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Rethinking Basic Assumptions About A YouTuber

By Daniel (YH) November 5, 2017

Just published interview #27. Woo-hoo! It took us nearly 3 months to finish the first batch of 9 interviews. Now, we published 12 interviews in 1 month! So I am very happy about this. Time for a #mini-celebration.

 

After the last round of interviews, I started to rethink a few basic assumptions about being a ‘YouTuber’. I jotted these thoughts down and share them with you below. I also include a few action items on our website development.

 

#1: You are not a YouTuber.

 

Content creators should not label themselves as ‘YouTubers’. Why brand yourself with YouTube’s name when the Company does not provide a suitable income to 99% of its creators? Sure, there is the YouTube AdSense program. And many new creators do naïvely assume it as a suitable monetization model.

But Adsense is YouTube’s monetization model – not the creator’s!

Adsense maximizes profit for YouTube and pays out cents on the dollar to the creators. Why should creators settle for this? Content creators should rather view themselves as independent digital media companies– which utilizes YouTube as one of many distribution platforms for its content. Its a platform to effectively build or scale your audience reach

It is then the creator’s responsibility – as the media company owner – to figure out how to effectively monetize his/her audience.

Action Item #1: It is for this reason why we changed the site slogan from “Learn from Full-Time YouTubers” to “Learn from Full-Time Content Creators”. We have also decided to interview all types of content creators: Full-time Instagrammers, artists on SoundCloud, and podcasters.

[Inspired from The Modest Man’s Interview]

 

#2: Sub-count is a vanity metric.

Tracking subscribers is important. It serves as a proxy for views: the more subscribers, the more views for a new video. And that is correct, especially for newer channels. However, as a channel grows, the correlation between subscribers and views becomes more and more diluted. Meaning an 2-fold increase in subscribers doesn’t necessarily result in a two-fold increase of in views. Actually, not even close to that

This is due to ‘passive subs’, viewers who have subscribed to a channel out of enthusiasm for a particular (viral) video but do not engage with the other content. As a result, a channel may have 1M subscribres but only 10% of the subscribers are actively viewing the channel.

A more reliable KPI is the Average # of Daily Video Views. It shows the growth in active viewership. You can easily find the metric on Socialblade.com. I post mine below for reference.

Action item #2: We will swap out the subs/month metric shown on YouHacker’s interview thumbnails with the new KPI.

[Inspired from Jorge Sprave’s Interview]

 

#3: Collaborations bring in views!

Many of our interviewees have attributed their largest spikes in views to making collaborations videos with fellow YouTubers. It makes sense. Both creators will benefit when they cross-promote themselves across each others’ fan base. Subscribing to a channel isn’t a zero-sum game, where a fan has to pay or choose between creators. So both creators win.

ExcessorizeMe - Views Growth Rate Ashwin Ramdas - Total View Growth

Content creators should make the effort to reach out to one another and make collaboration videos happen. It’s a win-win!

[Inspired from Ashwin Ramdas’ Interview, EXCESSORIZE ME. Interview]

 

4: How many loyal fans do I actually have?

I’ve re-read Kelly’s 1000 fans article a dozen times. (It’s a must read.) Kelly talks about the importance of nurturing ‘loyal fans’ – fans who would purchase virtually any goods offered by the creator. I’ve been asking myself: How do I identify the potential loyal fans in my YouTube channel? I thought of
organizing my viewers into engagement tiers (see below).

LoyalFans-YouHackers

Most subscribers will simply view your content… and that’s it. The majority are not accustomed to leaving a thumbs-up and rarely comment on a YouTube video. We can call them the actively viewing subscribers. But within this group, there are subscribers who come back week-after-week and leave a comment on each new video. These are your active commenters. Some will even take pride in branding themselves as the “notification squad” for your channel. Active commenters are consistently engaging with the creator and/or other subscribers in the comment section.

These active commenters will be most likely to convert into a paying fan. So it’s important that as creators develop a new product to sell, they also take the time to nurture their relationship with these active commenters. After all, they are your prospective buyers.

I would recommend to connect with this group outside of YouTube – on a social media platform like Facebook where it’s easier to have a conversation.

Action item #3: Over the next few months, we will work on a tool that will help creators identify and engage with their superfans. Stay tuned!

[Inspired from Kelly’s 1000 fans]

 

#5: Are you having fun?

Simple question: Are you having fun?

 

I started my channel as I really enjoyed making cooking videos. It has been so much fun to teach and share my knowledge. But the best part has been waking up to the comments left by viewers around the world. Fans from Germany, India and even Africa have event sent me photos and videos of their first attempt at Bibimbap! How cool is that? Still amazes me. And perhaps this is the magic of being a content creator. The thing that brings me back to YouTube.

As channels grow, content creators should carefully evaluate whether they really want to turn their hobby into a full-time living. Whether they want to turn from a hobby video maker to a digital media company? It’s two different modes of thinking. Either way, it’s important to step back once in a while and make it fun for yourself. It’s the key to longevity as a content creator.

[Inspired from Student Mealz’ Interview]

 

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That’s it for now folks! I will be back next month with another update! Feel free to comment with feedback or new suggestions for the site.