Zach Mitchem is a Tiktoker, YouTuber, and the founder of "We Are Video Makers." He makes instructional content to help other creators improve their videos and grow their followings. He also contracts with large companies to improve their content engines.
Our team at Captions sat down with Zach to learn how Captions significantly increased his viewership and differentiated his videos from the masses. We discuss topics like:
- How Zach discovered Captions: an immediate editing upgrade
- Why captioning is crucial for maintaining user attention
- Boosting TikTok follower growth using Captions
"I feel that the ability to caption in a way that stands out and feels like your own style is vital for vertical videos on TikTok. Captions was exactly what I needed.”
Discovering Captions: An Immediate Editing Upgrade
From the beginning of creating videos for his TikTok account, Zach never captioned his content by hand because he simply didn't have the time.
He was already juggling a YouTube channel and parenthood, so he was searching for a captioning service to do the job. He found a contract agency that edited and captioned videos. They charge $90 to edit, clip and caption a single video.
That's more than the cost of having an entire YouTube video edited. Zach couldn't sustainably pay that much, so he stopped captioning his videos altogether. He quickly realized that video captions were not a corner he could cut, so he searched for a usable app.
Zach found Captions in October 2021. He'd tried other captioning apps but disliked the font styles they offered and found the user interface clunky.
On the other hand, Captions was immediately usable down to the smallest details – Zach loves that he can switch fonts, change text color, and make every aspect look professional.
Zach also recommends Captions because one year of the app costs $4.50 per month compared to $90 per video to outsource the task.
"I get that people want free tools, but I'm not sure what the point is of using something that doesn't get you the results you need."
Why Captioning Is Crucial for Maintaining User Attention
For any vertical video, whether on TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, or YouTube shorts, 80% of the audience watches with the audio muted.
If the video doesn't have captions, most viewers swipe right past it.
Because captions are so central to increasing viewership, creators become known for the style of their captions. Hundreds of comments on Zach's videos ask what app he uses to do his captioning and how he styles them.
The topic was so on-demand that Zach ended up making a video that now has around 200,000 views to explain his caption-creation process with Captions.
Zach's videos all have a bright blue backdrop. It was a temporary fix while he experimented with his setup, but people started recognizing his videos for it and commenting about it.
Now it's something that characterizes his videos because it's vital on a visual platform to have stylistic trademarks that people recognize you for.
Captions yields that same result – people recognize his videos for the style of their captions.
Adding captions to videos is the most crucial change creators can make because:
- It increases viewership more than almost any other tweak
- It's inclusive of folks that are hard of hearing
- It looks more professional looking
"I tell my clients that if they don't have captions on vertical videos, they're not going to get many views. They really just aren't."
How Captions Helps Boost TikTok Follower Growth
When Zach joined TikTok, he made hundreds of videos before gaining real traction. His experience is in YouTube videos, so he was making YouTube-style videos for TikTok.
His views steadily increased when he started using Captions. The choice wasn't intuitive for him because captioning is not standard on YouTube, but it's crucial on TikTok.
His TikTok account snowballed as he posted three captioned videos daily.
His following increased from 100 to 28,000 followers in 90 days. Zach points out that Captions played a largely supportive role in this growth trajectory.
Captions also made his success possible because of the time it saved him.
- Increasing his video output forced him to invest even more time creating content; that time was only available because Captions made captioning so quick.
- When he contracted an agency to do his captions, manually sending the videos back and forth was a time suck.
At that point, he signed two five-figure contracts with TikTok.
He hadn't realized he would find such lucrative business on the platform, but with the increase in production quality and subsequent growth, he started making real money.
In only four months on TikTok, he's made $30k in revenue, which is essential for his life.
"When you find the one tweak that makes the difference for audience growth and engagement, you can scale quickly. For me, that tweak was using Captions.”
Growth Playbook: 2 Ways to Grow With the Algorithm
There are two phases in the quest to get YouTube's algorithm on your side.
1. Niche Down with Video Content
Creators should identify their target audience and release 10 to 20 videos directly in that direction, so YouTube knows who their circle is.
Once they establish their niche, the creator can slowly expand the breadth of their content.
Prominent creators can release a wide variety of content, but new creators cannot.
2. Improve Content Quality Over Time
At 10,000 to 100,000 subscribers, the goal becomes to improve content quality and understand your viewer base. Creators should ask themselves–
- What sort of questions are my viewers asking?
- Can I improve my viewers' lives in any way?
- What products do my viewers need?
You've already taught the YouTube algorithm about your content, so it's time to tailor that content to your audience further.
Some creators who did a great job creating a lot of the niche content their viewers were looking for swift growth. That growth occurs because if viewers liked a particular video, they could go to the creator's channel and binge hours of the same content.
On the other hand, if a channel has a wide variety of content, someone might like one video and then be disappointed to see that all of the creator's other content is dissimilar.
"If the algorithm suggests your videos, they may not go viral, but your channel will grow. You've taught YouTube who your tribe is, and they'll keep seeing your stuff."