The Secrets of YouTube Success – 2012 Edition
YouTube is big. The internet is much bigger.
Too many people make the mistake of playing solely to the YouTube subscriber crowd. The fact is, the most popular channels get views far in excess of their subscriber numbers. What does that mean?
One of the first things we think about when we put out a new video is “Who else might be interested in this video?” When we made Light Warfare, I made a list of all the photography blogs I thought would be interested in it, and emailed all those blogs with a link to the video off their submission lines. Blogs are always looking for content – if you present an interesting video, they’ll be more than happy to put it up and expose you to their audience.
Don’t forget online communities. Are you a part of any discussion groups or forums? What about your Facebook friends? What about submitting it to link aggregator sites like Reddit? I have an account on a popular Price is Right forum just because of our Price is Right video. When entering an online community, pay attention to their internal rules – figure out the right forum to post in, follow their guidelines, and be courteous, and stick around for some discussion. You shouldn’t be ashamed of promoting your video assuming your video is the kind of thing that forum would want to see, after all. The Internet is the world’s greatest time waster, and there’s always room for another diversion.
So the next step after you finish a video is to make a list of places outside YouTube that the video might be a good fit for. That means expanding your browsing palette – start reading more blogs, hit up more sites, and start getting a sense as to what kind of videos fit well and where.
Take a look once again at our initial spate of videos. Here’s our thinking for them:
The video had just come out and I noticed there was a lot of debate about it. I checked first to see if anyone else had done this, and seeing none, made a video with some evidence pointing out different takes, and ended it in a self-deprecating way because nobody likes the armchair critic, and make it stand out from other “lol I found a mistake” videos out there. It became fuel for those debates, as people would link to the video to back up their arguments.
Checked if there were any real-life Portal gun vids (there were some, but not executed that well). We emailed it to numerous popular gaming blogs, where it was featured.
This one actually was just an idea we had for a while and wanted to do. At the time, it was easily the worst performing of all these videos because there were no outside sources that picked up on it.
Final Fantasy just came out. There’s a lot of people who love and hate this game series. Brandon and I happen to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, so hence this video. Posted it to discussion forums, and the comments section itself became a place for debate about the games itself. Debate in comments is great, because that means people keep coming back to defend themselves.
Destorm called and told us the teaser just came out. Greenscreened myself in there (which again, has been done, but often not done well). The idea was for the video to be fuel for the fire of Twilight haters, and hopefully also be entertaining to people familiar with the series. Sent it to various Twilight blogs, but the director tweeting about the video is what got this the most views.