With so much new content arriving each minute on YouTube, how can creators who are just getting started hope to make a mark? What can they do to stand out in an industry already saturated with thousands of full-time video producers? These questions were central topics of discussion during a Sunday panel at Stream Con NYC, where creators Aidan Alexander and Jeffrey Chang (aka JeffreyFever) gave tips to YouTube aspirants.
Alexander and Chang are both “new to YouTube” in their own ways. Alexander, a 15-year-old actor, has posted regularly on YouTube for the past 18 months and has gained more than 170,000 subscribers. Chang’s channel, on the other hand, is more than four years old, but Chang has only maintained a regular schedule of vlogs and sketches within the past year-and-a-half. Like Alexander, he has seen some success, with more than 200,000 subscribers.
By the time Alexander and Chang began to build their channels, YouTube was already a busy community, seemingly dominated by its most popular and best established personalities. Those “OG YouTubers,” as Chang called them, served as a study guide. “It takes a lot of work,” he said. Each aspiring creator must “understand the game and educate yourself…focus on the craft, but at the same time, understand YouTube.”
On a similar note, Alexander urged young creators to participate within the communities of the creators they admire. He believes “actively engaging with other fans” can bring attention to creators who may not be able to land collaborations with more popular peers.
It’s not enough, however, to simply learn from other videos. According to Alexander and Chang, YouTube newcomers must churn out content, even if the results are poor. “Your first video is probably not going to blow up,” said Alexander. “You need to post that video, and even if it completely flops, you need to post another one, and another one, because eventually you’ll post one that hits.” He also recommended a rigid posting schedule and noted Sunday morning as his ideal time to share a new video.
Chang took that philosophy one step further: He believes the odds of a viewer subscribing to a channel with only a few videos are low. Instead, he stressed the importance of patience, of building up a library with dozens of videos, and of waiting for the right moment to “blow up.” A bigger library, even if its individual videos have not garnered much attention, is important. It allows viewers to “have fun throughout the whole evening, checking out your channel,” he said.
Alexander and Chang have managed to succeed online, even during a time when there are so many people vying for a piece of the pie. The future, however, will only bring more changes, so Alexander urged new YouTubers to get started right away. “If you’re planning on starting your channel,” he said, “I would do it now.”