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Common issues that keep you under 1,000 subscribers

TheDutchTexan

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I just feel that there are far too many people out there that start YouTube for all the wrong reasons. Starting YouTube to measure your personal worth is dumb. Starting YouTube to get DAT cash is dumb.

Starting YouTube because you have a passion for creating is the right way. And even then, you can follow all the advice you want, you might simply not have what it takes to be one of the big dogs. Be happy with the small successes, and don't expect the tips and tricks that you get from other YouTubers to be the guarantee of views, subscribers or dat YouTube cash. I feel looking at your fledgling YouTube channel as a business is just not the way to go.
 

Tim Schmoyer

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TBH I feel like I don't know how much further to go in those three categories, my man. I've put everything I can into production values, Lets Play titles are kinda self explanatory, you don't have a LOT of leeway, and branding, well... again. It's a Lets Play channel. There has to be more than that.
If you're at 135 subscribers then you definitely have a lot further you can go with this stuff. Let's work through it together a bit. How would you answer these two questions?
  • Who specifically are your videos for?
  • Why do your videos matter? What difference do they make in someone's life?
 
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SomeGuyDude

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Like I've said before, man. I think if your goal in making videos is "just to do whatever and have some fun" then you'll never reach anything beyond "pretty good". No author, no actor, no musician, and no athlete ever reached the top of their craft with a lackadaisical "I don't care if I ever succeed, I just wanna have fun." Without that fire under your a** that says "I want to make it doing this," you'll just languish in the realm of hobbyist. If all you're aiming to do is be a hobbyist, then that's fine.

Starting YouTube because it's a way to make money is one thing. Loving the craft of making videos and wanting to go pro at it is different. I will never tell anyone that they shouldn't be happy with small successes. After all, big successes are nothing but a sequence of small successes all piled up, especially in the realm of YouTubing. But I'll never be "satisfied" with them. Adding a sub or two is encouraging, but you bet your a** I am reaching for the brass ring here.[DOUBLEPOST=1425263186,1425262697][/DOUBLEPOST]
If you're at 135 subscribers then you definitely have a lot further you can go with this stuff. Let's work through it together a bit. How would you answer these two questions?
  • Who specifically are your videos for?
  • Why do your videos matter? What difference do they make in someone's life?
Haha, oh I'm not gonna enjoy answering these because they'll sound self-aggrandizing but here we go.

  1. The target audience is likely to be in the 16-35 year old region, though maybe further on the upper side of it depending on how involved in gaming they'd been prior. People with some fondness for older games but also an appreciation for the indie scene. People who like some insight into the game as they play rather than just a sequence of reactions (although those are in there as well). I admit I do like mixing it up as well with something just stupid and fun as per the chest-waxing video in the trailer there (I loved Jackass and CKY back in high school, and we used to do stuff like that).
  2. This is the one I wasn't looking forward to answering haha. I have a vlog about that, but I think there's a real social atmosphere for videos of this ilk. The realm of the Lets Play is a bit funny because, to a real extent, it's half game and half personality. People may well watch videos of games they're not terribly interested in because of the person on camera. I've always been a performer and part of what I like doing is engaging people. Make them laugh, make them think. It depends on the subject of the game. I've also gotten in contact with a number of developers and been able to help give feedback to them. If, on the path of being entertaining, I can actually nudge developers toward how to improve what they're making? Awesome. It's almost like doing live reviews.
Sorry if that came out as a muddled mess, I could honestly type paragraphs and paragraphs about these topics. As for me, as a person? I really do think that I'm pretty good at being entertaining. It's different in a fully unscripted situation, but I did theatre all through school (musical and non), as well as regional theatre work, and performing of other kinds (magic and juggling, believe it or not). Plus games are something I've always been really passionate about. I'm never gonna call myself the King of the Mountain here, but I'd be lying if I tried to say I didn't feel like I can offer something to those who enjoy this TYPE of video.

EDIT: I often feel like, really, it turns into less about the quality of the channel itself and more how to get people to see it. It really doesn't seem like it matters how amazing your channel is if no one has been exposed to it. It's like opening up a sandwich shop. You can make the best sandwiches in the tri-state area but until you can convince people to come in and try them you're not gonna get much of anywhere.

I'd love to find out how I'm wrong, of course.
 
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izzygonecrazy

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I don't know why people think 1000 is some magic number because it's not.
 

Tim Schmoyer

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Sorry if that came out as a muddled mess, I could honestly type paragraphs and paragraphs about these topics.
Yeah, it kinda does sound like a muddled mess. I don't mean that to be critical -- I honestly wanna help ya here.

Here's the thing: if you can't clearly and succinctly answer those questions for yourself, your audience will never be able to figure it out either. You have to talk specifically to that target audience and address them as such so they feel like you're talking exactly to them. If you don't make someone feel like you're talking to them, you won't make anyone feel like you're talking to them.

You also have to be able to communicate why your videos matter because few people will make the time investment to dig around on your channel to figure it out for themselves. If your channel doesn't matter to them, they don't subscribe, they don't watch, they don't comment. They just leave in search of videos that are valuable to them.

Per your answers, you definitely need to be more specific. You mention their interests, but dig a level deeper. Why do they care about these interests in the first place? What compels them to want to watch videos about older games and indie games in the first place? What's their motivation for going to YouTube and looking for these types of videos? You need to understand that and address it in your videos so when they find your videos, they stick around.

For example, a finance channel about getting out of debt isn't actually about money -- it's about hope. Disney Parks' isn't about roller coasters -- it's about giving families shared experiences together. Beauty channels aren't about makeup -- they're about confidence. Your gaming channel isn't actually about videos games -- it's about _______? (Making insecure adults feel like they're valuable when they win a game? Giving people with mundane lives the chance to feel powerful and in control? Providing expert knowledge that makes people feel socially respected when talking about a game with friends? Etc.) Why do your videos matter to your specific target audience?

You gotta nail the answer to that question, be passionate about it, and integrate it into your entire channel in every way.

Hope that helps!
 

SomeGuyDude

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yeah but after you hit 1K its not like your channel is going to grow wings and take off.
Of course not, but at 1,000 that's when you go "okay this is a real channel now... I feel like this isn't some silly hobby." No one's saying you'll just burst into a celebrity once you hit a million, but to me that's the first barrier between being something to play with when you're bored and something serious.

At 1,000 you look to 10,000. That's the new magical number. Then 50,000. Then 100,000. 200,000. A million. On and on, into the infinite horizon.

We're human beings, we set goalposts at "round" figures. Someone trying to lose weight wants to lose 20, 50, 100 pounds. Or they want to hit a given weight goal that's a round number like 150, 200, 250. Breaking into earning $100,000 a year is a huge milestone for people. This is how we're wired.
 
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Tim Schmoyer

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yeah but after you hit 1K its not like your channel is going to grow wings and take off.
You're absolutely right, but when you hit around 1,000-some subscribers it usually indicates that you've figured some things out on your channel enough for 1,000 people to say, "You know, I'll give your channel a chance." That's absolutely no indication that your channel is going to be a blow-up success, though, either. You can certainly still cripple along at 1,000+ subscribers.
 

izzygonecrazy

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You're absolutely right, but when you hit around 1,000-some subscribers it usually indicates that you've figured some things out on your channel enough for 1,000 people to say, "You know, I'll give your channel a chance." That's absolutely no indication that your channel is going to be a blow-up success, though, either. You can certainly still cripple along at 1,000+ subscribers.
Nicely put
 
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