YouTube has been around for over a decade now, giving rise to the vlogging industry, which in turn spawned social media influencers. However, many of the same YouTube stars you watched growing up are still some of the biggest influencers today. They have record-shattering subscribers counts and rake in thousands to millions of views every time they upload.
Many up-and-coming vloggers may ask themselves what keeps longtime YouTubers at the top of the trending page. Let’s explore the factors that drive their success.
They’re confident in the content they create.
Jenna Marbles first rose to viral stardom with “How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking.” With almost seventy million views, it’s still the most popular video on her channel. Jenna’s video went viral in a world that was on the verge of its current beauty vlogger obsession, so it resonated with a lot of viewers.
Now, Jenna continues to march to the beat of her own drum. Just as with her initial viral hit, she continues to make videos about whatever she’s thinking about that week. Viewers love her because she keeps it real without putting too much pressure on herself based on outside opinions.
They’re constantly innovating.
Shane Dawson has always been at the forefront of the next big thing on YouTube. As one of the very first true internet stars, he paved the way for virtually all of the creators on the platform today. He started out making comedy sketches and music parodies with his friends. Eventually, he moved into vlogging, then food videos.
In 2018, however, Shane decided to do something dramatically different with his channel. Instead of creating something comedic, he decided to use his experience as a vlogger to help other creators grow their channels. His first documentary series featured fellow original YouTuber Grav3yardgirl.
That series was a surprise hit, dominating the trending page. Now, Shane continues to make documentary series to help other YouTubers. He’s worked with Trisha Paytas, Jake Paul, Tana Mongeau, and, most notably, Jeffree Star. His legendary collab with Jeffree launched a second series and a sold-out makeup line.
They’ve allowed their content to evolve beyond their original intentions.
In 2005, longtime best friends Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox launched a YouTube channel called Smosh. Before they knew it, Smosh became one of the most popular YouTube channels of all time. Their comedy videos soon grew into an empire, spanning multiple channels and even landing them a movie deal.
While Smosh began as a fun hobby for two teenage boys, Anthony and Ian allowed it to grow into a company. Their channel was bought by Defy Media, and they began featuring other actors and writers in their content.
In 2017, Anthony announced his departure from Smosh. Since then, he’s begun his own successful independent career. Smosh itself hit a major roadblock when its parent company shut down in 2018, but fellow YouTube legends Rhett and Link swooped in to save them by purchasing Smosh and making it part of Mythical Entertainment.
Anthony and Ian probably didn’t start their channel with the intention of it becoming their career. However, by allowing it to evolve, they’ve created jobs for other creators and more than a decade of entertainment.
They stay true to what made their audiences fall in love with their videos in the first place.
While innovation and experimentation keeps longtime creators at the top of the game, the relationship they have with their fans is what keeps viewers coming back. The creators who stay successful are the creators who stay true to themselves.
Tyler Oakley is one of the best examples. His infectious laugh and silly personality haven’t changed in his twelve years on YouTube. Neither has his activism for the LGBTQ+ community or his championship for positivity.
Longtime YouTubers still find themselves at the top of the trending page because they continue creating content they’re proud of. Instead of trying to stick to what made their videos popular ten plus years ago, they continue growing as their audiences grow with them.
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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.