It’s hard to define a “successful cosplay page”. This can refer to your Instagram account, your cosplay blog, or your cosplay “brand” as a whole. For many, cosplay is just a hobby where success is simply determined as the completion of your dream costume. But for those want their cosplay page to thrive, I hope these tips will come in handy.
Again, you are the only person who can set expectations for success. Maybe you want to land a brand deal or you want to hit 1,000 followers on Instagram. The options are endless, but each of these steps should help you kickstart your cosplay ambitions to get the results (a.k.a. the “success”) you’re hoping to achieve.
Step 1: Figure Out Who You Are
I’m trying to find a way to phrase this so it doesn’t sound so cliche. If you can’t figure out who you are in real, everyday life, it’s going to be hard to show that to people across a screen. The people who I’ve seen that are the most successful in their cosplay endeavors are the ones who are unapologetically themselves.
If you’re not sure who that is, figure that out first. Or ask your closest friends and family members how they would describe you. Then harness those key traits about yourself and use them to show the world how awesome you are.
Step 2: Set Goals
Let me say this loud and clear: don’t focus on numbers. Do. Not. Focus. On. Numbers.
Don’t get me wrong; numbers shouldn’t be ignored altogether because they do help you measure which content is working and which isn’t. Just don’t think that numbers are the only measurement of your success. You can do brand collaborations, sell prints, and start a YouTube channel with only 100 followers. In fact, that’s exactly what most people do.
There’s nothing wrong with setting Instagram follower goals or trying to hit that 100 Patreon mark. Just make sure these numeric milestones have something to do with your big-picture goals. For example, I want to write a book. I can write a book with 0 followers, but if I want to make a full (or even part-time) job out of being a writer, then I need an audience. So I do have monthly numeric goals for social media followers and (more importantly) engagement growth. But in order to hit those numbers, I have to set goals with a consistent strategy in mind. My goals each month are to write blogs, post a couple of YouTube videos and have at least one cosplay photoshoot.
Whatever your big-picture goal is, it shouldn’t have to do with numbers. It should have to do with a career choice, a dream project, or even just community involvement. In short, set your big-picture goal, make small milestones to hit those goals, and only keep track of numbers to see if you’re hitting each milestone along the way to your main ambition.
Step 3: Be Consistent!
I’ll be the first to say that this is easier said than done. Between my day job and lack of confidence, coming up with consistent photos is hard for me. It’s November and I’ve published 15 cosplay pictures this year. But it also explains why I’m not where I want to be in this cosplay journey.
You don’t have to post photos every day to be consistent. In fact, you shouldn’t. Think of your cosplay page audience as a group of friends. You don’t need to see or talk to them every day in order to maintain that friendship. But if you keep flaking on them or you stop being there for them, they’re going to stop showing up for you, too.
Consistency should be one of your main goals if you want a successful cosplay page. Set a realistic limit to how often you can post and stick to it. It can just be one photo a week or one tutorial video a month. Once people know they can depend on you, that’s when your relationship with your audience begins to grow.
Step 4: Network For a Successful Cosplay Page
This one is huge. You don’t have to attend 20 conventions a year, but if you’re consistently holed up in your house, then it might be hard to find your tribe in the cosplay community.
You can network simply by leaving comments on other cosplayer photos. I try to make this a daily habit. I love leaving encouraging messages on others’ cosplay photos. Or if they ask a question to try to engage with their community, I like to be the person who cares enough to leave a genuine response.
Teaming up with local cosplayers for a collaboration or a big cosplay project is another great way to put yourself out there. It can be intimidating if you don’t already have a group of cosplay friends, but that’s what is so great about this community! It’s easy to make friends… if you try. These opportunities give you a way to provide new content to your social media fans while simultaneously making friends IRL.
Step 5: Have Something to Offer
If your idea of a successful cosplay page is to have over 10K followers, you might want to look at how those cosplayers got to where they are. Usually, these cosplayers who have achieved recognition all have one thing in common: they have something to offer.
Figure out what you can offer that nobody else does. And then magnify that so the rest of the internet can see. Create tutorials, make funny Tik Tok videos, or become a stand-out seamstress. The trick is to be vocal. There is a lot of competition on the internet which means you need to be loud and proud of whatever it is that you have to offer.
Most, if not all of us, have considered starting a cosplay YouTube channel. This video platform has been a source of DIY material since 2005 and the videos are only becoming more and more intricate.
I’m not going to lie; I had literally noidea people made a living off of YouTube until I nonchalantly uploaded my first video around 2017. I was still under the impression that YouTube was a video version of Photobucket (which I also realize is as ancient as the Yellow Pages and the telegraph).
So for someone like me (who had been living under a rock for the better part of a decade), seeing the possibilities that YouTube presents enthralled me. There’s money to be made on YouTube, but more importantly, it gives creators a chance to develop a community more tight-knit than anything you could hope to accumulate on Instagram. There’s just something about broadcasting that intimate, live version of yourself that’s vulnerable and unfiltered that YouTube audiences are grateful for.
Okay, I’m done rambling. I put together this article coming from the perspective of a wide-eye newcomer who had a hard time learning the ins and outs of YouTube. But after intense and continuous research, these are the first 8 steps you should take when starting your cosplay YouTube channel.
Step 1: Create a Google Account
Whoa, ground-breaking, I know. But in case you were wondering if you could create a YouTube channel with your Yahoo email, the answer is no.
When you click ‘Create Account’ you can set it up for yourself or to manage your business. I’m not sure the difference between the two as the latter is a new option I haven’t seen before. Either way, your Google platform will be your central hub for managing emails, uploads, and settings concerning your cosplay YouTube channel.
Step 2: Research, Research, Research
It should go without saying that this is the most important step. Don’t overindulge in this step (like I did) though or else you’ll come out with more than you can chew. Everyone has their own opinion on how to run YouTube channels, and you’ll only know what’s best for you through trial and error.
That being said, if you don’t already have a handful of your favorite channels, start exploring. It doesn’t just have to be cosplay YouTube channels, either. Having some inspiration can help you come up with your own channels’ aesthetic and overall purpose.
Mykie’s Glam and Gore channel is actually what made me want to start my YouYube. She has a Playlist of info on starting a YouTube channel that was paramount in my overall research. Here are some factors you’ll learn in her videos:
Step 3: Write Down Ideas for Your Cosplay YouTube Channel
So, after you’ve researched what other cosplay YouTube channels are out there (part of Step 2), you’ll need to decide where your own ideas come into play. What do you have to offer that nobody else does? Do you want to do tutorials? Convention storytimes? Short and concise cosplay advice? Or do you want to provide some sort of entertainment like MELF’s quirky cosplay videos?
Write down a list of ideas and figure out how you can mold these into a channel. Also, if you already have a cosplay audience established on other social media, I would stick with the same name (easier to find).
Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to one niche (despite popular opinion). YouTube offers Playlists, which means you can cast out a net of ideas and see which ones stick. I started off doing cosplayer interviews, but if you check my Playlists, you’ll see I also do cosplay tutorials and product reviews. And over time, it’s become obvious that reviews do the best for me.
Here are just a few categories and ideas for your cosplay YouTube channel to get you started:
Entertainment: cosplay blogs, parodies, challenge videos, opinion/unpopular opinions on your favorite fandom, storytime videos
Informational: short DIY videos, cosplay advice, SFX and makeup tutorials, full cosplay tutorials, product reviews
*Disclaimer: If you look at my channel and decide I don’t know what I’m talking about purely based on numbers, you can get outta here with that bs. This info is based on years of research and my own trial and error. Just be cool, damn!
Step 4: Gather Supplies
I’m going to do a whole other blog on cosplay YouTube supplies, but for now, let’s keep it simple. Your phone is the best and most practical starting point. In fact, sometimes I prefer to film with my phone instead of breaking out my expensive camera and backdrop set-up.
Here are the only things you absolutely needfor your first cosplay YouTube video:
A video camera
An editing system (if you have an iPhone, congratulations! You have one for free on your phone and computer)
Good lighting (either in front of a window for natural light or one of these $5 things that you can clip to your phone)
Step 5: Practice Filming and Editing
The one thing that I don’t think many people address when it comes to filming for YouTube is just how incredibly awkward it is. Even if you script out your videos (which I recommend), it’s unnatural to film and talk to yourself in front of a camera.
You may think of yourself as a natural performer, but even then, you may find it’s hard to come across as your true self in this type of setting. My best advice is just to go for it. Film yourself over and over again until you feel somewhat comfortable. Uploading your first video might be extremely daunting, but there’s really no preparing for it. Just do it.
The toughest and most tedious part of having a YouTube channel is learning how to edit. Your iPhone’s free iMovie editing system is a great place to start, but eventually, you’ll probably be like me and want to move up to systems like Final Cut or Adobe Premiere Pro. Then again, there are times when editing a quick vlog on iMovie is preferable to me than trying to work in Adobe Premiere.
Step 6: Familiarize Yourself with the YouTube Settings
When you go to upload your first video, you’ll notice that it asks you to include more than just the title and the thumbnail. You’ll want to add tags and write in the description for SEO optimization.
Take a look at the descriptions in my videos to see how I set mine up. It includes links to related videos as well as contact information and links to my other social media platforms. Trust me when I say that including this information is important.
Step 7: Create a Cohesive Look
I’m personally still figuring this out because I’m God-awful with design and branding, but I feel better knowing that my channel looks at least a little bit more professional. Your cohesive look is speaking specifically to your thumbnail photos.
These front images should be enticing above all else. People will judge your videos by their cover, so you want to create thumbnailsthat will intrigue viewers to click on them. And don’t underestimate the use of bold lettering.
This step isn’t super important but if you’re big on aesthetic, then coming up with a couple of staple fonts and a color scheme will make your overall channel look that much more impressive.
Step 8: Set Realistic Expectations
Are you going to start earning millions off of YouTube right away? No. Are you even going to hit 1K subscribers right off the bat? Not unless you have an established and engaged audience already.
The hardest thing that I had to learn is that staying consistent on YouTube is hard work. You have to treat it as a job if you want to be successful. Which is really hard as a cosplayer because building cosplays is already a tough gig on its own. Most people recommend posting 1-2 videos a week to grow a following, but I have yet to find a cosplayer with that kind of time of their hands.
If you want to provide cosplay tutorials, aim for one video per month. And even that will take a lot of will power. You can create filler “episodes” by filming shorter videos like the ones I mentioned above that require less editing.
YouTube is a ruthless beast and I think it’s especially tricky for cosplayers. We already dedicate so much of our time to the actual crafting process that it can be hard to stay consistent like the more successful YT channels. Just remember not to compare yourself. Everyone’s journey is different and one person’s success won’t define how you find yours.