When the platform first launched, YouTube was home to just a few vloggers who shared their lives with viewers as if they were close, personal friends. As YouTube culture evolved, however, popular channels began to lean more towards highly produced and scripted content.
While the quality of YouTube videos has improved drastically, many vloggers have seen their views dropping. A possible reason is the lack of authenticity behind many channels. When a video is heavily produced, there is little room left for the creator to be himself or herself. However, when you prioritize making a personal connection with each and every viewer, you’ll increase viewer loyalty and foster a sense of community around your channel. Both of these things encourage viewers to stick around.
Here’s how to stay authentic on YouTube.
1. Only make content you’re passionate about.
Plenty of vloggers feel as if they have to upload just to be uploading something. They think that the more they upload, the more views they’ll get. However, when you’re only making videos in order to be posting a certain number every week, you’re highly likely to sacrifice the quality of your videos in favor of quantity.
Most viewers prefer quality content to constant uploads. If you upload one quality video a week instead of five quick ones, that single video will make both you and your viewers happier in the long run. If they really like it, they may watch it more than once as well.
Shane Dawson has been one of the biggest names on YouTube almost since the beginning. After his views began to slip, he fell into a slump of creating daily videos he thought viewers wanted to see. However, rather than giving up, Shane decided to kick things up a notch by launching a project he was passionate about. Because his favorite thing to create was short films, Shane started a production company with his vlogger friend Garrett Watts. Together, they create bigger and better weekly videos for Shane’s channel.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about the difficult things.
A lot of viewers come to YouTube as a form of escapism. For a few minutes, they can relax with an onscreen friend who’s always happy, funny, and excited to see them. However, when you keep up a persona on YouTube, it can be hard to share who you really are with your viewers.
Some vloggers like to keep their lives behind the camera very private. They allow themselves to become a character rather than be themselves. While viewers may be entertained, it’s hard to relate to someone you don’t really know anything about.
For his first few years on YouTube, Dan Howell was fairly open about his life. He shared his struggles dropping out of university and his joy moving to a new city with his best friend. However, as more people began to pry into Dan’s personal life, he began to close himself off more. After a difficult few years, Dan decided to rebrand his channel and focus on authenticity instead. This decision led him to create a video in which he talked openly about his mental health for the first time, inspiring thousands of people all across the world to seek the help they needed. Now, Dan works as an ambassador for the mental health awareness organization Young Minds, helping people just like him.
3. Take risks and try new things.
Once you’ve established your channel’s niche, it’s easy to keep making the kinds of videos that work. However, it’s also easy to get bored of uploading the same kinds of videos every week. Viewers may also grow tired of watching similar videos over and over again.
That’s why it’s important to take risks on YouTube. Though trying something new can be scary, there’s no other way to know if it will work. Be fearless in making the kinds of videos you dream about. Even if it’s not what your viewers expect, the videos you create should be something you’re excited about.
For a while, vlogger Lisa Schwartz fell into the trap of uploading quick daily videos that often felt very similar to one another. Recently, she decided to stop uploading daily and instead focus on videos she’s excited to make. She’s grown her channel by trying new things, such as try-on hauls and ghosthunting vlogs.
As a vlogger, you have the rare opportunity to be entirely yourself in your work. When you prioritize authenticity, you’ll be able to build a personal connection with your audience.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.