There has been a lot of talk recently around why YouTube is or isn’t a good platform for content creators. People like Jason Calacanis seem to think that it’s an evil empire of sorts which is hellbent on keeping their foot on the throat of its user base. While I’ll agree to some of what he said in this keynote speech that he gave recently, I still think YouTube is a viable platform for most (if not all content creators). In fact, I consider my lack of YouTube presence over the years to be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in terms of building my personal brand online.
If I Could Turn Back Time…
Let’s rewind the clock back to 2006, shall we. I had just gotten the itch to start my Photoshop podcast, and I was in the midst of trying to choose a platform on which to launch it. At the time, iTunes seemed like the best play, because of the soaring popularity of the iPod and Apple’s apparent stranglehold on new media. People like Leo Laporte were cashing in big time and gaining a huge audience from iTunes, so I thought I could do the same. YouTube wasn’t a big player at the time. In fact, they weren’t purchased by Google until late 2006, so really there wasn’t much indication that they’d be the unbelievable super power that they are today. Looking back on it now, boy was I ever wrong.
Where We Are today…
Fast forward to today, where there are over 1 billion unique visitors to YouTube each month and over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The potential audience for someone on YouTube is astounding to me, and the fact that the content is so tightly integrated with Google search and services just makes it an even more enticing platform. The problem is that most people who are a “household name” on YouTube have been at it for a while. As someone who is still relatively new to the YouTube seen, I find it very hard to cut through the noise and gain any sort of following. This stands in stark contrast to how my viewership grew back in 2006. I was able to gain hundreds of thousands of subscribers over the course of just a little over a year. I can only imagine what my numbers would be on YouTube today had I started way back then.
Overall my life and career have panned out just fine without YouTube, so I’m really not too bummed out by my lack of success in that arena. However, it has made me more aware of up-and-coming platforms and technologies, and I doubt I’ll ever be as reluctant to push my content through those new channels when and if they become available.
That’s the lesson that you should learn from this story. You should always be looking forward and never become complacent with the success that you currently have. Look at book publishers, video stores, and newspapers. All of these industries were once on top and seemingly indestructible. There problem was the same as mine, and many others… They weren’t looking forward. Had they been, Blockbuster could’ve been Netflix, and Borders might’ve been Amazon. Instead they’re all struggling just to stay alive.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t ignore certain channels because you think they don’t apply to you and your business. Always be exploring new avenues, techniques, and platforms on which to deliver your message and expand your community. When you do, it’s a win for you and, ultimately, your users. Thanks for reading!