This week, I published a very strategic video. And it worked – big time.
The video in question was a reaction to the current controversy surrounding Apple’s M2 chip. This blog isn’t the place for my thoughts on that topic, but suffice to say I had quite a strong opinion and wanted to let the world know about it.
I rarely do this on the channel, but when I do, it nearly always brings in a big crowd.
In this case, it immediately hit the 1/10 spot for my most recent video uploads, and, two days later, it has achieved 94% more views from regular viewers, tempted in 94 new subscribers, and amassed nearly 1,500 watch hours.
The best news? It took me two hours to make, from start to finish.
This blog post is all about why this strategy worked and what you can do to replicate it on your own channel.
My low production strategy
I decided to make Monday’s video on Saturday – a mere two days before. This happens so rarely on my channel; I normally plan at least two weeks ahead.
Unfortunately, my sudden, unexpected desire to make this particular video was further compounded by the fact that I’d actually planned ahead for every single video until the end of August. Worse still, both of this week’s videos were already in the can – shot, edited, and scheduled.
So… no room for my M2 reaction video, right? Might as well leave that idea on the table, surely?
No. That wasn’t going to fly; I was too fired up. So, I swallowed any fear that I’d be publishing one too many videos in a week and decided to just go for it first thing on Monday morning.
However, this particular video would only work if I could get it produced and published super fast. The topic was trending, but would only be doing so for a defined period. What’s more, with Tuesday’s video already confirmed, I had my own very limited window in which to publish this one.
This meant that the production overhead needed to be the lightest it could be. That’s why, for this video, the requirements were boiled down to:
- no script – just a handful of unordered bullet points;
- a-roll only – no b-roll;
- no screenshots, Apple event footage, or any other fancy stuff; and
- limited editing.
That’s how I managed to get it done in two hours. Don’t get me wrong – the ability to do this in such a small amount of time still requires a lot of hard work, robust processes, and some experience, but it was a drastically reduced production schedule for yours truly.
This video was an educated punt, but boy was it a good idea.
Why it worked
There are two reasons my M2 reaction video worked:
- It was focused on a trending topic.
- There were no distractions for the audience – it was just my opinion on the topic in question.
The result was lots of search traffic, a generous share of mind, and a metric tonne of engagement.
Not all of the engagement was particularly positive, but even that was extremely good news for my YouTube channel. It has, so far, maintained 85% more likes than dislikes, therefore the majority of the audience liked what I had to say, but for those who didn’t, the incredibly busy comments thread will have played very nicely with the algorithm.
As noted earlier, I took an educated risk with this video. It could have sunk without trace, or drawn in so much negative commentary and dislikes that it damaged my brand. Thankfully, neither of those things happened; it simply ‘popped off’, as the kids say.
The strategy is blindingly simple for videos like this: pick a topic that’s very newsworthy within your niche and which is being actively discussed en masse on Twitter, and lend your thoughts to it.
But how do you find these topics and pluck up the courage to thrust yourself into the spotlight?
How to spot low-hanging fruit
As alluded to above, one of the best ways to look for low-hanging fruit in your niche is to spend a decent amount of time on Twitter. The more you do this – and the more people you follow and interact with who are interested in the same stuff as you – the more you’ll spot opportunities for reaction content.
Trends make themselves known pretty quickly. It could be a mistake made by a brand, a controversial regulatory change, or a product announcement that has got everyone talking. Whatever it is, I can guarantee you’ve probably got a fair bit to say.
You can find low-hanging fruit within your own content, too. If you’re publishing blog posts alongside your videos (if you’re not – you should be) then you’ll already know which recent blog posts have performed particularly well. The same goes for your tweets that have enjoyed the most engagement.
Trends come and go pretty quickly, but if you’re deeply invested in your niche, they’ll make themselves known and you can jump on them quickly. For me, I just knew that I had to make Monday’s video; the desire to do so grew very quickly, and rather unexpectedly.
When that happens, the best thing you can do is react – fast.
I’ve got a thick skin, therefore the negative commentary surrounding my video doesn’t cut too deep (although that doesn’t prevent me from taking the bait with certain trolls). But you’ll need to keep this in mind if you decide to create a reaction video of your own: it won’t go down well with everyone.
This requires courage to step in front of the camera and have your say. I’m used to doing this, so Monday’s video didn’t make me feel nervous or unconfident, but if you’re bothered about doing a similar thing yourself, I totally understand.
The best advice I can give is to just go for it. Remember – it takes a lot more courage to put yourself on a global stage like YouTube than it does to bash away in the comments section.
Be you. Be authentic. Say what you have to say. Your opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s.
If you spot a trending topic, hit the ‘record’ button and keep that production schedule as light as possible. It could be the most successful, easiest video you make this month.
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