How to be Successful as an Entertainer on YouTube: TubeTalk 204 with Chris Turner

YouTube is an amazing platform for any entertainer to show off their skills. Learn how to use it effectively as a marketing and outreach tool in this week's episode of TubeTalk.

Listeners of TubeTalk know we love to dive into creator stories, to find out how they started their journey, and the steps they took to success on YouTube.

In this week’s episode, we're joined by Chris Turner, who is a British comedian and a freestyle rapper. He has over 17M views on his YouTube channel, and his comedy gigs regularly sell out. He has created a successful YouTube presence around a niche topic and has a lot of very valuable advice for fellow creators. In this podcast you will learn:

  • How to use YouTube as a showcase for your work
  • Why the platform is one of the best marketing tools for entertainers
  • Why livestreaming is a great way to build your offline audience
  • How to use YouTube's Community Tools to crowdsource content ideas
  • How adding closed captions in different languages can help your international reach
  • How any content creator can learn the art of storytelling from an entertainer

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How to be Successful as an Entertainer on YouTube: Podcast Snapshot

Chris Turner: On my YouTube channel, I post videos of my live performances because they are almost entirely improvised. I make them up on the spot, and I am blown away by how people actually enjoy it. There's that initial shock from an audience who doesn't know what I do and think "Oh, wow, although he's a posh white British guy, he can actually rap."

Also, one of my favorite things is my YouTube commenters say, "I love that I learn something every time I watch your video." And that's quite cool because I was very lucky to have a very privileged education and so I feel I get to share things I've learned with people.

Liron Segev: Do you use your channel purely as an advertising platform to say, hey, look what I can do?

Chris Turner: It definitely started out like that. I used to just put videos up every now and again, like stand up videos that went viral and did well. I would just put them up and send them to promoters because you need a platform for someone to see a video and it was free so of course, I used it.

And then when I started gigging regularly at clubs that had video recording equipment I started thinking, oh, these raps are ephemeral, they last for that show. But I can put them online and people who like me can see them and maybe there's a chance that one of them will take off and I'll make more fans.

Liron Segev: So has that evolved over time, are you kind of finding that you're using the platform slightly differently now?

Chris Turner: So now it's a marketing tool in the sense that I have been lucky enough to amass quite a loyal fan base. People who will watch every video and critique videos and pick their favorite parts and say, oh, for me, this is your best one.

And then within the videos, I'm able to say, "Hey, you should come and see me live." Or I can say, "I'm coming on tour." With the community features that YouTube has, I can crowdsource ideas for my freestyle raps then release content around that based on the most popular suggestions."

The reason I got into comedy is because I performed on stage at a gig and I thought, wow, this is amazing. Being on stage is my happiest place. So the fact that I can use YouTube to bring people to those live shows is really cool.

Liron Segev: What I love about YouTube is the fact that you can perform in LA, upload a video about that performance and reach a global audience. People can connect with you, wherever they are.

Chris Turner: I also add closed captions to my YouTube videos because people were asking, "Hey, I don't speak English as a first language, it would be great if we have subtitles." And I see that 5 to 10% of viewers turn on the subtitles, so that's useful for them.

Liron Segev: One of the biggest skills a content creator can have is to tell a good story. And the thing that you do really well is telling a good story. Do you think that this is a skill that any content creator can learn?

Chris Turner: I think by virtue of being a stand-up comedian you learn storytelling skills. Storytelling is an engaging skill that we need to harness because if there's a beginning and an end, viewers will stick around for that end.

Liron Segev: For those who have never watched your videos, where can somebody find you?

Chris Turner: Check out a video first, go to the YouTube channel, and if you like what you see then please subscribe and then follow. If you like it to the point you want to see it live, great. I have shows on sale, I have a mailing list on my website, Sign up for the mailing list and I'll essentially just direct email you when I'm in your city.

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