YouTube has been around for over a decade now and in that time has become the second most popular search engine, adding over 300 hours of content every minute while achieving over a billion monthly users. Some of the biggest content creators have become top stars in all of entertainment, not just within the online space. They’ve been able to grow their brand from nothing to full fledge news organizations, production companies, and television shows with some earning over 7 million dollars a year. Let’s take a look at how they are able to achieve and maintain this impressive success.
They use analytics to understand their audience
Imagine a world where people you don’t know are able to publicly judge you in front of other people on a daily basis. That world has existed since the creation of the internet, and one of the easiest places to do this is YouTube. Users are able to like and dislike all content and comments, and those are not the only analytics that are available to content creators. On the back end they are able to see the likes and dislikes as well as the amount of shares to each network, average view duration, watch time reports, audience retention, demographics, traffic sources, engagement reports, realtime tracking as well as device and playback location reports. By paying attention to these metrics, they are able to identify content that performs well, observe areas that may need improvement, and identify trends. This type of data reporting exists in every industry and those that are able to understand it can use it to help them outperform those who don’t.
Always staying relevant
Whether they can see it within their own analytics or they identify trends happening within the space, top creators are quick to jump on the hype train. Channels devoted to movie reviews are always going to review the most current movies, gaming channels will be playing the hottest new releases, and beauty tip networks will be highlighting this season’s fashion, etc. Many abstain from trends to try to stay unique, but those people usually fall behind. By putting your own unique spin on a trend you are able to take advantage of high traffic the ability to make yourself stand out.
Engage their audience on a daily basis
They may be on YouTube every day, posting and commenting on all of their videos, but that isn’t the only way they are talking to their viewers. The biggest YouTubers are also some of the biggest names on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, and more. They know that they can interact more effectively and on multiple platforms, to keep fans engaged. Some host fan meet ups, and nearly all of them go to the hundreds of conventions around the world. They take part in these activities not only to engage and humanize their brand outside of the digital realm, but to hear what fans have to say in a non-native setting.
They don’t sit around and wait for regulation
Recently YouTube has implemented changes that have not been received well by the majority of content creators. Google determines how much to pay content creators through a service called AdSense which places ads on their content and measures its performance. In the past you were able to monetize any video so long as you owned all the content in the video, however the newest changes bring with it new guidelines on the type of content can have ads on it, by imposing a new definition for what qualifies as ad-friendly content. Some YouTubers are up in arms over the changes, (as it could significantly cut their profits) while the most successful creators have already built their brand out in such a way that the revenue from AdSense is no longer required to sustain their businesses. Many have sponsors who pay top dollar to get shout outs during the video, or have extensive retail options viewers can buy. The key is to have a plan in place before a governing body makes it impossible to continue business as usual.
Masters of building relationships
One of the most difficult things YouTubers deal with is being typecast for their content. Much like actors, if they grow their fan base by making one type of content or doing one role, they will get backlash from fans anytime they step out and do something different. Successful YouTubers have mastered being able to make themselves appeal to their audience, and not just the content they make. By building a rapport over time, they develop a loyal audience that appreciates anything they do. By selling themselves and not their product, they are able to achieve a much faster adoption rate of the new things they create.