NOTE: Please watch these two videos first before continuing onward with the article. This article is primarily aimed at reaching other content creators or for those who have always wanted to make content online.
I took an entire class on this for my current BS for “Digital Audiences” at ASU (essentially learning how to manage, analyze and grow social media accounts), got certified for this very topic, and it still depresses and also inspires me how much of a challenge it is to get views on videos that I spend dozens or hundreds of hours on.
Here’s the good tea: if you truly want to fundamentally shift away from clickbait, you need to have companies like YouTube, FB, etc move away from a profit model. It’s a daunting task, very relevant, but very much a need for further, deeper discussion on “how” to do it (no question on “why” anymore).
Now snapping back to the present: what’s useful for content creators HERE and NOW to push out their content is always being ready to adapt to the rules of the game. Any long-term content creator knows the rules of the game, but have trouble keeping up with the “new meta” if you will. It’s sad, but true.
While you do have to sacrifice integrity and even shift your content type, something I that think Derek (Veritasium) overlooked is the “why” in what kind of content does a content creator want to do and for whom does the creator service?
Near the end of the original video, Derek mentions how he’s approached by fans who say things like: “Oh cool, a new Veritassium video. See you in 6 months” and his reaction is EXACTLY like mine: “WTF DO YOU MEAAAAN?! I MAKE STUFF ALL OF THE TIME”. All social media is like this.
I operate in niche communities. Making content for anime for potential viewers of such content will only ever reach a certain percentage of the total audience because only a certain percentage of anime fans are actually interested in AniTube content strictly speaking.
So a solution that I personally had was: “broaden out to other fields” and I do Let’s Plays (also niche due to me not being interested or being able to afford all of the latest, hottest games) and also discuss D&D (another niche fandom despite its mainstream appeal).
I admit that the quality of my videos are dramatically improving over time the more effort that I out in more and gain more skills with audio editing, video editing and understanding what increases watch time by catering the editing to that.
While I work on these strategies, I keep in mind who I am catering to. I limit myself even more by the mere fact that I am trans and am rather vocal with my politics (decided to take the route that creators like the guys at Chapo Trap House and @Hbomberguy are like).
My strategy here is focusing on carving a niche and segmenting audiences to up the percentage of people who will not only respect me for who I am, but will also not be bigots. That’s a niche within a niche within a niche within a niche. So my options for virality (a measurement term for how likely something is to go viral and how well a viral post is doing) are limited.
The “why” I mentioned earlier for WHY we do what we do is asking yourself: “why do I want to make content? What kind of people do I want to associate with and who is most likely to enjoy me for who I am?” Answering these questions are important to fight burn out.
So there is validity to smaller content creators who steadily grow over time than rapidly grow overtime. That is the advice I wish Derek would have highlighted as like a footnote. What professionals in this field will tell you is that you cater your strategy to your goals.
If you want to make a living doing content, you only need enough people necessary to help you out financially via affiliates or crowdfunding. It’s possible to have a few hundred people get you to that point rather than thousands-tens of thousands.
What matters is that YOU build the audience that you want, NOT the other way around. No matter how much these platforms dictate our behavior, it’s important to remember this more for mental health purposes (hence the focus on burnout in the video).
Last point: what Derek says at the end of his video about his personal goals is what I’d classify as “adapting”. His approach is absolutely valid and correct. If your goal is to let loyal viewers know that you have content, you have to work smarter to make sure they see it.
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