In 2013, Roberto Blake made a commitment to go all-in on his YouTube channel. That’s led to big success over the last 10-plus years. Among his many achievements, the entrepreneur has earned over 600K subscribers on his channel and founded the Awesome Creator Academy, providing online courses, coaching, and other resources for full-time content creators.

Here are the five things he did (sometimes later than he should have) that you should do now for your content business:

1. Show up even when you have no subscribers: Roberto started his YouTube channel in 2009. By September 2013, he had 30 or so uploads and zero subscribers. Then, a thought popped up: “What if I actually showed up every week?”

He did, and it worked well. In 11 months, he had an audience of 10K who willingly gave him their attention. In February 2024, he had 609K subscribers.

Helpful Resource: Create a Content Plan That Works for You and Your Audience

2. Think like your audience: When he got to 10K subscribers, Roberto was shocked and horrified. An introvert who worked from a home studio, he never liked attention. Now, he was under the microscope of 10K people.

“I had a living, permanent record on the internet, and I felt I was still practicing and I didn’t deserve an audience for still practicing,” he says.

Roberto reframed his thinking. He stopped thinking about how he felt; instead, he thought about how the audience felt. He shifted from creating videos he wanted to make to creating videos that would provide value to his audience.

Helpful Resource: Do You Know the Target Audience for Your Business?

3. Don’t go it alone: Roberto did everything in his content business for too long. “It’s probably a miracle I didn’t radically burnout,” he says.

His first hire? His sister came on board as a personal assistant, taking the admin work off his plate so he could focus on what he does best and what moves the needle for his business.

Hire or contract for those tasks that you don’t like to do or don’t do as well as someone else. Doing so lets you focus more on the tasks (often creating) that led you to get into the business, and that’s important for its long-term viability.

Helpful Resource: How To Hire a Virtual Assistant

4. Focus on the facts: “Ego is wildly expensive,” Roberto says. ”The opportunity to do even better was on the table, and I missed it because I didn’t put my own creative ego aside to be driven by the data,” he says of his 2015 success.

Instead of thinking he knew what was best for his audience, he should have looked at the data. That information tells you what’s proven to be most valuable to the audience, what captures their attention, what’s most helpful to them, etc., within the value system of your content tilt.

Helpful Resource: How To Set Up Google Analytics 4

5. Value metrics that matter: Roberto says the key is to know what the data is telling you and ignore what’s not helpful to your business.

For example, a frequent metric mentioned to assess success for videos is the total views-to-subscriber ratio. Yet, it’s not relevant because not all videos are the same. Roberto says a video about getting to the first 1K subscribers on YouTube receives a lot more views than a video about sponsorship deals. That’s because the market cap for a beginner audience is much bigger than the audience ready for sponsorship and brand deals. But that difference wouldn’t be noticed in the total views-to-subscriber ratio.

Use the data to understand where the audience is and what they value they experience in real time because that determines what gets a click or the all-important watch time.

Helpful Resource: How To Narrow the Metrics That Matter to Your Content Business

Learn in person how the mega-successful Roberto Blake uses AI in his content business during his presentation at CEX May 5 to 7 in Cleveland, Ohio.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.