Petrol Ped car vlog
Peter is a car vlogger and vlogs on YouTube under the name Petrol Ped

I’m always on the look out for other car enthusiasts who are making a go of this new digital age we live in, building massive followings online through blogs, vlogs and social media. Peter Greaves is a UK car vlogger and is building a following on his YouTube channel ‘Petrol Ped’. Peter set up his car vlog at the beginning of 2016 and has since reached the milestone of 1000 subscribers. I caught up with Peter and asked him how did he get to 1000 subscribers and what tips would he have for anyone who wants to set up a successful car vlog. Over to you Peter!

How did Petrol Ped get to 1000 subscribers?

That is a very good question. I am going to start by stating that I am by no means an expert and there are channels out there that have grown much faster than mine. I have however learned quite a lot since I started Petrol Ped on the 1st January 2016. I have always been a car nut, fascinated by all things to do with cars, driving and motorsport. I would watch the ‘big’ YouTubers like Shmee, Supercars of London and Seen Through Glass and think ‘I could do that’! So I stopped saying ‘I could do that’ and changed it to ‘I’m going to do that’! Here are the top 10 things I have learned in the process…

1. What is your channel about?

You need to be original. From the start think about what type of content you are going to produce. I watch lots of similar channels and I’m always asking myself how they shoot the film, how would you edit that or are there things I could use in my films. However, I think you need to be true to yourself and not try to copy others. I think I have my own style. I am Petrol Ped and not a Shmee wannabe!

2. Get yourself some kit!

To start with you don’t need to spend lots of money on kit. I know people who shoot and edit films on an iPhone. I opted for a Sony Handicam (€239/£200) and a Sony Action Cam (€239/£200) with suction cup mount for in car stuff. I started by editing films on an old laptop using Windows Movie Maker, however I eventually out grew this as I wanted to do things it couldn’t do. So I invested in a Macbook Pro and now use iMovie. That was not cheap but the quality of my films has increased significantly. Most of the time I have to shoot films by myself so have opted for the ‘selfie’ style. I quite like this style and plan to stick with it for the moment.

3. Set up your social media

Choose a channel name and set up accounts on the main social media platforms. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I started all of these from scratch so could not benefit from the cross pollination that some channels have. You can set these up so that one post on Instagram can feed into Twitter and Facebook. This saves time but I think it’s also good to engage with these platforms separately. Let your followers know what you are doing, give them teasers to upcoming films and let them have a link when films go live. I spend a lot of time trying to engage with social media to increase awareness. It is a long slog but you must do it. Try and post at least one thing each day.

4. Build a bank of content
I launched my channel on 1st January but actually started creating content in the previous November. At launch I had about eight videos ready to go. It just takes the pressure off a little. Be warned…these films don’t last long so you need to keep busy creating content!
Petrol Ped car vlogger
Peter’s car vlog has given him access to some of the world’s most desirable cars
5. One video per week

I try my hardest to post at least one video each week. Sometimes, especially if I have been to an event like the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I will post more. I am planning videos months in advance. The thing I find hardest is being patient. For example, at the time of writing I have filmed reviews of the Range Rover Sport SVR, Audi RS6, a 288bhp Mini and the Jaguar F-Type SVR. They need editing but you could be tempted to upload them all as they are very cool. However I need to drip feed them. I have a full time job so cannot spend all day, every day shooting films. I need to make them last!

6. Regular upload

I upload at 6pm UK time every Friday. Therefore my subscribers know when my videos will land. Overtime this helps with your views and subscriber engagement. The theory is that they start to tune in like they would if they were watching their favourite TV program…at least that is the theory!

7. Collaborate and go viral!

This should probably be number one, two and three! It is however very difficult. If you can collaborate with a more established channel that helps a great deal. Early into my Petrol Ped adventure I managed to interview Tim Burton (ed – a.k.a ‘Shmee’) at the Goodwood 74th Members Meeting. I had a picture of us together in my thumbnail. When he posted his video from the same event I went from 200 subscribers to 350 in 48 hours due to people watching his video and then seeing mine in the suggestions. The Catch 22 is that getting these collaborations is very difficult until you are well established. The ‘going viral’ thing is also difficult to pull off. Look at the the big channels and they have had a viral video or two that has kick-started them. Look at Archie Hamilton’s recent video of him racing a La Ferrari with a Rimac Concept One, that got 1 million hits in the first week! I’ve not had that much success but my best performing video (Tesla Model S P90D) has had 60,000 views in a month. That does wonders to your subscriber number!

8. Respond

When someone takes the time to comment on one of my videos or engages with a social media post I try to respond quickly. I have a regular bunch of subscribers that comment and I enjoy discussions with them and hearing what they think of my content. I like to hear their ideas too. I hope this builds a feeling of community. After all, your channel is only successful when people take time to watch and engage with your content. I hope to never take that for granted.

9. Advertise!
I have had a play with advertising posts on both YouTube and Facebook. Facebook advertising is a great way to build your ‘likes’ when you are starting out, although organic ‘likes’ are far more valuable. Building a community on Facebook then provides a great place to notify people when you post content. For my videos that I think have potential I will post the link on Facebook and then promote that post. You can select the demographic the post goes to and Facebook provide pretty good analytics to see how successful your campaign has been. I have also run ad campaigns in YouTube, linking people to my channel trailer (another tip is to make sure your channel trailer is a good advert for you channel!).
Petrol Ped car vlog
Peter with his Mini John Cooper Works Convertible!
10. Energy and don’t care what people think!

My confidence and energy levels in my videos has improved so much with time. I look back at some of my early stuff and cringe. You need to be engaging and interesting. When you are out and about creating content don’t care what people are thinking. Crazy mad vloggers doing selfie camera shots are an increasingly common sight. Just get on with it!

I hope this gives you an insight into what I’ve learned over the past 9 months or so. There is no magic bullet to building a channel. Ultimately you need a good idea, creativity, determination, a bit of luck and never give up! My next target is 10,000 YouTube subscribers. I need to stop writing this and get on with some editing…

Thanks to Peter for sharing his brilliant insight into building a following on YouTube and improving subscriber counts.
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