When it comes to YouTube users and online video producers, some people have got it and some don’t. But what is it that differentiates an effective content creator from one that just can’t quite seem to succeed? After speaking with a number of successful YouTube Partners and video producers with online followings, I’ve determined a few factors that contribute to online video success. Let’s call them ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective YouTubers.’
Habit 1: Proliferate
One of the things that seems to be a common denominator between successful video producers in the online world, and especially on YouTube, is that they are prolific. They pump out tons of great content on a regular basis. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to be uploading multiple videos in a single day– you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for quantity. But if you can manage one or two videos a week then you are in a good spot. If viewers like your content then they’ll want to see more and the more often you can give it to them the happier they will be. So proliferate, multiply and produce, produce, produce!
Habit 2: Schedule
According to the YouTube Partners that I’ve had the opportunity to speak with and to see speak on panels, scheduling is one of the most important keys to YouTube success. Setting a schedule and sticking to it (For example, saying you’ll post videos every Monday and Thursday and actually doing it) is a great way to keep yourself on task and on target, and your subscribers and fans will appreciate it as well.
Joe Penna, aka MysteryGuitarMan, said in a Tubefilter panel at CES, “It’s really important to stick to a schedule because sometimes YouTube messes up their subscription box and people who are subscribed to you don’t get your videos, or whatever. So if people are coming back every Tuesday, every Thursday or every day then you get that real audience.” Check out our article on Scheduling Your Way To YouTube Success to find out more.
Habit 3: Promote
Remember that if you don’t promote yourself then the chances of people discovering your videos on their own are slim to none. Online video promotion falls into three main categories, in my opinion– social media promotion, in-video promotion, and the perfection of metadata.
Social Media Promotion
Popular YouTube stars and video producers with online followings don’t focus all their attention on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sites alone. If you look at some of the most popular figures in the world of online video you’ll see that almost all of them have a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook (and many on DailyBooth and other sites well). Social networks like Twitter and Facebook give you the opportunity not only to promote and share each new video that you upload, but also to communicate with your audience (which we’ll get to later). In short, if you want to become a success in the world of online video, social media is imperative.
Have you ever watched a YouTube video and seen a little annotation or graphic pop up on the screen asking you to like, share or subscribe? Have you ever heard a YouTuber literally reach out and ask you to subscribe from the screen? This is one of the effective methods of promotion online, and especially on YouTube. Subscribers are one of the biggest keys to success because they return to watch your videos again and again. Promoting yourself by asking viewers to subscribe to you, or prompting them to watch your other videos, favorite or thumbs up is one of the best ways to get your viewers to take action, build your subscriber base and achieve a higher ranking on YouTube. This is especially important if your ultimate goal is to become a YouTube Partner.
Another part of promotion which falls by the wayside for many video producers is metadata. It’s all well and good if you create great content, but nobody will find it in search results if your titles, keywords and descriptions aren’t good. Check out our posts on How To Skyrocket Your YouTube Views With Metadata and 10 Tips For Maximizing Your Discoverability On YouTube to find out more.
Habit 4: Converse
Successful YouTubers and video producers on the web seem to agree that starting a conversation with your viewers is one of the best ways to increase your fan base and get more views. YouTube Partner Kyle Roberts told me, “In the 4+ years that I had a YouTube account I had never treated YouTube as a “community”– just posted videos every so often and hoped people would watch them.” He said this resulted in “roughly 40 subscribers and a couple videos that had 10,000 hits but that’s about it.” It was only once he realized that it was important “to start treating YouTube as a community, making friends and commenting on people’s videos that are similar to yours” that his videos really started to take off. Once he realized this, his subscriber base grew from 40 to 3,000 in ten months. To find out more about how to start the conversation with your viewers, check out our article of Tips To Get More Views On YouTube By Communicating With Viewers.
Habit 5: Collaborate
Another habit that I’ve heard again and again from successful YouTube Partners that they say is a great way to increase your popularity and subscriber base is collaboration, particularly with video producers who have a large following. When you collaborate with others you then introduce one another to your respective fan bases.
Shane Dawson is one example of a YouTube megastar that has helped other video producers make a name for themselves through collaboration. Brittani Louise Taylor told me, about Shane Dawson, that, “It is because of him that anyone even watches my stuff!” The Fine Brothers have also done quite a bit of collaboration with Dawson. In an interview about their collaboration on Shane Dawson’s Christmas Special, Benny Fine told me that Shane’s “talent, humor, and personality always has been and continues to be what can rise to the top of YouTube, while we filmmakers can only get so far at present since we by and large don’t talk to the camera.” By collaborating with Shane they get the exciting benefit of promoting themselves to Shane’s huge Youtube following. Similarly, by collaborating Shane gets exposure to the Fine Brothers’ subscriber base and gets to take advantage of their slammin’ filmmaking skills. Shane told me, “For my channel I usually do everything by myself but for bigger videos I like to collaborate with people I respect and people who bring something more to the table.”
Habit 6: Measure
Another important habit of successful video producers and YouTubers is that they test and measure. What does this mean? It means that you’ve got to experiment and try out different types of content in order to see what sticks. Measure the popularity of different types of content (whether it be music videos, animation, vlogging or something else). When you hit something that people like you can go forward with it. George Strompolos, who used to work at YouTube and was co-director of the YouTube Partner Program, suggested at a recent Tubefilter meetup that producers test content out before they move forward full force. For instance, if you have an idea for a series don’t go ahead and shoot the full ten episodes. Try out a mini-pilot first. If people like it then move forward with it. If they don’t then you haven’t wasted your time.
Habit 7: Have Fun!
Finally, have fun! Building an online following of fans and getting millions of video views take a lot of time and if you aren’t having fun then it’s just not worth it. Plus, if you’re miserable then your attitude will be expressed in your videos and it will sort of be a downer for your audience, ya know? The whole point of achieving success in the world of online video is that it opens up doors for you to do what you love and make money doing it. If you aren’t having fun then that sort of defeats the purpose.