A great way to build your personal brand in the tech space or to grow your commercial tech brand is to start a tech YouTube channel. Now, you may be wondering there’s very little scope to grow on YouTube because every engaging video idea is already taken.
To put your apprehensions to rest, Kalle Halden talks about his experience of starting a successful tech YouTube channel as he spills the beans on his process of sifting through content ideas and how new tech YouTubers can do the same.
Kalle also sheds light on his passion for programming, his interests in specializing in automating tech, and how his domain extension has enabled him to build a strong tech brand.
What inspired you to start your own YouTube channel? Tell us the story.
Well, I have been doing YouTube videos for almost as long as YouTube has been around. Initially, a friend and I started learning how to juggle.
However, in late December 2016, I decided to start vlogging. So I created my current channel and started uploading vlogs.
I did this for about six months, and then I lost interest because no one watched my videos. I was speaking in Swedish so my target audience base wasn’t too big. With this, I understood that there’s nothing very special about my YouTube videos. So, I stopped.
Then, I started watching videos called “A day in the life of a software engineer”. The first time I searched for it there were about two videos out.
Then, throughout the rest of 2018, I saw more and more of those videos coming out and each one getting about 300-600K views.
I thought to myself “I missed my chance, I should have uploaded a video like that!”. I wanted to upload a similar video during the summer of 2018 but I never did. So then about ten months ago I decided to just make one and hope that it wasn’t too late to catch this little wave.
Today that video has 800,000 views. And I have gained tremendous momentum. At the start of 2019, I had exactly 16 subscribers. 16 total, not 16K. And it was pretty funny too at the start because that video would just get so many views, it would be at 10,000 views and the video before it was at 32.
When the video started taking off, I was really quite fast at trying to utilize that momentum so I started pumping out two videos per week on programming-related content. So that is the longish version of the story up until this point.
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What are your future plans for your YouTube channel and website? How are you planning to grow the ‘Kalle Hallden’ brand?
My future plans are to keep growing and continue making videos. I love the fact that I have the freedom to work on whatever interests me. If I feel like building something or learning something new, I can just film it and use that as a video for my channel. This is really an incredible privilege to have.
So the idea moving forward is to continue building the channel, and I have also started to diversify to other pastures and become less dependant on YouTube.
Since you never know what might happen to YouTube tomorrow., I am starting to channel my effort into Twitch, Instagram, Twitter, my blog, and email marketing.
The ultimate goal would be to someday create a really popular app. I am currently working on a few ideas and it’s been awesome to have my audience help me mold whatever I end up creating. I think that will be super interesting to see how it turns out.
Of all the videos you’ve done, what are your top three favorite videos?
Video one – Because it’s the by far most useful thing I’ve built with code.
Video two – Because I love the cleaning sequence
Video three – Because I’m really proud of doing this. Helping a few members of my audience get started on building their apps.
What are the best online coding courses for beginners?
I would recommend freecodecamp because I know some people who have followed some of their tutorials and they really like it.
For someone looking to start a programming tech YouTube Channel in 2020, what tips would lie to share?
1. Be the first.
Find a way to be the first to cover a certain topic or a concept. What I personally like to do is look at YouTube channels in other unrelated categories and see which videos are doing the best. Then try to figure out if I can create a video with a similar title that is related to programming.
An example would be MrBeast “I Spent 24 Hours Straight In Prison” and the video I recently posted “I Spent 12 Hours Straight Coding!. For a 12 hour long video, it has done pretty okay. This is what I suggest experimenting with, sometimes it will work and often times it won’t.
What you need to do is to take an existing category and create a subcategory. For instance, my most popular series called “One Day Builds” is something I found by looking at Adam Savage’s channel where he does this. So the category existed but not for programming specifically. So I was first in that new category. That’s the idea.
2. Think really hard about creating content that is valuable. The videos that have delivered the most results for me are the videos that imparted the most value to people. Value means something that you would want yourself. The value you provide need not necessarily mean creating tutorials and educational videos.
It can be as simple as watching a video for entertainment. So ideally combine the concept of entertainment and education in order to maximize the value that you bring to your viewers.
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3. Plan ahead. This is super important. Planning ahead means plan the videos that you will upload in advance. This way you can structure your content and channel in a smart way. I try to make sure that 70% of my content is stuff that I know will do well, like One Day Builds, Python videos, Flutter videos, etc.
Then I try to ensure that 20 percent are related videos that may not do as well like tutorials, programming in other languages, and tech in general. Lastly, 10% of my videos are experiments. This is where I try something new and hope it does well.
These numbers are from Eric Schmidt’s description of what Google uses for its business. 70% focus on core products, 20% on related products and 10% on experimentation. Planning ahead means that I can see whether I am following this recipe or whether I have strayed too far off the path.
4. Don’t saturate a popular category. Every video category is popular only when there aren’t a ton of videos already in that category. The more videos that get released in the category, the less this category is worth.
For instance, I don’t want to post two ‘one day build’ videos in a row. Because posting very similar videos back to back will saturate the category of that video faster.
If I post six ‘one day build videos’ six weeks in a row then that category might get saturated. People won’t have time to see the first one and they also won’t long for the next one.
I try to space my video categories so that they are close enough for people to still have it fresh in their minds, but far enough apart so that there’s time to “miss” it.
The idea is to not saturate a popular video category so you can use it to grow your channel over a long period of time without people losing interest.
Could you share your thoughts on what are some of the most effective ways to promote a programming tech YouTube channel?
Create the best content you can. I haven’t really used any promotional strategies. I use Instagram but I don’t have a very strong follower-base as compared to my YouTube subscribers.
My strategy has been to focus on the content. To simplify everything. Why do you subscribe to a channel? Because you want to see more of it. Why would you want to see more of it? Because you like what is being created.
So the best way to get more subscribers must be to create stuff that people like. And people like things that give them some value. So I definitely believe that your channel’s success is directly correlated with how much value you create.
For instance, there are a lot of tutorials out there that create tremendous value in terms of what they teach, but their entertainment value is very low. If my theory is correct, then they should try to focus on making tutorials more entertaining in order to make their channel more popular.
How is a .tech domain helping you build a stronger tech brand?
The .tech domain is helping me create a stronger connection between me and programming. Since the word tech is related to programming, I believe that using .tech instead of .com will easily communicate what people can expect when visiting my site better than .com would.
I also want my website to have a slightly wider scope. So I want to be able to do tech-related things and not just programming related things. The association between my name and tech is therefore very beneficial.
I also have a new domain name called automating.tech which I will use to create a sub-branch of my brand to specialize in automation. Again, this domain name, Automating.tech, clearly translates what the site is about – Automating tech.