I feel like I make a video about this every 15 seconds, but it turns out YouTube has become as much a hobby for me as D&D, so I like talking about it. Now this is what I’m doing! I’m sorry! Endure! ENDURE!
I’ve changed presentation and production styles pretty frequently, because I’m not precious about this stuff and I’m not afraid to fail. The two bottlenecks limiting video quality are my skills and taste. Skills are fair enough and putt along in the standard linear fashion, but my taste is proper wonky. Something gets lost in translation comparing the videos I like to watch to the videos I’ve been making — not quite there, not always headed in the right direction.
The right direction
Hooking viewers: A lot of videos have a joke or skit immediately, without context. I always thought it was a silly artifact of the form, but it’s meant to be a kind of hook. Most of my viewers drop off after a few minutes, so I want to experiment with the preroll hook and have a call to action before my usual viewer dropoff time.
Music: I thought music was making my videos more interesting, but I think it’s just muddying my presentation. It’s also a pain to pick Creative Commons song, credit the artist, balance everything — and I’m not very good at it. Instead, I’m using an old track of mine for the end of videos and some three-chord stings to introduce videos, King of the Hill-style.
Graphics: My new job involves a lot of Photoshop, so I’ve made some transition animations to get some practice. They’re not technically grand, but it’s a good way to inject my colour palette into the videos a bit more.
SEO: I’ve been reading about this stupid school of magic and want to use it to try and skew my traffic sources more towards YouTube drowsing rather than relying on external sources. Not only is this cramming the best keywords in there, but also more interesting titles and thumbnails. I don’t enjoy this part at all…
Energy: My new recording space has room to move, so I want my presentation style to be more energetic. I stand when I DM because it keeps me engaged and on task — hopefully the same will work for recording videos!
The Colville dilemma
I made a video about Matt Colville’s D&D stream and it went absolutely bananas — over 3K views, easily my most popular: most liked, most disliked, most commented. My most popular video is rushed, low-content commentary about somebody else’s thing? What am I doing!? I honestly get upset if I think about it for too long.
The numbers are too good to ignore, but if I lean into the bland clickbait, I’ll establish an audience interested in things I’m not interested in making. So I’m establishing some limits and numerical goals…
600+ views per video
1000 subscribers in 2019
Dislike:Like ratio between 1:20 and 1:10
Videos at least every 2 weeks
Commentary videos 1:10 (outside of regular video schedule)