Let me tell you…
If you’re not analyzing content outside of your own, it’s incredibly difficult to make great content yourself.
It’s like practicing tennis against a wall in your backyard then trying to jump right into a pro league.
But even if you are analyzing content, there are a ton of traps that can come up and lead you in the wrong direction. Here are 3 of the most common:
1. Not looking at performance (properly).
You have to look at views, shares, likes, etc. Whatever the platform you’re creating for offers…use it. I see very often that people will have a reference for what they are trying to achieve, but their reference has poor performance. That won’t lead to great results.
That may be obvious, so here’s another layer to consider: You need to look at outliers and performance trends. This is how you can avoid falling into the very tempting trap that is survivorship bias.
Just because the top 3 videos on a topic start with a clip of a bird does not mean that there aren’t 10,000 more that also do the same thing and don’t get any views. If that were the case, those 3 top videos are not the trend…the 10,000 on the bottom are. Don’t bother with the bird.
On the flip side, if you were to find a video creator with 100 videos, all getting 100,000 views, but they have a series of videos that are relatively different and got 1 million each, you’ve found gold. The lower performers tell guide you on what not to do, and the high performers are clear indicators that something different is working much better…with the control variable of having the same creator for them all.
2. Studying in a vacuum
Just because you’re creating food content does not mean you should only be studying food content.
At first, it may seem like the right thing to do, because it’s a very direct reference. But the trap here comes in the form of huge opportunity cost.
Yes, look in the analogous vertical. But also look across the pond at other content! Look at vloggers, look at DIY channels, look everywhere else. Some of the best techniques and ideas come from connecting two completely content genres, simply because those in your vertical didn’t think to do so before. As an example, imagine being a magician who only looked at card trick channels. You’d be pretty limited. But incorporate magic into cooking? That sounds like it would be incredibly fun to watch. Maybe you pick up a cinematic style from a travel channel. The possibilities are endless, so reach outside of what’s comfortable.
3. Not accounting for personality
This can be a tough one to swallow, but sometimes the content you’re studying is only working because people enjoy watching the specific person in it. It’s very hard to take direct references from these types of analysis unless you’re applying a scientific performance analysis.
For example, if “Jonny Shrimps” is getting 500k views a video, and all he does is read novels out loud, it doesn’t necessarily mean that reading novels out loud will work for you as well.
First, look for consistency in his performance. If Jonny never breaks far away from that 500k average (either upwards or downwards), but he’s reading different things every time, it means that he’s probably got a loyal fanbase that don’t care what he reads. If they don’t care what he reads, then he’s the driver for performance…not the books.
On the other hand, when you see a creator who’s got videos breaking a million as well as several that don’t hit 100k, you can tell there’s something about the content and that the creator isn’t integral to its success. That’s a format you can learn directly from.