He’s a foul mouthed sonofagun. He’s got an off color sense of humor and seems to do nothing but play video games. Only recently did he move out of his mom’s to live in a quasi-frat-house with his fellow gamers. Yet, James “Nova” Wilson, Jr. has something you don’t: 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube.

Content Marketers can learn from this YouTube sensation

Why Nova interests me as a content marketer

The first time I saw one of Nova’s YouTube videos I thought, “the only thing lazier than playing video games is watching someone else play video games.” Since then, however, I’ve probably spent 10-20 (non-consecutive) hours doing exactly that–watching Nova and his buddies play games. Why?

Because it makes me laugh.

Which got me thinking: what can marketers learn from Nova’s example? What can we do to create better content that is enjoyed and shared by larger audiences?

4 content marketing lessons from Nova

Here are my takeaways:

1) Be passionate. It’s not the games that make Nova’s videos entertaining. It’s him. It’s his narration–filled with all the inappropriateness and youthful exuberance you’d expect from a 20-something-year-old bachelor playing games.

If you want to stand out from your competition, be passionate about your content. Get excited about what you’re publishing and that enthusiasm will infect your audience. But if you’re bored just creating your content, imagine how readers or viewers will feel about it.

2) Be prolific. Nova’s YouTube channel has over 3000 videos uploaded. He averages 18 new videos per week and may publish six or seven in a single day. Those videos can get 50-100 thousand views each in just 24 hours.

New content is the key to keeping your audience engaged, enhancing your search rankings, and growing your social media following. Don’t forget lesson number one, though. Content for content’s sake is boring and no one will bother watching, listening to, or reading it. But once you’ve hit your stride, and are creating content YOU love, then create as much as you can.

3) Call consumers to action, but do so subtly. Nova’s YouTube channel may have 1.2 million viewers, but I have no idea how or even if he’s monetizing it (aside from his sponsors).

This is where things can get sticky, though, because when companies start overtly selling consumers tend to lose interest (for comparison purposes: Coca-Cola has only 86,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel). But if you have no call to action, then you might as well move back in with your mom because you’ll soon be out of business.

Options for a subtle call to action include putting a promotion at the tail end of your videos, having links to your website in your social profiles, and writing a sentence or two at the conclusion of each article to let your audience know what to do next.

4) Acknowledge your audience. Nova speaks directly to his subscribers in his videos, in video comments, and via Facebook and Twitter. He welcomes their feedback and provides updates on what’s going on with him. It’s like he’s interacting with a few friends rather than a vast audience.

Marketers frequently try to usurp social media for an agenda rather than tapping into the culture with respect. This can lead to getting labelled a spammer and being utterly ignored (remember, you can be ignored without being un-followed). For best results use social channels for their intended purpose: sharing and two-way communication.

Do you have a favorite YouTube channel, podcast, or blog that you follow? What do they do to keep you coming back for more? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.