How to get 1 million views on youtube ft James Jani
Written by: Dexxter ClarkJames Jani is one of the few creators on YouTube who managed to get 1 Million subscribers with only 18 videos.
3 million views [mega churches] ,
3 million views [escaping rat race],
4 million views [self help],
10 million views [money]
Out of the 18 videos, 7 videos have more than a millions views completely organic.
But James started, just like anyone else, with 0 subscribers.
Was he just lucky over and over again, or is there a method to the madness?
James himself describes his success as part luck and part strategy.
Lucky that he blew up so quickly, but he thinks would have happened anyway with his strategy. [broll: email]
All James’ viral videos use the 3 part formula for going viral on YouTube
I spoke to James about his success.
James says is was part luck and part strategy.
Lucky that he blew up so quickly, but James thinks it would have happened anyway with his strategy.
All james viral videos follow the a 3 part formula.
Part 1: broad audience
Part 1: The first element of the formula is: audience.
James started uploading in January of 2020, and he didn’t promote his videos on social media or anywhere else
His first video wasn’t a big success, it was only after his channel blew up that viewers backtracked his content.
But what made his second video and others go viral?
Primary necessities like food, shelter, procreation and money have interest of all people across the globe, because its a key ingredient to survival.
So making videos about money attracts a broad and large audience.
James’ first video was about education, and while education is on the top of a lot of people’s minds, it’s certainly less appealing to a lot of people than money.
For his first viral video, James did something really smart, at the time ,he piggyback rode on the buzz around the YouTube money-gurus scamming people.
Lifting on a trend is used by a lot of creators nowadays, meaning that there is also a lot of competition and becomes a less effective.
That trend-lifting doesn’t always get you millions of views, shows James’ video about YouTube comment scam, which also Thio Joe, Linus Tech Tips and MKBHD made videos about.
James did something else that was really smart.
James’ videos primarily focuses on getting a new audience.
On YouTube are basically 2 types of audiences:
• your core audience that watches every video you make
• a new audience
Every video James makes, stands on it’s own.
James assumes that nobody knows him or his videos, and doesn’t assume you’ve watched other videos of him.
This simple psychological trick makes viewers feel much more welcome to watch and to subscribe because they don’t feel left out as a newcommer, but at the same time wants more videos like this.
A channel-update video for example would be only for a core audience of a channel and would alienate a new audience.
It won’t make your channel grow, which should be the number one priority for a small channel.
Part 2: Make people click
The second part of the formula is to make people click.
Just like A product needs an attractive package, in order to sell.
A video needs to have a clickable title and thumbnail to get the view.
All james’ thumbnails abides by the 2 major rules of making thumbnails:
1) represents the content of the video by telling the story of the video in 1 image
2) it gives viewers a compelling to reason to stop scrolling and to click
[broll: thumbnail mega churches]
The storytelling in this thumbnail about Mega Churches is very strong.
Everybody knows the fresco of “The creation of Adam” by Michelangelo, where the divine touches the human.
Only 3 objects visually tell the story of giving money to god.
While the-exchange-of-money creates the strangeness and reason to click, the text and arrow give it the extra reason to click as a viewer.
It also sets the expectation for the angle of the video: when this happens it’s bad.
I’ll talk more about expectation in a minute.
The thumbnail in itself would be enough information for this video, but the title perfectly completes the storytelling of the thumbnail that it is about mega churches.
Good curiosity titles and thumbnails are the equivalent to the impulse buy of the chocolate bar at the checkout counter: you didn’t know you need it, until you saw it.
Mr Beast said that once that his thumbnail is more important than the video itself.
part 3: Make people watch longer
Part 3 of the formula is where James’ genious really shines: make viewers watch longer.
Because what James does is completely opposite of what most big YouTubers do, which he totally gets away with by the way he does it.
How long viewers watch is expressed in the audience retention graph with 2 important metrics: Average Percentage Viewed and Average View Duration.
When we look at James’ audience retention data from 2020, we can see that the you can go viral with an average percentage viewed of 46% on the 17 minute video “untold truth about money“.
While 46% is good, it is not even in the 10% of highest performing videos on YouTube as this table tells us here.
What remarkable is, is that James’s videos are all close to or above 15 minutes.
And have average percentage viewed close to, or above 50%.
But what does James do, to keep his audience captivated so they keep watching?
When you look at James’ titles and thumbnails you get a pretty good idea what the video is about.
There is no mismatch in expectation when you see the thumbnail and when you see the actual video.
The title and thumbnail are the only thing that viewers have, to judge a video on, before watching it.
Giving the viewer what they expect, makes them watch longer.
When we look at the mega churches thumbnail for example, it lays out the angle of the video: that megachurches are bad.
Before watching viewers know the angle, made their mind up about whether they like the angle, and click based on that.
In that regard there are no surprises that makes viewers want to leave.
Let’s talk about intros
Most creators lose 40-60% of their audience in the first 30 seconds of the video.
That means that 40-60% never have the potential of reaching the end of your video to get you more watch time.
And watchtime is one of the key metrics that the algorithm looks at to promote your video.
To prevent viewers from leaving after clicking, James confirms that viewers clicked on the right video.
In “The Untold Truth About Money” the first sentence is “let this circle represent one million dollars”.
It tells the viewer: this video is indeed about a lot of money.
James then goes a step further, because many people don’t grasp the concept of how much money 1 billion dollars is.
1 billion dollars is 1000 million dollars, and Jeff Bezos has 117x times that amount of money.
And then compares Bezos with you, the average citizen.
Within seconds we have 2 ingredients for a good storyarc:
1) The “why” of the video, the stake, the goal. “why has Bezos so much money and I don’t”
2) The emotion of “unfairness” or “anger” which gives you an extra incentive to keep watching.
And here James does something contradictory to Mr Beast, Mr Beast has really short 10 second intros.
James’ intros can be 2 minutes long.
Both Mr Beast and James Jani intros are packed with information.
The intro doesn’t feel like an intro because there is no fluff language like Hello, welcome back, like, subscribe, jump in the lake … which all signals to the viewer that a creator is only there for themselves, not the viewer.
For years, the trend on YouTube is to make quicker and quicker paced videos to keep viewers in the video.
But that is not what James does.
In fact James’ video are painfully slow in comparison to: lets say: Mr. Beast.
But how can he get away with that?
the real power of James’ videos lies in a strategy to keep viewers engaged until the last minute, the same strategy that is also used for books and movies: storytelling.
A story always revolves around some form of transformation by a hurdle that the protagonist needs to overcome.
This transformation can be informational, but emotional is even stronger.
The protagonist can be you, the viewer (for informational content), or the creator himself (for vlogs for example).
In “I confronted the YouTube comment scammers” the hurdle to overcome is the confrontation with the scammers, as viewers we want to know the outcome.
The scammer is the antagonist, the creator the protagonist.
The storyarc is the suspense of what the scammer is going to do or say during the confrontation, which could lead to anxiety or maybe anger by both viewer or creator.
And at the end you feel relieved, because people often feel either relieved or angry after a confrontation.
Communicating the hurdle in your title and thumbnail, like James does, gives viewers a reason to click.
James writes his videos in a way that viewers keep wanting to know things that are coming up in a video. James continuesly implies that there is more information.
For example: James uses a lot of there-is-more-language, like “the more I did X, the more bizarre things became”, “and then a glimmer of hope”, “my fun didn’t stop there though”
In “I Confronted the YouTube Comment Scammers” he could have made a video showing the confrontation.
But James made a backstory about the WHY this happens, WHAT these scammers do, HOW they do it.
James describes a problem with scam comments and talks also about a solution.
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Music Producer / YouTuber
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