Marketing Baby

YouTube marketing case study: Full-time Mountain Biking YouTuber in 3 years


Noah Kagan just released a cool video of a guy who used to be a web developer, was bored with his job, started doing a YouTube channel on mountain biking… and is now making a (very solid) full-time income form it. Here’s it is:

Here’s the cheat-sheet:

  • initially these videos were just a fun hobby, and he thought he might make a few extra bucks from it
  • but soon (about 10-15 videos in) he realized this could be much more
  • timeline:
    • 4 months: 100 subscribers
    • 6 months: 500 subscribers
    • first year: not making any money from the channel, while still publishing 2 videos per week (this was still a side-hustle; he was running his web dev biz)
    • couple months later: 10,000 subscribers! big spike
  • videos were always concise. “every second of video is a chance to lose the viewer”
  • making videos is a ton of work:
  • sometimes takes a whole day just to write a script
  • “these thoughts don’t come out completely organized. they don’t. i have to write it out and read it over a bunch of times to get it right.”
  • “after i’m done with the voiceover, i edit all the clips to the voiceover”
  • “when i go out and ride and I create 8 minutes of riding footage, that’s a couple of days of riding, and i have to go through all that and pick out the parts that are relevant”
  • story telling formula:
  • 1: always start with a premise (establish a scene; explain what the rest of the video is going to be about)
  • 2: main details of the story
  • 3: conclusion
  • 4: include all details everyone needs to know for the story to make sense
  • 5: remove everything that’s non-essential
  • how long it takes to do 1 video:
  • a 10-minutes mountain biking gear hacks video takes about 1 day to 1,5 days of filming + 1,5 days of editing. BUT the long part is coming up with the hacks—that takes months.
  • a 10-minute video with riding footage: go out in the woods, spend a couple of days on the bike, and hope a story develops. takes about 1 work-week to do 1 video
  • thing that worked surprisingly well:
  • 10 mountain bike hacks. “I was almost embarrassed to post it, but I couldn’t produce the type of video I normally produced.” […] “was instantly most popular video”
  • how you monetize:
  • YouTube ads (Google Adsense)
  • affiliate marketing
  • Patreon (exclusive content for monthly fee, currently $2)
  • merchandise sales
  • 1-time sponsorship (Squarespice, Dollarshave, Skillshare, etc)
  • channel sponsors
  • tourism (getting invited to events and getting paid for it, e.g. by state tourism agencies)

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