Luzu used to work at a TV production company, but in 2011 he launched his own YouTube channel called LuzuVlogs.
Four years on, the Spanish-language vlogging channel has nearly 1.6 million subscribers, with Luzu now running two others.
“I actually have a bigger audience in my channel than the TV company I used to work for,” he said in an appearance at the MIPTV conference in Cannes, in a session that aimed to provide practical advice to any creator trying to build their audience on YouTube.
“The greatest thing about this is we are defining a lot of things. The way people consume content is changing, and this way of doing content responds to the needs that they have rather than telling them how they should do it,” he said. Here are the highlights of his advice.
Don’t just follow trends
A lot of budding YouTubers look at what’s popular on the online video service, and copy it. Luzu suggested that there might be a much better starting point based on what they’re not watching.
“For me, from the beginning it was ‘What am I missing? What would I like to see?’,” he said. “A lot of people were concentrating on ‘What do people watch? What is the most famous and cool thing right now? Maybe that’s not the way to go because there is someone really good doing it already.”
Be patient in the early days
Almost no one uploads their first video to YouTube and becomes a massive success straight away – and when they do, that doesn’t mean they can repeat it. Luzu encouraged creators to be patient and keep plugging away.
“You have to keep in mind that it takes a long time. I spent a lot of time having 30 people watching my videos!” he said. “And then there is one moment where everybody shares it, and they go back to your old videos. So there isn’t a moment wasted along the way.”
He was being interviewed at MIPTV by YouTube’s David Ripert, who had similar advice. “We think it’s best to start consistently with a show, and be patient and start building the audience from zero,” said Ripert.
It’s worth investing in equipment
With a background in TV production, Luzu started with an advantage over the average bedroom vlogger. Even so, he noted that nowadays, people can get up and running at zero cost if they have a decent smartphone already in their pocket.
“Flip it and you can do video. You are spending zero dollars and you can monetise those videos and when you grow you get money,” he said. However, once that money comes in, it may be worth investing in a proper camera, which may be more affordable than you think.
“Nowadays it’s not expensive to have equipment that will make your content look good,” he said. “My vlogs looked a little bit better because they had depth of field and a little bit more texture.”
You don’t necessarily need a large crew
Luzu runs his channel with one other person, his girlfriend. As he has grown, he has resisted the temptation to start hiring a large crew.
“We don’t need crews,” he said. “You really just need one or two people. I could do some of these formats by myself, but it still reaches hundreds of thousands of people and that’s because it’s based on personality and what you’re saying.”
He added that he relishes the ability to write, present but also market and even handle the accounting. “We get to wear all these hats that in a production company different people on the team would wear,” he said earlier in the day, during a separate session.
Invest time in social media
A common theme for YouTubers is that they don’t just interact with their fans on YouTube: most spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms and apps – it’s as important a part of the job as making the videos in the first place
“I definitely spend a lot of time on social media. There is a constant dialogue with the audience,” said Luzu. “Here people are looking at someone in the eye when they are watching a vlogger, they are feeling connected and they want to talk to that person.”
Earlier, he’d expressed similar sentiments. “It’s something that comes with YouTube: people feel extremely connected with content creators. Creators are connected with people who watch their videos, and you want them to feel like that,” he said.
“It’s very different to traditional media: you keep a constant conversation. Social media is a great way to engage with the audiences when you’re not uploading videos, to help them feel part of what you’re doing.”
Collaborate, but bring something original to the table
One of the proven ways for YouTubers to build their audiences is by collaborating with one another, with emerging channels able to quickly pick up subscribers through a canny collab with a bigger star. Luzu said one key to finding collaborators is to look for people at your level who are also on their way up.
He also suggested that it’s not enough just to want to collaborate: YouTubers need to think what they have that’s original to bring to a new video with someone else, rather than sitting in on whatever they do already. For example: animation or musical skills, or access to an interesting location.
Luzu also suggested that email may not be the best way to contact a popular YouTuber about a collaboration: “I have about 200,000 unread emails!” he said, before noting that when he was growing, he’d found Twitter useful for connecting with other creators.
Consider multiple channels as you grow
All YouTube creators start with a single channel, but Luzu said that as his had got more popular, he felt the need to launch the others to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to his videos.
“Depending on the target that you’re trying to get to there might be a different language to get to them. Kids like certain things, and teenagers other things, and adults different things,” he said.
That’s why Luzu has one channel focused on gaming, which reaches a younger audience, and another with more of a question-and-answer format, which appeals more to teenagers. “And then adults want more content and more meat. That’s why I have three channels,” he said.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th April 2015 16.31 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010