Lets Talk YouTube: Connecting With Your Audience
Who Is In Charge Of Your Ship??
Why are people watching you? What do they want? How should that affect how you make your videos, if at all? The following information is all just one man’s opinion, and should be considered as such.
Without an audience to watch your videos, you’re just a captain of a row boat in the ocean. It’s swell to be in charge and all, but it’s better if you can get some feedback from your crew. Think of your audience as your ship’s crew. Get to know your audience, and respect their opinions. It’s going to be a pretty lonely voyage without them.
I make the kind of videos that I want to make. I do it because I enjoy it. I don’t make videos to please other people, but I do make videos targeted for my audience.
I believe that with over 1 billion users, you should no trouble finding an audience for your videos on YouTube. Somewhere, someone is interested in exactly the type of videos that you make. I think a channel that tries to create videos for a certain audience is going to have more struggles than a channel that finds an audience for the type of videos that they already make. If you want to hear more about my opinions on how to share your videos; click here
My videos lean more heavily towards the “what-if” crowd and less to the “how-to” folks. Most people who watch my videos are not going to be trying to replicate one of my projects. They don’t need a bacon handled vegetable peeler, jawbreaker ring or a crayon bud vase. I get that. What they want is the inspiration, a new idea, a new way of looking at materials or a bit of fun and levity. Not surprisingly that is exactly the type of videos that I make.
As a captain, you’re ultimately responsible for steering the ship, but you must rely on your crew for help with navigation and so much support along the way. You can make what you want and still get direction for your channel from your audience. That doesn’t make you less in charge of your channel, but rather more in tune with your audience.
Since I started making videos on YouTube 3 years ago, a lot has changed. I have better cameras; better lighting and many new skills that I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve even branched out into new mediums like resin, salt, crayons and HDPE but I’m still making the same videos. It’s just a guy in a shop trying out new ideas.
It might be fun to want to drastically re-invent yourself, but it could also result in leaving your audience behind. I subscribe to Jimmy DiResta because of the type of videos he makes. I watch Casey Neistat, GMM and Smarter Every Day for the same reason. I clicked “subscribe” because I wanted more of what I liked. I’ve stopped watching some channels, not because they aren’t producing quality videos, but because they’ve so drastically changed what I found appealing about them in the first place. I’m not saying don’t make changes, but let it be a gradual process that you can bring your audience along for.
Look at your most popular videos. That is how most of your viewers found you. They clicked “like” and “subscribe” hoping for more videos of a similar vein.
My least popular videos are my woodworking videos. They get fewer views, and many of the comments are suggestions for video projects involving my more outlandish ideas. That’s fine. I normally have 3-5 ideas churning at any one point. So for now, I tend to weight my projects more toward the unusual material builds and just pepper in the odd woodworking build. I’m still making what I want, but that list has been more tightly focused by my audience’s feedback.
Look To Your Crew for Guidance.
A lot of content creators will disagree with me on this, but I believe that ignoring your viewer’s comments and suggestions will end in folks losing interest in what you do. I read every single comment I get. If I get 100 comments suggesting that I do a project that fits in well with my channel, you can bet that idea just moved to the front of the line! If you don’t care about audience feedback, then why even be on YouTube to begin with?
Does that mean I’m going to do every recommendation I get? No. But I do a lot, and mostly I’ve enjoyed doing them too! It is foolhardy to think you can do any of this without your audience, and if you continually bash them and pull the rug out from under them, they aren’t going to stick with you for very long.
I always want to listen to my audience and weigh my projects ideas accordingly. I’m still the captain of my channels ship, but if someone has a great suggestion in the comments or dislikes a project that I’ve made, I don’t want to dismiss that out of hand. There is a way to balance making the type of videos that you want to make while pleasing the audience that you have. In the end, you will be rewarded with a loyal viewership who knows that their opinions matter to you, just as my audience’s opinion carry a lot of weight with me.
They’ll also be more willing to recommend your videos to someone they know. And that kind of sharing is one of the best ways for a channel to grow.
I’m just a geek with a full set of power tools and some crazy ideas I want to try out.