Understand Your Arena: The Competitor Analysis


Table of contents

Hey folks 👋

Every business needs to understand the market they are operating in. When you know what the landscape looks like and understand how it operates, you can imagine something to work towards that will be better than what's out there already.

As a creator, our market is effectively other creators. Regardless of your content type, understanding the other creators in your niche can give you insights that might help you grow faster, as well as figuring out how to differentiate yourself. And with creating content, sometimes different can be better than better.

This week, we’re going to be doing an example competitor analysis to inspire you to do your own. We're pretending we want to make content about the creator economy, creator news and interview different creators. So a natural competitor in this space would be Colin and Samir. It's not that they are actually a competitor, especially if we have less than 1000 followers, but it's useful to analyse their journey to see what we can learn. Let's get into it.

Coming Up...

  1. A Quick Background
  2. A Strategy Analysis
  3. What Can We Learn?

📈 Quick Background of Colin and Samir

One sentence headline - Colin and Samir tell stories about other creators, mainly YouTubers, and cover internet news and culture more generally.

Platform - Their biggest platform by far is YouTube, where they have 968,000 subscribers, 336 videos and 268m views, but they also post consistently on Instagram, Twitter, have a newsletter called The Publish Press (definitely check this out by the way) and an interview-based podcast.

Content strategy - it seems to fit into three main buckets on YouTube:

  1. Analysis of creators through journey deep dives and interviews.
  2. Internet trends and 'future of' X videos.
  3. Their personal journey and channel growth updates.

Branding - they have an iconic bright yellow colour theme, with yellow tags and highlights across thumbnails, which make them instantly recognisable. They also have a well-designed logo of outlines of Colin and Samir's heads.

⛏️ Strategy Analysis

Ok, now we’ve got a general understanding of their channel, we can go further and break down their strategy over the past few years.

As shown in the graph below, Colin and Samir really started to take off in September 2021, kickstarted by 4 videos in a row about MrBeast, 2 shorts and 2 long form videos. But they were already established at that point, with around 290,000 subscribers.

This is their total views history from Social Blade (it only goes back to 2019, they started their channel in 2016).

👶 So how did they start?

They started making YouTube videos back in 2016 with a variety of content focused around themselves, travel, business, tech and whatever they wanted really. It looked like it was relatively sporadic and without a clear direction.

It can be hard to analyse growth from the past, but it looks like their first big video (as far as what's publicly available) was about a homeless man. It was their 12th video. They were then steadily gaining between 2k and 13k on videos, until making a review video about Beme, which gained around 60k views, followed by a Mic Comparison video which has now gained roughly 100k views. They hit 50,000 subscribers after 59 videos. This progress was still quick in 2018, but remember Colin and Samir had the unfair advantages of having been making videos in some format for 6 years by that point (they met in 2012 and made videos about lacrosse for a few years).

It seems like their approach at this point was mainly to make good videos about whatever they wanted.

📈 How did they grow?

They grew at a relatively consistent pace for 4 years to roughly 290k subscribers in September 2021 as we said. However, it seems like it was during 2018 that they realised the power of making content about other famous creators, which is what they are now known for. They started making a few videos about Casey Neistat, Yes Theory and Shane Dawson and made a new series called “breakdown” where they discussed about what was happening on YouTube. This was the seed of what is now their clear content strategy.

It’s around this time you can also start to see their now iconic yellow-branding coming through in the thumbnails.

But, views were still inconsistent at the time, and they weren't making enough money for them to both quit their full time jobs. They explain in their We quit YouTube video that they intended to fully quit YouTube in early 2020, but were somehow able to dramatically return only 6 weeks later.

🎯 Who's their target audience?

Their target is audience is stated in their channel banner. It's other creators. However, because they are also making videos about well-known people and trends, naturally they pick up interest from anyone who knows about those things as well.

🔍 Are they search vs browse?

They mostly target browse content, but because they make videos about famous creators, they will also get traffic through people searching for content about MrBeast for example. However, their main content strategy is what is known as ‘trend hacking’ where you make videos about things that already have a lot of traction online e.g. Logan Paul, MrBeast, Ryan Trahan and these get suggested in browse.

💵 How do they make money?

Conveniently, they break it down themselves in this video called Every Way We Make Money. They mostly make money through brand deals, which is supplemented by ad revenue on YouTube, and interestingly they also make money through NFTs.

They also sell their own product which is an online course, sold through the platform Moment, called 'YouTube Storytelling: How To Make Videos that People Share with Colin & Samir', but they don’t appear to push this anywhere.

🕳️ What are they missing?

They're mostly doing a great job, but what they could be missing is more of a “how to do it yourself” style video for smaller creators. Sometimes, just focusing on the successful creators can make it feel out of reach to people watching, who may want to give content creation a go as an absolute beginner.

However, their newsletter called The Publish Press shares lots of useful insights, tools and case studies which are far more appropriate to smaller creators, so I think they do still tick this box just not on their YouTube channel, which may be a conscious decision.

🥷What can we learn from them?

Now for the most important question. What can we learn from them?

Well, now that we've really studied their content, we can think about how we can also make content about other creators and the creator economy, but in our own way. Copying people can only get you so far. It helps you at the start when you are figuring out what to make content about, but at some point you have to do your own thing.

We identified that they focus mostly on big creators, so maybe there's a gap in the market for a talk-show style channel like theirs that focuses on exciting up and coming creators with smaller audiences.

Competitor analysis allows us to really understand the market we are operating in, but we can also learn a huge amount. These are a few things we can learn from Colin and Samir.

Trend hacking - The success of this channel is based largely around making videos about other things that already have a lot of attention online. It's similar to Charisma on Command, which utilises this technique insanely well.

Consistent iteration - Colin and Samir are a perfect example of experimentation, iteration and consistency. They started off making content about lacrosse in 2012, then over the years slowly evolved as they just kept making videos. They started their shared channel in 2016 and made videos about whatever they wanted, and slowly a pattern emerged. The videos about other creators and the creator economy were the ones that led to most interest, and the ones they enjoyed making most too. They found their thing, and for the last few years it has mainly been about execution.

Branding - Their colour scheme, logo, editing and personalities all work together to create a clear value proposition. They have established themselves as something different in their market.

Well done Colin and Samir 👏

🤔 What’s next?

Fill out this template with your own competitors to both learn from their success and understand how you can differentiate yourself.

That’s it for now.

Have a great rest of your week,

Tintin at Creatorpreneur

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