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“Girl, you literally didn’t do anything exciting, but this was the most entertaining 27 mins of my life”.
This is a comment on one of Emma Chamberlain’s many YouTube videos, and trust me, there are thousands more just like it. Starting out vlogging in 2017, Emma Chamberlain has shot to stardom, becoming a household name in a relatively short time based “simply” off videos recording her life.
The concept shouldn’t work. Some of Emma’s videos take place solely in the confines of her house, where she may go from bed to the kitchen and back to bed, doing and talking about seemingly “nothing.” It shouldn’t be interesting. Yet, it is. With 11.1 million YouTube subscribers and 14.7 million Instagram followers, Emma Chamberlain is one of the biggest creators out there. This is reflected in her recent nomination for “Creator of The Year” at the 2021 Streamy Awards, and we’re breaking down exactly how she got to where she is.
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At a glance
Unlike other YouTubers such as Casey or Van Neistat, MrBeast or Eva Zu Beck, Emma cannot be categorized so easily. Her videos capture the everyday moments of her life, so she’s probably best described as a “lifestyle vlogger.” Whether she’s cooking up a recipe at home, having an off-day in bed and being very honest about it or driving in her car, she takes her audience along for the ride, and somehow, it feels like we’re hanging out with one of our best friends.
What does her channel description give us?
Not a lot…so, let’s dive into some of the key factors that have made her such a successful YouTube star!
Emma may just be the most relatable person on the Internet
The funny thing about Emma Chamberlain is that she hangs out with the likes of Hailey Bieber and often models for fashion giants such as Louis Vuitton. So on paper, she has every reason to appear as a somewhat untouchable A-list celebrity like the Kardashians. But the interesting thing is that she never shares any of this on her YouTube channel.
One of the keys to Emma’s success is how relatable she is. Throughout her 4 years on YouTube, Emma has never shied away from talking about her life, including tougher subjects such as depression and anxiety. Her willingness to be raw and open has helped forge a very strong, personal connection with each and every single audience member. Comments on one of her latest uploads include:
“I love how freely you share.”
“Emma is the most relatable person ever, the way she explains everything so perfectly is so comforting.”
Throughout the comments on her channel, you’ll find so many people remarking about how they see Emma as their best friend or a family member:
“I genuinely care about you as if you’re a real life friend. That’s the impact you have on people, Emma. You manage to make our day better with just a 10-minute video.”
This relationship that Emma has built between her and her viewers means that no matter what she’s doing, her audience will watch it. Even if it’s just a video of her going to buy groceries at the store.
Screw production value!
The common view is that to be successful on YouTube, you need to be putting out quality videos, right? When you’re starting out with your channel, there’s this feeling that you need the best camera and the best microphone on the market. It’s hard to disagree when you see the level of production put into some of the platform’s biggest channels.
Yet Emma Chamberlain takes this theory, scrunches it up like a piece of paper and throws it in the trash. It appears she doesn’t really care about having good lighting, the right angle, the perfect camera. She just points and shoots. She’s crafted a very niche, unique style that suits her content perfectly. The not-so-perfect lighting and angles actually help her audience feel more connected to her. These videos are very raw and real – they’re authentic!
And having said that, I’m not saying she doesn’t have a style. In her latest uploads, she’s been using a handheld camcorder that really gives her videos a certain “feel.” They’re a little nostalgic – like something from a home movie shot in the 90s. It’s very cool and retro.
She’s not afraid to change
This year, Emma Chamberlain announced that she was taking a quick break from YouTube:
Being a successful YouTuber is incredibly demanding, especially when the success of your content is tied directly to your personality. On her return, we’re seeing a different type of content being uploaded to what came previously.
Originally, as Emma was building her channel, she tapped into 2017 trends that helped grow her channel from 0 to 300,000 subscribers. She collaborated with other YouTubers, her thumbnails were always very well designed and polished, and her edits included a lot of jump-cuts and different effects that kept the audience’s attention. It was like a checklist of all the right things to do when starting a YouTube channel.
Now, after this break, we’ve been seeing a different style to Emma’s work. She’s resumed her editing role on all of her videos, and with that, the videos have a slower pace to them – there are far fewer jump cuts, few effects… it’s all quite “lo-fi.” In a recent episode of her podcast “Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain,” she admits that her new style is reigniting her passion for YouTube – something she had perhaps lost over the years with the demanding conveyor-belt schedule.
Emma’s ability to switch things up like this is an important ingredient for remaining relevant. The best YouTube channels rarely ever stay the same forever – they evolve and change over time. The fact she’s pulled this off so effortlessly bodes well for the future of her channel.
So, are you subscribed? At just 20 years old at the time of writing, Emma Chamberlain is only just getting started. Over the next decade, expect to see her face dominating pop culture time and time again. Whether it’s attending the prestigious Met Gala, striking deals with Levi Jeans and Louis Vuitton or simply making a peanut butter jelly sandwich from scratch, Emma’s ever-growing audience will be watching on loyally every step of the journey. We’re intrigued to see what’s next!