These are seven painful truths you really need to learn as a YouTuber. You’ll progress faster if you do. Give them some thought so you can move forward with more success than you thought possible. Read ahead for our tips or watch the following video for more info:
#1: YouTube’s Algorithm is NOT Responsible for the Failure of Your Low-quality Content
Sorry, but poor-quality content will not gain traction no matter how hard YouTube pushes it. 99% of the time, if a video flops, there’s a legitimate reason why. Many creators attribute their video’s underperformance to YouTube’s algorithm without fully examining the analytics. The truth usually lies deeper in the data. Read The YouTube Algorithm Explained: Top 5 Things You NEED to Know to understand how the algorithm really works.
#2: Content is Queen, and Thumbnails are King
The best content in the world will always be held back by a poor title or thumbnail. Just like the tastiest food in the world won’t be eaten if it looks unappealing. Now, this is not giving you permission to make a garbage video and make a banger title and thumbnail for it. That’s not going to work. But don’t think that great content alone will attract viewers.
We’ve produced and analyzed countless videos, and we rarely see videos with high retention and watch time combined with a low click-through rate do well. Regardless of how many people YouTube recommends the video to, viewers decide to start watching by stopping or clicking because of your title and thumbnail. Then they continue watching because of the content and don’t be deceived by the view count. A highly viewed video with a below-average click-through rate is only an indication that the video had so much more potential. Content is queen, thumbnails are king. It’s a marriage. Both are important. You should optimize for both.
#3: Your Analytics Are More Reliable than your Family, Friends, or Gut Feeling
YouTube Studio provides a comprehensive view of how your audience is engaging and responding to your videos. Regardless of how you feel, the data shows how your viewers feel, and don’t be offended by the facts.
#4: Poor Video Performance is Not a Reflection of You as a Person
It’s a reflection of how well you execute it on that video, and that piece of content is not your next piece of content. When you look at the data objectively and make changes accordingly, your content will improve. Analytics will help you move on from any failures. Look at the data, determined how to improve, then made a better video.
#5: Every Smart YouTube creator is Part Artist and Part Analyst
Artistic creativity is necessary for creating content that is engaging, unique, and memorable. But analytical skills are needed to deeply understand your audience, measure the success of the content, and identify growth opportunities.
Creating better thumbnails, creating better content, digging into data, all this sounds like a lot of work. It is. If you thought that YouTube was just a post-and-go thing, you will quickly realize how much work it is, which is why any YouTuber will tell you, you won’t escape hard work by becoming a creator.
#6: Being a YouTube Creator is a Difficult Job
In many cases, you will work harder than you would in a traditional career role. Small creators have to wear a lot of hats to keep their channels running smoothly. Yes, you are a YouTuber, but you’re also a filmmaker, editor, researcher, graphic designer, writer, and so much more. YouTube is a real job, and it takes real work and commitment to succeed.
Be prepared to put in 10 times the effort you thought you would.
#7: YouTube Longevity has Little to do With Your Subscriber Count
Subscriber counts are just pretty. Views, watch time, and engagements are profitable. You’re going to need a thousand subscribers to get into the YouTube Partner Program. That’s a non-negotiable.
But outside of the YouTube Partner Program and some fancy play buttons, your subscriber count really doesn’t do much. You’re going to need views to make money. You’re going to need watch time to get recommended, and you’re going to need engagement to build a community. A channel with 5,000 subscribers can pull more views than a channel with 50,000. A channel with 1 million subscribers can have less engagement than a channel with hundred thousand. Here’s the thing: Current subscribers do not reflect the current interest in a channel. And with so many niches, CPMs, and ways to make money, it’s a terrible way to gauge income too.
Another painful truth is that some people just won’t like you. That is just a fact. You’re not for everybody, and that’s fine. If you post videos expecting everyone to like them, you’ll quickly be humbled by all the dislikes and comments. Don’t take it personally. This is the nature of being a public figure but be prepared for it. You will work hard to produce content. You will post that content, and then you will receive public feedback. I hope most of it is positive. Negative feedback is unavoidable and will happen, but don’t let the feedback discourage you, especially when you’re new. You’re building in public.
To be great at YouTube, you have to practice in public, video by video. And not going to lie, the video you thought was a banger this year, even you will cringe at next year. Ideas are overrated, execution is everything.
As a content creator, the single most important thing you can do is press publish. Your ideas are useless if they just sit in a notepad. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to execute, you’ll get outdone by somebody else who doesn’t wait. Just post. A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week. The triangle of growth is posting content, getting feedback, then iterating.
Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO