Hey people! My name is Riz, I’m a 24-year-old business graduate. Now I have a lot of time to work on my own content creation and have resulted in considerable growth for me, launching me from about 1K subscribers at the start of lockdown, to 14K now, something which I couldn’t even comprehend at the beginning of the year.
I’m a (mostly) VR content creator, making weekly ‘funny moments’ videos on my channel, RizzleDigz. I absolutely love making VR content as I feel it’s unlike any other gaming experience, opening up a new avenue of ‘physical’ comedy in gaming. I do all of my edits and thumbnails myself, which I am really proud of as it has taken me a long time to be happy with the standard of my work.
My channel began as a way to make a few friends laugh, but a year later has developed into an amazing little community, that I couldn’t be happier with. I really enjoy interacting with people who enjoy my content, it’s a really unique feeling that you don’t experience in the ‘normal’ walk of life.
I was born and raised in good old England, where I’ve spent the majority of my life. When I was younger, I moved with my family to the USA for a few years, which I really enjoyed and inspired me to pursue the dream of living in LA one day. I’ve always had a passion for gaming, but I had to beg for a console for years before my parents finally caved in and I was able to buy the Xbox 360. I have many fond memories of playing Halo 3 and MW2 with my friends, going round friend’s houses for monster-fueled all-nighters. I even set up a YouTube channel around 2012, where I uploaded questionable Fifa content and got to around 1000 subscribers before my parents found my channel and suggested I stopped if I didn’t want to ‘jeopardize’ my future. I was young and so I begrudgingly did what I was told and focused on my school work.
In February last year, whilst I was in my final semester at the university, in another attempt to put off my assignments, I decided to set up my YouTube channel. I’d been wanting to start another channel for a long time, however, I had too much fun in the first few years of university embracing my independence for the first time, that I completely forgot about wanting to make videos. One day, I was messing around on Apex Legends with my good friend and he suggested that we should start making some content as he thought it would be a good laugh. So I bought a capture card for my Xbox and we brainstormed a few channel names. Our creativity was so vast, that we settled on a combination of our two Gamertags, RizzleDigz.
I was heavily inspired by YouTubers such as SwaggerSouls, Fitz, and the rest of the Misfits when deciding what style of videos to make. I spent the next few months learning the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop and creating a few meme-fueled videos to make my flatmates and friends laugh. I also created my own, very simplistic logo, which I was super proud of at the time.
The videos weren’t anything special, but I had so much fun making them that I really didn’t care how they performed.
In September 2019 I met another YouTuber called Finzar, we had about 100 subscribers at the time. This was a big turning point for me as Fin inspired me to have more faith in my humour and really brought me out of my comfort zone, as well as teaching me a lot about editing. We became firm friends and in January he even helped me build my first PC, which in turn was the second biggest change for my channel. It enabled me to edit my videos so much easier as I had a big monitor and Adobe ran so much more smoothly than it had done on my laptop. It also opened me up to the world of virtual reality, which I feel has been the main reason for the majority of my channel growth. I decided from the end of January, I would do my best to upload a video once a week, and got into an editing routine. I also revamped my channel design, re-doing all my thumbnails, and getting a new logo.
I started uploading VR clips from my videos to TikTok in February 2020, and got really lucky with some clips, with one reaching 5 million plays which were just insane to me. I’ve gained nearly 200k followers on TikTok, which has translated to a few thousand coming over and subscribing to my YouTube. If TikTok is still around in the next few months, I couldn’t recommend it more to content creators, as it is one of the few sites that gives everyone a chance of getting that viral clip.
I do dread going back to work full-time, as I know I’ll have a lot less time to create content, but I am determined to continue pursuing my dream no matter what. It will mean very little ‘free time’ and not a lot of sleep, but for me it’s all worth it. My biggest piece of advice that I can give, that I feel is applicable to everyone is,
Don’t give up, no matter what. Just like me, you will spend months, even years not getting many views/subscribers, but if you continue to improve your content and entertain the people who do support you, you will grow.
If you can aim for weekly content as well, I’d say that’s pretty manageable with school/work and allows for your channel to keep growing!
The way I plan out content varies depending on if I’m going solo or I’m recording with friends. In both cases, I always look to see what’s trending at the moment, what memes are popular, as capitalizing on that effectively can really help push your content via the algorithm. If I’m doing a solo video, I’ll have an idea of the general theme of the video, and try to come back to it throughout the recording, but other than that I tend to just make it up as I go along. I’m not the strongest at pre-planned comedy so I find the stuff that happens randomly for me is the funniest. Playing with friends can be different depending on the group. A lot of the time we just go into a game and improvise it, but other times we plan a running joke/meme throughout and make a point of coming back to it. I know creators who plan in-depth different scenes for their videos and will almost treat it like a movie set, resulting in some masterpieces, so it’s really whatever works best for you!
Like almost all creators, I also struggle with burnout and mental blocks. They are difficult to overcome, but what I find helps me most is to go on a walk, and use my phone as a notepad to start jotting ideas down for skits or intros. Being outside just really helps clear my head and think straight, especially if you’ve been stuck inside all day. I’ve also found just chatting to other creators really helps with burnout, as for the most part, everyone wants to help each other out as we’re all in the same boat.
I’ve been an Adobe boy from the start of my creating days and I feel that the Creative Cloud offers the best editing applications, even if they can be really buggy sometimes. I’ve also found that if you are looking for a job as an editor, people tend to prefer you to know Premiere Pro and Photoshop as it’s more widely used. I won’t lie, it was an absolute struggle when I first started out on these programmes, as it all seemed incredibly overwhelming. But I’ve spent the last year learning from YouTube tutorials and getting tips from other editors, meaning I feel confident with my editing skills now, even though I still have a lot to learn. If you’re interested in making gaming videos, this ‘how-to’ series is invaluable. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDMmHzLWG18dxjCWxXwiFXzgClT8V0Qtz
In terms of platforms, I’ve learned that it is essential to standardise your brand across all platforms, as it really helps with your brand image, and people associating certain pictures/colours/fonts with you. Also, spreading your content across as many platforms as you can helps with growth, and you can slowly begin to channel these following towards your desired ‘main’ platform. For example, my brand consists of YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, and Reddit, all under the same name as RizzleDigz. I have my YouTube channel as the main link across all these platforms.
When I first started my biggest worry was that I wouldn’t be able to make a funny video that would give my mates a good laugh. I wasn’t worried in a conventional way about other people’s opinions, just more on actually being entertaining. However, when they reacted really well to the videos I made, it gave me a huge confidence boost. I keep that at the forefront of my mind when editing even now, if I’m making a few people laugh/smile I’m happy.
It’s only natural that people come and spread hate on your content, the internet is just like that, and it’s vital to understand that before you start making content. There will always be someone who dislikes your video, there’ll always be someone trying to rile you up in the comments, you just have to ignore it, block people who harass you and move on. It’s easier said than done, but just do your best to distance yourself from the hate. Dislikes don’t mean anything if you’re making good quality content that you’re proud of. Even if you’ve just got one ‘stranger’, supporting your content, liking, commenting, etc, that’s something you should be incredibly proud of.
There’s no disguising the fact that you need some funds before you start creating content. Obviously, there’s a lot of free software out there, but if you want to be producing good quality content, you need to invest! My essentials were a half-decent mic (Blue Snowball - £60), editing software (Adobe student subscription - £16/month), non-copyright music service (Epidemic sound - £10/month) and a capture card as I didn’t have a gaming pc (Elgato - £150). Recording software is free on the PC!
I uploaded for the first time in March 2019 and from then was very sporadic with uploads (6 in total) until September 2019, as I was busy finishing university. I then started working full time and I set the target of uploading once every two weeks, which for the most part I stuck with. By the end of the year, I had reached 200 subscribers and I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little disheartened. I spent 10-20 hours on each video as I wanted to make it to the best of my ability, so I was just getting a bit worn out. However, I had the support of some good friends, with Fin especially pushing me to persevere and have faith.
In January I set the goal of weekly uploads and except for 2 weeks, I’ve stuck to that schedule. I invested heavily in a new PC and VR headset, with the money I had saved from working at the cafe. I also decided to change the style of my content, from super-fast pace, heavily meme-based videos, to a slightly slower paced ‘funny moments’ style. These factors combined with posting on TikTok has resulted in my brand growing significantly. My best month so far was May where I gained nearly 5000 subscribers. This was partly due to a clip going viral of me beating up Yoda...I guess that’s what the people want.
However I have so much still to learn, I’m still a very small creator and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
The first challenge for getting into content creation is finding your niche. You want to do something that you enjoy, but also make sure it is not TOO specific. For example, you decide to make a gaming channel, but only make videos on one specific game. You may make great content, but eventually, interest in that game will fade or you will get bored of it, and that will really stunt your channel growth. I feel it’s essential to at least have some variation in your content, and always be willing to adapt to the next big thing.
Your first videos will (almost certainly) be absolutely terrible. Unless you’ve edited in the past, most people are beginners but don’t worry it’s just part of the process. I practically whispered in my first video and used a bunch of overly loud annoying memes. However you will improve, every new video you’ll end up learning something different. Take a step back every month or two to see how far your content has come!
It’s also important to remember achieving success as a content creator is never an overnight thing (there are a select few extremely rare cases). Growing your channel is usually a slow and steady process and you have to be prepared for the long grind. But when you start to hit those milestones you will feel so proud and driven to hit the next. Additionally, don’t get caught up in the analytics. Yes it’s important to see which videos do well, and the average view duration, etc, so you know how to improve for next time. But please don’t do what I used to do, which was to sit there and refresh my analytics a few times every hour, especially after a new upload. It’s just disheartening and you want to be in the best possible mindset for creating content.
One of the hardest and most rewarding milestones for me was hitting 1000 subscribers. It had been such a long grind but I remember being incredibly excited and almost relieved when I hit it at the end of March. I think hitting 1000 subscribers is actually one of the hardest milestones to hit as a new creator. It’s easy to not think much of it until you start comparing those numbers to real-life events. For example, 200 subscribers equate to filling up the seats at a film viewing!
I then hit 100k followers on TikTok in May, which was mind-blowing to me, followed by reaching 10k subscribers on YouTube at the start of June. I’m so incredibly grateful for all the support, it means the world. I still have a lot more milestones to hit and so the grind continues!
For growing my brand, I’ve done my best to spread across different platforms as much as possible. I posted daily on Instagram for a long time until I got shadowbanned, similarly with TikTok. My best advice is to constantly change up your hashtags on Instagram and TikTok, being sure not to repeat them or post the same set in the same order. I used to have 4 sets of hashtags for Instagram and I found that worked best! Reddit is also a great place for exposure as you can post your content in very specific subreddits, most games have their own subreddits for example. Just beware, Reddit can be very harsh at times so be prepared for negative comments.
It’s also really important to collab with other creators when you can, as it’s important to meet other like-minded people so that you can push each other on and help inspire each other to achieve your goals.