Recently, our Shutterstock Tutorials channel was able to reach 100k subscribers. Here’s a look behind the scenes at what it took to get there.
So, we started this youtube channel about a year and a half ago. A lot has happened in that time.
One thing we’ve tried to do a lot less of on this channel is waste time by talking a whole lot about ourselves personally. The goal of the channel is to share information with people and creatives who need it. So we try to get to the point as quickly as possible in each video. As a result, we’ve gotten a lot of comments asking for a bit more insight into who we are, and for a bit more behind-the-scenes for how our videos get made.
So we made this video.
So, my biggest concern making this video was that it might feel self-congratulatory or self-important. That was not the goal at all. I’ve always thought with YouTube in particular that things always feel really emotionless and inauthentic. There is a lot that goes into making any video, and even more when you’re trying to crank out a high volume of videos.
Some videos you like, some you really don’t, and it’s always difficult knowing that all of these things will exist on the internet indefinitely. So, we took this as an opportunity to share a bit of how much we put into these videos, the good and the bad, and share a bit of insight as to how they get made.
We’re not a huge channel, not by any stretch of the imagination. Regardless, here are some of my thoughts on everything to do with a YouTube channel.
Make Videos that You Care About
Every time we’ve misstepped on this channel is when we tried to make a video about a subject that we weren’t that interested in.
It’s really easy when you’re trying to maintain a content schedule and crank out videos as fast as you can to accidentally take on a project or video about a subject that doesn’t do much for you.
We’ve always employed one rule when we come up with our ideas — always make your videos about something that you want to learn about. Whether it’s learning more about something, trying something entirely new, or reinforcing and sharpening some info you already have, it’s a really good idea to make your videos an experience that involves learning along with the viewer.
Pay Close Attention To The Sustainability Of What You’re Doing
The biggest thing we learned early on is that sustainability of our workflow is important. When we first started the channel, we were making way too many videos. We would try to make about a video a week, each of us. We were miserable, and working way too hard — and not really making particularly good videos.
At one point, Logan made a video about large format photography. Logan and I went out into the woods, early in the morning, and just took some photographs. It was a really leisurely and enjoyable morning, and we actually had fun making a video for once. Also, because we had fun shooting it, Logan had a lot of fun editing it too.
This was a big moment for us. It showed us that we should actually try to just have fun making the videos, and again, choose subjects that we were interested in.
After that, we developed a sustainable release schedule, and we keep a much closer eye on when we’re getting burnt out.
Every Aspect Is Important
The above video is probably the hardest any of us have worked on a video for this channel. We spent an entire day in an un-air conditioned, unfinished warehouse shooting in the heat and doing very physical activity. When we made it, we thought for sure it would be the video that propelled us into YouTube Valhalla.
Well, that didn’t happen. The video ended up being one of our lesser-viewed videos, and for a long time we couldn’t figure out why.
We’ve since decided that it was because of the thumbnail. At the time, we had a different thumbnail than the one that’s currently there (I cannot for the life of me find the original). Needless to say, it was not a good thumbnail. It didn’t effectively communicate what the video was about.
The thumbnail we have there now isn’t particularly great either. As such, it still doesn’t have many views.
That whole experience showed us that when we put these videos out, every single aspect is important. The thumbnail can definitely make or break a video. The title, the description, the thumbnail, heck — even the run time — these things all affect the performance of these videos.
It can all make you lose your mind a bit from time to time.
Having said all that, we’ve still found that by creating videos that you care about, and making sure that you’re having fun, you really can’t lose. Even when the videos don’t perform all that well, the journey needs to be just as much fun as the result.
We’ve had a ton of fun making these videos, and we can’t wait to see what happens next. To everyone who has seen one of our videos or supported the channel, thank you. We love doing it, and we’re going to keep working at making each one better than the last.
Seriously, though, put some thought into the thumbnails. They’re important.
Interested in the tracks we used to make this video?
- “Rosas – Over The Waves” by Leo Symphony Orchestra
- “Justified” by Lafayette
- “Pink Stillness” by Alex Purple
- “2 In The Morning” by NEURON
- “Flaming Lo Fi” by Trending Music
- “Hip Hop Life Is Changing” by Trending Music
- “Hot Hip” by Trending Music
Wanna check out some more videos?