Our friends at Reload Sessions have filmed 300+ live acoustic sessions in the last 4 years, accumulating over 85k subscribers on their Youtube channel
For the second part of this collaboration series, they tell us their experience of growing their YouTube channel and share key lessons learnt along the way.
The YouTube landscape has changed so much over the past few years. I can remember when I used to hurry back home and watch my favourite ‘YouTubers’ singing to a webcam - just themselves and a guitar. It would be a simple shot of them sitting in their bedroom whilst using a simple microphone to record a simple performance. No million dollar budget, yet they’d still bring in millions of views. I would watch artists like Tori Kelly , Jeremy Passion & Sarah Close sing their heart out to a webcam.
These days production levels have skyrocketed. Technology has developed and the prices dropped dramatically, making technology so readily available. Yet, there’s something about a raw stripped back performance that captivates me to this day, and maybe that’s why our channel tries to retain that vibe.
Even though times have changed, building a community around your YouTube channel hasn’t. In this blog I am going to outline that advice and hopefully you will be able to implement some it.
Before I begin, what I must say is that numbers’ aren't everything. Having a huge amount of subscribers isn’t the goal here - why do you need a certain amount of subscribers? Does the thought of getting a YouTube silver/gold plaque help validate everything that you’re doing? It certainly doesn’t for us. Here at Reload we’ve always believed that it’s not how many subscribers or viewers you have, but who is watching that counts, so try not to get lost in the metrics.
So what advice was given to us to help grow our channel? Well it all starts with the three C’s. Content, Consistency & Collaboration.
It’s simple. You need content. How are you going to be noticed as an artist if you don’t have a body of work to show to people? How are people going to find you if you don’t exist in the online world. You need to start taking content creation seriously. This isn’t only applicable to YouTube, you don’t have to stick with videos. How many songs have you written in the past year? Having a strategy in place for content creation is important. At Reload we dedicate a few days a month to the filming and editing process. And when I say dedicate, I really mean it. Our only focus for those days is to film the content and then focus 100% on the post production. It’s important that it is scheduled otherwise you will not stick to it.
Content is King.
Give yourself a goal on how much content you want to put out and reverse engineer how you are going to get there. Want to release 36 videos this year? That’s 3 a month. Maybe 75% covers and the 25% originals? Can you commit to writing a song a month? This is me thinking about all of this within 5 minutes, but if you sit down and jot down how you’re going to create content and commit to it, then you’re onto a good start.
Again it’s simple, yet difficult to execute. Whatever you decide to do for content creation make sure you remain consistent with it; otherwise it’ll just be like another failed New Year’s resolution. You’ll be zealous in the first 3 months but all that energy will eventually fizzle out. You need to preempt this lull. That’s why it’s important to have a schedule. Getting into the habit of content creation can often be hard. Let’s be honest, to get into the habit of anything can be tricky. I find that habit tracking apps help to keep you in check. Maybe it’s worth keeping a daily track record of content creation; that could be writing a song, filming a video, developing a project. Whatever it is, doing it daily will be invaluable. It’s said if you keep a streak of 66 days, then you’ve successfully created a habit. Why not give it a go and remain consistent in your content creation.
Repetition is invaluable and irreplaceable.
On top of all of this, it’s important to remain consistent in your releases on YouTube. Having regular and consistent content is important, that doesn’t mean you have to put out a video a day and kill yourself whilst doing it. Remember quality over quantity. There needs to be a balance over the two, don’t let the quality decline because you’re trying to hit your monthly release quota. Even if you can only commit to 2-3 videos a month or even less, just make sure you’re consistent with it and that it’s done to the best of your abilities.
Fortunately at Reload, we’ve been able to release 1-2 videos a week. It took us a while to get there consistently but we kept working on it. We were very aware about remaining consistent in our quality, it was about refining our process over time to be able to hit a weekly release quota. Having a schedule and planning 2-3 months in advance has helped a lot, some people say that it’s a bit too extreme, but it works for us. Experiment with your own process, you might find something totally different that is right for you.
You need to be aware of what is out there in your marketplace, and it’s important that you don’t compete with one another. Make sure you take a different approach with what we’re used to and collaborate with others instead. Doing everything on your own is pointless and it can only get you so far. Reach out to other artists and try to film a few projects together. Not only are you building relationships and improving on your network you’re also latching onto their fan base that could potentially be yours; now that they’re aware of you.
Another piece of advice that I stick by is, “your network is your net worth.” This is so true and I can attest to it. It was only until Reload started reaching out to other companies that we saw significant growth. So stop competing with your peers, reach out to them and work together. Trust me, this piece of advice will help you in the long run.
Going back to the subject of latching onto your peers fan base - we have embraced that thinking to the fullest; if you look at our channel all we do is collaborate. We feature new independent artists every week, we - the creators - hardly ever feature on the channel itself. We’ve filmed over 300 artists, which means we’ve latched onto over 300 different fan base. It’s no surprise we’ve accumulated over 85,000 subscribers.
Everything I mentioned to you is simple, yet so many people fail on the fundamentals. Don’t run before you can walk; make sure you create great content, release it consistently and collaborate with your peers frequently.
It’s simple. As simple as an artist singing to a webcam in their bedroom, and somehow it’s effective enough for me to always want to come back as a viewer time and time again.
I wish you good luck in your journey.
Joshua at Reload Sessions.
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