How I Got A 10,000+ view YouTube Video as a Small Creator

In addition to my freelance lettering work that I take on for my business AGF Design Studio, I publish educational videos for creatives to my YouTube channel of the same name. I create videos teaching lettering, digital art, and share product reviews. This article, however, isn’t about my hugely successful channel. As a matter of fact, at the time of me writing this I still haven’t qualified for the YouTube Partner Program. But, what I do have is a successful video that is driving steady growth on my channel.

And trust me, I know 10,000 views isn’t considered viral by any means, but for a channel like mine with less than 1,000 subscribers, I consider this a big win. So what have I learned from having a “slow burn” success video on YouTube that has over 10,000 views? Let’s jump in.

1. Subscribers ≠ Reach

I learned this first lesson from seasoned YouTuber and creative entrepreneur Roberto Blake. Just because someone has 100,000 subscribers doesn’t mean that every video they post will get 100,000 views. It might get more or it might even get less. I now know this from experience because my video tutorial, Adobe Fresco for Beginners is driving hundreds of views to my channel daily, reaching far beyond my own current subscribers.

I published this video on August 20, 2021. At that time, I had about 130 subscribers and 2,500 lifetime views on my channel. In the beginning, the video was performing typically for the around the first month. After Day 41, I could see the views gradually pick up and start to perform well outside of the typical range for my channel. Since then the views have steadily grown. So yes, even a small channel like mine can get traction on YouTube.

Views on my Adobe Fresco for Beginners video as of Jan. 15, 2022

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Prior to my Adobe Fresco tutorial video my thumbnails were kind of stale. I branded everything with my colors from my business, AGF Design Studio and didn’t allow myself to experiment too much. I definitely think that my thumbnail made a big difference in the success of my Adobe Fresco for Beginners video because it was completely different from any other thumbnail I’d tried before. Since then you can tell that I’ve continued to create thumbnails within that same look and feel.

Thumbnails on my channel before the Adobe Fresco video
Thumbnails after the Adobe Fresco video

I’ve also created more content about Adobe Fresco and similar programs that can point back to that video since it was already performing well. All of that to say, it’s okay to pivot to see what works and what doesn’t. As long as you’re being strategic, your channel will have a greater chance at success.

3. You need to know your analytics

It is never too early to learn about your YouTube analytics. If you want to understand in depth how your videos are performing, then you should get comfortable with your YouTube Studio. I’ve watched so many videos about how to decode your analytics and these are a few key metrics that all YouTubers should understand:

  • CTR/Click-through rate: When someone comes across your video on YouTube, do they click on it? Once you begin building your library of videos on your channel, you’ll start to notice trends. Within your YouTube Studio, you can tell how your current videos are performing based on previous videos on your channel. For my channel an average CTR is 5.5%. My Adobe Fresco for Beginners video has a CTR of 8%. When I see a CTR that’s lower than normal, that usually means it’s time to change the thumbnail so viewers will want to click.
  • Average View Duration: How long are people who do click on your content watching your video? View duration shows you how engaged people are who view your content. This is especially important for small creators like me that have their sights set on monetization. In order to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program you need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months. YouTuber Roberto Blake breaks this down in detail in this video if you want to learn more.
  • Traffic Source Types: Where are your views on your videos coming from? You’ve probably heard this before but YouTube is essentially a search engine. This means that you want to make video content that is searchable. How do you do that? Make content that answers a question that a lot of people have. This is where it helps to know your target audience. Who do you hope to attract and help with your content? Understanding this is what helped my video get heavy traffic coming from YouTube search.

To learn more about understanding your analytics, I recommend checking out this article and this video from the YouTube Creators channel.

Traffic Source Analytics from my Adobe Fresco for Beginners video

4. Anyone can make an impact

Like I mentioned, my channel had only 130 subscribers when the Adobe Fresco for Beginners video was published. I currently have about 580 subscribers. I’m still a small creator but from the success of this one video and others, I can see that any channel no matter how big or small can make an impact.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to read lovely comments on my videos saying that I explained things clearly and in a way that was easy to understand. The internet can feel impersonal at times and it's easy to forget that there are real people behind the numbers on the screen. If you do ever find yourself forgetting or even getting discouraged, go back to your “why”. Why do you make YouTube content and what are your goals? Even as someone who just started on the platform last year, I can still create content that provides value to others.

Comments from my Adobe Fresco for Beginners video

5. Be prepared

You never know when your video, post, or any type of content might “blow up”. There are plenty of creators who actually never go viral. And if I’m being honest, I’m really grateful that the success of my Adobe Fresco video has been a “slow burn”. The gradual success has allowed me to be more strategic with my videos and posting. And even if the probability of going viral is low, it never hurts to be prepared. Get comfortable with the YouTube Studio, have your videos planned in advance, and know your audience.

A Recommendation

To wrap things up I wanted to mention a service that I use service called TubeBuddy. It’s been hugely valuable to me and makes preparing and posting my videos a lot more streamlined. I have an affiliate link here if you’d like to give it a try: https://www.tubebuddy.com/agfdesignstudio. This will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you do end up signing up.

Also, if you sign-up with less than 1,000 subscribers you get a small discount on your membership. (Being a small creator has it's perks!)

I personally use a Pro license. This also only a personal recommendation and is not sponsored or a guarantee that your channel will start to grow overnight. I just like to recommend services that I actually enjoy and use. Now go out there and make some video magic!

Alanna Flowers is a freelance lettering artist & illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY where she runs AGF Design Studio. Feel free to connect via Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or her newsletter to keep up with AGF Design Studio, and to help grow our creative community.

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Alanna Flowers

Alanna Flowers

Brooklyn-based lettering artist & designer | Writing about creativity, community, and freelance | agfdesignstudio.com