#16: How MKBHD Attracted 6.5 Million Subscribers with 3 Simple Video Types

#16: How MKBHD Attracted 6.5 Million Subscribers with 3 Simple Video Types

In this episode, we break down how MKBHD (AKA Marques Brownlee) went from an unknown creator to the dominant YouTube tech review channel with 6.5 million subscribers by sticking to 3 simple video types over a stretch of 1,000 videos.

Quick Stats

  • Subscribers: 6.65M
  • Views: 992M
  • Videos Published: 1.04K

The MKBHD Origin Story

  • He didn’t start out with flashy tech
  • You can go all the way back and see his 13 year old golf swing analysis video
  • Then a review of his family’s remote control to the computer
  • Then some lackluster tutorials for camstudio and the built-in windows calculator app
  • It wasn’t until about 380 videos into the channel that the video content and style even becomes vaguely recognizable as the tech-review heavy titan it would one day become. The video after he unboxes his first DSLR camera.

Most Popular Videos

  • Generally Smartphone reviews.
  • 76 of his top 100 videos are about smartphones
  • 12 out of his top 20 all-time most popular videos are iPhone reviews.

1) OnePlus 6 Review

2) Apple iPhone X Unboxing

3) iPhone 7 Unboxing

Top Playlist Categories by Popularity

  • Reviews: 135 Videos
  • Top 5’s: 59 Videos
  • First Impressions: 54
  • Videos Explained!: 49 Videos
  • Ask MKBHD: 31 Videos
  • Dope Tech: 18 Videos

Angles He Takes

  • Unboxing = novelty
  • Shocking explainer = Teach me something
  • Review = Interpretation of research + taste + personality
  • Interview = exclusive access

The Gear

  • RED Weapon Monstro ($54,500)
  • Canon EOS C200 ($8,399)
  • Sony a7R III ($2,998)
  • About 10 assorted lenses, few wide angle, macro, sony, canon cine lenses ($19,933 total)
  • Shotgun microphone: Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone + Sanken lav ($1,350)
  • Field mixer ($3,328)
  • Slider & Tripods ($3,577)

Total Gear Cost: ~$94,000


Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟

Tell us what’s up @sixstarsonly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter: https://twitter.com/matopher

Connect with Jake on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakearenot

#14: How Clear Storytelling Can Unlock Unparalleled Growth

#14: How Clear Storytelling Can Unlock Unparalleled Growth

Another book review! This time we’re unpacking the highlights from Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller and sharing why clear storytelling works as a sense-making device to grow your YouTube channel, business, or anything else.

If you have just a YouTube channel, do you need a brand? YES!
— In 2018, knowing how to clarify a brand message is more important than ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business or a content creator.

Biggest Immediate takeaway from the book – “Clarity”
— Tagline is “Clarify your message so customers will listen.
— “If you confuse, you lose.”
— Sort of ties in with “1 True Thing.” Too much noise turns people off to your brand.
— We live in a time know where just being creative and different isn’t enough to set you apart from the competition.
— If you have a good product, a good channel, good videos but you’re not growing….you need to evaluate how you’re communicating to your customers/audience.

There’s an enormous competitive advantage in the marketplace if you can say very quickly what it is that you do in such a way that everybody who hears you says, “I need that!”

Steve Jobs ousted from Apple example: Steve was a tech geek and took out a 9 page ad to promote the Lisa computer. Obviously, this bombed. Spent time with John Lasseter and Pixar who taught him how to tell stories clearly. He came back with: “Think Different”

How do we solve our communication problem?
To mitigate confusion, creating a narrative “story” helps to simplify.
There are few things that are universal: good music, good food, and good stories.

7 Key Ingredients to Build a Story That Resonates

1) A Character
–Your customer is the hero, not you.

2) Has a Problem
— If you’re a YouTuber, what is your audience’s “problem?”
— They don’t know how to be a beekeeper, they want to be entertained?

3) And Meets a Guide
— Customers don’t want another hero to help them, they want guides

4) Who Gives Them a Plan
— Customers trust guides who have plans

5) And Calls Them to Action
— Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, so do customers.”
— Don’t just assume your customer will react to your content.

6) That Helps Them Avoid Failure
— Visualizing the cost of failure is equally as important as communicating what success looks like.

7) And Ends in a Success
— But… It’s absolutely critical to nail a compelling picture of the “promised land.” People need to understand how their transformed life can look after your help!


Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟

Tell us what’s up @sixstarsonly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter.

Connect with Jake on Twitter.

#12: Demystify Top-Ranked YouTube Videos With These Simple SEO Techniques

In this episode, we walk through the definitive guide to getting your videos found in organic YouTube search so you can get your videos found and build your subscribers — faster.

How should you research keywords to rank your video for more views?

  • Use Youtube suggest to find long tail keywords (and use “_” character to find words BEFORE.
  • TubeBuddy for competitor tag research
  • Tubular Labs for competitive research
  • YTCockpit shows avg video length for given keyword. Helps you avoid keywords with a packed 1st page of high-quality videos.
  • Best = YouTube Analytics. Analytics > Traffic Sources > YouTube Search

Major Key: Total watch time = YouTube’s #1 ranking factor.

  • Create LONG videos to maximize your watch time.
  • This will pay off across the board over time since it’s a core metric Google uses to determine your video’s value.

Audience retention (the % of your video watched) is also key.

  • The first 15 seconds of your video are critical. Nail your hook at all costs.
  • Use 1–2 pattern interrupts per video to avoid losing your audience’s attention.

Why you shouldn’t overlook session watch time.

  • YouTube rewards videos that keep people on their platform.
  • Use playlists to increase bulk watching. Keyword optimize them so they rank.
  • Include links to other videos and your channel on your video end screen.

Create raving fans with these user engagement rules of thumb.

  • Give viewers a simple, specific option to successfully prompt comments. Don’t make them think!
  • Add a clear “Subscribe” call-to-action to your script.
  • Reply to every comment in the first 24 hours after uploading.

Create a video title that scores clicks in 2 simple steps.

  • Step #1: Include your target keyword
  • Step #2: Maximize click-through-rate

Why video descriptions matter more than you thought.

  • Most people overlook this — but you should write 200+ word descriptions for every video.
  • Descriptions give YouTube more data to work with and increases the likelihood of showing up in suggestions.
  • The first 125 characters of your description will appear in suggestions. Make them attention-grabbing to support your title’s click-through rate.

But, how should I handle video tags?

  • Pick 5-ish that make sense.
  • Use your target keyword as one.
  • Honestly, they’re not as important as they used to be.

Quick wins that will boost your rankings.

  • Say your target keyword 1–2 times in each video
  • Upload a transcript using a service like Rev.com.
  • Always use a custom thumbnail to boost CTR.
  • Use a simple slogan so viewers understand your channel’s purpose at a glance. Feature it in your about page.

Create a channel trailer that answers these essential questions to convert new subscribers.

  • Who are you?
  • Why should I care?
  • What makes your channel unique?
  • Why should I subscribe?

Loved this show? It would make our month (wait, no, our YEAR) if you left us a 5-star review on iTunes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟

Tell us what’s up @sixstarsonly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can hit Matt Woods up on Twitter: @matopher

Connect with Jake on Twitter: @jakearenot

#10 Donald Glover’s Jaw-Dropping Rise From YouTube Star to Media Titan

#10: Donald Glover's Jaw-Dropping Rise From YouTube Star to Media Titan

We’re taking a deep dive into Donald Glover’s history and tracing his humble beginnings from one of the world’s first breakout YouTube stars.

We’ll unpack the stepping stones that lead from making millions of people laugh on his viral videos and culminates in Glover winning an Emmy for his hit show Atlanta, snagging a Grammy under his rapper name, Childish Gambino, and even playing smooth-talking Star Wars smuggler Lando Calrissian in a blockbuster spin-off.

Even if you’ve heard Donald Glover’s story before, we’ve uncovered a couple pieces specifically relevant to video creators who want to create meaningful work that gets noticed.

Matt and Jake also break down some of the fundamental lessons from Donald’s creative journey to fuel your own creative projects.

Continue reading “#10 Donald Glover’s Jaw-Dropping Rise From YouTube Star to Media Titan”

#3: Please… Kill These Cardinal Video Sins Forever

#3: Please... Kill These Cardinal Video Sins Forever

Today we’re talking about the most common (and inexcusable) mistakes we see video creators making — and how we’ve stumbled into the right strategies and gear to cure them with minimal effort.

You have no excuse to put out crappy video. It’s easier than you think….

When there’s an endless ocean of videos your audience could pick from, you owe it to your audience to not slap them across the face with disappointing quality.

Continue reading “#3: Please… Kill These Cardinal Video Sins Forever”

#2: Why is Looper’s Insanely Repetitive Format So Addicting?

#2: Why is Looper's Insanely Repetitive Format So Addicting?

If you don’t want to be just another wannabe YouTube creator, writer, or podcaster with no following and no hope of making a difference, keep listening….

Because we’re in the same boat.

In this episode, Matt Woods and Jake Arent deconstruct Looper’s incredibly repetitive format and why it works so well.

We dissect their killer formula, taking a boring format, finding a nerve, and doubling down on what works. We also discuss how to not get bogged down by the pressure of reinventing the wheel.

Matt even uncovers Looper’s big secret, the “House Hunter” model, and how we can apply it to our own videos.

Continue reading “#2: Why is Looper’s Insanely Repetitive Format So Addicting?”

#1: Cringeworthy Reasons Creators Self-Sabotage (Especially Us)

#1: Cringeworthy Reasons Creators Self-Sabotage (Especially Us)

If you don’t want to be just another wannabe YouTube creator, writer, or podcaster with no following and no hope of making a difference, keep listening….

Because we’re in the same boat.

In this inaugural episode, Matt Woods and Jake Arent rant about how self-doubt totally destroys your ability to grow as a creator. We pinpoint the real dangers of refusing to embrace criticism (especially when it hurts.)

Jake even tells the story of how Matt made an ultimatum that lead to them both diving cluelessly into an Italian dive bar for open mic night. Wild stuff.

Continue reading “#1: Cringeworthy Reasons Creators Self-Sabotage (Especially Us)”