Local YouTuber shares his top tips for building an audience online

November 2020

YouTube has allowed former engineer, Andy Thomsen to combine his passion for storytelling with his knowledge of the great outdoors (Source: andysfishing.com.au).


Andy Thomsen’s journey from a mechanical engineer to a YouTuber paints a picture of the kind of lifestyle only the digital economy can offer.

Andy, who lives in The Whitsundays, spends most days with his camera recording one of his latest adventures to some of Australia’s most spectacular destinations, presenting his tips and tricks on everything from fly fishing to paragliding for his 200,000 subscribers.

His YouTube channel titled Andy’s Fishing Wild Cook pitches its videos as everything about exploring, catching, cooking and eating delicious food in the wild, but a quick glance at the comments shows Andy is anything but alone during one of his expeditions.

“I get emails from people in Malaysia, the United States, Russia, Thailand, the Netherlands -- you name it.

“It’s entertaining to watch someone hunt and cook their own food in the wild, but the people who watch my videos want to learn how to do it themselves. 

“This is how I’ve been able to sustain my passion for storytelling and adventures,” Mr Thomsen said.

Whether it’s building an audience on YouTube, marketing your services online or signing up to a gig platform like AirTasker, the digital economy helps just about anyone connect with their customers and earn an income while working remotely.

But with more and more creators competing for attention online, even the most popular creators on YouTube struggle to make a living on advertising revenue alone. 

YouTube pays around $3-5 per 1000 views, so Andy’s viewership needs to average 50,000 views a day to make a living, a figure rivalling commercial television programs.

With his most popular video earning him more than 528 thousand views, Andy describes his advertising revenue as “significant but unsustainable for a one-man crew.”

“My trips usually take two-to-three days to get the right content, but the time it takes to record, edit and upload to YouTube takes at least one week,” Mr Thomsen said.

Andy, instead, generates other sources of revenue by partnering with adventure brands and tourism operators who want to connect with his audience of wanderlust adventurers.

But rather than selling discounts and products directly to his audience, Andy invites his most engaged fans to join him on one of his adventures, providing authentic experiences for his subscribers while giving brands the exposure they’re after.

“All it takes is 1000 loyal subscribers to build a successful YouTube channel, so my strategy is to give them the best experience both in the real world and online through education, travel and entertainment,” Mr Thomsen said.

With advertisers, creators and even major television networks competing for attention on YouTube, getting just 1000 viewers can seem both time-consuming and difficult to newcomers.

But Andy believes creators can get around YouTube’s preferential treatment for advertisers by focusing on storytelling, downplaying the need to publish big budget productions by, instead, focusing on content people want to click on.

“My first video was of an incident near Proserpine where thousands of barramundis ended up in a pond due to floods.

“I filmed a crew sending an electric shock into the pond to stun the fish before transporting them all back to the dam,” Mr Thomsen said. 

“It was quite a spectacle -- but I also learned that once you get 1000 views for one video, YouTube will send it to another 1000 people because it’s more likely to keep people on their platform.

“Once you’ve posted a few videos, YouTube pushes your content out for you -- then it’s just a matter of learning what your niche is and building a narrative your audience can follow,” Mr Thomsen said.

“I’m all about encouraging people to get off the computer and enjoy nature -- that’s my overarching message and it’s one that people all over the world can relate to,” he said. 

Like Andy’s experience, an essential feature of any start-up or entrepreneur is enterprise agility; knowing your audience and their wants but also continuing to pivot to find your success.  

You can watch one of Andy’s adventures here.

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