My Journey to 100k Subscribers in Less Than a Year
My Journey to 100k Subscribers in Less Than a Year (More Like 9 Months!)
When I began my blog in October 2016, I had NO plan to ever make any videos. In fact, I didn't even want to have products or courses. I had this grand scheme to just have an amazing blog with great traffic with all of the revenue coming from advertising and affiliates. I thought I could hide behind my blog and somehow make it big. Ha! While I'm sure someone out there is doing this and making a decent living, it's not really the way things go.
Come January of the next year, my YouTube-loving daughter encourages me to make a YouTube channel. I really didn't want to, but how could I show her how silly that idea was if I didn't at least try. I created one and released my first video, which actually had no video -- just some photos, music, and a voiceover. I would make a few videos over the next two years illustrating things from my blog, but my heart wasn't in it.
Fast forward to November 2018. I went to an online marketing convention at local university, mostly because Google and Pinterest reps were going to be there. During the session with the Google rep, he casually mentioned that by the year 2023, more than 80% of the Internet's traffic would be VIDEO. I was floored by this statistic. I knew then and there I had to move out of my comfort zone and start making videos to go with my blog posts. I knew in my gut that if I didn't, I would get left behind... and I definitely did not want that to happen again.
While stewing on video and how I was going to make this happen, I happened to see a movie called "Bohemian Rhapsody" (a biopic about Queen and Freddie Mercury). If you've ever seen this movie (which I recommend), there's a scene where Queen is at Live Aid and Freddie gives a mesmerizing on stage performance. I'm particularly struck by how he interacts with his audience and viewers. And a single powerful thought fills my mind, "If I'm going to make videos, I want to touch people like this man did."
So now I had the reason and the inspiration to do video on YouTube ... but I still lacked the WAY.
Making videos is tough work. I knew this from the few videos I'd tried to make since my blog began. But I knew I was going to have to conquer this if I was to survive.
So I challenged myself. Big time.
I challenged myself to create a video a day for 25 days in December 2018, and I told everyone in my blog community about the challenge so there was no backing out. I knew that if I could figure out how to make a decent video every day, day after day, that I would emerge on the other side with a WAY for making videos that wasn't so painful. I would be forced to find better systems, conquer my fear of the camera, and really learn how this all worked. It was a huge push to get me outside my comfort zone, because I knew I needed it.
So with less than a week to prepare, I turned my attention to video in late November 2018. I began researching my niche's popular channels and topics and coming up with a plan for what my videos and YouTube channel would focus on, because I already knew that focus was SO important from my blog. I looked at existing videos in my niche to decide what I liked and disliked, then I branched out to other successful channels to see what I could learn from them. I came up with a plan, and with so little time to research, I found it much easier to make the tough decisions.
I also paid attention to the tech side of things. I prepared a little "set" in my office. I bought some new lights so people could see me well and a new mic so they could hear me, too. And I made myself an apron so I wouldn't always have to worry about my wardrobe. I did everything I could think of to make it as easy as possible to get myself on camera.
I also prepared my existing blog audience and began to hype up my challenge. I even sweetened the pot by buying a popular product in my niche and offering it as a prize for anyone who participated in the challenge with me. I knew that if I could give them reasons to watch my as-yet-unproven videos, it might help them discover this new content.
And on December 1, 2018, I premiered my first how-to video in my 25 Day Challenge. It was a whopping 26 minutes long because the more you edit, the longer it takes. The video received 843 views on its first day, mostly because I told EVERYONE about it. Views dropped big time the next day, but I had no time to stress or doubt myself, because I was already on to the next video, racing to beat the deadline.
This went on for the entire month of December. I released a video every day, and my videos averaged 21 minutes long. I strived every day to do my very best job on my chosen video topic. And I won't lie to you -- it was a DIFFICULT challenge. I was exhausted and thought I was going nuts for keeping up this pace. But the crazy pace had unexpected benefits. I had to be laser focused. I couldn't second guess my topic or myself. There was no room for fear. I had to press ahead every day to meet that deadline.
On January 1, I finally stopped and took stock of the challenge.... and was just as shocked as the day I'd heard that Google rep tell me how important video had become. It's one thing to hear it, but quite another to experience it yourself. Here's what happened after my video-a-day challenge:
- I gained 12k YouTube subscribers in just one month.
- I made $1224 in YouTube ad revenue.
- I added 5000 more email subscribers to my mailing list than I had the previous month without videos.
- I grew my blog's pageviews from a respectable 330,420 in November 2018 to a whopping 570,075 in December, a 57% increase.
- I almost doubled my Facebook group's members from 3900 to 6036.
- I sold more copies of my e-book: 1,228 copies rather than 851 from the previous month.
I really hadn't expected ANYTHING like this. I thought I'd mostly just boost my YouTube channel, create more content for my blog (which is always a good thing), and conquer my fear of video. Instead, I catapulted my blog and business to new heights so much faster than I thought was even possible.
And what I've discovered about YouTube vs. social media like Facebook is that it is STICKY -- YouTube is the gift that keeps on giving. Even though I cut back on my video schedule (to weekly videos rather than daily), this is what things looked like 1.5 years later in April 2020:
- Total YouTube subscribers: 283k
- Total YouTube ad revenue: $66k
- Monthly Pageviews: 2.5 million
- Facebook Group: 155k
- Email Subscribers Added in 9 Months: 673k
Perhaps most importantly, I've reached an entirely new audience. People who never read blogs are finding me because I have videos and they watch videos. YouTube is a DISCOVERY ENGINE on par with Google.
It's important to note that I think my growth is unusual. I didn't just enter my niche on YouTube with a solid but typical channel, I ROCKED it. My growth trajectory is far and away above anyone else in my niche, and I'm on track to reach 1 million subscribers before even Martha Stewart's channel. It boggles my mind that this is even possible, but that's the power of YouTube.
And now that I know all this, I'm doing everything I can to improve my videos and increase my video posting frequency. I'm taking that $17k I made and getting new equipment and hiring new staff to make this happen. I'm even going to lease a studio outside my home so I can make more videos without worrying about the dogs barking or my family accidentally interrupting. I am excited about the future, and I now look forward to connecting with my viewers through VIDEO!