Getting Started with Content Creation
A work in progress: Updated on 5 January 2021
As I currently have found time in my schedule to work on this project, I want to start with a simple video on Content Creation. You are making your YouTube Content Wrong.
If you are making your YouTube content, and then trying to market or promote it, and wondering why the video is failing, you are doing everything in the wrong order.
There are two Es when it comes to YouTube Content Creation
Entertainment and Education.
Expectation management is critical in your early days as a content creator.
If you push out a How-To video and you expect it to get thousands of views in a few days, you are setting your expectations too high. A How-To video (Education), unless it is a currently trending issue thousands of people are struggling with, is going to be a video people only look up when they have that particular issue.
On the flip side, an Entertaining video will have a very fast growth curve as people find enjoyment in the video and they share it, but once the video has run its course you aren’t expecting continued returns on the video.
One trick is to develop videos that are both Entertaining and Educational. If you can manage to do this, you will see some immediate success with continued returns. Another trick is to develop Educational Content that is seasonally motivated, so How-To videos around the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc)
Long story short: Have realistic expectations in mind when you are making your video. Know which E need you are fulfilling for your viewers BEFORE you make the video. That way you know if the video is supposed to grow slow or grow fast.
The Value of Value
So I understand that 2020 has been a rough year for people. Rough year for businesses, rough year for people losing their jobs, rough year for people needing money. There has been a massive influx of people joining the Content Creation World due to the amount of free time they have due to not having jobs. I’ve also noticed a huge influx of BAD habits in those new content creators.
I see new creators and I go to their channel and right off the bat I see “Donate to me” “Subscribe to me” “Click on some affiliate links” basically saying GIVE ME MONEY. Why should I as a viewer ever consider giving you a dollar until you as the entertainer or educator has given me something of value? Besides, if you are reading this page, you aren’t looking for easy money, well I hope you aren’t. You are looking for advice on getting started.
Let me tell you, a community is going to be far more valuable to you than a few bucks you milk out of your first few viewers. Invest time in your brand. Develop something of actual value. When you do that, you will find you start making money without ever having to ask your viewers to financially support you.
The First Follower
Every day I work with new Content Creators I discover that they are only interested in getting their 100th subscriber or follower, their 1000th follower, but they never put any thought into the importance of their first follower, their fifth follower, those people that form the cornerstone of their community.
The scariest thing for a streamer is to be streaming to ZERO people, but the scariest thing for a viewer is to be the FIRST viewer. If you drop into a channel and there are 0 people there, you instantly think there is something wrong with the channel. There is something wrong with the brand. There is something wrong with the streamer. People don’t want to be the first to try something, that’s scary stuff. They want to be the person who follows the first follower.
I put this video together to talk about the Derek Sivers Ted Talk on the first follower, and how being a streamer is being a leader, since you have followers and some of the things you need to think about before you start applying all the other tips and tricks other people have put together.
Do you want to know
the magic recipe for
getting more subscribers?
There isn’t one.
Take a minute to be honest with your own question. If there was a magic recipe for getting more subscribers, would anyone share that with the new guy on the block? No, of course not.
No matter what genre or niche you have, there is already someone doing it. If someone already making the content you make knew the answer for how you could get more subscribers, they would keep it to themselves. At the end of the day, every new channel that pops up on YouTube is a competition for someone. Any secrets would be kept secret, to keep those at the top on top and the people just trying to break into Content Creation at the bottom.
So is trying to start out as a YouTuber today totally pointless?
No! Absolutely not.
It is totally possible to start a channel today, yes today and if you know how to get started, you can very quickly start to find a degree of success. You have to understand what success looks like though.
If I tell you that if you have 50 subscribers at the end of your first month you are successful, you have to either accept that or not. To pick up 50 subscribers in a single month is an amazing feat for any channel, especially a new one from a newtuber. It's about setting the right short, medium, and long term goals.
Now I know the very first thing you are going to ask is: Shouldn’t I be focused on my 1,000 subscribers and my 4,000 watch hours so I can get monetized?
No. No you should not. That is not a short term goal, that is at the very best a medium goal if not a long term goal. There are many miles to go before you hit that goal. In order to help you, the best thing I can do is walk you through some of my mistakes I made while going from 0 subscribers to the 15,000 I have today.
Besides, a quick tip on the idea of monetization. To make money on YouTube you need active viewers. You get paid by the number of monetized views on each video. The better the video does, the more money you make. The better all your videos do, the more money you make. That's a really short answer to a really big issue, but you need to understand the basics. Don't take shortcuts, build something that is going to last.
Now, I am by no means an expert, but I am someone who has made a ton of mistakes, and I’m willing to take as much time as needed to answer any and all of your questions. If you need to get in touch with me directly, you can do so via firstname.lastname@example.org, on Discord as Jahlon#0001 (no need to friend me, just send a message) or you can join my discord at https://discord.gg/S2MxYWJ where I have a channel specifically designed to help new content creators.
Things I wish I knew when I started
Do not chase subscribers
There are a ton of things I wish I knew when I first got started being a content creator. I have made tons of mistakes, as I have documented in my YouTuber Epic fail video. Like you, I started off chasing subscriber goals. First it was 100, then 500, then 1000, 2500, 5000. I literally wasted 3 years and 151 days chasing a goal of getting my first 5,000 YouTube subscribers. Looking back this was a stupid goal to chase and it probably cost me a good two or two and a half years of time I could have used growing my channel.
I spent the summer of 2019 thinking about what I was doing as a content creator. I wasn’t making a lot of content, but the content I was making was much better than my previous content. I started to really refine my recording, my scripts, y thumbnails. While it took me three years to grow my channel to 3,600 subscribers, really sitting down and thinking about what I was doing allowed me to grow my channel by an additional 1,400 subscribers in 6 months.
Let that one really sink in. It took my 3 years to get to 3,600 subscribers, roughly 1,200 per year. By making one simple change and taking my attention off my subscribers, I managed to grow by 1,400 subscribers in six months. Better than that, because my channel was doing much better at all the right things a channel needs to do to grow, and because a Window of Opportunity opened for me, I actually exploded from 5,000 subscribers to 12,000 subscribers within another 6 months.
Then, things were slow again, in fact things were going in reverse. I changed up content, stopped doing my old content, starting doing some new content and I had months where my subscriber count was actually in the negatives. If this happens do not panic, continue to do what you were doing when you had success and it will catch up again. Sometimes it is much to do with a window of opportunity as it is to do with something you are doing.
In 2020 I was struggling with growth again, and then due to the actions of a different content creator realizing a video, I suddenly shot up with back to back months of 1,300 subscribers each. Your growth won't always be the result of things you do, somethings its stuff you have no part of.
The lesson here is if I been putting all my effort into chasing subscribers, I’d still probably be at 5,000 subscribers, but since I stopped caring about subscribers and worried about the content, I had not only the success I wanted, but I had developed a channel, I had developed all the good things about a channel that led to success.
So to let you in on the first secret
Do not chase subscribers
It is a stupid goal.
Never Sub for Sub | Never Link Drop
Chase Retention! Chase Active Viewers
Now, I know you don’t want to accept the idea of not chasing subscribers. You want to fight me every step of the way, and in order for you to really believe this advice is going to help you, I have to convince you that chasing subscribers is a stupid goal.
Ok, let’s get down into the real mess of this. Let’s jump into the blood and guts of what a subscriber is, a subscriber is someone who has said they like something about you. Maybe they like one video, maybe they like one thing you said, maybe they are a really supportive person who is trying to help so they give you that subscribe click.
Sure you feel great, you log into your YouTube channel after a rough day and you see that you have gotten 5 new subscribers and you feel good. That shot of dopamine or serotonin from a happy event makes you feel great.
Your channel is sitting at 50 subscribers and you are averaging about 75 views per video. Every day for a week you get a 5 new subscribers so at the end of that week you now have 85 subscribers, and when you put out your next video you just know it’s going to break 100 views.
You upload the video, you post it, and after a week it has that same 75 views.
So what happened? How did you go up by 35 subscribers but not go up by any views? You were too concerned with chasing subscribers, and you didn’t chase any viewers.
Time to engage your imagination for a bit. I want you to imagine your YouTube Channel is a store, and what you sell at that store are videos. It doesn’t matter if they are self-help videos, or instructional videos, or DIY videos, or just straight up art, music, entertainment videos. The videos on every single channel are a product; however, we can't forget our 2 Es of Video Making. You have to have the right expectation of return on our products.
Think of subscribers as shoppers. They are people who are at your store (channel) who may or may not purchase something (view a video/tune into a stream/view your pictures).
Then you have buyers (viewers) these are people committed to engaging on the content you produce.
Focusing on getting a high subscriber count is like focusing on getting your store packed with shoppers. Sure, as a store owner you are going to feel great if each and every day your store is packed. Until the end of the night when you look at the register and you realize you’ve made almost no sales.
Forget trying to bump up your subscriber count; it is a meaningless number. What you really want is to fill your store with buyers.
Focus on making your product better so people will actually watch it, and watch it more than 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. You don’t need click-through traffic, you need serious watchers who get to at least the 50% point of your videos, if not more. We will get into that a little later.
Ask yourself this question:
Do you want to have 100,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel and your videos get 2,000 views?
Do you want to have 2,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel and your videos get 100,000 views?
Personally, I want the 100,000 views, but that’s just me.
It is great to have a bunch of supporters who click that subscribe button, but where you get the disconnect is when you have 200 subscribers on your YouTube Channel but your video only gets 22 views? For Twitch this works as having 100 Twitch Followers but each time you stream you are literally talking to an empty room.
Now I’m sure some of you are going to immediately fire back with something like “Well I have 500 subscribers and my videos are getting 1,000 views, so I have my base of 500 views per video”
You maybe right, but I’m going to bet you are wrong.
Go dive into your Audience metrics in YouTube Studio. I’ll share with you mine.
In the last 28 days I’ve been rather slow. I’ve only had 25,600 views for my channel, but of that 76.5% of the views I’ve had have come from people who are not-subscribed to my channel. If I was spending all my time trying to get subscribers, worried about subscribers, chasing subscribers, my channel would be doing much worse.
Think about that for a moment. 76.5% of my views are coming from non-subscribers. I’m willing to bet that 50% or more of your views are coming from non-subscribers as well. Maybe it’s a little higher, maybe it’s a little lower.
So with that in mind, why are you chasing subscribers again?
Time for Secret #2:
Chase VIEWERS not subscribers.
With that said, I’m surprised I’m going to have to even say this, but I want to throw it on as a caveat. Never sub for sub. Never. Never ever ever! Sub for sub is a bad idea all around.
First, it is a violation of the YouTube terms of service, especially if you do something silly like buy subscribers from a third party service. Secondly, believe this or not, these subscribers are actually hurting your metrics and your image.
Why does this person have 100,000 subscribers but their videos only get 1,000 views. Their videos must suck!
It is perception that is easy to arrive at. Even if those people are being good “sub for sub” buddies and clicking on all your videos, they are giving you views that fall off after the 00:10 mark and this is actually hurting your channel tremendously. Let’s talk about another important topic: meaningful views.
So I told you that chasing subscribers is bad and you should be chasing viewsers. Well, even though that advice is only a few minutes old, it's already bad advice. I’m sure some of you have already thought about making click-baity titles and thumbnails in order to get people to click on your videos. After all you want views right?
Wrong. You want meaningful views. Jump back into your analytics and look at your retention.
To do this pick a video, go into analytics, and then right there on the overview page is a Audience Retention graph. What I want you to do is get a good ole fashion pen and paper and write down
And the 50% mark of your video
Now, sometimes these exact time stamps aren’t shown on the graph and you need to fudge a little bit to the left or right, but try to keep the first three 30 seconds apart.
What percentage of people have you retained at the 10 second mark? The 30 second mark? The 60 second mark? What percentage of people make it halfway through your videos? Right there on that chart it will tell you the average view duration. This is the data you need to improve your videos.
Chasing views is nice, but don't do it by being clickbaity. Have you lost everyone by the 10 second mark? The 30 second mark? How many people actually get to see the material after your one minute mark? How many people are seeing half the video?
Now I know, this is going to be a bit depressing when you first start to process it. You are busy making content and people are watching less than a minute of it. Don’t worry about those people who clicked off. Worry about the people who stayed.
If you have retained a portion of your audience, then your stuff is clearly good enough to retain some people, now worry about working on that and making your content even better.
If you haven’t retained anyone, (less than 15%) passed the one minute mark, then you need to go back to the drawing board and work on the product.
But wait...there's more
In order to keep this a digestible read, I'm closing out
page one here; however, I have a lot more stuff prepared
for you. You just have to decided that you want to....