Voice Actor and Reporter





In the enormous ocean of online content creation, diving into the world of YouTube the last three months has been humbling yet fun, in a way I didn’t at all expect.  It began as a passion project.  An opportunity to share my love for home exchange travel while doing work that’s creative and entirely mine to mold.  While I love my work, I was craving a project outside of my typical lineup of political ads, medical narration, and various voiceover projects.

In the process, I’ve learned a few new skills, met some truly awesome people, and began to realize just how much learning is required to play in the YouTube world.  The old saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” perfectly describes the journey I’ve had over the past few months as I stumble through digital storytelling.

I thought it would simply be telling stories on camera, something that appeared not too far from my previous life as a news reporter.  Instead, it has become a deep dive into a different world … a lesson in another language …YouTube.

My Greatest YouTube Lessons

For those of you (voiceover actors, video producers or anyone else for that matter) who might be considering adding YouTube to your life – either as a hobby or to complement your profession – let this be a quick peek into all of the things nobody told me to begin with.

Lesson 1:

Creating content for YouTube, or any other platform for that matter, requires you to be more than a good storyteller.  You have to be a graphic designer, an expert in SEO, a videographer, editor, and proficient technical problem-solver. Oh – and I can’t forget the critical role that marketing plays – particularly through the all-important title and thumbnail.   If you’re at all like me, you may not realize that on YouTube, people definitely judge a book by its cover.  That cover (and title) come in the form of those little thumbnail boxes you see with an image that give you a peek or a ‘tease’ into what the video may be about.  If it doesn’t catch the viewers eye, they won’t even bother to check it out.  This has made thumbnail creation such an important element of YouTube that some people have built businesses around thumbnail creation.  Me?  I’ve barely moved past thinking of thumbnail art as something I can get at the nail salon.

Lesson 2:

You have to be patient.  Very patient.  In the “instant gratification” world we live in, this can be a real challenge.  I’ve made a conscious effort to tap into the patience I had when I was younger … when we couldn’t grab our phones or hop online and google the answer to any question we might have.  The YouTube game, much like social media in general, is a marathon not a sprint.  It’s about building a community.  It’s not uncommon for new YouTubers to get only a handful of views on a video they may have spent hours (or days) on. What sets YouTube apart from other platforms is the fact that your content isn’t posted one day and gone the next.  It will live there forever.  If someone searches YouTube for “Home Exchange Hacks” my video will come up … today, next year or in ten years.  This makes those videos that have lower viewership worth going back and fine tuning.

Lesson 3:

Engagement trumps numbers:  While subscriber count and analytics are important, true success on YouTube is measured by engagement.  Comments, likes and shares carry more weight than sheer numbers.  I tell you this to encourage you to comment when you find a YouTube creator you like.  It means more than you realize!  At the same time, I truly believe there is no one definition of “success”.  It comes down to each creators’ goal.  Not every YouTube creator wants to be a “YouTuber”.  Some just want to share a subject they believe in, or create fun videos, or provide people with information.

Lesson 4:

Consistency is key:  Like anything in life – you can’t do it once and be considered an expert.  That rings true in the world of YouTube as well.  Building a loyal audience requires consistency both in content and in uploading schedule.  Viewers want to know when to expect new videos.  I’ve found that having a schedule makes consistency much easier.  On Sundays I brainstorm video ideas.  On Mondays I hash out an outline and sometimes first draft.  Tuesdays are for fine-tuning the details, Wednesdays are for shooting (or gathering existing) video, Thursdays I edit, and Friday or Saturday I post.  Or at least that’s the goal.  When I stick with the plan, consistency is easy.   I’ve managed to be pretty consistent since beginning, but again … I’m only a few months in!

Lesson 5:

Adaptability is essential.  We certainly see this in voiceover, but it’s true in many industries: the digital landscape is constantly evolving and what works today may not work tomorrow.  There are trends that come and go and experiments that may or may not ‘stick’ with viewers.  It simply means that being willing to try out different formats, topics and strategies based on these trends as well audience feedback, is critical to growing.  This is an area that I’m working hard on.  I’m learning that the traditional style of storytelling that has always come fairly naturally to me, really doesn’t work on YouTube where viewers crave spontaneity, uniqueness, authenticity, and the ability to connect with their creators.

Lesson 6:

While we’re on the topic of authenticity …. I think that whether through voice over, Instagram reels or longer format videos, viewers are craving authenticity now more than ever. This may be due in part to the growth of AI.  People want to know that what they’re watching is real, not created by mystery online robots.  Creators  who are unafraid to show their true selves become far more memorable than those who read from a perfectly written script.  This, too, is a challenge for me.  I’ve always shared other peoples’ stories.  Sharing my own is much harder.  I can’t help but think “who cares what I say”.  But then I remember that part of my passion in storytelling comes from the natural curiosity I have for other peoples’ stories.   Perhaps they have an interest in mine?

The Road Ahead

While these are the most obvious lessons I’ve learned over the past few months, they are hardly the end of the journey.  I feel farther than ever from being an “experienced” YouTube creator.  My goal is to learn one new thing with each video uploaded, try something different, and take a chance on something that may feel unfamiliar and even uncomfortable.  With each video uploaded and each lesson learned, my YouTube journey continues to unfold.  I’m not looking to be an “influencer” and don’t consider myself a “YouTuber”.  I’m a student, a creator, and an online community member.  The rewards of connecting with a new audience who shares my passion for travel makes it all the more fun.  So, here’s to embracing the unknown, learning from mistakes, and continuing to grow as a creator in this ever-evolving digital landscape.