Matt Smith is a content creator. To date he's amassed over 650,000 subscribers on YouTube. His unique blend of comedy, social experiments and Q&A's has given him an opportunity to make YouTube his full-time job, with even more opportunities outside of YouTube on the horizon.
This is his story:
Q: Why did you decide to begin making videos on YouTube?
A: People assumed I had one because of my personality and animated facial expressions. Many of them kept telling me the same thing - that I “looked like a YouTuber” and “acted like a YouTuber”. I enjoyed making home made videos, but never thought about posting anything on YouTube before. After plenty of thought, I felt that I had something unique that I could offer to the YouTube community and create videos that would make people laugh and feel a little bit better when they’re having a bad day.
Q: When you first started posting videos on YouTube, were you ever nervous about what people would think of you or how you would be perceived by the public?
A: Definitely. It’s tough because you want to create videos based around things you enjoy (social experiments, pranks, sketches, etc) and build an audience of people who like watching you do what you enjoy. But you have to make adjustments which is why I would get nervous when I first started posting videos on YouTube. You’re essentially being graded on your work, which is measured by views, likes/dislikes, favorites, and comments. I am probably making it sound more extreme than it actually is but at the end of the day, we all want to get an A on our content.
Q: When you launched your YouTube channel, did you have any specific goals or expectations?
A: I mainly wanted to create a channel where people could watch comedic videos that would help them forget about any problems or stresses (at least for a few minutes) that they may have going on in their life. Besides that, my goals were to make YouTube videos full-time, work with some of the top YouTubers, and inspire people that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Q: You’ve been on YouTube for over 3 years. A lot has changed with the platform in that time-frame. How have some of YouTube’s platform changes affected your approach as a content creator?
A: YouTube changes have been geared towards a big picture mentality - which is awesome. With these changes, I have started to think with a big picture and long term mindset as well. For example, the changes in YouTube’s main page and each content creators home page has made the interface more “brand friendly” and it is more attractive for advertisers. It is something that content creators should have in the back of their mind as well; not necessarily for all of their videos, but you definitely want to have some videos on your channel that are “brand friendly” because it opens up the door for even more opportunities outside of YouTube such as television.
Q: If you could start over and re-establish your online brand, would you do anything different?
A: I wouldn’t have made some of the first videos that are and were on my YouTube channel. But all joking aside, sometimes you have to fail and make some bad decisions before you can succeed and start making some good decisions. I wouldn’t necessarily do anything differently, because it allows people to see the growth of the channel, the evolution of my videos (from a production and comical standpoint) as well as my personal growth as a person.
Q: Many people would like to earn a living as a YouTuber? Has YouTube alone given you the ability to earn a living or at least provide supplemental income?
A: YouTube takes care of their content creators. I have been fortunate enough to make YouTube videos full-time and I hope I can continue to do so for as long as time allows.
Q: Do you monetize your YouTube channel through YouTube’s Partner Program? If so, how do you feel about the program’s financial rewards?
A: I am currently partnered with a MCN. With YouTube’s Partner Program and the majority of legitimate Multi-Channel Networks, you get out what you put in.
Q: What creative process do you go through when trying to develop ideas for new videos?
A: I like to watch a wide variety of other content creator’s YouTube videos. I might be watching a video about cooking, and then I get an idea for a public prank or I might be watching a video about a public prank but then I get an idea for a sketch - it’s just the way my mind works. Hanging out with friends and hearing them talk also seems to contribute to my video ideas - my friends are all quite eccentric so they provide some interesting and entertaining ideas for videos.
Q: What does the future hold for you? Any interesting upcoming projects?
A: Many YouTube stars seem to be making the transition towards film and television, which is something I am interested in doing as well. If that were to happen, I would not simply neglect making YouTube videos, but would do my best to maintain both. Regarding any interesting upcoming projects, I have been working with some celebrities on various YouTube projects and am talking with a few producers regarding some television projects.
Q: What advice could you provide to others looking to establish a brand as a social media personality/content creator?
A: Pick something that you love doing and make it as entertaining as you can. The YouTube community seems to gravitate the most towards videos that are considered pure entertainment as well as videos that get deemed “out of the ordinary.”