On January 5th 2017, I finally achieved 100,000 subscribers on YouTube! YES! I have achieved social validation! After enduring a high school education where people laughed at my loud voice, I had some severe demons to kill. And I think this number, which I desperately captured on the ‘livecounts’ website, has done this!
At 100,000 subscribers, I now I have reasonable grounds to call myself an “entertainer”. The website, FamousBirthdays, has gone one step further and decorated me with the title “YouTube Star”, and puts me at #51,271 most famous person in the world. Yes, the 51,271st most famous person in the world teaches you online 😉
The truth is, a whole one hundred thousand people have consciously pressed that iconic blood-red ‘Subscribe’ button. On the face of it, it’s just a rectangular button with a 9 letter word on it. Yet, when someone clicks it, turning it grey, and reveals the word ‘Subscribed’ it means something special.
I have watched 20,000+ of videos on YouTube! Yet, I have genuinely (i.e not Sub for Sub) only subscribed to about 20 people. To me, subscribing doesn’t mean, “I like your video”. That’s what the ‘Like’ is there for. A Subscribe means “I like YOU!”, “I want to see more of YOU”, “YOU make a difference” and “YOU entertain me”. Hence the name YOUTube! This is why I find my number of subscribers so incredible.
Having said that, my two year relationship with YouTube has been my biggest struggle to date – a period of constant frustration, pain, anger, failure to fun times, personal growth and triumph. Being a Social Media guru, I can say that Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are much easier. On those sites, sometimes people follow you merely because you follow them. It is then up to you to ‘Wow’ them when they see your posts. But that kind of follow comes from appreciation, or gratitude. You haven’t earned it. On YouTube, each time someone subscribes, you’ve earned it!
On December 4th 2014, when I uploaded my first video to YouTube, I thought it might be easy. I was naive. I’d taken a Udemy course about YouTube… my first, and it was by a popular instructor. I thought it was all I needed to dominate YouTube. Boy, how wrong was I?
This video, even two years on, only has just over 1000 views. At the time, I did not understand why I was not getting more views. After sharing the video on every online platform I could, I only had 50 views after a week. I felt beaten. How could I not be getting more views? I felt I was entertaining, I felt I was enthusiastic, yet, it wasn’t working!
Nevertheless, I kept going… posting a video a week. It took me 4 months to get 100 subscribers. That’s like 25 a month! It was frustrating, it was painful… yet, my brand was growing. I pushed the boundaries, more and more. I analysed and overanalysed each video. I was determined not to be beaten. I wasn’t getting many comments, so each improvement came out of self-reflection.
This 100 subscriber special video was the breakthrough! A brand was finally emerging! Check out the cape I am wearing in the webcam footage. I said in this video that I will subscribe to anyone who subscribes to me, in appreciation, for helping me grow. It worked. And so this is tip number 5 (I will be counting these tips in reverse order and leave the best til last).
5) Brand Yourself – enable your viewers to distinguish you from everyone else in your niche / community by actually giving yourself an identity. Mine was “Suppoman – Your Superhero on YouTube“. This video was the first time I ever said those words “What’s up guys, it’s Suppoman here, your superhero on YouTube“. Even today, I use this. The cape really helped with the branding!
Watch any of the big YouTubers, they do this. The Irish entertainer ‘Jacksepticeye’ for instance, who has 14 million subscribers, starts each video saying “Top of the morning to you laddies, my name is Jacksepticeye”. He’s used this intro from 2013 to present.
4) Use YouTube Ads to force more views of your video! When I offered to subscribe to anyone who subscribed to me, I decided to promote this video using Google Adwords for Video (or as I call it, YouTube Ads). I thought, if I pay Google to show this video to 1000 people, then quite a few of them will subscribe to me because they will get an easy subscribe back.
This tactic helped me grow to 600 subscribers – and with that I was true to my word, and subscribed to each one back.
With 600 subscribers, I made my next video, and because I had some fans, it helped my video get ranked.
This video did really well, and for a year, it was my best ever video! It got me to 2000 subscribers. The reason why is because of my keywords… at the time, they were very popular. So to tip 3.
3) Use popular keywords and optimise them! Lots of people go on YouTube to find information, or ‘how to’ videos, on any subject, and it’s all about your video being in the right place when they look for it. If your video happens to be in the right place at the right time for a popular search, you will get tens of thousands of views. In my case, I used the keywords “GTA 5” which at the time was the most popular game on YouTube, and “Upload your crew emblem on clothes”, which was something a lot of people wanted to learn to do. I went through how to do this step by step in this 8 minute video.
I also used the same keywords “GTA 5” and “Upload your crew emblem” in my description, and tags, just to optimise it even further. YouTube identifies how relevant your video is to viewers based on how many times you use the keywords. So by putting the popular keywords in your title, description AND tags, it helps YouTube favour your video over others. My video was on Page 1!
With 2000, subscribers, I decided to really work on my thumbnails! I now knew how to get a video on Page 1 of a popular search, so the way to really get people to click my video over others was to make thumbnails that we so attractive, people wanted to click the video!
2) Make eye-popping thumbnails! As you can see above, my thumbnails show what my video is about in an attractive way. I put people’s faces on the thumbnails, and I use really good fonts from cooltext.com. I find images I can use, and then put them together on PicMonkey to make a great thumbnail, and overlay some really attractive text on top of it.
So you can see from my videos that they are top 10’s, or top 5’s because of the thumbnail. So your graphic should visually represent the contents of your video in an attractive and eye-catching way.
And you can see that my best ever video (on the left) has over 1 million views – which is approximately $3,000 in ad revenue.
This brings me nicely to my final tip. This tip that took me 18 months to discover, in June 2016.
1) Make your video about a subject that people care about! This has been so important to me. My first breakthrough was this video here:
This video took my channel from 2000 subscribers to 6000 subscribers. Instead of making the video about myself, who no-one is searching for on YouTube, I made my video about a subject that people DO care about. In this case, it was DanTDM who had 10 million subscribers at the time. DanTDM basically owns the audience I wanted, so by making a funny edit film about him, I was able to get a portion of his audience to subscribe to me.
After that I concentrated on people who were popular with my demographic, and this has taken me from 6000 to 100,000 subscribers. And it will take me beyond that.
My videos are about popular people but are presented by ME. So this helps with my branding and with search.
So that wraps up this email. I hope this has really helped you with understanding what it takes to make it big on YouTube without having to go through 2 years of pain and struggling to find the answers.
What did you think of this email? Let me know your thoughts by commenting on this email within your educational announcements on Udemy, or in the Q & A section.
I hope this was inspirational and helpful for you! And please let me know if you’d like me to cover something else next time.