I watch a lot of YouTube and have thought about starting a fishing youtube channel, so naturally I am interested in creator economics and what successful content creators optimize for. Recording some high level notes for myself from a video about Mark Rober’s strategy.

Nail the opening.

Like any good movie/book/story, you need to overcome the initial friction. Exposition is kind of boring.

Make a succinct hook: What/Why/How. Give the viewer context and setup.


No dull segments. Edit out pauses, uninteresting parts, make the video glue users to the screen.

Optimize Video Metadata

  • Titles: less than 50 characters.
  • Thumbnails: home-video look OK / desirable
  • Description: use the 1 line to lure watchers in.

Mr. Beast and Mark Rober don’t even use any tags, probably not important.

Play to the test

The primary Youtube ranking algo signals:

  • CTR (how often does a user click if the video is presented to them?)
  • Watch Time (does the click count? or users they regret?)
  • Retention (do users tend to click videos from the same creator?)

Other observations around youtube

  • Captions are nice. Some people don’t turn on their audio…
  • A lot of folks try to achieve 10min video length.
  • Good fishing youtube is deceptively active. You might think not a lot is happening, but anglers talk to the camera during dead time to provide value (e.g teaching the viewer what they’re thinking about, how their setup works, etc).
  • Money is mostly from sponsorships. Market segment matters for ads too. Some segments do much better than others.
  • Clickbait needs to be balanced