Aaaaah, YouTube. Another gift for artists from the 21st century. With the New Media exponentially gaining momentum, many aspiring performers and entertainers want to know how to become famous on YouTube, Vine, Tumblr, social media sites or through the help of proprietary websites. For budding actors, naturally, YouTube is the place to go.
While YouTube was started as a simple platform to sell things, it has quickly become one of the world’s most innovative and fascinating media websites. Dwarfed only by Facebook and Google, YouTube has become the third most visited site in the history of the internet. It is estimated that over 800 million people a month watch videos on YouTube, and the number continues to grow. Although some elitist will look at YouTube and other similar forms of New Media Art as “something kids do,” it only makes sense for smart actors to grab a slice of this massive audience.
From movie montages to makeup tutorials to dancing cat videos to short films to web series to demo reels, YouTube has an infinite amount of entertainment value. When it was first being developed, videos were gaining popularity through viral hits. This was usually a seemingly random video (Charlie Bit My Finger, anyone?) that would pop up and spread like wildfire through social media. However, as YouTube has changed over the years, viral videos began to be overshadowed by the new true powers of YouTube: the channels. Now instead of seeing a video on Facebook and going off to watch it, people are finding particular web producers they like and subscribing to them. This way, the random variable is being slowly taken out. There are hundreds of YouTubers making their entire living solely off this platform’s advertisements.
How to Become Famous on YouTube
Would you like to be part of this lucky profession? Would you like the chance to make thousands upon thousands of dollars from your kitchen desktop? Or maybe you wish to use it to expose your talent, build a following, attract attention and move on from there? All of these options make sense, and all of them are possible. Here are a few important tips on how to become famous on YouTube or at least get you started.
Find Your Niche
What makes you – you? This may sound cheesy, but everyone has something unique and different about them. Maybe you know everything about sports, or are obsessed with poetry. Maybe it is a certain impersonation or gag that you do, like Hannah Hart’s drunk cooking. Maybe it’s just your thoughts and personality that will make you famous. Or maybe you’re ready to make short films or your first YouTube web series to expose your skills as an actor, writer, director, producer and all-around filmmaker.
For example, the top grossing YouTuber is a Swedish personality called Pewdiepie. Although this may not be totally up your alley as an actor, there are many things you can learn from YouTube success like Pewdiepie. With big blue eyes and a slight Swedish accent, this guy rose to fame by developing his silly, tumultuous brand of comedy. His videos span a plethora of seemingly random topics, from reviewing video games to recreating Russian dating site photos. He also does a reoccurring series of videos where he records himself expertly Photoshopping celebrities and friends into ugly situations. With more than 5.4 billion views (!), Pewdiepie has almost a cult following of fans he calls his ‘bros’. It is estimated that his bros have earned him a new worth of over 7 million dollars.
It’s important to understand that it’s not always about the subject matter of your content, but rather your personality. Whether you play video games or do your own YouTube comedy sketches, people will come to watch YOU.
It helps to be funny on YouTube, but you don’t have to be. Some of the top grossing online web producers make informative videos, like BluCollection Toys. BluCollection reviews toys for kids of preschool age and under, usually Disney or Pixar playsets. In one of Blu’s recent videos, he discussed the pros and cons of the new toys advertising the Cars franchise. Although the videos feature little humor and is sometimes rather dry, BluCollection is one of the most trusted names in child playthings. BluCollection is the fifth highest grossing YouTuber with an estimated net worth of 4.8 million dollars and more than 1.78b views.
Something that all successful YouTubers have in common is their ability to develop and then stick to their trademarks.
When you find something that works for you and your audience, it’s important not to stray from that path too far. Don’t start new projects, going off impulses for constantly developing new ideas or trying to copycat something that worked for others. If you wish to become famous and successful on YouTube, stay with what works NOW until you develop a solid foundation on the platform.
Viewers typically like a certain level of consistency. They like for videos to be about the same length and format, and to be released on a schedule. If you’re going to create a YouTube web series, then plan it out: how long your episodes will be, when they’re going to be published, when you’re going to start and end, and how you’re going to market them. Most successful YouTubers have specific days that they post videos, usually several times a week. While it’s a good idea to work up to making videos on a daily basis, it is helpful to establish how often and at what time you will post the videos, partially to keep yourself accountable, but mostly because you want subscribers to see you as a regular presence in their lives.
Some YouTubers have had an enormous ‘aha’ moment when they started becoming popular and making money, but many did not.
For example, Craig Benzie, the popular full-time vlogger of the WheezyWaiter channel, has said in several interviews that his fame was due to the sheer amount of content he became committed to producing. “I am all about quantity over quality,” he joked in the Please Subscribe documentary. He also said that his YouTube fame and success came gradually over time as he made more and more videos, and that if he had waited for one of his videos to go viral and for him to become suddenly rich and famous, he would never have been able to live the life he is living today.
So work. Continue to produce your videos, and remember that all good things come to those who wait!
Advertise and Market It
Similarly to the acting business and the entertainment industry in general, marketing and advertising is a crucial part of your success on YouTube.
Know your audience and your production values well, and understand how to sell your content to your viewers. It’s a competitive business we’re all in, and if even you produce the best possible videos, without exposing them to the world, you’ll never get the reward you deserve. Steve Jobs once said:
“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.“
Even if its your first ever video, it is important to broadcast to the world about your uploads. Full-time vloggers not only have YouTube accounts, but public Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts to advertise their videos. Even if it seems like you’re constantly putting up more tags and announcements, never apologize for using these platforms to let people know you have created something worth watching.
It’s 2015 outside, and we’re deep in the digital age of media and entertainment. Everything comes as a package, so use every online tool available to you in order to get your message across. Don’t be shamed, don’t be afraid and of course, don’t be lazy.
If you’ve never heard of it, VidCon is a mega-conference/learning experience/party for online video creators. Not only is it super fun and chuck-full of successful YouTube creators, personalities, vloggers from whom you have a lot to learn, but it is a great networking experience. Connecting with other YouTube channels is a lovely way to get the word out about your own videos and to expand your audience. Go ready to make friends and mingle!
And even if you can’t go to a big-scale conference for online creators like VidCon, there are other ways to network. Simply watching and commenting on other channel’s videos may help your name spread to other audiences. You can also collaborate with other YouTubers and then post the ‘team’ video on both channels, with plenty of thumbnails and links to help possible subscribers move from one page to the other. Don’t be shy to message potential collaborators; usually, a team video is a win-win for everyone.
Finally, don’t forget to utilize the power of social media. Twitter is a the juggernaut in the room today, and many currently successful and famous YouTube creators and filmmakers have made it close to the top thanks to their networking skills on social media platforms. It’s a very powerful tool, so do not underestimate it.
Now as you read this blog post, is something coming to mind? Are you envisioning yourself getting mobbed by fans like Chris and Crawford? Are you thinking of that funny thing you did to make your friends laugh like Hannah Hart? Do you think there are some people out there who would watch it?
There’s only one way to find out.