The perennial question every YouTube creator asks themselves is "How can I best take advantage of the YouTube algorithm?"
According to power creator Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast), short form content is the way to go. And with a subscriber count of 98.2 million, he would know the key to success.
MrBeast recently sat down with YouTube’s Director of Discovery at this year’s VidCon conference, and laid out a simple, yet effective game plan for YouTubers trying to increase their visibility on the platform. Though instead of trying to constrain your content by time, create the content you know your audience wants to see.
Creating Good Content Trumps All
Don’t stress out about the length and logistics of when to post, just create stuff you know your audience will like. With 1.5 billion people watching YouTube Shorts, it’s natural for creators to want to grab a piece of the pie while the getting’s good, but gaming an algorithm can be more bad than good. MrBeast agrees, saying the best content resonates with both the creator and their audience.
Don’t Create Content for the Algorithm. Create Content for Your Users.
Shorts are popular now, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Shorts can drive viewers and money to your long-form content. And with Live gaining popularity, a holistic approach to your content covers all the bases and builds audience loyalty and consistent viewership. It all works together.
And it’s super important to ensure your content looks good on any screen. Though most people watch YouTube on mobile devices, the fastest-growing way viewers are watching is on the big screen. So make sure it stuns on both large screens and mobile.
Improve Incrementally and Don’t Give Up!
Starting out, your videos aren’t going to be great. "Accept that," says MrBeast. It’s all about incremental change, and his advice is to “make one thing better in each video you make.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to make everything perfect, which can be counterproductive.
Basically, don’t rely on the algorithm and just make stuff you know both you and your audience will like.
If it all seems a bit theoretical, MrBeast did conclude the talk with some practical content creation advice, summarized below:
1. Longer isn’t necessarily better. “Make the video as long as it needs to be,” says MrBeast. Creators just starting out may think longer videos are favored by the algorithm, but if people aren’t watching enough of the video, it won’t matter how long your video is.
2. Update older thumbnails. By making old video's thumbnails more clear, you stand a better chance of your content appearing in searches.
3. Think ‘audience’ not ‘algorithm’… remember you’re trying to build a large, loyal audience. Views are great, but in the long-run you should focus on telling stories with beginnings, middles, and ends that interest you and your fan base.
4. Don’t make any sudden pivots. “If you watch 100 episodes of SpongeBob and the 101st is Adventure Time, you’d be like, what is this?” Says MrBeast. Be aware: If you don’t acclimate your audience to big changes, they’re not likely to stick around.
At Dulcedo, we encourage our creators to grow authentically, which can take time and a lot of trial and error. Though it might be tempting to try and “game the algorithm,” sticking to your creative roots is always better in the long run!