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Sydney Morgan: The rise of the multi-format creator

YouTube's Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl discusses with Beauty creator Sydney Morgan how making content in different formats builds and strengthens her community.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Sydney Morgan, a well-established actress, model, makeup artist and digital creator. This incredibly talented multi-hyphenate has joined the rapidly growing ranks of multi-format creators on YouTube. These creators produce content easily across different formats on YouTube, including VOD, YouTube Shorts, and Live, and I wanted to learn more about Sydney's YouTube journey and how she strategizes content across different video formats. With over 2.9 Million YouTube subscribers and too many viral videos to count, she’s making YouTube Shorts and traditional long-form content, featuring outrageous and impressive makeup creations that reflect her positive personality. Creators like Sydney are one of the reasons that YouTube Shorts are being watched by over 1.5 billion logged-in viewers every month.

What also impresses me about Sydney is how she’s using her platform to shine a spotlight on Crohn’s & Colitis Disease, a disease she’s personally battling and helping others confront through her work online and with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. She’s clearly not letting her illness define her or hold her back. With three movies already under her belt this year, her star is rising. And she’s continuing to make a name for herself through her work with major brands like Sephora, Ulta, and L’Oreal, just to name a few.

Robert: What was the inspiration for you launching your YouTube channel?

Sydney: I think watching other beauty creators in the space made me want to do it, too. And it was just a longer way to share myself with the followers I was gaining on other platforms.

Robert: Your approach to makeup is often striking — you really do view the human face as a canvas for colorful self-expression. How did your passion for art and painting evolve into a beauty career on YouTube?

Sydney: I’ve always loved art and makeup and would watch popular beauty creators on YouTube from a young age and always dreamed of doing it myself. I launched a YouTube channel a few years ago, but struggled to grow a following organically from the platform. I was able to grow on other platforms and pull them over to my YouTube with time. And after the introduction of YouTube Shorts, my subscribers exploded! YouTube was always my goal.

Robert: What advantages do you think YouTube offers over other platforms?

Sydney: Having been around for so long, YouTube is a stable platform that I feel is not going anywhere anytime soon. And YouTube is able to adapt with social trends to stay relevant. The revenue YouTube AdSense offers is able to support a full-time career on the platform — nowhere else can you do that. Also, the features and analytics are so accessible, making it very easy for creators to know exactly what’s going on and what they wish to improve. And lastly, I just feel so valued by YouTube unlike any other platform. I truly feel like my content as a creator is appreciated by the YouTube team, and it makes me excited to continue using the platform.

That said, what is the best way to find creator support and why is it so important to YouTube?

Robert: No matter how big or small creators are, they need different kinds of help along their YouTube journeys. And that’s true now, as more creators are adopting a multi-format approach to their content, which adds many layers of benefits for creators, but also some complexity, too. For those creators who qualify, a Strategic Partner Manager (SPM) can offer invaluable support and guidance to help creators navigate YouTube and build their channels and businesses on the platform.

But creators of every kind can also find support in each other. Before the pandemic, we would regularly offer events where creators could gather and learn from expert speakers as well as from each other. With the environment improving, we hope to reintroduce these events. Support for creators is so important to YouTube because they are the heart of the platform. When they succeed, we succeed. And it is in everyone’s best interest to give them the tools and support they need to excel on the platform while also maintaining their well-being.

Sydney: In your opinion what sets YouTube apart from other social media platforms?

We have more ways for creators to earn revenue than any other platform - we are the only platform that lets creators earn money across long-form, short-form, podcasts, and live content in any meaningful way.”

Robert Kyncl

Robert: Where to start? We have more ways for creators to earn revenue than any other platform — we are the only platform that lets creators earn money across long-form, short-form, podcasts, and live content in any meaningful way. I can’t think of another platform that’s paid out more than $30 billion dollars to creators over a three-year period as we’ve done. And we are the world’s largest video library — that not only means you can find virtually anything about everything, but if you’re a creator, you also have unmatched access to content that you can remix for new videos. And as you pointed out, our analytics for creators also separate us from our competitors, giving creators the insights they need to thrive.

Speaking of tools and features that help you earn money, which ones have been the most successful for you, and why?

Sydney: YouTube ads and also the Shorts Fund — I appreciate the bonuses I’ve received from the fund. I've been playing around with the different features with Shopping and have been loving that, too. I see big potential there.

Robert: As a multi-format creator, you are part of the next generation of YouTube innovators. You make both traditional YouTube long-form content as well as YouTube Shorts. Shorts have clearly played a big role in your channel and they still do. Why do both?

I’ve found that long-form has really grown and developed my connection with my audience. The subscribers that I have consistently coming back to watch my 15-minute weekly videos really know me and I feel like we have a friendship almost.”

Sydney Morgan

Sydney: I’ve found that long-form has really grown and developed my connection with my audience. The subscribers that I have consistently coming back to watch my 15-minute weekly videos really know me, and I feel like we have a friendship almost.

Making YouTube long-form videos is a great place for me to share my upcoming projects or brand relationships because I feel like YouTube is the best space for that loyal support. How do you think the platform has changed with the introduction of Shorts?

Robert: As I pointed out in the launch of my new video blog series on the creator economy, we’ve seen tremendous growth in Shorts, which have amassed more than five trillion views globally. One of the things we’ve seen is that Shorts have helped creators connect with more viewers. Multi-format creators uploading both Shorts and long-form videos are seeing better overall watch time and subscriber growth relative to those only uploading long-form content. These new audiences coming to creators’ channels are often exploring content in other formats like VOD and live streaming - if creators have made such videos.

And this ties in with another way that the arrival of Shorts has changed the platform: It has fueled the growth of the multi-format creator. Creators who previously worked in VOD or live streaming have been experimenting with Shorts and seen how it’s built their communities. And even short-form creators are trying their hand at different formats on YouTube. This has enabled creators to expand their communities, and by extension, expand their opportunities to succeed on the platform.

But back to you: what’s been the most surprising thing about being on YouTube for you?

Sydney: I was so pleasantly surprised with the support that came with it from the YouTube team. Everyone values the creators so much and is there to help me with anything and everything. Having been on other platforms as a creator prior and receiving no support, I could not have expected all the help that I now have from YouTube.

Robert: If you were giving advice to new creators that are starting out right now, what would you tell them about diversifying their formats on YouTube?

Sydney: I think consistency is huge. Try to stay strong with your weekly long-form uploads and keep people engaged with Shorts to supplement between long form videos. Also just keep having fun with the features and stay original. At the end of the day you need something that sets you apart from other creators in a similar niche and will keep followers coming back. What is the most common mistake you see YouTube creators making in regards to growing their channel?

Don’t get consumed by making the perfect video every time. It will slow you down”

Robert Kyncl

Robert: I would echo what I once heard another creator say on this issue: Don’t get consumed by making the perfect video every time. It will slow you down. But by making more videos - even if they’re somewhat flawed - you’ll learn more quickly from mistakes and become a better creator faster. Plus, showing an occasional imperfect side makes you appear more real to the audience, as I learned recently.

Sydney: How do you think YouTube is able to stay so popular for as long as it has?

Robert: Four words: global library, global stage. YouTube is a massive collection of incredibly useful information that enriches and empowers billions of viewers around the globe. I love that you can come to the platform and learn about something or how to do something on virtually anything imaginable. Aside from the learning component, YouTube offers a huge variety of entertainment content from every genre. Take music for example - YouTube Music is home to a catalog of 100 million tracks, as well as playlists, remixes, live performances, and hard-to-find recordings. And the cost for taking this all in? It’s arguably the best value on the internet, and the volume of content is always growing, offering something new at every minute of the day.