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With 2.4M subscribers and over 280M video views to date, Rob Dyke is undoubtedly an internet storytelling phenomenon. Dyke began his YouTube career as a comedian known for his hilarious commentary series Why Would You Put That On The Internet?, a show which garnered more than 3M views in its first 8 months. Dyke’s growth as a content creator led him to launch two new series, Seriously Strange and Anatomy of Murder, about mystery and crime, respectively.
Today, Dyke is known for giving audiences a unique storytelling experience containing both comedy and tragedy. Learn more about Rob Dyke, his path to YouTube stardom, and the way he collaborates with businesses to create sponsored content in Mediakix’s exclusive interview.
Mediakix: What were you doing before YouTube and what pushed you to start creating video content?
Rob Dyke: Before YouTube, I had a passion for criminal justice. I was in school for it, hoping to eventually work for the FBI. I worked two jobs that directly related to my field: counselor for criminal sex offenders and private investigator. I eventually left these jobs and went on to work Loss Prevention for JCPenney. At the end of the day, I was unhappy, and decided to pursue my longtime passion for comedy/film, and I believed YouTube would be a great way to begin that journey. I later fused in my passion for criminalistics and true crime into my channel.
Did you have previous experience in writing or storytelling?
I’ve been a writer for as long as I’ve had a computer in front of me, which is a long time. While I usually enjoyed writing fictional pieces all throughout my life, I have an affinity for nonfiction now, as well.
How to do get your material? How many hours of research goes into each video?
My comedy series doesn’t require any real research, but the opposite is true for my true crime/horror series. My material comes from a number of different sources. These sources primarily include the internet, books, television, documentaries, and newspaper archives. Each video requires usually around 24 solid hours of researching spanning over three or so days.
What is the strangest event that’s ever happened to you since you’ve started your channel?
Though it’s morbid, one of my fans was murdered in a horrific way which made national headlines. Her case is not one I have discussed and I’m not sure I ever will.
Why do you think the combination of tragedy and comedy work?
I think people are multi-faceted. To only cater to one side of a person is fine and good, especially if you’re great at it, but I find myself to have a light and a dark side. I think all people have a light and a dark side. And I believe that there are multitudes of people out there who like to have each side catered to once in awhile.
How has YouTube helped you develop as a businessperson? What was the most important lesson you’ve learned so far on this journey?
YouTube has helped me in a number of ways from marketing strategies to working with other professionals in the industry. I’ve turned my name into a brand that a number of companies enjoy working with. It’s helped me develop a team of people working beneath me, which has opened up a world of proud moments and sometimes headaches. But all in all, running your own business is very rewarding. The most important lesson I’ve learned—and I cannot stress it enough—is get an accountant. You’ll need one especially when tax times comes around.
How have collaborations and networking with other YouTubers helped you develop your channel?
Networking really is everything. Collaborations expose you to new audiences and grow your own, which is great and obviously beneficial. But it goes so far beyond that for me. Making these connections and friends really establishes a feeling of fellowship. People I used to watch all the time have now become close friends of mine, which is really quite a full circle kind of thing. These people help feed your creativity and keep you motivated just by doing what they do. It’s truly all about who you know.
How do you build and connect with your fanbase?
Responding to comments, posts, tweets, etc. It’s important to get the people to you, but what’s going to keep them there? Great content alone is going to get you far, but will it get you all the way? I think, especially on YouTube, fans want to feel accessible to their favorite creators, so responding to people, retweeting their posts, and showing everyone that you’re a person who is probably a lot like them is incredibly rewarding and helpful.
Any advice for brands looking to partner and collaborate with you?
Brands are often weary of my type of content. You need to have a pretty open mind to want a shout-out from me. But I’ve made a number of brands exceedingly happy with my desire to go above and beyond what is required to produce a maximum result. I am incredibly easygoing and very susceptible to change. I am one of the creators who is not a diva about making sure that a brand integration is exactly how the brand wants it. I think that as time goes on, brands will become more open to having their product or service advertised on my type of content. People are addicted to the kinds of things I provide: laughing and being scared. There’s no reason, when eliciting these types of emotional responses, that a person wouldn’t be open to hearing from a sponsor. I’m also proud to say that my content does very well long-form. I often have fans asking for videos longer than 20 minutes and never complaining when they are. But not only that, I have guided my audience to warmly accept brands supporting my shows and I rarely ever get any form of negativity in the comments when I shout out a brand. So if a brand wants to partner with me, they’ll have positive communication, receptiveness to change, and an overachieving effort to make them happy with their return.
What is the best and worst piece of advice you were ever given?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given is to be dependable. So many people in so many industries aren’t dependable. So I do my absolute best to remain dependable not only to my peers, but my audience.
As for the worst advice, I can’t exactly say. I think I’ve found value in anyone’s advice, whether it applied to me or not. I can’t say I’ve ever been sat down and told why I should “give up” or anything like that. I think there’s advice that fits a situation and advice that fits an individual. You just need to be careful to balance it properly.
Anything to add?
Such an open-ended question! I could say just about anything. Really, though, I think that I’ve chosen a fruitful path and I’ll walk it proudly and anyone who wants to join me on that path, short or long term, is more than welcome by me, because I feel everyone has something to offer.
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