech into text. iPhone users may give Dictation a try. It is free and provides a pretty accurate transcription that can be edited, and afterword saved as a file or send via email.
Free keyword research tool – Ubersuggest
You may have heard about YouTube video optimization already, and therefore you know that tags have a significant impact on what search queries your video will be shown to. That said, using keywords in tags – as well as titles and descriptions – is quite important. Yet, what’s more important is using the right ones.
Keywords have few characteristics, but you should focus on two main ones: search volume and competition. The former shows how many times per month a keyword is searched for, the latter is a definition of how hard it will be to rank to the chosen keyword based on its competition level. As a beginner, you might want to target keywords and key phrases with high search volume and low competition.
There are quite a few great tools for keyword research and Ubersuggest is one of them. It’s free straightforward and doesn’t even require a sign-up. Simply type in the keyword you had in mind for your video and check the suggestions to choose the best option. Ignore the CPC column because it is intended for search engine marketers paying for ads placement among search results. Alternatively, you can perform the research using Keyword Planner from Google. It’s also free and intuitive, however, you’ll need to create an Adwords account first.
Go to Ubersuggest.
Free tool for social media posting: Buffer
Social media post scheduler is another timesaver. Once you publish a new video, you probably rush to all your social media channels to spread the word. Buffer helps you schedule post sharing on multiple networks simultaneously and make sure everything looks neat. When scheduling each post, you are able to see how it will look in the timeline, and whether text or image adjustments are required.
When it comes to videos, you can upload them directly to Buffer using the composer and they will be posted natively on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. Or you can publish a link to your video that is already on YouTube. You may want to use the former to post short video fragments or teasers to generate interest, and the latter – to generate views after your video has been published.
The free version allows for connecting up to 3 social media accounts and scheduling up to 10 posts per month. Note that if you sign up for Bit.ly to shorten the links before sharing them, you’ll be able to see the statistics on how your followers are clicking on them, and which ones contribute traffic to your videos.
Sign up for Buffer.
Free stock materials: Unsplash, Pixabay, AudioBlocks, and Envato Market
Sooner or later you will need high-quality media for your channel: background music for the videos, graphics, and images for thumbnails or creative effects. While there are millions of media files available on the Internet, one thing you want to avoid is violating copywrite laws. Therefore, it’s best if you find few stock resources in advance and bookmark them.
Unsplash is among the best destinations to go for free photos and images that don’t require attribution – meaning you can freely use them in your projects. Pixabay is another amazing source of photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and videos available for free even for commercial use.
For music, sound effects, and audio loops, you can check out AudioBlocks. This website is a huge library of royalty-free materials you can use for personal and commercial projects.
Finally, there is Envato Market, where you can get up to 8 media files for free every month after joining the community. That includes songs, pictures, templates, graphics, site themes, and much more. Bookmark the Monthly Freebies page on your browser to check what is available at zero cost. Besides free creatives, Envato is great at sharing inspiring materials. Just pick a topic on Envato Community, and explore the recent articles about trends, useful tips, tricks, and tutorials.
Making the Best Online Videos and YouTube Channel Possible
There is no right way to start a YouTube channel and lead it to success. Yet, whether you have a text blog or a personal channel, one thing is true for both – content is the king. Hopefully, with the tools shared in this post, you may be able to automate your workflow and far better focus on what matters the most.