PewDiePie is the single most powerful force in the online video world. Want to hate on him? That’s fine; he still has over 44 million subscribers.
Want to have him banned from YouTube? Cool story, bro, but he still has over 12.4 billion views as of this writing, and he gains millions more each day. Want to attack his fanbase, weaken his following, and knock him off his pedestal? Good luck taking on the Bro Army, bro.
No, your best opportunity with PewDiePie is to learn how he became the most powerful video marketer around and then apply his strategy to your own channel. Yes, he’s a bit of an anomaly, but he took full advantage of his popularity. Now 44 million bros strong, here’s how Pewds became King.
PewDiePie’s YouTube Subscriber Strategy
In the beginning, Pewds made the decision to create videos for one group of people: video game lovers. If you’re spending months developing your branding, logos, and scripts, make sure you’re also spending time on identifying who your audience really is.
Pewds Connects Deeply with a Community
I don’t think Pewds or anyone else knew how large the Let’s Play community was. He didn’t care; he just wanted to create videos and connect with people such as himself.
All of his first videos were just Pewds playing games and commenting on them. Granted, his comments were hilarious, but even so his early efforts were simple.
Here’s a video where he is pleased that he has 100 subscribers:
He had no idea what was to come. All he knew was that he was doing something he enjoyed and was glad to connect with at least some people.
The lesson you can learn here is that the best YouTube marketing is always driven by your passions. You need to put time into figuring out who your audience is, and then it will grow out of what you already know. This principle applies equally to branded and personal accounts.
What is the Bro Army?
Those first 100 subscribers grew and grew until, not too long later, the Bro Army was born. What is the Bro Army? It is people who are fans of Pewds. Why does it matter who the Bro Army is? The fact that PewDiePie was able to build it shows what YouTube really is: social media marketing that uses video.
Once Pewds realized was going on, he created more community-oriented posts from time to time. He simply included moments when he could tell people what he was up to, why he might have been away, and what was to come. Here’s an early example:
This was the first “Fridays with PewDiePie” episode. The series is now up to 80 episodes! Watch the video for at least the first 1:30, and observe how Pewds knows how important his community is to him.
If your community isn’t this important to you, then you will not matter to your community. Good luck getting any subscribers then.
Pewds Works on His Visuals
In the early days, Pewds was a guy with a camera and some video games. As his channel grew, he became more and more serious about it. As you saw in the video above, at 25,000 subscribers he was already making shirts to sell.Visuals are important for any channel for branding and video marketing reasons, as well as to make some sales happen.Click To Tweet
Logos are an integral part of branding. Pretty much every major channel has a logo of some sort. Pewds is no exception, his Bro Fist having been in a few different configurations over the years. Here it is today:
In the same way, you should keep your logo simple, connect it to your audience somehow (Pewds greets his fans with a ‘Bro Fist’ fist bump), and use it constantly.
Visuals and video marketing in Pewds’ case happened once he started taking his thumbnail images seriously and creating custom ones.
It took him about a year, but his thumbnails became eye-catching images that could earn clicks, thanks to the information they quickly communicated and how they visually connected similar video series:
His later thumbnails progressed from his initial ones, which were just screenshots of the games he was playing. Many of his early thumbnails were quite bland. It was as he created better-looking thumbnails that he started appearing more professional. His channel became one worth subscribing to and one with staying power.
Why Header Images Are Important
The last aspect of PewDiePie’s video marketing is his header image. He has created some decent header images over the years, with the exception of his current one, which is pointlessly vulgar.
Here are two good ones:
All is not perfect in PewDiePie’s world when it comes to header images. As a video marketer, you should use header images to show information, such as your release schedule or the focus of your channel.
With 44 million subscribers, Pewds has gained more than a bit of recognition, so he can get away with failing at using header images. You likely will not. Sorry, bro.
Pews Creates Content His Audience Wants
Pewds was doing very, very well with his Let’s Play games, and Friday vlogs. But then something happened: he started running out of things to say! So he wisely turned to his audience for ideas.
His audience turned out to be weird. For example, he started opening fan mail:
Then his videos got stranger as more people intentionally sent him bizarre mail:
Then he had an incredible idea. He went on Twitter and asked his fans to tell him suggestions of what they wanted to see him do. This community-building moment happened on a separate social platform, and it helped to make his Twitter marketing relevant.
He then created videos of himself doing “everything” in a regular segment called “Pewds Does Everything”:
That was a mild example. As you can imagine, the video series got even crazier from there.
What do we learn from this situation? Pewds talked to his audience and created the exact content they wanted to see. Was it odd? Yep. Was it so fun that it drew millions of views per video? Yep.
Can you ask your own fans for their ideas and then create videos they want to see? You had better!
Do Video Marketing the Pewds Way
Pewds has more YouTube subscribers than anyone else for a reason. If you’ve been paying attention, you realize that the most important reason why is he always listens to, connects with, and creates content for his fans.
His specific tactics are:
- Creating videos about subjects he is passionate about and connects with an audience who is also interested in those subjects.
- His visuals and logo are well-done and appeal directly to his fans.
- He uses vlogs as a way to identify even more deeply with his fanbase.
If you follow these same steps exactly, you will build your channel. Will you build it to over 44 million subscribers? Who knows. Start off by focusing on your first million or ten, and build from there!
Latest posts by Matthew Yeoman (see all)
- The Conversion Tactics Used by the Best Twitter Marketing Brands - December 6, 2016
- What PewDiePie Can Teach You About Video Marketing - August 11, 2016