I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. My growth on YouTube and elsewhere in the social media universe being the topic. Or perhaps I should say, my lack of growth. In the beginning I thought my lack of recognition was just each platform’s preference to focus on already successful channels, because that’s where the ad revenue was. And I still believe that’s partly true. I also thought that it was a lack of knowledge on my part, and that I needed to improve my baseline. Which is also partly true. But then again, how many YouTubers have we all seen that have absolutely horrible production quality, who are boring as you-know-what, and still get a million views per video?
Without patting myself on my own back too much, my quality is high. Very high. There are no large gaps between how I produce a video and how the professionals do it. So that’s not the reason for my lack of growth. I’ve tried inserting myself into known-good niches, only to get absolutely zero traction. Not even a hint of possibility. So that too is not the reason for my failures to date.
So … what’s the answer?
Well, I don’t know Margo.
But I do have some suspicions. I firmly believe that YouTube is going to do whatever is best for YouTube, period. And only if a small creator can do something for the mothership will they ever seriously promote one. Sure, they profess to try to get everyone in front of their target audience, but that’s doubtful at best. Looking at my own home page … YouTube is pushing only high-value channels towards me based on what it thinks I watched last. No new up and comers. They even repeat videos right next to each other instead of using that extra slot to try something different. No, YouTube is doing the bare minimum to find future stars. There simply isn’t any other explanation.
So what’s the answer, other that hoping I win the lottery?
Again, I have no idea. But I want to make some predictions today, on this 22nd of November in the year 2021. So in 12 months I can look back and see if I was full of doggy doo, or if I was on to something.
I’ve been making “behind the scenes” travel videos, meaning less about a place and more about travel in general. Why? Because I wasn’t traveling yet. Essentially I’ve been making motivational videos. Stuff that caters to an audience that already knows me. All 678 of them (which translates into 23 views per video apparently). But come 2022, my offerings are going to be very different. And what I’m going to be doing is very onion-like:
- Each video is going to be based in a place. Country/city/destination. It’s how folks are going to find me in search. And each video will have many elements of that place, trying to help travelers understand it before they commit to it.
- But each video is also NOT going to be just a tourist offering. Inside each will be a story about life, using the destination, culture, and people as the example. Also using me as a main character. The common suggestion that you need to take a niche and make it your own? This is how I’m going to do that. There are a gazillion videos about Tulum Mexico. How can I make mine different? That’s where the story comes in. Something unusual and/or interesting in Tulum catches the attention. The details of Tulum keep them watching. My antics and story-telling bring them back. That’s the idea at least.
- But I also can’t count on YouTube to recognize that and promote me. I simply don’t believe that will work. Not until a dozen people pass it along enough to trigger whatever threshold YouTube has to see before they’ll get serious about a small creator. I need to self-market everything. Videos, me, the channel, all of it. Cross-pollinating with other creators. Building other social media platforms to establish my credentials. Organic growth based on YouTube “finding the right viewer” is simply BS and can’t be counted on.
I think what I’m saying is that playing the “YouTube Game” and waiting for them to find my audience isn’t going to work. I’ve been at this for over two years now and the only growth I’ve ever seen was me forcing things outside of YouTube. I believe that there is an audience for me. Not travel, per se. But rather one which will want to follow along as I travel and experience life, however that turns out to be. And for that to happen … it’s 100% up to me. Jumping through every hoop I can find. Focusing my life on building a brand. And no longer following the guru’s who say to just “add this ONE WORD to your title and see greatness ensue!”. There is no simple solution. That advice is them hustling to build their own channel. I need to find what my audience wants to hear me quote to them. And them feed them the best version I can, over and over, until I’m finally successful.
So, that’s the plan. Basically … screw waiting on YouTube. See my world as a brand. See myself as a brand. And build that freaking brand using everything I can. Let’s see what November 2022 says about that.