Want be a Youtuber? Great. Getting an audience through internet video is a lot of fun.
It’s also a lot of work. Work and time.
If the word “work” didn’t scare you, keep reading.
If you want to be the best of the best, you must factor some things before, during, and after you upload your videos.
I’ve been a Youtuber for nine years a number of mistakes have been made. As long as I continue to work on YouTube, I will continue to make mistakes. It changes every year so I have to be willing to at least try so I can get better. The same can be said for you too.
Be aware that these are the things that worked for me. Everyone has their own methods but this is what I’ve learned when working on Youtube.
Youtube is always a work in progress and your success depends on how much you’re willing to put into it.
This is just the short version. Everything else will be explained in full detail.
You think a Youtuber got to 10k subscribers by one video? Hell no. They put in the time to create content and released 2-3 (some even more!) videos a week for years.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your next video will be a hit.
You’ll have to keep doing it until you hit your stride and someone takes notice.
Putting out content is one thing but it’s another to have GREAT content (we’ll talk about this later). What’s considered good is very subjective so experiment.
Megan Bowen (chonunmigooksaram) got 200k subscribers in 3.5 years. Another 200k subscribed nine months later!
Effort equals just doing it.
How do you get started? Just do it. That’s it.
How long will it take to get a lot of people to watch? As long as it takes.
If someone becomes an “overnight success” on YouTube, they either prepared properly before releasing their first video or they just had compelling content.
Many years were wasted trying to make that one video.
BE PATIENT BUT PUT IN WORK!
It’s important to be patient MAINLY because you don’t know what the future holds. Yes, work for today but it’s important to gain and maintain discipline. Expecting to make a viral video right away will not benefit you TODAY.
Since we live in a society that has instant this and that, we forget that things have to go through a metamorphosis. Like a butterfly that is working its way out of a cocoon, we too have to be that way when creating content on the internet.
People will find us eventually.
Just don’t make it a habit of deleting what you believe is terrible. Someone else out there might like it. I often deleted videos I hated. I did this so much, I accidentally deleted some of my best works.
Bottom line: Just wait it out. If you’re not moving at the pace you want to, look to change your strategy. Study up on others that are doing better than you if you want to improve your content.
[+#2: Not Working With What We Got. +]
Also known as “We Spend Too Much Money Right Away”, this is a great lesson to learn when working in your craft. Yes, you do have to spend SOME money but going over your budget right away and expecting to make something out of it will keep you in the red.
If you have only your camera phone to send a message, that’s great.
Just get your message out there. You can improve content later.
90% of Youtube is getting your voice out there. 20% is cleaning up, promoting, etc. (see what I did there?)
People spend too much time and money trying to make their videos perfect.
There’s nothing wrong with upgrading your equipment. It’s best to do that AFTER you get an audience.
Having a high end camera is great but most camera phone work better than some DSLRs. The iphone 6 and Android S4-S7 work just fine.
Getting a tripod would be in your best interest if you’re looking to feature yourself. For phones, they’re very cheap.
For voice overs, you can use your phone microphone and upload.
I use a Zoom H1N for field work and a Zoom H4N for stuff at home.
My first video looked like crap (I used a Sony Hi-8 camera) but the message got out.
Save your money and don’t buy that fancy smancy camera until you get a following.
Work with what you know and ONLY what you know.
Over the last four years, I slowly built up my equipment thanks to my primary job. I said that I was going to be a professional so I took my time with getting better cameras and microphones. Was it worth it? Yes, yes it was![[++
++]]I spent a total of $3145 on equipment from 2013 to 2016. My return on investment (ROI) was met thanks to doing pro work in the last year and a half. I got the work by actually going out there and talking to people.
Since I didn’t have an editing computer of my own, I borrowed computers in exchange for work. I also used the university’s editing room and my dad’s computer to get my message out. It wasn’t ideal but I didn’t care.
Bottom line: Work with any and all equipment that you have right now. Upgrade when you have a sizable audience or are looking to go to the next level. Don’t put yourself in the red your first year. Be sure to HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY FIRST.
If you have a knowledge of games, talk about games. If you have knowledge on a foreign language, talk about that. If you’re living in a foreign country and want to talk about your time there, talk about that.
There are MANY topics you can talk about. Talk about what you know and don’t try to bullcrap your audience. Your audience will know if you’re in control of your channel and topics. If you’re not in control, you will lose EVERYTHING.
MissHannahMinx was a very popular YouTuber. When she was in control, she was able to make fun videos with her cats and give Japanese lessons. She also did interviews and it looked like she was having fun (aside from the comments and such).
Then she got an agent. Do a Youtube search for her and see if you can find her.
Did you find her official channel? If you did, it’s probably fake. Her real channel is gone. Why?
This is what happens when you let a manager own you and your content. Now, Hannah probably thought it was for the best. After all, she was making money. At the same time, she also probably wanted to leave that life behind and be a wife and have kids. All I can say is own your stuff.
Giving your power to someone translates to “I want to be a slave”. In 2013, I played the role of an interviewer. I talked to celebrities in Korea and Japan and had a blast with it…until I sold out.
In June 2013, a K-pop (Korean pop) website in Australia asked me to conduct interviews with up and coming Korean pop stars. For free.
Why did I do it for free? I fell for a thing a lot of up and comers fall for: *the exposure trap. *
The Exposure Trap is when established companies attempt to get free work from talented people in exchange for getting more work in the future. The only problem with this is once the company gets what they want from the naïve individual, they dismiss them and are never heard from again.
They’re not promoted like they were promised. All of the work done now belongs to the company and the person that made it gets no pay.
I put in maybe $35k worth of work in eight months. During those months, I constantly went to the owner to tell him to keep his word. All he would do was give me praise. After my assignment in South By Southwest (music and film festival in Austin, Texas), I demanded he keep his word. He decided to give me a new assignment instead. The next day, I broke into his YouTube channel and deleted ALL of the videos I worked on.
That was a mistake. Not for morality reasons, no, but because I got rid of my important work without backing it up. I was so mad, I wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t in control of my emotions that day. It was a nice lesson learned and one I try to avoid making to this day.
Back then, I was a silly rabbit. However, my foolishness can work to your advantage.
The reason most give away their power is because they feel the higher ups can give them a slight edge over their “competition”. This could go back to our up bringing. We’re told to do all we can to get a job; to work for someone that can take care of us while we do our thing. Once you manage control of yourself and your work, no one else will be able to control you.
Youtuber Etika was approached by Machinima to make videos for them. He turned them down. He’s playing by his own rules. Why would he give up all he has for far less?
Bottom Line: ABIC = Always Be In Control. If you’re not in control of your work, you lose before you begin. Being in control commands respect.
Don’t be a silly rabbit. BE IN CONTROL.
Piggybacking off of the previous lesson, you’ll fully be in control when you let go of shame.
Whatever you’re subject, viewers will shame you for not playing by their wants.
People not in control like to control others through shame.
Waveya, the most popular Korean dance duo, gets comments from people for dancing “too sexy”. They have viewers from all over the world and their country’s customs are not in line with Waveya’s. Interviewers feel entitled to their comments and love telling others how to make their work. Waveya is no exception.
Waveya responds to this by dancing even sexier. Their almost 2 million subscribers don’t lie. They know their core audience. They know what they want. Waveya not listening to the wrong crowd has gotten them invites internationally. They’ve gotten interviews. They’ve even gotten sponsorships.
When creating content, expect comments. Constructive criticism is what you want. That’s fine and dandy. Haters are another story.
Haters will hate. Giving into their demands will frustrate you. Giving the audience that doesn’t matter will put your channel down. If you make something that irritates someone off and you piss them off, they’ll let you know. If you make an apology video, you’ll lose your core audience.
In mid-2013, I interviewed my first girl K-pop group. I was assigned to talk to a group called F-ve Dolls. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I wasn’t familiar with the K-pop audience but it was a nice challenge. After the interview, I edited the piece and uploaded it. Within minutes, I got negative comments saying I “spelled their names wrong”. I was worried I pissed people off!
I made a call to the manager to apologize for the misspellings. At that time I REALLY didn’t want to go and re-edit the interview. At the time, I used Final Cut Pro 7 and the rendering took TWO HOURS for a 7-minute video! The manager said to me “Oh that’s common. Western complain about stuff like that all the time. They don’t fully know Korean”. I freaked out over nothing and almost let the viewers control my stuff.
There’s an invisible narrative that exists when being a content creator. Viewers like to use shame to put them creators for whatever reason. You can’t listen to that. That will stop your groove. Making that audience happy will alienate your core crowd. Your core crowd gives you the views which turns into subscribers.
In retail, they say stupid crap like “the customer is always right”. Obviously they’re not but your manager wants to keep EVERYONE happy so they can get their crap pay. Youtube isn’t retail. You do have to treat it like a business but you’re not in this to please everyone.
The flipside of the core crowd is the “non-core”. The non-crowd are people that are familiar with a work but don’t buy/watch it. They’ll complain about it due to the hive mind attitude. Here are examples of what happens when you listen to the core audience vs. the non-core.
Japanese game developers are familiar with how the western audience feels about sex in games. Some allow these people to determine the content of their games. The developers of Street Fighter V censored a character in the game because her butt slap was “too problematic”. That, along with a number of other things, caused the game to not sell well within their first few months.
Another Japanese developer decided to not release their beach volleyball game to the west because of western influence. In response, an online retailer based in Hong Kong decided to sell the game to the western audience. Because the online retailer decided to not listen to their non-core crowd, they broke records.
Remember, you’re in control. You can do what you like. If people are wrong, let them be wrong. You have the power to ignore them and there’s nothing they can do.
Unless you make a colossal muck up like copywriting reaction videos, a majority of your main audience will stick around. They’ll love you for being you.
The only time an audience should “run” a channel is if you do viewer requests. You have the power to choose their requests. Epic Rap Battles of History run their channel their way. They let the audience choose and they put in the work. Real simple.
My goal of 1k subs in a year wasn’t reached because of playing it safe. I listened to too many people as well. If your aim is to misbehave or do something others are afraid to do, never play it safe, especially on the internet. People might appreciate you more.
Me not learning this aspect really put a dent in how I handled myself. Often times we hear complaints about big companies not listening to their audience. There’s nothing wrong with that but listening to them TOO much can be just as detrimental as not listening to them. There has to be a fine line between knowing what’s best and knowing who’s full of crap.
Bottom line: Listen to criticism but not hate. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s one thing to take what exists, modify, and make it your own. It’s another to directly copy it.
People spend way too much time on the internet and they spot these things pretty fast.
Pop Over Asia tried its hardest to be original in talking about Korea and Japan.
It ended up being a low-tier version of other successful foreign YouTubers in both countries.
Being original is your best asset. You don’t have to worry about being in “competition” with other people. You’ll just be in competition with yourself.
This is why so many other potentially great channels get lost in the shuffle.
You can study other more successful people and learn their style. Just don’t do exactly what they do. They have more of an audience than you and you will get overlooked.
I believe people try to copy one another is because of the fact that’s it easy to do. There’s nothing hard about trying to be someone else and not having to worry about finding your own identity.
When we try to be exactly like someone else, we will easily get lost in the shuffle. Once that happens, no one will share our stuff. They’ll be like “Oh that’s a low-rent version of [insert big name YouTuber here]. I’m willing to bet others have said the same thing about my channel. They look at it once and that’s it.
What’s ironic about this is while our society pushes for individualism, we tend to err on the side of being like everyone else. When we do something different, we either get noticed or not. It’s not about trying to make a viral video just for the sake of doing so, it’s a matter of being you and not someone else.
Megan Bowen was part of my inspiration for trying to do the YouTube thing again. My issue with that was within my first six months, I caught myself doing most of what she did. Her and Bapmokja. We have to stop and ask ourselves “Do we really want to film this the same way they did?” I saw Bapmokja and Haeppy do a video about Costco in Korea. I said I was going to do that but lacked the time. Haeppy said to do it anyway. I decided against it.
I’ve come to find my niche isn’t doing videos about Korea like that. Most people that make videos like that are either female, have a particular personality, or are in duo. It’s best to do what you know so you can find what works for you. If we stick to it, we can find out what our audience likes.
Remember, the audience likes to watch many others so it’s best to just be you.
Bottom line: BE YOURSELF!!
Time is a valuable asset in our lives. It’s one of the few things we can never get back.
That said, if someone is going to spend their time watching your videos, you best make sure you have something to say.
No one in their right mind will watch if you say gobbledy gook (i.e. NOTHING).
You can be the most attractive person in the world but will have a following only based on looks. This could be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on conditions.
If you have something to talk about that’s well said and well thought out, you’ll grow an audience.
Remember, this takes TIME!
You can be impatient all you want (I have my tendencies) but you won’t get to where you want unless you have something to talk about.
Most Youtubers that complain about how much their channel sucks is usually because no one cares about what they have to say or offer.
Digital Boundaries has been a Youtuber since January 2, 2006 and has around 2.5k subs. His core content is video games.
My first channel was created May 30, 2006. I’m on my [+ channel+] and have 775 (at the time of this writing) after one year.
Swoozie joined Feb 8, 2006 and has over 4 MILLION subs.
That’s no accident.
He wouldn’t have gotten there just by his looks alone. He has funny and/or interesting stories to tell. His animations amplify his words. He’s also very likable.
UFC President Dana White once said “Everyone will stop what they are doing to watch a fight”. The same can be said for anyone that has something to say. If your words are strong enough that resembles a fight-like atmosphere, you’ll get a lot of people to watch your videos.
Please don’t confuse this with saying things to start an argument. I want you to visualize the type of audience you can get with your powerful words. When Core-A Games releases a new video, many people in the Fighting Game Community will stop what they are doing to watch an analysis video.
After each Core-A Games video, the narrator asks the audience a question and they leave a comment in the comments section. That right there gets people engaged in a discussion and it keeps people wanting more.
The bottom line: Say something that’ll get your audience interested. Start a “fight” with your words and the people will flock!
No one wants to watch someone they can’t relate to. Like I keep saying, no one wants a fraud.
is the best music interviewer in the world. He’s a music nerd; he’s knows what he’s talking about; importantly, he’s VERY LIKABLE.
When he first interviewed Pharrell and Shay, he shared things both guys liked and impressed them with some knowledge.
Pharrell was very impressed and gave Nardwuar an opportunity to work on a bigger scale.
My interview with Waveya got a lot of hits and subs on my second channel because I wanted to know about them. Everyone else did too.
I was the first and only to give them an English interview and we’ve kept in contact since.
I’m not saying bend over backwards to be liked by but be the type of person someone would say they could relate to. Remember, you don’t want to waste people’s time.
The ironic thing about being relatable is we tend to watch other people we can’t relate to in our own lives. But being relatable doesn’t have to just mean that. Your audience can relate to you not only in your words but also in your presence.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians is a popular show on the E! network. It’s a reality show about the lives of a wealthy group of individuals. Most people can’t relate to having a lot of money! But why have they had an audience for over 11 years?
The Kardashians, believe it or not, are relatable thanks in part to family. Most of people watching it can relate to the fact that they have a brother or sister that’s has qwirks similar to their own. Some can relate to the fact that the mother is crazy (or crazy SMART). Many can relate to the funny aspects that come with having a big family in general.
On YouTube, it’s no different. Be the type of content creator that people will go “That’s my dude” or “that’s my homegirl” or whatever the kids say these days.
Bottom line: Give your audience something they can relate to! Whether it be your words or the way you carry yourself!
Giving > Taking
When I started my first channel, I made it clear to myself that I wanted to use what I was doing to get a job. Nothing wrong with that.
If your goal is to use people for your gain and then drop them later, you deserve to not have a bigger channel (or anything else for that matter).
Because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and my attitude in check, I spent 3,285 days (9 years) figuring out why I wasn’t making any progress. I blacklisted myself.
From 2007-2014, my intentions were known without me saying anything. Was it the aura I gave off? Was it my cognitive dissonance? Who knows, who cares.
There’s that old saying “reap what you sow”. It’s also called karma; you get what you put out.
There’s also another saying: Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.
In college, I associated with people with good intentions but were scummy in their actions. Because I associated with scummy people, I became scum myself.
Me being a scum turned me into a leech which turned me into a self-entitled prick with no clear goal other than to get a free ticket out of my situation.
I was that desperate to no longer be broke, I accidentally bit the hand that fed me. Numerous times.
When I was in Japan, I met up with a famous actor from the USA. I was able to connect with them on Twitter and things started off great. I was able to interview them, eat with them, and pick their brains on how and why they were successful.
Then I went back to Korea and was up to my old tricks. Instead of simply thanking them and offering any way to be of help, I constantly asked them if they could give me any hook ups. I only met them ONE TIME and I was already being the biggest leech I possibly could.
Needless to say, they stopped responding. It took me three years to realize what I was doing was wrong and pretty shady. I’ve since apologized to them and thanked them for everything. When I talk to them and other people, I go out of my way to be an asset. Whether it be sharing their newest projects or announcements, I’m there to support them.
If you’re looking to do a collaboration with Youtubers big and small, offer some help. They’ll appreciate you for that.
Paying it forward is another great thing to do.
When you pay it forward, they’ll talk about you to other people and those people might want to come to you. Whether it be a collaboration or a business deal, you’ll want those people to come to you.
Bottom line: Be an asset and give what you can when you can. Don’t give TOO much but do enough to help out while you’re working on yourself. Whatever you put out there, you’ll probably get double in return.
Victor Pride (curator of Bold & Determined) said to “not work harder, work more”.
In society, you’re respected by working hard. “Work hard and you can get what you want”.
Give me a break. If working hard got what you want, every person that makes an honest living through working hard would be rich right now.
In December 2015 and February 2016, I made one video a day. Each day I did so, I got more subscribers.
My Family Guy videos got me more subscribers because I did what no one else could or would do: talk to Koreans in Korea about the episode.
There was nothing hard about talking to people. I just did it.
It’s one thing to put work into your creation but making it difficult is counterproductive.
It takes little effort to upload and make content. What you start with doesn’t have to be what you only do.
Team Four Star started with Dragon Ball Z Abridged. Megan Bowen started with vlogs. Both of these channels have since grown and evolved.
In addition to , you must have . It does you no good to have a lot of videos and they’re all crap.
Your first couple of videos may or may not be good. As long as you critique yourself and give yourself room to grow, you’ll be fine.
My dad always says “Work smarter, not harder”. Working more is working smarter.
If you think working more is too hard then don’t do this.
The K.I.S.S. method exists for a reason. Keep It Simple, Stupid. There’s a reason this exists. Honestly, making videos isn’t that difficult, especially for YouTube. Society makes us think making videos is hard. It isn’t. It just takes more work than people are accustomed to.
Video editing programs are getting easier and easier by the years. The audience, to an extent, doesn’t care about HOW you edit. They only care about the end product.
Humans have this invisible notion that states if you work hard, you can get whatever you want. If that was the case, the people that manufacture iPhones would be rich. If that was the case for videos, EVERY Youtuber would have at least 10k subscribers within their first month.
When one is starting out, no one should EVER put TOO much effort into their videos. I mean, yes, make it look good and SOUND great but do what you can to at least get an audience. Remember: Youtube isn’t a corporate office.
When working YouTube, you don’t want to worry about whether or not your audience will look at the amount of effort put into the videos. Your audience won’t be like:
Random viewer of Core-A Gaming videos: Wow, this YouTuber put a lot of effort into making their videos. I like their use of graphics, music, and transitions. It looked like they put a lot of work into this video. I will subscribe to them because they did all of these cool things and put work into what they like.
10 times out of 10, a viewer will be like this:
Random viewer of Swoozie’s videos: Wow, this is funny! Subscribed!
That’s all there is to it. If you have to work hard to find what you need, then you’ll never find it. Same with your videos. If you make it hard for yourself, your viewers will be annoyed.
Bottom line: Make your videos easy to watch and easy to work on. One shouldn’t put too much stress on themselves to make content.
Seriously! Have fun with this! This is an absolute must! The old folks never enjoyed what they did because they never had fun. In return, the act of not having fun while do what you love makes it unbearable.
I was often too serious about the videos I did because I wanted everything to be perfect.
Your audience knows you better than you know yourself. They can spot a fake and someone that’s aggravated a mile away.
If you don’t enjoy it, they won’t enjoy it. It’s that simple.
Pop Over Asia was NOT fun for me because I made it too difficult.
Pop Over Asia’s original intent was to talk about K-pop, Asian culture, and things around Korea. SO MANY OTHERS ARE DOING THAT!
To be honest with you, I am not obsessed with K-pop. I enjoy listening to it but I’m not obsessed with it. I tried to force myself to be obsessed with it so I could get an audience but it drained me. I was looking for a free ride out of where I was at.
My experience with the K-pop stars was actually fun. I enjoyed interviewing them and getting to know the group of men and women. My Japan visits were also fun because it didn’t feel like work.
Let me say that again: it didn’t feel like work. If your work doesn’t feel like work, you’re on the right path. The interviews didn’t feel like work but dealing with my superiors at the time made it feel like work. From having meetings, not getting paid, and having to deal with a bunch of children, it was a chore.
Since I changed the name of my channel to Shaun On Site, I’ve been having more fun with my videos. I decided to go the Ice-T route and say “fk it”. Saying that before I film gets me far and it will get you far too. If it doesn’t kill you, fk it.
Playing it safe isn’t fun. It’ll keep you alive but it won’t be fun.
People that say you’re not supposed to have fun and enjoy your work are miserable.
Bottom line: Don’t be miserable. Enjoy yourself. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what Megan Bowen had to say.
Family, I hope what you read will save you a LOT of time and heartache. After nine years of trying to figure this out, I hope someone out there can use these mistakes.
Youtube is always changing but the basics will not change. Strive to learn and do better in this or anything else you do.
Until next time!
Peace and love!
Shaun Webb’s SNS outlets!
YouTube: Shaun On Site
Why We Suck At YouTube video tutorial: Linky link!
Megan Bowen- Chonunmigooksaram
Team Four Star
[+Victor Pride +](Boldanddetermined.com)
You've been working on YouTube for a number of years. You're uploading videos, you have a slight audience, and things are going okay. There's just one problem: You've been on it for YEARS and you have less than 1000 subscribers! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?! There are so many things to consider when using this wonderful tool! However, it's easy to overlook the basics. Why We Suck At YouTube talks about the ins and outs of YouTube and what to consider when using the platform. There are many tools that talk about HOW TO GET (INSERT NUMBER) OF SUBSCRIBERS but they never talk about what NOT to do when doing so. A lot of what's written may sound like common sense but it's things people never think about. Why We Suck At YouTube should help you to suck less at it.