I have a diverse collection of business interests, including an online marketing company, real estate investments and more. I also have one of the fastest growing slot play channels on YouTube. That’s right, a YouTube channel.
I started The Big Jackpot to memorialize a pastime -- high limit slot play -- but it’s developed into an entrepreneurial venture of its own. My success with The Big Jackpot made me think of ways YouTube can be a tool for different individuals and businesses.
Below are the principles I’ve used to grow my channel and make real money filming myself doing what I’d normally be doing anyway.
You can benefit from YouTube
My channel may have come about accidentally, but you can set yourself up for success right away. Are you an expert in your field? Create tutorials talking about key topics. Do you perform a service? Demonstrate your abilities on video. Arts, crafts, fitness and technology are areas that lend themselves visually to YouTube, but anyone can get in on the action. Don’t overlook interests you’ve never considered a source of revenue, such as fishing, botany or playing video games. But remember ...
Consider your audience carefully. This is the single greatest factor in determining your earning potential. A channel about fidget spinners would be hot right now, but your target audience would be young children with no disposable income. Compare this to the The Big Jackpot, which draws an audience that’s 78 percent male, with 73 percent between the ages of 25-54. That’s a valuable demographic to casinos, who skew female and older, as do competing slot channels. So my channel can potentially deliver clientele casinos want to build, while other channels cannot.
To whom does your content speak? To whom is that audience valuable?
Content is king
To succeed on YouTube, you must produce quality content, and a lot of it. I go live twice a week, but also re-edit the footage to produce highlight reels each day. My subscribers get constant notifications featuring new and repackaged content. The rumors about millennials having short attention spans are true! You must consistently provide your viewers with a reason to check in.
Originally, I filmed my jackpots to post later on, when I had time. I had some subscribers, but my channel didn’t blow up until I started going live. I’m lucky that my show lends itself to live webcasts. I can film myself playing slots for hours, and my easily addicted fans stays tuned. But anyone with a message and a personality can retain an audience.
Establish your brand
I’d love to say I had it all figured out when I posted my first video, but I didn’t. You are going to refine your brand over time. What distinguishes me from other slot channels is high limit betting. None of my competitors can offer the same high stakes adrenalin rush, so I have a competitive edge. Your edge doesn’t have to cost money; it just has to be different. Create names and phrases associated with your channel. My habit of saying “boom” gave rise to the #Bomb Squad, which in turn spawned my logo, a fan club and a line of merchandise.
What sets you apart? Find a way to “do you.”
Leverage other social media platforms
The Big Jackpot is active on most social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. We update our website and send out newsletters. Sound like work? It is, but you need to be where people are, and people gravitate toward different platforms for various reasons. Also, to retain your audience’s fickle attention, you have to make them feel a part of something greater than themselves. In other words …
Engage, engage, engage
Engagement is internet speak for cultivating an active rather than passive audience -- one that comments, contributes, participates and likes and shares your videos. Respond to your messages. Promote new features, live events and guest appearances. Contests are a great way to build engagement. Many channels rig their contests to get more likes and shares; but I find this happens on its own. We give away cash or swag, and surprisingly, my room key and a high-end bottle of shampoo from my suite in Las Vegas generates a high degree of enthusiasm.
Here's another tip that doesn’t cost anything.
Listen to your viewers
I give my viewers many ways to contact me, including live chat during streams, YouTube comments, our forum, website, etc. I read every single message. Recently, a few fans complained that they dislike when we reveal the amount of the jackpot in the video’s title card, so now we take a more suspenseful approach.
Develop a thick skin
You’re not going to please everyone, so don’t even try. It’s your channel, your business, your brand, so you have to make the final decisions. There are lots of haters out there! The moment anyone goes down a hateful road, we delete their comments and sometimes block them altogether. (YouTube provides you with these super powers -- another benefit of the platform.) You want interaction, but take preemptive measures by blocking words that are inherently discriminatory or have no place in your online community.
No, you don’t need a technical background
I own an online marketing company, but I don’t have a degree of any kind or consider myself technically gifted. I learned social media the way your children or grandchildren do; by digging into it, hands on, and learning by trial and error. If I can do it, so can you.
Yes, you can make real money on YouTube
This is the part you’re interested in, right? For some of you, YouTube isn’t your primary driver. Perhaps you’re a consultant using your channel to increase visibility and sell services. My channel exists for its own sake, however; I’m not selling anything. So how do I make money?
Ad revenue is an obvious way. The better your subscriber base and demographics are, the more YouTube, in its algorithmical wisdom, will reward you. (Yes, I invented that word.) I make money through branding -- the sale of t-shirts and Jackpot-related swag -- which in turn promotes more branding.
Super Chats on YouTube, ticket sales to live events, and donation platforms such as Patreon, are other ancillary revenue streams available to almost anyone.
Sponsorships are a source of revenue that’s frequently overlooked. Startup products aiming to be the next Red Bull or Fireball often have sizeable marketing budgets, and once you’ve established a strong subscriber base, your opinion can shape others. Endorse products you believe in and be open to co-branding opportunities that make sense based on your YouTube statistics. This platform offers great analytics.
One of my goals is to book appearances at casinos. If I promote my appearance, bring real live gamblers to my events, and expose the casino to its core clientele, that has value. It could possibly revolutionize the way casino marketing is conceptualized and budgeted. Which brings me to my final tip -- don't aim small. Conquer the world.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors