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Creator and Artist Stories

Four tips for fostering discussion from YouTube’s top teachers

By Jeremy Kaye and Devin McNulty

Programming Strategy

On YouTube, engaging with your community helps bring viewers closer to your content and enables two-way discussions. There are great ways you can interact with your fans and keep it manageable, even when your audience is large. Here are four strategies that some of YouTube's most popular education channels use to push the boundaries of fan interaction.

1. Crowdsource a hypothesis

Before revealing the answer to a science experiment, Derek from Veritasium asked his fans to draw their own conclusions via video response. He addressed some of these responses in his next video, using them to represent the most common explanations reached by his viewers. You can see a quick recap of the experiment and some of the video responses from fans here:

2. Ask in advance

Many of the top education channels have been hosting intensive Q&As with their audience. In addition to answering questions in real-time through a livestream or Google Hangout, some creators solicit questions ahead of time, choose their favorites, and create content with their answers. Here CGPgrey uses his trademark animation style to answer his fans’ questions:

3. Feature viewer generated content

On their channel WeSauce, the hosts of Vsauce feature content created entirely by their audience. They have a variation of their popular Vsauce2 show BiDiPi (Build It, Draw it, Play it) called “Your BiDiPi”, which is dedicated solely to their audience’s work:

4. Build interactivity into the format

At the end of their current week’s video, the PBS Idea Channel features comments from their prior week’s episode. The host of the show, Mike Rugnetta summarizes each comment, highlights relevant points, and adds his own analysis. Building this interactive element into the format of the show encourages community discussion, and makes fans feel that their comments will actually be read. Here’s an example:

Here is Mike stating that he reads every comment and explaining what makes for a good comment:

It’s important to try new and inventive ways to keep your fans engaged and feeling like they are part of a community. For more information on building your community, check out our Creator Playbook