When I first created my YouTube channel…
I thought it would be all about the SEO, the keyword research, the metadata, the titles, the thumbnails, and the ways that I would have the videos edited to keep a viewer’s attention as long as possible. In my mind, the actions that I took would give me the results that I wanted.
But then in 2022, I learned something that changed everything.
It completely blew my mind and changed the way that I thought about my YouTube channel. And when I applied it, that’s when things really started to change for me. Wait till you hear how this one thing completely flipped my content strategy on its head.
I started my channel in 2018.
What year are you in, young lady? Actually, I started it many many years before then, but I wasn’t using it for business. I would take videos of my kids and the dog, and I would put them up there occasionally, but I wasn’t using it for anything beyond personal use.
It wasn’t until 2018 that I decided to start using it for business and posting consistently. But week after week, month after month, year after year, my channel grew at a snail’s pace. I just kept hoping that something would change, that I’d have that one video that was going to take off, it would get 100,000 views right away, and suddenly that would change the baseline of my whole channel where every video would start to perform better.
So, I doubled down on the keyword strategy, and I treated every video like a blog post.
I used the keyword in the title, in the description, and in the tags, and I would SEO optimize the video, and I would say it several times in every video. Can you relate? Is this how you approach YouTube as well? And is your channel just trudging along the same way that mine was?
But after years and years of hard work and making at least one video every single week, I still had less than 10,000 subscribers. It was so frustrating because, yes, the channel was getting views and subs which would then drive traffic to my business, and I was getting clients from it. So, I knew that it was okay to have a smaller channel and still have a lot of success in business.
And then, I learned something that would have made this YouTube journey so much easier.
And in a minute, I’m going to reveal exactly what that is. But before I get there, I have to tell you how I stumbled across this realization. And this is a crazy story, so I hope you’re ready for this.
I decided to go for an advanced coaching certification program in 2022, and I became a certified life coach. And in one of these classes that I took, my mentor, the instructor, said something that was so crazy. She said, “Anything that we do in life is because of how we think it will make us feel. And the reason we don’t do things, or the reason that we avoid doing things, is because we’re afraid of how it will make us feel and we don’t want to feel that way”. So think about that for a minute.
You want 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. Why? Why do you want to have 100,000 subscribers?
What is magical about that number? Well, I know for me, I wanted 100,000 subscribers because it would make me feel like I was an authority on the topic of my channel. It would make me feel like I had credentials, that I was legit, that I knew what I was talking about. If I could attract this many subscribers, I would feel respected, validated, and appreciated.
Now, think about someone who is too afraid to upload videos at all. Maybe you don’t publish videos to YouTube at all, even though you know it could greatly help your business. Why not? Maybe you’re afraid that people will make fun of you, they will say terrible things in the comments, they will not follow you at all, you won’t get any views, you won’t get any subscribers, you’ll just be wasting your time. What would happen if those things came true? You would feel an undesirable emotion. You would feel unwanted, unappreciated, you would feel rejected.
But then she said the thing that blew my mind even further. And that was, the worst thing that could happen if any of those things came true was that you would feel an emotion that you didn’t want to feel. What? No, that can’t possibly be true. I mean, does this sound ridiculous to you as well?
That really, the only reason that we would ever not do something is because we’re afraid of how we would feel.
That can’t be right. But the more I thought about it, the more it was true.
So, if I was not uploading videos regularly, it was because of all those things that I said before. I was afraid that people wouldn’t like them, and then I would feel bad about myself. That I was letting their opinion of me determine my opinion of me. And this applies to everything in life, not just YouTube. What if you want a raise? You want to go ask your boss for a raise, but you don’t because you’re afraid that they will say no. And then how will that make you feel?
It will make you feel unappreciated. It will make you feel like they don’t respect you and they don’t value your contribution to the company. So, rather than ask and be potentially required to feel those feelings if it happened, you just don’t do it at all.
And when I really thought about it, I realized that this is the reason why so many YouTubers fail on their channel. It’s not because of the keyword research, or the metadata, or the thumbnails, or the titles, or the ability to hold someone’s attention past the first 30 seconds of the video.
It’s because of their inability to manage their emotions. They don’t want to fail because of how it will make them feel. So, they either don’t post at all, or they post things that are so bland and wishy-washy that it doesn’t really attract anybody. They don’t take a stand and don’t make any polarizing content because then they can’t possibly be criticized.
So, let me ask you this:
If you knew that the worst possible thing that could happen was that you would feel an emotion that you don’t really want to feel, how would that change how you show up with your YouTube channel?
The content that you make, the scripts that you write, the videos that you actually put out into the world to try to attract your ideal audience. How would that change how you show up? Would that change the risks that you’re willing to take, the types of videos that you’re willing to make? Did that blow your mind as much as it blew mine?
If I had known this prior to starting my YouTube channel, I would have been much braver and much more willing to take risks. I would have tried new things. I would have talked about things that could possibly repel people. I would say things that I knew would turn a certain group of people away from my content.
But on the other hand, it would attract the people that absolutely resonated with that and believed it and wanted to hear more. It would have helped me create a tribe, a community of like-minded people. Even though it was going to turn some people away, I would have been 100% okay with that from the very beginning. Now, I’m totally okay with that, but at the beginning, I was terrified to say anything that could possibly expose me to criticism.
I would have spent a lot less time making ‘how-to’ content and worrying about all of the metadata.
Because there are three different ways to get found in the YouTube search and discovery system, and that is ranking in search, browse (showing up on someone’s homepage), and suggested. You can rank in search, which is where I spent a disproportionate amount of time early on in my YouTube channel.
Now, the good news is that you attract very high-quality viewers and people that are in the market to buy your products or services. And you can drive that traffic to your website, and they can opt-in, and you can sell them stuff, and they become customers or clients. It’s highly effective.
The downside is like two-thirds of all of the videos on YouTube are not viewed because they showed up in search. They came from browse and suggested. So, by focusing almost all of my attention on search, I was practically guaranteeing that my channel was going to grow very slowly, which it did.
Now that I know better, looking back, I would have spent so much more time visualizing the type of channel that I wanted to have, the type of content that would be on it, the type of people that would be attracted to the content I was making. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.
And hey, silver play button, I’m coming for you.
If you’re just getting started with YouTube and you are a course creator or coach, and you need a little bit of guidance, I have a Video Boss Blueprint that you can download. It goes through the seven steps that I take every time I sit down to think about a video that I want to create for my channel and how I go about doing it. And if you like talking video marketing with a side of personal development, then subscribe to the channel and come along for the ride because it’s going to be great.
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