Foundr Magazine publishes in-depth interviews with the world’s best entrepreneurs. Our articles highlight the key takeaways from each month’s cover feature. We spoke to Justin Brown, creator of Primal Video, about why it’s not too late to start and grow a YouTube channel. Read excerpts from that conversation in depth below. To read more, subscribe to the magazine.
Justin Brown says it’s not too late for YouTube.
The founder of Primal Video, a video strategy YouTube channel with 1.31 million subscribers, believes he can still start and grow a successful YouTube channel.
“There is no other platform that gives you consistent views for years like YouTube does,” says Brown.
Brown and his brother Mike started their YouTube channel as a tool to drive organic traffic to their video business. Then in 2016 they started to get serious and create a channel focused on helping people solve problems. Five years later, they grew their channel to break the 1 million subscriber mark.
But Brown is not keeping his strategies secret. Primal Video’s mission is to go beyond the basics of video production and show how creators can scale their content on YouTube to help drive results for their business or brand.
The YouTube Flyer
Beyond anticipating questions from your audience, Brown says make the content you want. He seems like a no-brainer, but after six years of making videos, he says he’ll lose creative steam if he’s not passionate about an idea.
“If you’re just creating videos for an algorithm, it’s going to wear out quite a bit,” says Brown.
Brown batch produces videos, allowing you to capitalize on the creative impulse and free up time to work on adding more value to your audience. And YouTube is making it easier to engage with audiences through live streams and community feeds.
“If you’re just starting out, do your best to try to answer as many comments and ask questions. Get people to engage with your content – it will help them, but it will also help YouTube see that people aren’t just sitting around watching your content,” says Brown.
This YouTube flyer builds momentum for a channel. If you create content that people are searching for and engage with the audience, you will get ideas for new content from the audience. As a result, YouTube will promote your videos to people looking for your ideas. From there, the wheel keeps turning.
Don’t bury the Lede
But is it worth competing with YouTube titans like Primal Video?
“The best time to start was yesterday,” says Brown.
“The second best time is today.”
Brown says the company has made every mistake since the channel started. One of the biggest mistakes he’s made, and that he sees others make, is burying the lede.
“Nobody cares who you are,” says Brown. “Is this guy […] Are you going to answer the pain or the problem I clicked on?
Brown suggests that creators tell the audience up front what value they get from the video rather than spending precious seconds with fancy graphics and a personal intro. For example, in a video about iPhone editing apps, Brown would start the video like this: “I’m going to share with you the top five iPhone video editing apps so you can determine which one is best for you.”
Now the audience knows exactly what will be in the video (five editing apps), the use case (iPhone), and what it will solve (the best one for you). Brown says 96 percent of their views come from non-subscribers, so they have to treat every video like no one knows who’s on camera.
A simple trick for beginners trying to find topics with high search intent is to simply type in the YouTube search bar. Instinctively, you may think that your video should be titled “iPhone video editing software”, but after typing in the search bar, the word “app” comes up first. But the message in your video must match the keyword research of your title. Similarly, your thumbnail should be attractive, clear, and consistent with the content.
“The other part of this is that you have to test because what works for you with one particular video might be totally different than what works for the next video,” says Brown. He recommends using tools like TubeBuddy for A/B testing and not being afraid to try something new, even if making a thumbnail of your face makes you feel silly.
“So this is where we have no ties,” says Brown. “Our goal is to create something clickable.”