YouTube collabs are a great way to network with other YouTubers and gain new subscribers. However, making your first collab happen can be tedious. That’s why in this article I want to guide you through the process of creating your first YouTube collab.
In case you’re new to the YouTube game, though, you first might wanna know:
What’s a YouTube Collab?
“Collab” is short for “collaboration”. A YouTube collab is a video where two (or more) YouTubers who usually work on different channels create a video together. This can take on different forms.
If the YouTubers are able to meet up, they might make a video where both are in front of the camera. They could, for example, do a challenge or a tag together. Here’s an example from Superwoman who collabed with Shane Dawson:
However, you don’t need to physically meet to make a collab. You can also shoot your videos separately and then edit them together. This is what Arielle Scarcella did in this video:
These kinds of “online collabs” are cool because they can involve many people (and you don’t have to live close to them!). However, they can also be difficult to do since you have to communicate exactly what kind of video you want from them. Additionally, making people stick to a deadline can be a challenge.
Why Should You Do a Collab?
A lot of YouTubers do collabs just for fun - which is a great reason to do them. But collabs have other benefits as well:
- You network with other creators - This is not only gonna make you feel less lonely as a YouTuber, but these relationships might also be a big help to you and your channel in the long term.
- Collabs can bring in serious traffic to your channel, which might increase the numbers of your subscribers drastically. In particular, being featured on a bigger channel than yours can speed up your channel growth dramatically.
- You add more variety to your channel - Viewers love well-executed collabs! Featuring other creators on your channel can be a great way to keep your subscribers entertained
How to Find Collab Ideas
Okay, so you want to do a collab, but what kind of video should you even do? Finding a collab idea might seem difficult but it really isn’t: Just think about what you usually do on your channel and how another person could contribute to it.
- You’re a vlogger? You can do a tag or a challenge with another vlogger.
- You have a tutorial channel? How about you do a Q&A video with another tutorial creator?
- You review movies on your channel? Then you can create a collab where you discuss a movie with another YouTuber.
There is tons of stuff you can do. If you need some inspiration, it’s a good idea to check out other collabs - especially from channels that are similar to yours.
In case you need more concrete ideas, I have create a list of 47 YouTube ideas here. Many of them can be done as collabs.
How to Find YouTube Channels to Collab With
One of the hardest parts of making a collab is to find a collaborator. While some people are open to collabing with anyone, often that’s not what you want to do.
Particularly if you want to create a collab to grow your channel, you need to make sure your channels or at least audiences are somewhat similar to each other. Here are some factors that will be important:
- Age: A 15 year old and a 35 year old might not share the same audience (although there certainly are exceptions)
- Channel topic: If your topic is vastly different from each other, your subscribers will likely not be interested in both of your channels. For example, if you’re a make-up vlogger it’s unlikely that somebody who only does Let’s Plays will be a good match.
- Channel size: If you’re at 200 subs, a channel with 20,000 subs is likely not going to want to collab with you; they simply wouldn’t get enough exposure from your channel.
Another factor that can be important is location. While some types of collabs don’t require you to meet in person, others do (shooting a short film together while not meeting up is difficult).
It makes sense to think about all of these things before you start looking for YouTubers to work with. That way you know exactly who will be a good fit and who won’t.
Resources to Find Collaborators
Now, where do you even find other creators to collab with?
Searching YouTube directly can be a start. You can filter your YouTube search by channels here:
The biggest problem with the YouTube search is that it prefers big channels over small ones. That means it might be difficult to find channels of similar size.
Another way to find similar channels on YouTube is to check out the suggested videos next to (or under) your videos, since they’re often similar to your content.
Let’s be honest, though, searching for channels on YouTube isn’t a great experience or even effective. Instead, let’s take a look at some other options.
Channelcrawler is a YouTube channel search engine that lets you filter by channel size, channel category, country, views, number of videos, keywords and date of the last video. This is great to find good channels to collab with! Also, make sure you add your own channel to the database so you can be found.
Many YouTube forums have a section where creators can post collab offers. These can often be quite interesting.
The biggest problem with these is that you have to go through a whole lot of posts before you find an offer that’s relevant to your channel. Also, posts might be not as interesting on some days as they are on others. That’s why you’ll probably have to keep looking regularly over a few days or even weeks.
Check out YTtalk in particular for a big collab section.
YouTube meetups are another great way to find collabs and a lot of experts recommend them. However, YouTube meetups don’t happen everywhere. If you don’t live in a big city, it’s unlikely there’ll be a YouTube meetup close by.
Your new collab tool: Cameo
While all of these ways are legit ways to find collaborators, it’s definitely not easy. That’s why I’m developing a tool right now that will help YouTubers find collab partners a lot more easily! 🙂 Interested in becoming one of our first users? It’s free:
How to Connect with Channel Creators
You’ve found some interesting channels? Then it’s time to get in touch with them. Unfortunately, contacting other YouTubers can be a challenge - especially if you’ve found them directly on YouTube.
Here’s the main problem: The YouTube message function sucks!
I mean, I just checked my message box and there were about 10 new messages in there that YouTube didn’t tell me about. Or maybe YouTube did but they drowned in my notifications.
Even worse: If you ever add a link to your channel or a website, your message will probably land in the spam filter. Not good if you need to get in touch and wanna tell someone about your channel!
Instead of relying on the YouTube message function, try to find other ways to contact the creators. Here is what usually works best.
Many YouTubers have an email address on their about page (make sure you add one on yours, too!). If it isn’t shown directly in the text, it takes a click and a captcha to reveal them:
Click on "view email address":
Email is usually the best (and most professional) way to ask for a collab. However, many YouTubers add emails to their about pages that they don’t check regularly. Other creators don’t wanna publish their email address on YouTube. In that case your message might never get read. That’s why it also makes sense to contact them via social media.
Many YouTubers have their social media profile linked on their about page or under their videos:
If you can’t find a YouTuber’s social media profile on their channel, you can also do a Google search of their (channel) name:
Getting in touch via social media isn’t easy, but sometimes it works. Some creators might also have their own website, which might include contact information.
How to Make a YouTube Collab Happen
The collab process will depend on what kind of collab you want to do and what style of communication both parties prefer, but here are some tips.
1) Write communicative, effective emails
You won’t believe how many collab requests I get that don’t have more information than “Whazup, wanna collab?” This is pretty much the worst way to start a conversation. It gives me no information about you, your channel or your collab plans, and it leaves all the work to me. If you want me to answer you, make things easier for me. Tell me:
- Who you are
- Where I can find your channel (send me a link, not just your channel name!)
- What kind of collab you wanna do
You can even include:
- Where you found my channel
- Why you like my videos
- Why you think we’d be a good collab match
2) Make the collab instructions very clear
If you’re doing an online collab, make sure you make very clear what video you want to receive:
- What should it be about?
- Should it be funny/serious/emotional?
- Should it be edited or unedited?
- How long should it be?
3) Set a deadline
Online collabs always need a deadline - otherwise how will your collab partner know when to send their video?
4) How to transfer your video
Video files are pretty big, so it’s not a good idea to try sending them via email. Instead you can use services like Dropbox or WeTransfer. What I honestly found the easiest, though, is using Google Drive, especially if you’re already using Gmail.
Another possibility is to upload the video as “unlisted” and send the link to your collaborator. The receiver can then grab the video through a video converter like convert2mp3.net.
YouTube Collaboration Tips
Don’t give up!
Making your first collab happen can take a while, especially if you’re just starting out on YouTube. If you’re feeling stuck, take a break for a day, then try again.
If you’re below 100 subs...
When you’re just starting out, collaborating with you might not be very beneficial to other creators yet. If you feel like you’re getting rejected a lot, work on building your channel up to 200 - 300 subs and try again.
Don’t expect miracles
Not every collab is going to be an amazing success that will bring hundreds or even thousands of subs. Keep in mind that even after a successful collab, only a small percentage of viewers are going to check out the featured YouTuber (whether that’s you or your collab partner). The more realistic you are about these numbers, the less frustrating the process will be.
Growing your channel is great but don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing it. By being a fun YouTuber to collab with, you will make sure that people will want to collab with you over and over again.
Want to find collabs way easier?
I’m developing a tool that is gonna make the collab process a lot easier and less frustrating.
In the comments, let me know what challenges you’ve faced when you were making a collab. Also, feel free to link to your best collab. 🙂