Hi Guys So I've always been interested in the Reviews/Channel Feedback section of YTtalk. At first it was because I'd just started my YouTube channel and as a newbie it gave me a chance to hear from some more experienced users on what I was doing well and what I could be doing better which I found amazing. After a while though, for a multitude of reasons I had to stop making videos. But instead of just sitting down and lying dormant until I'm able to restart I resolved to spend my time learning so that when I start again I'll have a better idea of what I'm doing and hopefully be able to progress faster. There have been many stages to my learning, from coming up with ideas and scripts for videos that I want to make, to making various different designs for potential future banners and intros. But I think that one of the best ways of learning about YouTube is reviewing people's channels. Now I've always been a visual learner; observing in detail what somebody is doing, how they are doing it and the effects that it has and then applying that to myself has always been something that I've found really helpful to develop myself whether this be in sport to learn new shots/skills or when playing games to help me win or even novel things such as spinning a pen on my finger, watching somebody else has helped me to gain a new perspective on a situation which helped me to figure something out. This was part of the reason that even though I stopped being active on the forum I kept on checking in to look at what was being posted in the reviews forum, that and the fact that I just love YouTube and enjoy watching videos. The thing was, when I looked there some of the reviews didn't really seem to be that in-depth, more just passing comments of people that almost seemed to be rushing quickly by, there didn't seem to be any depth or detail to many of the reviews and so neither party was helped as much as I feel they could have been. Now don't get me wrong, i understand that a lot of people here are busy people, not only with their YouTube channels but also with their day to day lives and so maybe feel like they can't or shouldn't devote that much time to writing a detailed review. But I couldn't help but sit there and think that I might have been missing a trick. So I logged back in to my account and started looking at people's review requests and reviewing in as much detail as I could. A little bit later I can say that by doing this I believe that I've been genuinely able to provide a lot of help to people but also there have been some genuine benefits and opportunities to learn for me too. So why should reviewers review in a lot of detail? Let me ask you this: If you were watching a game review and the review was 10 seconds long and the reviewer just said 'Yeah this game seems ok from what I've seen, not too much wrong with it' Would you be satisfied with this review? Reviewing somebody else's work as previously mentioned provides you with opportunities to learn as well as help other people to learn as well. You get opportunities to see channels and videos that you probably have never seen before and then assess them. Looking at other people's work especially people's work that you're not familiar with gives you a fresh new outlook and new 'eyes' to look critically and see what you like, what you dislike, how they go about different things, what they do differently or the same to you and how well that works for them both in terms of the impression that it gives you and also how their audience receives it. It puts you in somebody else's shoes, giving you a new and fresh scenario each time, almost like a puzzle, and asks you 'If this was your channel, what would you do differently to find success?'. It also allows you to see exactly what somebody else is doing well and not so well which for you could be an opportunity for you to either find inspiration, learn from them and find something that you could adopt and adapt for your channel or it could be a warning sign so that you don't have to make the same mistakes that that person has, instead you can learn from them so that not only can you help them but once you get there you'll know what to do for your channel. Looking in detail means that you are taking in as much information as possible about the channel which gives you more chances to learn things so when you're looking around instead of just thinking things such as 'This channel is good/bad' it allows you to look deeper to answer questions such as 'Why and how is this channel good/bad?' and then not only figure this out for yourself but then relay this information back to the channel owner and anybody else who reads it. How do I approach a review? So I just want to preface this by saying that this is just my way of doing things, it's not the law and if you have you're own way of doing things that works for you go for it! So I do a running review meaning that I type the review as I experience the channel and don't try to remember it all at the end. I usually start by looking at the request itself to see what the person actually wants looked at and then see whether it fits in with my usually structure which is a yes usually but if not then I will follow their bullet points step by step to analyse in detail what they have asked for. If it does fit in with what I usually do or they don't really make it clear what they want then I just follow this basic structure: - First impressions: What are my first thoughts when I enter their channel. What do I think of things such as the banner, the channel icon, the layout, the branding and the overall feel of the channel. What do I think is good about it and what could be done better? If I think something could be done better how would I go about it? - Thumbnails: What are their thumbnails like? Is everything clear? Is there too much information on the screen? How much text do they have on the screen and is it all easy to read? Do the thumbnails fit the styles of the videos, do they all feel like they belong to this channel (are they uniform enough but still unique?)? What are the good things and the things that need to be improved upon with the thumbnails? If I think something could be done better how would I go about it? - Videos: What are their videos like? Is video good quality? How good it the audio? How good is the editing (Over edited? Under edited?)? How engaging are the videos? Would I be likely to watch more of their videos? Have they framed themselves well on screen? SEO? Tags? How good are the titles? What other good things are there about their videos and what would need to be improved? If I think something could be done better how would I go about it? - Other: Is there anything else I noticed whilst reviewing this channel? Are there any other good things or critiques I would like to comment on? - Conclusion: Revisit the main points and let them know my final opinion of their channel and what I think they improve upon and then finish with one overarching sentence to summarise I try to go into detail and pose and answer as many questions as possible to give as comprehensive a review as possible. Here are 2 thoughts that I had before I started reviewing and my answers to them now: I'm a (Genre) YouTuber, should I only review channels that are the same as mine? No! Absolutely not! You can learn from any channel whether that channels makes the same content as you or not or whether the channel is your size or not. I used to make vlogs so I used to only be interested in looking at review requests for other vloggers/sketchmakers but by doing so I missed out on learning a lot of things from the other channel types. Let's be honest now most channels and video types need the same things: - Good Video - Good Audio - Well Edited - Engaging - Good channel design/branding etc. So really a person having a different channel type doesn't really matter in terms or reviewing as you are looking for the same criterion implemented in different ways in the channel and it's not even as if all channels/videos of a certain genre are all the same, in fact they shouldn't be; it's the little differences that make each channel unique and stand out. So you should, in essence, be able to take the knowledge and skills that you've gained from your genre and transfer them to another genre to help other channels to provide the same quality review Should I review this channel? They are bigger/more experienced/make better videos than me Do it! Everybody can learn from somebody else no matter the apparent difference in experience or size or quality. A non-YouTube example that I can think of is that I used to play this guy at squash, I was more experienced than him and I could beat him relatively easily but I remember one time whilst we were playing, I was watching him and his movement and it made me seriously rethink and rework my own movement and even now when I'm playing, when I think about my movement, I always think about him and the lesson he taught me without even knowing. Despite the seemingly massive difference between us Basically the point that I'm trying to make is that anybody can learn from anybody regardless of who you are or how unqualified you feel. There might be one thing you say/see that completely changes the way the other person/you make your videos or run your channel and could be the thing that drastically helps you/them on your/their journey. Conclusion Basically in conclusion, I think that producing more detailed longer reviews is well worth it. Yes it takes time, for me a typical review takes anywhere between half an hour to well over an hour and yes that in turn does require a lot of effort. But you get to genuinely help other people, which in itself is great, and you also get the opportunity to learn yourself and help yourself. I understand that you probably won't have the time to do 5 of these deep reviews every single day (neither do I) but I think that even if you can only spare the time to do one in-depth review a week and really look closely at the details of the channel putting yourself in the channel owner's shoes to think and strategize and ask yourself not only what is good and needs to be improved but how you would go about it, you'll have found another way to really help yourself out in your YouTube journey and be doing this whilst helping other people in theirs.