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The importance of collaborations (and creator friends)
My time in Belgium was super productive!
I’ve just returned from a couple of days in Brussels where I created a boatload of content for my channel and that of Patrick Rambles. It was easily one of the most productive overseas trips I’ve undertaken for Mark Ellis Reviews (and I’ve done quite a few to date).
During my short time away, I shot the footage for an iPad mini adventure video, recorded a Solo Club podcast with Patrick, and contributed to a video for his channel.
The latter was my first taste of a proper ‘collab’ as they’re called in this business, and it was an eye-opener.
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Patrick and I didn’t have a grand plan for this collaboration. All we agreed was that this would be the first of hopefully several, and, at my request, that we’d undertake it at his studio and for his channel. The topic would be the iPad mini and a comparison between our iPad mini setups - unscripted.
As Patrick pointed out a few weeks ago, we both share much of the same audience, but for every subscriber we share, there’s a subscriber that doesn’t know the other creator exists (or, for whatever reason, isn’t subscribed). This is where the power of collaborations comes in; by working together, you can encourage those non-subscribers to follow the other creator. It is, without question, and without shame, a pure audience-building tactic. Thankfully, it’s an awful lot of fun, too - and that always comes across in the content.
I love watching collaboration videos for this reason. They’re a bit looser and more self-effacing than each participant’s regular videos. A shared love of the craft is always evident, but so too is an affectionate jostling for camera time and good-natured banter. Working with Patrick was effortless and fun, and because we’d purposefully avoided the perils of writing a script, the free-flowing nature of the shoot made for some pretty amusing moments.
At least, I think it did. Let’s see the finished result!
However, despite the undoubted fun you can have with collaboration, this kind of content isn’t easy (or cheap). Such videos usually require travel on behalf of one of the participants, and as big an opportunity as it is to grow your audience, it does take you away from your own content. That’s why I packed a bunch of my own content production into the Belgium schedule, alongside the collab video. As a result, I returned home with the aforementioned podcast recording and a nice little iPad mini video of my own (sponsored, of course).
You need your friends in this business. It’s entirely possible to go it alone, but without a shoulder to lean on and occasionally work with, it’s a lonely endeavour with plenty of pitfalls for mental health. I count Patrick as a really good friend, and the ability to work so easily with him and have such a laugh while doing so is a testament to this industry. In any other sector, we’d be sworn enemies. It’s what makes the game of content creation so addictive, limitless, and refreshing.
If you’re just getting into this business and fancy following in my footsteps, I urge you to build those friendship networks early on. They’re easy to find (you’ll need to be on Twitter, mind) and they exist at every level. If you’ve got 500 subscribers, there’ll be a bunch of creators who have the same number and who need some mates. The same goes if you’ve got 12 subscribers. Reach out, connect, and make those friends - it’ll be one of the most important things you do as a creator.