Top iTunes Business Podcast

47+ Million Downloads

SPI 767: The Honest YouTube Journey with Aprilynne Alter

The strategies we used to rely on for growth on YouTube aren’t working anymore. So, what are up-and-coming creators doing to build an audience? Which tactics get you more views and subscribers right now?

I’ve had a lot of big names in the YouTube space on the show, everyone from Ali Abdaal to MKBHD. But today, I wanted to get a fresh perspective from someone who is just starting to make waves.

There’s a lot of buzz around my guest, Aprilynne Alter, due to her incredible ability to synthesize information and uncover the secrets behind modern viral videos. But here’s the thing: Aprilynne almost quit YouTube a few weeks before her breakout success!

So, what was the moment when things finally clicked?

Listen in on my chat with Aprilynne to learn about her journey! In this episode, we get in the weeds of the video creation process. We discuss everything from ideas and research to which metrics you should keep an eye on for maximum growth.

Aprilynne puts hundreds of hours into her videos and her insights on titles, thumbnails, quality versus quantity, and time management will surprise some of you. Listen in and enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Aprilynne Alter

Aprilynne Alter is a creator and educator who learns side-by-side with her audience to uncover what it takes to be a successful YouTuber. After leaving a finance career that didn’t align with her aspirations, Aprilynne launched her first YouTube channel in 2021, followed by a second in April 2023. Now, she shares content that uniquely blends in-depth, tactical YouTube strategies with more vulnerable “chicken soup for the YouTuber’s soul.”

You’ll Learn


SPI 767: The Honest YouTube Journey with Aprilynne Alter

Aprilynne Alter: I feel like some of the things that you learn from years ago don’t necessarily apply now. YouTube is getting more and more competitive and things that used to work in the past aren’t working as well now. And things really started to shift with me when I said, okay, I’m going to take everything I know, strip it down, strip down my ego, come into this fully in student mode and just try to absorb and learn everything that I possibly can and then apply that every single time. That was the really the thing that pushed me into my new content and what started to work.

Pat Flynn: You know, it’s always a pleasure to invite somebody on this show who is an up and comer. Oftentimes, we have a lot of the bigger names on the show. And with today’s topic around YouTube, we’ve had some big time YouTubers on the podcast before, everybody from Ali Abdaal to MKBHD. However, today we’re talking with somebody who is fairly, well, I know she’s at the start of her journey. And in fact, a restart of her journey. I didn’t know that she had another channel before this that completely failed that was just burning her out.

So she started new and she’s off to the races now. Her name is Aprilynne Alter, and she’s become a name that has been thrown around a lot on Twitter or X as somebody to look out for when it comes to YouTube education and teaching the right way and what is working today and even though we’ve talked about YouTube here before, even though I teach it in a course inside of the All Access Pass, it is always great to get a new perspective on things. And I really, really love the frameworks that Aprilynne teaches. And I really love the way that she just makes it just make sense.

So if you were at the start of your YouTube journey, or maybe you’ve tried once before and you’ve burnt out, this is definitely going to be a great episode for you. If you aren’t paying attention to YouTube and how it might help you and your brand, what are you doing? It is becoming a platform that almost is becoming a necessity for a lot of people.

And even though I’m still very bullish on podcasting, I do feel like the podcasting plus YouTube combo is a winner for sure. We don’t get into that today, but we do get pretty tactical. We get into the weeds of what is the process for starting a video? What is it like when you’re just starting out? Do you go for quality or do you go for quantity?

And her response may surprise you. And we talk about titles, thumbnails, as well as what to look out for when it comes to analytics, and the one thing all YouTubers should do, despite it not being that something that’s going to get a lot of views. We have a lot to unpack here. So here she is, Aprilynne Alter, and you can find her on YouTube, but you can listen to her now. Here she is.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, his guilty pleasure is watching TikToks about growing up in a Filipino family, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Aprilynne, welcome to the SPI Podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time today.

Aprilynne Alter: Thanks so much for having me. I’m very excited to be here.

Pat Flynn: I’m excited that you’re here. I think the audience is excited too, because we often have guests on the show who do talk about YouTube, who have a bazillion subscribers, right?

And oftentimes the strategies are like, okay, well, of course it works for you because you’ve been in this for a while, you’re, you are established and you have all the numbers. But what I really love about your story, Aprilynne, is like, you started your channel just a little over a year ago. And, you know, you’re not at 8 million subscribers yet, but you’re growing, you’re growing quickly, and most of all, a lot of other YouTubers are talking about you, and how well you teach, and the education that you provide.

So I just want to, first of all, just congratulate you for quickly establishing yourself in this space, and showing up in such a authentic way. I appreciate that.

Aprilynne Alter: Thank you so much for saying that. Honestly, it’s been kind of surreal. It’s one of those things where, now looking back at it, it’s like, wow! This has been great!

You know, I’ve been hitting the milestones that I’ve wanted to, and I feel really, really good. And, it’s just so interesting because, well, we’ll probably get into this later, but maybe two or three weeks, right before everything started taking off, I was in like the lowest of lows and almost gave up. So it was just really, really great to see kind of how things have gone so far.

And yeah, it’s, it’s been wild. Very, very fun, but wild.

Pat Flynn: Oh, wow. I did not realize that you were on the sort of brink of giving up. I felt the same way about my podcast in 2011, and then it shot up after that. I mean, let’s start there. I mean, how far were you into that process when you started feeling that way and how did you decide to keep going?

Aprilynne Alter: So I guess in order to fully understand that moment, you have to get a little bit more context, which is, this is not my first YouTube channel, this is my second. So I first started on YouTube the very first time in, I want to say July of 2021. And that was my first channel. see some success on that channel, but I ended up going in a direction and niching down into a niche that I was not passionate about whatsoever.

And I burned out hard, like hardest burnout I had ever experienced in my life. Took most of 2022 to recover from that burnout, figure out how things had gone so wrong so quickly, some soul searching, yada, yada, yada. And realize that I did want to do YouTube. I realized that if I could be successful in anything, I would want to be a successful YouTuber, but I had just gone wrong in the direction that my old channel was in.

So I started my new channel in April of 2023, and I had so much confidence going into this new channel because I wasn’t a new YouTuber at that point. I had had a previous channel, I’ve seen some success with that channel. I had taken courses, you know, talk to consultants. I had gotten to a point in my YouTube education where people were coming to me asking me questions about YouTube.

So I felt fairly confident. The first few months of this new channel did not go nearly the way that I had imagined them in my mind. The growth was a lot slower than I had imagined. And things that I were doing that I remember being told to do and that had worked for me in the past were not working anymore.

And it got to this point where, you know, I had just moved to San Francisco, brand new city for me. Didn’t know anyone here, no friends, no family around. I had even just gotten rejected from a program that I really wanted to get into. And I was like, I don’t know, it was maybe 570 subscribers or so. I was embarrassed to say my subscriber count out loud.

And I thought, man, like I’ve been trying so hard for what felt like a long time. I’ve been very intentional about my content and even so I hadn’t seen the growth that I wanted and I’d been rejected from this program and I felt like that was my like low of the low moments of, you know, feeling like nothing was working and questioning if had I made some big mistake in thinking about what I thought I was capable of, and what I was actually capable of, was there some giant mismatch there? That was like the low of the low.

Pat Flynn: I resonate with that. I’ve felt that before too. And I remember, internally, just wanting to give up. What was it for you that told yourself, I gotta keep going on this?

Aprilynne Alter: I think that I’m a very resilient person and I’m a very intentional person and I’m very good at quitting things. I think I’m a very good quitter, not in the way that it means giving up, but I have done enough things for enough time to get to an external layer of success and realize that this wasn’t the direction that I wanted my life to go in and choosing to quit that, even though it was not easy.

And so through all of those times I’ve quit. I feel like I’ve gotten quite good at realizing what I am actually good at and what I do have the potential to do. And so there was still some of that underlying confidence in myself, maybe a healthy amount of self delusion of like, I do think that I have what it takes to be successful.

So that was like the undercurrent behind this thought. And on the other hand, I’m a big fan of like sprints and challenges to get me out of certain funks. You know, I sat down on that day and with a very long journaling session, cause I always resort to journaling when I’m feeling very, very bad about myself.

And throughout this process of journaling, I came to the conclusion of, you know what? I’m embarrassed by my subscriber count now. And the things that I’ve been doing for the past few months obviously have not been working. So let’s change that. Right? Thank you. And I put myself into a 90 day challenge, a 90 day sprint, where I said, I’m going to get my channel monetized within the next 90 days.

And I’m going to do everything that I can to get my channel at least monetized within the next 90 days. Throw every single ounce of myself, piece of myself into figuring this out. And with that new goal came, you know, this new wave of passion, this new fire within me. Like, you know what? I’m not just going to sit here.

Once I had a goal, I had a purpose, and I was ready to just throw everything that I could into it.

Pat Flynn: And you did, and then you started to see some incredible results from some of those videos, and of course, the way YouTube is, sometimes it takes a little bit of time for YouTube and the audience to find you, and to kind of show up for you, finally.

What was it like to once you started kind of pouring back into YouTube with this new energy to get a response back, what were you feeling when it all finally went down?

Aprilynne Alter: Oh my gosh, it was the most incredible feeling. It was really interesting because for like the week or two before that, I’m a daily journaler, and every single day in my journal, I wrote that I felt like I was on the precipice.

Like I felt like I was on the edge. I felt like I was so close to being there. And it was just like, I was right there. And so when it came, it didn’t really come as a surprise to me, but it more felt like this, this rush of relief of like, like finally, finally over this edge. And it was really funny because I remember writing, and this was right before VidSummit.

And so VidSummit was in early October. It was my first time going to VidSummit. I had signed up. Not cheap. And I remember a few weeks before VidSummit. I only have 700 subscribers and I was thinking, okay, going into VidSummit, I’m going to have 10,000 subscribers. That is my goal. And it felt crazy, because I was growing, sure, but not nearly at that pace.

And then, going into VidSummit, like, I walked in, day one, with just over 11,000 subscribers. That is amazing. I’m not sure, like, how woo woo people are, but if any part of you believes in manifestation, I was like, man, like, that’s just wild. That’s just such, such, like, a crazy how everything aligned coming from a stage where I was nowhere close to that.

And so, you know, that feeling of how did it feel when things finally started clicking together, it felt to me, and again, this might be overly confident, but to me, it felt like, ha it’s time, you know, the time is finally here, the time is now, and man, I feel so good.

Pat Flynn: Well, I’m, I’m so proud of you. And I had gotten goosebumps when you said that. I was actually a VidSummit, as well. We probably ran across each other at some point. I wish I had known you back then so I could say, great job, because I did see your videos come up on my feed, and I started noticing a little bit more chatter about you and what you’ve been offering, and it’s been great to see. And I think that just little story there, resilience, is so key for anybody going, especially into YouTube, with the environment that it is.

And now you teach a lot of other people to do that. I’m curious, before we get into more tactical things for YouTube today, what would you tell yourself the day before you started this second YouTube channel would help you as you got started with, I don’t know, your expectations or the journey? Would there be anything that you would say to yourself to coach yourself right before you began that channel?

Aprilynne Alter: I think what I would say was for one, it’s harder than you think, and two, continue being a student. I think one of my faults going into this, the, the second channel was, I had really plateaued in terms of my skill level with YouTube. I had found a certain rhythm with my scripting and my editing and topics in the way that I viewed YouTube and I guess I was at a skill level that served me pretty well with my previous channel, but that was before, right? And this is now.

And I feel like some of the things that you learn from years ago or can help with different stages of YouTube don’t necessarily apply now. YouTube is getting more and more competitive and things that used to work in the past aren’t working as well now. And Things really started to shift with me again, like after that low of low when I went into the 90 day sprint when I said, okay, I’m going to take everything I know, strip it down, strip down my ego, come into this fully in student mode and just try to absorb and learn everything that I possibly can and then apply that every single time. And that was the really the thing that pushed me into my new content and what started to work but it was only after again I went back into that that student mind that I felt like I didn’t have or didn’t feel like it was that important for the months prior to that.

Pat Flynn: That is great. I think there’s a lot of YouTubers out there. A lot of them I know who need to hear something like that because they did start a long time ago and what did work back then just is not working anymore. And oftentimes when they almost feel beholden to the way that things were before, cause that’s all they knew and that style of video or the way they edit or the script, whatever it might be.

Hasn’t changed because they’re either too afraid to change or because they’re just set in their ways. And so this could be a big wake up call for, for a lot of YouTubers as well. I’m curious when you decided to just kind of strip down everything. What did you discover? What is you can implement today that is working?

I’m curious to see what few things you discovered when you went through that process even with your own stuff.

Aprilynne Alter: I think the first thing that I did when I went into this new mode was, like, look through like, certain YouTube greats that I felt have, like, kept up with how things have been moving along.

One of which was Paddy Galloway. Paddy Galloway was such a huge inspiration to me. And I was looking through, I was watching a lot of his videos. Not really his videos, but more so looking at interviews. I love primary sources when it comes to discovering what’s new about YouTube. So like, I love going to interviews for particularly that purpose.

Cause you really hear it from the source. So I was like, just binging a, like every single Paddy Galloway interview that I could find. And one thing that really stuck with me with him, which again, I don’t know if this is new, but I realized that I wasn’t utilizing it nearly enough, was the huge importance of packaging, right?

So that means idea, title, and thumbnail. And I realized that, you know what, like, I was spending so much time, like, I knew, I was like, okay, yeah, make your title and thumbnail first, sure. Like, I knew that that was, A piece of advice, but for some reason I wasn’t acting on that. For some reason, I was still leaving my title and thumbnail to be the very last thing that I did.

Right, and so if you think about what goes into the success of a video, it’s around 50 percent the packaging, right? The idea, the title and thumbnail around 50 percent the video itself. So it’s like. The script, the editing, the pacing, the sound design, so much of the, like what goes into the video itself.

And I realized that I was spending 90, 95, maybe 99 percent of my time on the video itself. And maybe like 1 percent on the idea, title and thumbnail, just like, and like, a couple minutes thinking like, Hmm, what’s a good idea? And then scrambling to make a solid title and thumbnail an hour before the video goes live.

And again, it was one of those things where it seems so simple. And it’s probably something that you already know or already heard of. But I didn’t internalize it until, again, stripping back that ego and thinking, Okay, going back to basics, YouTube changed, right? Where I spent so much more time thinking about what is the best idea that I can make before pouring any recess or into it, truly making my title and thumbnail first before everything else, and really just increasing the amount of time I spent on that side of things before going into the video itself.

So that’s probably one of the things that just, like, really kind of got me to the next level and, like, changing the behavior and how it’s approaching YouTube.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, that’s a big one. I mean, packaging is the right word for that because it is something that people see before they get into the actual video.

And if people aren’t clicking on that video, then the video might not as well even exist. And oftentimes When we film these things, it almost feels like a waste of time if nobody’s clicking on them, right? Even though we know the video’s great. So, I love that you talked about that. We’re gonna unpack that a little bit.

I do want to give a shout out also to Paddy Galloway. His stuff is incredible. And I can see when you say that you’ve gone through every interview, I know you have, because in your videos, one style that I think is unique to you is you bring in a lot of clips from these interviews that you’ve watched.

It’s almost like you’ve done the research, and you’ve discovered these things. Not only are you saying that based on what you learned, but you’re actually showing that too. And I think that’s, that’s one really thing, neat thing I love about your videos. It’s like, you’re not just talking the talk, you, you actually go out and find these things and have proven that you’ve done the research.

And then it, and then like a puzzle, you piece all these things together and then we come out with lessons on the other end. I think that’s, that’s brilliant. Let’s go through a video creation process for you. I’d be curious to know your, your methodology there and where it all starts. So does it start with an idea?

Are you doing research, keywords, anything? Like, where do you begin?

Aprilynne Alter: I’ll preface this first by saying that I’ve kind of expanded the types of videos that I make now, or at least moving forward, I’m experimenting with a few more types. But I’ll answer for kind of the main type, which is what I call banger videos, the ones that are made with the intent of reaching new audiences and still pleasing your existing and your existing audience, both your casual and core audience, but like the, the, the videos that you make with the intent of, you know, getting views. And for those, start with the idea, always start with the idea. Right now it’s a lot easier for me to come up with ideas because I have a series going on. And so I’ve had a video that’s proven success, that proved to work. It was my breakout video. I made another video following that same kind of format.

That video also did very, very well. So I’m like, okay, I have a proven format now, so I can just continue this series. And it’s made ideation a lot easier for me, but first of all, start with idea. And when you think about idea, you really need to think about a video idea that is highly interesting and broadly appealing.

Again, I’m taking a lot from, from Paddy Galloway, but when he talks about ideation, he talks a lot about making your video idea, again, broadly appealing and highly interesting to your core audience, people who already know and love you, your casual audience of people who are maybe subscribed to you, but really only watch the videos that they feel like are really good, and very important new viewers, people who have no idea who you are. And so if you think, okay, if you see on your, on your YouTube homepage, a video come up from a YouTuber that you’ve never seen before, what topic do you think would be so intriguing that you would click on it anyway, even if you don’t know them?

So, the ideation comes first. After I have my idea, then comes title and thumbnail. It’s like, okay, I have this idea. Again, if you think about that, that perfect scenario of this video is popping up on someone’s homepage. They have no idea who you are. What is the title and what is the thumbnail that would make them click on it.

And that’s like a whole long process itself. Once I have that down, or at least like a pretty good idea of what I think it’s going to be, then I get into my research. My own videos are very heavily researched. I go deep. And I think that’s, that’s one of the distinguishing factors of my videos is that I probably go a lot deeper than maybe anyone else currently is.

Like, hundreds, that’s not an exaggeration, of hours researching. My recent video ended up with 73 pages of research. Like, truly just go as deep as I can. Which is, for me, is super fun. I love this process because I just get to like sit and research and absorb and like learn so much. After I have my giga document of all of my research, then I go through this crunch phase where I think, okay, have all of this, I make like a list of everything I could possibly include in, in my videos, they’re highly educational. And I’m like, okay, how can I like squish into a framework that is accessible and easy to understand? I love working in frameworks. I just feel like it works well with my brain. And I love making knowledge accessible.

And I think one of the best ways to make knowledge accessible to others is to put it into a framework that they can easily follow. So I just go through this like, squish phase of, okay, I have all of these things. Let’s squish it into like something that’s easier to understand. Okay. This is cool. Let’s squish it further and squish it further.

And I go through iterations of squishing until I come up with like a solid outline of something that I feel is pretty, pretty strong and flows well and makes sense in order. After I have my outline, then I start scripting and scripting takes me forever. I’ll go through like. six versions of a script before I get to my final version. The first one is always like terrible.

It’s, it’s awful. Like I, it’s painful to write. And as I’m writing it and think like this is the worst thing in the entire world, but I do it with the intent of knowing, okay, this is not what people are going to see. This is just me putting some sort of basis down so I can come back for v2 and edit. So it’s always like the most painful part of the process is v1 of the script.

During the entire time I’m like, this sucks. I suck. This is like, this is so terrible. And then bit by bit, I come back, rework things, fill stuff in, cut things out until version six, which is like solid. Then I annotate, which is also like a newer part of my process that I’ve recently learned about and I’ve loved.

I used to just film everything and then edit. Now I script it and then go through line by line and annotate what I want going on screen. So I separate it into talking head footage, B roll that I film, screen shares, and visuals that I make. And so I plan all of that out beforehand. Then when I go to film, it makes filming a lot easier because I know for my talking head portion, which I need to say to the camera, what I can just read, which is a lot easier.

And then also can go out and like capture b roll if needed. Once I have all of that, then I start the editing process. Editing takes a long time, but I honestly really like it. I actually do sound design first, which is like another new thing that I’ve done. After my initial cut. I add music first, because it’s something that is so important, and if I leave it to the end, I always rush it, because it’s like the last thing between me and, and uploading.

So I do it first, so I can truly take my time. After that, I need to do the visual edit from start to finish. I also like, personally, making like a freebie downloadable guide as well, that I put in each of my videos. And once that’s done, then the video’s done, and then I can upload.

Pat Flynn: Oh, it sounds like a lot of work.

I think, authentically, it is a lot of work. But, you know, that could potentially deter somebody from going, Oh, well, this, this doesn’t sound easy. But I think that we’re starting to see a trend now of quality over quantity. Even people are starting to get a little tired of like, All the shorts and TikToks and everything now, like we’re looking for quality.

We want to sit down and get engrossed in something and the way that you do. I mean, minus the 73 hours of research that you do, how long would you say a video would take you just in general, how many hours?

Aprilynne Alter: I’ll judge it off of my intro video, which was like my, my, my breakout video, that video took me around two weeks to make, but again, this is two weeks as a full time YouTuber, like me doing this full time.

Obviously, if you’re doing this part time, that’s like a whole other conversation. But yeah, it took me around two weeks as a full time YouTuber to make that video.

Pat Flynn: The two weeks. That is I feel like a breakout video is pretty common for most channels. Do you, do you find that to be the case with like your students and other people that you’ve researched?

Like, okay, let’s keep it consistent. I think I was, I was interviewing a MKBHD on this show, and he said that his first 100 videos were for less than 100 subscribers, like back in the day. And then he talked about a breakout video that he did, and I think a few other people had breakout videos. Is that kind of what we’re striving for?

Like we get our reps in, we learn until like one hits, and then you can kind of, like I noticed your next video after that was, had a pretty similar thumbnail and it kind of like was a nice part too and and you’re sort of like adding on to it Is that kind of what we’re shooting for as a brand new YouTuber is like that breakout video?

Aprilynne Alter: I think as a brand new YouTuber, getting those reps in and prioritizing consistency, so quantity over quality, is very important until you hit a certain plateau. I think you can learn, there is so much to learn just from getting the reps in, and I have this conversation with students of mine, or clients, right, who are brand new and they want to just spend a lot of time making their first video and I have to talk them out of it.

Like, okay, you can, but I promise you just through the process of making a video, you’re going to learn so much. And by the end of it, you’re going to think, oh, I wish I did all of these things differently. And you can go into your second video and make another one and think at the very end, man, this, this was cool, but I wish I could have done all of this.

And so I would recommend prioritizing consistency first. Up until you get to a point where you feel like you’re plateaued, like okay, I have like a solid groove, I know what I’m doing, I can’t really easily think of things that I would improve, at least within the time constraint that I have, whether that’s weekly uploads or bi weekly uploads or whatever you want.

And then at that point, once you’re in your groove, once you’ve hit that, then I would recommend thinking, okay, you know, at that point, maybe you’ve gotten lucky and a video of yours has blown up and that’s amazing. But for most people, you’re still going to be hovering around like, I don’t know, 100 to 500 subscribers.

Maybe you’ve broken a thousand, but you’re not really growing very fast. You haven’t had your breakout video yet. That’s when I would think, okay, What are the video that I can make that will be my breakout video? Taking everything I know so far about YouTube, pouring all of that in. I have the knowledge now I can do this.

And think very intentionally about making the best video I possibly can that I think can go viral.

Pat Flynn: I actually really like that. Let’s not worry about creating the biggest banger right off the bat. Let’s just get the reps in. Let’s learn as we go. And then when you feel like you’re ready, you’ve figured out the editing, you know your style a little bit, okay, now let’s really go deep and create something that at least has a good bet to do really well, all things considered.

And, and so my question would be to you, Aprilynne, for that first video that a person’s creating, or the first few in their brand new YouTube channel, what is good enough? I think so many people are going to struggle with that idea of, okay, well I just got to get it out there. But also, there’s all these things that I knew I could do more of.

I could add more paint to this canvas if I wanted to. How would you define, like, good enough to just put out there? What does that look like for a person who’s, who’s just starting out?

Aprilynne Alter: Yeah, I will say you, you can fiddle with everything forever. What I tend to do for myself during that stage is, instead of setting a quality standard of like, this is good enough, I like setting a time standard, right? If you think about Parkinson’s law, right? It’s like, okay, the work expands or constricts to fit within that timeframe. So if you say, Hey, I’m going to upload once a week, set that time. And then, Hey, whatever you can do to get a video up in your weekly upload, that is good enough.

You know, hopefully, you know, you have some sort of video idea, obviously you make a video, maybe you you’re scripting out, maybe it’s bullets, you filmed it, you’ve done some sort of marginal editing, whatever that looks like for you. You’re probably cutting out like ums, uhs and mistakes. Maybe you’re adding some visuals to it or whatever, right?

But whatever it takes to upload on time, that’s good enough. And then what you’re going to feel is each time you upload, you’re going to be able to do more and more and more. during that time frame because you’re going to learn and you’re going to get faster. So your process, your, your good enough is going to increase and increase and increase.

And that’s what I think is a better way of thinking about it versus like what quality should I shoot for when it’s good enough.

Pat Flynn: Yes, I really love that. Plus, the more that you create, the more consistent you are, the better data that you’re going to get from YouTube to be able to then inform some of these things that you can or should do and shouldn’t do anymore of.

How do you look at your data when it comes to the videos that you publish? What’s important to you?

Aprilynne Alter: Cool. So we’ll start with the basic analytics and then go more in depth. The primary things that I look for when I upload a video is what is the initial click through rate in the first day, and what are the views like in the first day?

Those are some of the main ones that I look for. When you first upload a video, your click through rate should be a lot higher on day one because that’s going to your existing subscribers, your existing audience. So if that CTR and I’m like, okay, we have a problem here. Maybe it’s a problem with the title.

Maybe it’s a problem with the thumbnail. Maybe it’s a problem with the video idea itself, which sucks to hear. Cause I can’t really do anything about it after the fact, but just good information to know. So that’s what I look at first. Then a little bit later on when I get more data, that’s when I look through things like the retention graph.

I think it’s really interesting, especially when you do longer videos that cover a lot to look at like which particular sections or chapters have a higher retention, which have a lower retention. My breakout video, the intro one, the idea for that video came because in a previous video of mine, which was more like an overall how to type of video, which is how MrBeast solved YouTube, kind of talked through a lot of his advice in various stages.

One of the highest retention areas for that video was when he was talking about the intro, like, okay, a lot of people are interested in this particular topic. What if I made that into entire other video? So it’s another piece of the analytics that I look at a lot. And then like a final one that I’ll throw out there, which is like a bonus one is in your older videos and all of your videos, I like to look at which videos have a really high average view percentage or AVP, but a very low CTR, a low click through rate.

What this tells you is that it’s a pretty decent video. The people who are clicking on it are watching it a lot of the way through. It’s a good video, but people aren’t clicking it very much. That’s like a really good signal for if you want to spend extra time to change some of the titles and thumbnails of previous videos, those are the ones to target first.

Pat Flynn: Love it. Super advice. Just a couple more things to ask you, April, and this has been super handy, and I appreciate you again for coming on. Obviously, you share a lot of these things on your YouTube channel. I highly recommend checking out April’s YouTube channel. We’ll link to it in the show notes. And whatnot, but the intros video is really good, I was hooked on that one, and you did a wonderful job, there’s no surprise, that’s why that one took off and I’m excited for the next ones. I’ve noticed that the sort of cadence now, you know, you start out being very consistent, like you said, and now we’re seeing, you know, several weeks and or months go by between videos. I imagine that you have another one that you’ve been working on that you have coming out at some point in the near future.

Aprilynne Alter: Yes, I do. Although my next video is breaking the mold a bit. After spending far too long, I spent too long on my most recent video on my thumbnail video. There was a few reasons why I chose to spend that long, but I’m not going to do it again. So I really want to be more consistent moving forward. But, at this point, I am very intentional about how I want my new channel to look just because I was burned so hard from a previous channel of just completely getting burned out on feeling like I wasn’t really enjoying the content that I was making and I didn’t feel like people were watching for me.

And so for this new channel, I’m kind of breaking it into a couple of types of videos. One is the banger videos that, that I’ve done. Another one that I’m experimenting with are connection videos, videos that I want to make that I think will still be really, really helpful for my current audience. But maybe isn’t as clickable to a new audience.

It might be, I might be surprised, but that’s not the goal. And so my, my next video will be one of those. And I’m very excited for it, because it gives me more room to experiment and play. And just kind of see how things go, which I think, not enough YouTubers, make room for these videos, it’s okay if I don’t get as many views. It’s okay. They don’t go viral. You’re just making it to, you know, connect with your current audience. That’s so important. I think I’m able to do that because I’m a one person team. My expenses are super, super low. It’s okay if I pour resources, which is mostly just time, into a video for fun, for a play.

So my next video is going to be one of those, and then the video after that is going to be the next one in the series.

Pat Flynn: I love that idea. It allows you to build superfans a lot faster, even though those videos might be viewed by a smaller group of people. I mean, those are going to be your people who see that.

And like you said, there’s still a chance that other people will get connected to that as well. I mean, sometimes the algorithm can surprise us in that way. I remember seeing Liron, who is a YouTuber who just hit a million subscribers, and he helps other YouTubers with their security. And he’s a great guy, I met him in person a number of times.

And he shared a screenshot of a video thanking his subscribers for reaching a million. And on X, he was like, I know this is gonna not get a ton of views. But I just needed to say thank you to those of you who do watch the channel and follow along and I was like like he knows it’s gonna be a 10 out of 10 on the ranking But that but he gave himself permission for that and I love that idea because I think we get so tied to I mean I literally feel worse in my day if I publish a video and It’s like a 9 out of 10 and it didn’t perform as well as I thought it was going to and and that sucks like that’s terrible to connect one’s mood to like an outcome that they can’t necessarily fully control.

How do you break out of that cycle of, and you seem to be doing that, but how do you break out of that cycle of, I am only as successful as the number of views on the videos that I create?

Aprilynne Alter: Gosh, it’s so hard. It’s so hard. And I think like, it’s really interesting you’re catching me at this moment, because I’m obviously in like this upswing in my channel, where I have the momentum going, I have the series, I have like pretty solid certainty over, I think, a video’s going to do well.

I will say, my, the video that took three months to make, it’s obviously overperforming for my channel. But, it did not get as many views as my initial breakout the video did. Which considering the amount of time I put into each one in some way, shape, or form, that’s a little bit heartbreaking, but I think like there’s enough intrinsic motivation to make these videos where I’m getting so much out of it just by making them, then obviously I want the views to be there, but if they’re not there, or, you know, if it’s not a one out of 10, did I get enough out of making it and feel good about that process?

And I feel like I, I got enough out of that to help me in the future that the views itself is just like a bonus. It’s nice for me as well because I don’t really accept sponsorships yet. That might change, I’m an experiment with accepting sponsorships, but I’ve been very intentional about not accepting sponsorships.

Because then it’s like, okay, the only thing that matters when it comes to the video itself is, like, yeah, views matter, but not nearly as much as, like, if it’s sponsored, right? So if I make a video, like, for that thumbnail video that I spent three months on, I learned so much. I’m in such a better place now than I was before the work for that video.

So, the views are just a bonus.

Pat Flynn: And what an amazing way to frame that and still stay encouraged to keep going and not even worry about the fluctuations. And over time, of course, with more videos coming out, all those videos are going to feed to the other ones. And like, we haven’t even really seen enough time on your channel to know what videos are kind of dormant right now that are going to break out later.

I mean, that happens too. So, you know, I’m just grateful that you’re here and that you are showing up the way that you are. It’s a refreshing voice in the YouTube education space. And I just want to thank you again for what you’re doing, and I’m looking forward to, like, I’ve been waiting for it. I’ve been looking forward to it.

So you do have some fans and people who are excited about what you have to share. And, and looking forward to the connection video too, to see if I could learn even more about you than what we learned today. So Aprilynne, thank you so much for coming on. There’s just so much more to unpack with YouTube.

You talk a lot about it on your channel, so go check it out everybody. And Aprilynne where can people go to find you? Maybe there’s some socials that you wanna shout out. Where would you love to point people?

Aprilynne Alter: Absolutely. Well, number one is on YouTube,, I’m on, on Twitter as well at @aprilynnealter.

And I have a course as well, if you’re very much in the beginner stage called The Beginner’s Guide to YouTube from Zero to Monetized. So all of those places you can come and find me.


Pat Flynn: thank you so much. Appreciate you and keep up the great work.

Aprilynne Alter: Thank you so much.

Pat Flynn: All right, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Aprilynne. Loved her perspective and her frameworks for all of this stuff. It was actually a really good reminder for me as well. You know, the Deep Pocket Monster YouTube channel is off to the races. We are approaching a million subscribers. But it is being treated a little bit differently. It’s, it’s not an educational YouTube channel, although it does educate.

It’s not like the other channel that I have, Pat Flynn, which has always been a little bit of a struggle for me in terms of what to create and how. This really helps me and I hope it helps you too. So whether you’re a YouTuber, that’s just starting out, or you’ve been at it for a while, I definitely know that you’ve gotten some golden nuggets out of here from Aprilynne.

And I would highly recommend you check out her YouTube channel and seeing what she’s doing over there. And I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next Aprilynne Alter over on YouTube. You can find her on the show notes page here at SPI as well. Oh, and hey, by the way, you should go there because if you haven’t seen it yet, we got a new website, y’all, and it’s fire.

I definitely think you should check it out. Again, or of course the show notes page, Thank you again. I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in the next episode. Until then, hit that subscribe button and see you on Friday. Cheers.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

Share this post

Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building your online business the smart way.

Get Unstuck in just 5 minutes, for free

Our weekly Unstuck newsletter helps online entrepreneurs break through mental blocks, blind spots, and skill gaps. It’s the best 5-minute read you’ll find in your inbox.

Free newsletter. Unsubscribe anytime.

Join 135k+