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Amplify Voices is a series that interviews Creators from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to explore how they found their voice on YouTube. In this episode, we spoke with Nicola Foti from soundlyawake — a vlogger and lover of languages (https://www.youtube.com/c/soundlyawake).
Nicola discusses his journey as a YouTube Creator, which started in 2006, and how he pivoted his content using analytics, comments, and exploring different content formats. Check out his tips around using YouTube analytics to guide content decisions, understanding your core audience, and how to protect your mental health through comment moderation. Plus, hear how Nicola found his voice through creating on YouTube!
Here are some additional resources to help with your Creator journey.
YouTube analytics basics (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9002587)
Get to know your audience (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9314416)
Learn about comment settings (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9483359)
0:00 | Introduction
0:48 | Getting started on YouTube
1:30 | Observing YouTube analytics to drive content strategy
2:15 | Trust your audience
3:12 | Finding your voice on YouTube
4:20 | Navigating hateful or harmful comments
5:00 | Advice for new Creators
5:28 | Closing
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Me and my friend group were just
the weird art kids that liked making stuff.
Weird art kids live on forever.
What’s up, creatives?
This is Gerald from the YouTube team
another episode of Amplify Voices
where we interview creatives
from under-represented backgrounds
and explore how
they found their voice on YouTube.
In this video, we’ll hear from Nick Foti,
Nick has been a day-one creator
with YouTube, launching his channel in 2006.
Not only has Nick’s content changed
over the years, but so has his voice.
YouTube’s mission is to give everyone
a voice and show them the world.
Let’s explore how Nick found his on YouTube.
Hey Nick, how you feeling?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing good, excited to speak
to you, and just to to open up.
I want to just hear a little bit about,
you know, what inspired you to get started.
So, I had a friend who posted
a lot of song covers on YouTube
and he got like, I think, 60 subscribers
and I was wondering
«how did you get 60 random people
to subscribe to your videos on YouTube?»
And I was completely ignorant
of the world of YouTube.
And I started posting videos,
in the beginning, they were also song covers
and then eventually decided to do
comedy videos, play different characters
and then now I do like language,
geography, edutainment videos.
Were there things you were seeing
either in your YouTube comments
or with your audience that was inspiring you
or leading you in that direction?
Yeah, so I felt I was super-sensitive
when it came to criticism of my covers
and so, I was like,
«okay I don’t like this feeling
but the comments on my comedy stuff are
more positive, so let me keeping doing that.»
And did you see anything in like YouTube
analytics around either particular views
or aspects of that that really
were also like a signal for you that
«Oh, I should
continue going in this direction?»
Oh definitely, seeing like subscribers
going up and seeing the view count go up
all of those things combined,
basically just motivated me to keep doing it.
What I want to hear more about
is how you trust your audience?
Because you know again,
I’m sure there’s a fear around these pivots
have you seen a dip in subscribers, a gain
in subscribers, when you made these pivots?
Yeah, like I had a stark change in content,
probably exactly a year ago.
It was harder to think of ideas
that I was excited about
that fit into that initial box.
And I found myself super excited about
for example, right now,
like language learning and geography.
And I was like, «I can get excited
about a million ideas on this side»
and I could see some people drop off,
but that also signaled to me
that the people that stayed
were that much more interested
in what I was doing.
And so, I would rather stay there
and make content that I love
and that this core group
of people loved together
than try to pass something off
that I just was really wasn’t into anymore.
One of my favorite videos from your channel
is the «Why My Voice Sounds Different Now.»
How did it feel to share
such a personal story
and your journey as an openly gay man
with your YouTube audience in this way?
Yeah, that was kind of
like a random realization
that I may have been, sort of,
putting on a more masculine personality
that I really wasn’t even
aware that I was doing
until I started, I guess, feeling more myself
and I’m more comfortable in myself now
than I ever have been.
And do you feel like your YouTube audience
helped you get to that place in any way
whether through comments or through sharing?
There were just so many people
that I guess I didn’t realize would resonate
with just people
living their lives authentically.
It sounds like, you finding your voice
and then sharing that
is helping others find their voice too
which is really powerful,
but I’m sure there’s some negativity too.
How have you navigated any hate or
disparaging comments that have come your way?
I feel it’s really important
to preserve your own sanity.
The most important thing
to remember is that you are worthy
and that you are
deserving of good things
you’re deserving of love, of success,
and all of the things that you want in life.
marginalization isn’t fun for anybody
and I think, you know, platforms like this
are some of the new meeting places
and so we have to make sure they’re safe too.
If you were to talk to yourself
when you first started your YouTube channel
what advice would you give to yourself?
Don’t be so hard on yourself,
don’t overthink things
and if I could go back
I would just be like,
«breathe, relax, you’re fine.»
No, that’s real, that’s real.
Well, listen Nick, this has been
a really really powerful experience for me
I just want to thank you again
and I really enjoyed the conversation.
Thank you so much for having me.
Big shout-out to Nick for sharing his voice.
Check out the links below
for creator resources and best practices.
Thanks for watching.