“How do I get more views?”
Stop chasing them. The pursuit of views alone can take you far, but…
What will keep you going?
What’s going to grow an audience that keeps coming back?
Views are an outcome, not the foundation.
TLDR for this week:
- How channel missions make a difference
- The 2 archetypes of channel missions
- Is it right for you?
Channel Mission: A long-term goal or narrative for a YouTube channel with high conviction from both creator and audience.
Why Do Channel Missions Matter?
With every platform competing for attention, viewers need a reason to come back to your content again and again.
Blake Robbins talks about the connection that different media formats enable. On one end, you have TikTok and on the other you have streamers. The level of audience affinity built (due to time spent) is drastically different.
There are people who spend the equivalent of a full-time job watching their favorite streamers. And therein lies the creator advantage.
I made this quick graph to help visualize his concept:
I’m writing this on a random Tuesday at 1:59pm and there are currently 459,000 people in the “Just Chatting” section of Twitch. No “real” content to be had; just ~half a million folks wanting to interact with their favorite creators. If that’s not enough:
Watching TikTok trendhoppers with 50M+ followers struggle to fill seats at conventions should be plenty to convince anyone to start building audience connection :)
Inherent value to audiences aside, channel missions can also be an incredible way to build momentum for your channel. Having a group of people aligned on one thing = the beginnings of a movement.
More on the specific tactics of this in the next section.
YouTube, and content creation in general, is an incredible industry/career.
It can still feel like work.
Having a clear mission and purpose for your channel, you can (mostly) avoid getting stuck in a rut or feeling uninspired.
Instead, you can constantly find new and exciting ways to develop your channel, experiment with new content formats, and keep your audience engaged and excited.
What does all of this look like in action?
Gather around 🔥
The Practicals of Channel Missions
Types + Examples
As the name suggests, these are channel missions that don’t have an end in sight or some concrete goal. I refer to creators in this bucket as Purpose-driven Creators. They are driven by some larger, off-platform purpose or goal.
Two quick examples:
In case you haven’t heard, Ghost Town Living (GTL) is the story of Brent Underwood who left his day-to-day life behind to purchase and renovate the ghost mining town of Cerro Gordo.
He’s been at it since April 2020 with the goal of bringing the abandoned town back to life. Every video is a new facet into what it takes to achieve that purpose.
Does this strategy make for an incredible narrative? Absolutely. However, nearly every single video on the channel is packaged in a new-viewer-friendly way. This lets any and everyone access the story and get hooked.
His average of 830,000 views across his last 20 videos is nothing to sneeze at.
His channel mission is more subtle. In this interview with Reed Duchscher of Night, Ryan reveals his framework of “Redemptive Content”.
This is not something overtly stated on the channel. Rather, it’s what permeates every decision made for his content. Your channel mission is NOT something that the audience necessarily has to know verbatim. It can be felt.
These are missions that have a clear goal or deadline, such as subscribers or going across a country, or a competition with another channel.
- Ryan Trahan strikes again
One of Ryan’s most well-known missions was his race to pass Dr. Phil in subscribers. The goal beyond that: confront Dr. Phil about being Ryan’s grandpa. (YouTube makes me write weird sentences).
Not a bad 3.6M subscriber sprint if you ask me:
Not only does this lead to audience hype, it also resulted in this masterpiece.
- Airrack’s giant
subscriber trainpizza party
→ sneaking into events
→ buying Logan Paul’s couches
→ his sprint to 1M subs in less than 12 months
Airrack did it again with his push to 10M subs only a couple of years later. This time, the goal took the form of a giant pizza party that subscribers would be able to attend. This was also the first for a brand partner (Pizza Hut)to be front and center in enabling this creator mission to come to life.
Is it right for your channel?
Should everyone take the time to articulate your driving purpose? 100%
Should everyone have a deeper channel mission that informs ever decision for the channel? Not so fast. I think it can benefit the vast majority of creators, but as with everything, there are exceptions.
For channels where are channel mission doesn’t feel right, there’s the option of content missions. These are missions stemming directly from the content. The most common version of this is some sort of series (ie: Trahan’s Penny Series). It’s a great way to give the audience a direction to buy into without having to fit the entirety of a channel.
At the end of the day whether its Channel vs Content or Ongoing vs Renewing, it’s a question that only you can answer for your channel/niche. Start experimenting and see what works for you.
What You Need to Do
Here is your challenge for this week:
- Read this from my friend Jay Clouse
And please don't forget to leave a rating below - they are hugely helpful!
All the best,