Advice for Aspiring Tech Reviewers & YouTubers: Part 1

by Jon Rettinger | November 28, 2009

During my two and a half years on YouTube I have been lucky and fortunate enough to have achieved a small bit of success.   In that time, I’ve had my fair share of tribulations, and have learned a few things I’d like to share.  Since TechnoBuffalo is largely about giving a voice to the community I thought this would be an ideal place to impart some wisdom and advice.   To those of you that are subscribers to my YouTube channel, you may recognize some of these pearls, but in this series I am going to expand a bit more than what you’ve already heard.  I’m not yet certain how many parts this will have, but for right now, let’s call this part 1.

So you’ve just filmed your first video. Congratulations, that’s one of the hardest things to do (and something we’ll cover in subsequent sections).  It’s all uploaded, you worked really hard on it, think you did a fantastic job, and then you get punched in the stomach–no one watches it.  Dealing with and managing emotions during the early phases is one of the hardest things to handle, and one I personally struggled with.  You put out all this great content, but no one seems to care.  The easy thing to do, is just give up, and in fact, most people do.  I can’t tell you how e-mails I get saying “No one watches my videos, why should I even bother?”

This is the point where I usually ask people what their motivation for making these videos are.  If it is to be rich and famous, you are embarking down the wrong path.  The tech reviewing field is a very crowded one, and if you are looking to be the next Leo Laporte, odds are, you are going to be disappointed.  Sure, there are a few reviewers (Mossberg, Pogue, etc) who have done extremely well, but for every Uncle Walt, there are thousands who don’t make it.  If you are looking to build a steady audience, have some fun, interact with great people with like interests, and maybe, if you are lucky make a few bucks in the process, congratulations, you’ve made it to the next round.

The instinct I’d like you to fight while struggling to build an audience is to make five videos in five hours.  More content does not necessarily mean more viewers.   Better content however, will lead you to your eventual audience.  For all types of media, content is king. If what you are putting up is not your best work, don’t bother with it. Start over, and try again. Especially early on, you are going to have a small body of work in which you are going to be judged.  If someone comes across your videos, and likes what they see, they will subscribe.  You have to provide them something of value.  If your videos are just you looking extremely nervous, mumbling through your words people will not stick around.  However, if you are mindful of your speech, giving accurate information, and are concise, viewers will stay with you.  The moral here is that you often, especially early on only get one chance.  Be certain that your one shot, is the best one you have.

This is already getting a big long winded, but rest assured, there are many more parts coming up. The next in the series will continue this discussion about how to build an audience and deal with the hard times.  If there is something you’d like me to cover in future sections, leave a comment down below.

I hope you guys find this helpful.

Jon Rettinger

Jon, perhaps best known by his YouTube alter ego Jon4Lakers, has a love for technology that can never be quenched, no matter how hard he tries. If...