The best YouTubers – Established in 2005 and purchased by Google a year later, YouTube has rapidly emerged during the last 15 years as the world’s biggest online video platform. The service is completely dominated by user content, with organizations and individuals able to create their channel for free.
The website turned over revenue in excess of US$15bn last year alone, while YouTube is globally ranked second, behind only Google, and well clear of Facebook, Yahoo!, Amazon and Wikipedia. Estimates suggest that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute.
One of the factors behind YouTube’s phenomenal success is the opportunity to make money. Channel owners are able to monetize their content using advertising, while many YouTubers strike up endorsement deals with third parties.
Today, the highest-earning YouTubers earn well in excess of US$10m every single year, attracting millions of subscribers by delivering all kinds of content. In this article, we will be profiling some of the best YouTubers to come out of Toronto and share tips on how to set up your own channel and create great videos.
Among the highest-earning YouTube stars is Evan Fong. Fong’s channel, Vanoss Gaming, has more subscribers that household names from the world of music including Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, while his numbers are also bigger than US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres’s.
Fong’s channel features action-packed gaming videos, with plenty of special guests, and the uploads usually revolve watching the team play their favourite games while offering humorous commentary. The 28-year-old was born in Toronto and his videos have attracted more than 12.3bn views to date.
One of the other popular genres on YouTube is beauty and make-up tutorials, and there are few stars more established in the field than Toronto’s own Gigi Gorgeous. Gigi’s videos feature product reviews, instructional videos and expert tips, and her YouTube fame has helped transform her into a true multi-channel celebrity.
Another Toronto YouTuber offering advice to their viewers is Omar Isuf. Omar’s fitness videos are designed to motivate and inspire, with plenty of emphasis on his own body transformation journey. Toronto native Omar has over 800,000 subscribers and his channel offers a great range of tutorials, exercises and guest appearances.
Finally, and at the other end of the scale, is Furious Pete. Pete’s channel draws inspiration from the popular Man v Food TV show and sees the eponymous star tackle mammoth eating challenges, including bowls of noodles and pizza pops. Pete has more than five million subscribers and sells merchandise, produces a blog and even offers work-out programs.
Setting up your own channel
YouTubers like the guys above have been honing their craft for several years. They’ve spent hours developing their filming and editing skills until earning enough money to hire a small production team to assist them.
Channel owners who enjoy success can also sign up to become a recognized YouTube creator, which unlocks several new possibilities around monetization and provides tools for you to get your videos noticed by more people. But how do you get started at the ground level?
The first thing is to establish what your channel is about. And whilst it may be tempting to try and cover off a range of topics that you’re passionate about, it’s much better to settle on a single subject and hone in on that.
This will help you build connections with other people already talking about that topic, and remember, you can always branch out into new areas later down the track if you have some early success. Don’t intentionally select a niche topic – especially one you’re not well versed in – but try not to build your idea around offering something that’s already out there.
For example, there are thousands of popular gaming channels on YouTube. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about gaming, but you should strive to find a unique angle or perspective, and offer something a little different to what’s already being done.
You should also be sensible about the investment you make, both in terms of money and time. Be realistic about how many videos you’re going to publish and perhaps aim for one each month to start with. Aiming too high and trying to do too much too quickly can become unsustainable and the hobby may quickly start to feel like a chore.
You also shouldn’t spend big bucks on expensive equipment straight away. Most modern laptops and smartphones have excellent recording capabilities and don’t require you to buy external microphones or special cameras.
Tips and tricks
There are several tactics you can employ to help your channel grow and stand out above the crowd, and one excellent tip for building your audience is to interact with viewers. Ask questions and encourage those watching to leave comments, and then take the time to respond to them. By conversing with viewers you will help to make them feel like a proper member of your community. You could even invite them to make suggestions for what should be in your next video.
You should also think very carefully about the length of your videos. When you have a lot to say, it can be tempting to spend an hour or more on camera recording your masterpiece. But you should consider that many viewers are tuning in from their mobile phone, and could be travelling or in between jobs, which means they may not have time to sit through a huge broadcast.
Consider publishing videos that are between the two and three-minute mark. The videos produced by Casino Hacks provide a perfect example of engaging content that can be enjoyed on the go. Casino Hacks markets itself as the world’s first casino bonus television channel and much of its engagement with customers is through the brand’s YouTube channel.
In the example below, the host speaks directly to camera, makes use of graphics and picture-in-picture, and the content delivered is informative and insightful – all within 150 seconds. Strategies and methods like these are applicable across a range of topics, so don’t just focus on your own industry when searching for inspiration.
Perhaps most importantly, however, is to review the performance of your videos and use the data to inform your strategy. Consider what works well and what doesn’t, and let that shape the future of your channel.
We can’t promise that you’ll be making millions of dollars by the end of the year, but we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll enjoy the experience of creating content and building your own unique channel on one of the world’s biggest entertainment platforms.