How I Made A YouTube Video With 1 Million+ Views

Over the last few years of blogging, I generally haven’t “shown my work.” What I mean is that I’ll blog about happiness, success, meditation, and related topics. I won’t blog about the process of writing those topics, building them, SEO-ing them, and getting them to rank well on search engines and get a lot of traffic.

Based on suggestions from a couple people, I want to test out doing that. I have successfully accumulated millions of views across various YouTube channels I have run, including my main channel for personal development. I’ve achieved even greater milestones with my blog. How did I do that?

Today, we’ll keep it concise and focus on just YouTube.

How was able to get a video with over a million views?

Well, you don’t need a 100-page document of tips to do so. In fact, a few simple tips will get you there. Trust me. I learned this the hard way. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on YouTube experts like Tim Schmoyer and Derral Eves. I’ve been to Vid Summit. I’ve watched hundreds of YouTube advices by them and other top creators, like Mr. Beast. I knew all the tiny little technical secrets, like analyzing search keywords on YouTube for competitiveness score and using the YouTube card before everyone else knew about it to get an extra 1% of people to click through to the website.

But you don’t need any of that. There are tens of thousands of YouTubers with more subscribers than me, and they got there without any of these granular tips. Here’s all you need to know…

To explain these tips, we need to ask this question:

How did Jacksepticeye go from nothing to 1 million subs in one year?

According to this, starting around 11:30, 3 things:

Variety of content

So you don’t get stuck doing one thing and can’t move on. Your audience will get bored (may be specific only to video game channels) and those who only want one thing will force you to stick to it but it’s not enough of an audience to stick to it. Plus, you get bored yourself. This one’s more of a long-term tip. I’ve been on YouTube for 12+ years. I’ve seen many creators come and go. I remember when 100,000 subscribers meant you were #1 most subscribed on YouTube. Many of them are now gone or quit. Some couldn’t keep up the views when the trend died. Those who stayed relevant evolved with the times.

Consistency is huge (but quality of content is more important)

Uploads at the exact same time everyday. Audience floods the channel at that time because they know it comes up at that time. YouTube notices the flood and boosts it in ranks and recommended videos. Upload often, every week, every month, never stop. Most people quit after a couple months. Jack uploaded multiple times a day for years and has never dropped the ball.

This is the one tip I would almost disagree with Jack on. While important, I have to emphasize that you need to focus on quality of content first. I have almost 2,000 videos on my YouTube channel. Most have less than 100 views. Why? Because I just turned on the camera and started talking. I didn’t use a thumbnail. I didn’t have a script. It wasn’t engaging to people. If I had focused on making one video really good with great editing, thumbnails, b-roll, and so forth, I could’ve saved thousands of hours and got more views.

Luck & Interactivity with audience and fans

Ultimately, he says that it’s also a lot about luck and timing. He says a lot of YouTubers think they know but they really don’t. So true. Just like with the last tip, I’ve seen big YouTubers give advice about consistency, only to not realize they have survivorship bias. They quickly grew to a large following on YouTube, not realizing the nuances of what they’re doing or what others are doing. There are people doing the same thing as them who aren’t big. And there’s always an x-factor that people miss. Sometimes, it’s design skills, editing skills, filmography, or storytelling. Or just choosing a popular trend.

There are some things that are just weird ,and he doesn’t even know why it got so many views. He did a vlog on nature that didn’t do well initially but ended up accumulating 3.7 million views over the years. 

He engages a lot with his fans to build a community.

Really, all that matters is your thumbnail, title, and increasing watch time

That’s what the algorithm most cares about.

Honestly, any YouTuber who has succeeded in the last five years has done so because they have very well photo-shopped, clickable thumbnails, click-bait titles that they fulfill the promise on, highly popular topics, and very engaging topics that keep a higher percentage of people watching through to the end.

You didn’t need to watch hundreds of YouTube videos and tips like me. Just following that should get you there. And that’s really all the top YouTubers focused on to succeed whether they knew it or not.

Now, actually doing that is much harder said than done.

Ultimately, you need to emulate and study every second, every word, every animation of a top video in your industry. The first ten seconds are most important. That’s how they hook you. The topic they choose is important because that’s what keeps you there (think “I gave away $1 million” versus “I walked my dog”). You have to suck it up and learn about every animation, every transition graphic, figure out how they’re keeping attention and copy it with your own spin.

Also, a note about values…

Based off this video and others I have watched, it seems it is also important to draw the line with your values and morals. Jack said that he could have titled things more sexually but didn’t do so because it wouldn’t align with his values.

Plus, you can end up in a situation where you compromise so much that you rely on sexual or atrocious click-bait titles and when you don’t. you can lose views and lose your success. I have seen a lot of YouTube channels fail in this way. They went way too hard to trick users for views, and it ultimately backfired as their audience turned on them.

Too many channels sacrifice too much of their morales, values, and themselves just to get more attention. It’s not always worth it.

When you don’t want to wear female underwear, overreact, or collab with that person, but you keep doing it just for the views and money, that’s a red flag!

And on balancing passion with money…

He also has to balance games that his audience likes and he likes so he doesn’t get bored and he gets enough views.

If he gets a video that does well, he does more content that is similar to that. He also acknowledges that a video might not do well in the first week, but over the next few months, it just gets a ton of views for some reason. So don’t just measure success on too short a time period.

Putting That Into Practice with my Work

This is the most recent video I made that hit 1 mill.

Why did it succeed?

  • I sucked it up and put in some work to create a custom thumbnail rather than use a default still.
  • I chose a topic a lot of people care about.
  • I chose a listicle format with “5 tips” that usually tends to work well as a structure and keep engagement.
  • I had some credibility.

That’s it! YouTube’s algorithm isn’t some mysterious thing that just randomly chooses who to bestow their blessings on. It serves up what deserves to be served up based on demand!

Compare that to a typical video I make. Not as engaging or clickable. Just me rambling. Only 293 views.

Let me know your thoughts. What do you think made the second video perform worse? What would you recommend I improve?

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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

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