Here at Vidpros, we’re all about that sweet video content. We’re on a mission to make the internet a better place to watch videos. How do we expect to do that?
Well, we’re video editors first, so we mainly help creators put up better-quality content. Either by teaming up as their video editor extraordinaire, or with the free advice you can find on our blog… or through the many free chats we have each week to help a creator out.
But as YouTube super fans, we thought it was time we did something a little different…
You see – success leaves clues. So if you’re serious about wanting to improve your YouTube channel – it only makes sense to study and learn from the best in the game.
So we’ve done some digging. And we’ve filtered through some of the top YouTube channels to unearth some priceless nuggets of wisdom to help you grow your YouTube channel.
So no matter if you’re just starting out or already pulling in big numbers, this curated guide from YouTube royalty has something for you.
How To Improve Your YouTube Channel – Advice From 9 Legends
We kick things off with the biggest hitter in the game. By the way, we put links to all the channels at the end of the articles to keep things simple. Enjoy this value bomb!
If you aren’t aware of Mr. Beast, where have you been hiding? He is currently the King of YouTube. And he pulled in an easy breezy $54 Million in 2022. You know, based on that alone… I’m sure someone, somewhere calls him Big Papi.
As of May 2023, he had over 150 million subscribers. But let’s not forget that he made his first video in 2012… Yes, getting to the top of the YouTube mountain took over 10 years of dedication.
The most important thing to remember about Mr. Beast is that he was once just a normal guy without a YouTube channel, just like everyone else. Now he makes videos that are watched by millions of people daily.
I watched YouTube this week without signing in. The first thing I saw was a selection of YouTube videos by Mr. Beast – lots of them. YouTube tells us this guy is the most interesting watch on the planet right now – so you should probably listen to what he says.
He’s got some great advice if you’re just starting a new YouTube channel
“If you have zero videos on your channel, your first video will not get views. Period.”
“It’s not. And your first ten are going to get low views. I can very confidently say that. So stop sitting there and thinking for months and months on it and just get to work and start uploading. Like that’s all you need to do.”
This is really great advice every new creator needs to hear. It’s scary to put yourself out there. And it’s easy to get stuck planning, learning, and trying to come up with the perfect idea and the perfect video. But the biggest hurdle is literally getting started.
And if you know that your first 10 videos aren’t going to get any views, it takes the pressure off.
Mr. Beasts’ advice to anyone who dreams of becoming a YouTuber
“Make 100 videos and improve something every time. Do that, and then on your hundred and first video, we’ll start talking like maybe you can get some views, but your first hundred are going to suck.”
“There are very freak cases like Bicycle Koshi or Emma Chamberlain who have really good personalities, and it doesn’t take them as many videos. And it’s just like people who are seven foot five and making the NBA.”
“Yes, there are freak cases you can find. But for the average person like us who don’t have these exceptional personalities and backgrounds in filmmaking, just make 100 videos, improve something each time and then talk to me on your 101st video.”
The cool thing is, once you take his advice and upload your first video, you just became a YouTuber! You went through the entire process one time. Now you know what the process is… you can improve on it.
So what does Mr. Beast recommend you do to improve your videos each time?
The first one, just put something out there. And then…
“The second one, just put more effort into the script. The third one, try to learn a new editing trick.
The fourth one, try to figure out a way that you can have better inflections in your voice. The fifth one, try to study a new thumbnail tip and implement it. The 6th one, try to figure out a new title or improve your video descriptions.”
“There’s infinite ways… that’s the beauty of content creation online. There’s literally infinite ways, from the coloring to the frame rate to the editing to the filming to the production to the jokes to the pacing to every little thing can be improved. And they can never not be improved.”
“There’s literally no such thing as a perfect video”
Remember that Mr. Beast started his YouTube channel in 2022. He didn’t put up 10 or even 100 videos and started giving away cars and stacks of cash. In fact, shortly after his 100th video (almost all gaming videos), he posted a video where he talked about how much money he was making.
It took him over 75K views to make his first $100. And in March 2014, after 2 full years of uploading content – he was making a whopping $30 per month.
So if there’s one thing to take away from Mr. Beasts’ journey – it doesn’t happen overnight. That, and to know your first videos are probably going to suck. But it’s ok. Don’t overthink things, and just start posting content. And get better at something with each and every new video you post.
If you stay patient and stick with it, maybe you too, could one day get millions or even billions of views.
The YouTube Doctor. Mr. Productivity himself. Ali graduated from Cambridge as an MD and worked in the UK’s National Health Service from 2018-2020. He started his YouTube channel in 2017 – and at first, made videos about medicine and studying tips.
Ali now has over 4.4 Million subs and has built up multiple revenue streams over the past 9 years to get his income up to $27,000 per week.
Ali has some sage advice for you. And it’s to stop fretting about your niche
“Don’t really worry about what your niche is. Too many people get hung up on this, and it paralyzes them from taking action. They say – I don’t know what to make videos about.”
“That’s like a writer saying I don’t know what to write about, therefore I’m not going to write.”
“Or like an artist saying, I don’t know what my masterpiece will be, therefore, I’m not going to hold a paintbrush.”
“It’s totally okay for your niche to emerge over time.”
This is something you see all the time. So much of the narrative about building a brand today, whether on YouTube or any other platform – is that you have to niche down. Pick a niche, become an expert, and build authority.
And none of that is wrong. But the problem with that line of thinking is it can be debilitating. It can stop you in your tracks. You can waste valuable time you could have spent putting out content, getting better, and figuring it out as you go.
Or, in the worst-case scenario – maybe you never start at all.
The Good Doctor recommends you do this instead
“Or you can do what I recommend, which is just start making videos on YouTube about whatever you enjoy, whatever you want. If I were starting on YouTube, I wouldn’t really worry about the niche thing.”
“I just think, you know what, let me make videos about the things that I enjoy. Maybe some close-up magic because I’m a total loser. Maybe like iPhones, maybe like my favorite pen, maybe like tips for getting started on YouTube, maybe life as a medical student, maybe whatever experience is in my life that I enjoy talking about and that I think I could teach on the internet.”
“That is the stuff I would start making videos about. And over time, as you start making videos about things that you enjoy, the audience starts to resonate with some of those things. And so your niche ends up emerging over time.”
Just pick a topic you enjoy
It’s great advice. Just get started. And Ali mentioned something vital – to pick a topic you enjoy. Why is that so important? Would it be better to choose a topic you can make a lot of money on?
The thing about building any business is that it takes time. A lot of time. You gotta be willing to stick it out through the inevitable tough times when you work your butt off, and nothing seems to go your way.
And with YouTube, if you don’t enjoy your topic, if it doesn’t excite you and interest you to make videos on it – then the chances are much higher that you’ll give up or quit when times get tough. You can become an expert in any topic and make a good living. So you’re much better off choosing something you are actually interested in.
Here’s more from Ali on how he stumbled into his niche
“I never thought I would be a productivity YouTuber, but I seem to have become a productivity YouTuber because that niche just sort of emerged over time. It was not forward planned in advance. And so if you’ve got a lot of interest, if you’ve got a lot of things you’re interested in, or even if you don’t know what to talk about on YouTube, just start making stuff, and you will figure it out.”
“Who cares if you don’t know what your niche is?”
“Your niche will change over time. I started off making videos for medical school applicants. I now no longer care about medical school applicants in terms of making videos, and therefore it just sort of changes over time.”
“So don’t worry about it, don’t overthink it, just make the videos you enjoy“
Wise words from a wise man. If his advice sounds like it was aimed at you, start making videos on ANY topic that interests you. And remember Mr. Beast’s advice: nobody will watch your first 10 videos anyway. So take the time to experiment, and you’ll figure out where your sweet spot is over time.
Up next, we have MatPat from Game Theory. He started his channel back in 2009 and has been posting videos ever since. He’s put up 629 videos which have amassed a staggering 3.7 Billion views and counting.
He has advice for you on improving your call to action
“The strongest call to action is to ask them to watch another video. Because now, all of a sudden, your channel went from, say, eight minutes to 16 minutes of watch time.”
“If they watch another one and it shows that this person is in your little watch web, it also gives you another ad impression. That is the metric that YouTube cares about.”
“Sure, you can ask them to comment, you can ask them to like, that’s totally fine. But watching another video exposes them to more of your content. It shows YouTube I am a channel that keeps people on this platform for 16 minutes rather than just eight minutes.”
He goes on to recommend you include two calls to action in your videos. One in the first third and a second CTA at the end.
You want to ask your audience to interact with your video. Ask them to like, comment, and subscribe. And the best place to do that, in MatPat’s opinion, is in the first third. Then place your call to action suggesting one of your other videos at the end.
If you put them all together, he says it can cause decision fatigue:
“It gives them decision fatigue when you ask all at once; like, watch, comment, subscribe. Yeah, people don’t do any of those. So it’s a meaningless call to action.”
One of the key takeaways MatPat nails is that by getting viewers to watch another video, you are making YouTube happy. YouTube promotes videos that keep viewers on-site and watching more
So if you can increase the watch time on your channel, it’s more likely the YouTube algorithm will give you a boost – so it’s your relevant videos YouTube recommends next.
Are you familiar with Think Media? If not, they are definitely worth checking out. They are all about bringing you the best tips and tools to improve your YouTube content.
Mr. Nolan is best known as the creative director for Think Media. He also has a YouTube channel where he teaches creators how to make better videos. He’s grown his channel on the side to 8K subs and 1.4 Million views.
But what’s super impressive is that with his relatively small audience, he already makes $2,000 a month, which is no joke!
Nolan, on coming up with ideas
“Patty Galloway was talking about the ideas of your video, and then he was also talking about the video titles.”
“When it comes to ideas, Patty said to think of 100 ideas and write them down. Then bring it down to the top ten, and then choose one. Because I can’t believe when people think of one video idea and they just go and make it.”
“Keep in mind, he’s working with, like, Mr. Beast. He’s working with people who require a killer video idea. The point is ideas matter so much on YouTube. Start with volume and then work your way into the best ones.”
This advice is aimed at creators who already have their channel off the ground. In the beginning, don’t overthink things and get content up. But once you’ve nailed your niche, you can start to get a little more strategic with it.
The volume approach is a great one. Just write down 100 ideas. A lot of them might be terrible, but it’s ok. Sometimes you gotta get that dirty tap water out of the pipes before you can get to that clean flowing water.
By the time you’ve worked it down to the single best idea – you can be pretty sure you have something good to work with.
How to get clicks
Nolan has some more advice on spending time to craft titles that get clicked. And he shares an example of how Patty Galloway reframes titles to invoke curiosity in the viewer:
“Patty gave a really cool example. He was working with a client, and the first variation of the video title was “Inside A $1.7 Million New York Loft.” But they didn’t really love it, and there was nothing really interesting about it except the money value.”
“Because there’s probably more expensive ones, or whatever, right? So then they changed it to “I Found The Best Loft In New York.” And they liked it better. They thought it improved.”
“And then they added one more thing to it, which was, “I Found The Best Loft In NYC, But Nobody Wants It.”
“And they were like, that’s the title to open up this curiosity loop. If it’s the best loft in New York City, why does nobody want it?”
“So always ask – how can you breed curiosity into that? Because naturally, you want to click on something that sparks curiosity. You want to know the answer, and so you want to click on that video.”
Amen to that. Your title (along with your thumbnail) is almost as important as your content. Why? If nobody clicks on your title, they aren’t going to see your video.
A good exercise is to always come up with at least 10 potential titles and work your way down to the one you like best. Don’t spend 10 hrs on your YouTube video and then get lazy and only spend two minutes on your title.
And when you can, open a curiosity loop in your viewer’s mind. They get inside our heads and make us want to find out more. Get them wondering about something so they wanna click and find out. Remember, it’s only clickbait if your video fails to deliver on your title’s promise.
So if you promise something in your title, deliver it in the video.
Justine is a certified BOSS. Write that down.
She has built a successful YouTube channel in the tech, video game, and vlog spaces. She has over 7M loyal subs, and her videos have attracted over 1.4 billion views! I just watched her new Forza exclusive video where she got to sit in the cover cars for the upcoming game launch – and let’s just say I was more than a little jelly!
Justine was asked in an interview if she feels like there’s a point where a creator is putting out too much content. Here’s what she had to say about it:
“Sometimes creating even more content is not necessarily a bad thing because somebody might skip a day, and if they watch your video today and they didn’t watch yesterday, they’ll be like, oh, I might go back.”
“She had one yesterday, so let me go back and watch that. I mean, I think it’s really just about like focusing on what your audience is. Sometimes you might not know what your audience is, but just listen to them.”
“I mean, I’m very quickly able to tell if somebody likes a video or they don’t like a video in the comments. And I think the most painful comments are the ones where people are like man, I usually really like your videos, but this one wasn’t my favorite. I’m like. Oh, shoot…burn.”
She brings up two really good points here. The first is that you can only have too much content if you pump out content that nobody wants to watch.
As long as your content provides value to your target YouTube audience, then put out as much as you like. The more you have available, the more your hardcore fans can binge-watch.
So how do you know what your audience wants to watch?
Just listen to them. How can you do that?
Get into the comments and see what they have to say. And at any point, you can simply ask them. Ask them in a call to action in your next video. Pin a question in your comments. Do a live stream and interact with your community.
Also – you can check out your YouTube analytics to see which videos are getting love and which ones lose your viewer in the first 30 seconds.
Justine, when asked if she deletes any of her videos…
“No. I mean, I’ve definitely set some to private, mostly because it was just like announcement videos. You don’t want it up there. It’s like, hey, the meetup’s over. Yeah, come meet me here. Well, that was like a week ago.”
The general wisdom on whether or not to delete old videos goes something like this…
If you delete videos, you lose all of their stats. Mainly watch time and views. These are big ranking factors with the algorithm that give you juice. So anytime you delete a YouTube video, a little juice goes down the drain. The algorithm will likely predict a little less watch time from viewers when they land on any of your videos, and you may be promoted less as a result.
You are usually better off leaving the video, setting it to private, or unlisting it (can’t be found in YouTube search) rather than putting it in the digital trash bin.
Is there ever a time it’s worth it to delete a video and take the hit?
If a video brings in the wrong audience, who isn’t interested in the rest of your content, isn’t buying your products, and has poor watch time stats – this can all hurt your channel. You might be better off removing it and taking a temporary hit for the long-term health of your channel.
Dive into your YouTube analytics and use data to guide your decisions.
And we’re circling back to Think Media again, this time with its founder. Sean helps entrepreneurs build their influence with online video. He’s the main face of Think Media (2.5M subs) and has a personal channel, which he’s grown to over 100k.
Sean offers you an alternate perspective to look at YouTube success:
“Even small YouTube channels can lead to big opportunities. One of the things that people make a mistake of is they’re too focused on vanity metrics.”
“And so we have mistakenly defined success on YouTube as you got to get a silver play button, you got to get a gold play button. It’s about getting as many views as possible. And I believe that’s a flawed definition of success.”
“Views or subscribers are not the only metrics for success. One of the underappreciated benefits of starting a YouTube channel is the connections and communities that you build with your audience.”
Remember how we talked about creating content based on your interests? Things you like talking about even if you aren’t getting paid? Well, when you make content on something you are passionate about – it comes across the screen authentically to viewers.
And there are a lot of cool connections and opportunities that come your way – that you would never be able to predict.
“YouTube allows you to build. And a loyal and engaged following can lead to opportunities for monetization, other forms of income, collaborations, and even career opportunities. So the mistake people are making is they’re like, is it too late to start a YouTube channel?”
“It’s like, well, what do you even mean is it too late to start a viral YouTube channel? Why do you even need to go viral? What if you have a different business model?”
“What if you get a promotion at your job? What if it leads to that next connect? Or that next partner? What if it leads to your future spouse?”
“Like, there’s a lot of opportunities that could come from starting a YouTube channel. And so I just want to present you the data that possibly defining it just by subscribers or vanity metrics is a limited, if not completely flawed definition of success.”
Preach! While it’s ok to have a goal to make X amount of money from your channel, it’s better if that isn’t your only objective. You never know who might end up watching one of your videos and want to connect!
Have you ever seen a video where two of your favorite creators collabed? Isn’t that cool? Now they’ve met and know each other in real life. You could get there too.
It’s yet another reason to make content based on something you’re interested in. Passion is thrown around a little too much for my tastes these days. But you should enjoy what you’re doing. If you love it, even better. It will come across in your content. And by putting yourself out there – you will attract people into your life.
Next up, we’ve got advice from Ben Schmanke. Ben has found success on YouTube giving authentic reviews of the latest tech. And his videos have been seen over 140 million times.
Ben’s a master at identifying trends early and hopping on before they blow up.
Here’s what he has to say about how you can use trends to grow your channel:
“If you want to jumpstart your views right now and maybe you’re not getting the momentum or the growth that you want, then jump on trends within your niche.”
“That’s everything right now. And it’s one of the best ways to garner views and get the audience and a following of subscribers.”
“I know if I have a gadget, a tech product that is about to be released – I want a pre-release review unit so I can make a video. Then I know people will be searching about it and talking about it right on that release date. And so I know that video will do well.”
“Another thing is seeing that wave or that trend, the virality of something before it hits. I was on that wave right before it started to take off. And that’s why I think I made it. I had a well-condensed review video on hoverboards at the right time.”
“And then YouTube really liked it, and it’s like, okay, this guy is the authority on hoverboards. And so when all these millions of people are searching for hoverboards and how to buy one and stuff like that, I was the one they promoted.”
The great thing about creating content around trending topics is you already know people are interested. You don’t have to worry about monthly search volume or if anyone will care. There’s clearly already a big appetite for it.
So how can you identify trending topics?
One of the best ways is to look under the trending tab on YouTube. YouTube serves up trending content by region. You can get general ideas of what topics people are searching for from the videos on this list.
Or look up hashtags. If you click on a hashtag or search for them, YouTube sorts the results for you in order of popularity. So the videos at the top are going to be the best performers.
You should also follow your main competitors and see what content they create and which videos are doing well.
Ben also mentions authority, which has become huge with YouTube and Google search algorithms. If you can become THE authority on a topic, you’ll get preference with YouTube SEO rankings. When viewers search for relevant keywords, your videos will rank at the top.
Alright – let’s get back to Ben and his advice on following trends
“And so it’s a lot easier said than done, but you try to stay ahead of the curve on what that next trend is going to be. Then you can catch and ride that wave. But you always got to remember that wave will finish. It’ll crash down, and then you got to paddle back out and find the next one.”
“Nothing survives forever. Even myself, with hoverboards – they were hot for a little while, and then they faded away. And it’s like, okay, if I only did hoverboard reviews, my channel would be dead.”
“So I had to pivot. And I like all things tech anyway, so that was kind of a natural fit. But yeah, always looking for that next wave is really key.”
Once you figure out some good trends to make videos on, you can’t get complacent if your videos start to do well. Those trends will fade away. So it’s adapt or die. If you’re going to chase trends, you gotta be on it constantly.
Ben’s hoverboard video from 8 years ago is by far his best-performing vid, with over 16M views. How many views does his next most popular vid have? 4.4M.
While he has diligently put up over 700+ videos on his channel, that one hoverboard video made his career. Swing the bat at enough pitches, you might hit a few home runs.
Marina traded her Russian home for Silicon Valley to secure funding for her language learning platforms. She has since gone platinum seven times and become a true American Bad Ass.
Marina started crushing it when she was only 12 years old. She became an Avon rep and sold products to her teachers, raking in a cool $1000/month. As a 12-year-old! WTF!
She is also the co-founder of two language learning platforms and currently has six YouTube channels to her name. And three of her channels are over the 1M subscriber mark.
Safe to say she knows a thing or two about building businesses and crushing it on YouTube.
The secret to engaging shorts
Today, she has some advice to help you promote your YouTube channel with shorts. Marina was asked about the secret to creating a good short in an interview. Here’s what she said:
“A lot of b-rolls. Everything that I mention, I have a b-roll. And then the Doctor came in with this interesting device, and I show the device. So every phrase has to be supported by footage that shows what’s going on.”
B-roll makes your shorts more interesting. Because it’s boring to watch someone talk to the camera or display the same thing on the screen for a long time. And attention spans on social media are scary short.
The eight-second rule says you need to do something to shift the focus and attention of the viewer every eight seconds. Marina would tell you to change even faster. So, pretty much every time she mentions something new in the video, there’s b-roll to back it up. All of those visual switches give the viewers’ brains little dopamine hits that can keep them from getting bored and scrolling to the next.
So step one, use b-roll. And Marina’s advice for step two?
“And the more relevant the footage is, the better it is for the video. The b-roll has to be as relevant as possible because sometimes we go to Shutterstock. And then we have these faces we’ve seen everywhere, like plastic acting.”
“You see, they’re not relatable because they’re actors. And the production quality is amazing. But this is not what works for shorts. Something that’s raw, something that is filmed with an iPhone, a little worse quality. This is what people are looking for in that type of content.”
“We experimented a lot with repurposed videos from YouTube. But when you watch it, you can just tell that this video was not made for shorts.”
“And you’re like, Why should I bother if the creator didn’t bother creating a short, specific video? And we noticed that once I switched to creating content specifically for short videos, the traction has been tremendous.”
Repurposing content is an excellent strategy to leverage your pillar content and use your time effectively, no doubt about it. But you should create your short content from scratch to have the most impact possible.
Viewers can tell when something wasn’t made for their platform. It stands out for the wrong reasons. So try to keep your next short raw. And don’t over-edit it. It shouldn’t be perfect.
What can we say about Casey? The dude has 12.5M subs and over 3B views – and he shares real things about his life, what it’s like to live in NYC, and pretty much anything that interests him.
Casey has played the YouTube long game, setting his channel up in 2010 and uploading one thousand videos on his main channel. And he’s only uploaded around 2 videos a month for the last couple of years.
He has a message to share with you in his own words, and it’s about patience…
“There’s such a tendency, especially in a world where you’re able to count your views in real-time, that if it doesn’t work today, it’s never going to work. And I talked to Jimmy, Mr. Beast, about this a lot. That guy spent, whatever, seven years making videos before he had one that broke a thousand views or something extraordinary like that.”
“And now he’s doing a billion views a month.”
“My brother Van, who’s the most brilliant mind on all of YouTube, had this initial explosion of interest because we worked so hard on video marketing to promote his first videos.”
“And then I explained to him, I was like, look, it’s all going to go away. You’re going to find your baseline, then you’re going to build from there. And he’s been consistently uploading for a year, making the best work he can make.”
“And now he’s really building out what will be a successful long-term career making videos and putting them on the Internet.”
“But it’s extremely unsexy. It’s extremely uninteresting, and no one wants to hear that. It takes time…it just takes time. And I think if it’s something that, especially if you’re young and just getting into this, maybe you don’t want to invest. But patience is really the most undervalued aspect of succeeding in the world of media today.”
“You have all the agency in the world. You don’t need anything from anyone. But if you’re not willing to commit the time to it, you’ll never find that success. 100%.”
The process of becoming successful isn’t sexy
His advice is perhaps the most important of today’s bunch. We’ve become increasingly impatient, and we want things NOW. You see these YouTubers pop up seemingly out of nowhere, talking about how they make 10k a month, 50k, up to $1 million each and every month. And it looks sexy as hell.
But it’s easy to ignore the fact that for many of these creators, they started 5-10 years ago. And they have stuck-to-it-tive-ness. They just didn’t quit. They’ve uploaded hundreds, if not thousands of videos. And went through some tough times where they wondered if it was all worth it.
Let me ask you this. Would you spend the next 5 years building a YouTube channel and any side income streams you desire if you knew you could get to 100k per year? 250k per year? $1 million plus per year?
Well, you can. But you need long-term vision, and you gotta stick with it and be consistent. One video per week for 5 years. That’s 260 videos. Could you average two per week? Now you’re looking at 520 videos.
Remember Ali Abdaal from a bit earlier? He started 6 years ago, uploaded 631 videos, and gained 4.4M subs. He makes around $1.4M per year from his various income streams. And that’s going up quickly.
So, would you trade 6 years of hard work for similar results?
Finals Words Of Advice
If you only take a few nuggets of advice from this, make it this…
Don’t overthink things in the beginning. Nobody is going to see your videos to start with anyway. Just make content on things you enjoy. And get better with every video. You’ll figure your niche out over time.
And strap in for a long ride. The people who “win” on YouTube are the ones who stick with it, show up every week, and just don’t give up. Commit to reaching 100 video uploads, and you can re-examine things from there.
That’s really all there is to it. As Casey said – it’s extremely unsexy.
If you have a YouTube channel that’s already making a bit of money each month, let us know if you want any advice or help with editing. Our mission is to make the internet a better place, one high-quality video at a time.
Could you potentially want help or advice in the next month or two with your Youtube videos? – drop us a line.
If you want to learn more about growing on YouTube – we recommend the following reads: