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Step2+

Ways to grow a non-artistic content provider

2 like 1 dislike
Although my primary career is in IT, I've always done a lot of construction on the side.  Especially during the downswings in the economy.  Over the years I've been asked to help out a lot of people with a few nagging problems in their homes.

An offshoot of this has been a series of YouTube videos that I've been putting together to show people exactly how to resolve common household problems. It started purely as a way to save people some money when doing easy fixes, but to my surprise I have recently received my first small payment from Google ads on the videos.

I've created a standalone website and I'm going to add a few "fun" projects to it as well, hoping to draw more viewers.  My first step has been to add some analytics to the site and I've discovered a number of people are looking for some of my upcoming projects - particularly the poker table.

My question to TechDirt is this: what should I be doing next to promote the videos / grow my fanbase?  I may be overly ambitious, but I hope to be on the DIY Network one day.
initiated Oct 29, 2011 in Ask Techdirt by Michael Lato (200 points)   1 2 3
   

4 Responses

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This story reminds me a bit about the story of the early days of Khan Academy, where he just kept putting up videos and the viral buzz slowly grew and grew and grew, until now it's a full company.  I think it's tricky to be too pushy in building an audience, but the type of content you have is certainly the type of content that the search engine drags in.  I wonder if it might even make sense to spend a little bit of money (at least as a test) on some directed Google Adwords campaigns?

Other than that, I'd keep doing more and more videos, perhaps come up with some sort of catchy tagline, and just keep building up that reputation.  I know whenever I do a home DIY project these days I spend an hour or so watching YouTube videos first, and it seems clear that you're not the only one to have an idea like this -- but the quality of the various videos I've seen has definitely been all over the map.  So if you're doing high quality videos, it stands out quickly.

One other thing is whether or not you'd consider taking requests/questions/etc.  I've found that often the videos I watch don't cover exactly what I really want them to cover, and it would be nice if I could ask a simple question (though, often there really isn't the time for me to wait for an answer... but still seems like it could be useful to some).
response added Oct 31, 2011 by Mike Masnick (23,010 points)   52 99 160
@mmasnick The forums in many DIY sites seem to be quite active and give almost a real-time response.  Jon Eakes had a show back in the 90s where he would take phone calls and had a software program show simple diagrams for his answers.  I'm not sure how a real-time program would work, but if people would be willing to hold off a week I could certainly do some shows on demand.  Mike, is there anything around your house that needs repair soon?
2 like 0 dislike
First I would take a look at what makes this type of site different from any other How Do I Do X video?  It sounds like you have a start in folks having an interest in building a poker table.  I would start to think not in terms of a finished video, but in a series of videos, which interactively builds the poker table.  I assume that you can't build the thing overnight, and that a few weeks effort will be invovled.  I would start creating a calendar of when videos per steps would be created.  Post your calendar, contact the folks interested and have everyone start building together.  Allow users to share their pictures, videos, and questions as they start the process in co-ordination of your video.  Each time you make a new video, make it a community event rather than a stand alone event.  Have user pages so they can show their progress, their issues, and offer to help solve their problems.
response added Oct 31, 2011 by Tom Fitzmaurice (340 points)   1 2 5
@sortior Why not allow your viewers to innovate at every step of the creation process? For example, if someone engraved the top of the poker table, you can accept the suggestion and include it in your design. So it'll be a community-designed Poker Table.
@inf I like the community involvement concept and the community design idea as well. I'm not sure how to implement this yet but I'll certainly give this some thought.  My schedule is a bit haphazard at the moment so setting a given time to complete portions of the videos might be difficult, but doable.
1 like 0 dislike
It might help to take a step back and look at your video creation process.  When producing videos, a number of things end up 'on the cutting room floor' such as bad takes or mistakes.  These can be packaged into their own videos.  Bloopers and mistakes are often interesting to those who are already fans of your work.  It doesn't take much effort to make these available to those who want them.  This way, you can either use them as lures to help Connect With Fans or you can use them as a revenue source such as selling the blooper reel for a small amount of money to give fans a Reason To Buy.

Similarly, taking your videos, which are likely pitched in simple, straightforward, and professional tones, and producing ancillary videos that alter those characteristics.  Have you main line of videos, but take a video and produce a musical version through AutoTune or make a Rap video or change the language to Klingon or anythign that interests the geekier side of you.  Maybe make fan videos using the audio from your video but replace the video portion with Batman or My Little Pony.  Then, these 'Alternate' videos become, with only an incremental increase in effort, a new line of 'product' that can be used to grow your fan base.

One can tweak your main videos in some way.  Incorporate something odd in the background.  Maybe get some Bucky Balls (strong, small magnetic spheres) and create art in the background or have a mascot.  Never refer to them, but challenge the viewers to find it in each video.
response added Oct 31, 2011 by anony mouse (260 points)   1 1 3
@roanhawk It would certainly take a while to learn Klingon but I do like the idea!  I've kept the full recordings of all the videos and I'll be putting together a blooper set this weekend.  I think I will do this every eleventh video, collecting the best outtakes from the previous ten videos.
0 like 0 dislike
Here is a link to the YouTube channel - any and all feedback is appreciated.  I'm actually putting together some outtakes right now.  My next step is to find a sponsor so that I can do multiple runs through each repair or project showing different options.  Thank you to everyone for the ideas!
response added Dec 4, 2011 by Michael Lato (200 points)   1 2 3
The link doesn't seem to be working in the response section, it should be:
www.youtube.com/theshopgeek

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