The Strategy That Made Casey Niestat A YouTube Sensation

Casey Niestat has some pretty impressive credentials. His YouTube channel has over 2 million subscribers, he has founded a social media company called Beme and created an HBO series titled, “The Niestat Brothers”.

Niestat has produced several viral videos for brands and sponsors. He has become a go-to source for influencer marketing. In 2012, Niestat spent Nike’s ad budget in an unconventional, yet rewarding manner. He went on a 10-day trip around the world and shot some beautiful footage. The #makeitcount video now has over 18 million views on YouTube. 

The reason behind his breakthrough success: compelling narratives

The #makeitcount narrative has all the elements of great storytelling. Niestat has outlaid famous quotes that encourage people to live life to the fullest. He has incorporated a narrative that also aligns with Nike’s tagline, “Just do it”.

According to Donna Wells, CEO of Mindflash, “it’s great stories that humans listen to, remember and are persuaded by”. Wells adds that “stories deliver a drug like rush of Oxytocin”. Oxytocin is a neurochemical that causes people to empathize and compels them to act. Further, our brains engage better and consume information faster, in the form of stories. Narrative stories help us remember 6-7x times better than expository information. These numbers prove that using storytelling elements in your videos can enhance engagement.

But how do you become a good storyteller?

There are three storytelling tips you can take away from Niestats’ videos: be authentic, pay attention to your word choices and encourage participation. Niestat often features all the different people in his life. Therefore, his content is very personable and relatable. He avoids using pretentious language. His narratives are very refreshing and clear, so anyone can understand the message he is trying to convey. Lastly, he encourages the audience to participate and help shape the video content with their own experiences. 

So now you know, that narrative-driven videos have tremendous potential to go viral. Make sure the next video you make tells a compelling story that moves your viewers. Tell a story, invite feedback and make your YouTube channel grow.

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Manasa Boggaram is a writer and has a strong passion for music, positive news and constructive journalism. When she is not researching story ideas or writing blog posts, she spends her time reading books, discovering new music and eating lots of street food.

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