How often should I post to maintain an audience?
March 5, 2009 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I produce a YouTube show about media literacy/criticism. Right now we post weekly, on a schedule which is driving me insane. Does frequency of publishing new content matter (whether it's for a blog, a podcast, a comic, etc) so long as you publish regularly? Could I do it every other week or monthly without losing people's attention? And what do you suggest doing to help make up for less-frequent publishing?

I produce a YouTube show about media literacy/criticism which is aimed roughly at high-school- and college-aged students. Right now we post weekly. I've been sticking to this schedule because I've always felt that blogs/webcomics/other online serials which post regularly tend to have a more devoted audience. (This also echoes advice I got when working for an organization which supported small-circulation magazines.)

However, posting weekly is kind of driving me crazy. Editing and shooting video is a hell of a lot more time-consuming than writing a blog post. I'd like to post less frequently, but I'm worried I'd lose audience. A lot of the people I speak to about the show don't seem to have a YouTube account, so using the "subscribe" button is out.

So I'm hoping to gather up the expertise of people who have been doing this for longer than I have. Does frequency of publishing new content matter (whether it's for a blog, a podcast, a comic, etc) so long as you publish regularly? Could I do it every other week or monthly without losing people's attention? And what do you suggest doing to help make up for less-frequent publishing?
posted by gusandrews to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And if you're interested in the show, check my profile for a link :)
posted by gusandrews at 1:13 PM on March 5, 2009

YouTube has some pretty neat "insight" analytics. I think you will see the majority of your traffic will come shortly after posting, and you will also see an increase in viewers over time as you get subscribers and as your get more videos to show in related.

Obviously the frequency of posting will matter, but I think a maintainable, regular schedule is more important. Missing deadlines will be even more important. I have podcasts that update once a month. If they missed a month I might not care, two, I'll wonder what's going on. Too long and I don't even bother checking (even if like Tikibar TV is was one of my favorites).
posted by cjorgensen at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2009

(None of this refers to your own show, which I haven't been able to watch -- I'm at work -- but rather, youtube content in general)

There are three big things that matter for "User Gen"-level content on youtube. In decreasing order of importance, they are:

1) Professionalism in production
2) Quality of content
3) Reliable schedule

Producing a better show every other week is much preferable to a tacked-together show weekly. Spending extra time learning actual cinematography and shooting styles is infinitely more valuable than trying to artificially stimulate view counts. And writing for web video is a tricky skill to master, even for people who can write for television.

Again, I haven't had a chance to look at your stuff, but it doesn't matter, I'd give this advice to anyone:

Get a workable schedule. Learn your camera(s) front and back. Write constantly.

Does this mean taking a month off to really get your stuff situated? It may. But at the minimum, I'd recommend making it every other week, or at least, maybe making the show half as long per week.
posted by Damn That Television at 2:34 PM on March 5, 2009

I have been wrestling with this myself, as I prepare for a web comic. I'm drawing it at a level of detail that is simply not sustainable on a weekly schedule (a tease, another tease).

The received wisdom in the webcomics world is that you must kill yourself to have something, anything, up on that page on the days you've said you would, every day, always, or your fickle audience falls apart. But in looking at comics that acquire followings, you see gaps, you see breaks. And nowadays we have RSS feeds to tie things together; I read a couple of comics because Livejournal can pick up their feed and stick it in my friends list. I'm going to be experimenting with a dramatically different update schedule, getting most of a chapter queued up then posting two pages a week - then going on haitus for the next chapter. The response I have before even posting the first page, so far, leads me to believe people will stick around.

Did you watch Ren and Stimpy when it came out? Did you make the VCR grab it every week, hoping it'd be a new episode - and rejoice when it did? If it takes longer to make the kind of quality that keeps people coming back... then it takes longer, and either you put out crap or you make the impossible schedule slip. (If R&S was not your thing, then substitute whatever you think was That Awesome TV Show That Took Forever To Make New Episodes.)

Relax the schedule. Keep it worth watching. Advertise your feeds so that your show delivers itself invisibly instead of relying on the viewers obsessively reloading its homepage.

The usual things webcomics do to keep the updates coming are pinups of the characters, guest art, and quick little drawings of the main character or the self-insertion apologizing for being late. I dunno what the video equivalent of this is!
posted by egypturnash at 3:50 PM on March 5, 2009

For me there's a link between content and schedule. I'm happy to wait a longer interval if I know I'm going to get something more substantial, and I'm likely to be disappointed by content that's frequent, but uninvolving.

I think you should focus on delivering great, insighful content less often. Give your viwers something they know it's worth looking forward to.
posted by dowcrag at 12:34 AM on March 6, 2009

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