He has amassed over 7 million subscribers on YouTube, sold his company for $25 million (€22.9 million) and relaunched the Vlog that propelled him to fame. Casey Neistat is one of YouTube’s biggest stars and he sat down in the OMR Podcast to explain just how he built his massive reach by publishing daily content and why brands—without exercising any control of content—jump at the chance to work with him.
“It took five years for the first half of a million subscribers, and then when I shifted from that content to daily content in the next year it grew five million,” tells Casey Neistat to guest host, YouTube expert and Veescore founder, Christoph Burseg. He says he didn’t change the type of content—as the channel already had success before with several videos going viral and landing 10 to 20 million views. But it was the change to daily content production that entrenched him with the community and turned viewers into loyal fans. With his Vlog, Neistat currently notches several million views per videoafter just a few hours—and a day later that figures jumps to between 2 and 5 million. Right now, he’s in the midst of season 3 of the Vlogs, after taking a five-month hiatus from the format.
In his videos, Neistat gives his fans an authentic and personal look at his life with glimpses into his private life with his family and insight into what he does daily. And they are often addressed directly further heightening the intimate nature of the content. Simultaneously, Neistat employs impressive and creative imagery and cinematography in his videos, which can be traced back to his days as a filmmaker.
Brands trust his creativity
Despite his massive reach, Neistat refused to implement ads for a long time on his YouTube channel—thus forgoing some lucrative returns. “My business model was to make content that I loved. Then I would put it on my YouTube channel and it would gain popularity. And because of that I would get opportunities to work in advertising,” he says. The engagement he had with Nike for three videos was “a huge, huge tipping point” when brands became aware of him. Today, Make It Count has been watched over 25 million times—making it his second most-popular video. The plot is gloriously indulgent—he takes the entire budget Nike gives him and travels around the world as far as the money takes them—they blow it all in ten days.
“The video proved that I was someone who could be trusted,” Neistat says. The next huge campaign he did after that was with Mercedes Benz, and they were nervous because “you don’t have the kind of scrutiny you have when working with an ad agency and knowing what you are getting into before you get into it.” But once he pointed out the success the Nike spot had he was able to “alleviate the concerns on their end.” Neistat always works with the brands directly and try to capture the best way to present their content for the needs of his community.”
Loyal fans demand authenticity
“Subscribers follow me because of the intimacy that [is] the Vlog,” he states. The format gives people an opportunity to get to know the real him. And with good reason as Neistat offers up details from his personal life on a daily basis. “And when they know you, they trust you. And they show up to see what you have to say every single day.” “Then,” he says, “the risk falls on my shoulders. When I work with a brand that doesn’t align with my creative or my message and try to share that on my channel to my audience, a loyal community may reject it.” That’s why he has no problem recommending products although he’s not paid by the brand. In his most successful video, he shows how he indulges in a first-class flight on Emirates—for which Neistat says he wasn’t paid. “The idea that I might not share something is really counter to everything that I stand for,” Neistat professes.
In the new OMR Podcast Neistat offers up tips and tricks for YouTubers on content, goes into the logistics of publishing a video every single day and what.
The OMR Podcast with YouTube star Casey Neistat at a glance:
- If you happen to not know who Neistat is, this is who he is in his own words. (1:20)
- How did he start with YouTube and when did he first taste success? (2:40)
- What did Neistat learn about himself in his YouTube vlog? (5:16)
- Why didn’t Neistat advertise on his YouTube channel until very late and why is awareness more important than money? (7:05)
- Who is the typical Neistat fan on YouTube? (9:40)
- Why are Neistat’s followers so loyal? (12:30)
- Why he doesn’t think the comment function on YouTube is unnecessary? (14:50)
- Are there any brands he thinks delivers excellent content on YouTube? (17:20)
- What is Neistat’s role at CNN? (19:30)
- What are his storytelling tips for YouTube videos? (21:45)
- This is how much Neistat works each day—and how is his first child responsible for it? (22:30)
- Why does he make spots for products if he’s not getting paid? (24:20)
- Neistat made a video for Samsung that ran during the Oscars. This was the inspiration for it. (27:32)
- Lightning Round on life’s big little questions—and Neistat’s answers. (29:15)
This article originally appeared on Online Marketing Rockstars.