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Five Rules for YouTube Success (that I never follow myself!)

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.

TRANSCRIPT

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You may already know that I work in marketing.


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I am reasonably good at my job, and one of
my specialisms is digital communications.

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So why am I so bad at YouTube?

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I know the formula for YouTube success,
but I always seem to do the opposite.

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I know exactly what it takes to make my channel
popular. To make lots of money from my videos.

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But you wouldn’t know it from the
way I’ve chosen to run my channel.


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The formula for YouTube success, the
rules of the game, are really really simple.

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And I’m going to share them with you.

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Rule number one:

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You’re supposed to pick a niche and then
you relentlessly focus on that one subject.

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So you might decide you want to talk about technology.

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Or you might focus on travel and tourism.

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Or you could make your channel entirely educational.

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Do cookery, or DIY, or makeup tutorials.

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I haven’t done that though.

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Instead, I’ve decided to make videos
about whatever interests me.

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So, I love technology and gadgets
and I’ve made videos about that.

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(Which nobody watches by the way!)

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I love to travel. So I’m going to be making videos
about visiting different parts of the world.

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I’m obsessed with politics.

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So I’ve been making educational videos about current affairs.

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Or angry videos complaining about
things that annoy me in the news.

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It’s 100% the wrong strategy.

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It’s the absolute opposite of what I should be doing.

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I should be mining one particular niche and nothing else.

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Instead, I’m just making videos on
subjects that happen to interest me.

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I’m just making the kind of videos
that I, personally, would like to watch.

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So, I’m personally completely ignoring
rule number one – the most important rule.

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Because I’m just making videos
to entertain me and my friends.

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Rule number two:

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You choose a group of fanatical idiots,
and then you pander to them.

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So, you might decide to make
videos just for right-wing idiots.

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Or, you might decide to make
videos just for left-wing idiots.

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And it’s really easy to do that.

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Because idiots just want to hear their
own opinions verbalised again and again.

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They don’t want facts.

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They don’t want nuanced discussion
about complicated issues.

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They’d rather you twist the facts into a simple
message that supports their existing political bias.

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And this rule doesn’t just apply to politics.

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There are many different kinds
of passionate fanatical idiots.

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So, there’s religious idiots, of course.

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Who just want you to tell them that their holy books,

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and their holy prophets, are brilliant and perfect.

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They just want to hear you say
that their choice is the best.

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And they also want to be told that
all the other religions are false.

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And that people who follow those other
religions are shameless hypocrites.

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An echo chamber, that’s what they want. Like this one!

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There are nationalist idiots, as well.

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Who just want you to pander to
their patriotism and xenophobia.

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The Americans want to hear that America is awesome.

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And the Chinese want to hear that China is the best.

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And the Indians want you to talk up their history and their culture.

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Then there are the sports fanatics, who just
want you to talk about their favourite team,

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or their favorite athlete, in a positive way.

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The problem is that I won’t pander to idiots!

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I just can’t bring myself to do it.

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I love facts.

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I prefer knowledge to ignorance.

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I’m open to debate.

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I’m also open to the possibility that I might be wrong.

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And that means I will never appeal to stupid people.

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Unfortunately, for me, half the
population are stupid people.

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Rule number three:

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If you want to make money from
YouTube, then make longer videos.

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There’s a good reason a lot of YouTubers
make their videos just over 10 minutes.

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That’s the golden number,.

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Because, you get more advertising money
for your videos that go over 10 minutes.

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That’s why people pad out their
videos with irrelevant bullshit.

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Just to squeeze a little bit
more money out of their fans!

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Me, on the other hand, I make my videos
as long as they NEED to be, and no longer.

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If my video has nine minutes worth of content,

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then I’m putting out a nine minute video.

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In fact, I’ll be looking at that nine minute video and

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I’m thinking about how I could make it even shorter.

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Because I’ll be desperately trying to cut out
as much unnecessary material as possible.

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And the reason for that is because I trained
as a journalist. That’s my background.

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And we were taught to be as concise as possible.

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“Get to the point. Don’t waste the audience’s time.”

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That’s one of the first things I learned.

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And, inevitably, with shorter videos
there will be fewer adverts.

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So, I’ll be getting a lot less money from advertising.

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Rule number four for YouTube success:

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You’ll see a lot of YouTubers pretending to be excited.

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Or pretending to be overcome with emotion.

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And they do that because that’s the
fourth rule of YouTube success:

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Give the audiences drama!

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And the best way to give it
to them is to fake happiness,

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or nervousness, or excitement, or fear.

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And you can ramp all of those
feelings up with some loud music,

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and lots of quick edits,
jumping from one shot to another.

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It’s how a lot of video makers keep their viewers hooked.

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It’s basically the McDonald’s of storytelling.

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And don’t get me wrong.
I’ve got nothing against McDonald’s.

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It’s successful for a reason.

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It’s just not for me.

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I have too much self-respect and dignity to pretend.

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I don’t want to lie to you.

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Because I think that’s disrespectful to you.

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So I’m just going to be honest instead.

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And I’m well aware that honesty
can be a bit boring sometimes.

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But I prefer authenticity.

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Unfortunately, authenticity and honesty isn’t
the best way to grow your audience on YouTube.

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Rule number five:

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Now there are many YouTubers
who make a hell of a lot of videos.

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Some will even push out up to 10 videos a week.

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And that’s because the YouTube algorithm
rewards you for releasing more videos.

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And, because the algorithm is basically a machine,

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it doesn’t know the difference
between quality and quantity.

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As a result, you’ve got people
releasing hundreds of videos a year

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where they say and do almost nothing of any interest.

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I don’t entirely blame them because they’re
just playing the game as best they can.

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Let’s say you work hard to
make 20 brilliant videos a year.

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Chances are you’ll get less overall views than
if you just pump out 200 crappy videos.

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And that’s especially true for people
with an established audience.

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I’ve seen this happen so often on YouTube,
to some of my favourite channels.

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Where someone who used to make a
couple of excellent videos every month

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ends up pumping out hundreds of simple,
low quality, talking-to-camera videos instead.

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And I really don’t want to do that.

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I want to put some thought into
whatever gets released under my name.

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I want people to actually get
some value out of my channel.

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Ideally, I want people to watch more than once.

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Even this video, which looks like a simple,
casual, walk-and-talk conversation,

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is far more complicated than you might think.

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I spent a whole week putting this together.

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I made notes. I rehearsed.

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A lot.

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And what you’re watching right now
is not the first time I’ve filmed this.

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I’ve actually put a lot of time and effort into this.

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And I know it’s probably wasted effort.

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But I’m doing it anyway. For pride.

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So there you have it.

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Five reasons why I will never achieve YouTube success.

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Which is a depressing conclusion to end the video.

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But, hopefully, some of you will
be able to learn from my mistakes.

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