Wondering what ever happened to Bam Margera? Curious about Waka Flocka’s life story? Head over to Patrick Cc: on YouTube and you can find out. With over 1.2 million subscribers, Patrick Cc: offers deep-dive documentaries about some of the most controversial and mysterious figures in music and pop culture. We had a chance to chat with Patrick about his creative process and his approach to running a successful YouTube channel.

Patrick Cc:
Subscribers: 1.21M
Uploads: 316
Video views: 164,848,724
Content type: Entertainment

User created: Aug 4th, 2017

Scratching the creative itch

Before starting the Patrick Cc: YouTube channel, Patrick made music.

“I was making electronic music and trying to basically become a DJ producer,” Patrick tells us. “And, long story short, didn’t really work out the way that I wanted it to.” It was a busy time in his life. He had just transferred to Rutgers University, and pursuing music couldn’t be a priority. Patrick knew he had to focus on school and work. At the same time, though, he still needed something to scratch his creative itch. That’s when he turned to YouTube.

“I was just a fan of YouTube — I was a YouTube watcher. I never had any, like, intentions of being a creator myself,” Patrick says, “but when I needed a hobby, essentially a creative hobby, I was like, you know what, why don’t I just try this out?”

Patrick started a channel with his then-girlfriend where they posted silly videos they made together. Though this first channel didn’t work out in the long term, it did help Patrick discover a new creative outlet: video editing.

“I kind of like fell in love with the process again,” he explains, “because I loved making music, and I only quit because I had to make, like, the adult decision to quit. Basically, it was responsible for me to quit making music, but my passion was still there. But once I’ve like started editing videos, I was like, ‘wow, this is just as fun.’”

Patrick points out the many parallels between music production and video editing: “It’s the same kind of idea. You’re starting with an open canvas and you can create something.” He found a new passion. “I think I actually liked editing more than filming and making videos,” he tells us.

It was this love of editing that propelled Patrick into making more video content: “Once I fell in love with editing, I was just like, ‘okay, I need to make stuff to edit.’”

The early days of Patrick Cc:

Image courtesy: Patrick Cc:

Patrick started his main Patrick Cc: channel in early 2018. In the beginning, he didn’t have high expectations for the channel. He certainly didn’t see it becoming a full-time gig. “I knew in the back of my mind that it was possible,” Patrick recalls. “I knew that people were making money on YouTube and you could do it full-time. Like, I think people were well aware of that at the time. But I, you know, I didn’t think it was gonna happen to me.”

Inspired by popular YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Patrick tried his hand at vlogging. “It was during the 2016-2017 vlog era of YouTube, so I was, like, really into that. But my life wasn’t exciting enough.”

For the first few months of the Patrick Cc: channel, Patrick uploaded whatever he wanted whenever it was ready. But this wasn’t helping his channel grow. “I realized,” he tells us, “that, like, you’re never gonna get any momentum by doing that.”

First, he concluded that he needed to stick to a more consistent schedule if he truly wanted to grow as a creator. “I knew that I just had to pick a rate of upload.” However, there was another factor that he believes was holding him back.

The importance of finding a niche

“I actually met someone through YouTube who was an artist. He was a musician, and basically, he told me … ‘you need to only make music content.’ And I was like, ‘yeah, but I don’t want to be boxed in.’” His friend insisted that Patrick’s music content was his best stuff. He even suggested that Patrick could be the next Anthony Fantano, music critic and host of the extremely popular and influential YouTube channel, The Needle Drop.

“That wasn’t necessarily my goal,” Patrick says, reflecting on the compliment, “but I was like, ‘he is right.’” At the time, Patrick Cc: still only had around 100 subscribers, and Patrick was posting a wide variety of content. “My normal videos would get like 60 views,” he says, “and then my music-related videos would get like 150 views. So I knew that he was right.” Patrick’s knowledge of music production and insight into the music industry gives him a unique perspective that has clearly resonated with his fans. Yet, this wasn’t obvious to him: “It took somebody to be like, “Yo, just focus on this. Don’t worry about getting boxed in. Like you can worry about other stuff later.”

In the end, Patrick credits his speedy growth to keeping a consistent upload schedule and focusing on a niche. “And I kind of got lucky. It happened really fast actually, but I had no expectations.”

Finding what works

Despite having drastically narrowed his channel’s focus, Patrick still sees a consistent through-line from his earliest content to today. “Funny enough,” he says, “if you really, really dissect my very first video I uploaded, which is basically a channel intro type of thing, if you really dissect it, I’m kind of just talking gibberish.”

Looking back at that first video now, he sees a kid who has no idea what he wants to do. However, one thing is clear: Patrick is more interested in other people’s stories than his own. “It’s like I’m kind of doing exactly what I set out to do,” he tells us, “I never really made my channel about me, and I said that in my first video ever … In a weird way, I think my content has always kind of been the same. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s always kind of had this, like, general theme of music and pop culture.”

Patrick’s personal interests influence only about 20 percent of the content on the Patrick Cc: channel. The rest is content he thinks other people will be interested in.

“I think that’s a really good standard,” Patrick says, “because I treat YouTube kind of like a business. I know that some people treat it as a passion piece … if it’s your passion piece, do whatever the heck you want. But I think if you have employees and you have an operation, which is what I have now, you have to treat it like a business.”

Patrick reminds us that means sometimes making sacrifices, and in this case, that means balancing what performs well and what is most interesting to him: “20 percent is just stuff that I’m interested in, I want to talk about, and I just hope that it does well — and sometimes it really does. But a lot of the time, the stuff that I really want to talk about doesn’t perform as well.”

For Patrick, keeping the Patrick Cc: channel running is more important than indulging his personal whims: “As much as my channel is named after me, like, I have to make money so I can pay my people.”

What the people want

To figure out what audiences want to watch, Patrick turns to social media. “I just spend an insane amount of time on social media, mostly Instagram,” Patrick admits. “I feel like Instagram is a really good way to find the balance between what are, at least in my niche, what are, quote-unquote, normal people talking about — like your everyday Instagram users — and what are … other content creators talking about.” Patrick warns against focusing too much on the buzz within content creator circles. After all, the majority of your viewers are not content creators; they are just regular people with their own interests. He says social media is invaluable in discovering trends and exploring what’s popular and why.

“A lot of people mindlessly scroll on social media. I don’t. I, like, really pay attention to everything.” Patrick details how he dissects comments sections and cross-checks various platforms to understand the deeper motivations behind emerging trends.

Along with his own social media research, Patrick also uses the keyword research tool VidIQ to monitor trends. “You can search any keyword and it’ll show you, you know, how many people are searching for that particular thing [and] other things that people are searching for in relation to that thing,” he explains. Patrick also uses Google Trends to see what topics are popular at the moment.

Finally, Patrick taps into the YouTube zeitgeist directly through the search bar autocomplete function: “A lot of people use YouTube to search questions … You need to find stuff that people are searching for and then you need to find stuff that is interesting to watch. It’s like a balance of like entertainment and then also providing like some value, right?”

Where every Patrick Cc: video begins

Patrick collects all of his potential video ideas into a spreadsheet he’s kept going throughout his YouTube career. Sometimes, entries are as simple as a person’s name. Other times, Patrick will write down a more specific concept. “Here’s a more specific example: ‘How Napster almost crumbled the music industry.’ That’s a story that I know very little about … but I was like, ‘That kind of sounds like a good title.’ I’ll write that there and maybe one day I’ll explore that.”

Patrick emphasizes the importance of a good title and thumbnail: “I think if you know what the title’s gonna be and what you envision for the thumbnail, I think you have a banger. Because as funny as it sounds, the video is the third most important because nobody’s gonna see your video if they don’t click.” In his experience, knowing the title and thumbnail in advance usually leads to a stronger video.

Brainstorming is the very beginning of the production process. Once he selects a topic, Patrick begins his research. “I watch a lot of podcasts related to a subject or just hunt for articles online,” he says, “Again, just using those keyword searches, trying to find any coverage.”

The production process

Patrick still does all of the research himself, but as Patrick Cc: has grown, he’s hired on help for some of the other parts of production.

“At first, I just did everything. I think that’s very important. I think every creator needs to do everything all the way down the line,” Patrick advises. “Starting day one, learn how to make the thumbnails, learn how to edit the videos, learn how to write the scripts, learn how to do everything yourself first.” His next piece of advice is a bit more surprising.

“A lot of people would say whatever part you’re the worst at, outsource. But I think, whatever part you’re the best at, outsource because then you’ll be able to teach somebody really, really well.” He gives an example: “I hired basically my best friend to work for me, and I hired him as an editor. But I loved editing and I still love editing, but I knew that I could teach him that the fastest, right?” Patrick theorizes that handing off the less-enjoyable jobs would just make him complacent with the results. “But with editing,” he says, “since I loved it so much, I was very detailed and very specific about what I wanted and that made him a phenomenal editor … So three years ago, he started working for me and now he can, he can edit faster than me for sure.”

Over time, Patrick has expanded his team to include three editors. He also gets help with writing scripts and creating thumbnails.

The Patrick Cc: channel is a business

Patrick views YouTube as a business, and part of that business is getting viewers to watch his videos. That’s why he has one editor entirely devoted to creating intros while his other two editors split the rest of each video’s runtime. “It’s kind of commonly known that the intro is like your hook,” Patrick says, “And I think that it’s very important to convince the viewer that this video is worth watching.”

So what makes a good intro? Patrick starts by telling us what not to do: “Never, ever, ever, ever summarize your video in the intro.” He says this is a common mistake on YouTube, but it just gives your viewers an excuse to click off your video sooner. “The viewer’s like, ‘Okay, I got all the information I need, I’m gonna go.’” Obviously, this is not what you want. “I need to give them enough information to convince them that this story or this video is worth watching all the way through.” It’s a balance, Patrick reminds us. “I can’t summarize exactly what happens because then it’s basically like watching a TikTok.”

To attract viewers, Patrick suggests considering your own YouTube habits. ”You see a title on a thumbnail you like, you click. How many times have you clicked off that video within the first five seconds? Because you’re like, ‘Yeah, this wasn’t what I thought.’ … If you really start to pay attention, you do that all the time.“

Working with the algorithm

There is, of course, another factor in whether or not a video finds success: the YouTube algorithm. “YouTube likes when you do the same thing over and over again … I know anybody can relate to this. You watched two videos on puppies and all of a sudden your whole recommendation [feed] is puppies.”

Patrick used to see YouTube’s algorithm as a limitation, but now he embraces it: “Now, I used to think, ‘Well, screw that. I’m gonna do whatever I want.’ But you can’t fight the beast. Like, the thing about being a successful creator is you have to adapt. If YouTube wants to start doing this, you have to adapt to that.” He says anyone working on YouTube as a hobby should just do want they want, but Patrick is running a successful business. “I’ve realized over the years, when you do something really well, YouTube wants you to do more of that, and chances are the audience does, too.”

He tells us his strategy for appeasing the beast: “What I try to do is, make a piece of content. Once I find out that it does well, okay, how can I just take that, add a little twist — a little twist so I don’t go insane for making the same thing over again over and over again, and the viewer doesn’t feel like I’m just repeating this same content.

“You’re gonna get higher click-through rates, you’re gonna get better recommendations, and then if you can turn that into your whole channel — which is very difficult, I’m making it sound light … But if you can just find those little changes that you can make, and then slowly, slowly you can pivot into a new market, a new subgenre, a new niche. But it’s all about doing slow transitions,” Patrick concludes.

Why have multiple channels?

Another way Patrick works to maximize click-through rates is by siloing different types of content into different YouTube channels. “I’m a huge fan of starting new channels,” he tells us.

“So basically what I did is I had two major forms of content … I had these mini-documentaries where I basically talk about an artist or somebody in pop culture and I kind of highlight their life … Those videos were doing, you know, between 500,000 and a million [views]. And then I would do these silly, more fun videos where maybe I’m reacting to music videos or I’m coming up with a just goofy video with my friends and it’s a little bit more personal, a little bit more focused on my personality. And those videos would do less views, you know, maybe a hundred thousand or so. But that’s still good, you know?”

He took note of the difference in performance between the video types and decided to split them up. He made a new channel to focus on his more personal projects so that he could dedicate his main channel entirely to his mini-documentary projects.

Not everyone agrees with the decision, however, “People were like, ‘What are you doing? This is main channel content, blah, blah, blah.’ But now I had the, I had the plan, I had the vision … And now my second channel has almost half a million subscribers. My main channel has over a million subscribers. They’re two totally different pieces, two totally different versions of content. And in fact, a lot of people on my second channel don’t even know about my main channel.”

The results

All of this strategy has paid off — literally. “I’m fortunate to have really solid AdSense money,” Patrick says. “Not a lot of creators have good AdSense.” Both channels bring in steady ad revenue, but he knows this isn’t something every creator can rely on: “I wasn’t able to actually make a living off of my ad revenue until I had, like, half a million subscribers.”

Over the years, Patrick’s income streams have evolved. At one time, the Patrick Cc: channel was pulling in most of its revenue from subscriber music critiques. Then, just when he was beginning to burn out from this taxing format, Twitch stepped in with a streaming deal, giving him the opportunity to switch gears to more sustainable content. “Fortunately, in that six-month time span, my second channel and my main channel. basically blew up,” he tells us.

As of now, Patrick brings in about 10 to 20 percent of his income through sponsorship deals. Merch drops represent a small piece of the pie as well, but most of the money that keeps his channel running comes directly from YouTube.

How Patrick Cc: avoids stress

Image courtesy: Patrick Cc:

Through all of this, Patrick keeps a level head. “I think every job is gonna have its stresses,” he admits. “I mean … man, I just love my job a lot. I’ve worked a lot of different jobs and I just, I don’t really stress about too much.” He says this mindset comes down to trust. “I mean, I trust myself, I trust my vision, I trust my skillset. And I think that no matter what happens, I will be able to pivot and adapt to the changes.”

For Patrick, worrying is a waste of energy that could be used for problem-solving: “I try not to worry because there’s so many things you can worry about. Oh, what if this video doesn’t do well? Oh, what if, what if people stop liking me? What if this and that? All of that stuff is not productive. So I just — nothing really stresses me out. I know it sounds like privileged or whatever, but I try to eliminate that because it’s hard enough to be like an entrepreneur, so if you add all of that unnecessary stress, it’s just gonna hold you back.”

“I’m just very based in reality. What’s the problem? Let’s solve the problem. Let’s not worry about what if. ‘Cuz that’s most of what stress is, is just worrying about the unknown,” Patrick concludes.

What really matters

To maintain this mindset, Patrick focuses on what truly matters to him. “It hasn’t been about the numbers or the money,” he reveals. “I was able to hire like my first employee and my best friend when I hit like 150,000 subscribers. That was a long time ago and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m already living my dream. Like, I’m doing this full-time. I hired my best friend.’ Like the only thing that can happen from here is I can hire more of my friends and make more videos.”

Now, he says his main motivation is creating a great life for himself and his friends. “I’m just not too deep about it,” he tells us. “It’s like not this like burning passion because I find that I had that passion for music and … that’s what made it all come crashing down. When you are too passionate about something, you will not be able to make concessions and you will not be able to realize when it’s time to change something.”

Patrick says he still has a passion for YouTube, but he doesn’t let it turn him into a perfectionist: “I can move with the punches and I can flow. And I think that’s what makes a good creator. You can’t be held back by your own, like, personal bias.” He reminds us again that creators need to decide early on whether to treat YouTube like a business or a hobby: “If it’s more of a business … just be ready to make concessions and make changes and, and just don’t get too, like, personally attached.”

In the end, Patrick really makes content for other people. “When you do things for yourself too much,” he says, “it becomes too selfish, and that selfishness will probably bring you down.”

What’s next for Patrick Cc:

After learning all this, it’s no surprise that Patrick thinks like an entrepreneur when considering his future. He has a few business ideas he plans to pursue, but YouTube is still his foundation: “I’m sure there’s another business endeavor I could take up that would make me more money or whatever, but that’s not it. It’s more about, like, this is what the people have decided I’m good at, so I’m gonna keep doing that for them.” Other plans include opening a recording studio that could potentially evolve into a record label. He’s also considered taking on larger video projects, with an eye toward streaming platforms like Hulu and Netflix. A clothing business is another possibility.

“I try to keep my future a little bit more open-ended,” he says. “A lot of people are like, ‘Yeah, what are you gonna do in five years?’ I don’t know. I’m good at what I’m doing right now … I’m keeping myself open-ended and open-minded. Who knows where I’ll go.”

Final advice

Image courtesy: Patrick Cc:

Before we ended our conversation, Patrick was eager to share this advice with aspiring YouTubers:

“Before you start your YouTube channel, figure out if you want to make it a business or if you want to make it a passion piece … and don’t say both, right? You’re not allowed to be like, ‘Well, it’s both.’ It’s not both. It’s one or the other.” Once you have that decided, Patrick tells us to home in on your niche:

“If it’s a business, focus on a niche. Be really consistent, but think about long term. Where do you want to end up? Okay. You want to end up with a million subscribers and you want to talk about baseball? Okay. Come up with the most niche, tiny, tiny thing that nobody else is talking about related to baseball. Talk about, you know, high school players in Western Iowa that are going to be superstars, right? You’re not gonna get a lot of views, but there’s gonna be some really specific people that want to see that … Don’t talk about what they’re talking about on ESPN, ’cause you’re never gonna punch through the algorithm.”

Patrick says that once you’ve earned a larger following, you can start to talk about more mainstream topics: “Picture it like an upside-down pyramid. When you’re, when you’re at the top and you have millions of subscribers, you can pretty much talk about whatever you want. But when you’re at the bottom, the only way you’re ever gonna punch through is if you’re talking about something that nobody else is talking about.” This, he promises, is the key to YouTube success: “What’s the smallest niche topic you can cover? And cover that consistently. And it will work.”