YouTube Blues II


Karla isn’t a fan of the daily YouTubing:

“What are the “few successful videos”? I’d bet they are evergreen feature types that are among your technically best and most broadly appealing videos. If there’s a pattern there, go with it — or at least explore it further.”

My top videos are:

How to Make Chewing Tobacco (258k views)

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Harvesting Rain Water (250k views)

Best Composting Toilet I’ve Seen Yet (209k views)

Cleft Grafting a Fig Tree (195k views)

How to Germinate Peach Pits and Other Stone Fruit (111k views)

An (Almost) Instant Compost Pile (94k views)

How to Change the Transmission Fluid in a Dodge Ram (79k views)

How to Make Paper Fire Bricks / Fire Logs from Recycled Paper (70k views)

Rocket Stove Manufacturers Hate Him! Local Kid Improves Cob Rocket Stove with this One Weird Trick (65k views)

Awesome Homemade Kegerator and Home Brewing Setup (60k views)

Those ten videos represent almost all of my YouTube income. I have over 500 videos.

There are videos I like better than those in my top ten; however, YouTube algorithms are a weird thing. It’s very hard to tell what is going to “go viral” and what will not. “Rocket Stove Manufacturers Hate Him” was a joke title and the video isn’t all that innovative. The “(Almost) Instant Compost Pile” video is mostly Rachel talking while I throw together a bin made of pallets.

The “how-to” videos seem to be the way to go, though. Most of the top ten are that sort.

She continues:

“I love learning from you — you’ve completely changed the way I look at gardening and the natural world. That goes whether I’m consuming a book, blog post or video of yours — except for the daily videos. I’m tired of watching you walk up and down a hill and wing it topically. I don’t get enough out of those videos to sink 7 to 9 minutes of my life into them. From the outside, it appears to me that the only reason to do those dailies is just to be able to say you post on YouTube daily, which isn’t your style. So if daily videos are a poorly paying time sink for you, allocate less time to them and more time to more lucrative manners of spreading your gospel already.”

Actually, the regular YouTube posting isn’t just to say I post on YouTube daily. I shoot for 4-5 videos a week. This is on the advice of Justin Rhodes, though he urged me to post seven days a week. His channel went nuts when he did that. My content, even when I’m winging it, is more entertaining than 99% of the gardening videos on YouTube, but I get the criticism. I am not much of a video watcher myself. I do YouTube to reach a visual audience. I prefer to communicate through writing, but many more people are on YouTube. The views there compared to the views on this blog testify to that. Also, the YouTube videos are targeted at a lower-IQ audience than my writing. It’s deliberate. I’m not going to go full reality TV-show like Justin (I honestly can’t watch most of his videos), though that’s a great way to make much more money. I don’t put my entire family on the net, because it’s full of evil people, plus I find videos about being sick in the car and going to the dentist obnoxious. Yet he is a MAJOR YouTube success! And helped me get to where I am. So it’s a matter of finding the niche, I suppose.

That said, I do make some ridiculous jokes and put up some stupid things just for fun. And yes, I do wander around and wing it in many videos. They’re not for everyone, obviously. My books are what I really am proud of. The YouTube thing is partly for reaching new people and partly as a side income. I was hoping to build it into a serious income over time, but it’s moving slower than I would like.

“There’s nothing wrong with thinking that way. If you want to make a full-time go at this, you have to look at your options that way. It’s not selfish or greedy. If your content doesn’t make you money, your audience will lose out on future content — a lose-lose. Besides, if a particular medium pays more, chances are it’s a medium your audience enjoys more. So, again, mind those patterns.

Just please no podcasts, because I’m so not an auditory learner.

As for the moral quandary of YouTube-ing, you’re on your own. Godspeed.”

The pattern is definitely moving towards video and audio and away from print, unfortunately. I have written and produced thousands of radio programs – no kidding – as that was my life before jumping full-time into garden writing. A podcast would be easy for me to do. Again, I know some people aren’t going to get it. That’s why I write books as well. And I then put my books into audio for those that prefer it.

YouTube is evil but it’s probably a necessary evil at this point. I may cut down my production of videos for a time and see what happens, or re-focus the content. I’ve been very busy writing a novel lately so it’s been good to not have all the videos to produce.

I do need to film Bahfeemus II, though.

As for Patreon, as some have mentioned, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It would be a good way to skip the ads – but on the other hand it feels like ebegging. You guys can let me know what you think about that. Worth doing?

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  • A reader’s perspective: I hate frequent YouTube posting, even from bloggers and YouTubers I otherwise follow and admire. Quality suffers. Even for Justin Rhodes– his channel was amusing for a little while, but who has that kind of time? I stumbled across his channel looking for permaculture info, not entertainment, so when it takes five minutes of watching to extract the 10-second nugget of useful information… no, thank you. Now I only watch his videos if it looks like he’s tackling a subject I’m intensely interested in– and then with some trepidation. No offense, but same for your videos. I can read a blog post with the same info in a fraction of the time it takes to watch the video– and I bet it takes you a fraction of the time to write the blog post, too.

    I expect things are different for full-fledged members of the Smartphone Age. I’m a desktop luddite.

    • I have tried to make it somewhat obvious from my video titles whether I’m sharing straight-up info or going for a more entertainment-based approach. I also have little time to consume. I was never a TV-watcher and I’m not much of a video watcher online, either.

  • David, I prefer to learn from reading but it’s increasingly hard to find the time.
    The term “multi tasking” is something office workers use incorrectly. The human mind can’t work on a spreadsheet whilst writing a report at the same time. They’re just jumping from one task to another.
    However, my wife and I can eat dinner and watch a few YouTube videos . This is “multi tasking” and “time management”.
    Reading your veiwers comments I can see there are multiple reasons why they watch. Some want to learn, some want to be entertained, and some want to follow your journey. I’m sure there are other reasons. I think you have a good balance and slow steady growth may work out better in the long run. Thanks for your content.

    • I agree with the “throw on a video” when there’s not another thing to do. That’s what I do as well, now and again.

  • David The Good,
    As a fellow reformed christian, homeschooler and Floridian I have found your written content and videos to be educational, entertaining and encouraging. I say encouraging because, in addition to loving Jesus (and probably because of this), you display a sense of joy that is all but missing from the great many of those who recognize just how vulnerable Western Civilization is. Additionally, your unique lifestyle and willingness to not only think but live outside the box (or country) in order to pursue what the Lord has gifted you in is a wonderful testimony.
    Over the past few months I have learned many interesting (and practical) things from your channel and blog and I super appreciate your sense of humor.
    From my own experience in small-scale video productions it is clear how fine-tuned your videos are, even the simple ones. It has not been lost on me just how time-consuming those can be! Thank you for all the content you have labored to create. Videos such as Harvesting a Pathetic Quantity of Sweet Potatoes (You Will Laugh!) are among my favorites. That being said, if you do transition to podcast material, I will be among those to listen as I have an affinity for audio-learning.

    • Thank you very much. I do enjoy being out in creation and rather enjoy the videos. And I am a hardcore proponent of Western Civilization. If people had any idea what my politics are, they would be horrified. Glad you’re here.

  • *Squawk of protest!!* those comments came from a fellow reader identified as Karla, not Hilary. Aside from that, thanks for the follow up post.

  • I would happily support a Patreon channel / account.

  • “The ‘how-to’ videos seem to be the way to go, though. Most of the top ten are that sort.”

    Indeed, I could easily re-word all those titles, except maybe composting toilet, as “How to XYZ” titles. And that’s a solid observation and a solid starting point for your Profitable-YouTube-Posting-Pattern Identification(TM) quest.

    There’s more to the pattern, though.

    First off, what the pattern isn’t: length. I don’t know YouTube algorithms, but maybe those pertaining to video length don’t matter much for you. Because those videos have lengths ranging from 3 to 18 minutes.

    Now, let’s digger deep and talk about “evergreen feature types that are among your … most broadly appealing videos.” Because evergreen, feature and broad appeal are your pattern as much as how-to is.

    1) EVERGREENS: These are articles (or videos, in this case, and presumably radio programs?) with longevity, basically. For you, the most important thing to note is that those nine videos have longevity in the sense that they would compel someone to click on them whether that person stumbled upon one in 2007, 2017 or 2027.

    2) FEATURES: This overlaps with evergreens, as evergreen stories are generally if not inherently also feature stories. But for journalists, stories are generally categorized as features or news, and I suppose this more or less also goes for blog posts, videos, radio programs, whatever. For you, this is about the difference between “How to Sow a Three Sisters Garden” type videos and “Watch Me Wander Down to My Three Sisters Garden Today and Do Some Perfunctory Task” type videos. All those nine videos are the former type.

    3) BROAD APPEAL: Your cult following aren’t the only people who would click on those nine video titles — a MUCH broader population would click. In other words, the thing you’ve got to note here is: These videos are all on topics smack in your realm of expertise/specialization/experience, BUT a potential viewer doesn’t have to be into your realm to be compelled to watch these videos. Joe Shmoe doesn’t have to be drinking the Dave’s Fetid Swamp Water(TM) Kool-Aid, capable of appreciating high-IQ-logic gardening or Christian-perspective gardening, or be a prepper to have reason to click on those videos. Joe Schmoe doesn’t even have to know what “permaculture” means to have reason to click on those videos (although he’s probably at least into some manner of agriculture or self-reliance).

    4) USE VALUE: I’m winging it now, but it’s occurring to me that those nine videos are also all utilitarian. They are more than informational — they teach me something I can actually apply in my daily life to improve my life.

    Anyhow, as you pointed out, daily or daily-ish YouTube posting works smashingly for some folks. But you’re apparently not one of them. So listen to your pattern, not theirs, if you want your current career to be sustainable.

    It seems to me you should decrease the YouTube posting to some degree. Then, refocus part of your YouTube-ing time and energy into videos that feed your pattern and put part of that time and energy into something different. It sounds books would be best, though I know nothing of what they pay.

  • You’re not going to be able to keep everyone happy. There’s a Youtube channel I’m subscribed to (Pure Living for Life) and they seem to be a happy couple, winging their new home build between their inexperience, and a plethora of “experts”. Which ones do you listen to? I’ve worked with trades people before, and they will ALL tell you how you shouldn’t go with the other guy, because they’re doing it wrong, lol. So the comments on this particular Youtube channel, are quite derogatory, towards this particular couple’s inexperience.

    Which I think is unfortunate, because they’re just doing their best. Opinions will differ, if experts differ. So who is right? In the end, make the kind of video’s you feel proud to associate yourself with (or podcasts, for that matter) because you’ll get criticism from all (well meaning) participants. 😉

    As for Patreon, I have no experience with them, so cannot really comment. Is it ebegging though? If it feels that way to you, it will feel like it. You could look at it, like another form of income though. Like writing books and posting – you feel those occupations are worth people paying your time for. Maybe because you struggle with the association with Patreon, and Youtube, you feel uncomfortable utilising them. No biggie. Just contemplate them from an angle, you’re more familiar with. Like, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to earn an income, as long as you’re honest about the process – with yourself, and with others.

    Things in your favour: you’re open to new ideas and willing to try new approaches. Things against you: trying to please everyone. Run with what’s in your favour, while being mindful of what’s against you. But in all things, honour your creative process.

  • “As for Patreon, as some have mentioned, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It would be a good way to skip the ads – but on the other hand it feels like ebegging. You guys can let me know what you think about that.”

    I think of it this way…consider the corner minstrel, set up somewhere downtown, playing his guitar for his own pleasure — and just perhaps, the pleasure of passers-by. And if they happen to enjoy his playing, and wish to express their enjoyment in a monetary manner, they can pitch something into his open guitar case laying at his feet.

    Is this begging? Personally, I don’t see it that way.

  • Dear David, as a self-proclaimed cult follower of all things Good, I find the lack of new viewership on your channel frustrating. Regularly I spat at the TV, “I just dont understand why David (yes, first name basis in our house) doesn’t have as many views as so and so!”… my husband says you don’t possess Youtube magic like Justin or John Kohler.

    Selfishly, I would love to see more views/subs in hope that you will continue making them regularly.

    As for patreon- after giving copies of your books out for every possible holiday and re-rewatching old videos, I’m looking for a new way to compensate you for excellent services provided!

    • Thank you, Jeanie.

      “you don’t possess Youtube magic like Justin or John Kohler”

      Yeah, I haven’t mastered the art of reality TV or talking for an hour in one spot yet. Maybe one day!

  • Hey David, it’s David!

    I found this article online. I thought that there was some good information in there. Maybe there’s something you can use.

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