Shane’s company currently runs 11 successful YouTube channels across a variety of niches. He’s been in the weeds of launching, growing, and scaling channels for years. I had the opportunity to chat with him about the ins and outs of what he does as well as common mistakes people make when launching new channels.
I’m thankful for two things:
- Him taking the time to provide an inside look at his thought processes
- Being able to smoke him on a pool table any day of the week (sarcasm)
TH: What factors do you consider when planning a new channel launch?
SU: There are a few big factors for me when I am considering a potential new channel. Important to note my company specializes in launching channels / brands so my approach may be a little different then the average creator:
→ Niche - we search for niches with a high ceiling that we feel like we can execute on. We specialize in storytelling so if there is a niche that we can find that fits into what we are already good at we tend to lean that way. We want to create channels that we are passionate about but also channels that have a 10-100 million view ceiling so we know where we are headed.
→ Costs - We run a business so this may be different for creators that are just starting out but we want to make sure the type of channel we are producing doesn’t hurt us on the business side. Some channels are incredibly high expense but they also have a high upside potential. We weight out those costs to see what makes the most sense for us.
→ Do we like it? Is it content that not only I, but my team would want to make? If it isn’t then we don’t do it. Once you commit to a channel and it takes off you are stuck with it or you have to give it up. We don’t want to put ourselves in that position where either I or someone else on the team is doing something that they hate for money. The beauty of YouTube is it is supposed to be a way to explore creativity and have fun. We don’t want to ruin that.
TH: Have you quit/abandoned channels? Why?
SU: Yes I have abandoned channels multiple times in the past. There have been a few reasons why I have done this and it is on a case by case basis. We always set up KPIs before we go into a channel; where we want to hit certain metrics at specific times. If the channels aren’t hitting KPIs, we reasses the content. The great thing about analytics is that it tells you where you are providing value and where we aren’t.
We do our best to fix them, and most of the time we do, but sometimes we don’t. This could be for multiple reasons. Usually then if we don’t see us hitting where we want to be and we put in the resources, I usually decide if that is the right channel for us.
Sometimes we have a successful channel as well and we see that the ceiling isn’t high enough in that niche like we thought and it just isn’t financially viable to continue doing. I will say though if you are a new creator without a ton of experience building multiple channels (11 of my own and 4 that I consulted for) I would suggest giving it a longer window and experimenting with your content. Just make sure you are committed to learning every time you make something new.
TH: What are the biggest or most common mistakes when considering a YouTube channel launch or pivoting an existing channel?
SU: The biggest mistake I see people have is lack of patience and the inability to learn / change. All of our channels grow organically. No push from our other brands. It can be tempting to want to push from a 2M sub channel to one with 0 and think that you are helping, but the reality is you are moving the wrong audience to that channel. YouTube understands what a good video is and as long as you make one it will find the right audience. Be patient and learn from your audience.
The inability to learn / change is something I see both small and large creators do constantly. YouTube is changing all of the time so it is important to keep up with those changes and the changes in your audiences viewing habits. There are a lot of creators with the mentality that "I made this so I deserve the views".
The reality is that you don’t.
If your audience doesn’t find value in that content anymore and your goal is to get an audience you need to take a look at your content and make a change. Now, if you are only doing YouTube for fun / passion that is one thing by all means make the content that you want, but if you are full time creator and you aren’t listening to your audience you won’t like the results.
TH: Anything that wasn’t asked but you feel would be sage advice when thinking through this topic?
SU: I think the biggest advice I would give someone is allow yourself to fail and learn. You aren’t going to walk into a gym and bench press 300lbs the first day you go. It is the same with YouTube. If you have never made a channel or a video before chances are your first one is going to suck and that is okay.
Just make sure you learn from those mistakes and try to get 1% better every time.