How This Evergreen Podcaster Reached 1M Views on Youtube
Guest Blogger: Aaron Calafato
Our guest blogger Aaron Calafato has had much success in storytelling. His monologues, stories, and events have been screened and staged over 150 times in 20 states. Recently, Aaron experienced a serious spike in the growth of his online audience, with one of his short stories gaining over one million views. Here’s how he made it happen.
Planting Seeds with YouTube Shorts
“For a couple of years now, my friends have been urging me to create more video content, but I've always been a bit hesitant. A few months ago, my partners at Evergreen Podcasts reiterated the same thing. Even though I trained as an actor, turning the camera on myself feels a bit odd to me. But last month I gave it a shot and what happened is something I never saw coming.
Staying in line with the theme of my podcast 7 Minute Stories, I decided to film myself performing versions of the stories that I have already released. I wrestled with what platform to release them on but I flipped a coin and went with YouTube Shorts. My first few stories averaged about 2 - 6K views. I was pleasantly surprised. The next few stories garnered 15k, 30k, and 100k views. Then, a few weeks ago I shared a story about my brother finding (and returning) a wallet of an 80-year-old veteran. As of today, that story alone has received over 1.3M views and counting. In less than a month, I went from having 50 subscribers on YouTube to over 4,500K and growing.
Nothing Beats a Good Story
When I was deciding what content to create, I decided to tell a good story. It's the same approach I take with the 7 Minute Stories Podcast, except it's trying to tell a good story in approximately 70 seconds. No tricks, no fancy camera work, no trending sounds or dances. Just stories that are close to my heart and that I think people can relate to. This alone is responsible for the 98% retention rate I got on my most popular story and the over 88% audience retention rate for all the stories I've posted thus far on YouTube Shorts.
For me, this experience has made it extremely clear. No matter what you're creating, if you keep connecting with people through authentic storytelling as your North Star - people will find you. It may take 7 minutes, 7 days, or 7 years - but they will. There's always time for strategy and upgrades but you can't get around the fact that nothing beats a good story.
Be Advised: There Will Be Negative Comments, Too.
I've always been skeptical of the social media landscape. Often our digital landscape is confusing and has made me question the nature of many of my fellow humans.
Despite the overwhelming positivity of the thousands of comments on my stories, what surprised me was the comments where viewers didn't think my story was real. The truth is, while my podcast isn't journalism, the 7 Minute Stories that I tell via podcasting and now on YouTube Shorts are all autobiographical and true to my life.
Hear the original Evergreen Podcast 7 Minute Stories around this episode: