4 min read

The Top Mistakes Smaller YouTubers Make

The Top Mistakes Smaller YouTubers Make
Photo by Matese Fields / Unsplash

Heya! This week I wanted to talk about something important that I see so many smaller creators messing up with!

So many YouTubers make the mistake of blindly copying what larger creators are doing. I want to talk about why it’s a mistake to blindly copy larger creators when you’re small and just starting out. Avoiding these mistakes can supercharge your growth and save you a lot of time.

What Reputation?

One easy mistake that people make is assuming that people know who you are. Creators like Ryan Trahan and Mr. Beast can put themselves in a thumbnail because people know who they are. When you’re just starting out, nobody knows who you are. You have limited room in a thumbnail to convince someone to click and every element of it should be working together and have a reason to be there.

Matthew Beem's Thumbnails

If you throw in a selfie of yourself, people are more likely going to skip over and go “who is that?” You don’t get the same benefit as a known figure when you’re small so you need to play against that.

Matthew Beem is a great example of how exactly to do thumbnails when people don’t know who you are. Look at how he involves other creators in his videos. He’s technically still in his thumbnails but in most of these, he isn’t the focus. It’s important to understand that for every “mistake” I mention here, there’s a way around it to make it work!

Reactions are a Trap?

Another massive mistake smaller creators make is copying large reaction content creators. You’ve probably seen reaction videos like these, especially from some of your favorite creators. You can find people in any niche making reaction videos. Lots of people start out with reaction videos but the important thing they miss is the established brand and clout involved in these videos. It’s like the thumbnail problem.

Popular reaction content videos from established creators

Why should I care about you reacting to this? People will care about the Sidemen or MoistCr1TiKaL reacting because they care about those creators already. They already know that they enjoy hearing their favorite creators talk about things. Having an established brand is important! Does this mean that you can’t make reaction content? Not necessarily. It does mean that you have to get creative in how you approach it to stand out from the crowd.

For everybody else, reaction content can definitely be a solid and reliable way to grow a YouTube once you have an established audience within your niche to help lift those videos up at the start. One reality of YouTube is that videos with views have a higher perceived value than videos without them. “Tons of people are watching this so it must be good” is a part of CTR (Click-Through-Rate) that you can’t control directly.

The Invisible Journey

This is probably the most nuanced part of this article. When you see a large creator, you are seeing them at the best they’ve ever been. If you got inspired by some viral video, you need to think about all of the lessons learned before. It’s not easy to just copy someone else and make it work. There are going to be a ton of subtle decisions that go into why that video is performing as well as it is that you just won’t pick up on at the start of your career.

This is what Mr. Beast's YouTube channel looked like almost a decade ago:

Mr. Beasts YouTube videos from 9 years ago

A lot of YouTube success comes from experience and iteration, not luck. A lot of your favorite creators may very well be on their 3rd or 4th attempt at making a YouTube channel. Lots of creators have outside experience that they can leverage to help with their content like journalism or acting. Do you need those to succeed on YouTube? Absolutely not but it’s important to understand that you have to put in the time to figure it out.

You will never beat Mr. Beast or Dream by simply trying to copy what they do. You have to try to innovate and do something different and unique and you won’t do that if you’re not putting your own creativity to work and letting it grow.

If you enjoyed this, don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to receive articles like this in your inbox every week! If you’re a creator looking to grow on YouTube, I also offer YouTube consulting and would love to see what I can do to help grow your channel. You can book time with me here!