Data science YouTube channel activity has exploded since the COVID-19 pandemic started. It seems like a lot of people were already trying to learn data science online, and then when we all went into lockdown, this trend really accelerated.
I started my YouTube channel in 2012, and a lot has changed since then – with both me and with YouTube. I have learned a lot along the way – much of it from working with amazing publishers like LinkedIn Learning. But I have also learned more about my audience, and what kind of video content you all want.
The Problem: Stalled Data Science YouTube Channel
I’ve been stuck at about 3,000 subscribers for a while. Most of my videos are monetized. For me right now, that means about every three or four months, YouTube deposits $100 or so in my business account. I decided that this would be my New Year’s resolution for 2022 – to grow my YouTube channel.
The Solution: Learn from an Expert!
I decided I needed expert advice on how to grow my data science YouTube channel, so I took the course “Marketing and Monetizing on YouTube” by Anson Alexander on LinkedIn Learning. I highly recommend the course, because while I realized I was already producing some useful content for my audience on my channel, I learned I was not being engaging or consistent enough, and that’s why I am lacking subscribers.
This course is only about two hours of content, but I took a lot of notes and did a lot of brainstorming along the way, so it took me while to get through it. It is packed full of information, and I just want to highlight a few takeaways that were valuable for me in this blog post.
Lesson #1: If the Video Content is Valuable, the Audience Will Want to Support it
I’m going to be brutally honest with you. I really hate it when people in videos beg for subscribers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started watching a video, and clicked away from it when the first minute was filled with begging for comments, likes, and subscribes.
But the reality is that when I need help and I find the exactly right YouTube video, I am extremely grateful. The course author explained that lot of my audience probably feels that way – very grateful for having found my video. This is because my videos are about solving data science problems – so if you have a problem and you find the right video, you are satisfied!
So if the viewer is already satisfied, maybe they want to support my channel, and my work, and ME! After all, how else can I keep producing videos for them? So I have to judiciously ask you – my audience – to please follow me on my social media – and especially – subscribe to my YouTube channel, if you want to continue to receive such content.
Lesson #2: Make Channel Trailer Videos for New and Returning Viewers
Okay, now that we established that it’s okay to ask politely for people to like, comment and subscribe if you are producing helpful content that solves problems, the next question is – when and how do you do that? When I am looking for videos on YouTube, I just search and scroll.
But I recently found a video about fun things to do in Connecticut – the state next to mine – and I found myself thinking about it so much that I went to find it again. I decided I needed to subscribe to the channel to make sure I kept up with the new videos about this topic. In case you are interested, the channel is “Afternoon in Connecticut” with awesome travel host, Jennifer Sparks!
What I learned from the YouTube course is that you can actually add a trailer on the channel that is customized to whether or not someone has visited the channel yet. That way, you can welcome new viewers who land on your channel, even if they got there by way of having watched one of your videos.
If your viewer has the experience I did – where I actually went to the channel page of a video I really enjoyed after thinking about it a while and finding it again – you can roll out a “welcome mat” video as a trailer, since it is the first time they come to the channel! Actually, this would be perfect for “Afternoon in Connecticut”. If I had arrived at her channel and she had this set up, she could have a video welcoming me to subscribe and keep apprised of what new things to do with my afternoons in Connecticut!
Below is my new trailer video welcoming newcomers to my channel.
I have also learned that I have kind of a small, tight following on YouTube. There are some viewers who visit my channel from time to time, and these are the first to watch, like, and comment on my videos. For them, I made a returning trailer – see below. You will see that it is very similar to the one above, but this one emphasizes the loyalty and faithfulness of the audience members.
I would summarize this lesson as what we call R & R in public health and epidemiology – “recruitment and retention”!
Lesson #3: Be More Interactive on a Data Science YouTube Channel!
I have never gotten many comments on my videos. I admit, I never really wanted any. After all, after you just watched someone export an RDS file out of R, what do you really have to say?
But then I realized that people want to interact. It’s not that easy, actually, to export an RDS file out of R. It’s not terribly hard, but it takes a while to figure out that’s what you want to do. I realized people want to talk about the experience of data science – of learning data science, of struggling with data science, and of trying to improve their careers in data science. And I’m naturally a very interactive person – so why don’t I promote more interaction?
The course provided some great tips for me. One of the main things I’m going to do from now on is ask for feedback in the comments. I want to people to share their experiences – but I really have not been good at inviting this. Over 2022, as I make new videos, I will try to do this more.
Also, I have realized that a great way to interact with my audience is through livestreaming. I have already held a few livestreaming events, and I hope to get better at the whole process – scheduling, discussing a topic, answering questions, and managing the stream. Check out my first topical livestream, and let me know how you think it went in the comments!
So if you want to track my progress – or even tell me what to make content about, and become part of my active audience – please subscribe to my data science YouTube channel, and expect good things in 2022. You’ll be glad you did!
Updated January 12, 2022.
Data science YouTube channel that brings you educational resources, career advice, live interactive sessions, and keeps you up-to-date in innovation and analytics – that’s what I have planned for 2022! Read my blog post for details.