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YouTube Opinion Audience vs Subscribers

SILTHW

Professional cat wrangler
3,619
27
Subscriber Goal
1000
The topic I see the most confusion over in this forum is the very important difference between your audience and your subscribers. This is a critical distinction and not understanding it can cause you to make many bad decisions around growth.

For the purposes of this post, I'm going to assume you want to make money creating and sharing content online. This DOES apply to people who treat content creation as a hobby, but it is mostly applicable to people who want to earn a living as a content creator.

To start, let's clarify some important terms:
Content Creator - Someone who creates digital content, primarily for digital distribution
Production - The process and tools for creating digital content
Distribution - The process and tools for distributing digital content. If you are here, YouTube is at least one of your distribution platforms
Audience - A group of people that want to consume your digital content

All businesses serve customers. For content creators, your customers are your audience. The most basic truth of any business is that your audience (customers) are your most valuable asset and you need to be focused on giving that audience what it wants. While it is possible to create an audience for a single piece of content, you want something called "a sticky audience" - an audience that consumes all of your content. Bulding a sticky audience requires you to continually deliver value to that audience. People who do this well are obsessed with learning what content an audience finds valuable and they constantly improve and tune their content to deliver value to that audience. The largest part of the job isn't Production and Distribution - it is building and retaining an audience. In the end, this pays off because you own your audience. The distribution platform does not own your audience.

This is where the confusion lies. Subscribers are a shared audience. They are owned by you and the distribution platform. They are likely more loyal to the distribution platform than to you. We know this because every major distribution platform uses techniques to keep attention on their platform over other platforms. Anyone that has tried to move an audience from one platform to another has experienced people being more loyal to the platform than their content.

Here is why this is really important to you. Very few content creators make most of their income from the distribution platform. There are always creators that are exceptions and sign contracts directly with the distribution platform - whether YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, etc. But the vast majority of people who make real money creating content make money by monetizing their audience across multiple channels and don't limit themselves to the monetization options a single distribution platform provides.

If you want to make a living as a content creator, there are no shortcuts. Buying subscribers just ties you to a platform and doesn't develop an audience. Buying views just ties you to a platform and doesn't develop an audience. Sub4Sub just ties you to a platform and doesn't develop an audience. In the business world we call this "stuffing". It is doing things to drive vanity metrics (Subs! Views!) at the expense of gaining real customers. And real customers are where there is value.

To succeed you have to learn. You need to understand your audience. You need to invest in improving your Production skills. You need to invest in learning the details of the various distribution platforms and how to use them to reach and gain an audience. But mostly, you need to stop worrying about subscribers. Build great audience-focused content. Constantly tune to provide better value to your audience. Maximize using the tools of the distribution platform to understand your audience. Maximize using the tools of the distribution platform to reach your audience. Focusing on an audience WILL grow subscribers and followers, but focusing on subscribers and followers will not necessarily grow your audience.

Your audience is yours and is your most valuable asset. Go build an audience.
 

Bansotj

New Member
TubeBuddy User
23
6
www.instagram.com
Subscriber Goal
50000
The topic I see the most confusion over in this forum is the very important difference between your audience and your subscribers. This is a critical distinction and not understanding it can cause you to make many bad decisions around growth.

For the purposes of this post, I'm going to assume you want to make money creating and sharing content online. This DOES apply to people who treat content creation as a hobby, but it is mostly applicable to people who want to earn a living as a content creator.

To start, let's clarify some important terms:
Content Creator - Someone who creates digital content, primarily for digital distribution
Production - The process and tools for creating digital content
Distribution - The process and tools for distributing digital content. If you are here, YouTube is at least one of your distribution platforms
Audience - A group of people that want to consume your digital content

All businesses serve customers. For content creators, your customers are your audience. The most basic truth of any business is that your audience (customers) are your most valuable asset and you need to be focused on giving that audience what it wants. While it is possible to create an audience for a single piece of content, you want something called "a sticky audience" - an audience that consumes all of your content. Bulding a sticky audience requires you to continually deliver value to that audience. People who do this well are obsessed with learning what content an audience finds valuable and they constantly improve and tune their content to deliver value to that audience. The largest part of the job isn't Production and Distribution - it is building and retaining an audience. In the end, this pays off because you own your audience. The distribution platform does not own your audience.

This is where the confusion lies. Subscribers are a shared audience. They are owned by you and the distribution platform. They are likely more loyal to the distribution platform than to you. We know this because every major distribution platform uses techniques to keep attention on their platform over other platforms. Anyone that has tried to move an audience from one platform to another has experienced people being more loyal to the platform that their content.

Here is why this is really important to you. Very few content creators make most of their income from the distribution platform. There are always creators that are exceptions and sign contracts directly with the distribution platform - whether YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, etc. But the vast majority of people who make real money creating content make money by monetizing their audience across multiple channels and don't limit themselves to the monetization options a single distribution platform provides.

If you want to make a living as a content creator, there are no shortcuts. Buying subscribers just ties you to a platform and doesn't develop an audience. Buying views just ties you to a platform and doesn't develop an audience. Sub4Sub just ties you to a platform and doesn't develop an audience. In the business world we call this "stuffing". It is doing things to drive vanity metrics (Subs! Views!) at the expense of gaining real customers. And real customers are where there is value.

To succeed you have to learn. You need to understand your audience. You need to invest in improving your Production skills. You need to invest in learning the details of the various distribution platforms and how to use them to reach and gain an audience. But mostly, you need to stop worrying about subscribers. Build great audience-focused content. Constantly tune to provide better value to your audience. Maximize using the tools of the distribution platform to understand your audience. Maximize using the tools of the distribution platform to reach your audience. Focusing on an audience WILL grow subscribers and followers, but focusing on subscribers and followers will not necessarily grow your audience.

Your audience is yours and is your post valuable asset. Go build an audience.
Wow this write-up is very correct , we don't have to focus on subscribers rather provide better value and also maximize your distribution platforms