How I Use YouTube Shorts To Grow My Niche Brand

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I want to bring you in on something I’m tinkering with at the moment.

You probably already know what these are, as just about every social platform (except Twitter, so far) is doing them to maximize user retention.

They’re called shorts. Sometimes called reels.

It’s like the new stories, except this time they show in the regular feed.

Every podcast host and creator across any field you can imagine is doing them to repurpose content, engage their viewers more, and even reach new audiences.

And yet, this content type is still untapped on some platforms. Instagram was on it early with Reels. But Facebook is apparently still lagging behind, with the OG Social Network giving mighty boosts to any creator that uploads reels directly to it.

My main focus, though, is on the currently underserved YouTube Shorts.

I read recently that YouTube is launching monetization for creators’ shorts around February 2023.

So that means it’s not just regular long-form and editing labour intensive videos that will be able to earn a share of the ad revenue come early 2023.

As I understand it, it’s going to work a bit like TikTok. Every creator that meets monetization requirements will be added to the pool of creators who earn a views-weighted share of the money from advertisers. Except it’ll be better revenue sharing than TikTok.

But as I see it, that’s just one side benefit for doing YouTube Shorts NOW to be ready for the monetization potential.

The main reason for doing it, for me, is as a channel growth reactor.

Shorts can help to build your subscribers faster, with much less effort required on editing. Shorts are, by their nature, short in length (<60s) and can be very flexible in quality and playfulness which makes them much easier to make.

You don’t have to make a masterpiece for each Short. In fact, I’ve half-assed a short in less than 2 minutes and got thousands of views on it.

It’s all about the audience type you can create your Shorts for

For some niches, it really is a gold mine to reach your target audience.

And if you can reach them with Shorts, you have a chance to convert them into a subscriber – and possibly more.

When users see your shorts, the “Subscribe” button is very visible at the bottom of each short. And if the viewer likes your content, there’s a decent chance they’ll become a subscriber.

The YouTube requirements for monetization at this time are 1,000 subscribers. And the public watch hours requirement is 4,000 hours (Shorts do NOT count towards this!).

So my strategy at the moment is to publish Shorts every single day to boost up to 1K subscribers as quickly as possible. There may be some long-form videos going alongside that but the primary focus is on Shorts.

Then, once I’ve hit 1K subs for the channel I can switch the strategy to focus back onto long-form video content. This will help the channel to reach the 4K public watch hours requirement for full monetization of the channel.

Your public watch hours requirement is only counted by long-form full videos. Not Shorts, yet. Maybe it will change, IDK!

When both of these requirements are met, then I can activate monetization on the channel and benefit from additional ad revenue for my brand in both full videos and Shorts.

The BIGGEST reason for doing this

To build an even bigger and stronger brand around my niche that will improve signals for ranking the niche website.

I’m sure you’ve seen some creators and niche site builders talk about this, and I really think it’s important if you want to beat the biggest competition. It’s about making a social brand that puts itself at the front of the pack as a quality, trustworthy, reputable, and entertaining brand that people want to see.

You can’t always expect to beat the competition in Google’s rankings for your website unless you are putting a lot of effort (or money) into building backlinks.

But you can engineer a lot more authority by becoming a popular brand on social media (and YouTube is technically a social platform among other things).

So how the hell am I making YouTube shorts?

Well, I tried it myself a couple of times. I used the native Remix feature inside of the YouTube app to borrow anothers’ video and create my own 15 second mix of it. This worked pretty well and grabbed 2K+ views within a day.

If you pick something topical/newsworthy and put a spin on it, this could work easily. You just need to be on top of the latest news in your niche and keep browsing for content like that.

That’s one way of doing it. But it’s not very easily scalable or outsourceable.

So, instead I tried making a simple short myself on Final Cut Pro (I have editing skills, though it’s really not highly necessary to make them) and uploaded that. Again, 1.5K+ views – pretty good.

(By the way, this is all on a channel that only had a few regular full length videos and less than a dozen subscribers originally. YouTube Shorts get spread out to the masses and your reach is far greater/easier!)

I then tried hiring someone on Fiverr. I gave them a list of ideas and it seems like they didn’t actually want to have to edit anything and instead were planning on user the former method (remixing other peoples content for 15 second clips). That could work some, but I am aiming to create 30-60s Shorts that are more engaging and somewhat customized (like adding captions and emoji and etc). That didn’t work out for me.

Then I happened to contact one of my previous writers (whom I found via OnlineJobs.ph) to see if they had any interest in this role. They had mentioned they had an interest in photography in the past, but it never went anywhere.

I had the assistant create a couple of samples, and to my surprise they were great. They knew exactly what I was trying to do, being a regular consumer of this kind of content themselves. This is one of the benefits of hiring people who know your niche; they are IN the niche themselves.

And now, we’re 12 Shorts in. And these are the results so far:

That’s 21.5K+ views that were never there before, plus an extra 20 subscribers. I posted my first (poor) Short attempt on 18th November. Two weeks later, it’s all upwards.

Some Shorts I’ve posted don’t hit right and they get less than 1K views… but some work really well and I can expect between 1.5K-2.8K views.

Shorts performance so far

Here’s a look at some of the top performing Shorts stats so far:

As you can see, the shorter they are, the way higher the watch duration percentage is, generally speaking. Shorts demand short attention spans, so getting your engagement tactics into the Short within the first 5-10 seconds is critical. Maybe even quicker than that!

My ex-writer, now Shorts extraordinaire, is creating a couple of Shorts every day and I’m currently posting once per day (typically).

I’ll keep doing this while we continue to work out the kinks in our process/workflow, and eventually I plan to hand over the keys of my channel to him and give him full creative control over Shorts output.

I know he knows the niche, and there’s clearly so much demand out there for this content. It’s a gravy train and it’s time to jump on it!

This might not be applicable for everyone, or every type of niche. But I’d encourage you to give it a try. Commit yourself to setting up a YouTube channel if you haven’t already, and create 5 Shorts and upload them. Just 30-45 second videos is enough.

If you have “topical” or “news” worthy content in your niche, jump in on that. The fresher the better. It does require you to be somewhat proactive; but luckily the output requirement is really low. You can make Shorts in less than 30 minutes!

For me this is one small step towards building an authority brand in my niche.

Not just a niche site that runs some ads. That sucks. I don’t want that.

If, like me, you want to be THE authority in your niche space; then look to these kinds of extra curricular activities and let me know how it goes for you!

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