Monday, January 28, 2013

Incremental Improvement

In the YouTube content creation world I have learned that it is important to make incremental improvements.  After I produced my first 10 videos I made a decision to stick with how-to videos for at least one year to see if I could get any views.  Once I decided to commit I knew it was time for some sort of improvement.  In September 2011 I contacted my friend Mark at Six Am Comics and asked him to develop a logo for me so I could build my brand.  He does professional graphic design and I wanted something that communicated visually who I was.  I could not be more pleased with Mark's work.  If your in the market for something, tell him BigNate sent you.  No promises, but maybe he'll give you a discount.

Having a logo and avatar helped solidify my brand and visually bring together all my supporting social media accounts.  In fact just last week I was invited to appear on Craig Chamberlin's PCM Tech Help Show as a guest, in part because he noticed my sweet professional-looking logo.  My first 10 videos are a good reminder of how things play out in the real world.  Things aren't always perfect right out of the starting gate.  And that's ok, they don't have to be perfect.  The audio and video quality was not very good in my first few videos.  There is no logo or BigNate84 avatar.  It's easy to think...

Maybe I'll wait to publish my first few videos until I have more details worked out and better quality gear

This type of thinking can lead to the pitfall of perfectionism.  Reality check.  You probably won't have time to work out all the details in advance.  Especially if you have a full time job.  So if you wait too long to publish your content, you run the risk of never actually publishing anything.  Obviously there is a balance between uploading complete garbage and uploading something thoughtful.  You should put forth a good effort and strive for high quality production values to the best of your ability.  It's ok to go the extra mile.  Just don't let your endeavor come to a grinding halt because your logo is the wrong shade of orange.  Does that make sense?  Plus you'll be able to look back one day and see how much you have improved.

This is why the idea of incremental improvement is so important to embrace.  Below is a video by FreddieW that inspired me near the beginning of my web publishing journey.  Whether it's waiting to save up for better video production equipment or waiting to hire a graphic designer like Mark, it is better to work with what you have rather than do nothing at all.  I started out with a Flip Ultra HD camcorder, five dollar tripod from a garage sale, Windows Movie Maker and a pair of $6 work lights from Home Depot.  The experience I gained with this entry level gear helped guide my future YouTube decision making.  One of my most popular videos came out of my first ten that didn't have a nice polished logo but still managed to bring in hundreds of thousands of views.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welcome To My YouTube Channel

This video is an introduction to my YouTube channel and it offers some background information about who I am.  I love technology and I love making How-To videos.  But did you know I have a bachelors degree in sound recording technology?  I have also been a certified technology specialist since 2007, working in the commercial audio video integration industry.  I plan on creating more videos this year that share my knowledge of multimedia technology since that is what I know best.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Make Money With YouTube

The exposure you can gain from YouTube is really amazing.  Whether you are a business owner, leader of an organization or a part-time content creator like me. According to my viewership stats 37% of all my traffic comes from YouTube suggested videos, as noted by the pink shaded area.  When someone watches a silly cat video they also end up clicking on something else that catches their eye in the side bar.  Sometimes that something else is a video I have produced.  Pretty cool.

Another 18% of my traffic comes from searches as noted by the red shaded area.  People use YouTube as a search engine.  In fact YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, second only to Google.  This means more than half of all my traffic comes from YouTube referring people to my videos.  Like How To Get Free HDTV for example.

It really is a beautiful little ecosystem system and it really does pay to understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works.  As you can see from the analytic screenshot my channel was dormant for a few years until I relaunched it in 2011 with how-to videos.  There are many tips and best practices that can be used to get views.  One of the most important skills you can learn is how to tag a video with key words so that people can find it.  At first this was all an experiment for me but after learning how the system works there is definitely an art and science to gaining exposure and generating income with YouTube.  It's very fun and exciting when a hobby turns into a part time job.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why The Name BigNate84?

"So I got to get up early in the morning"

I'm about 6'-4" and roughly 300 pounds.  I was born in the year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Four.  Brilliant, I know.  The name came without much thought when I created my YouTube channel in 2006.  At the time I was enrolled in the Sound Recording Technology program at Umass Lowell.  My video production teacher, Keith Jones, assigned some homework that would introduce me to a new-fangled web site called YouTube.

The assignment was to create a YouTube account, produce a short video that was optimized for distribution on the internet and upload it to YouTube.  I believe the purpose of the assignment was to teach my video production class how to use QuickTime Compressor.  FYI- compression is used to squash a full quality video so that the file size is more manageable and more upload-able.  Back then YouTube was run by two guys in a garage somewhere in California so there were strict file size limits on all uploads.  The concept of free web hosting for videos was pretty groundbreaking.  At that time if you ran your own website with videos, bandwidth was a huge factor.  Basically videos hog up all your bandwidth.  YouTube was revolutionary because it allowed you to host high bandwidth videos externally for free and then embed them in your website.

Back to the homework assignment.  My very first upload was a music video of me lip-synching to the song "Early In the Morning" by The Gap Band.  Yeah.  Don't go searching for that video on my YouTube channel, I took it down a while back due to copyright infringement.  Once my channel was relaunched in 2011 with how-to videos I started monetizing.  That meant I had to make sure I owned all the pictures, music and video content featured in my uploads.  A screen shot from my first video has been attached for your entertainment.  That's how I got the name BigNate84.  Click here to see my first ever how-to video.  The video below will take you back to a point in history when YouTube was brand new, it's pretty funny.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Make How-To Videos

My goal is simple.  Make how-to videos that help people.  As much as I do enjoy helping people by creating tutorials, product reviews and answering questions in the YouTube community, I do have another motivation.  Back in 2007 when I landed my first job out of college I heard rumors of people earning money over the internet with virtually no up front investment or overhead.  So instead of playing fantasy football with my friends I learned how to use Google Analytics and set up an AdSense account.  Next I created a few blogs that failed miserably.  Awesome.  I made a total of $9.82 over the course of 3 years.  Pretty pathetic.  Come to think of it I'll bet my friends who played fantasy football made more than I did during that same time period.  I did however learn a valuable lesson from my failures.

The secret to earning money online is to generate useful information, get lots of web traffic and never give up.  It's not much of a secret but if your content is good people will be drawn to it.  Then you can either charge a fee for access or make it free and monetize with annoying little ads.  This is a very simple concept but also a very difficult thing to implement at first if you don't know what you are doing.  And like everything else in life there is no substitute for hard work.  Everything came together for me when I shifted from independently blogging to producing videos for YouTube, which happens to be the second largest search engine in the world.

In April of 2011 my do-it-yourself attitude and video production skill set converged within the platform of YouTube.  I realized that nobody cared to watch my silly home videos.  However once I started posting how-to videos that helped people my viewership increased.  And when views go up potential to earn revenue goes up.  The views came first and the revenue came later.  I posted roughly 30 how-to videos in 2011.  I saw revenue adding up in my AdSense account and finally my first direct deposit happened in January of 2012.  I say all of this to encourage you to set goals and stay focused on your goals.  If you are a content creator like me it is important to keep creating high quality content and it will pay off in the end.

Friday, January 4, 2013

You Can Call Me Nate

In light of my relative success on YouTube I figured it was time to officially introduce myself.  In a nutshell, my goal is to make how-to videos that help people.  Back in 2011 I realized that my video about how to fix a broken Flip Camera got more consistent views than anything else I had uploaded at the time.  I decided to brand myself with the help of that nifty little cartoon and began creating professional and informative how-to videos.

I think this is a good point in time to share with you what I have learned over the past few years pertaining to web publishing, social media marketing  and earning revenue online.  I have spent numerous hours conducting "independent research" with my good friend Google about being a successful YouTube creator.  My plan is to share what I have learned here on on this blog, along with my videos.

I would not call myself a "social media guru".  I am willing to try different things, put in my best effort and stick with it even if the revenue isn't there.  This is really the perfect hobby and side job for me.  I enjoy editing video, teaching and interacting on social media.  YouTube has been a fantastic outlet.

I'm pretty excited about the way things are going.  I ran my first giveaway in 2012 when my channel hit 500,000 views and my 1,000,000 view giveaway is currently taking place.  That's my way of saying thank you and giving back to everyone who's supported me.

My goal is to create content that helps people.  When someone searches for a tutorial I want one of my videos to be listed first in the search results because it is of the highest quality and the most helpful.  In June of 2013 one of my videos made it into the ABC World News broadcast because of that very reason.  My username across social media is BigNate84 but you can call me Nate.

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