In 2020, we started to put some serious TLC into our company YouTube and realized the insane amount of work it is to produce, edit, and promote quality videos! After making a couple of videos, we realized that we have an awesome network of clients that we could learn from. We started The Creator Profiles to document and share their advice. Our first interview is from Patrick Rambles, a tech YouTuber who is quickly gaining subscribers for his informative, yet quick, “rambles” about tech.
Tell us about yourself and your channel.
I am a Dutch guy, living in Brussels, Belgium, catering to a mostly American audience. Lobbyist by day, Youtuber by.. well, any free minute really. Also a family man and proud father of a beautiful 5 year old daughter. My channel is tech oriented, focusing on higher end products, like Apple. I alternate between reviews, in-depth comparisons, and tutorial type videos where I show people useful little things, like how to use Spotify on an Apple Watch without an iPhone present. Stuff I was looking for myself and couldn’t find, basically!
How did you get started on YouTube?
I run a small public affairs company in Brussels, lobbying the EU Institutions. I love what I do and I am good at it. But underneath the suit and tie is a giant kid that loves his tech and can’t shut up about it. I was a big consumer of YouTube myself as I don’t have a lot of time and I really enjoy the bite-sized videos YouTube offers. I am obsessed with new tech and I always wondered what it would be like to start a channel of my own. Like most other people, I suddenly found myself working from home, which freed up a bit of time. I hate doing nothing, so now I literally had zero excuses and decided to take the plunge. I ordered an iPad Pro, fell in love with it and started making videos about it. This was at the end of April 2020, I have created over 50 videos since then and am approaching 6K subscribers. Just put me in my little man-cave/studio/office and I am happy!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie creator? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
The single best thing I have done since I started my channel is join a wonderful group of small creators, called TYU (Tech YouTubers Unite), which was started by Rjey Tech. There’s around 50 creators in there from all over the world. We mostly communicate via WhatsApp where we give each other advice, share experiences and knowledge, celebrate small victories as well as failures, and generally just help each other grow. Having a support network like that is priceless and I can’t tell you how much I have learned through that. YouTube can be a lonely space, having likeminded people to share things with is absolutely priceless. I have started some great friendships there. When I started on YouTube, I had no idea about the huge community behind the scenes. So, if I could give only one piece of advice, it would be to find a group of people at a similar level or slightly above yours that share your goals, and be inspired. This is true in entrepreneurship and it is true for YouTube.
A piece of advice creators should ignore is the cliché that “gear doesn’t matter”. It’s nonsense, of course gear matters. You should never let a lack of gear stop you from getting started, and you can create wonderful content with a smartphone and some good window light. But from there, you can slowly start making investments into better audio and video. If I could make a recommendation, I would start with audio. People can accept low video quality but if your audio is bad, they will immediately click away. For me, the order of importance for making investments is: audio, lights, camera. A great camera with bad audio and poor lighting will do nothing for you.
So in a nutshell, I would say don’t wait for gear to get started, but invest in gear as soon as this is feasible for you and buy the quality you can reasonably afford (not the cheapest of everything). You don’t NEED gear to create good content, but pretending like production quality doesn’t matter just isn’t right. You may have noticed that it’s usually larger channels with the best gear that tell you gear doesn’t matter.
What is your favorite video you have ever made?
To be totally honest with you, there isn’t one video of mine that doesn’t make me cringe when I watch it! I am only getting started and I have so much to learn still. Some of my best performing videos are those that I hesitated to upload. Adversely, I have worked for days on a single video which then totally flopped. I guess in terms of production value, I like my two most recent desk setup videos, and in terms of information and value for the viewer, I am reasonably pleased with my videos comparing SSD drives.
What are some tools that allow you to be more effective at your craft?
Well, there’s YouTube studio of course, where I frantically check my analytics several times a day, hopelessly failing at trying to understand the algorithm. Then there’s TubeBuddy which helps me with SEO optimization. The app also has a very addictive feature where you refresh and your new views are rolling in front of your eyes like a slot machine. I do this too many times a day. I think I may need therapy. Lastly, I use Geniuslink as you know, to track my affiliate links. As a small YouTuber you don’t make a lot of money in adsense yet, and the gear we just talked about is not cheap. So, affiliate links are a good way to earn a little bit of income to help make those investments. I am an affiliate partner of several Amazon stores in different countries. Geniuslink does a great job turning those links into one link which directs the buyer to the appropriate store. The links are tracked so you get a lot of useful data on your dashboard, from which you can learn and improve your strategies.
How do you continue to educate yourself in your craft? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
When I started my channel, I knew nothing about cameras. I used a cheap cropped sensor entry level Canon camera and I did everything wrong. I overexposed my shots, used the wrong frame rates, messed up my lighting, and the list goes on. Most of what I know now, I learned by watching other YouTube channels. I love camera channels like Peter McKinnon, Potato Jet, Gerald Undone, etc. For audio and equipment my favorite channel is Tom Buck (formerly known as the Enthusiasm Project) and Tommy Callaway is also great for audio and lighting. I like Roberto Blake for overall YouTube growth stuff. In terms of production quality, I have been very inspired recently by a new channel called Kris Antoinette, which has really opened my eyes as to how much I still have to learn and how much time and effort I should be putting into every video. She’s a new channel but growing like crazy. For longer form courses, I use Skillshare. It’s a good resource and I am actually working on a course of my own right now.
What has been your biggest strategy for subscriber growth?
If you’re referring to software, I would probably say TubeBuddy. If you mean in general, I think listening to my audience and thinking about them first when I create a video has helped me grow the most. It’s tempting to make content I like, the way I like it, but I am not here to make content for me. I want to create value for my audience and I would like them to feel like I didn’t just waste 8 minutes of their time. I believe this is the only sustainable way to grow a channel.
Do you put much time into making your videos SEO friendly?
I am still learning. I always try to find a good title and tags and make sure they are searchable. I have noticed that a lot of my views come from search, which is logical if you think about it. I am tiny channel and YouTube doesn’t automatically push my content, so I need to make sure my videos are found. I try to incorporate search phrases into my title and description as well as my tags. More recently I have started to treat my thumbnails with a little more respect. I used to treat them as an afterthought, shooting a quick thumbnail whilst my video was uploading. That’s a terrible idea. I can make the best videos in the world but if nobody clicks on them, none of that matters. So yes, I do spend time on SEO and I intend to spend even more time on it going forward.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, subscribe to my channel, haha. No, seriously, if you’re looking to start a channel, do it about something you are truly passionate about. Doing YouTube for any other reason is not sustainable in my opinion. Take good care of yourself in the process, YouTube is tough and burnout is a real thing. Work hard but make sure to have fun.