Rob started out on YouTube in 2012, building up a tech channel before joining the vidIQ team. He now educates over 450,000 subscribers on the vidIQ channel which has over 25,000,000 video views. Today he is hard at work sharing everything he has learned on the YouTube platform; educating video creators on how to grow their own channels and turn hobbies into careers - just like Rob did in 2017.
13 MISTAKES New YouTubers Like YOU Make - and How To Avoid Them
Feeling entitled to views and subscribers. Ultimately, for a lot of creators, it's that mindset that causes them to fail when they first start their YouTube channels.
After six, nine, twelve months, they realized that it's harder than they think to get 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time, and to monetize their YouTube channels because I think those people would assume they deserved to be seen by YouTube audience. They also assume that they deserved to be paid for their work.
13 Massive Mistakes You Are Making as a YouTube Creator
In case you're wondering why we creating this post and video, it’s because we asked on Twitter what were your biggest YouTube mistakes and you responded en masse, so we thought we would discuss some of those. Which brings me on to the first of the mistakes you are probably making, even if they think you aren’t:
Mistake #1 Thinking You Deserve Immediate Success on YouTube
Until you prove your value first to your audience, and then to YouTube, I'm sorry to say it but you are entitled to absolutely nothing. Remember, this is a free platform. You get to speak to a global audience and impact their lives, but you've got to do that first before you deserve any reward.
Of course, it would be fantastic if YouTube was a completely level playing field, and everybody would enjoy the success that they deserve, depending on the content that they create.
But there will be some creators who have a viral moment with appalling content, while others slave away creating magnificent pieces of work that never get seen by the audience that deserves to see it.
Unfortunately, that is YouTube, but the moment you assume that you should get this or that or this creator shouldn't get this because your content is better is the moment where you've lost the mindset of YouTube and who should be rewarded for the content - it's your audience first and then you.
Mistake #2 Deleting Content from Your Channel
I've never been a fan of this and there are two principle reasons why:
First of all, you're damaging the metrics on your channel. If you delete a video it removes all of the views and all of the watch time. Which is especially important for people working towards monetization. Secondly, don't be embarrassed about the content that you've already got on your channel.
If you look at channels such as MrBeast, you can see the hundreds of terrible videos he put out on his channel before he was a success. So it's wonderful and fascinating to see the progress of a creator who went from nothing, and is now a YouTube megastar.
Mistake #3 Neglecting Your Audio Quality
I've said this before and I've stressed it heavily in the vidIQ academy which of course you can check out, the first tech upgrade should be audio. You can get away with slightly dodgy visuals, or lighting that's not quite right, but when the audio is off, it is just so grating and annoying to the audience that it will make them switch off more than anything else.
I use a Rode Video Micro which cost me $60, and I still use it today and it significantly improves my video audio. You can read more about getting the best audio quality for your videos here.
Mistake #4 Creating Off-Topic Content
This is an interesting one because it's often a symptom of a channel that either lacks focus or has too much self-indulgence. You’re creating a series of videos towards a particular audience, and then you decide to do something a little bit different. And that little bit different video takes off on your channel. And you're left with a decision whether or not to try and capitalize on that successful video, or continue to target your audience that you were trying to engage with in the first place.
Suddenly you go from becoming a travel channel to a beauty channel, or a financial channel to a laptop review channel. We came across an example where a channel was doing all of this business and financial advice and they randomly did a review on a cheap laptop from Costco. And this video got far more views than anything else on the channel. 7,000 views versus the average which might be a few hundred. What do you do in that situation?
Mistake #5 - Inconsistency
Ultimately this is all to do with focus. Finding your niche, going two inches wide a mile deep, on a particular topic, and building an audience through consistency. Which naturally leads us to the topic of inconsistency.
This can come in many different shapes and sizes. I think we've already talked about topic inconsistencies. But for a lot of creators, it's the inconsistency of video output. This is why it's good to have some sort of schedule in the back of your mind. Whether you stick to it religiously, by posting on the same day of the week, at the same time, or by telling your audience that you will publish a couple of several videos a week. But maybe not sticking to a strict schedule.
The truth is for a lot of creators, YouTube should take up a certain portion of your time, versus the rest of your life, but the lines often become blurred. Whether you're on a roll, or because you're super passionate about the videos that you're creating, you spend more and more time on YouTube, but there's only a certain amount of YouTube adrenaline that you can run off, before you get burnt out. Or life gets in the way and you need to take a break. So that's why I never recommend running at 100% YouTube capacity all the time.
If you do create five videos in a week, that's great. Maybe publish four of those and save one for later on when you do need to take a break.
Mistake #6 - Leaving YouTube for an Extended Break
We've seen this phenomenon occur several times with channels, when we've been auditing them on the vidIQ YouTube channel, every Tuesdays at 11 o'clock, Pacific Standard Time (sorry for the plug there.)
There are channels that have tens of thousands of subscribers. And the most recent videos are getting barely a couple of hundred views. And when we scroll through their list of videos, six, seven years ago the videos they were making were getting tens of thousands of views but unfortunately the channel took a significant break, and in that time the landscape of YouTube has changed radically.
This often happens with tutorial channels that were some of the first on the platform, providing answers to questions that hadn't been yet asked on YouTube. And there weren't enough channels providing answers. So even with questionable thumbnails, and content that wasn't brilliant, because the competition was so few and far between at that time, these channels were able to clean up. Now with far more sophisticated creators, who are really savvy with their production values, and enticing thumbnails, they're finding that they just can't compete anymore.
There is a really fine balancing act here for video creators and their channels. Absolutely if you need to take a break from the platform and do life stuff, I'm never going to tell a creator not to do that. But at the same time, YouTube, from a purely algorithmic point of view, hates procrastinators or channels that are not providing the content that they want to serve to an audience. And YouTube will go and find that content from another creator.
Granted we're talking about channels that haven't created anything for two, three, four years at this point. If you're going to have a break for a month or a week you're probably going to be okay. But, doing a hard stop on your channel, and then coming back in a few years time and expecting the same traction, I'm afraid that's just not going to be the case.
Mistake #7- Starting to Create Content too Late
And then there are those on the flip side of this YouTube mistake that are cursing about not starting early on YouTube. First of all, if you're beating yourself up because you think you've missed the boat because you want to start now but you had no intention of doing so years ago, don't beat yourself up. This is the same as blaming yourself for not buying Bitcoin when it was uber cheap, or right now not starting on the byte social media platform. Because who knows how that's going to turn out in the future.
It is how decisively you act on whether or not you want to start a YouTube channel, as opposed to when you first think about when you should've started a channel. I guess I will say this, if you've been watching YouTube videos for a year or two, and you've been thinking about starting a channel over that course of time, yes that is a mistake. If you want to start a travel channel, and you've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks, there's probably been 500 video creators or more who have started their travel vlog, and they're stealing your potential audience.
I would always encourage this, whether or not you think you're ready, start YouTube. Because you will learn a hell of a lot through experience. Right now, somebody is going to start their YouTube channel today, and by the end of the year, they're going to have a million subscribers. I can guarantee that.
Mistake #8 - ANYTHING To Do With Sub4Sub
Yeah you're right, this is probably the oldest YouTube mistake in the book. And I'm glad a couple of people recognized this, as an error in their ways. Watch this video for why:
Mistake #9 - Trying to Imitate Other Creators
When a viewer watches content on YouTube, and subscribes to a channel they usually do it because they have some sort of connection with the creator and it is content that they can't get anywhere else. So if your plan is to try and mimic an already well-established channel, the viewer is going to simply ask the question, why should I follow you? Why should I be interested in your content, if I can get it from somewhere else, with a more well-established channel, who probably does better content than you, if you're trying to imitate them?
Now I'm not going to sit here and point to you and just say be yourself, because as soon as you press a record button, for me at least, there's a different kind of pressure as if you're on stage. You can't help but change your identity in a certain way, because you feel as if you need to please an audience that's behind that camera.
It is so difficult for some people, and I count myself in this set, who can be natural in front of the camera. I don't know what it is, it's like putting on a different hat. Talking to an inanimate object feels so alien even now after all the videos that I've done. And I think that probably more comes through, in the editing that I do, I still feel a bit stiff on camera, but when I get into the editing suite, and I'm able to put that story together, that's where I feel my best creative personal real me qualities come through.
I think some of you will be able to pick up the internal struggle that I have in my head, whenever I talk in front of the camera. But I am so glad that I continue to do it every single day and challenge myself to be me on camera.
Mistake #10 - Trusting Just One Social Video Platform
Yeah yeah, all right. Nice little dig at Google and YouTube there, but I guess behind this mistake, there is a certain element of truth. Because if you put all of your eggs on one social media basket, all it takes is for YouTube to flick a switch, like they have done with the Adpocalypse, and COPPA and the FTC, to see your channel, your audience, your potential business fall through the floor.
That is why in the long run it is important to diversify your skills, your reach, your brand so to speak. I know people hate this word, your presence on the internet can't just be restricted to one platform which has in effect total control over the destiny of your success.
Mistake #11 - Asking the Wrong Questions
I've chosen this one as an example of a mistake a lot of creators make when they simply don't listen to specific advice. Instead, they keep asking the same general questions to whoever is listening: How do I grow my channel? How do I get more subscribers? How do I get more views? Who on Earth can answer that question?
My guess is even if I wrote a 5000-word essay answer to those general questions, those people would ignore all of the advice and then two or three months down the line they would ask exactly the same question. How do I grow my channel?
Creators - do the research, do a bit of learning. Understand the analytics. Drill down into click-through rates, watch time, why some thumbnails work better than others, and then start to ask those specific questions of educators like us.
Because we love specific questions that we can really drill down into, and have discussions about. These broad questions are just an example of somebody, who I think again wants to get 1000 subscribers 4000 hours of watch time, and monetize their content without truly understanding the fundamentals of what being a content creator is.
And yes I know the irony is not lost on me that half the videos that we and other YouTube growth experts put out on YouTube are titled How To Get More Views and How To Get More Subscribers and How To Grow Your Channel. Those are the things that creators are searching for on YouTube, and we've got to get ourselves in front of those creators to try and educate them in a much more focused way.
Mistake #12 - Listening to the Wrong People
There are lots of people who come up with crazy zany ideas, some that are treading precariously along the terms of service of YouTube. My advice generally would be is if the strategy is going to get you quick views and subscribers, or hack your way to success, then it's probably advice you want to treat with caution.
If people are promoting organic ways to grow an audience over a period of time which never guarantee short term success, because you got to work hard as a video creator, then I think those are the type of people you want to listen to. Because they've gone through the journey themselves.
I always try to position myself, not as a YouTube growth expert who must be heard and followed to have success on their channel. There are huge gaps in my knowledge on YouTube. I find it difficult to advise on music channels. I don't know how vloggers can get in front of the camera, and be so personable and tell stories in the way that they do. But those channels fascinate me along with the entire YouTube platform.
And I am passionate about having the opportunity to spread my message and impact others on the YouTube platform which we see in the comments often. I and the rest of the vidIQ team, can share our experiences openly and honestly and you take value from it, then that's enough for me. And there's nothing wrong with listening to everybody's advice, testing it and seeing if it works because for different YouTube channels, and for different audiences, not everything works.
There are many routes on YouTube to that destination called success. And I like to think that here at vidIQ, what we do is put down road signs that help point you in the right direction. How you get there is entirely up to you and we will take a fraction of a percent of the success when you get there.
Mistake #13 - Not Allowing Yourself to Make Mistakes
Who said there's anything wrong with making mistakes? I almost feel as if a lot of people who want to start a YouTube channel, have to be of the mindset that their content has to be perfect to begin with. And they'll never start a channel because of that.
Evan Carmichael probably puts this best. I asked him what is the best tip for a person starting out on YouTube, and his simple advice was, "Expect to suck". But there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because if you don't start somewhere, then you're never going to start, and everybody has to go through a YouTube journey.
As we've already said, some creators just have it, the X-Factor. Jennelle Eliana is a perfect example of a creator who was able to jump onto YouTube and just start making amazing content and that connected with a wide audience instantly.
But I certainly didn't enjoy that success when I first started. A couple a dozen people watched my first few videos, and it's taken me almost a decade to get to where I am today and that's taken 1500 videos plus. I make mistakes all of the time. It's taken me a good six hours to film this in front of camera, because I still continue to fluff up my lines. And no doubt in the future I will continue to make mistakes. I will make videos that I think are going to perform really well, and they'd never get off the ground. And you just have to experience those things as well on the YouTube platform.
I say this all the time and I'm going to say it again. The one thing that trumps all of the advice that you can get all of the technology you can purchase and anything else that comes from an external source is your experience. The more videos you create, the more videos you upload to YouTube, and the more you analyze the analytics and engage with your community, the better you will become as a video creator. And you will do it far faster if you are the one exposing yourself to all of the things that YouTube can bring into your creative landscape.
Start somewhere, look back on the content that you've made, and see where there are pain points, blockers, bottlenecks things you need to address. And aim to improve them by a couple of percent with every new video that you make. In the short term from video to video, you may not see the progress. But then when you look back on your videos from six months ago, you will see the radical changes and improvements that you've experienced and your audience will definitely connect with that. And those were some of your YouTube mistakes. Keep making them, embrace them, aim to do better next time.
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