Ohayo, my name is Moonjiroo on Youtube and I do student lifestyle vlogs. I am based in the Philippines and I treat my channel as a creative outlet and an alter ego of my personal life. I have always been a creative person and I have experienced many phases of finding my hobbies but what really struck my passion flame is when I held a camera and press record. It has always fascinated me how we can create an alternate version of our life with video editing. I love how I can imitate art by using fragments of my daily life and creating memorabilia out of my experiences to share with viewers and they too can learn from watching my videos.
When I started my channel, I wanted it to mirror my personal life but not so much that I can no longer find a line of distinction between my life and the things that I do on Youtube so I decided to create a brand name. I am a huge anime fan so I want my name to represent the thing I like. At first, I was stressed about creating my channel name by overthinking like it should have a deep meaning or it must come from an iconic anime character but the names didn’t feel right in my bones. When I was watching Demon Slayer, one of my favorite animes, that was when I first heard of the name “Monjiro”. It was delivered by Inosuke when he was guessing the name of the main character, which is “Tanjiro” and I really liked it. It didn’t have any specific meaning, just a line from a funny dialogue but it spoke to me. I decided to play around with the letters and added double “o” so that I can write it as infinity. And that’s how I decided to be Moonjiroo on the internet.
Behind Moonjiroo is only a struggling student who likes to watch anime and still catches up with his academic to-do lists. I wanted to create a space for those students who like anime or are fans of anything but still are able to keep up with their academic workload.
I started recording my life back when I was in 11th grade around 6 years ago and I didn’t even know what I was doing back then. I had no idea about content niches and what type of videos would go viral. All I was thinking was to press record and compile them all together and upload it on Youtube. I had two other failed channels which are now privated and I guess you can call them the bones in my Youtube closet. It was just a fun experience for me because it was like a visual journal. I already have a background in photography so the idea of having multiple frames of pictures combined together to make a video was so fascinating for me.
When I started to gain information about Youtube and had the opportunity to earn and create a brand, I started to become more conscious of how I will present or edit the videos so that the viewers would want to watch for more. I also started to look for inspiration from Thomas Frank and Ali Abdaal and one thing that stuck to me is when they are sharing about the “perfect pot” experiment. Briefly, it is about how quantity helps you get closer to perfection rather than quality. The “perfect pot” experiment was about two groups of students who are tasked to create pots. The first group was told that they will be assessed according to how many pots they can make. The second group was told that they will be assessed according to the quality of their pots. At the end of the experiment, the group with the most perfectly shaped pot was done by the first group or the quantity group. This taught me that If you’re too focused on quality, you can overthink and over-calculate your plan and it would still not be enough, but if you just keep on creating & creating every day, you will be able to master the techniques and eventually arrive at your desired goal. I took this lesson to heart and I tried to upload more & more until I was able to discover my niche which is student lifestyle vlogs and my editing style or I guess you can say my branding.
Even though my channel has gained more subscribers and views compared to when I was first starting out, I still feel lost on what content to post and whether I am just unconsciously duplicating my previous upload. But what keeps me going is knowing that I have the power to improve myself and my techniques. I make sure that in every video that I edit, it would be at least 1% better than the previous one and in no time, I could reach 100%.
I get my ideas from already-successful channels with the same niche as mine but I don’t totally copy their content. I just get the gauge of what content people like more. According to Sean Cannell, “Success leaves clues” so I always watch and observe my favorite YouTubers to get inspired. Aside from other content creators, watching anime and Korean dramas with beautiful scenery really inspired me to edit my videos. Especially with Studio Ghibli movies, I always watch them when I am in a creative rot and they always put me in a good mood. I also based some of my color grading from Korean dramas because they are superb!
When I experience burnout, I just stop filming and editing. I try to enjoy my life without social media at first. I try to go on a run or a trip with my family. I also watch my favorite shows and artists just to feel like myself again. And then when I feel like I’m already relaxed and energized, I start watching and following other content creators, and when I’m lucky, inspiration will strike me and I get back to my grind again.
I truly believe that success leaves clues so always look for them in familiar places and that means follow your favorite content creators with similar branding and watch their journey as well. Notice the different patterns of their growth and try to apply them to your brand. For me, I look up successful channels and see what are their most viewed videos and I try to add my own twist to it. I also watch out for new trending videos so that I can also participate and gain more audience. In conclusion, I advise creators out there to also look into the journey of other creators and we can all learn from each other!
I mainly use my phone and iPad for all my youtube work. I use my iPhone XR to film and then edit the videos on the iPad Pro using Lumafusion and the thumbnails using Procreate. I make sure to shoot at the highest possible resolution my phone can offer. With learning how to edit, I mainly watch tutorials on Youtube because there are tons of them on the internet and then practice and practice. The best way to learn and discover your own style is to try and try until it feels right.
I have also created an extension of my channel on Instagram. I created a studygram which is an account dedicated to studying and productivity set-up. It also helps me connect with my viewers who have questions or want to see other perspectives of Moonjiroo. In my studygram, I share photos of my table and what I’m currently eating & watching while studying. I also do interactive Instagram stories to know what my viewers are watching. The studygram community on Instagram is really amazing!
When it comes to scheduling my uploads and planning my future content, I use my physical planner and sometimes Google Calendar. I also have notebooks regarding Youtube algorithms that I have learned all throughout my research and from time to time I check on them and determine what has worked for me and what I need to do next.
The loudest fear I have in my mind is the thought “Am I interesting enough?” or “Is my life worth their time?” because I never want to do content that is so far from myself and my life. I want my channel to center on my personal activities but what if people would find it bland? So, I constantly ask myself if people are going to keep on watching while I’m being myself. Eventually, I have found my audience and people who appreciate and love my personality. The way I wanted to be received by the people didn’t matter so much in the long run. What mattered is how I projected myself truly and that I’m enjoying every fragment of it. If we can still be ourselves and enjoy our own life, viewers will see it and they will want to keep watching you because it really radiates.
Another fear that I have is losing my identity to gain numbers. I always try to mentally check on myself if I have unconsciously been trying to do what my subscribers want me to do. If I have only been doing popular content even though I don’t enjoy it. The way I found balance was the 80/20 principle. 20% of the content I do will be for those videos that have the capacity to blow-up and 80% will be for those weekly vlogs that I enjoy so much. It’s a perfect line to continue doing what I love and also do something that my subscribers really enjoy watching.
When it comes to being comfortable with the camera, it took me a long time to relax while filming. I always remind myself that I want to show people the authenticity in my life so I never want to pretend. When I film myself studying, I don’t try to pretend to be really into it. If I get distracted, I show it in the video. If I get tired of reading the book, I show it by taking a nap first. The way I see it people will relate to you if you’re more real. Viewers who are normal people would want to see someone who also experiences the same thing as them and I think it is the basic principle of social media platforms today is to find relatability. I honestly believed and realized that your branding is yourself so don’t try to overwrap yourself with unnecessary layers that don't represent who you are. Don’t try to fit into a brand. Be who you are until you become the brand.
When I was first starting out, I made sure to post consistently each week so the Youtube algorithm will eventually pick up one of my videos. They say that the Youtube algorithm is like betting on a lottery, the more cards you bet, the more chances you have of winning. It was hard watching my first upload not getting views so I researched more and discovered VidIQ. VidIQ assesses your video description, title, and tags and sees their weight on the Youtube algorithm. This chrome extension also helped me generate tags that are searchable to subscribers and then my videos would get more views but it wasn’t enough to get noticed by the youtube algorithm.
Luckily, a group of student vloggers from the Philippines called “StudyVlogs PH” reached out to me and asked me to be part of their support group. StudyVlogs PH was founded by Dr. Patty Magisa and in the support group, we scheduled each other’s Youtube premiere and we would attend them all and have fun in the chatbox while the video was premiering. I also have few friends who watch my vlogs religiously, especially the real-time study with me videos and that’s how the Youtube algorithm picked up one of my videos and attracted lots of audiences to my channel. My greatest takeaway when I was starting is to find your support group because they are the ones who will believe in you especially when you are second-guessing yourself. There are times when I don’t feel good about my channel but they would comment about how great my editing was and it would lift me up and inspire me to continue working on my channel. It was a great experience for me being in a supportive community full of creatives because not only was I gaining insurmountable support from them, I also got inspired with their content as well.
I’ve been creating content for almost 6 years now but I started gaining an audience 2 years ago. It took me a long time to realize how important it is to create a community with your viewers because they are not just mere viewers, these are the people that support you, and every week they wait for new content from you. In building and interacting with my community, I learned what videos they enjoy best and what other types of videos they would want to see from my channel. I was also getting ideas from them.
As of now, the videos on my channel that get lots of views are the real-time study with videos. I like to think of these videos as the sleeper tracks in an album. They don’t get popular during the first month of upload but few people watch them every day to study and in no time Youtube will recommend these videos and I would gain more traction. My manga hauls are also popular to my viewers but they take a long while to film and a lot of monetary investment so I try to just incorporate mini-manga unboxing in portions of my weekly vlogs to still gain additional views in my other videos.
I try to upload my videos on monday because it’s the start of the week and people still have all the energy from the weekend to watch my videos. Mondays are usually the start of every task for students and so they would want to gain inspiration by watching vlogs so I try to be their source of inspiration at the beginning of the week. It’s also a nice window period of upload because I can edit a little bit during the weekdays and then finalize everything on the weekend. I promote my videos on my Instagram account and on my community tab on Youtube so that the subscribers can get notified. I also try to reply to all the comments during the first 24-hour period since the more interaction your video has, the more chances that the algorithm will pick up on it.
My advice is to create ugly videos every week and try to make them at least 1% better each time. Eventually, you’ll discover your editing style and branding and you’ll get more audience. You can also try to imitate videos from your favorite content creators because the experience alone will help you realize better techniques when you go out of your comfort zone. Another helpful tip to find a support group, it could be your group of friends or other creatives, that would support your content. The first mile is always the hardest so try to find solitude from your support group. Lastly, make alterations in every content that you upload. Never be stagnant because what works now doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work forever. Always improve your techniques and skills and find novelty.
If I would have known all the things I know about the algorithm, I would have done things differently. For starters, I was uploading similar videos for the first few months and my channel is only growing slowly while some viewers got tired of watching my videos. I would have uploaded different content each week just to experiment on what would work. If I had put out four different videos in a month, I would have gained information from analytics on what works well and then focus on that. The ripest time for growth is when you are first starting out. You can experiment all you want and you’re allowed to make mistakes because there are still few people watching. It is a lot harder to change when you already have an established audience so my advice to those who are still under 100 or 1,000 followers is to keep experimenting and put different content out there. You can just private them later. Make more mistakes, realize them, and take action the next time you post.
I didn’t drop out of school because it is still my priority and at the same time, my content is basically my academic life. I am already happy to earn some money and get products as collaborations even if I’m still at school.
One major drawback that I had was when I was getting a lot of subscribers but the views on my videos are divided. I realized people subscribed for different reasons or more specifically different types of videos that I did. So, I was always trying to come up with a solution to do content that people would still watch even though they had a different content that they liked at first when they clicked the subscribe button. I made sure my thumbnails are eye-catching and interesting enough for them to click the video. I also made sure that my videos are interesting scene after scene so that I can get them watching up till the end. I focused on technicality at first and then later on I discovered about filming to make a story. I realized that even if the videos are greatly edited if it doesn’t resonate with the audience, they will not stick around long. So I made sure to tell a story and teach a lesson that hopefully, my viewers can cling to when they struggle with life.
Another struggle of mine was people finding my identity. I really want to stay anonymous on the internet but some would easily connect the dots. My friends and family also discovered my videos because of the same interests. I haven’t really told them about my channel so for the first few months, I was always conscious about what to film and what to post. My insecurities really hindered my creative process but it didn’t take long for me to understand that they subscribed because they believed and supported my creative journey. The more I think about it, the more I realize that even though my friends and family’s discovery hindered me, they are also the ones who pushed me to continue and bounce back higher.
My greatest milestone even up to this day is hitting 1,000 subscribers and being able to build a community from that. It was really blood and tears trying to hit 1,000 subscribers and I tried a lot of different techniques and tactics available on the internet. I guess I can say the first 1,000 miles are always the hardest. My first 1,000 thousand audiences was really special to me and even up to this day I feel so grateful I was able to do that.
Another milestone of mine is having brands that I’ve seen from big content creators reach out to me and believe that their product is perfect for my content. For me, it is flattering to have another creative reach out to you and you get to exchange your creative works and help each other foster.
Lastly, is seeing comments about how I have helped them study for their finals and how they are motivated after watching my videos because that was one of the main reasons that pushed me to start a channel. I used to watch productivity vlogs when I’m in a rot and after watching it, I start to gain the motivation to continue my work. I’m just really glad that my story also inspires thousands of lives out there.
One of my marketing strategies is sharing my newly uploaded vlogs on Facebook groups who are also doing the same niche as mine. I also share them on my Instagram since a lot of people also watch my videos from Instagram. I was lucky that there is an existing group that is also doing what I’m doing and we are supporting each other.
Some people tried to sell an existing channel with already 1,000 subscribers to me but I declined because it would feel like cheating myself and my capability. I just encouraged my viewers to tag me in their Instagram stories if they are watching my vlogs that way their audience would also know my channel and I can also have interaction with them.
I have done collaborations with other content creators but it wasn’t as effective. So I just focused on sharing my content on different media platforms.
When it comes to brand deals, I have a really shy personality so I just wait for brands to reach out to me and ask for a collaboration. When brands reach out, I make sure that their product is aligned with my content. I never want to promote a product that I don’t totally believe in. I am very lucky so far that the brand deals I accepted come from an ethical background and we have an aligned purpose which is to promote productivity.
I also have brand deals that canceled on me and I feel sad about it, especially if it’s a brand that I love. I just assure myself that something better is coming my way and brush it off. My advice for those who are accepting brand deals is to always assess if their purpose is aligned with your core content. It is much easier and more fulfilling to promote a product that you truly believed in.
So far in my journey, I haven’t gotten sponsorship so I don’t really have much to say. I am also still learning how to come up with a price or negotiate.
If I’m posting weekly I get around 89$ and I know it’s not much but it’s already enough for me to pay for my hobbies and also improve my work on Youtube.