14 Popular YouTube Channel Ideas to Get You Started

The most common video trends are the best for a reason

An image of a young couple video recording their cooking efforts for a YouTube channel.

Getty Images 

YouTube has come such a long way since it launched back in 2005, now offering a wide range of video content brought to you by professional filmmakers comparable to what you'd see in movies and on television. From web series and animated shorts to music mashups and scientific fact videos, YouTube pretty much has it all, and there are more than enough YouTube channel ideas to go around for everyone.

Despite the incredibly vast and ever expanding collection of high quality content you can enjoy on YouTube, some of the simplest forms of video still largely dominate it. So if you've been itching to start your own YouTube channel but felt intimidated by all the creators who are incredibly talented at writing scripts, acting, using special effects and everything else involved in video production—you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you don't necessarily need any of that stuff to successfully grow a YouTube channel.

Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part. You don't have to be great at it right off the bat, but you do need an idea for a starting point so you can work on getting better.

Below is a list of some of the most common video content styles that are extremely popular on YouTube today. You don't need much but a working camera and maybe a few everyday items that you already own, depending on what style you decide to go with.

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Capture Moments of Your Daily Life: Vlogging

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Vlogging is one of the easiest ways to get started with a YouTube channel because you don't need any extra equipment other than a device with a camera that can capture video content. Vloggers generally spend time talking to the camera about their own lives, thoughts, opinions, concerns and even current news topics or events. It's totally open-ended and is considered to be the video equivalent or writing in a diary, journal or personal blog.

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Unveil Cool New Products: Unboxing

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In the world of high-end consumer electronics, unboxing is a big deal—and a huge trend on YouTube. When a new product is launched, these types of videos start popping up and catch audiences' attention who are searching for the product to decide whether it's worth buying for themselves. Product owners film themselves opening the boxed product for the first time to show its contents as it comes. 

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Talk About Products or Services You Love (Or Hate): Reviews

An image of a thumbs up and a thumbs down button.

Unboxing videos show what you get from a product, but often times prospective consumers go looking for people who've already tried, tested and used the product (or service) for a certain amount of time. And it doesn't have to be gadget-related—people upload video reviews for anything and everything. What kinds of things do you use already that you could turn into a useful and informative video review?

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Embrace Your Inner Geek: Video Gaming

A photo of Markiplier.


People sure do love playing video games. Amazingly, they love watching other people play games too. Markiplier is a YouTuber with gaming on a YouTube channel who has over 22 million subscribers. Viewers generally like to watch YouTubers play games as they give commentary, either to gain insight into how to play better for themselves or simply as a form of entertainment. 

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Demonstrate to Your Viewers How to Do Something: Tutorials

Computer / technology tutorials
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People will always be perplexed and confused by technology. Rather than digging out the old product manual, more people are turning to YouTube. Remember, YouTube is the world's second largest search engine. You can find everything from JavaScript coding and PC troubleshooting to Photoshop editing and iPhone jailbreaking. You don't have to be a tech whiz—all you need to do is show helpful techniques that you already know how to execute.

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Show Off Your Talents: Musical Performances

Musical instrument playing / singing
Photo © REB Images / Getty Images

Got some musical talent? Then you sure can share it on YouTube. Not only is music huge on YouTube with its Vevo integration, but original songs or covers by everyday normal people like you are just as interesting to listen to and watch. Tons of artists and bands have been discovered on YouTube, and these days it's pretty standard for most musical people or groups to start channels if they dream of taking their career down that path.

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Share Your Favorite Food Recipes: Cooking

A woman recording a video for YouTube as she cooks a meal in her kitchen.

 Getty Images

Recipes with lists of ingredients and step-by-step instructions are great, but like most how-to stuff, nothing beats seeing it live and in action. With cooking videos, viewers get to see exactly which techniques you use and get a glimpse at how the combined ingredients should look at each stage. Even if you've got the simplest meal or snack ideas, it's worth sharing them on YouTube. People are always looking for recipe ideas that are easy and practical.

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Explore the World: Traveling

A woman recording the scenery for her YouTube travel video.

 Getty Images

What could be more exciting than traveling to a new place? Even if you just stay relatively local, lots of viewers who haven't traveled there before will most definitely be interested in what's around there. Lots of YouTube creators combine the travel theme with vlogging, taking their digital cameras with them while documenting and describing the places they visit. It's a great way to show viewers whether or not a place is worth checking out.

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Share What You Already Know or Are Passionate About: Education

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Whether you plan on pursuing a doctorate in some particular scientific field or you just simply enjoy being a geek as a hobby, sharing what you know on YouTube is a great way to teach and inform thousands of viewers across the world about something you're deeply passionate and knowledgeable about. And hey, it will challenge your presentation skills! You'll get bonus points from your viewership if you can teach and present in an engaging, casual way that's easy to understand.

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Make Your Viewers Laugh: Comedy

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If you have acting skills or just a knack for telling hilarious jokes, you could turn that into something that entertains people enough to subscribe and share your videos. Comedic sketches are one way of doing that. You could also combine any of the above suggestions on this list like vlogging or education with comedy to put a fun spin on it. You can make almost anything funny if you get really creative; take a look at these hysterical YouTube videos to see some examples.

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Help Your Viewers With Common Problems: Lifestyle Advice

Lifestyle Advice
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YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, so you can bet that people are searching for terms that might bring them closer to solving one of their problems. From health and relationships, to money and career, you can certainly establish yourself as an expert in any particular field that you're willing to give advice about based off your own knowledge, education or personal experience. Even better, you can ask viewers to comment what they want advice on in future videos from you.

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Share Your Love of Filmmaking: Animation

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Do you have a passion for animation? YouTube is one of the best platform for sharing your artistic creations. Create animated shorts, web series shows or even long movies to build a following and get a feedback from your viewers. In fact, sharing your art like this on YouTube could set you up for getting discovered by people who may be able to give you bigger opportunities, like that dream animation job or a collaborative project with another artist.

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Comment on What's Current: News

News / Entertainment
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 A lot of people do really well on YouTube by vlogging or doing comedy videos on newsworthy topics or celebrity gossip. Philip DeFranco is one such YouTuber who has always been at the top of the news game with the Philip DeFranco Show. Comparable to starting a YouTube channel offering life advice, you can even put a spin on news and entertainment by offering your own comments and opinions on the stories you decide to cover.

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Connect With Other Animal Lovers: Dogs, Cats and More

Pet watching
Photo © Christina Kilgour / Getty Images

Nervous about getting on camera? Got a cute pet to film instead? Then you've got yourself a YouTube channel idea—and you don't even have to be in the videos if you don't want. It would be an understatement to say that the Internet loves cute animals. No, the internet is hopelessly obsessed with them. Just point a camera at your dog or cat or hamster or whatever animal you own and hit play.