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How to Grow an Audience on YouTube with Informative Content

26 Apr, 2024

Entertainment content rules the world. Especially - YouTube. We visit the social media giant to watch cute cats, laugh at our favorite shows, and hang out watching some entertaining streams.

And that's all great, but what about those who create educational channels? How do they break through this massive wall of entertainment content?

To understand which niche you should create in, first you must understand the distinctive features of entertainment and educational content.

Features of entertainment content

First and foremost, people come to YouTube for entertainment. To listen to music, watch let's plays, turn on cartoons for kids, have various reviews or exposés playing in the background.

The platform was literally created for these purposes. Even the very first video on YouTube is a mini vlog about a trip to the zoo.

So, the first and most obvious difference between one type of content and another is their audience.

Yes, people come to YouTube for both entertainment and education, but statistics show that entertaining content is hugely popular among the audience.

However, don't rush to abandon ideas of providing valuable information and create channels with funny compilations or fails. You must be prepared for both the advantages and disadvantages of creating entertainment content on YouTube. And the most obvious downside here is competition.

The giants in this niche are unlikely to allow you to immediately take the lead. They already have a name, influence, brand and a lot of money. They can simply upload on YouTube and the views will flood in.

So if you think that this niche or theme is accessible and in demand, remember—most likely, this is where beginner creators have a particularly tough time.

Now let's look at another interesting difference between entertainment content and educational content: plot development.

Entertainment content can take various forms. For example, these are fun compilations with animals.

The creators task is to either hold a viewer's attention or make the audience laugh. And although it may not be obvious, you can't get away with a random choice of videos here.

Each compilation has its own drama, and jokes are distributed according to a special principle. First, something firing up, then something calmer, which doesn't diminish the fun but also doesn't increase it. And lastly, we get the most explosive video, which either makes us want to watch it again or leaves us trying to stop laughing for another five minutes. By the way, most often, it's a frame from this video that will be used on the thumbnail to attract attention.

We can't ignore the most significant difference between entertainment content and educational content: its goal is to entertain the audience. This style of content wants to evoke any emotion in the viewer. 

For example, True Crime is also considered entertainment content. Yes, it's chilling, sometimes paralyzing, and there's nothing joyful about it, but in reality, the need to experience emotions is fully satisfied.

Features of educational content

Even before the pandemic, the modern world began to emphasize the online format. And 2020 only strengthened this trend.

Nowadays, it's no longer surprising that employees of one company can work in different countries, meetings and interviews are conducted via Zoom, and even some exams can be taken without leaving home.

And despite the fact that educational content still doesn't occupy a leading position on YouTube, it doesn't mean that there is no demand at all.

According to data from the "Coursera" platform, in 2020 the number of registered learners exceeded 69 million, which is 430% higher compared to the previous year.

And the demand for online education is only growing. We are seeing more and more interesting specialties emerging. For example, during the same "pandemic period," Yale and Stanford universities, as well as giants like Google, offered their services.

This period has shown that learning is also accessible and convenient for adults. Statistics also indicate that the online format saves up to 60% of our time compared to traditional forms of learning. 

From all this, it's clear that informational content is becoming increasingly important every day. Therefore content creators must find the right approach to its delivery. 

Now, we need to understand the structure of educational content, its message, and how it differs from entertainment content. 

When it comes to structure, the most important rule of educational content is achieving results. It doesn't matter what we're teaching—whether it's about the history of Independence Day or creating our own Lego creation—the viewer should finish the video and get useful information. 

Let's highlight a few important structural features.

  • First of all, at the beginning of the video, we set a clear goal to "understand," "figure out," or "learn"—and by the end, we achieve it. This goal should always be related to some audience "pain point." For example, many of us often want to give something handmade to a loved one. But we're not particularly skilled at drawing, embroidery, or baking a cake. That's when educational channels come to our rescue.
  • Second of all, the structure of the storyline is somewhat similar to entertaining videos. It's important to capture the viewer's attention at the beginning, then provide practictal information, complemented by interesting examples, so you don't die of boredom. And of course—a captivating finale. This means a decisive argument or summary, where all the information received is structured in your mind, and you get results.
  • Third of all, we shouldn't forget about the entertaining aspect. Its presence should only be felt to ensure that the process of acquiring knowledge isn't painfully boring. Try to spice up your informative narrative with memes and relatable examples, or share a couple of failed takes with your audience. You can use all these techniques at once, but moderation is key.

The last point will vary depending on the channel's focus and the theme of each individual video. However, we believe that even the most complex subject can be explained in a language understandable to the audience, without putting them to sleep by the end of your not-so-short video.

To do this, you need to follow several important tips:

  • First: even if people come to YouTube for knowledge, they still remain restless learners who cannot absorb a lot of information at once. Therefore, break down topics into smaller parts. One video — one topic. If you're giving a lecture, speak in language understandable to the audience and use modern examples as much as possible.
  • Second: on YouTube, you're not obligated to provide the entire academic foundation. Most likely, it won't be in demand. Even kids preparing for college entrance don't need everything they've learned over 12 years. They need specific examples from the SAT. So, strive to provide only relevant and interesting content.

How to create educational content that people want to watch

Let's start by acknowledging that finding purely popular educational content is quite challenging. Entertainment content inherently has a clearer structure that doesn't require artificial injection of emotions, which shouldn't be present there. However, with educational content, things are more complicated. This is because the primary goal here is to educate, which contradicts the main idea of YouTube itself — entertaining the audience.

Another important point not to overlook is that competition on YouTube extends far beyond entertainment content. Nowadays, uploading videos that simply answer questions like "how to install Windows" means signing your channel's death sentence in terms of growth.

Whether it's good or bad, you'll still have to grasp the basics of entertainment content and incorporate it into your educational content. And the key skill in creating an engaging narrative is mastering the art of scripting and storytelling.

The future belongs to channels that intersect everything people love: fun, emotions, interesting storytelling, charismatic personalities, and unique presentation. And all of this applies to educational content.

This doesn't mean that tomorrow you should start creating a masterpiece that you'll be working on for the next year, aiming to reach the level of Marques Brownlee or Dude Perfect. But striving for their level of quality is definitely worth attempting.

In an ideal world, entertainment content is something fun and even useful. And of course, many creators are frustrated that they have to squeeze out scripts, devise strategies, and wisely distribute jokes. 

Just keep in mind that there's an audience for every educational channel. The most important thing for you to do is skillfully incorporate entertaining elements, remembering that you are still on YouTube, which is primarily about entertainment. So, make it fun!


Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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