This article will explain the fundamentals for growing your social media and YouTube presence. Before we begin, let me summarise my story and why you should listen to what I have to say.
The rise of FitnessFAQs on YouTube
I’ve been posting online since 2009. Looking back eight years ago, online content was much different to what we’re used to now. Especially with YouTube and video.
I started with uploading training clips to track my progress over time. Up until that point, I had a bad habit of losing files and being lazy with hard drive backups. This meant that uploading online was an efficient and permanent solution.
As of publication, my YouTube channel FitnessFAQs has 44 million views and 400k subscribers. My channel has stood the test of time and has continued to progress over the past few years.
FitnessFAQs YouTube – July ’11 to July ’17
What started as documenting my training evolved into something greater. To begin with, I was able to leverage my audience to promote my online coaching services. This is something I’m incredibly passionate about, as I love working with others all around the world to reach their bodyweight training goals.
Once I was confident coaching others online, I directed my attention to creating bodyweight training programs. This required consistent study on my part, with the burning question “how can I create my programs to produce the maximum amount of results in the least amount of time?” always at the forefront of my mind.
From this, my Bodyweight Evolution, Body By Rings, and Limitless Legs training programs were created.
Therefore, I’m confident that I have a sound understanding of what works and doesn’t with online media and fitness products.
The million dollar question is this – How do you stand out from the crowd and grow your audience? I will now cover a few important principles I’ve observed among content creators with large followings.
Jeff Seid vs Daniel Vadnal
1) Choose the style of content that suits YOU
The way I see it, content generally falls into two main categories: Educational / Entertaining.
What has worked well for me has been educational content. I enjoy producing this style of material as it stands the test of time. People will always be interested in topics such as “How to touch your toes”, “Muscle up tutorial” and “How to improve posture”. Educational content is difficult to produce due to the vast knowledge and research required.
In short, most people are not willing to dedicate the time and effort needed. If you’re willing to learn about a topic and produce how to style videos, I guarantee it will generate a viewer base. Unfortunately, not everyone will be passionate about making educational videos for others.
If you are gifted with a great sense of humour, I urge you to produce entertaining videos. This style is great because people resonate with what they see and are likely to share among their friends.
Funny videos are more likely to go viral than educational videos.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what language you speak, everyone loves being entertained. For example, consider my “Plyometric Pullup Fail” video which featured extensively on social media.
2) Production quality is very important
In 2017, access to HD video is freely available on phone cameras. As such, content can be created and instantly shared online to large audiences.
This is incredibly beneficial for sharing your thoughts and ideas with others, with the added benefit of generating an online income stream further down the track.
Unfortunately, social media has become bombarded with constant poor quality, “quick” content. If you want to stand out from the pack, you must embrace the “quality over quantity” mentality.
Invest time in learning the basics of photography and videography by watching tutorials on YouTube. This will allow you to maximise your presentation, even if you don’t have expensive equipment.
Anyone can produce excellent videos with a modern smartphone or cheap video camera.
Pay close attention to location, framing and the message you’re conveying. Your content must be valuable, which will dictate how well your target audience embraces what you’ve created.
Once you learn the what, how and the why of filming you can then invest in higher quality camera and audio equipment to enhance the viewer experience. This is not a field which can be understood overnight. However, if you commit to ongoing progression in this area you will quickly pass by those who are content with sub-par presentation.
My most popular video 25 Best Pushups (>5m views) was filmed on a GoPro!
3) Be consistent
The biggest mistake I see YouTubers make is a lack of consistency.
It’s human nature to be motivated in the short-term and adopt an all or nothing mindset. People start out and upload multiple times per week for a few weeks and get burned out. Select an upload frequency which is sustainable and practical for your circumstances and stick with it.
I’ve experienced tremendous channel growth by posting one high quality video per week.
I believe quality truly does outweigh quantity when it comes to online content. Firstly, people will enthusiastically await your next upload. Secondly, it allows ample time to research, film, edit and schedule your content. This way, when life gets busy, there will still be a video ready to go. Don’t let your audience down!
In closing, it’s going to take a lot of time, effort and patience to develop a following online. However, the rewards are life changing.
If you’ve had success developing an online following, let me know in the comments how you’ve achieved it. If you’re just starting out, what are your plans to grow your online presence?
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Daniel has been teaching bodyweight strength since 2010. He is currently working as a physiotherapist in Melbourne. His vision is to educate and empower others to maximise their performance.