YouTube: How to get the Gold Play button

YouTube silver and gold buttons.

Last week, Google unveiled the Google Arts and Culture project titled: “Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya”. During the event, they also celebrated a number of Kenya’s YouTube content creators who have made strides in subscriptions.

The Churchill Show, for instance, with over 1 million subscribers was awarded the Gold Creator Award. Ten Kenyan YouTube creators who have hit 100,000+ subscribers were awarded the Silver Button. 

This might make you wonder how hard it is to make it to the silver button, or even gold. I drew some characteristics of successful YouTube stars from the creator’s workshop. 

Consistent posting

Think about PewDiePie, currently one of the biggest channel on YouTube, with nearly 103 million subscribers. He posts new videos every day or even two times a day.

That is easily the surest way to grow on YouTube. Of course, quality matters over quantity. It is important to understand the rate at which you can produce the videos.

Take your time as a creator to know your process and how long it takes, then let your audience/subscribers know about the frequency at which you will be posting the videos either in their introductory video or in the description of their channel.

Go further to make it a particular time and be consistent.

Content quality

Almost all YouTube channels from the top 10 most popular list, publish only content that has high production value. That is, content that’s recorded with a proper camera, on a well-lit setting, with good surrounding, and so on. Get a quality consumer camera, preferably one capable of shooting 4K video.

Your smart phone could be good for a start, but keep in mind video quality is key. If your content doesn’t look professional, viewers won’t take you seriously. This is especially crucial if you’re launching the channel for business purposes.

Standing out from the crowd

It goes without saying, YouTube stars do what other people don’t. Take the example of The Slow Mo Guys, they shoot all of their impressive and messy stunt-driven experiments in slow motion, which is a treat to watch.

Or Hebbars Kitchen, who makes quick and short videos covering the entire cooking process. Whatever your idea, make it interesting. Closer home, think about Wahura Kabutha who makes relatable but funny story times. Being yourself is the number one way to stand out.

Channel branding

When you hear “Jackie Jackie Jackie Jackie” what comes to mind? Jackie Aina’s viewers see a woman who unapologetically loves herself, and they feel attracted to her content.

How about “… welcome to the Slay Squad.” Watching Wabosha Maxine’s vlogs give you a sense of belonging, like you are personal friends. Make your viewers feel that.

International content

Understanding how money is made and how Cost per Mille (CPM) - the cost that an advertiser pays to show their video one thousand times - work is quite easy, summarised very aptly in Maxine’s 7-minute vlog and how much a Kenyan Youtuber makes.

On that same breath, one of the most popular channels on the platform today – HolaSoyGerman – is created by a man from Chile and is actually in Spanish.

YouTube has become an international craze, with virtually the whole world browsing to the platform on a daily basis.

Therefore, focusing on the language that’s native to you, your business, and your main market is likely to work very well. If you are up to the task, you can make content for a YouTuber in Cayman Islands where the CPM is the highest.

Delivering entertainment

Although there’s a handful of popular professional channels – ones focusing on various kinds of business-to-business content and tutorials, the top ten most successful content on YouTube incorporate some type of entertainment into your content.

Explains what gave Churchill the Gold play buttons and why ‘Bedsitter Chronicles’ and ‘MCA Tricky’ are so popular. People like to laugh.  

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