We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.
This week we spoke with Charlotte Dobre, a comedian, actress, writer, and influencer known for her comedic reaction, vlogging, and storytelling videos. She has over 3.4 million followers across YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.
Dobre is a trained actress and singer; she studied at the New York Film Academy, University of Victoria, and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Dobre was featured in various plays, television episodes, shorts, and commercials for Starbucks, Hilton Hotels, Lindt, Credit Karma, Turbo Tax, and other well-known companies. She recently announced she finished writing and is self-financing a pilot episode for a romantic comedy television show she will star in.
Dobre got started in content creation after getting hired to write celebrity news videos for YouTube channel and news organization InformOverload. She later launched her own personal account, which took off, leading her to quit her job.
As previously covered by Passionfruit, Dobre partners with Jellysmack, a company that helps creators with multi-platform content distribution, strategy, and funding. She also recently dropped a merch line called Stay Petty.
In an interview with Passionfruit, Dobre discussed her career background; bringing comedic techniques from the acting world to social media; how she uses YouTube analytics; her content production and editing team; what video production tools creators need to start out; how she chooses brands to partner with; dealing with YouTube’s age restriction policies; and more.
Can you tell me a bit about your career background and what led to your decision to launch your own personal comedy channel?
I’m a trained actress and studied acting at the New York Film Academy. After graduating, I moved to Toronto and was extremely excited to enter the workforce and begin auditioning. I began my creator journey when I got a job creating videos covering celebrity news for my employer’s YouTube channel that really took off.
When the pandemic hit, I started posting on a personal channel as a fun creative outlet, and the following I had from my job seemed to transfer over and helped my own YouTube grow extremely quickly. I ended up quitting my job just 6 months after starting my personal channel because my videos were performing so well, and the rest is history.
What lessons have you taken from your other career experiences that inform your current career in social media?
I still love acting, and use a lot of comedic techniques I learned during my acting career in my social media content today. Acting taught me how to effectively captivate and entertain an audience, and which has definitely helped me attract and maintain consumers’ attention spans even in the fast-paced world of social media.
How do you utilize YouTube analytics to inform your content choices?
I look at what topics hold viewer retention the longest, and what topics seem to continue to get attention. I also look at topics that don’t have a lot of competition on YouTube, but at the same time people are searching for them a lot.
What are some of your favorite tools for creating videos?
I have a fantastic editing team that has been with me since the beginning. I also have an awesome team of content-producers whom I assign topics to. Because of the sheer volume of content I produce, and the fact that I post every day, the company has to run like a well-oiled machine. I have to come up with the topics, which is usually done at a monthly ideation session. The content producers research and source, then once the videos are filmed, the editors complete around 4 videos a week each before sending them back to me to make the thumbnail and do the backend. Topics are planned weeks, if not months in advance! This system also ensures that I can film ahead and take time off, both to recharge my batteries and for other projects.
For equipment, I use a pretty basic system that does the job. You don’t need all the bells and whistles, especially when you’re first starting out—but you do need a good microphone, camera (I use a Canon M6), lens (a prime 35mm f/1.4) and a powerful enough computer to be able to handle all the big files and potentially, editing. Admittedly, I still use a $90 softbox light I bought from Amazon 5 years ago.
Do you have any advice for creators on picking the right companies to partner with?
I think all full-time creators should enlist the help of partners and external teams. It is impossible for creators to manage all of their social channels, finances, etc all alone without burning out, which is why I think company partners like Jellysmack are so crucial. Jellysmack has not only greatly increased my capital but expanded my network within the creator community, more than doubled my audience, and overall taken my platform to the next level. For example, Jellysmack runs my Facebook, and my page reached 2 million followers way before my YouTube channel that I’ve been posting on for years.
It is crucial to ensure the companies and brands you choose to partner with are aligned with your personal values, goals, and vision for your content. I’m super picky about what brands deals I agree to, and only work with brands I feel will equally elevate my content and resonate with my audience. I’d rather choose two to three great brands to work with and create top-tier content for them than create mediocre content for every single brand that reaches out to me.
What do you think makes for a successful merchandise line?
My strategy is this: If you wouldn’t wear your merch, why would you expect potential customers to? It’s super important to create wearable, sustainable merch that people won’t just wear once. I pick pieces I personally LOVE and wear all the time. People love the tye-dye hoodies and Petty line. I took one of the most popular topics on my channel that people identify with and I put it on a line of merch!
Similarly, what do you think makes for a successful relationship between a creator and their audience?
I don’t think I realized the impact I have on my fans until recently. I was walking around Toronto and a fan came up to me. She was so overwhelmed, she was in tears because she was in a bad place and she said that my videos helped her. I thought about her for the rest of the day and I decided I was going to give her a gift. I found a plant in a nearby store (close to where she was selling her jewelry) and I bought it for her. She was so grateful and happy—my boyfriend actually ran into her recently and she said she was doing better!
You’ve mentioned some frustrations with YouTube’s age restriction guidelines on Twitter. What changes would you like to see on the platform?
YouTube’s increasingly severe age restrictions have made it difficult to generate revenue on the platform, as it alienates an entire pool of viewers from my content. YouTube also does not provide insight into why videos get restricted, so for a while it felt impossible to fix the issue and reach greater audiences.
The past few months, I was experiencing a ton of advertising restrictions, and I started to get worried. It’s easy to blame the advertisers for this drop in revenue, but I’ve learned there’s a lot of ways to reevaluate your content to combat the restrictions. I’ve started working with a YouTube strategist to improve my content and make sure it’s to the platform’s standards.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing creators today? Do you have any advice for creators dealing with those struggles?
I think burnout is one of the most pressing pain points creators face today. It can be really difficult to motivate yourself to put on a full face of makeup and an entertaining persona to create content every single day. I know if I lose my fire or excitement about creating, it will translate into the quality of my work, so I try to reserve certain days for filming and only produce content if I’m truly in the mood for it.
Thank you, Charlotte, for chatting with us!
Are you an up-and-coming YouTuber? Reach out to [email protected] for a chance to get featured in an upcoming newsletter.