Have you ever wondered how a start-up project gains traction, or what social media platforms help grow a community? Well, I have started a project that I am hoping to grow and will be tracking the effectiveness of my efforts as I go. I will also report on them monthly here. If you do not know about the show and are interested in it, visit the Poetry Show on YouTube.
If there are particular analytics you are interested in that I haven’t discussed, leave me a comment below, or reach out on Twitter (@PoetryShow) and I’ll include further analysis that is of interest.
October stats at a glance
At the beginning of the re-launch the channel was sitting at 21377 views, and now it’s on 22048 (671 growth). 226 of these views came from the newly uploaded videos, and 445 of the views came from the older videos (349 of those were my 7 year old rambling analysis of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock). I’ve also gone from 170 subscribers to 191 subs (21 growth). The interesting thing about the subs is that the bulk of them came from when the channel was active 7 years ago. Most of the old subscribers have long since lost interest, so really it was like starting from 0. I don’t pop up in the subs feed of 191 people, it’s more like 20. Each upload seems to get a handful of views within a few days and then slows(!) to a very tiny proportion of organic discovery. A small amount of interest has come from my other YouTube channel.
Most of the YouTube search traffic comes from (unsurprisingly) searches for commmentary on Prufrock, although searches relating to becoming a better poet are starting to come my way, which is where I am currently focusing my energies. I’m glad to see that it is paying off slowly there.
I upload one ‘how to’ video per week. These are usually filmed during the week and scheduled to publish 8am Saturday mornings. In a couple of months I might rethink the timing of this (given that the bulk of my views come from the USA, fitting in with their timezones will likely make more sense). I have also tried to release one commentary video per week as well, but do not have a set schedule for these. I have collaborated with one other small YouTube channel so I might keep that up too (there are a small number of YouTubers that look promising for future collaborations). I have also included thumbnails, endcards, annotations and links to improve subscription rates – not sure how well that is working yet.
Engage proactively and authentically with other YouTubers, videos and channels. I am wary of people that just use social media to spruik their own wares, so my rule for engagement on YouTube is to only offer comments on videos if I have a comment I feel is worth sharing and to never say ‘Check out my videos’ – My YouTube username is pretty obviously geared towards giving people an idea of what to expect if they choose to click on my avatar, so outright begging for attention in other ways is a little unseemly. I also comment on the channels of all new subscribers, just to reach out and show that I am open to conversation. This has not been particularly fruitful yet.
Social media: Twitter
Engage with other social media platforms. I decided that I would focus my energies on expanding my social media presence for the channel with one new platform per month. My second rule for social media was to engage authentically and organically, but allow for a little spruiking as well. The platform for October was Twitter. I have been an active Twitter user for years, so it was the most natural fit, and the native iPhone app makes it easy to switch between accounts so I can juggle my online personae. I don’t approve of the practice of following 1000 people to get 500 instant followers, so I’ve tried to limit myself to a few follows a day, and only follow people I think I would like to see in my feed. I don’t feel bad if people choose not to follow me either. So far I have gained 43 followers and that seems to have driven a tiny portion of traffic to YouTube. Tweetwise, I probably split my activity into roughly equal thirds of self promotion, engaging with something someone else said, and sharing snippets of interesting poetry news / content. Hopefully the balance is about right there – but I’ll re-assess in a couple of months.
The next platform I will use will be Periscope. I have dabbled a little as a viewer, but am yet to broadcast. I haven’t decided on the best way to ‘scope authentically for the Poetry Show yet. There is one scoper that does something a little similar to my show already, but I don’t like how the live stuff translates to YouTube, so I doubt I’ll just start using scopes to record the show and then post to YouTube. I’ll be guided a little by the live audience I think. I intend to just do one or two next week and then I’ll see how it fits in with the workflow for the rest of the real production of the show.
I have stayed away from sharing the Poetry Show on Facebook or creating a FB page for it. My thinking behind this so far is that FB really is a place where people connect with you because they are your friend and they trust you, without necessarily wanting to support every artistic or business endeavour you embark upon. I have friends that spruik their own stuff far too much, so I want to avoid that until the Poetry Show can support itself. I will eventually let my friends know about it in a ‘look at this cool thing I’m doing’ kind of way. I don’t want to do the whole ‘If you love me you will like all my videos’ thing. Once there is a bit more of a following (i.e. hundreds of regular viewers) I’ll set up a FB page to help foster a community. That will likely be 6 months to a year away though.
I’ve engaged a little with Spoken and CrowdCaster, but not particularly intentionally yet.
Next month I will report on the general growth of the channel, impact of Twitter and discuss the Periscope avenue in more detail.
If you have any questions or tips for me, leave them in the comments below.