Continuing on my post from yesterday, about how everyone needs to start somewhere, I thought I would take the time to share with some lessons I’ve learned from spending hours watching YouTube videos and reading about blog success stories.
A note on YouTube
It is well-understood that YouTube personalities, with millions of subscribers, can earn a decent living off their content (we’re talking millions). What’s even more significant is the fact that many of these professionals are of the tender age of 20-something.
Can you imagine making a living out of crafting videos for YouTube? Quel day job.
Jenna is particularly interesting to me. She’s roughly my age, hails from Rochester New York (literally across the river from my hometown in Brockville, Ontario, Canada), and shares my “outgoing” nature.
The other character, Swedish born PewDiePie was a little less relatable. Watch one of his most popular videos (64 millions views) to see what I mean. Weird. Just weird.
Now, this article was one of the the half-dozen I’ve read recently about the YouTuber phenomenon: People making non-sensical videos that resonate with billions of followers. I know that’s an overly simplistic way of looking at it, but from the outside looking in, it pretty much sums up my view on the situation.
But after watching a few of Jenna’s videos I have to admit, I’m kind of hooked on her disgusting sense of humour.
Like all content creators I subscribe to, I looked back at some of Jenna’s earliest works, to see how her craft has evolved. One of her original videos How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking has 61 million views, and is one of her most watched videos of all time.
Now, back to what I’ve actually learned from spending hours watching YouTubers or reading about blog success stories…
First and foremost, the law in lala land seems to be all about authenticity.
PewDiePie and Eva Gutowski (aka Life As Eva) speak about the importance of not compromising their integrity by collaborating with brands or endorsing products that aren’t true to them. Their legions of fans would see right through the charade and they would would lose their loyal fan base.
The rule of authenticity doesn’t just apply to corporate sponsorship. It’s in the content you create and the language you use. A unique and authentic voice will help differentiate your content. Or as famed food blogger Ella Woodward (aka Deliciously Ella) puts it, “There are millions of people online so it’s likely someone is doing something similar, but as long as you put enough of your own story, ideas and natural voice into it, that’s what will differentiate your blog.”
Secondly, consistency is key. Whether it’s the time, date and frequency you publish content, or the length of time you’ve been publishing it for, it seems that reliability really builds a following. Jenna Marbles pushes her video content live every Wednesday or Thursday, for instance. When Will Taylor from Bright.Bazaar first started out, he was working full-time and publishing content twice a day for years.
Now, this last lesson is subjective. Who’s to say what constitutes quality? Life As Eva gives a few tips on producing quality videos on YouTube, right down to the background of where you’re filming, to custom thumbnails for your channel. Her video How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel is a good starting point and definitely worth viewing.
After spending time with Carrie Harwood (aka Wish Wish Wish) and Will Taylor in Finland, it was clear the level effort they put into producing top-notch content. From getting the perfect shot to editing down the number of posts they make on Instagram, I saw their role as purveyors of quality content.
Here’s an example of Carrie’s aesthetic. I love the calligraphy she uses to illustrate her sense of style. Her photos are always of the highest quality, and she invests a lot of time in getting the shot just right.
Are there any content creators you follow religiously? Ones that really stand out and grab your attention? Any favourite YouTubers or bloggers you can recommend? Let me know in the comments below.