How To Improve YouTube Category Feature

The video I made two weeks ago entitled “How To Improve YouTube” is spotlighted for the next seven days in the HowTo & DIY Category on YouTube. The video, which includes suggestions compiled from over 100 different YouTubers, has received a bit of attention from both users and YouTube staff.

It’s time to make a few more video responses if you’re interested. You know now you’ll have the ear of YouTube. =) Thanks to both Sadia and Damien for making this happen.

The most frequent private message I receive on YouTube asks, “How did you get ________ to appear in your video?” After writing and appearing in numerous collaborations with some of the most popular viral video makers on YouTube, I’ve formed a bit of a stock answer to these PMs. When I’m feeling coy, I simply reply, “I asked nicely.” But when I have time to write a proper answer, I explain much of what follows:

  • ALWAYS have a solid idea for a video before contacting anyone about collaborating. YouTubers spend enough time as it is writing and creating their own videos; they will be much more likely to work on a collab with you if you have a plot/story/concept that you can easily explain to them.
  • ALWAYS set a deadline for when their footage should be in your e-hands. If two different subs contact me about making a video with them, one who wants the footage by next Friday and the other who wants it “whenever I get a chance,” it’ll probably be a while before the second person gets anything from me.
  • SOMETIMES it helps if your collab concept fits into a plot thread the other video maker has already commented on. When I asked Spricket24 and Nalts to appear in my prank calling video, the two of them had a faux e-fight raging on YouTube and I was able to work it into the script, making it more relevant and fun for both of them to participate.
  • NEVER be demanding. You’ll need to be persistent; people are generally busy and forget things. Sending occasional follow-up or reminder emails is okay. But, accept that it’s also okay for whomever you’re contacting to say “no,” or to not reply at all. Not everyone wants to participate in the community or collaboration videos. Always be polite when contacting people – don’t burn bridges.

Of course, there are a few technical issues you should keep in mind as well. Make sure you ask for file formats and compression codecs your video-editing program can open. If you’re on a Mac, you may not be able to use .wmv files, for instance. What about the aspect ratio? Videos look more cohesive if they remain in one aspect ratio (4:3 (fullscreen) or 16:9 (widescreen)) throughout. If these are details you’re concerned with, make sure you mention that up front.

Finally, be kind in your editing. Some will send more than one take so you can choose which best fits the scene. Others will pre-edit their material before sending it; you should respect those edits and not chop up the footage any further. Large video files can be sent easily using host sites/programs such as yousendit.com or Pando if you don’t have your own server.

Remember to have fun with it. Collaborating is a great way to work with the viral video makers whose work you enjoy. Collaborations can also expose your audience to new channels or personalities, and in return, their subscribers will have the opportunity to see you. If you have any questions or other suggestions, contact me on YouTube:
youtube.com/fallofautumndistro

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fallofautumndistro has written for and/or co-starred in his videos with IanCrossland, MikeSkehan, MysteryGuitarMan, Nalts, Mr. Safety, Spricket24, sxephil, vlogbrothers, WhatTheBuckShow, Woody and Greg from HBO’s Man In The Box and many others.