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Musings

11 Lessons I Learned Taking YouTube Seriously for 6 Months

At first glance, YouTube sounds like a lot of fun and it is. It’s also a lot of hard work. Here are a few points that I’ve realized since reviving my account in July of 2017.

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  1. It takes time. The best advice comes from people that put in the work. We’re not all going to have viral videos. Given that there are millions of consumers and content creators on YouTube, you can’t expect to be an overnight sensation. It rarely works that way. Give yourself a year to see how it goes. You’ll have to get into the routine of posting quality content regularly before you can set real milestones. If you want instant gratification consider become Twitter or Instagram famous. Youtube isn’t it.
  2. People will unfollow you. It will hurt but you will get over it. You will have no idea why unless they are a troll and tell you so don’t waste any time trying to figure it out.
  3. Gimmicky videos aren’t always the way to go. You don’t have to make gimmicky videos to grow your account, but do be aware of what’s popular and work that content onto your channel. You at least want to:
    1. Make searchable content
    2. Make sure your content answers a question
    3. Understand that popular videos at least answer questions that people are actively trying to solve so it’s worth picking one or two idea that resonate with you and making videos adding your own spin on it
    4. Make sure that any trendy content is still in your niche. Don’t do vlogs if you want to be a cooking or gaming channel.
  4. Online groups are helpful for support, feedback and tips. You can learn something from everyone! Facebook has tons of group and even Reddit can be a great place to find people that are into making videos and folks that also in your niche. Collaboration plays a key role in everyone’s growth and success.
  5. It does cost money to be successful. We are no longer in the age of getting started on YouTube for free (see my next point). Investment varies person to person given your current situation. For some people it’s lighting. Others may need a new camera or a phone with a good camera. Tubebuddy is a worthwhile investment for saving time finding good hashtags and upload times. Invest in good lighting if you can’t use natural lighting. Consider using Filmora for editing software if you don’t have access to Final Cut Pro. iMovie isn’t really that great, but it will do to start.
  6. Youtube replaces TV for a lot of people—your content needs to have some level of engagement associated with it. People want to be highly entertained or at least emotionally moved in some way when it comes to watching videos. If they can’t get into your content, they won’t be interested for long. A good place to start is always having a question for people to comment on. Ask your audience for feedback and input on videos. At some point you’ll get 1-2 folks that are real followers and will want to see your channel succeed. They will offer tips and feedback. You just have to ask
  7. It’s ok to ignore sub 4 sub — just make sure you let them spam your comment section as it’s helping you out. Those comments are still engagement for your vidoes so let them hang out on your page!
  8. Make sure people know what they are going to get out of your video in your intro. When you’re starting out, you have to realize that you’re fighting for their attention. Personality is great, but your content still needs to be useful.
  9. Upload at least once a week, but know that over time you can probably surprise yourself and put out more content. If you really enjoy making videos, you will probably want to do this natural anyways.
  10. Appreciate that your first few videos will be bad. It’s a rite of passage and just how this goes. I’m 100 videos in and I just realized my videos look better when I turn on the lights.
  11. BONUS: If your goal is to have influence in a particular space, realize you can have what with that small, highly engaged audience. Having a large crowd is a fine goal, but so is enjoying posting content that you know a handful of people value. Wanting to make money off your content is also ok, but it’s also ok to just do it for fun! Just be clear on what is of interest to you because it does shape the content you put out.
    • Personal example: I have finite money to spend on products. If I want views I may spend that money on the latest launched regardless of my interest in them. I can also chose to maybe review something I’m interested, because my channel is still young and I’m not a place yet where views really matter (yep, I said it). Or I can pick up something that people have asked to me review.

All of them are fine options, but I have to pick one!

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