We live in an age where someone can post a video on YouTube and receive instant fame overnight. We all remember first hearing about Walk Off the Earth’s cover of “Somebody I Used To Know” or Rebecca Black’s original song “Friday.” Content can spread like wildfire through the social media grapevine, but building a following is a lot harder than it may seem. Most content creators spend hours on end honing their most important skill — the ability to create short clips of engaging content that ultimately end up being shared by the masses on social platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
The Playlist Live conference took place in Orlando, Florida in March and brought together thousands of YouTube content creators and fans alike into the beautiful Caribe Royale Resort where, for three straight days, fans mobbed the celebrity-like YouTubers. YouTube personalities from around the world, including Jenna Marbles, Boyce Avenue, and MysteryGuitarMan, descended into Orlando to meet with each other and their loyal fans.
YouTube is a powerful thing. Over 4 billion videos are consumed daily, and in 2012, the platform had over 1 trillion views, which is the equivalent of every human on Earth watching 140 videos. The ability for anyone to create content has allowed creators to bypass traditional gatekeepers like record labels, publishers, and producers.
We sat down with 18 of YouTube’s most successful and engaging personalities (spanning 14 main channels), most with subscriber bases of over 100 thousand, to get their takes on what they do. They come from all walks of life, range from being musicians to make-up vloggers to comedians, but they all share one thing in common: They know how to keep their fans engaged and coming back for more.
JC Caylen was born and raised in Texas and started posting YouTube videos in 2009 after being inspired by Mitchell Davis. He loves being in front or behind the camera and creates videos with the goal of making peoples’ days better. He keeps his fans engaged by allowing them to come along for the ride in a day of his life. “Some of my fans would come up to me during Playlist and tell me that they came to the conference just for me. I wish I could fly out my fans somewhere, meet every single one of them, and do a video with all of them.”
JC has over 90 thousand subscribers on YouTube and is clearly doing something right — he brings all his fans to the same level as himself and makes them laugh and smile. “I want my fans to get a glimpse of a day in my life and want them to come to my channel if they’re down.”
GloZell is very green about YouTube — it’s even in her name. As you can see from the picture above, she is an eccentric individual. Her YouTube channel was kicked off with a viral hit in 2008 called “My Push-Up Bra Will Help Me Get My Man” which now boasts over 20 million views. She graduated with a degree in musical theatre from the University of Florida and started her career doing stand-up. She loves to keep her fans constantly engaged with videos like “The Cinnamon Challenge” and by using social media strategies like follow sprees and live streams. Her success is hugely driven by her dedication to her audience. “Having an audience is what’s important. Don’t care about your age, weight, gender, religion …” Her fans can always go to her channel to escape negativity.
Her words of wisdom to new YouTubers: “Find your niche, create your brand, and find an audience for yourself.” One million subscribers later, it seems like she’s done just that.