As someone who works in Marketing, and specialises in digital communications, I’m well versed in the rules for achieving YouTube success. I know what it takes to make your videos and your channel successful. Today, I’m sharing with you the TOP FIVE MOST IMPORTANT RULES FOR YOUTUBE CREATORS. Strangely, I never seem to follow those rules myself! And I explain why that is.
You may already know that I work in marketing.
I am reasonably good at my job, and one of
my specialisms is digital communications.
So why am I so bad at YouTube?
I know the formula for YouTube success,
but I always seem to do the opposite.
I know exactly what it takes to make my channel
popular. To make lots of money from my videos.
But you wouldn’t know it from the
way I’ve chosen to run my channel.
The formula for YouTube success, the
rules of the game, are really really simple.
And I’m going to share them with you.
Rule number one:
You’re supposed to pick a niche and then
you relentlessly focus on that one subject.
So you might decide you want to talk about technology.
Or you might focus on travel and tourism.
Or you could make your channel entirely educational.
Do cookery, or DIY, or makeup tutorials.
I haven’t done that though.
Instead, I’ve decided to make videos
about whatever interests me.
So, I love technology and gadgets
and I’ve made videos about that.
(Which nobody watches by the way!)
I love to travel. So I’m going to be making videos
about visiting different parts of the world.
I’m obsessed with politics.
So I’ve been making educational videos about current affairs.
Or angry videos complaining about
things that annoy me in the news.
It’s 100% the wrong strategy.
It’s the absolute opposite of what I should be doing.
I should be mining one particular niche and nothing else.
Instead, I’m just making videos on
subjects that happen to interest me.
I’m just making the kind of videos
that I, personally, would like to watch.
So, I’m personally completely ignoring
rule number one – the most important rule.
Because I’m just making videos
to entertain me and my friends.
Rule number two:
You choose a group of fanatical idiots,
and then you pander to them.
So, you might decide to make
videos just for right-wing idiots.
Or, you might decide to make
videos just for left-wing idiots.
And it’s really easy to do that.
Because idiots just want to hear their
own opinions verbalised again and again.
They don’t want facts.
They don’t want nuanced discussion
about complicated issues.
They’d rather you twist the facts into a simple
message that supports their existing political bias.
And this rule doesn’t just apply to politics.
There are many different kinds
of passionate fanatical idiots.
So, there’s religious idiots, of course.
Who just want you to tell them that their holy books,
and their holy prophets, are brilliant and perfect.
They just want to hear you say
that their choice is the best.
And they also want to be told that
all the other religions are false.
And that people who follow those other
religions are shameless hypocrites.
An echo chamber, that’s what they want. Like this one!
There are nationalist idiots, as well.
Who just want you to pander to
their patriotism and xenophobia.
The Americans want to hear that America is awesome.
And the Chinese want to hear that China is the best.
And the Indians want you to talk up their history and their culture.
Then there are the sports fanatics, who just
want you to talk about their favourite team,
or their favorite athlete, in a positive way.
The problem is that I won’t pander to idiots!
I just can’t bring myself to do it.
I love facts.
I prefer knowledge to ignorance.
I’m open to debate.
I’m also open to the possibility that I might be wrong.
And that means I will never appeal to stupid people.
Unfortunately, for me, half the
population are stupid people.
Rule number three:
If you want to make money from
YouTube, then make longer videos.
There’s a good reason a lot of YouTubers
make their videos just over 10 minutes.
That’s the golden number,.
Because, you get more advertising money
for your videos that go over 10 minutes.
That’s why people pad out their
videos with irrelevant bullshit.
Just to squeeze a little bit
more money out of their fans!
Me, on the other hand, I make my videos
as long as they NEED to be, and no longer.
If my video has nine minutes worth of content,
then I’m putting out a nine minute video.
In fact, I’ll be looking at that nine minute video and
I’m thinking about how I could make it even shorter.
Because I’ll be desperately trying to cut out
as much unnecessary material as possible.
And the reason for that is because I trained
as a journalist. That’s my background.
And we were taught to be as concise as possible.
“Get to the point. Don’t waste the audience’s time.”
That’s one of the first things I learned.
And, inevitably, with shorter videos
there will be fewer adverts.
So, I’ll be getting a lot less money from advertising.
Rule number four for YouTube success:
You’ll see a lot of YouTubers pretending to be excited.
Or pretending to be overcome with emotion.
And they do that because that’s the
fourth rule of YouTube success:
Give the audiences drama!
And the best way to give it
to them is to fake happiness,
or nervousness, or excitement, or fear.
And you can ramp all of those
feelings up with some loud music,
and lots of quick edits,
jumping from one shot to another.
It’s how a lot of video makers keep their viewers hooked.
It’s basically the McDonald’s of storytelling.
And don’t get me wrong.
I’ve got nothing against McDonald’s.
It’s successful for a reason.
It’s just not for me.
I have too much self-respect and dignity to pretend.
I don’t want to lie to you.
Because I think that’s disrespectful to you.
So I’m just going to be honest instead.
And I’m well aware that honesty
can be a bit boring sometimes.
But I prefer authenticity.
Unfortunately, authenticity and honesty isn’t
the best way to grow your audience on YouTube.
Rule number five:
Now there are many YouTubers
who make a hell of a lot of videos.
Some will even push out up to 10 videos a week.
And that’s because the YouTube algorithm
rewards you for releasing more videos.
And, because the algorithm is basically a machine,
it doesn’t know the difference
between quality and quantity.
As a result, you’ve got people
releasing hundreds of videos a year
where they say and do almost nothing of any interest.
I don’t entirely blame them because they’re
just playing the game as best they can.
Let’s say you work hard to
make 20 brilliant videos a year.
Chances are you’ll get less overall views than
if you just pump out 200 crappy videos.
And that’s especially true for people
with an established audience.
I’ve seen this happen so often on YouTube,
to some of my favourite channels.
Where someone who used to make a
couple of excellent videos every month
ends up pumping out hundreds of simple,
low quality, talking-to-camera videos instead.
And I really don’t want to do that.
I want to put some thought into
whatever gets released under my name.
I want people to actually get
some value out of my channel.
Ideally, I want people to watch more than once.
Even this video, which looks like a simple,
casual, walk-and-talk conversation,
is far more complicated than you might think.
I spent a whole week putting this together.
I made notes. I rehearsed.
And what you’re watching right now
is not the first time I’ve filmed this.
I’ve actually put a lot of time and effort into this.
And I know it’s probably wasted effort.
But I’m doing it anyway. For pride.
So there you have it.
Five reasons why I will never achieve YouTube success.
Which is a depressing conclusion to end the video.
But, hopefully, some of you will
be able to learn from my mistakes.