Ten Secrets To YouTube Success (And It's Not What You Think)

Admit it. You (and I) are always looking for the silver bullet of success. "If I follow step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4 of an internet marketing and social media guru, success will be ours (mine)."

Sometimes people succeed because they simply produce. They produce content that people find entertaining, and perhaps educational. My brother, Joseph, and his son Jacob, crank out webcam recording after webcam recording about Legos. When we chat, I sometimes offer up suggestions here and there. Wait. Me offer up suggestions on YouTube success? I think I have one video on YouTube and a few dozen on Vimeo. My bro has 20,914 subscribers to his channel (BrickTsar). He has uploaded 1, 817 videos (as of this post), and has amassed 12,392,103 views. Yeah, right. I've got something to add to that [NOT].

This video featuring "mathemusician" Vi Hart. It was recorded September 2013 at the XOXO Conference in Portland, Oregon. Vi Hart gives a hilarious talk that best as I can is called Succeeding In Agriculture (10 Secrets To YouTube Success). It's got everything a TED talk doesn't: garish PowerPoints, presentation equipment failure, sing-alongs, a human capo for guitar, and a succinct discussion of how she achieved YouTube success–complete with large yellow arrows.

There's no question that Vi Hart is a success on YouTube. Her channel Vi Hart has over 800,000 subscribers and her videos have over 57 million views.

Think about that for a minute.

Compare her numbers with YouTube guru James Wedmore (who teaches you how to succeed on YouTube)... he has, um, a little over 3 million views. I'm not knocking James–he's doing good work. But, keep in mind neither my brother nor Vi Hart follows any guru advice. And they've both blown way past what he's accomplished on YouTube (at least in views). Their secret: they simply produce and deliver. Vi Hart does confess that she is not beyond using her body to get clicks (she says tongue in cheek while showing a video thumbnail with a picture of her hand on keyboard).

Some of my favorite Vi Hart quotes (be aware of the sarcasm factor):

"Audiences exist to be monetized."

"How to win at YouTube: say Like, say Subscribe, and cross-promote."

“If you don’t tell people to like your stuff, how will they know they like your stuff?"

And finally in all seriousness she says: "I get scared when user experience comes before content"

That's my point: Vi Hart and my brother focus on producing content. There's no silver bullet. All the formulas and best practices in the world are not going to work if we don't produce content people want to see.