I’ll say at the outset that I’m not describing “rules” or scientific facts arrived at through extensive research. I’m going to outline two problem areas, as I subjectively perceive them, and I’m aware that it’s possible for channels to succeed and make great videos whilst still running counter to what I describe here. This is pretty subjective, mmmmkay? It describes the reasons why I turn off from otherwise good channels, and I’m guessing, purely guessing, that I’m not the only one.
Keep it short.
Really: who, these days, has time to watch a 25 minute video? Seriously, you could spell out the cure for cancer, but nobody is going to watch it if it’s in a video that warns you, before you click it, that it goes for that long.
Attention spans are short and getting shorter, and you’re jumping into the most incredibly competitive space in human history, as far as attracting and keeping a person’s attention: the internet. The Youtubes. Millions of people uploading billions of hours of content. Don’t call people over to your little stall, and tell them that you need them to give you 25 minutes of their free time on a Tuesday night. They’re going to have gone elsewhere for something less demanding before you know they were even thinking of doing so. Don’t even ask them for 15 minutes. 10 minutes and you’re still pushing the friendship waaaaaaay too far.
Nobody watches long videos from new, relatively unknown channels. Don’t even think you’ll grow a subscriber base if you’re putting out anything longer than 4 or 5 minutes with any regularity.
My channel exploded when I made “Atheist!!!!!”, and not until then. I got the idea for “Atheist!!!” in the shower, had it up on Youtube within two hours, and it went for less than 90 seconds - and everything blew up. It got shared everywhere. I had unheard of numbers of views, which converted into views on all the other content I’d made that had been sitting there doing bugger all. I learned a big lesson.
Nowadays I can get away with making longer videos, but believe me, I’m still searching for the video ideas that can fit under two minutes. I’m repeatedly surprised that I get as many views on the long ones as I do- and I sometimes wonder how much bigger my channel and view count would be if I could get some shorter ideas!
If you want more views, and if you think your videos and ideas are worthy of more views, you’ve got to think like this: 99c is WAY cheaper than $1. Every marketer knows that. A video that goes for 3:50 is WAAAY shorter than one that goes for 4:05. And you’re putting up videos that consistently go for 17 minutes? Forget it, no matter how good they are, you’re not even going to get clicks. Nobody is going to know about how good your ideas are.
As I said from the outset - yes there are video makers that get big views with long videos, I know. And some videos deserve to be long, and some just don’t lend themselves to being cut in half. Take my point here as a general guideline, not a law or a rule. Or don’t take it at all, that’s fine too.
Slow down. Too many videos too frequently.
If you’re putting out videos more frequently than one a week, I think you’re absolutely overloading your audience. I see some channels who are uploading three or four times a week (and I’m not talking about V-logging. That’s a different thing altogether, I know.) I’m talking about content-based, written, scripted, well prepared videos. Even if I like their stuff - I might just not want to see the next instalment in the series the very next day, so I miss one. Then I miss another one, because I don’t want to go back to the one I missed and then watch the next one in one sitting, before the next next one comes out tomorrow or the next day. I give up, because keeping up to speed becomes like a chore.
It’s too “in-your-face” to be dishing up content to your subscribers too often. You want your videos to be a nice, welcome arrival on your subs’ Youtube pages. A nice surprise. “Oh, there’s that guy again, let’s see what he’s come up with now.” Not “Oh, shit, I didn’t watch the one he did yesterday yet,…”
If you’re still getting established and popular, people are not going to give you their attention every day. Don’t expect it of them, and don’t even request that they do by dishing up new content. I’ve unsubbed in such circumstances because it just gets too much. “Oh, another one from him.” “Oh, it’s up to ‘Part 6’ already, and I think I’ve only watched parts 1 and 2. Shit, I don’t have 40 minutes to get back up to speed right now,…”
And - you’ll burn out if you make too many!!! Go ahead and make all the videos in your series if you’ve got the time this week. But then sit on them, and slowly release them over the course of three months, not a fortnight! Let the audience grow at a realistic pace. Let the videos get shared, picked up on blogs, commented on, featured by Youtube,… slow down.
You’re not going to be an overnight sensation, so grow things gradually by putting out consistently good content at a reasonable pace that isn’t intrusive on your viewers’ time, but rather something they look forward to, and wait for.
SO - there’s my four cents’ worth. 2c each.
There are many many more things to say, but these seem the most pressing for now, because as I say, I’m seeing good content go to waste, and I’m on the lookout for good new stuff.
Tell me what you think.