Over the last 2-3 years, I’ve been doing a YouTube channel pivot. And I have some hard-learned lessons I want to share with you if you’re thinking about pivoting your YouTube channel or wondering if you can pivot your channel in order to grow on YouTube.
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YouTube Channel Pivot
So last year, I un-listed some videos here on this channel and moved something around 140 blog posts from my main blog at VidProMom.com over to a new niche site at VidProHero.com. I did that because over the last 2 to 3 years or so I’ve been pivoting this YouTube channel, and I have some hard-learned lessons that I really want to share with you.
Maybe you have a channel that you’re thinking about pivoting or wondering if you should just start a new one. Also, maybe you’ve been wondering why I don’t create GoPro content anymore? So when I started this blog and YouTube channel, back in 2014-2015, my intention was to create videos and content around how to create videos with your iPhone, with your DSLR, or perhaps with your GoPro for like family vacations and family memories. In simple terms, how to edit videos as a hobby. Even though I always intended to branch out and talk about iPhone & DSLR video creation as a hobby, it was really the GoPro topics that I could see, keywords-wise and competition-wise, were really going to be the most viable for my channel.
My YouTube GoPro Content
People watched the videos, they commented, and they subscribed. People wanted more and I obliged because that’s how you grow a YouTube channel. It’s the Spider Web Effect that I teach inside of the Video Pursuit Society. You stick with one topic, cover everything you can, and then build on that. But I got really bored of creating GoPro content, it would have been so easy and so simple to just keep going with the same content. GoPro creates a new camera like every single year. All you have to do is create the same videos but with the new model every single year. It’s so simple and easy that it’s almost like cheating, and I got bored with it.
I got bored creating the videos, I got bored answering a lot of the same questions over and over again. And personally, I really wanted to talk more about the business side of content creation. That’s what was really on my mind and what I was feeling really passionate about. I wanted to create videos about that. So I’m debating whether to tell you first what I did to pivot or tell you what I wish I had done differently because there really are some things that worked in my favor. Also, there are some things that really didn’t.
What I Should’ve Done
So honestly, what I wish I had done, which kind of hurts to say this because I don’t think there was anything or anyone that could have made me change my mind at the time. But I kind of wish that I would have just kept my existing channel as is and then started a new channel. Don’t get me wrong, the thought definitely crossed my mind. But I didn’t do that. Knowing what I know now, like looking back, I can spot some pretty obvious and major red flags that I just didn’t see before. I didn’t know what to look for at the time. Like the fact that most of my YouTube content was GoPro specific. But some of it was exactly the type of content that I wanted to create like video editing for beginners and things like that.
VIDEO: Oops… My YouTube Channel Pivot Problem
To me, I was thinking, “Well, I don’t want to just walk away from that,” right? There are views on some of the types of videos that I want to create. And it kind of killed me to think that I was gonna walk away and start fresh. I don’t know why I thought of it as walking away or thought of it like I was giving up. Also, I could have just left it for a bit. I could have published a video that said, “Hey, I’m starting a new channel talking about XY and Z. If you want to join me, come on over. But I’m going to take a break from the channel for a bit!”
Why I Considered YouTube Channel Pivot
I couldn’t make sense of it at the time because I was putting so much meaning into walking away. It felt like I was quitting or giving up so I was making it mean something negative. I was letting that contribute to the decision of whether to pivot or start a new channel and it’s funny now that my past self was seeing this decision as like a negative quitting walking away type of thing. When my current self, with the knowledge and experience that I have now, I’m seeing it as like, “Well, that actually would have been a really smart business move.”
If you had had the guts to pull the trigger, then the big red flag that says “DUH” on it, can’t be ignored. It’s the fact that my channel was growing with the content that it had. So it was growing in terms of viewers and subscribers and building an audience with the content that it had about GoPro. I was completely blind to the fact that the channel would continue building an audience of people who were finding me because of the GoPro content.
So in a way, it was like my gut is fighting against itself. I’m trying to swim upstream as I’m trying to build an audience with some new topics. I’m still getting an audience on the old topic. You might be wondering, what’s the big deal? So you were right. But the people finding me from my old content, the GoPro content, are not going to be interested in my new content. Why didn’t I see that? So what did work? What did I do, right?
Un-listing Some Old YouTube Content
First of all, I un-listed my GoPro-related content and some other content. But for some, I just turned the comments off. There are some videos that I saw continually bringing in viewers, but they just weren’t the audience that I wanted on my channel. The way that I knew that was mainly from the comments that I was getting on the videos. I looked at the analytics of those videos to check, are they bringing in subscribers? Are they bringing in revenue? What are they doing on my channel? With that, I found the ones that were just not aligned with the content that I wanted to create. And those that just bring comments that I knew this isn’t the audience that I want to attract.
I knew that they weren’t contributing to the growth in terms of subscribers, or in terms of revenue, but they were still driving views, right? For example, I have a video on why Facebook videos are bad or blurry. There are a lot of views. But the comments are just mainly people complaining that my video didn’t help solve the problem. That they just didn’t like Facebook. There was literally Facebook sucks, etc. You’re not wrong. But I just didn’t want to see those comments anymore. It’s the topic, not the viewer, is what I’m building my channel around. I didn’t just delete it from my channel. That video has over 300,000 views on it. If I’m linking to it on my blog, which I did with an old blog post, it’s not completely gone.
The content is still there, but it’s not showing up as a search result. Therefore, it’s not driving traffic to my channel. There were some GoPro-related videos that have a lot of negative comments, probably because the video itself just wasn’t that great. It wasn’t that valuable. I didn’t teach what they wanted to know, I didn’t explain things in a way that made sense. People will let you know in the comments, and you can learn from that and you can move on. However, you can shut the comments off so you don’t have to read them anymore.
Figure Out What Content To Create
Some of the videos that I turned the comments off or unlisted were videos that showed up in my top 10 highest performing videos in that time. That leads to the second thing that I did right. That is how I figured out what to create on my channel. And if you found my channel because of a GoPro-related video I did and you’re still here, I love that. But I didn’t want to attract more GoPro people who are going to expect more GoPro-related content from me, right?
It’s not that I don’t want GoPro people on my channel. Looking at my top 10 videos for a certain timeframe like the past 90 days, I can see that I had a couple, or maybe one, that wasn’t GoPro related. I think it was the iMovie export settings. That video was doing really well on my channel. I think it was like number three, and it had nothing to do with GoPro cameras. So I did an updated version of that, and then eventually I did a whole series of iMovie-related videos.
Those initial ones were doing so well on my channel. Over time, more videos that were on the topics that I wanted to create, started showing up in my top 10. That is what I wanted to see. I remember the day I logged in and saw that there were no GoPro-related videos in my top 10. And I was like, “Yes! It’s working.”
Related: Business By Design James Wedmore
Move Other Blog Posts to a New Site
The third thing I did is not necessarily YouTube-related. But I took all of my GoPro-related blog posts and moved them to their own site. I actually had my assistant do this, Elisha. It took him a few months little-by-little to move things over. So there’s very little or possibly no GoPro-related content on VidProMom.com anymore. It’s all on VidProHero.com. And so, what I did was I started that as its own niche site. We moved the GoPro content over and redirected everything so that I’m not losing traffic.
I am kind of losing traffic, but I’m siphoning it over to the new site. Then, we created a handful of new posts. And we’ll continue to create new posts. So the new site is generating traffic because of the redirects. But it’s now picking up its own steam and generating its own traffic, which is really exciting. I think we’re up to like almost 10,000 page views a month or something? It’s exciting!
I mentioned that knowing what I know now, I think it would have been a smart decision to start over with a new channel and just let my existing channel be the way that it was. Or let it take a break and then come back to it. The reason why I think that is a smart decision is that now I have a main blog main site at VidProMom.com, and all the GoPro-related content is on a whole new site. However, my YouTube channel still has both.
One of my goals and dreams, as a content creator, is to one day sell a business, sell a blog, sell a brand. Not necessarily like Meredith Marsh, but have a niche site that can be sold. If I had started a new channel, did the new content on a new channel, and left all the GoPro-related content on the existing channel. Also perhaps rebranded it as VidProHero, which is the name of the niche site. Then I would have a YouTube channel and a blog that’s self-contained within its own brand. It would easily be sellable at some time in the future. However, since I didn’t do that, all the content is on this main channel.
YouTube Channel Pivot Missed Opportunity
I am not seeing it as a problem, necessarily. But it was an opportunity I think that I have missed. I had conversations with people who’ve been thinking about pivoting their channel or they’re not really sure. Look, if your channel is not getting views and not gaining subscribers, and it’s not on a topic that you want to create videos about, what do you have to lose, right? However, if you have a channel that is gaining viewers, subscribers, revenue, momentum, and all that stuff, and it’s on a topic that you don’t want to create content about anymore, this is something that I think you should think about.
If you think of your channel as a piece of art, like a giant amazing beautiful expensive painting, you put your time and energy and heart and soul into it, and it’s hanging on a gallery wall. How would the people who are in the gallery viewing and liking the painting feel if you just walked in, took it off the wall, and started adding more paint and changing it, right?
Consider Starting a New Channel
It’s a question in my mind where one part respects the work that you created and lets it exist and respects the people who enjoy and get value out of the work that you create. It’s really only something that you can decide. But I would just caution you from my own experience. Don’t be so stubborn and afraid and make it mean something just because you are bored with the content you’re creating and you want to do something else.
While I can see how just creating a whole new channel on its own would have been a good business decision, at the time, I didn’t think so. It’s interesting. I didn’t trust my own ability based on my own experience to start a channel from scratch and grow that channel, which is ridiculous. Of course, I know how to do that. I’m working with what I have here. I’m really happy and proud of being able to slowly turn my channel in the direction of the content that I do want to create. I know it by looking at the comments when I publish a video, and you all say, “This is exactly what I needed,” “You were reading my mind,” “Thank you for publishing this,” “This is perfect.” I know that I’m creating content that’s reaching the right people, and I’m having fun creating it.
Related: Grow Your Business with YouTube
To end this blog, I just want to say that I didn’t regret it. It gave me the opportunity to learn some lessons and bring them here for you, and maybe help you out if you are in a situation where you’re thinking about pivoting your channel or starting a new one. With that, I hope you enjoyed and learned a lot from this blog post!