Confession time. Until this week, I hadn’t posted a new video on my YouTube channel, Ke Aloha no Hawai‘i, for close to five months!
I know that doesn’t seem like a super big deal, but I have actually built up quite a community on my channel — people who rely on my channel for their Hawaiian lessons. And back when I was posting regularly, I had even promised a whole slew of vocabulary videos.
But, other priorities left me with little time and energy to put together any new videos. And I actually became so guilty and anxious about the fact that I hadn’t posted in a while, that I didn’t even check in on my channel in months.
That is, until recently, when my videos showed up in the feed of my personal account, and I saw that one of my videos had over 6,000 views! People were still discovering my videos. And they were still subscribing. I have over 600 subscribers.
So, I became determined to get back to work on the channel.
How do you come back after a break?
I’m sure a lot of my long-time subscribers were wondering where I’d been. And they were perhaps even disappointed that I had seemingly abandoned the channel. So, I knew I couldn’t just return to business as usual.
I put together a plan. If I was going to return, I was going to come back with a bang. Afterall, I owed my community more than just a simple video. Instead I put together:
- One vlog with an update on the channel as well as a list of other Hawaiian language resources
- Three new vocabulary videos
- Lesson outlines with timestamps in the descriptions of all my grammar videos
When thinking about what to release for my return, I focused on what I thought would bring my community the most value.
Since I don’t yet have access to the community tab, which would allow me to make announcements to my subscribers, I used a vlog format to update my community.
And essentially, I was honest — life got in the way. I let them know that in this new year, I hoped to post a lot more often, but that I really couldn’t promise a set frequency.
I announced my three new videos, plus the updates to my grammar videos.
And finally, I left them with additional resources that they could turn to, for those times when I do have to take an extended break from the channel.
When I last updated my channel, I had just finished my level 1 grammar series, with a promise of a series of vocabulary videos. Unfortunately, I only posted one vocabulary video before I took a break.
So, when returning to work on my channel, I at least had a content plan for my next set of videos. I even had the research done for some of the upcoming videos; it was just a matter of putting together the visuals and recording the voiceover.
The key was keeping these videos simple. For the vocabulary videos, I am just making animated Keynote presentations and then recording myself going through the presentations with narration.
I try to keep the presentations relatively simple. And, as long as I don’t mess up too much while narrating, editing is usually as easy as cutting off the extra time at the beginning and end of the video file.
The core content of my channel is still my series of grammar videos. These are the videos that have really filled a need in my community as there aren’t that many free resources available online that break down the grammar in such an easy way.
But I knew that my community probably has to go back to review the information from time to time. So, one of the easiest ways for me to help them out was to go through all of my grammar videos and add a lesson outline with timestamps of each segment. This will allow people to easily find the one piece of a lesson they need to review.
It was an easy way to provide additional resources to my channel without having to create brand new content.
Responding to comments
After launching all the new content on Monday, I also sat down and replied to every single comment I had missed. I really do want to engage with my community. And showing that I take the time to reply to comments will help keep them active on the channel.
I really do want to post more often on my channel. But I want to be able to cut myself a little slack when life gets busy and I’m not able to create a new video. Here are some goals for the channel in the next coming months:
Sustainable work flow
The best way for me to be able to post regularly and often without burning out is to create an efficient workflow for creating each video. So, I’ll continue to fine-tune my process.
The question — was is the least amount of time and effort I can spend while still providing value for my community?
Do I need such complicated animation? Do I need to cover every single element of a topic? Can I work with still images rather than recording video clips? Is there a way to work on multiple videos at once?
My subscriber growth so far has been mostly organic, with very little effort on my end. I, of course, post to my own social network, but the majority of my subscribers are people who just want to learn the Hawaiian language, and have come across my channel through search.
But I think I’m going to make a harder push for subscribers in the next few months. My goal is to get to 1,000 subscribers. At this level, I’ll have access to the community tab, which will allow me to post announcements to my followers.
Carve out time for learning
I am still learning Hawaiian myself. And in addition to having little time these past few months to make videos for my YouTube channel, I also found it difficult making time for my own language learning.
Eventually, I want to create a level 2 grammar series. But that will require me finding time for dedicated Hawaiian learning. So, I’m going to make a lesson plan cand carve out dedicated time for myself!
I started this YouTube channel as a way of growing my skills around video production and content creation. I never expected it to be that big, but because of the nature of my channel, it has just naturally grown to a pretty decent sized community.
I almost feel a responsibility to keep the channel active. And so, my goal in 2021, is to find the best way to balance this channel with the many other things going on in my life.
Much more to come!