There are 2 simple words that are the key to success in any technology related business, “ship product”. Whatever else you do in your day the only thing that really matters is shipping product. You can have fancy business cards, a great trademark, awesome offices, a secretary of the persuasion you find cute, but if you’re not shipping product nothing else matters.
These are words to live by as a content creator. Something that many new content creators seem to not comprehend is that your success will be based on your LIBRARY of work, and not on single pieces. Whether you are paid through YouTube Ad Revenue or direct sponsorship more or less your revenue is based off of CPM (How many thousands of views your content receives.).
Trying to get individual videos to have millions of views is a tough road. Essentially if the viewers that come to your channel only watch one video each then to get one million views for a video will require one million individual viewers. This is something that can happen if you upload something that goes viral, but virallity is not something that is easy to bet a business on.
On the other hand if you have a large library of work new viewers will watch one video, and then if they like it watch another, and another and another. When I found Ze Frank I ate through over 150 videos in a week or so, and then searched to find any other places he had videos off of the channel. After Ze Frank I satiated my appetite on Vlog Brothers videos watching a few years worth of uploads in a month or so. Even now when I’m bored I’ll turn on The Know and let the vids go on autoplay until I get sick of hearing about games I’m never going to play anyway. By having a library of content it allows viewers to become INVESTED in your channel, and not simply watch it.
My advice is to put yourself in a race to reach 100 videos (or pieces of content if you are blogging or such) as quickly as possible. At a light pace you can do 2 pieces a week and hit the mark in a year. Me being me I’d argue you should try to hit it in 2-3 months. By doing this when people come to your channel they will have the ability to not simply watch a video, but be able to scan your catalog and see what interests them.
Beyond being good for viewers doing this will be good to prove that you are a “real” creator to vendors and outside parties. Let me explain how negotiations with outside parties go… You say “Hi I’m a YouTuber and would like _____ from you!” They say, “hrmmmmm… what’s your channel?” You tell them your channel and if they see 5 videos in total they hang up. I’ve been told by the PR folks that they want to see at least one new piece of content per week before they’ll even bother making a decision about whether they should care about you. By having 100 videos up you show them that you’re serious, and this isn’t just a scammy way to get free product or help.
Past the views and the vendors by pushing out 100 videos as fast as possible you get to learn what you can, can’t, and are willing to do. When you look at a 4 minute Vlog Brother video it looks like any moron could do it. Have a good voice, come up with a topic, jump cut to high hell and back. The reality is that videos like those take a lot of time. They have to find a topic to talk about, research the topic, write a script, sit in front of the camera and have between 3-10 takes, cut down the video with jump cuts, add animations/ visuals, and then do any specific processing that they do. A stupid 4 minute video about giraffe poop may take an experienced YouTuber a 10 hour day to create. By forcing yourself to push out content you will get a reasonable idea of what will be required to do it on a more workaday basis.
By pushing out lots of content you will also learn the stupid little lessons that come up. How does your lighting look? How does the audio sound? Does it take 24 hours for your 10 year old laptop to encode a video? What’s that clicking sound… no seriously… can’t you hear it..? It’s like every 2 minutes… THERE did you hear it..?
You can also start with the cheapest equipment that you already have and then upgrade as needed. If you realize you like doing content like Casey Neistat you may decide to spend your money on a DSLR and a Drone. On the other hand if you find you prefer doing content more like Thoughty2 you may find a subscription to the Adobe Stock Photo service is the way to go. If you’re really lucky you may even find that you’re like GradeAUnderA and your crappy 5 year old smart phone and MS Paint do what you need just fine. Too many content creators dump all their money into a fancy MacBook, and then don’t have anything left for what they actually need.
Finally you will figure out what you’re WILLING to do. YouTube and content creation in general is a real job. Just like anything when you do it once as a hobby project you dream of the day you can quit your 9-5 and devote your life to your new love, BUT… when snots running out your nose, you just lost an argument with your spouse, its a flip of the coin as to whether the current CPM is high enough to pay your rent next month, and now you have to spend the next 5 hours slicing and dicing video so that you can publish something before the algorithm decides to stop recommending your videos, is a whole different world. (One of the reasons I became well known for being able to talk for hours on end, was because I realized how much I hate editing videos!) Your style will end up being based more on what you are willing and able to do vs what you originally wanted to do.
There are a ton of other benefits to getting to 100 pieces of content. You’ll have 100 different videos to be able to compare the stats to to see what pops and what flops. Your channel will have much better Video SEO since you’ll have 100 different titles, descriptions, and sets of tags. You’ll popup on other creators radar and if you’re darn lucky someone light years aead of you may drop your name to their viewers. And PR folks are always scanning for n00b creators to offer products to for “100% honest, unbiased” review videos.
I know it may seem daunting. I get it. This is the 6th blog post I’ve written in 2 days. With FailedNormal I’m at the exact same position you are in. The difference being is that I’ve been successful with content before. You have to ask yourself if you’re really serious about this. It’s not about whether your momma, poppa, sister, brother or best friends believes in what you’re doing. All that matters is if you do. If you do then 100 videos is just the price of entry.