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Behind the Scenes of a YouTube Aspirant: A Reality Check

As I find myself entering my thirties (just reached the big 3-0, to be precise), it’s been a number of years since I’ve immersed myself in the vast realm of YouTube. From ASMR and gaming to music, I’ve enjoyed a diverse range of content on the platform. However, a few weeks ago, a noticeable trend on my YouTube feed caught my attention. It seemed that success on YouTube was being depicted as achievable in an instant, with claims that it had little to do with luck.

Each creator appeared to have a well-crafted strategy but preached a common message: produce quality content, create compelling thumbnails, and explore captivating topics, among other things.

Isaac video “How I Broke Youtube with 1 Video”

As a result, my YouTube feed became inundated with videos and tutorials about “how to make it big on YouTube.” It was at this point that I thought to myself, “Why not me?” At the time, I was deeply engrossed in the development of a space-themed game on Unity, which was nearing a playable version (perhaps I’ll share it with you someday). However, I realized that promoting a game is significantly more effective when you have a supportive community. So, I decided to embark on this adventure. Was the timing just right?

Without delving into all the details, I spent several days and weeks analyzing videos about YouTube in general and the secrets to success. Following this research, I devised a foolproof plan for achieving success.

The plan

My first strategy was to capitalize on the rise of shorts and TikTok’s dominance to gain exposure and then guide my audience to my YouTube videos. Just as recommended in those “how to succeed” videos, I focused on carving out a niche to find success. My chosen niche was game development.

Another decision I made was to create content in English. The only hiccup was that my spoken English was far from perfect (I was more comfortable with written English), and my microphone was far from top-notch. What could possibly go wrong, right?

Equipped with OBS for screen recording and DaVinci Resolve for video editing, I began by creating three shorts related to my niche but somewhat different in content. I wanted to test which one would stand out the most. One was based on the dynamic creation of code snippets to achieve graphical effects, set to a catchy tune; another featured me discussing a modification in the Unity game engine (you’d get to hear my voice, with a warning about the mic quality); and the third showcased a character moving to the beat of background music.

With joy and enthusiasm, I uploaded these three shorts to both YouTube and TikTok. However, the results were somewhat disheartening, as none of them garnered more than 50 views within the first few days. But it was understandable, considering the intense competition.

This led me to a new idea. I decided to create a YouTube video lasting around ten minutes and then chop up some key segments to use as shorts to promote the main video. As a fan of YouTube challenges and gacha games, I centered my video around the intriguing topic, “Creating a Gacha Game in Less Than 30 Minutes.”

The beginning of a journey

With great enthusiasm, I embarked on this challenge. However, I may have overestimated my programming skills, as within 30 minutes, I could only produce subpar or non-functional games. I decided to extend the time frame to seven hours.

Seven hours later, I had successfully created a rudimentary idle gacha game, but it was fully functional, and I felt a sense of pride in my achievement.

The next daunting task, at least for me, was video editing. Given my less-than-fluent spoken English and the terrible quality of my microphone, I resorted to using an AI to narrate the video.

Upon completing the initial version of my script, I embarked on the challenging journey of editing. It was a laborious process, involving the search for suitable images to illustrate my points, the addition of visual effects, the hunt for memes and sound effects to inject some fun into the video, and the quest for the right copyright-free music. Not to forget, the meticulous cutting and trimming, turning seven hours of footage into a ten-minute video.

This arduous editing process took me two and a half weeks, but once again, I was proud of the result. I found the video entertaining, I considered it a worthy effort.

After creating an eye-catching thumbnail and a title I found quite catchy, I decided to publish the video (I’ll spare you the copyright-related woes).

In the next phase of my plan, I focused on creating shorts. I selected key moments from the video and posted them directly on YouTube Shorts and TikTok.

A week later, my video had only garnered 20 views, and my TikTok shorts had zero views. YouTube Shorts had slightly better results, with one short at 80 views and the other at 2 views. The conclusion was clear: I hadn’t exactly “made it” as I had hoped.

The video

To conclude

With hindsight, I believe the video lacked authenticity. A 100% human voice is inherently more charming and establishes a direct connection with the audience. There were certain segments that felt somewhat drawn out, and the presence of perhaps too much time-lapse footage. Nevertheless, achieving virality with a debut video remains a challenging endeavor. I believe it’s possible, but it necessitates the right topic and, I assume, a more aggressive marketing approach.

Considering my niche (game development), a strategy centered on consistency might be more effective.
Below is a video that succeeds in this challenge.

Ludwig “I made a secret YouTube channel to prove it’s not luck”

Nevertheless, for me, this journey was an invaluable experience. It provided a deeper insight into the world of YouTube, the sheer number of hours required for editing, and a glimpse into the life of a content creator.

I may continue to create more videos if an amusing idea strikes my fancy. After all, you never know where the journey might lead. This article is not meant to discourage new or aspiring YouTubers; where I may have fallen short (though I don’t consider it a failure), you might well succeed.

Illustration by Mohamed Hassan of Pixabay