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How to Make Awesome Youtube Videos

It’s been a week since I started the Youtube comedy challenge to learn how to make awesome Youtube videos, and I have to say, it’s been pretty fun. In the intro post I joked about hitting Youtube gold with one of the videos, and I’m happy to say it happened.

Kicking ass on Youtube

Hello, Reddit.

After making a few pure comedy videos, I wanted to mix comedy and useful information, so I posted a video in the social skills section of Reddit on the top 3 social mistakes people make and how to avoid them. It worked very well, scoring over 2,400 views, 35 subscribers and 101 upvotes! It feels good when things work.

After the first video hit, I wanted to see if I could do it again. The next day I made a new video, called it 3 Ways to Lead A Conversation, and posted it to the same subreddit.

Before posting the second video, I was worried that the users of Reddit would turn on me if I posted a sequel too soon. I was seriously worried that they’d all change their upvotes to downvotes if I posted too often, but there was only one way to find out.

I put up the new video at 6pm on Saturday, 22 hours after the last one went live. Although it didn’t get nearly as many views (only a few hundred), Redditors didn’t change their votes on the first video.

The reason the second video didn’t do as well was because the headline was harder to follow, and, although the level of content on the second video was the same, there was a lot more comedy, which made it harder to follow. The ratio of comedy to useful content is a difficult balancing act. 

Here are 4 things I learned during this challenge:

1. Plan videos beforehand

When this week started, I would make videos by talking when the camera started rolling, and edit together the content when it was all done. It turns out that  planning the video beforehand makes editing a lot easier and makes the content tighter.

2. Boost the energy level

There’s a video on Youtube of me talking about Facebook likes while about to fall asleep. That’s never going to happen again. As soon as my energy level went up, my number of views went up.

3. Shorten sentences to make punchier content

Rambling doesn’t work on Youtube, and makes your videos less likely to get shared. That’s why most of the popular videos are either super short, or full of jump cuts.

4. Test the market for videos, and go where the demand is

My first four videos were comedy without content. Then I made a useful video by accident, picked the right channel to push it through, and was rewarded with a massive amount of views. I learned that when people are looking for a specific type of content, and you do a good job of making that content, you’ll be rewarded with lots of likes and subscribers.

I also learned that very few people who watch a Youtube video click back to your site, and there’s no way to plant a direct link inside a video, only in the description box which I did every time. The above video only drove 11 new people onto this site from Youtube.

As a side benefit I also learned about:

  • Video editing
  • Lighting
  • How to get videos to sound properly
  • Compression and video codecs
  • Tripods and mounting a camera, and
  • How to drive subscribers both to a Youtube channel and a blog.
    • My blog subscriber count tripled this week (!!), and more of you put your names in after landing on the Youtube Comedy Challenge page than any other page in the last year, so thanks for that!

When I started this challenge I wanted to learn how to make Youtube videos that people wanted to watch. Now, I’m no master, but I’m visibly better than when I started last week.

I hope this post will inspire you to go out and learn something that you’ve been putting off for fear of not making progress fast enough.

-Alex

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