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Growing Your Own Animation Channel

Featured, Independent Animation, Tutorials

Tom Jenkins launched the comedy and gaming animation channel Mashed from nothing to over 1m subs and tens of millions of views every month. Here he offers his insight and top tips on how to develop and grown your own animation channel.

Animated content is in the middle of a golden age, with shows like Rick & Morty (recently renewed for another SEVENTY episodes), The Amazing World of Gumball, Bob’s Burgers & BoJack Horseman attracting young audiences that broadcasters crave and advertisers love. On YouTube, channels like HISOE, Dorkly, Frederator, Mondo and a relatively small but significant number of individual creators are pulling in hundreds of millions of views a year. There’s also new animation business like Studio Yotta, made up of creative talent who honed their craft on YouTube and sites like NewGrounds.

If you’re thinking “Tom, it sounds like this animation channel game is pretty sweet and easy right?” you’d be… totally wrong. It’s probably never been tougher, especially since YouTube made changes to their algorithm to favour longer content (10 minutes plus). This is especially tough on animation, as it takes significantly more time and resources to produce much shorter videos.

Crash Bandicoot Falls (Mashed)

However, if this is what you are passionate about, banish the clouds of doom above you and don’t start figuring out your mind-blowing unboxing strategy just yet. Launching and building a channel focused on animated content is still possible, and if you play it right can lead to success and lucrative opportunities. The very fact it’s difficult to do means that compared to other online video staples like how to, unboxing, gaming and vlogs, there is less competition and a potentially huge, hungry audience to devour your content.

Here are some tips and things to think about based on my own experiences running Mashed that should help set you on the path to world domination:

TIPS FOR ANIMATION CHANNEL WORLD DOMINATION

Decide what content you want to make: If there’s a specific area or genre you want to focus on, look at who is successful in that area. Alternatively, you identify a gap in the market or an audience, which you think, is underserved. Figure out what you can do that’s unique, and if that’s not possible what kind of twist you can put on it so it stands out

Make content you are passionate about: If you want to make great content, and stay motivated and grow as you work on the channel, this is so important. If you’re passionate about something, then you’re likely already an expert and you can use that knowledge to deliver quality content.

Sonic Time Trouble (Mashed)

Keep things simple: It’s easy to get overly excited and commit too much way too soon. Make your branding clear and simple so the audience knows what you’re producing before they even click on one of your videos. I would recommend uploading at least once a week, but the most important thing is the quality and consistency of what you create. Once you nail that down, start building out.

Build your brand: Make sure your channel branding looks good and communicates what you do simply and effectively. Have thumbnails that are enticing (Audiences love emotion and expressions, which is why our thumbnails always try and show off a great shot but with strong expressive faces). Have a short but engaging call to action at the end of your videos asking people to like, share and subscribe.

Make yourself visible: It doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody sees it. So set yourself up on social media, not only to promote your content (important) but to also talk to your audience (even more important). Enter competitions where you know lots of people will be watching submissions. Reach out to people and collaborate so you can combine your audiences. Look for places that are likely to have large audiences already around the type of content you make (Like Reddit & Facebook) and post your work.

Link and Sidon (Mashed)

Evolution not revolution: The biggest mistake I see a lot of channels make when they start becoming successful is that they focus entirely on that one type of video that is popular. This is a great strategy – until for one reason or another that popularity disappears and you have no flexibility with what you create – and what your audience will watch. While you will always have a core type of content that your audience really loves, it’s important to always experiment. Find new ways to approach your subject material, work with new people who will have fresh ideas and perspectives. Constantly evaluate what you have published. What worked? What didn’t? How could you have improved it? Combine your own opinion with those you trust, and dive into the analytics to see what patterns you can see.

Thou shall not be a douchebag: There will be occasions where you may think there are quicker ways to succeed, but ultimately are self-defeating. Don’t take other peoples content without permission. Don’t just copy another creator’s style, tone or format. Don’t use music you do not have permission to use. Don’t take your audience for granted. Don’t forget to credit people properly. Don’t forget to engage your audience and embrace the good comments as well as the bad ones. Doing any of the above is a pretty quick fire way to either get your channel demonetized or shutdown, or effectively to the same thing when your audience abandons you and you get a bad reputation. Nobody wants that.

Fallout TV Takeover (Mashed)

The above should set you up for world domination, or at the very least help you figure out what it is you want to make, know the best way to deliver and promote that content and start to build a successful animation channel online. Go out and get on it!

See the work of YouTube channel Mashed at youtube.com/mashed

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