The rise of TikTok has allowed many content creators to monetize their platforms, but navigating this new opportunity can be tricky for those who don’t know where to start. Like, how do you film and edit a TikTok video that captures people’s attention?
It goes far beyond simply creating and posting a video nowadays. To stand out on social media, there’s an emphasis on making your videos aesthetically pleasing and engaging, which can be a challenge if you’re new to content creation. Don’t fret, learning from other creators can help you unlock new ways to connect with your audience, grow your community, and successfully monetize your content.
Known for her graphic design tips and time-lapse videos, Alyssa Nguyen (@atnndesign) is a branding and web designer who uses TikTok to grow her business. With so many different creators and niches on the platform, it can be overwhelming to figure out what you should focus on. However, Nguyen reassures new and aspiring creators that “there’s a part of TikTok for everybody.” By posting on TikTok, she’s also been able to diversify her revenue sources: “Now I have three streams of income: me as a lifestyle content creator, content creation as a designer, and my actual design business.”
To learn how to engage your audience, read on for Nguyen’s top eight tips for creating and editing TikTok videos.
1. Find your niche
Having something you’re known for is key.
It’s important to narrow down your niche, so people understand what type of content you create. As a graphic design entrepreneur, Nguyen started posting on TikTok with the intention of marketing her business and bringing more traffic to her work. After noticing a gap in the TikTok space for design-related videos, she decided to make that her niche, creating videos that would allow her to share her knowledge and contribute to the community.
“In the early stages, my design time-lapses became something I was known for. For example, if you search ‘design time-lapses,’ my video shows up as one of the first 10 videos,” Nguyen explains. Similarly, another design-focused creator Andrey Azizov is known for his TikToks about fonts.
Whether your niche is beauty, fashion, or design like Nguyen, it’s essential for a content creator to make content that people can draw a connection to you easily. Be consistent with your content, as it’ll help you connect with your audience and build an engaged community. An easy idea is to create a series, like Nguyen’s “design with me” series, that is a set of videos falling under the same theme. This makes it easy for viewers to follow along and continue exploring your videos.
2. Get a consistent filming setup
Invest time and money towards a consistent filming setup.
Try to get similar lighting for all your videos, and film against a background that people will recognize over time. If you decide to film your videos at one place in your home, make sure it has good lighting and lots of space for you to move around in.
Nguyen says that having a consistent filming setup “helps with quality and brand recognition more than you realize.” She attributes the quick growth of her TikTok account within her first four months of posting to the consistency and creativity of her videos. By ensuring consistency in both your content and setup, you’ll be more easily identified and remembered by TikTok users who watch your videos.
3. Use closed captions, hashtags and keywords
Using closed captions is important for people who are hard of hearing, or people who prefer to read text instead of listening to audio. Nguyen shares that whenever she inputs closed captions, people watch her TikToks for a longer time and her videos get more views. This thoughtful feature makes a video more accessible to a wide range of people, allowing you to expand your audience.
Whoever said hashtags died is seriously mistaken, especially when it comes to TikTok. Hashtags are important to include in your captions in order for TikTok’s algorithm to understand what type of content you are putting out, and what niche audiences to push it towards.
“I didn’t realize that so many people use TikTok as a search platform, so it’s super important to put in your caption and in your hashtags things that people would search for,” Nguyen explains. “My hashtags are always searchable terms. But with my captions, I try to be very engaging with something that would make someone want to comment, or I’d include a call to action in my caption.” Your captions should be descriptive to give TikTok as much specificity as possible.
4. Encourage discourse with your captions
Adding to the tip above, it’s a great idea to write engaging captions that invite viewers to give their two cents on the topics of your content. By asking a question or including a call to action in your caption, you are creating an opportunity for TikTok users to engage with your content, which is important when you’re trying to grow your TikTok following and community.
Nguyen implemented this tip early on and saw success within the first three, four months of posting. “I think a lot of people enjoy design discourse. I did one comparing Adobe XD versus Figma, which are two different design softwares. My comments were flooded and people loved it,” she shares.
“I created a video a while ago about website platforms that I like and dislike, which was the perfect place for discourse. I posted the video months ago, and there are still people replying to each other in the comments.”
5. Add cover banners and text overlays
Our attention span seems to be rapidly decreasing, and the way we interact with social media is no exception. People now want more fast-paced, more visually appealing videos. As a TikTok creator, you can achieve that by utilizing visual elements such as cover banners and text overlays at every opportunity.
Insert text or stickers that pop up, such as cover banners with captivating messaging or text overlay to grab viewers’ attention. Nguyen also suggests using the green screen function: “Using engaging [features] like this always does better than just sitting in front of the screen.” The green screen effect allows you to reference other videos or add photos in the background to enhance the video’s message. This helps effectively capture your audience’s curiosity and captivates them to continue watching your video, past the initial first few seconds.
6. Consider the video length
When it comes to the length of a TikTok video, it’s important to find a sweet spot. “I don’t think that there’s a perfect video length. When videos are too short, the value isn’t communicated; but when they’re too long, your views are going to dip,” Nguyen explains.
In her own experience, Nguyen says that “time-lapses have always done well.” She adds, “Quick educational tutorials like ‘check out this feature on photoshop,’ ‘try this new free app,’ or ‘fonts inspired by‘ videos usually do well. Anything longer than 30 seconds is not ideal for me.”
Ensuring good quality content and enhancing it with visual elements like overlays will help create valuable, engaging videos that people will enjoy watching. Nguyen does this with her own TikToks. “I test my content by thinking, would I stop and watch this? If I can’t even sit down and watch the whole video that I created, no one else is going to,” she says. “If I can’t read the information popping up on my screen, I know it’s too fast. I always test that stuff on myself before posting it out there.”
7. Learn from other content creators
If you’re trying to make money from doing content creation, there are free resources on the internet that you may find helpful.
Nguyen urges new creators to learn from existing content creators, as well as accounts that give useful tips for creators, widely available on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. “I didn’t do that enough and went into it blind, but I’m realizing now that there are TikTok accounts dedicated to helping people make money online,” she says. “For example, there are accounts that look for trending sounds so you don’t have to. There are other micro-influencer accounts that directly show you how to be a micro-influencer, and provide you with email templates that you can use.”
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and figuring it all out by yourself, there are hundreds of creators that are making content to help other creators like you. “They are so transparent and open about what they do, and if you just follow their blueprint, you’ll see results so much faster,” Nguyen says.
When it comes to editing TikTok videos, Nguyen shares that she’s learned to use free apps such as Splice, which allows users to easily move around clips, trim them, and save them in different resolutions. When she isn’t editing videos in-app on TikTok, she usually uses Splice to edit her clips.
8. Stay on top of trends, without burning yourself out
Being super passionate about social media and staying on top of trends is great, but it’s also important as a content creator to understand signs of burnout and set boundaries when needed.
Nguyen explains how she carefully walks this fine line to avoid getting lost between leisure and work. “I have two separate accounts: one that’s for my personal, normal consumption of entertainment, and a separate one that is my business/content creation account,” she explains.
“Whenever I’m just consuming for leisure, I try to turn the latter part off. However, I’m also aware that when I’m scrolling and find something I like, I can just direct message the videos to my content creation account,” Nguyen adds. “That way, when I do sit down to do content creation, I have a bunch of direct messages from myself that I can refer to and make [similar] videos, rather than having to sit down and do research.”
Another tip Nguyen has is to batch-create content, so you don’t have to force yourself to do content creation every single day, or on days when you feel off. Nguyen explains that by doing this, she always has ideas ready for when she is in the headspace to film and edit TikToks.