Road to 1 million subscribers with Marina Mogilko
You may know Marina Mogilko from her YouTube channel that discusses her journey to America and how she got accepted to an MBA program but never actually started it because she got into an accelerator in Silicon Valley and decided to focus on the business.
Or, if you’re learning English, you may have taken lessons with her on linguamaria. But she’s also known in the U.S. as Silicon Valley Girl, a creator who covers topics like business, investing and life as an entrepreneur.
Across her channels, Marina has amassed over 9 million subscribers — so we had to ask for her top tips, from landing on an idea that could go viral, to using Shorts to build followers and raise revenue and dealing with critical comments.
Make sure your idea has legs
It’s tempting to make a video just because you think it sounds cool. But, Marina warns, “If the initial idea isn’t appealing to a large audience, then it doesn’t really matter how much effort you put into the content.”
If you see a successful video, don’t copy it 100%. Get inspired and do your own version.” Marina Mogilko
As an example, Marina shares how she got excited to make a video showcasing a New York hotel inside of an old airport terminal. Even though other creators’ videos about the same hotel were not getting that many views, she still posted her own – only for it to not get much traction. She states, “That’s why strong ideas are so important. Aim for content that has the potential to reach one million views.”
Marina believes ideas don’t necessarily need to be original to be good, and recommends studying other creators’ channels for content that’s popular and trending. However, she says, “If you see a successful video, don’t copy it 100%. Get inspired and do your own version.”
Replicate and iterate
Marina found success with a Short that shows how much giving birth at the hospital costs, which has 18 million views to date. She says, “Whenever I have a video that’s performing well, I ask myself, how can I replicate this? But I can’t just go and have another baby to make a video.”
So she started experimenting with different iterations of the same concept. “Maybe it’s about healthcare. Or maybe it’s about California prices. So my next Short showed a regular doctor’s visit and how we were billed $1,300 before insurance. That got a few million views. Then I showed how much a California car wash costs, and it got 30 million views.”
Marina also says iterating and evolving can help you avoid being pigeonholed. “People started seeing me as the girl who overspends all the time. So now I’ve started exploring other ideas instead of focusing too much on prices.”
Use Shorts to make sales
After Marina’s experimentation with Shorts helped her rapidly and organically grow her views and followers, she realized she could also use the format to help her drive revenue. According to her, “Shorts are really good for selling products if you’re doing it in the right way.”
Marina describes how her video covering five habits of a successful language learners helped her sell a workbook she created. She made sure to use the workbook throughout each of the five steps, and then told viewers how to buy a PDF version. “It really generated sales,” she says. “So these days I always follow that structure. I create something useful for my audience and then at the end of the video say, ‘Continue learning with us. Check out this website.’ And it really works.”
Take comments with a grain of salt
While Marina was thrilled when her Shorts started going viral, there's also naturally bound to be ones that are less than favorable. “I got a lot of feedback that I did not expect," she says. "I started reading everything in the comments section all the time, and after a month I thought, ‘I’m going to stop posting because people don’t understand me.’”
Fortunately, Marina had the support of the creator community, who advised her to cease reading comments nonstop. They also laid out some guidelines: “The first couple of hours after you post is when your subscribers and target audience watches. That’s when you want to read comments and see what they’re thinking, what questions they’re asking, and whether your content resonates with them or not. And then after the first few hours or after your video goes viral, stop looking at the comments.”
Marina tells other creators, “Everyone has their own opinion and you can’t control what people think. Your job is to create content you feel good about and that you feel is right.”