Even if you missed Microsoft's recent Upload Outreach competition, there's no reason you can't make your way straight to the top of the Xbox One's featured video clips. All you need is a console, a little imagination, and a little help from your friends - that's us, in case you were wondering. We're not talking about Steve. Yeah Steve, you just stay out of this.
1. Think about framing
This is such a simple touch, but barely anyone online gives it a second thought, and I'm talking about professionals just as much as hobbyists. Before you begin recording your introduction or picture-in-picture, take a look at what the camera sees. Are you fully visible and centred in the frame? Is your background neat, uncluttered and dirty laundry-free? If you can, try pre-empt and eliminate any distractions, too. Put it this way; no-one will be paying attention to you if your cat suddenly wanders into shot mid-take.
2. Consider using a headset microphone
The Kinect's microphone isn't exactly broadcast quality, and if you're in a larger room where the acoustics aren't great, there's likely to be a good deal of echo. In the Upload clips we've seen so far, the audio hasn't been brilliant, so if you've got a lot of voiceover to do, you might want to use a chat headset microphone instead of relying on the raw recording power of the Kinect. This goes double if you aren't planning on recording any on-camera sequences.
3. Work out what you want to say before you say it
Regardless of how it appears, no-one online hits record on a Let's Play or a gameplay commentary clip without some idea beforehand of what it is they want to get across. We're not suggesting you write a script, as it'd just come off sounding sound wooden and unnatural, but maybe work out a list of bullet points that you want to cover. You could even prop this list behind your Kinect, to refer to just in case you suddenly get stuck for words.
4. Keep it short, sweet and to the point
Here's the hard truth of online video: you need to hold you audience's attention from the very first frame, or risk losing them entirely. Keep introductions short; no-one's going to wait around until you hit your stride. Have the game paused at where you want to start, have a practice run before you start recording, and if you aren't happy, you can always do another take. Just make sure to get to your point, make it, and move on. If you feel you're starting to waffle, stop. No-one has the time or inclination to hear you umm and ahh and make noise over what you had for breakfast. Filler is killer, so cut it right out.
5. Give people a reason to return - and then tell them to return
Every online video series needs a hook. Think of what your videos can offer that no-one else can - be that ultra-skilled gameplay, knowledgeable and well-researched insight, or just your sparkling wit and personality - and make sure to serve it up every time you hit record. And don't be afraid to tell people why they should come to you before everyone else. YouTubers create custom sign-offs ("like and subscribe!") and end plates for their videos because it tells viewers that if they enjoyed what they saw, they can sign up and expect more of the same.