5 Big Mistakes I Made as a Baby YouTuber

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Being a new YouTuber is messy. And hard. And fun. And baffling. Here are five ways I’ve messed up so far… and how I plan to fix them.

1: Perfectionism.

I’ve been so obsessed with doing my videos in a certain (unsustainable) way, it’s got me stuck in a cycle where I just don’t have the time to make more videos. 😂😭

I’ve sat down, had a hard, humbling look at my content topics, thumbnails, and engagement numbers. In doing so, I’ve come to realize that I need to follow the immortal advice of Stephen King: It’s time to kill some darlings.

With a scalpel, though, not an ax. I need the strategy of a scalpel, not the explosive destruction of an ax (sorry, Jack)!

Keep reading to watch my scalpel become a magic wand…

Let's Kill Some Darlings, Johnny!

Let’s Kill Some Darlings, Johnny!

2: Fixating on the style.

Many YouTubers and veterans have tried to convince me that the graphics are not important (to an extent). My background with network TV production had a different opinion, and completely possessed me.

I wanted to be among the best and most high quality editors that YouTube has ever seen. But here’s the thing: people on YouTube are there to escape from network TV. They want to consume content relevant to their hobbies, passions, or pleasures. They don’t need fancy graphics for a creator to deliver. It’s time for me to get rid of my attachment to fancy video editing tricks.

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to incorporate some of the tricks I’ve learned in my career; it just means I need to stop fixating on such a small part of the picture in an attempt to procrastinate over what is really important: creating good content!

3: Trying to Vlog.

Vlogging is… a mistake?

Here is my opinion on vlogging: It takes a lot of time to keep up a steady vlogging schedule. And here are some facts on successful vloggers: They are already (in)famous, wealthy, or have a built-in audience that they cultivated before they started vlogging.

Because I’m not (in)famous, super wealthy, nor have a huge built-in audience, I don’t even know why I started doing so much vlogging, to be honest. 😂

The fix? I’ve decided to focus on two or three video series that will take less time per episode than a vlog series would take. They will be in different genres, and some of the more niche content (like gaming, my latest hobby-turned-passion) will be on new channels, too. That way, I can still make a video without having to do everything at once, and I can swap between topics when I want to, which will keep everything feeling fresh, rather than so exhausting. This will also provide a nice variety of content that keeps my audience coming back for more on a regular basis.

(I hope? Please??)

4: Creating for trending topics / hashtags.

Trending hashtags on YouTube are a huge waste of time. I’ll probably get a lot of flack for saying this, but it’s just true. #SorryNotSorry

Trending hashtags are highly competitive, and a creator with a small channel is likely to get overlooked. Once those magical monetization numbers are reached, maybe the game will change? But even 1K+ subscribers might not get a video to the trending page. I would need to create something so unique, it’s a freak viral algorithm catapult. That’s the kind of Unicorn I don’t really have the time to chase. Very diminishing magical returns.

Following trends also puts an enormous amount of pressure on a creator to produce something fast — to keep up with the trend — and it is difficult to produce this way, especially when you have a day job, like me.  Also, hashtag-centric videos probably aren’t going to be the best evergreen content. Lack of evergreen content = lack of passive income and algorithm discovery down the road.

Finally, a viral discovery on YouTube could cost me in the long run, and here’s why: people may subscribe for that one big video they liked, but they may never return. See the next mistake below to learn why this isn’t a healthy situation for a YouTube Channel.

With all of that said, sometimes a little trend-jumping is worth it, and from my observation, here’s where: on YouTube #shorts. Since all platforms love their trending page, doing quick bursts of viral-worthy topics that can be repurposed across TikTok, Instagram Reels and Facebook stories feels like a better use of time for that kind of content.

I’m going to experiment with this and let you know what I find!

5: The Final and Biggest Mistake – Ugh

Bitmoji-Me Says: I have made a mistake. Real-Life me agrees.This next one has been my worst misstep of them all. So much, I’ve pretty much torched my current channel completely and am starting over at ground zero.

Before promoting a YouTube Channel on Facebook (or other social platforms), consider the audience.

Most Facebookers don’t hang out on YouTube. So my friends and family were amazing and supportive with my first video or two. But after that, they didn’t really return or interact. And it wasn’t because they don’t love and support me – they just don’t understand the YouTube ecosystem like we do!

On TikTok, forget about asking followers to watch your full YouTube video – they have one-minute attention spans, three minutes, max.

Not many people want to leave their preferred platform to hang out on another. Don’t you get annoyed with Instagram ads that try to take you off-platform? So does Instagram! That’s precisely why they’ve developed Instagram marketplace: so that you can now shop in-app, and never leave.

The result of driving people from other platforms to a YouTube channel is an inflation of subscribers and interaction at first, then a deflation of interaction in perpetuity. The algorithm doesn’t like a tuned-out audience. So those well-meaning supportive friends and family have now become the bebe I just sent straight into my eye.

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Vlogger!

As a whole, unless going live/streaming, and using other platforms to notify those followers/subscribers that you’ve just gone live, from what I’ve seen, heard, and researched, it’s pretty much futile to promote any outside platform on other platforms.

Re-Purposing > Promoting

The way to fix this lack of traction is to re-upload YouTube videos and clips as repurposed content to the other platforms with a gentle nudge in the post copy: This video first aired on my YouTube Channel. If you want to watch my videos the same day they premiere, subscribe and get notified on YouTube.

Those on Facebook who even understand this, will show up — repeatedly. Those on TikTok or Instagram who may be frequent YouTube users will also show up — often, not just once or twice.

But the majority… just want to keep scrolling on their current favorite platform of choice.

The Most Important Takeaway for Every New Creator

Adventure Time’s Jake the Dog knows best: “Sucking at something is the first step at sorta being good at it.”

It is okay to suck at this.

For a while.

I’m working on getting into sorta good territory as I type. As soon as I land there, I’ll revisit this post and let you know how it’s going! Hopefully, my dead darlings won’t haunt me, and these new six-month strategies will get me well beyond sorta good, sorta fast.

And if they don’t, it’s time to reevaluate and either quit YouTube, or try, try again!

In the meantime, let me know what you think. Am I wrong? Am I right? Am I sorta in-between? Let’s keep the conversation flowing! 🤩🌈🤓

Always Be Creating!

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Hi, I'm Jaye!

Jaye Rochon is a Telly, Davey, Pixie and IMDB Shorts Award-winning writer/producer/editor of commercials, trailers, titles sequences and app videos. Mother of unicorns and black cats. 😻🖤 Artsy, book-loving Packers fan. Creator of CleverUnicorn.com: Where Life is Magic & Geekery!



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