How to not find an Audience on YouTube

As I’ve created more videos, I’ve learned how NOT to find an audience on YouTube. The content that has performed the worst in terms of views are videos about myself (like vlogs). I think the reason is that no one in the world is searching for “Jeff Wong”. As fun as it is to document my life through video and share it with friends/family, that audience will not help the channel grow on YouTube.

The second kind of content that doesn’t do well are my hiking videos. Again, those are closer to vlogs, and they don’t offer any call to action or benefit to watching at the moment. I like doing them, but there’s nothing in them that people are searching for, in terms of education or entertainment. However, I joined a Maryland Facebook hiking group, and when I post my videos there, they tend to get a nice bump in traffic… but the growth usually flattens out after 200 views.

So far, the videos that have performed the best on my channel are related to reviewing Ciele Hats and talking about the Tonal. The Ciele Hats seem to continue to grow linearly (up and to the right) long after I post it. The funny thing is that I’ve spent the least time editing and putting those together. The Tonal videos seem to do fairly well too, but they require a little more editing and thinking. The reality is that most people probably don’t care to watch an average middle aged asian guy work out on the Tonal… so I’m going to need to bring more to the table than just that.

As for the Ciele hats, I may need to continue to do more reviews. And as part of it, I may order another couple hats. Hah! We’ll see what happens over the next few weeks as I experiment more. I’m also going to start posting some reviews about the Peloton equipment I have.

Until then, check out this hiking video I created recently. It’s totally docile, but it’s just for us to watch. It’s not designed to grow the channel—it’s purely to document the hike for myself.

A Slave to the Attention Economy

As I create more YouTube videos, I find myself looking at the analytics… trying to understand what people want to watch. Sometimes it’s a painful reality to see drop in views in a particular part of video—maybe it’s because they don’t care about my opinion or I’m getting boring. I found that most drops happen when I have longer shots of a landscape… which is a bummer, because that’s what I like the most.

But I think that I’m going to keep creating the content I want, rather than be a slave to the attention economy. I will certainly create content that will cater to YouTube, but I also want to continue making my own kind of videos to document my life. I think there’s more value in having videos to watch later on in life than having tons of people watch my videos.

In a world where every app is fighting for seconds of your attention, I think I need to be careful about playing into creating content that is only curated to grab attention. Yes, it’s important to retain viewers, but it’s more important to have a way to express myself and explore.

Here are some screenshots of a hike I did with Annie at Blackhill Regional Park a few weeks ago. The lighting is kind of crap because there was a ton of overcast,but we still really enjoyed it. We actually ended up finding a nice wild flower bed along the hike. Here are some stills pulled from the video:

Watch the video here.

The “LeBron + Tonal” test worked

The numbers are early (it’s been 24hrs since I’ve published), but the LeBron + Tonal video has gotten more views than any of my other videos in the first round. What’s ironic is that I put in very little work into this video in terms of editing, planning, etc.

Normally, I wouldn’t care to create content like this, but I liked sharing my opinion about it as well—why using LeBron as a endorsement isn’t very relatable for me. So I was able to capture something that performed better than my regular videos because it was timely, and it seems that people are searching for that specific kind of content.

The question is what I can do on my next video, and how can I step it up a little. I’m going to be publishing some more tests soon to see if this is the way to hit the YouTube algo.

“LeBron James”+ “Tonal Home Gym”

I got an email from Tonal this morning that announced LeBron James is endorsing their product. I don’t really watch basketball, but I thought it was interesting. I’m if they’re trying to target more men to use the product.

When Annie and I first bought the Tonal, she was the one that was originally interested in it. I wonder if LeBron James will be relatable for her and other women.

I spent very little time creating this, but I figured it could do well since it hits a couple of search terms that are timely and relevant. I’ll report back on the performance soon.

Check out the YouTube video here.

Getting from 0 to 1 on YouTube

0 to 1 is a term that we use in early stage companies, expressing what it takes not just to get users, but to find an audience that is genuinely engaged with the product (either through retention or a person that pays). This is one of the hardest things to do, and there seems to be some symmetry on YouTube.

As I’ve tested out creating different kinds of content, I believe I need to start with creating content that is tied to my passion—things things that I could talk about indefinitely. The second part is finding trends that are growing and and audiences that are relentlessly searching for more content around those topics.

Over the last videos I’ve published, I’ve covered topics around weight loss, fitness, diet, and some unboxing/product reviews. The ones that have performed the worst are vlog videos, most likely because people are not searching for it… and the things I’m vlogging about are not really viral or trendy. The ones that have performed the best are my reviews around running hats and the Tonal.

👆 This from one of my vlogs recently. Blue line that’s flattening is where it grew from a facebook post I did in a Maryland hiking group. This enabled it to grow above my typical video engagement, but it flattens out after a week since it’s not something that people are actually searching for on YouTube. This is content that I enjoy creating and editing because I feel like it connects with my friends and family (and hopefully new people)… but the reality is that this kind of content (for me) will have a hard time reaching thousands of views. I’ve done vlogs in the past, and the most they’ve ever reached is a few hundred views. I’m grateful for the engagement, but it’s not enough to make YouTube an actual “thing” for me.

👆 This is a video I made two weeks ago that’s a 35 minute workout video about Tonal. It not only has become one of my better performing videos, it has the longest watch time. When I first posted the video I was very discouraged because it didn’t have any viewers… but after a few days, it started to organically gain traction through YouTube searches. The most interesting thing is that people are actually watching the entire work out. Yes, people are actually watching 35 minutes of me using the Tonal.

👆 This an unbox review of Ceile Hats I bought about 2 months ago, and the vews are still growing. I initially published it to Facebook (for my friends to see), but no one really liked or cared about it. As you can see, the audience that’s watching it is certainly there as the line graph continues to grow up and to the right. There aren’t too many people creating content about Ceile or specilized hat gear, which begs the question:

Is YouTube how people shop for expensive things? My hypothesis is that people want to see other people (like themselves) give an unbiased review of a product that they’re considering buying. The videos help them justify the product’s high price, as well as understand the pros/cons of the purchase. All is not to say that YouTube is only for product reviews, but it seems that the search algorithm is pushing my content to new viewers.

The next step for me is to continue testing more content around reviews, products, and potentially different styles of delivery (like comedy, no punctuation, ASMR, etc). As I create more content, I’ll be able to hone in the trends and align them to what I’m passionate about.

More on this soon. To watch these videos, you can go to

Accidental Trail Run

I was doing a longer hike at Little Bennett State Park on friday, but it started a little on the late side. I ended up getting caught in the woods with 3 miles to go. Fortunately, I brought a head lamp and was able to run back to the car with the remaining light, though it was getting pretty dark. You can’t really see how dark it was in the video because I set the ISO to 12,800 with my f2.8 lens. The results are amazing though, and I’m pleased with each new video I’m able to create.

Here are some screenshots of the video. It’ll be up in a week or two—I’ve gotta throttle the amount of videos I put out so I’ve got a constant stream of content for the peoples.