Some say it’s impossible for a new YouTube channel to grow and get noticed: I couldn’t disagree more. As someone who’s spent four years working for a large YouTube partner, more frequently than ever I’m asked what the secret is, and it’s clear to me that creative people are flocking to YouTube. More creators equals new and exciting content. If we want YouTube to continue to have market dominance we should applaud and encourage new creators not tell them it’s impossible to succeed. Create great content and follow these ten commandments and over time your channel WILL grow.
What Is It Thou Shalt Do?
1. THOU SHALL JUST DO IT.
Quit thinking about it and start uploading! There are no gatekeepers stopping you. Look at a channel like Jenna Marbles. She shoots from her house, there’s no fancy production or editing and she’s become one of the most successful YouTubers around. The first step is always the hardest. I bet once you get a couple uploads under your belt you’ll be hooked.
2. THOU SHALL KNOW THY MARKET.
You’ve decided that you want to be a YouTuber, you’ve bought your equipment. Before you hit the record button, pause and study the marketplace. Is there a market for your content on YouTube? What will you do that’s different from everyone else on YouTube? Once you think you’ve found your market start publishing as much as possible to fulfill that marketplace need. Epic Meal Time is a great example of a YouTuber analyzing the market, finding a niche and capitalizing on it. Nobody was doing cooking clips before Harley.
3. THOU SHALL KNOW THY PLATFORM.
YouTube is a platform that is constantly evolving. For evidence of this constant evolution look no further than the mass hysteria created by the recent change to the channel pages. In order to stay ahead of those changes you need to read as much as possible, I recommend these blogs: YouTube Creator Blog, ReelSEO, Tubefilter and New Media Rockstars. Your view counts WILL be effected if you stop learning. This is one place where multichannel networks can step up and provide value to partners, by serving as a filter of information between the YouTuber and YouTube.
4. THOU SHALL STUDY THY AUDIENCE.
What are your demographics? Why do they watch your channel over your competition? What do they find interesting? When is your audience most active on YouTube? Your audience is the most valuable commodity you have (which is why YouTubers get mad when YouTube tries to change the way they can interact with them. Create and curate content that not only you enjoy but your audience finds interesting also.
5. THOU SHALL ENGAGE.
The importance of engaging with your audience cannot be overstated. Showing your audience that you hear their voices will go a long way in building that loyal following needed to be a top YouTuber. Reply to comments, reply to fan mail, be active on social media, host fan gatherings in real life and/or digitally (via Google+ hangouts). I recommend having at least one full time staffer who’s sole responsibility facilitating communication between the audience and hosts.
6. THOU SHALL COLLABORATE.
Creating great content is only part of the battle, you also have to tell people about your content. Go to every YouTube meetup and Tubefilter event. Figure out a way to get yourself into the nearest YouTube Space. Go to VidCon and Playlist Live. Ask other YouTubers to come on your show. Sharing audience through collaboration is one of the biggest reasons why multichannel networks have been successful.
7. THOU SHALL BE AUTHENTIC.
People will smell inauthenticity from a mile away on YouTube. If you’re inauthentic you will feel the wrath of the YouTube comment section. The age of the scripted news actor is over.
8. THOU SHALL DIVERSIFY REVENUE.
Ask any YouTuber how worried they are about relying only on revenue from YouTube, and you’ll most likely get an earful. YouTube can provide significant revenue at a certain level, but it’s always important to diversify your revenue stream. I recommend these options for outside revenue streams: website affiliate programs, paywalls, and crowdfunding.
9. THOU SHALL BE WARY OF MULTICHANNEL NETWORKS
Be very careful about signing a contract with a multichannel network (MCN). As soon as you achieve some level of success they WILL start calling. In the YouTube ecosystem there is a land grab going on among the large MCNs, and a lot of money is at stake, some say this land grab is hurting the independent YouTuber. My recommendation is get a guardian or an attorney to read over any contract. Before signing with a MCN make sure that you are crystal clear about what you will get from the MCN and what you are giving them.
10. THOU SHALL RECORD OFTEN
You cannot have a consistent audience without consistent content. Of the top 50 most viewed channels 60% of them have over 100 uploads. That should tell you that the more you upload the more successful you’ll be.