Did you know that 99% of YouTube channels never have more than a few thousand views?
What’re they all doing wrong? Aside from giving up too soon?
In this article, I’ll explain one of the basic rules for YouTube success:
The 4/1 rule.
The 4/1 rule will differentiate between a successful YouTube channel with millions of views and an unsuccessful channel languishing at the bottom of the search results with barely more than a thousand views.
In the following sections, I’ll explain:
- The big mistake most YouTube channels make and why you should avoid it.
- Why you should solve your viewers’ problems 4 out of 5 times.
- Why you should experiment 1 out of 5 times
- And finally, how to apply the 4/1 rule.
Let’s get right to it and start with the first section: Why making videos you like is a big mistake.
Are you only making videos you like? Big mistake!
Most YouTubers make a big mistake when they first start a new channel. But what’s that mistake? Usually, YouTubers who’re new to YouTube only make videos for themselves.
For example, your instinct is often biased when you start a YouTube channel. You think that just because you’re interested in a particular type of video, all other YouTube users would be interested in watching it.
Unfortunately, that’s simply not true.
Most Youtube ventures fail because you, the channel owner, wrongly assume that there’s a market for the videos you love to make. But there’s a problem with this way of thinking. There’s a really high chance that, even though you think your videos are helpful, the market won’t agree. Your target market may not need or want your videos. And if there isn’t a preexisting demand in the market for the video you are making, your channel will fail.
YouTubers make this mistake over and over again. They produce videos that no one is searching for, which don’t solve people’s problems.
And that’s the key to success on YouTube. You’ve got to solve people’s existing problem problems. Problems that they are actively searching for solutions to.
By creating videos that you like, you’re not solving anyone else’s problems. Essentially, you’re solving your own entertainment problem by creating a video that interests you and only you. The problem with this is that you’re not adding value to anyone in the way they want.
Most people on YouTube fall into this trap. They’re creating videos for problems that don’t exist. Why would anyone give you their time for a solution they don’t need?
The answer is simple: they won’t.
So what’s the alternative? Well, I’m going to introduce you to my4/1 rule.
This simple rule guides you in creating videos that solve real people’s problems and gives you a little wiggle room to experiment with your own video ideas. Let’s take a look…
Solve your audience’s problems 4 times out of 5
When you create YouTube videos, in most cases, you should create videos that solve problems for your audience. 4 out of 5 videos should be dedicated to creating such videos. And this is where my 4/1 rule for content creation comes in.
Basically, 4 times out of 5, or 80% of the time, you should create videos that solve your target audience’s preexisting problems.
For example, out of 10 videos you create, eight will solve a preexisting problem for your target audience. If you do less than that, your YouTube channel will likely fail.
You can determine the problem you want your videos to solve by doing some basic YouTube keyword research. I’ll write an article on keyword research in the future and create a course on YouTube keyword research.
For now, though, check out this great article on Backlinko. That should get you started.
A keyword simply represents the problem the person typing it into a search is facing. A keyword can represent any problem, from “How do I clean a pair of leather boots” to “What should I make for dinner today .”Each represents a problem in search of a solution. And your video should be the solution.
4 out of 5 videos you create should target these existing keywords. That way, you know you’ve created videos that solve preexisting problems for your target audience.
But what about the other 1 in 5 videos? This is where you can have a little fun. And I’ll explain that in the next section.
Experiment 1 out of 5 times.
As I said earlier, 4 out of 5 videos you create on YouTube should solve a specific problem for your target audience. These videos should provide a solution.
But what about the other 1 video out of 5?
Well, here’s where you can have a little fun. The 4/1 rule for content creation means that out of 5 videos you create, one, and only one, should be an experiment.
That experiment should still be in line with your channel’s brand. You shouldn’t experiment with kitten videos if you’re into hardcore Souls-like games.
Instead, you should experiment with videos in your chosen niche. For example, let’s say your target niche is BMW Z4 cars.
You find 4 keywords that provide a solution to the following problems:
- How to change the oil in a 2004 BMW Z4?
- How do I clean the hood of a 2003 Z4?
- Can bleach be used to clean the hood of a Z4?
- The best shift knob spare parts for BMW Z4
These look like Great problems that a dedicated Z4 channel could solve to get some video views.
Your experiment video could be:
- I tried to pull a caravan with my Z4. You won’t believe what happened!
Note that pulling a caravan with the Z4 is a bit crazy. 99.999% of the people who own a Z4 would never even think of towing a caravan with their convertible, let alone consider it.
But if you own a Z4, you’d likely find watching this video irresistible. I used to own a 2003 Z4, and even I’d love to see this video!
So an experimental video has to be something that still interests your target audience, something that’s so crazy they can’t help but watch and share it.
This type of video could potentially go viral, which is incredibly exciting.
But I must warn you: As fun as these videos can be to make, don’t focus your entire channel on them. If you do, you’re exposing yourself to doom as your video growth will be entirely dependent on luck. VIdeos like this don’t get searched for, and they don’t solve a preexisting problem. People will not find it in the search results. So you are reliant on the Youtube suggestion engine to suggest your video, which is not a viable strategy.
Instead, apply the 4/1 rule to your channel.
Below is a simple step-by-step guide to implementing the 4/1 rule for a new YouTube channel.
Step 1: Find 4 problems you can solve.
First, find 4 problems you can solve for your target audience. 4 problems you know your target audience are actively looking for solutions to.
When you first launch your channel, you should create 1 problem-solving video per week. Once you establish your video production process, you can increase video production to 2 per week.
To find problems, you need to do keyword research. I’ll be posting an article on keyword research and a new course soon, but for now, I recommend this great article on Backlinko. It’ll give you a rudimentary idea of how to do YouTube keyword research.
Try to find keywords for long-tail questions. For example:
- How to clean a carpet of baked beans
- Can I use a PS4 controller on the PS5
- How to clean leather boots
- How to tie a tie one-handed
These better represent the problems you are trying to solve. Plus, they make it easier to understand the solution you need to create.
Make sure the problems you find are related to your niche and fit your brand.
Step 2: Gather ideas for your experimental video.
Grab a pen and paper. Yes, you heard me right. You’ll need to take your eyes off your computer. Just for a little bit, I promise.
On the left side, write down some of the most important topics in your niche. Now, write down 10 funny situations or questions that come to mind spontaneously on the right side.
Next, for each topic on the left side, go through your list of funny situations, and on a separate sheet of paper, write down some ideas on how you could connect the topic idea to the funny/distracting situation. Continue with the ideas until you’ve gone through your entire list.
Step 3: Sleep on it.
When you’ve completed step 2, put the piece of paper on your desk or in a drawer and do something else. Come back to the paper the next day or the day after.
Step 4: Look at the list again.
Look at the list of ideas again. Did you think of any other ideas? Add them.
Step 5: Choose your idea.
Now you need to decide on an idea. Look at the paper with all your ideas and circle 3, and only 3 ideas you like.
Then take 3 sheets of paper and write 1 idea at the top of each sheet.
Start writing down your thoughts about each of the 3 ideas. You’ll begin to see a pattern. One idea will quickly excite you, and you’ll focus on it.
Keep going until you’re satisfied that you’ve filled in the idea on one side of the page.
Step 6: Start producing.
I will assume that you’ll create 5 videos over a month. So in the first week, you want to plan and make your first problem-solving video and plan your experimental video.
You should be able to plan your problem-solving video very quickly, and you know what solution and information the video must contain.
The experimental video, however, is a little trickier. So take the first week of the 4 to plan it.
In week 2, you should create another problem-solving video. And you should film the entire video for your experimental video.
In week 3, you should create another problem-solving video. And you should edit your experimental video.
In week 4, you should create another problem-solving video. And you should finish everything you need for your experimental video, such as thumbnails, titles, descriptions, and uploading.
Step 7: Start everything again.
By the end of week 4, you should have posted 5 videos. 4 problem-solving videos that solve problems represented by long-tail keywords and 1 experimental video.
In week 5, you should start the process all over again.
Below is a table that shows what actions you should take each week.
|Problem/solution video||Experimental video|
|Week 1||Video 1||Plan|
|Week 2||Video 2||Film|
|Week 3||Video 3||Edit|
|Week 4||Video 4||Post-production / upload|
By now, I hope you see the value of sticking to the 4/1 rule.
Four-fifths of the, you should be creating videos that solve specific problems your target audience has that are represented by long-tail keywords.
However, one-fifth of the time, you should produce a video related to your niche, but not one that solves a problem that your target audience is aware of. These videos should be more experimental, entertaining, and have the potential to go viral.
You should also keep in mind that you can expand the 4/1 rule. If you can produce more videos, use the 4/1 rule as a ratio, just like a recipe. 4 parts problem-solving videos to 1 part experimental videos.
If you produce more videos, the ratio might be 20 experimental videos to 80 problem-solving videos targeting keywords.
Finally, keep in mind that if you only create videos you want to watch, you are essentially leaving the growth of your channel to chance.
Take control of your growth. Be data-driven. Find your target audience’s problems and solve them by making a video they will love.
Do this, and you will grow your YouTube channel.