How a Korean vlog channel hit 30K subscribers & $700/mo

Jul 20 2022
Case Studies

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Channel snapshot (at time of posting)

Name – LiveOutLoud
Niche – Korean content for foreigners (vlog, talks, reaction)
Subscribers – 30,300
Watch time – 800K views (30 days), 11.5M views (lifetime)
Revenue – ~$700/month (from ads & sponsorships)
Videos published – 297
Date of first video – Aug 20, 2018
Employees – 0 (two creators – Leslie & Bibi)

Why/what made you want to start this YouTube channel?

We really wanted to share our Korean adventure with family and friends for two reasons, none of which were business related. We wanted to reassure our loved ones that we were safe and show them how we were living far from home.

We didn’t really think of it as a business at the time.

First Video

LiveOutLoud’s first video

We literally just recorded everything fun and new that we were doing at the time since it seemed easier than writing on a blog or texting people directly.

After a while, we started reacting to K-drama (like Kingdom on Netflix) on the channel and the popularity fueled us to keep going!

How did you get started?

We just created a separate email address for YouTube and started from there.

Since we weren’t thinking of going seriously with the channel, we just used our phones (an iPhone & Samsung Galaxy) to film everything and free mobile editing apps (like InShot).

Later, we ended up upgrading to the full version of InShot and Final Cut Pro but our workflow/software has largely stayed the same throughout the years!

How did you grow your subscribers to where you are currently?  

To get our first 1000 subscribers, we didn’t have a specific strategy because we didn’t think the channel was going to grow anyway (beyond our family and friends).

YouTube was just something we did for fun, practice and to record our memories.

In the beginning, we mostly did travel vlogs and the keywords we used (like “korea vlog"“cafe hopping"“life in seoul") helped surface our videos.

YouTube’s algorithm and promoting our videos on our Instagram page was our main source of (slow) growth in the beginning.

Earliest Videos 2

LiveOutLoud’s earliest videos

We got to 2000 subscribers from appearances in other Korean channels as guests (on Korean Bros for example) and other fun projects.

To get to 13000 subscribers, reaction videos were key!

Reacting to popular K-dramas (like Kingdom) allowed us to reach a wider audience; both Korean people looking to see foreigners’ opinions of Korean content and non-Koreans interested in life in Korea

Kingdom Reaction Success

Reacting to Kingdom was quite successful

We reached our present subscriber count (~30,000) with a lucky break! One of us was a background dancer at a BTS concert, which attracted many K-pop fans.

We uploaded a YouTube Short that quickly got to 1M views, as well as a story time video with all the details of that experience that got shared a lot on Twitter and also grew pretty fast.

Bts Dance Viral

Uploading a video of being a background dancer for BTS was a huge breakthrough

How much money are you making (and how)?

  • AdSense – ~$200/mo
  • Partnerships/sponsorships – ~$500/mo

Sponsorships became a major source of income around ~10K subscribers when more and more brands contacted us for requests.

After being emailed, we check out brands’ products, try them out and talk about them if we like them and would like to recommend them to our followers.

It was best to be very clear from the beginning with brands about what terms and actions we’re comfortable with.

What does your content creation process look like?

To find great ideas, we try and stay updated on all the cool new stuff happening in the city so we can experience/document it. This is essential since our content is based on our daily life in Korea.

To document/film, we just go to an event/area, take out our phones and try to record everything as naturally as possible.

Since it’s just the two of us on the channel, we talk to each other as if the camera wasn’t even there so we keep a natural, friendly vibe as much as possible.

We also take a lot of B-rolls to make the vlog more dynamic and pleasant to watch.

To edit our videos, we usually split the editing/subtitles between the two of us randomly. We try to keep things natural for vlogs. For reaction videos, we use zooms and effects a lot to try to emphasize facial expressions and commentary and make it as entertaining as possible!

When it’s time to publish, we release the content on YouTube (with some promotions on our Instagram page as well. There’s no major promotion workflow outside YouTube or Instagram.

If you could go back to square one again, what would you do differently?

Know your audience. Learn everything about who you’re making videos for and target them directly while growing your channel

Vlog more about our lives. Vlogging (compared to reaction videos) makes your audience invested in you and your personality rather than just your content. This way, you build an engaged and loyal audience.

Include your viewers in videos and reply to them in the comments. Engagement is key to making sure your channel can grow and building a loyal audience.

Engagement Is Key

Use more aesthetic footage instead of “selfie-style" vlogging. While people are interested in your personality, they’re also interested in surrounding visuals, context and what you’re doing.

Where can we find out more about you? And is there anything else you’d like to add?

You can find out more about us on our YouTube channel (where we try to post every Thursday) or on our Instagram.

YouTube is a lot of work but it’s fun to do! If you’re nervous to get started, the best way is to do just that; start.

Starting and improving along the way is always better than waiting (for a moment which may never come).

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