YouTube may have had humble beginnings when it first launched in 2005, but the modern day iteration of the platform hosts uploads of more than 500 hours of content every single minute. In the same vein, the sheer number of creators on YouTube has grown exponentially over the years.

Today, thousands of YouTubers are vying for eyeballs — some doing it for the pure enjoyment, some doing it because they have a point of view they want to share and some doing it because the monetization of their channel enables them to pay the rent – or far more. For a YouTuber to rise above the crowd means that they must have something special happening — both for them as a person as well as for what their channel offers. Such a YouTuber is Mia Maples.

Who is Mia Maples?

To start, Mia is a 22-year-old who hails from Canada. She launched a self-titled YouTube channel in 2013 that has since grown to over 3 million subscribers. As can be imagined, monetization and the addition of a clothing line and merchandise has resulted in Mia carving out quite the career as a YouTuber.

Like many who post on YouTube, Mia looks towards those things that interest her, that she finds amusing and that she feels that others will enjoy seeing her take part in. There does seem to be a few genres that she doesn’t get involved in — for example, she’s certainly not looking to tell folks about NASCAR daily or go into the value of pro wrestling on a regular basis. But again, as anyone today interested in pop-culture will attest, there is plenty of room for finding interesting things to cover that both appeal to her as well as what she believes others will find of interest.

For Mia, videos about beauty and clothing and do-it-yourself tutorials are not out of place. Nor are videos on makeup and home renovations or trying to duplicate the high school yearbook look of her mother as a fun project. The same goes for any aspect of pop-culture that seems appealing. But considering the vast amount of content available on YouTube, what makes Mia the massive success that she is? What is it that she is doing that others are not?

As it turns out, there is no “secret sauce” but a straightforward process that takes into account such things as knowing her audience and how to hold onto them, knowing the type of content that will attract the audience that she is interested in/that is following her, knowing how to promote herself effectively and knowing how to take what others are doing well and not just build on it, but adapt it and make it her own.

How Mia Maples attracts and retains viewers

For the first-time viewer to be “captured” by a video, it needs to first have a technical level of quality that makes viewing and listening easy. It also needs a level of authenticity; the “performer” must come across as a real person who enjoys what they are doing and wants to share that experience. 

The way Mia presents her videos helps to draw in the viewer because it focuses on her in a personable fashion. It’s a clean presentation, free of CGI fireworks and avoiding clutter. You see Mia and that’s it — regardless of what she is doing or where she is, Mia is the focus. The videographer also makes use of a jump cut, going from a medium shot of Mia to a close up or back but not excessively (helping to draw in the viewer). The lighting helps with this as it softly highlights her face, eliminating shadows (perhaps using a light box or diffusers), with the audio always clearly heard. As Mia is using her own studio, and not something slapped together in a bedroom or basement, all the effort is intentional and works to create a warm and inviting environment.

Even when Mia shoots outside the studio, she continues to carefully curate how will be seen by her audience.  Also aiding this is Mia’s content itself, which doesn’t sound planned or comes off as if she’s reading it from a teleprompter or from having been memorized. It comes across as fresh, of-the-moment and real. All of which the viewers positively respond to.

Promotion as an ongoing objective

Promotion is important, and having good press always helps. In Mia’s case, she has a community of online commentators who are very strong in their positive praise. This comes both from articles written about her as well as other commentators on YouTube itself.  This positive reinforcement helps to attract new viewers —rising above the “noise” as it were — who become intrigued as to what Mia is all about. This continues in conversations on user groups and elsewhere online.

That the attention being generated comes from those who fall somewhat in the same age group as Mia adds to the appeal for those new viewers who feel that they are going to find a person who shares their interests, in some cases, but at the least share many of their attitudes towards life. That Mia seems to eschew the high end, expensive side of things and goes more for the “average” when it comes to the products and concepts she displays – For example, a video she made looking at drugstore makeup – helps to bring in and retain viewers of her age range, who can relate to her videos, her enthusiasm and creativity.

Perhaps the most important aspect of what makes the Mia Maples YouTube channel the success that it is, is that she likes to have fun — and she wants those who are watching to have fun too. That’s an unbeatable combination and well worth emulating, regardless of the type of content you create.