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Husband and father of three, family vlogger Chris Ballinger began his successful YouTube channel, Ballinger Family, as a way to share magic tricks and family adventures with YouTube’s massive audiences. Since becoming a full-time vlogger in 2014, Ballinger’s often hilarious and always genuine videos have attracted over 600,000 subscribers and earned a remarkable 110 million video views to date.
In addition to creating engaging content for his YouTube channel, Ballinger also co-authored the New York Times best-selling book, “Self-Help,” with his sister and fellow viral YouTuber star Miranda Sings, and often performs live with his sister at events. In the following influencer spotlight interview, Ballinger discusses how losing his job helped launch his YouTube career, his predictions for the future of vlogging, and his advice for aspiring YouTubers today.
How did you get started vlogging?
My channel started out as a place for me to post magic videos. Eventually we started posting one magic video a week and one random video to try out new things. I started posting vlogs whenever we went out on an adventure as a family. People seemed to enjoy getting to know our family more and so it became a staple part of our channel.
What was your first vlog post?
Well, I actually posted a vlog a long time ago on a different channel of my sister Colleen and I traveling to New York to perform a magic/Miranda Sings show at Birdland Jazz Club. The first vlog on my current channel is a trip to the county fair which is titled “Hairy Milk.”
What was your breakout moment?
I did a lot of collaborations at the start with people like Miranda Sings, GloZell, Flula, and SoundlyAwake; those really catapulted my channel to where it is today. For me, the real breakout moment was when I lost my day job. That’s when I really started putting all my focus into YouTube. It was also amazing to see the support from the viewers pour in when I announced it on video.
Has anything you’ve created gone viral?
I did a magic trick to GloZell Green that scared her so much that she pulled off her wig and beat me with it before kicking me out of her house. We’re cool now, by the way.
How has your vlogging changed since you got started?
I have changed how I end my vlogs a bunch of times. I used to read comments, then I started answering questions. Now I do a recap where I point out a few funny things that happened that day.
How do you see vlogging evolving?
I think that styles will change in terms of editing and the structure of the vlogs, but the core appeal is going to stay the same. I think the viewers want to see people who genuinely look at the world in an original way. It’s fun to take a look at someone else’s life and see how they interpret it and deal with the consequences.
How do you keep up with social media?
Poorly. My wife Jessica helps me a lot, though. We are definitely a team. I could not do this without her. I get so wrapped up with whatever I’m doing that I often let a day or two go by without tweeting or posting pictures. The one thing that I have been very good about is staying on top of our YouTube schedule. I can slip a little here and there with every other form of social media, but I have made a real effort to keep up with our videos.
If you had more time, what would you do more of?
I have so many dream hobbies, you don’t even know. Obviously, I’d spend more time with my kids, but outside of that I’d learn more magic, learn the banjo, play more guitar, draw, paint, make more elaborate videos. One of the cool things about this job is you can justify doing just about anything as long as you post a video about it at some point. In fact, everything I just listed I have done in a video at some point.
What advice would you give to a YouTuber just getting started?
Consistency on when you post is important. Make videos about what you love. Collaborate every chance you get. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to stay true to myself while at the same time adapting to what my audience responds to. It’s a fine line.
What’s your advice to brands looking to build a campaign or partner with YouTubers?
Brands need to trust that YouTubers know what their audiences like and respond to. By letting a YouTuber get creative with how they present the brand, they will be able to influence their audience in a more effective way. But it’s a two-way street. YouTubers have to earn the trust of their audience and the brands. By being smart and using good marketing strategies they can help the brands without alienating their audience.