YouTube Famous, Making It Big on the Internet

I recently came across a 2015 book release called YouTube Famous: Making It Big on the Internet by Rosie Matheson.

YouTube Famous by Rosie MathesonIts cover caught my eye, as all good covers should do, reminding me of the old Brady Bunch trailer with colorful boxes, each containing a smiling face that urged you to smile right back at them.

Making it big on the internet?

Isn’t that what so many of us hope to do? I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly care if it’s on the internet or in real life. Making it big speaks to me of financial freedom, the easy life, and having all the time in the world to spend with my friends and family enjoying the things I love.

That’s luxury to me!

So I explored the book further. It’s description said:

YouTube has revolutionized the viewing habits of millions of people around the world and looks likely to continue doing so. YouTube Famous presents case studies of 20 of the world’s most successful YouTubers providing original content to inspire those who might want to set up a channel of their own – it’s also a book which will be enjoyed by fans. Complete with tips to produce your own programs, it shows how YouTubers built up their channels from scratch and developed content to please their growing fanbase. With a growing online world and more and more people tuning in to the internet, particularly young people, this is the book you need to read for the secrets of success.

The highlighting is my own, and acknowledges what stood out to me in deciding whether to read the book or not.

As I interpreted it, the author would use case studies of successful YouTubers in order to show what sets them apart from other YouTubers who are struggling to figure out how to make their channel work for them. The intent being, to show the reader what the necessary ingredients and steps are to achieving success themselves.

Overpromised and underdelivered

Unfortunately, YouTube Famous overpromised and underdelivered. It read more like a celebrity tabloid than a serious study of successful people. I now know more about who on YouTube is straight and who is gay, who’s dating each other and who’s not, than I anticipated when I first picked up the book.

I’m not too certain how the author came to choose these particular individuals as the best case studies. The author did say that she ruled out anyone who started off rich or has had the backing of any organization with corporate muscle. Yet, a few of the people profiled were sponsored by Skype and other corporations, so I’m not too clear how she’s defining “backing” here.

Regardless, she acknowledges that the people she selected to profile all fit a common mold. They are ordinary people who have built up their channels on the strength of their personalities, their wit and the quality and originality of their work.

As I read through the book it became apparent that most are from the UK, and they all got their start essentially either vlogging about make-up or being comic goofballs and pulling pranks.

The oldest member of the YouTube crew (did I forget to mention, they’re all friends?) was born in 1983 and started their channel no later than 2011, seeming to imply that if you’re older than your mid-30s and didn’t jump on the YouTube wagon long before now, you’ve missed the boat!

Also, it seems that every single one of them has a viewing audience made up of teenage girls. So if you’d hoped for information that might help you reach any other demographic, you’re on your own.

A few more flaws

As far as the tips to grow your own channel that the author promised? It seemed like an abandoned effort. The first few profiles end with a grey box in which you’ll find some tips. But after the first few, there were no more to tips called out for you. They needed to be inferred from the profiles themselves.

Which brings me to another major flaw in this book. With all of the frequent references to the YouTubers, their channels, and specific videos on those channels, the eBook didn’t contain links to any of them. Had it done so, there were a few video descriptions that sparked my curiosity enough to watch them, but not enough to go look for them.

The best of the tips

All that said, here are the best tips that I culled out for myself and wholeheartedly agree with (although they weren’t new to me).

  1. Be yourself and treat your viewers like they’re your friends, not prospects or strangers.
  2. Invite and respond to comment, and let your subscribers be part of the channel’s growth.
  3. And most of all, find ways to collaborate. Every member of the YouTube crew saw significant growth in their number of subscribers when they were introduced to someone else’s audience.

What I didn’t find in the book were the production tips mentioned in the description, as well as information I’d anticipated like the mechanics of growing a channel (looking at viewer consumption data to determine what content to create, how to broadcast videos to get the greatest visibility, etc.).

Instead, most of the YouTubers profiled seem to take a “seat of the pants” approach, either recording whatever it is they feel like or taking viewers up on dares.

While I had personally never heard of any of the 20 YouTubers profiled, their subscriber and viewing numbers are impressive! And they do speak to the fact that YouTube is a different medium than TV. It serves a different purpose and needs to be handled as its own broadcast medium, even as its own art form.

Deliver on what you promise

As for the book itself? I think the publisher got the blurb wrong, and it put the author in an awkward position. The book promised to the reader is not what was delivered, and it appears an editor tried to shoe-horn what the author wrote into what the publisher wanted to publish, with unsatisfactory results all the way around.

Had the book subtitle and blurb positioned it as collection of celebrity profiles of young and famous YouTubers, that would have been one thing (and my review rating would have been different, as it is I only gave it 2-stars on Amazon).

Trying to pass it off as a business book offering case studies on how to create a successful channel was a mistake. To do that would have required a more in-depth look at what made each channel successful, so that the reader could replicate it on their own, and a more varied sampling of case studies.

If you’re over 35 and hoping to reach an audience other than teen girls with your brand, there’s not a lot to go on in YouTube Famous.

The Power of Knowing Why

The first month of a new year has come and gone already and I’m finding myself reflecting on many of the conversations I’ve had of late.

January has traditionally been the goal-setting month, whether it’s a New Year’s Resolution or business goals for the year, many people appreciate the mental “restart” that comes with a new beginning.

From the conversations I’ve been having, though, it seems that many people mistake “goals” with “plans” or “projects.”

If you have ever read about successful people, you may have heard this before.

[Tweet “If you have more than 3 goals, you don’t have any.”] [Read more…]

Remembering What It’s All About

A friend shared a video on Facebook this morning that I found particularly inspiring. Although she shared it in the context of a responsibility that speakers have, the same message applies to authors, to coaches, to artists and to those who stand in a public spotlight sharing their thoughts and ideas with the world, in whatever medium them use.

For some creatives, we get caught up in the process of creating. Passion for our art fulfills and sustains us, and that’s enough.

The problem is, that’s a very self-focused view of what we do.

For other creatives, there’s the ego-boost that comes with having our work recognized, whether through awards or rampant sales.

And once again, it’s a very self-focused view.

That’s not to say that we ignore the business aspects of what we do, because we do need to earn a living in order to keep creating. There’s no two ways about it, unless you’re independently wealthy already.

However, we also have a responsibility. And the success of our business and the reception of our message, no matter what form it takes, can only be assured when we remember who we’re doing it all for.

If I cook a meal that looks delicious, but tastes awful, what have I accomplished?

We need to always remember the experience that we’re giving our audience. They are our customer, whether they’re paying for the experience or not.

It doesn’t matter if, as a speaker, I have an audience of 2 people or 2,000. I have to give the same performance and imbue my delivery with the same energy, because those 2 people deserve my very best.

Quality counts.

I don’t care if you’re self-publishing a book, choreographing a dance piece, giving a presentation at work, performing on TV, coaching a new client, or whatever other unique skill and talent you have to share with the world.

[Tweet “Whatever you do, remember that you have a responsibility to do it well. – @eandtsmom”]

If you don’t take that responsibility seriously, you may as well not do it at all. Or at least, don’t try to build a business around it.

If it’s about you, it’s a hobby. If it’s about the person who’s going to experience what you have to offer, you’ve got a business.

Care to see the video that got me all fired up today? 🙂

Jamie Fox and Steve Harvey

Giving the Gift of Significance

Too often our days are filled with To Dos and appointments, running here and there, and we forget to stop and notice the needs of others. We become so focused on getting things done or on trying to pay the bills or on being successful that we forget to take the time to give back.

Participating in a mastermind group is great for many things. I’ve outlined 5 Powerful Reasons for Joining a Mastermind Group in an earlier post. However, today’s post isn’t about what you can get out of a mastermind group. It’s about the opportunities it affords you to give back. When you give the Gift of Significance to others, the rewards are immeasurable!

Take a listen to this simple story and you’ll see what I mean.

And if you have any interest in learning more about The Best is Yet to Come Mastermind Series, you can request more information here. You’ll be sent a brochure that outlines the format of the mastermind series, and will be put on a mailing list to receive more information once the dates are set.

 

5 Powerful Reasons to Join a Mastermind Group

5 Powerful Reasons to Join a Mastermind GroupAs of today, we’re half-way through 2014. Have you accomplished at least 50% of the goals you started out the year with? I know I haven’t!

I knew at the time I set my goals that they were aggressive, and it was going to take a lot of time, effort and focus to achieve them. But I chose to stretch myself instead of staying in my comfort zone, and I tied each goal to specific monthly milestones in my Sales and Marketing Plan so that I could assess my progress along the way.

Thankfully, even when we find ourselves a bit behind where we want to be, there are ways to surge ahead.

In my experience, participating in a mastermind group is key! I have never met an extremely successful person who hasn’t had a mastermind group to help them accomplish their goals. [Read more…]

Using Current Events to Connect with Your Audience

I’m sure you’ve heard it said, time and time again, that your content has to be relevant to your readers. One of the ways of doing that is to make your content timely. In other words, to write in response to current events.

My friend, Kurt Shaver, from The Sales Foundry wrote a great blog post this week called “Social Selling and The Final: How to Strengthen Relationships.”

NCAA Final Four logoIn it, he uses the example of The Final 4 in basketball as a catalyst for strengthening your network. It’s not so much content generation here, as an excuse to reach out to people you’re connected with and strengthen the bonds that you share. [Read more…]

9 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Google Hangouts

If you’re looking for a way to engage with a wider audience, Google Hangouts may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Google Hangouts image - Aleweb Social MarketingJust think of this… Instead of taking days, weeks or even months to go on a book tour, you could meet your fans and engage with your audience all from the comfort of your home.

You can invite people to join you live on camera and carry on a multi-participant conversation.

The chat feature allows you to share a link to where people could buy your latest book or product, while they’re On Air with you.

Since multiple people can be On Air at the same time, you can actually interact with your audience.

The possibilities are limitless. You just have to be a little creative. [Read more…]

A Way for Authors to Give Back

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! 🙂

Have you ever been suddenly struck by a thought that you knew you needed to act on right away? That happened to me recently.

I was browsing one of my favorite LinkedIn groups this other day, and I saw this post that simply said:

We are proud to be a part of Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014. I’m packing up signed copies of my books… to be shipped to our troops in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the author didn’t post a link where others could find more information. But the idea appealed to me. Both my sister and brother-in-law are former military and actually met while in Kuwait (after they’d both gone back as contractors). So I wanted to learn more.

I knew from my own loved ones how important it was to have diversions (movies, books, magazines, good ole American junk food, etc.) and other things that made you momentarily feel like you were back at home.

Authors give back by Supporting Our TroopsA quick Google search yielded a Facebook event page and a blog post shedding more light on things.

The event started in January and will continue through April 15th. Its organizer, Armand Rosamilia, is collecting fellow authors’ books to send to our troops stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

He was inspired to host this year’s event when he found out that his hero, Joe McKinney, who was last year’s event coordinator, no longer had a contact to send the books to. Since packages must be addressed to a specific recipient and Armand’s “Special Gal” had a dear friend who was being sent to Kuwait in April, Armand decided to pick up where Joe left off. (You can learn more about the origins of this event here.)

He has made the special request that all books be signed by the author, believing that “the troops will love the read and also knowing the actual author sent the books or the actual publisher.”

It’s such a simple way for authors to give back, and yet will deliver a sense of “home” to those who receive and share them.

If you’re not an author, you can still support the effort by making a donation to help defray the cost of shipping the books. (Contact Armand directly if you’re interested in donating.) And anyone is welcome to buy a t-shirt to commemorate their involvement.

At the time of this writing, 485 people are participating in this event, and over 1,100 autographed books have already been sent to Armand to support our troops. That’s an awful lot of authors deciding to give back. But there’s always room for more!

I added my name among them, as have a few of my friends. I know it was hard for my sister when she was stationed in Kuwait. She didn’t want to worry us here at home, so often didn’t share the details of what was going on in her life. It’s only recently, years later, that she’s started to share some of it with me.

If being inspired, challenged or entertained by any of my books helps a soldier who is far from home escape for a little while, it’s the least that I can do. After all, they’ve sacrificed so much more for us and for our freedoms.

Won’t you join me in supporting this effort? Pledge your books, buy a t-shirt, or donate some money to defray the shipping costs. Every little bit counts!

And leave a comment below to show your support. For every comment left this week, I’ll donate one of my autographed books to the effort (up to 10 copies of each of my printed books).

How I Got More Book Reviews Using Story Cartel

StoryCartel logoI’m often asked by my clients how to go about getting book reviews for their latest title. I have a few of my own ideas, but thought I’d open up the question to members of the Book Marketing group on LinkedIn. It was there that I learned about a site I’d never heard of before called Story Cartel. I thought you might like to hear about it too.

If you are willing to offer your book in digital form on Story Cartel for 30 days, and can offer $30 worth of Amazon gift cards for a contest, volunteers will download your book (for free), read it, post an honest book review on Amazon (and wherever else you request), notify Story Cartel of their review, and then be entered into a drawing for one of the gift cards. There are three winners (that’s why 3 are needed).

The idea intrigued me, but I wanted to make sure it was worthwhile before recommending it to my readers. [Read more…]

Do the Holidays Get You Down?

Two years ago, I was sitting at the Thanksgiving table feeling resentful because no one else seemed to get how much pain I was in. I wasn’t thankful. I didn’t want to celebrate. Less than a month before, I’d found out that my fiancé was dead.

Yet, because I was always the hostess, the expectation was that I would be fine doing with everything this year too. I wasn’t! I was hurting. I’d lost someone I loved less than a month before, and was still waiting to be able to bury him.

But it wasn’t just Frank’s death that overwhelmed me. It was coming this close to my dream of having someone to share my life with after so long spent alone, and having it snatched away. I was dealing with grief, feelings of betrayal, hurt that loved ones just didn’t seem to understand, confusion, and so much more.

Maybe you know someone who is hurting over the loss of a loved one right now, or that is struggling with some other loss. Or perhaps you know someone who needs to escape the trap of shame, low self-esteem, abuse, poor health or other seemingly insurmountable challenges?

[Read more…]