I’ve written plenty about how to become a YouTube star (see free eBook v2 and “Beyond Viral“), but today’s post is the first of a series about the persistence of some top YouTube talent. It’s one thing to break through the clutter and develop a following, but quite another thing to maintain it… the latter takes consistency, adaptability, time, ability to spot trends, endurance, patience, loads of work, and thick skin.
Yesterday I sent a note to about 20 top YouTube stars… focusing mostly on the independent acts who didn’t have a large fan base until YouTube (that excluded offline “real” stars, musicians, and production companies). If you’re interested in my e-mail to them, select “more” below.
The key question I asked them is simply, “what keeps you going.”
Now I’d like to share 3 of the early responses (part 1 of a series), and ask you WillVideoForFood readers the same question in a different way. What do YOU think separates the leading YouTube creators from the rest of us? Is it talent, consistency, interaction with fan base, variety, adaptability, omni-presence? Or is the underlying currency, as Producer Fred Seibert observed to me, “narcissism”? I don’t think Fred meant that word to carry the negative baggage, rather he presented it as a base characteristic of enduring entertainers… it’s what allows them to overcome the many barriers and exert uncompromising effort.
1) BrittaniLouiseTaylor: Passion
HUGS, BLT 😀
2) RhettandLink: Power of Two
The second reason is that we keep having new ideas. We keep coming up with stuff that we want to create. A related reason is that our success isn’t based on one genre. We’ve tried a lot, and a fair amount has worked. The last reason is the fact that there are two of us. We are much less likely to quit because we can motivate one another. Thanks! -Rhett
3) CharlesTrippy: Community
Hey man!! Hows it going on your end?! Ive been watching your unclenalts videos and I am like “dude, when did the kids get so old!!” insane! (your fam is the original tards! haha). What keeps me going? Yah, you kind of nailed it with your points but I think there are a few reasons that keep me motivated.
I’d say the community plays a HUGE part – just when I get discouraged or frustrated I go back and read the comments and it seems to pop me back in place, you know? I also think about the future and I love the fact that i’ll have these videos/days documented. We’ve been lucky enough to pretty much film Alli and I’s entire relationship (we started like 5 monthsor less after dating) so to have that means a lot to us. Also, I don’t want to say it’s really motivation but the fact that Youtube/Google pays it’s creators keeps me motivated because I can invest all of my time in it and still make a life for myself and my family 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy I know you posted daily (sometimes twice) for a very long time so I know you can relate. I think above all the community is the #1 source of encouragement and motivation for me…. -Charles Trippy
Coming soon: Responses I’ve already received from YouTube’s most-subscribed: WheezyWaiter, Michael Buckley, VenetianPrincess, Hank Green, KipKay, Edbassmaster.
To see my note to these peeps, click more. And don’t forget to comment yourself: what do YOU think it takes?
My letter to the peeps: Dear X- (I began most notes with a reference to a recent video so they’d realize I wasn’t just slapping them with spam)….I know you get loads of e-mail, but I hope you might take 3 minutes to answer a simple question. What keeps you going?
Unlike me, in the marathon of YouTube you’re one of the Nigerian runners that continue to outpace other creators. I find this personally interesting, and something that might help other amateurs determine if they “have what it takes.”
I’m asking you this to inform a 5/12 blog post (willvideoforfood) and maybe a video on the subject of webstars and persistence. After you’re done answering (but not before) you may wish to read my own theories on the opposite… “what’s NOT kept me going.”
My own theories on why I’ve dropped:
-I started for fun, and when it became a significant income source I lost site of that.
-The community feedback was motivating, but ultimately made me feel dependent on external validation in the forms of #s and praise.
-I liked being a big fish in a small pond, but now the medium is more competitive and the talent is better.
-I am too thin skinned to handle the persistent criticism.
-It became “all consuming,” and I needed to refocus on family/career.
-I ran out of ideas.
-My dip is a natural part of the evolution of the medium as more talented people surfaced.
Anyway, your answer may give me clues to what’s really happening. More importantly, I hope it will help the future (used their name here again) as they consider if they have what it takes.