For the last 9 months I have been working as the Chief Creative Officer on all of MrBeasts Philanthropy Content, In layman’s terms, I make all the videos. Having come from 6 years of YouTube experience I felt I was well-prepared to take on the challenge of creating meaningful, purpose driven and story focused content. However there is a nuance between viral videos and story driven films. To go viral is one thing, but to go viral and make a cinematic film is another. I pride myself on making my films as good as they can be. Making sure the message gets across to the audience. But, to get across to a wider audience there are multiple techniques that are required to go VIRAL. By working with MrBeast I have learnt from the best, what it takes to create viral content. Starting from the thumbnail all the way down to the minor nuances in the edit right until the metric of the upload time. In today’s Blog I am going to explore what it takes to go viral, and unpack the 5 secrets and techniques MrBeast uses to create videos that get over 150 Million views EVERY TIME.
1. COLlaborate vs compete
Although he is the most followed individual on YouTube, he never let’s it get to his head. He understands that he is still young and does not know everything. Oftentimes he leans on multiple mentors in different fields of his company, whether it is business, storytelling, branding & marketing, psychology etc. He understands that he can’t do it alone and that is why he has over 200 employees. But remember he started all alone, in his bedroom with a shitty camera. Jimmy often invites other YouTubers around to Greenville weather they are highly followed or have a micro audience that he sees as an x-factor in to learn from, he values others opinions, I was very surprised when he asked for my feedback on the storytelling and flow of the edits, even for his main channel as I feel very insignificant to a YouTuber thats getting between 150 – 300m views a video. I won’t lie before starting my position there I had a very different understanding of Jimmy. I thought that he was the kind of person that just told everyone exactly what to do. Even with an unfathomably brilliant mind, he still takes advice from pretty much anyone. And on the other side of the coin he ‘gives back’ by helping grow tons of others’ channel’s by collaborating with them. I have been a part of his day to day schedule, but he constantly makes time to be involved in other creators’ videos, whether shorts or longer form.
The reason he is the best in the world is because he never ever stops learning. He never lets himself believe he is the best.
2. VIRALITY IS NOT AN ACCIDENT, IT’S A SKILL
As creators we often blame the algorithm for not going viral, or for the videos performing poorly to your standard. I know I do. Usually my best videos, the ones that I think are the best get the least views. This is so common with most of us. Although the algorithm has a major part to play in the virality of your content it is not the be-all and end-all.
At the end of the day, tough pill to swallow here, if your video did not perform well, it’s on you, not the algorithm. There are so many factors that come into play here.
- Your shitty title doesn’t correlate with your thumbnail which doesn’t correlate with the first sentence of your video.
- Don’t judge the performance based on your CTR – your click through rate, this does have a role to play, but it’s not as important as AVD – average view duration as well as the engagement (Likes, Comments & Shares) as well as how many people click through from the end of your video onto another one. This is super important. If you are the reason for someone staying on YouTube for longer, YouTube will favour that. Therefore you HAVE to give people a reason to stay.
- Dubbing in multiple languages. This is a no brainer, but you can use certain AI tools now that aren’t expensive at all, or if you can afford it, voice actors with the right cadence to dub your videos. The more languages = the more views.
- The churn. The churn basically means sticking to an exact schedule at the exact time. We have worked out that every 21 days works the best for the philanthropy while Jimmy is in the process of testing weekly when he can, but he always uploads at the same time on the same day. This also helps the audience know when to expect a video.
- And lastly, the length of the video. As long as the video is over 8:01 minutes long, this gives youtube the ability to place two ads throughout the video it obviously prefers.
3. identifiable characters
Throughout all of Mr Beasts videos there are the same characters. This helps us develop relationships with not just MrBeast, but with his supporting cast as well. They add the additional x factor and help with the banter. This also reaches a wider audience as there are so many more character types to relate to . You can also play around with using the most liked character later in the video to up the AVD as there is an expectation to see him / her. The audience starts to gain more and more insight into his personality and story as more and more videos come out. By having these characters we can allow our videos to have feeling and emotion, rather than just a montage of B-Roll. By doing this it definitely makes your videos easier to make as there is less pressure on you to act alone.
4. make movies to make more money to make more movies
This is something I have always lived by too. If the purpose of your content is to make the best video possible and do whatever it takes financially. If it means using all your budget (Outside of what you need to pay for on your day to day expenses/ monthly overheads) to outsource the thumbnail design to a freelancer, or spend on some props, then do it. The best investment you can make in the creative industry is in your brand. I always tell my team that if they need something that will make the video better, whether it is a LUT pack or even just a more comfortable chair to do work with, then buy it! If it will increase productivity and efficiency and overall satisfaction in the work place, the easier it is to create videos. Also the more money you invest in your videos, the more views you get, the bigger the brand deals are and the more you can invest – like a snowball effect.
5. storytelling = retention
The number one rule I have is that “Story Comes First”. Story is a very misunderstood term.
Story needs to have 4 elements:
- Identifiable characters,
- Significant moments,
- Authentic emotions,
- Specific details
You have to ask yourself. What is the story you are trying to tell, what emotion are you trying to convey and how will you convey it. Jimmy has started to adapt and evolve his content by adding more story. Previously, although his philanthropy videos had great ideas they lacked in story as well as aesthetic. One of the reasons he brought me onto the Philanthropy Channel was to try and convey the emotion that these films deserve to have. To actually make the audience feel something.
Jimmy told me that he is trying to bring this approach more into the main channel videos. Creating a story will not only create a more complete video but also build retention. Storytelling techniques like foreshadowing and conflict allow the audience to stay engaged until the end of the film. This also gives his videos more structure, a good story makes the video so much more pleasant to watch and will separate your videos from the rest.
So there you have it, the 5 Secrets I have learnt from MrBeast over the past 9 months. If you want a more in-depth analysis of this topic, watch this video that I just uploaded! Subscribe to the mailer below to stay up-to-date with our weekly blog posts as well as get notified as soon as one of these go live. Other than that, don’t forget – you’re awesome BRU and I’ll see you next week where we discuss: How to know when to GIVE UP.