Being a long-time watcher of Youtube content, you see a lot of channels come and go. Some rise up quickly to become overnight successes, and others are slow burners, gradually building a following over time. Some content seems random, whilst others seem carefully curated and crafted.
So what's the secret?
Here are the observations of the 5 Paths to Youtube Success, by one of the people that helped many of the lucky ones one their way, just by watching:
If you're already famous, getting a fan base is much easier. We have seen many Youtube channels set up by celebrities as an extension of their creativity - for example George Takei's TakeisTake or Adam & Jamie's (from Mythbusters) Tested.com (although they joined the already established Tested channel)
Whether it be a shocking moment captured, humour, trends, titillation or just being offensive - the right video at the right time can spread faster than any other and generate millions of views. But be warned - they're also the most difficult to maintain channel momentum. Most Meme channel only end up having a handful of videos and never recapturing that initial lucky success.
3. Skill & Talent
Showcasing a great skill or talent at something, be it physical, mental, vocal, craftsmanship or other can generate a huge following, as people seem to enjoy watching them show their stuff - but it may still take time to get high viewing figures
4. Great Presentation
Being a great presenter of content seems to be hugely important for Youtube success. Many of the biggest channels (that are not covered by any of the above) seem to do best if they are presented well by a team with: clear speaking voices, clever wit and affable personalities. Most of the top shows I've watched, regardless of content, seem to ALL comply with this point
5. Working Your Way Up
This last one is the hardest of all, as it takes a lot of work and even harder still - patience. This involves working your way up from scratch by starting with zero, trying stuff out, learning, changing, developing, listening, promoting, sharing... whatever it takes to claw yourself an audience. This can take several months or, more commonly, several years; but is by far the most rewarding to see
Personally, I have to put myself at number 5, as its early days for me and my little channel at www.youtube.com/workingminiatures - but I have great fun doing it, I'm learning with every video I produce and its really rewarding seeing the numbers steadily climbing :)
So my advice (for what its worth) is create content for yourself - make the kind of Youtube videos that you would want to watch, not what you think are trending. Be patient, experiment, watch other videos and learn from them and slowly, (perhaps very slowly) you will start to get an audience.
And that may take time, but don't give up - for the first couple of weeks of my channel, I was pretty much the only viewer!
Also, explore the tools that Youtube have to offer - take some time to learn their admin system as there are a plenty of tools they provide to help you on your way.
And above all - enjoy it!