Legacy Content & Viral Videos: My 2015 YouTube Strategy
Viral Videos and Legacy Content

I originally launched my channel in 2006 with a limited knowledge of video production and some good ideas. I managed, through some sort of alchemy, to build consistent viewership (hitting 1 million in 2007). By 2011, my production skills vastly improved, I was producing about 2 videos per month. But this pace was difficult to keep, and I began to burn out. In 2012, I threw in the towel and moved across the country.

Razmig YouTube 2006

During my break I spent a lot of time working in content operation and digital strategy roles professionally. I soon realized this strategic aspect had been missing from the promotion of my own channel and I decided to start writing/producing again for myself, this time with a different more studied approach. I crafted a channel strategy based on the Hero, Hub, & Hygiene framework and began posting on January 1st, 2015.

Set Goals, Be Ready to Adjust in Either Direction

Initially, I set out to upload 24 videos, with a targeted viewership of 50,000 for the year. This would have to be adjusted after posting my third video, “#@ATTHEGYM”, which hit 450,000 views within the first 3 days.

Despite crushing my viewership KPI within the first month of the year, I learned how much harder it is to run a YouTube channel as an adult. With a full time job and additional obligations, 2 videos a month was overly challenging. I decided to rework my release strategy to accommodate. I reduced my expected output to 16 videos, which would mean long breaks without fresh content.

Cutting Cheese

“Cutting the Cheese” (2009) became my 5th most viewed video (13,650 views) in 2015.

Highlight Legacy Content

To make up for the frequency I would lose in the newly adjusted release schedule, I began highlighting legacy content to gain new viewers and fill that void through various methods. One area I found success was with GIFs, which act as a preview for the video and is a smaller commitment to passive viewers.

“Cutting the Cheese”
(a 20 second video from 2009) became my 5th most viewed video (13,650) in 2015. 6 years is a long time, and with over 300 hours of video being upload every minute, it’s easy for old content to be buried. When highlighted through social media in GIF form, within new videos (annotated/end card), and within niche communities across the web, it becomes new content to first time visitors. In this case, the video organically ended up on a niche subreddit which resulted in the bump in traffic.

Repurpose Old Footage

I also was able to sift through old and unused footage to create new content, saving time and bringing back some great memories in the process. I was able to capitalize on the buzz of Jurassic World with something shot in 2010.

With the success of my hero videos (which received coverage on Huffington PostMTV News and Yahoo Movies), it’s not surprising they accounted for 88% of my viewership this year. However, it was both surprising and rewarding to know the hours I poured into videos from 2006-2011 weren’t wasted. Simply updating titles, tags, and thumbnails on older videos resulted in an increase in viewership, so spending some time curating and caring for that legacy content was really worth it.

Razmig YouTube Views 2015

Views & Watch Time: 2015

2015 year end stats:

  • 16 Videos
  • 822,042 views
  • 1,000 new subscribers
  • 3,267 Likes
  • 500 Comments
  • 2,000 shares

Looking forward to 2016!

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