My two-year old son has become enamored with a colorful character named Blippi. He’s one of the hottest rising YouTubers who has quite literally swept the children’s educational market on the world’s most popular video platform, soaring well past the billion-plus view mark. By curating content specifically geared towards helping children during their most important fundamental developmental stages, he’s effectively carved a massive niche and a surprisingly large following.
One day, as my son sat enthralled by one of Blippi’s videos, where he sings and dances and teaches children about all the various parts and components of a garbage truck, I knew that I needed to learn more. As someone who’s entrenched in the online marketing industry and obsessed with things like passive income, I knew that what Blippi had achieved was nothing short of fascinating and amazing.
In fact, what I discovered from a rather extensive interview was even more amazing to me. Let’s set aside the millions of dollars of revenue that Blippi has made, which is the brainchild of Stevin John, a creative professional from Washington State who once worked in Hollywood’s film industry, behind-the-scenes, and let’s look at the bigger picture here. From a branding and merchandising perspective, Blippi is sheer brilliant.
John’s creative genius has built a proverbial empire and embedded a brand that is so engaging and interesting to watch, that not only has he become one of the most popular YouTubers and fastest-rising stars on the world’s most well-known video sites, but he’s also taken over Amazon Prime, becoming one of the platform’s top 100 all-time streamed self-published shows. Not top 100 in the children’s niche — top 100 across the board.
If you have children, you’ve likely already seen Blippi at least once. You can’t miss him. But what interested me most was how he got started and how the character came to life. There are plenty of YouTubers out there that are carving a substantial niche in the marketplace, but none that I’ve witnessed who are rising this fast into global saturation. From an advanced online marketing perspective, this was intriguing to me, to say the least.
Who Is Blippi?
Blippi was created by Stevin John, who formerly worked in L.A.’s film industry as a camera operator. John, who traveled back and forth to Washington State while working in the film industry, knew that he wanted to do something with his life that could provide value to the world. One day, as he sat and watched his nephew viewing low-quality children’s videos on YouTube, the idea came to him.
After extensive research, he realized that there was a void in the marketplace for free, high-quality children’s educational content. However, his decision to launch Blippi wasn’t some hastened and overnight expedition. What I’ve come to learn is that, not only is Blippi a creative genius, but he’s also well-versed in marketing, advertising and search engine optimization. He’s a true marketing professional.
Now, I don’t say all of this lightly. I know what it takes to achieve market saturation to this degree, and I know that there was a serious amount of effort placed here. In fact, I know that all of the YouTubers that have achieved global success put in significant work before they were acknowledged on a wider scale. It simply takes time. But what Blippi did at the outset, before even launching his character or his videos, really did surprise me.
The truth is that there’s a certain amount of planning and coordination that needs to be taken before you start any business. However, what most people don’t realize is that building a brand anywhere takes the same amount of planning and coordination. To my surprise, John is a highly-technical person along with a creative one, and his insight into metrics and statistics is really profound to say the least.
He used the same insights that he used to succeed as a real estate investor (yes he’s a very successful real estate investor and landlord) that he did to create and build a global children’s educational brand. By measuring, tracking and analyzing metrics his entire life, he’s been able to break his goals down into smaller and more achievable parts. One of the primary reasons he’s succeeded as Blippi is his ability to be so analytical in his approach.
During the initial stages, when he was envisioning his character, John tells me that he first went through 800 different name variations, placing together random sounds with a careful mixture of consonants and vowels. He also knew that children speak from the front of their mouths first, so he spent days pronouncing these strange word combinations over and over again. But that wasn’t all he did. He began doing bulk domain name searches on GoDaddy to see which domains were actually available.
This is smart on so many levels. John was thinking branding from the outset. He knew he needed a name that was easy to remember and included repeating characters that could be pronounced from the front of the mouth. How many creative professionals who achieve success on this level actually put this kind of work and effort in the outset? Very few indeed. So not only was he searching for a name that met all that criteria, but he was also searching for a name that was an available dot-com domain.
However, that wasn’t the end of the story. He immediately filed for a USPTO patent as soon as he discovered the name and got to work on creating the costume. His initial variations of the costume were just too loud. He spent the time doing color theory research to understand what colors he wanted to pursue. He knew that the color blue enlisted the emotion of trust and that orange represented joy and enthusiasm, so he fixated on those two colors.
He also planned in advance. He knew that if his costume incorporated suspenders and a bowtie, that he could ultimately merchandise those items on his website, and that’s precisely what he did. The extent that John went to plan, analyze and construct the character and the brand is something more akin to what deeply-entrenched marketing companies with millions of dollars to throw at creating the latest and hottest brand that people love tend to do rather than a solo entrepreneur.
But John didn’t have to spend very much money to see his vision become a reality. He initially did all the work himself, telling me that it took him around 20 hours per video to shoot and deal with post-production work. Considering the returns on that investment, clearly it’s time well spent. But John had no idea at the outset that his character would be this big of a success. That just goes to show you what’s possible in our highly-interconnected online world.
12 Core Lessons Learned To Succeed On YouTube
Based on my conversations with John, I knew that Blippi provided the blueprint for success on YouTube. In fact, some of the hottest rising stars on the platform embody these lessons from the outset to achieve their dreams of global visibility and notoriety. If you’re looking to replicate the success of YouTubers like Blippi or Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg’s PewDiePie character, or German Garmendia’s HolaSoyGerman and even Jenna Mourey’s Jenna Marble’s character, then you have to heed these lessons.
#1 — Focus On A Specific Niche
Blippi carved a niche for himself by focusing on children’s educational content, similar to how Kjelber’s PewDiePie channel carved a niche by focusing on video games. When you stick to a niche and you’re highly specific about it, the chances that you’ll succeed actually skyrocket. The more you veer off course from that specific niche, the more you’ll lose the focus and attention of your core audience. Stay niche-specific if you want to succeed at the highest level.
#2 — Add Massive Amounts Value
People love to learn. They love to receive an education, especially in a free video-based format. If you add massive amounts of value, you will succeed. The most famous YouTubers focused on value first and foremost and Blippi is no different. If you’re not adding value, you’re largely wasting your time. Add as much value as possible and really go out of your way to create videos that help others learn or understand something on a greater level.
#3 — Connect With Your Audience
Take the time to connect with your audience. Figure out what they want and ensure that you deliver it to them. If they comment that they want something specific in your videos, be sure to address that. Remember that the more you nurture and connect with your core audience, the more likely you’ll increase your marketshare on YouTube. You can do this by sending your viewers to an email subscription form or simply by sharing more personal stories directly through your content.
#4 — Build Your Personal Brand
Staying true to your brand is important in any business, but especially on YouTube. What do you stand for? Be sure to figure that out because it will be at the heart of your personal brand. What’s your mission? Write it out before you even get started then be sure that every single video you create pays homage to that and design your personal brand around it.
#5 — Ask People To Subscribe
My son watches these children’s videos over and over again. What I hear repeatedly are the words “Please Subscribe.” Why? Because, ask and you shall receive. Sometimes, people won’t just subscribe on their own. You have to actually ask them. At the end of your videos, be sure to ask your viewers to subscribe to your channel.
#6 — Have A Clear Intention For Each Video
You need to have a clear intention for each video. Every single YouTuber who creates a video, has a clear intention and topic for that video. Make sure that you outline the video before you even get started. Map it out, creating markers for yourself so that you can stay on message and on point. If you’re doing a video game walkthrough or you’re talking about garbage trucks or some makeup application technique, be clear about it and map it out.
#7 — Use Keyword-Rich Video Names
It’s important to use keyword-rich names for your videos. John knew about the importance of things like SEO and he used intuitive names that were often searched for by doing research using tools like Google’s Adwords and others to come up with the right names for popular types of content. Some examples are JennaMarble’s “How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking,” or “Things Girls Lie About,” and of course Blippi’s “Garbage Trucks for Children.” All names designed after popular searches.
#8 — Never Respond To Hateful Messages
There is a lot of hate out there in the world. It’s an unfortunate truth. But one important lesson that I’ve learned about growing any semblance of an audience is that you shouldn’t respond to hateful messages. Mark Twain once said, “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” It’s just not worth it and you won’t be able to build your brand by wasting your time on negativity like this.
#9 — Use Quality Gear And Lighting
Although PewDiePie And JennaMarbles didn’t start out with high-quality gear, they were still able to carve an impressive niche and create wildly-popular channels. However, over time, they upgraded their gear. Blippi, having been in the video profession, knew what proper lighting and camera equipment he needed from the outset, but as since also upgraded his gear significantly. Focus on creating a quality setup if you’re serious about massive success on YouTube.
#10 — Be Confident In Yourself
Confidence is hard to learn. If you’re not confident, it comes across easily in your voice and your image. All of the YouTubers that have achieved major success obviously appear confident, but not so much in the beginning. At the outset, they were more honest and themselves than anything else. However, if you believe in what you’re doing, and you’re sincerely trying to add value, confidence should come naturally.
#11 — Socialize And Share Your Videos
It’s important to socialize and share all of your videos. Create profiles on all the largest platforms and start building your audience there as well. People like to connect on platforms that they’re familiar with such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t discount the importance of socializing there and in other formats by getting to entrenched into video production. Success requires a mixture of doing all of these things.
#12 — Stay Consistent With Content Releases
Similar to the field of blogging, your audience is looking for content. The top YouTubers know that they need to release content on a regular schedule. If they don’t, they’re going to lose their core audience. This is especially true as you build a large subscriber base who are actively notified each time you post a new video. Don’t underestimate the importance of continually releasing high-quality videos to keep your subscribers happy.