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Student YouTuber OhhItsOnlyAlice Shares Her Top Vlogging Tips

Student YouTuber OhhItsOnlyAlice Shares Her Top Vlogging Tips main image

Imagine sharing your entire university experience with tens of thousands of strangers. YouTuber Alice Thorpe (OhhItsOnlyAlice) has been doing that just that, posting three videos a week while studying at the University of Lincoln in the UK, vlogging about fashion, beauty and university life, discussing everything from how to manage your money, to how to survive freshers’ week.

Her dedication to posting regular updates and bonding with her fans has seen her number of subscribers steadily climb towards 30,000 since she launched her channel four years ago, and she’s even released her own merchandise to capitalize on her success. We spoke to Alice to find out more about what goes into running such a successful YouTube channel, and what she’s learned along the way.

So, what made you want to start your own YouTube channel?

Well I’ve always been a creative person ever since I was young, and when I left sixth form I was lost for something creative to do. I had two years out before I went to uni, so YouTube was my little hobby. Now it’s a job but it’s still a really enjoyable hobby.

How would you describe your channel to people who haven’t seen your videos before?

I’d say I create videos around my life, like a diary but one you can watch. I also offer make-up tips, or if I go shopping I’ll show people what I bought. A lot of it is interacting with people and seeing what they want me to do.

How much would you say you’ve learned along the way in these past four years?

Oh my God, a lot. I’ve learnt to not change who I am, but kind of censor myself a little bit and understand what is suitable to share and what isn’t, and look after my own safety as well as my viewers’ safety online. I’ve learnt better ways of voicing my opinions and kind of accepting everyone else’s criticisms.

I’ve had experience of trolling and it’s hard to deal with but now I know I’ve got such a strong community around me. If something negative does get said, I take it in and think if there is anything I do actually need to change about what I’ve done and then usually I’ll move on from that comment and look towards the positive comments.

You give really helpful advice for students in your university advice videos. How much of this was based on your own experiences?

Basically all of it, I feel like that’s the best kind of advice you can give. Hopefully you can help people learn from your own mistakes so they don’t have to make them themselves. I’ve got a very solid group of friends at university, so I can get a broader spectrum of opinions when I go and ask them what they’ve learnt from uni.

How did you find making those videos?

I really enjoy them, I feel like they’re my most popular ones, I was actually filming one today and it’s nice to just sit down and have a chat. I am becoming more well known for the university side of my channel, and it’s nice for people to get solid answers to questions that you can’t find answers to anywhere else. Universities are obliged to say they are great, whereas I’m not, so I can offer a more honest opinion.

You upload videos three times a week - has it been difficult keeping up with this schedule while also keeping up with your uni workload?

It does get stressful sometimes but because I’m a very organized person I do try to film in advance when I can. I actually introduced a topic called Raw Wednesdays which is basically an uncut video of me speaking for about 10 minutes. People really enjoyed those, because it was raw me, without editing, and it was also really helpful to me, because it saved me time editing, so it was kind of a win/win. My days off from uni are my filming days.

How do you plan to balance YouTube with the final year of your degree?

Well, at the minute I’m waiting for my timetable. I believe it won’t be so heavily tutorial-based, as it has a lot more self-directed work, so it’s going to be me organizing myself even more than previously. I’ll stick to vlogging daily, but for my main channel I’m open to the idea of going down to two a week, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, especially with it being third year.

What do people not know about YouTube and the effort that goes into making videos?

I feel like it’s automatically assumed every Youtuber is rich, and that is one of my personal gripes about it. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand, Youtuber AdSense money can be up and down every single month. It’s hard to sustain a continuous income with this kind of job, which does make it quite challenging.

What are your ambitions for your channel? Do you want to turn your YouTube into a full-time job, or do you have other career ideas?

This is something I’ve always been a bit worried about. Ideally, I’d love it for my channel to be able to sustain me as a full-time job, but I know the reality of that is very unsure, you don’t know what’s going to happen within the next 10 years of YouTube. So that’s mainly the reason I’m doing a degree, as a bit of a back-up plan, getting into illustration and drawing.

I’d love to continue YouTube but if it opens up any other avenues, like illustration or presenting work, I wouldn’t be against that. I feel like I’d probably want a new challenge at some point anyway - I like to have new challenges!

Which video are you most proud of?

This time last year, I made one called 2016 Rewind and it was basically a highlight reel of everything I’d done in 2016, and that got an amazing response from everyone. You could see how much I’d grown and I had people commenting it had made them cry because they’d watched me go through all this together. It’s actually really cute, I still watch it sometimes myself!

What advice would you give to vloggers who are just starting out – specifically if they’re a student?

I’d say post videos that you’d watch yourself. Post ones that are quite popular – university videos in general are quite popular because not many people are doing them, and it’s something a lot of people are searching for. Videos where you give a tour of your new room at university are really popular.

One big tip is to not be too pushy with your channel, share it about on Twitter and Instagram but don’t comment on other people’s videos asking people to check out your video because people don’t click on it. It’s better to build up a connection through five or so comments back and forth.

If you want to be a YouTuber while at uni, just go for it. Don’t feel the pressure of numbers, if you’re enjoying it, do it. Don’t be disheartened if a video doesn’t get good views because even if you only get 50 views, you might still have had a positive impact on those 50 people. It’s taken me four years to get to 27,000 subscribers, but it takes other people six months to get that many, so don’t be discouraged. As long as you’re enjoying it and not stressing yourself out too much, just keep doing it.

What would you say to someone feeling a bit nervous and camera-shy about starting their channel?

Sit down and film a video and maybe upload it, but don’t necessarily put it on public, just so you can get used to the notion of sitting there talking to a camera, editing yourself, and looking back. Then, when you’re feeling a little more confident, send it to a few of your close friends to get some feedback. A lot of people are a bit shy to talk to cameras, but practice makes perfect. Hopefully the response you get when you do start making videos public will encourage you to keep going.

Check out Alice’s channel here.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina edits and publishes articles which guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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