It’s no surprise that the pandemic has affected social media advertising. With businesses that used to do paid sponsorships shuttering and more marketing clients taking the more cautious approach, it’s not looking too good. Agencies are taking a hit and the advertising outlook is likely to remain sluggish for months. With all these doom and gloom, is there anything to look forward to in the social media horizon?
As they say, every storm has its rainbow.
With a lot more audiences relying on Youtube for their content fix, you may want to look into trying to make your own content. It’s the perfect time to live out your influencer fantasy! Granted monetisation may be a bit trickier to set up now, especially if you’re starting from scratch, but having a little personal project can help channel your energies in these uncertain times. If you’re working from home or just bracing until the global situation stabilises, now is the perfect time to revisit your personal Youtube channel and build your own brand, or just have fun.
Here are some things you can look into applying to your new or existing Youtube channel, and level it up!
Finding your Voice
Knowing is half the battle. If you’re starting a new channel or you’re looking to expand, the most important thing is to know what you’re going to be basing you content on. Pick something you’re passionate about. Something you don’t mind talking about for hours per day. It can be a hobby, your review of your partner’s cooking, or even how you clean your house! If you really want to talk about it, then you can make videos about it.
A good thing to consider is also the “why”. Why do you want to talk about? Why is it interesting? Why do people have to know? And most importantly, “Why is it important to you?” Asking and answering these questions will help you focus on the essentials of your topic, and identify what makes you passionate about it. This will help you define the core value that will influence all the Youtube content you’ll be filling your personal channel with. Your take on the topic makes it unique.
My film teacher always used to say “Every type story has already been told, but people haven’t heard you tell it yet.” and I think it’s applicable here. Your Youtube channel shouldn’t be repeating what others have said and done. Your videos should be about what you want to say and do. Be genuine.
When you’ve got your core value set, it’s time to ask “who do you want to deliver your message to?” or simply put “Who do you want to talk to?” Answering these questions define your target audience, and will help you create the tone or voice of your content. Different people may like a certain topic but they will like it for different ways.
Let’s use Star Wars as an example for a general content topic. Some people really like the story, while some are really just there for the cool lightsaber scenes. Some fans may be boisterous, while some may be more reserved. Identifying which part of the general audience you want to target will help shape how you create your content. Your in-depth analysis of lightsaber fight scenes delivered in a very reserved manner may not appeal to the boisterous crowd, even if they may like lightsaber fight scenes!
Now I don’t mean that you should pander to audiences, and only create things that you think people will like. In fact, Google says that they’re focusing on content relevance, so keep that in mind. If you’re genuine with your messaging, interested people will find you. Focus on who you want to talk to and figure out how to talk to them. That is your voice.
Developing your voice helps create the identity of your channel, and can help Youtube push you through their recommendations.
The Maker and the Machine
Youtube and Google’s recommendation algorithm will always be the hot topic for Youtube creators: personal and businesses alike. Even if you’re not gunning for future monetisation, it’s still great practice to think about how your content will stack up to the recommendation algorithm that can bring in more viewers to your videos.
Generally, Youtube says that they’re trying to push the appropriate content to the right audiences. This means that your videos has a better chance of getting recommended if you follow the Youtube recommendations. As of 2020, the general trends for Youtube content appears to be:
- (relatively) “Longer” videos
- Relevant content
- Consistent schedule
This change is primarily for creating more spaces for ads and monetisation. What does this mean for you as a creator? You have to produce videos of a significant more length (when compared to the previous trends of short 2-minute videos) and your audience must remain engaged with it for longer which is a challenge with the shorter attention spans prevalent today.. If they’re not watching the whole thing, you’re content will end up getting pushed down the recommendations. This is bad news if you want to get more eyeballs on your channel.
Another caveat here is that because you’re producing longer content, you might be making less per day. If you’re banking content for a staggered release, this eventually results in having to commit to more production days. However, longer content may open up opportunities to actually elevate the quality of your stuff. A more polished look might generate more engagements, and counters the downside of having less product.
If you want to level up your personal channel, you have to produce more quality content over a long period of time. Your videos have to be produced sustainably: both with your interest in actually making the videos, and the resources you’re willing to commit. A lot of creators go big at the onset but then experience fatigue as they can’t maintain the blockbuster level that they started out with. That’s why you see a off Youtube content relying on reviews, talking heads, and reactions. They’re easy to produce, cheap, and sustainable.
If you don’t want to go down the derivative route, make sure that your production is feasible. Keep it small, keep it interesting, and make sure you can produce a lot so you can sustain a schedule.
As for packaging your content’s titles, descriptions, thumbnails, etc, Hootsuite has this handy guide to get you thinking.
Hopefully you got the basic idea of how to make the most out of your personal Youtube channel. We’ve only scratched the surface and no doubt Youtube will be working to modify their terms with the sudden influx of creators this pandemic.
The next step would be apply what works and keep monitoring your analytics. The data gathered from your Youtube analytics should inform you which of your content’s producing results that bring you closer your goal. Look at what these videos bring to the table and double down. Look at how that pivot is received by your audience and adjust. A big part of building a successful Youtube channel is not just creating the videos but adjust and evolving to bring better content to your audience.
Lastly, Youtube is still part of the above-mentioned social media sphere and that means you will have to engage with your audience. Make it a habit to look over the comments to get the pulse of the audience but be warned that the comments may get out of hand at time. Try not take things personal! Youtube channels are a great way to bring your unique take on things out to the world, but it may be a way to allow the world into your personal space. Take things in stride, learn to identify constructive comments, use the moderation features* in moderation, engage with your audience, and have fun!
If you’re ready to dive in, set up your Youtube channel today!