Creating a YouTube Content Strategy

The Smiths Vinyl Collection

I’m back again with another Saturday post. As always, I’m looking back at the past week, analyzing what worked and what didn’t, sharing insights, and setting goals for the upcoming week. It was a pretty enlightening week, with some very cool wins, excellent insights, and a handful of frustrations as well.

YouTube Buckets & Homepage Edits

YouTube Buckets are really just classifications of content that you lump your videos into so YouTube can better understand how you categorize your content. You can think of them as categories or as massively extensive playlists.

For my YouTube Channel covering music, bands, and vinyl records, I have created a handful of buckets. These include: Album Reviews, 7-Inch Singles, Unboxing Videos, Lists & Countdowns, and Music History & Stories.

I have a handful of band-centric and label-centric Playlists as well, though I don’t feature those on the Channel Homepage.

Speaking of the homepage, I made some pretty significant edits there, organizing my new buckets to display in an order that seems to make sense. I removed my previous Channel Intro short and recorded a long-form new one that covers the story of FensePost, how my passion for discovering and sharing music I love began, and my big WHY with the FensePost blog and YouTube Channel.

It’s going to take a bit to edit this down, but I get pretty vulnerable in it.

Content Cleanup

I’ve been pretty hesitant to purge non-relevant content from my Channel, including some quite old How To videos that had tens of thousands of views but didn’t fit the Channel’s theme.

I finally did it. I made them private.

Now, only vinyl and music-related content is public.

It dropped by trailing 365 days watch time by about 15 hours, but I’ve already made it back up.

I will likely delete them outright in the coming weeks.

Leveraging Current Events: Top Performing Video

So this was interesting. On the Friday, May 19th, Andy Rourke, the bassist for The Smiths, passed away. The band has been on my short list to create content around for a while, and I have quite a few of their singles, all of their studio albums, and a number of compilations in my collection.

The moment I heard the news, I started binge listening to the band. Then I had the idea to put together a list of my Top 10 Andy Rourke bass lines from songs by The Smiths. I filmed it that night, edited it the following morning, and scheduled it to go live at 1pm Saturday.

The video took off in comparison to my other videos and in one week has become my top viewed video on YouTube.

It’s not the best. The audio isn’t the greatest. I didn’t really use any B-Roll. But it did lead to a nice increase in subscribers.

As always, I cross-posted the content on FensePost, which has done alright too.

Here’s the video if you’re interested in checking it out:

Breakdown of Video Improvements: Increase APV and AVD

Average Percentage Viewed (APV) and Average View Duration (AVD) are metrics that are both a lot more important than just views. This is something Derral Eves covered in The YouTube Formula, which I finished last week and promptly re-started, along with Russell Brunson’s Expert Secrets.

The second time through both of these books, I’m hoping to really lean into putting to use the frameworks and processes they discuss.

So I’ll be watching APV and AVD a lot more over the coming months.

However, it has led to a few changes in how I approach content creation.

First is the scripting. I’d like to build more structure into the reviews, tease elements that I cover or highlight later in the video. I’d like to structure them in a way sparks emotion, leans more into my passion, and poses questions the viewer might have about the music, the band, and/or the vinyl pressing.

Next is the editing itself. I want it to be more dynamic, more interesting, and more engaging. This includes more cuts with zooms and fades, more strategically relevant b-roll, and better color and sound editing. As I’m not using the fanciest of equipment or software, it’ll still be quite amateur (especially color and sound editing), but it’ll be better.

A great example of the edits and scripting changes I’m employing is the review I posted yesterday of the new Beach House EP, Become:

I would hope that you can see the difference in how the script comes out, the energy I display in the video, and the differences in editing between this video and others on my channel.

Testing Interrelated Content: Subscriber Boost

I had this idea last week and began to put it into play after the Andy Rourke video. The idea was simple, and it married two ideas from The YouTube Formula and from other content creators on YouTube. The YouTube Formula taught me about buckets. They also mentioned a series of videos. Other content creators talked about teasing future content.

If I have all these buckets centered around music and vinyl, why not leverage that in some form or fashion?

A viewer had requested a video ranking all eight Beach House records, and since the band just released an EP in late April, I figured they were the perfect band to try out. Here’s what it’s going to include:

  1. Vinyl unboxing of the Become EP by Beach House (published Wednesday)
  2. Album review of the Become EP by Beach House (published Friday)
  3. Beach House Albums Ranked Worst to Best (scheduled to publish Sunday)
  4. 5 Albums to Listen to if You Like Beach House (scripted, but still need to film)

I’d like to test this out with a handful of bands, and I’m hoping to do it in a way that includes a few different buckets. I need some solid data to tell me if this strategy is viable.

My hypothesis is this, based on what I’ve seen on my channel: unboxing videos and album reviews don’t really get a ton of traction, but the lists and countdowns pull better view counts. Finding the right order will be tricky too.

With Beach House, I started with the unboxing and album review, which probably should have come after one of the lists.

Thumbnail Frustrations: Improving CTR

Speaking of the unboxing and album review videos, neither of them have done very well. This is discouraging because I feel they show a marked improvement in both scripting, delivery, and editing from pretty much everything else on the channel.

Clickthrough is the percentage of people who click on the video compared to the total number who see it. A low clickthrough rate typically means the title or thumbnail could use improvement. Looking at the content I’ve created so far, my clickthrough rate does seem a bit low. This could be due to poor titles and thumbnails, or simply because I don’t yet have a solid following.

On the two Beach House videos, impressions do seem to be lower on than on other videos in the unboxing and album review buckets, which hasn’t helped. The clickthrough compared to other album reviews is about average, but I’d still like to see improvements across the board.

My hope is that the video ranking all eight Beach House records produces more impressions, more views, and better retention (including users continuing from the ranking video on to the album review one and/or the unboxing video). I have a feeling it might, but we’ll see…

Here’s the unboxing video:

Potential Journey Documentation

To wrap this up, another idea I had was to document this journey on YouTube as well. It could be an interesting subset of the music content. Sharing wins, discoveries, frustrations, and pain points could lead to some interesting engagement and community building.

I haven’t decided on this yet, as it doesn’t really fit the thematic elements of the channel. TBD…

Cracking the List-Building Code

Before I leave you, I’d like to share one more win. It’s a milestone, though a small one. The FensePost website is now growing an email list by about 10 people a day.

I may have shared this previously, but I’ll rehash it again. After 15 years of dormancy and never putting effort into creating a list, I picked up the effort in the past two months. I tried a handful of things, from popups to a lead magnet. None of it seemed to work.

Then I changed the call to action from all of that to “hand-picked, curated vinyl recommendations” and it took off! A few short weeks later, and it’s churning out a nice steady influx of new subscribers. Yesterday it crossed the 200 mark!

Next, I need to figure out how to monetize it both through the content I create on FensePost and YouTube, through affiliate links, and possibly more…

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