“Commentary with a dash of gaming chat.” That’s how Courtney describes her content. Tune into the courtreezy channel for comedy, reaction videos, challenges and “honestly, anything that I’m feeling that day,” Courtney tells us. “I even have videos on me baking. It’s a huge variety of content, and it’s kind of hard to put a label on, to be honest.” We had a chance to chat with Courtney about the courtreezy channel and the story behind its success.
Video views: 259,256,719
Content type: Entertainment
User created: Apr 16th, 2016
Courtney, known as courtreezy online, first got into making YouTube videos because she loved using the platform as a viewer. “I was obsessed with YouTube,” she recalls. As a freshman in high school, Courtney and a friend made their first video and posted it to a now-defunct channel they shared. “The initial goal wasn’t necessarily to be like the biggest YouTuber,” Courtney tells us, “I just wanted to try it.”
Eventually, Courtney decided to branch out: “Me and my friend, it was kind of hard for us to — because we had a joint channel — it was very hard for us to link up every single time to do a video together.”
Before heading to college, Courtney launched her current main channel, courtreezy, and started to think more seriously about her goals as a creator: “It just became my goal to like be an online best friend to the people that are watching me.” Though she has struggled to connect with her peers in person — “I don’t really have a lot of friends” — she feels more open and outgoing online. “I feel like the personality that I gave on my YouTube channel was not the personality that you were getting in person,” she says. On her channel, she tells us, “I felt like I could be free.” Courtney says the ultimate goal for her content is to just put smiles on people’s faces.
“During the school year, it was really, really, really hard to even post the videos because, you know, it takes so much.” However, whenever winter or summer breaks came around, she was making content.
And then the pandemic happened: “I had time to just make videos and upload.” During this period of high output, courtreezy hit on a winning formula: “I did a video — it was called ‘RATING TIK TOKERS N WORD APOLOGY VIDEOS because im black.’ — and I did that video and that’s kind of what started my growth.” In the video, Courtney uses the TikTok reaction format to launch a conversation about racism and accountability.
“From there, I started doing a part one, a part two, but then in between each of those parts, I would throw in other types of commentary videos and people really loved it.” And the numbers agree — the courtreezy channel grew from 30,000 to 300,000 subscribers about a month after that initial video took off. The growth stemmed from a combination of hitting the right topic at the right time and having a lot of extra time to work on making content.
courtreezy, full time
Before focusing on YouTube full-time, Courtney was planning to go to medical school. However, she eventually decided she needed to change course. “I realized,” she says, “I absolutely could not [go to med school] because I love creating content so much.” For a time, Courtney pivoted to nursing school so she could graduate sooner. That didn’t last long, however. “I literally dropped out the first day when I started growing rapidly on YouTube,” she recalls.
Then, in the summer of 2020, Courtney checked her AdSense one day and it was at $4,000. “I literally celebrated with my family,” Courtney says, “I mean $4,000. It just felt — like, that’s cool. Like, this is the first time I’ve ever seen that much money, especially money that was going to be put in my bank account. That was so much to me.”
At that moment, Courtney saw the true potential in her channel. She had to know: “How much could I make if I continue posting every single week and I make it a full-time thing?” From there, she started to take YouTube more seriously: “I can actually make this a career.”
Now, as a full-time YouTube creator, Courtney brings in most of her income from YouTube AdSense and brand deals.
Commentary and confidence
Though Courtney has added more variety over time, commentary content is still what holds the channel together. “I’m definitely still doing commentary ’cause that’s what made me grow. But yeah, I’m just doing a lot more than just commentary now.” Part of this willingness to experiment comes from having a large, supportive subscriber base. “I feel a lot more confident with the content that I’m releasing,” Courtney says, reflecting on her channel’s growth. “Also, I just feel like I want to post the videos that make me happy. And like, if you’re going to watch it … I really appreciate that.”
The wide variety of content doesn’t make it easier to come up with video ideas. “It actually is a bit harder,” Courtney says, “just because sometimes if I try and do something different, I’m not sure if people are going to watch it.” Courtney stuck mostly to commentary content until the courtreezy channel was established and attracting a steady stream of viewers. “Once I started to have like a good amount of subscribers,” Courtney reflects, “I felt like I could branch out a little bit and it’s been working.”
There was a time, however, that all of the new attention made Courtney feel more self-conscious. “I’ve definitely gone through that,” she says, “but I had to jump that hurdle.”
“I think being a creator has definitely pushed me to grow, especially in the confidence aspect of it,” Courtney reflects, “because I used to not be very confident in my channel. I was keeping it a secret from a lot of people in my life, honestly. My personality on social media was completely different than in person because I was, like, kind of shy in school … Now I feel like I can just speak better. Like, I don’t know. I just feel a lot more confident and happy with being a creator.”
The courtreezy production process
Like many creators, Courtney started off doing everything herself, from coming up with video ideas to filming to editing to posting on her various social media platforms. Courtney gave us a rundown of her process.
It often starts with her scrolling on TikTok and Twitter. She says these platforms are helpful for keeping up with trends and coming up with new video ideas. “There’s always something like going viral on TikTok,” says Courtney, “or Twitter — every single day or some crazy topics being discussed.” Courtney points to these sources as goldmines for video ideas. “It’s very easy to just look at that and be like, ‘Okay. I can make, you know, a whole video on this topic.’”
Courtney advises other commentators to try and talk about current events and trendy topics. “You don’t have to make all your content trendy,” she says, “but definitely make sure to hit those trendy points, every month or, you know, a couple of times a month.”
However, some topics work better than others in the courtreezy format. When vetting a possible video topic, Courtney asks, “If I was another person, would I enjoy watching an entire video on one specific topic?” She needs to feel like she can expand on the topic before committing to an idea.
Once she has a topic nailed down, she’s ready to film and edit the video. Even though Courtney loves the editing process, she has recently started outsourcing her post-production work. This allows her to make content more efficiently. “It takes so much of my time,” Courtney laments, “and I want to be posting more.”
But even more than editing, Courtney loves engaging with her fans. She says that her favorite part of being on YouTube is when she uploads a video and gets to read the comments. “The reason why I even love reading the comments so much,” Courtney says, “is just because, like, they’re just so creative. And just fun.” She continues, “There’s so much going on in the world. Like, if me uploading a YouTube video is going to make your day better … I’m good with that.”
Dealing with haters
Engaging with viewers in the comments does come with a dark side, however. “I do get hate comments,” Courtney says, “I just don’t really see them.” She attributes this to mostly reading comments that come in immediately after posting a video. “When I do read a lot of comments, it’s usually like the first day of posting,” Courtney says. “People don’t really leave a lot of hate comments in the beginning.”
It makes sense; fans are more likely to tune in for a brand-new video. However, it takes more time for the algorithm to push your content out to a broader audience. “I think the hate comments usually start to come if the video is like getting millions of views and it’s a bunch of random people that I don’t know.”
When she does encounter hate, Courtney has a simple solution: “I honestly just ignore it.”
The challenges of maintaining the courtreezy channel
Courtney also stresses about the quality of her content. She doesn’t want to let her viewers down. “So, though I feel a lot more confident,” Courtney says, “I still get worried every single time I upload a video if it will be funny enough or good enough.” It’s hard to know how a video will be received before posting it — “That’s like my biggest stressor,” Courtney reflects.
It doesn’t help that looking at her YouTube Analytics can sometimes give mixed signals. Courtney uses the YouTube video ranking system as an example. Within the analytics interface, YouTube ranks the performance of your recent videos relative to each other. Many creators find even the sight of these rankings causes stress.
Sometimes, Courtney will upload a video and it will hover at the bottom of the list. Seeing this, she’ll think, “Oh, okay. Obviously, it was not a good video.” However, this initial ranking can often be deceptive. “A day later it goes up the ranks and it’s like, oh, number four, number five or something,” Courtney tells us, “And so I try not to look at that anymore.”
The analytics that matter
Instead of relying on this built-in ranking, Courtney now gauges a video’s success based on community engagement. She explains, “I feel like if there’s a lot more comments than usual, I’m just like, ‘Okay, they must have liked it somehow, you know?’” Another useful measure for Courtney is the click-through rate. If the click-through rate is high, Courtney knows the thumbnail is obviously good. She’ll then compare the click-through rate and views to get a more complete picture of the video’s appeal to viewers.
Though she does get insight from YouTube Studio, Courtney tries not to look at it too much. “It can kind of put my mood down if something’s not performing as well as I want it to,” Courtney admits.
How the Reezys keep her going
Courtney says it’s her fans that really get her excited to make more content. “What motivates me to keep making videos is honestly just my subscribers. The Reezys is like, they really keep me going,” Courtney explains. The Reezys are “the best people on the internet,” and the only way to become a Reezy is to be a courtreezy subscriber. Courtney continues, “Even before I got to this point, when I was in school, there was a lot of people that didn’t want me doing YouTube.” Her parents especially wanted her to focus on school. “I’m from a Nigerian background,” Courtney says, “and so Nigerians are known for like, just going to school, you know, doing what they have to do.” There was a clear expectation that Courtney would go to med school.
“You know, so it came as a shock — shocked, the shock — when my parents realized I was doing YouTube … that was like a really, really big thing because they didn’t understand that. Like, why am I making YouTube videos? Why am I posting on the internet? Like, why am I doing all of that when I could be focused on school? And so it was very, very hard dealing with them.” Beyond the familial tension, Courtney also had to balance her regular school work with the time-consuming process of making content. “I don’t know how people do it,” she reveals.
There was also the fact that Courtney had been posting videos for quite a while — four or five years — before the channel really took off: “I felt like because I was doing it for so long, I felt like time was ticking — Okay. It hasn’t happened. So like, you should probably just give up now, but I just kept going. And it worked out.” In the end, her parents still support her: “They get it now, and I’m just glad I didn’t give up.”
“There were a lot of external factors that were telling me to not keep going, but it just seemed like every time I uploaded a video, like, [Reezy subscribers] would be so happy. So then it would make me happy and then it’ll just make me keep going.”
When asked where she wants to take her channel in the future, Courtney replies, “I want to keep going as long as I can, ’cause I really don’t know where I’ll be like in the next year or three. Like, I really don’t know, but I definitely want to keep going.”
Courtney shared a lot of insight with us throughout our conversation, from how to capitalize on sudden growth to how to stay focused and persistent when faced with obstacles. As our chat comes to an end, we ask Courtney to sum up her best advice for finding success as a YouTube creator. “Literally, just keep going,” she tells us, speaking from experience, “because you never know when your big break is going to be.”
She expands on this, emphasizing the importance of volume and consistency: “Keep going consistently. Try and post every single week and multiple times a week, if you can.” With each video, you’ll get better at making content while at the same time growing your audience.
“The success is going to come, eventually,” Courtney promises. Indeed, it’s this mindset that has earned her channel more than 3 million subscribers. On YouTube, building a channel takes time and determination. It can be easy to get frustrated and give up. Luckily for all of us, courtreezy kept going.