The majority of videos on YouTube are telling a story of some kind. This is especially true for daily vloggers who actually have three on-going stories they’re telling. When a channel is only telling a random story from video to video, it’s less enticing for a viewer to subscribe and follow along the journey. In this YouTube channel review we’ll discuss some of the aspects of storytelling that make for a great daily vlogging YouTube channel.
Today, we’re going to look at a my friend’s channel. His name’s Amen. His channel is linked up below. So he has 356 subscribers as of the time of this recording. And I was watching some of his videos, catching up on a lot of his stuff. And he’s making a lot of the same common mistakes that a lot of new YouTubers make.
Title and Thumbnail
We’ve already talked in previous channel reviews how important the title and the thumbnail are for helping people just click on your videos in the first place. Because it doesn’t matter how awesome your content is if your title and your thumbnail don’t entice them, right?
The First 15 Seconds
So let’s watch a little bit of this one, this most recent one– Ridiculous Return Policy Got Me Angry. See how it starts off.
“Hey, guys. I don’t know if you can here that. I’ll try to zoom in. How many of you guys can hear that? There’s like a million crows in that tree straight ahead, just freaking out.”
OK, so nothing to do with Ridiculous Return Policy Got Me Angry, right? That actually doesn’t come until 8 minutes 11 seconds in, he starts talking about it.
For any YouTube channel, whether vlogging or not, one of the things that I’ve learned is really important is that the first 15 seconds of the video should tie-in very closely with the title and the thumbnail. Because what’s happening is your title and your thumbnail set someone up to expect some sort of value. They click expecting to watch that.
But if it doesn’t come until 8 minutes later, you might have your dedicated, hardcore subscribers watch that video. And they’re going to watch any video you publish anyway. But it’s going to be really hard to hook your more passive subscribers.
Because when someone sees it there, they click on the title, the thumbnail, expecting a certain story, and you only give it to them for the first 15 seconds, and then the rest of the video is completely about something else, you’re going to see high audience retention drop off at that point, which is going to make it very hard to accumulate enough watch time on your video to make that video continue to perform well in search and related videos.
The story arc for vlogs that I found that do this really well need to have three stories actually going on, three narratives.
The big one is the overarching narrative of the channel. And I couldn’t figure that out, really, on Amen’s channel. I watched several of the videos, and there wasn’t a consistent theme that said, this is why I like Amen. Now he has some things that he does really well, which I’m going to talk about here, that I think we could replicate and learn from.
But there wasn’t any message stating “this is what I stand for, this is what I believe, this is what I’m all about”. Is the channel mostly for parents? Is it mostly for young kids? When it’s too general, when the target audience isn’t really clear, and the value of why I should care isn’t very clear, it becomes hard for me to want to subscribe and engage.
A second story arc beneath that that is this is the big overarching theme, but what’s the season of life that you’re in right now? And what is the thing that’s your main problem right now that you’re trying to solve, overcome, that I’m following you through? I’m rooting for you. Are you going to get there or not?
And then there’s the third story, and that is each individual vlog also has to have its own story as well that stands alone, that can hook and entice people, but that also is pointing and alluding to this bigger story arc, the second one, that people would want to subscribe to see how it unfolds and watch the story. And then the big one that this is why I’m here in the first place, because seasons of life, vlogs, those are going to change. But this big thing, that’s what it’s all about.
If you think about it that way, and you start each video knowing this is the story I want to tell today, and you even have the thumbnail and the title for the vlog in your head before you even start, then you’ll know what to share, what not to share, and help you eliminate a lot of content, and actually make a really focused story.
One of the things I’m going to pick on Amen for, and one of the things he does really well. Let’s go back to this latest video. This is something that he does a lot. Let me just show you.
He says that “hey, guys” thing a lot through the vlog. It’s kind of like, I feel like I’m hanging out. I’m talking to you. And then the next clip, you’re reminding me, oh, you weren’t just with me, you’re actually in a different part and reintroducing me.
So personally, I was just like, stop saying, “hey, guys” so much. Tell a complete story and make me feel like I’m a part of the whole thing rather than for you and the camera, like it’s your first time, you haven’t been with me for 2 and 1/2 hours because you’ve been doing other stuff. But every time you say, “hey, guys,” you remind me of that rather than making me feel like I’m with you through the whole thing. So I’d probably just cut the “hey, guys” out.
And then the other thing that he does really well, he often sits down and just talks about something that’s really meaningful, and really valuable, and really helpful, and even just inspirational that he shares from his own life experience and things that he’s thinking through.
So I found that really valuable. And I would watch his vlogs just for that. Problem is, it’s inconsistent. It doesn’t happen in every vlog, so I don’t know which one’s going to have and which one’s not.
It could either be a thing that he does for a few minutes in every vlog, or it could be something that he can label them certain ways. That’s the main value I personally got from watching his vlogs was when he would sit down and just talk.
Comment below and give your advice, your help for Amen, and me, and other people who are learning to vlog. How do you improve and grow your own vlogging channel? And as far as the storytelling techniques, it really is all about story. So what’s that all about for you and how do you think about that? Share those below.