This question is something that often pops in to my head when I think of my own YouTube journey, but also when I dissect the paths of others. I find my mind often goes to this query whenever an opportunity comes my way and I’m going through the internal though process of whether it would be right to accept it. I wanted to put it out to you guys today, just to see if you share my confusion.
It’s a well known peeve of YouTubers and Bloggers. You’ll create or write something you really love, even feel proud of. You may have slaved hours or days over it, sacrificed a night out with your pals, put in even more effort than the average upload. Then you upload it and it just does okay, far less than you imagined, or even ranks amongst your least viewed in recent months.
So when this happens what should a Creater do? Should they continue to make that kind of content, blame the blasted algorithm or YouTube glitches again, or take the relatively low views as feedback from their audience?
I think confusion arises at this moment based largely on not knowing what we are here for and what we are viewed as by those that visit our platforms. Are these our personal diaries, areas for the documentation of our lives and loves, or a place to turn our creative ideas in to a reality? Or are we here to serve others, to offer a service whether it be information or entertainment?
Let’s look at our channels/blogs and entertainment and approach this conundrum from the stand point of a TV channel or newpaper. If a show wasn’t getting good viewing ratings, or if a column wasn’t getting good clicks, they would get scrapped, and pretty sharpish too. So if we view our channels as our own online TV channels, then should we simply take heed of the view numbers and scrap the concept/theme of the less successful videos too?
Like I said before, a problem lies in the fact that for many of us these platforms have and do serve as a creative outlet, one that allows us to put the wacky ideas in our head into video form, and share to people in the hope they will get pleasure from them too. We feel a real sense of satisfaction when we see our ideas and visions realised, but I have a feeling that there’s something else which fuels a lot of people, and I think the sharing aspect of it is an interesting thing to ponder.
Why do we feel the need to share these creations? Is it because we require some sort of recognition for the things we create? Do we rely on the boost that positive feedback gives us to keep going and to encourage us to make more videos/blogs? Is the positive reaction that someone hopes they will receive the main push to create, or at least a large part of making the whole process feel worthwhile and rewarding?
Should your enjoyment of making the video be enough to get that feeling of enrichment and achievement? Has the social media world we live in today made us needy, and all too reliant on gushing comments and ever increasing numericals? Have we also lost sight of the fact a lot of those positive comments aren’t necessarily true or factual and that they may come from a place of bias, agenda or idolisation (they’d say the video or blog was great even if it wasn’t because they adore the YouTuber). Are we posting videos for us because we need that ego massaged on the regular? Do some of us shape the videos we make to ensure there’s more chance of the ego getting a more thorough spa treatment? Things to consider…..
I’ve noticed that when a YouTuber starts doing well, which is signified by an increase in glamorous opportunities like press trips, celebrity interviews, premiere invites, etc there often seems to a bit of a lull on the persons channel or blog. They’re too busy going to the events and capturing the footage that there is very little time to spend on the accompanying content, or to keep up with the much loved content they used to make regularly. They’ll start missing upload days, putting videos up late, or having to drop out of things like Vlogtober. There are of course many exceptions to this rule, the people that still manage to maintain their schedule and post flawlessly to their blog and socials just as regularly as ever….but they are often the people that end up reaching burn-out, putting their health (mental and physical) at risk for the sake of their careers. This leads me on to my next point regarding the content we make and whether it’s for us or for you…..
We often reach out to our audience via Twitter polls or via our videos to ask you what you enjoy watching the most. I’ve noticed that most people answer saying that they favour tutorials and hauls with a chatty elements rather than super glossy aesthetically emphasised fashion and beauty videos. They’ll also say they love Vlogs too, but most notably the ones where we are doing very ‘normal’ things. Brogan Tate’s huge and fast growth is a great example of how everyday content is so warming and enjoyable to watch for many. My views and comments mirror this feedback too. Without a doubt the videos where I’m at home doing very mundane things with Si or my family, or chatting about everyday life moments and issues, are the ones that seem to connect the most. The ones that features celebrity parties and events…not so much. Yes it may give a window into a different world and offers glamorous escapism, but I think people seek comfort from watching moments that feel familiar. It’s why reality TV is such a loved format – you can almost pretend your watching a mate do things that you too have experience or go through on a daily basis.
So with all that considered and if we decide we should be making content for our audience, should we be turning down some of these opportunities and spending more time doing the normal and relatable things they enjoy watching? Should we put focus on nurturing the relationships we have and continuing on making the content that got us that wonderful community in the first place?
It’s certainly a complicated and multi-layered question, particularly when you consider that our audience aren’t paying us anything to view the videos and blogs we spend hours a week creating. Does this lack of financial commitment or support mean that they waver their rights to have an opinion or preferences that we HAVE or SHOULD to listen to? Maybe only the YouTubers with Patreons need to focus more on the desires of the audience? What do you think?
I think it’s largely about how you view being a YouTuber/Blogger and what you want to get out of it. If you’re in it to make money you will be more focused on whats trending on YouTube, what videos tend to do best on your channel, maybe what will lead to more paid brand work. You’ll be glued into your analytics and be very aware of what’s growing in the industry. I have a friend who only does Click Bait for instance, and while that’s not my chosen path that’s the route which will deliver what she’s looking to get out of it.
YouTube was never my dream career, and being famous looks like a ruddy nightmare to me, so I’ve never been focused on becoming ‘big’ by YouTube standards, I just always wanted to make enough to get by, and to do videos I feel are true to me where possible. I’m often doing videos or making decisions which are bad in terms of business and the growth of my channel but they’re things I want to say and get off my chest, messages or topics I want to put out there to a few people I know it will connect with from my subscribers, or because I need closure on an idea that’s been consuming my head for an annoying length of time. There’s some videos I don’t even share on my socials because they weren’t made to aid the growth of my channel or to be a big hitter, much to my network’s dispair.
So while I’ve said yes to a few glam opportunities this week, I’ve also turned down a few big and financially rewarding ones too – some for moral reasons, some because I’m too tired and can’t face more trips to London, and other’s because I know that my Subscribers just won’t like it. With my financial situation this is not easy to do, in fact it’s darn right devastating at times. However knowing what I do about me and how much I beat myself up if I feel I’ve let myself down in terms of maintaining integrity, I know it’s not worth it, and I’ll find being a YouTuber even harder than I do at the best of times.
I pass this discussion over to you guys now.
Is your blog/channel your passion project, somewhere you use to create what you love or enjoy? Do you see it a business first and foremost? Do you think more about pleasing your existing audience or about how you can find new viewers as fast as possible? Should you say yes to everything you want to do (opportunity wise), even if you know your audience would prefer the everyday content and regularity?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
What I’m wearing
Another lovely dress kindly sent from the guys in Light In The Box. I love cold-shoulder dresses because you can feel feminine and sexy without baring too much flesh. I love these sleeve details too, it gives the dress a real bohemian feel. I know some people worry about these sorts of dresses in case they slip down, but this one stays nicely in place and is lovely to wear on a humid day. I’ll definitely be taking it on holiday next year. You can buy it here –