Tell us about yourself and your channel.
Hey! I’m Dunna! I am a professional audio engineer and music producer turned nerdy photo/video youtuber who drinks way too much coffee. My channel started out at a vlog channel with no real goal in mind other than having a creative outlet that forced me to do something outside of my recording studio once a week. Eventually, I got a bit obsessed with camera gear, photography, videography and it started to seep into my vlogs until my channel transitioned into being primarily about the world of cameras and all the fun things you can do with them.
How did you get started on YouTube?
I had been working as a professional music producer and recording engineer for several years when I found myself looking for a creative outlet outside of music. While my music could be fun and creative, it was generally still for a client who had the vision and all the say in how the project should go… I wasn’t really making music for me. Around this same time, I started to find youtube channels that I could watch on a regular basis rather than just to find a piece of information and I found myself saying “I bet I could do that”. Being a technical person and a bit of a quality snob, I started to research cameras and equipment that could give me the best bang for my buck going into the beginning of my channel. I really thought I was just going to vlog but I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the process of learning, researching, and sharing the information that I find. After about a year of vlogging, that passion for learning made itself clear as my channel transitioned into what it is now… a gear review, tutorial, nerdy, fun place to learn about camera stuff.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie creator? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
I would suggest for anyone starting out to make practice videos. Videos BEFORE you click upload. I think there is pressure to upload everything you make, but when we learn an instrument, we don’t book a concert to play right after we buy an instrument. We spend a lot of time practicing and do dress rehearsals and so on and so forth… THEN we have a concert and perform for the world. I think the same approach can be taken with Youtube, make some videos and analyse them. Learn from your mistakes and get better. Then when you reach a level that you’re happy with, post it!
As far as advice that new creators should ignore… I think niching down right off the top is probably unnecessary. Maybe later in your channel’s life you can choose to do that, or if you already have a clear goal. but I think a lot of people start a channel to FIND OUT what they want to make, don’t stress about your first bunch of videos not being in line with where your channel ends up later.
What is your favorite video you have ever made?
OH Jeez! Probably a video called “The Reasons We Work So Hard” Not necessarily because it’s the best video ever (and its definitely not my most viewed), but more because of the memories it brings up for me and the words that I wrote for it. It’s basically me telling myself not to forget the reason that I do everything that I do and its a nice little reminder.
What are some tools that allow you to be more effective at your craft?
I am a sucker for anything that could make my life easier so I have a bunch of these. From a filmmaking and photography standpoint, the gear comes and goes a lot but from a YouTube standpoint, there are a few tools that really help me with the organization of every video. Notion is the software that I use to come up with ideas, take notes, schedule, and organize my videos. Morningfame is a tool I use to choose keywords, tags and generally make sure that I’m going to show up when people search for the topic of my video. Tubebuddy is a great resource similar to morningfame but with some other features like scheduling videos, a/b testing thumbnails, stats and a ton of other tools as well. And of course, especially now that I’m full time youtube, Geniuslinks is a huge tool that allows me to get the most out of my affiliate marketing, which accounts for a decent amount of my income!
How do you continue to educate yourself in your craft? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
As cliche as it sounds, I am a constant student of youtube university. If ever I find myself not knowing how to do something, I find it on youtube. If I’m ever feeling like I’m not motivated, I can usually find inspiration on Youtube. I watch some travel vloggers like Kara & Nate, some informational stuff like Johnny Harris, and then of course, I love to see what the other creators in the camera niche (many of which have become my friends) are up to. They help me learn, they help me grow and they help me stay inspired! On top of that, I’m a pretty hands on “lets go try something and figure it out” kinda guy so I love to experiment and learn on the go.
What has been your biggest tool for subscriber growth?
That’s a tough one, I don’t think any of the software or hardware tools I use are really the key to my subscriber growth. I think that a balance between consistency, quality, and quantity is really what does it for me. I’m constantly looking at what’s working and whats not while still making sure that I’ve got lots of content to find. Never underestimate the value of just having plenty of videos for people to stumble upon.
Do you put much time into making your videos SEO friendly?
Probably more than most of the other creators that I talk to. I use Morningfame to do most of the work there. I’ve found some success in figuring out what “should” work and then humanizing it a bit. SEO friendly isn’t always the most clickable option so I basically do all the work as if I were going to make it an SEO powerhouse but then I backtrack and make sure that it sounds fun or exciting or mysterious because that’s what makes people want to watch.
Is there a trend that you are seeing emerge in 2021? What excites you about it?
I’m seeing a lot of the “camera youtubers” that I connect with start to do other things with their youtube channels and I’m absolutely loving it. To be a “camera youtuber” you need to learn so much more about creating FANTASTIC videos than in other niches because your audience knows is much more finely in tune to the process and will notice the issues. But if you could take some of the great video makers in this niche and have them start adventure videos like Cody and Victoria or fantastic lifestyle content like Becki & Chris… Damn! That’s going to be the best content in that niche! I don’t necessarily know where my channel will end up or what I’ll be doing 10 years from now, but it’s nice to know that if I decide to pivot a bit… It still has the potential to be great.
When did your channel start to ‘pay off?’ In other words, when did your channel start to make you money?
It happened quite gradually and actually kind of snuck up on me. I started noticing a decent amount of affiliate money coming in about 2 years ago now and that was super exciting. There were a couple of reviews that I did of Sony APS-C lenses that started getting more views and subs than I had ever seen and with that came more adsense and more affiliate dollars as well. But it wasn’t until the start of 2021 when I was finally making ENOUGH (by my own standards) money to turn to YouTube as my full time job and put my recording studio as the more part time position.
Have you created sponsored content? If you have, how did you get in contact with your sponsors?
At this point, sponsored content is a decent part of my income. I would say that about 80% of the sponsors reach out to me in one way or another. Whether that’s through an advertising agency that they’ve hired or just by emailing me directly. Some of the companies, like WANDRD for example, I already had a decent relationship with just from them sending out equipment for review. So if I have an idea for a sponsored video for them, I can pitch it. Or if they have a new product coming out and want to make a big splash on launch day, they can reach out to me for that. Right now, my goal is to start to build up a list of a few brands that I can work with repeatedly and regularly because it can be kind of stressful constantly doing one off projects with brands and then having to track down the next one (or hope that they come in on their own).
Anything else you’d like to share?
I LOVE LOVE LOVE chatting with people and answering questions in the comments and on DM’s so if anyone reading this wants to hit me up, please do (Instagram is usually best for me)! I still try to engage with my audience the same way I did when I was first starting out because that’s one of the best parts. If you want to keep up with what I’ve got going on, you can check out my site at dunnadidit.com and find links to everything else from there. Thanks for “hanging out” with me. Secure The Cup!