Although at first it may not seem like it, working as a YouTube channel manager can be a great stepping stone in your career in YouTube (or otherwise) and can lead to even bigger opportunities.
How? Well, it’s simple. As a channel manager, you gain a lot of transferable skills — skills you can take with you no matter what job you want later down the road.
Don’t believe me? I caught up with two old friends, Oli Martin and Luke Spillane. We met when we worked at BBC Studios as YouTube channel managers back in the 2010s.
Since then, each of us has continued to grow our YouTube careers, but the skills we learned as channel managers have stuck and helped open new opportunities for us.
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- See Luke in action in Sherlock Reacts
- See Oli's torso glow in his viral sensation
- We speak about the incredible BBC Earth Channel
- Find out more about what a YouTube channel manager does
The YouTube easter egg from the start of today's episode is this little gem.
The Pro Channel Manager Academy is our incredible community full of incredible video courses and some of YouTube greatest minds to help you grow the YouTube channels you are working on.
A HUMUNGOUS thank you to our incredible sponsor and my favourite YouTube tool vidIQ. I use it on every single video I upload and has helped me generate BILLIONS of YouTube views. Get a free trial of one of their incredible paid plans by clicking here.
5 Transferable Skills You Learn as a YouTube Channel Manager
If you’re a YouTube channel manager — or you’re aspiring to become one — chances are, you’ll pick up essential transferable skills along the way. These will open new doors for you later on in your career, whether that’s for YouTube career opportunities or otherwise.
Here are a few transferable skills Oli, Luke and I picked up as channel managers at BBC Studios that you should work on too. Once you have these in your arsenal (and on your CV) you'll have more opportunities open to you after your time as YouTube Channel Manager comes to an end.
1) Team Work
When the three of us worked at BBC Studios, we liked to call ourselves the YouTube Dream Team. The three of us worked closely together to help build out not only the YouTube channel, but also the team and the processes.
“I really feel that I got a good sense of how to work in a professional team,” Oli says. A big part of that was setting clear goals and working together to achieve those goals.
Oli still lives by the idea that teamwork and collaboration are vital in any professional setting.
No matter what job you are doing (even if working as an independent freelancer) you are going to be working as a team to some extent and having a track record of being a team player will be a great and much desired skill.
As I always say - team work makes the dream work
2) Organization & Administration
As a channel manager, you pick up a lot of, well, managerial skills — especially when it comes to working with content.
Like any professional environment, you have to show up on time and complete admin tasks like filling out spreadsheet reports, answering emails and attending meetings (no matter how boring that can seem sometimes).
“I've got so many memories of just spending days — some weeks — just filling in spreadsheets with numbers for finance and all that back-end stuff,” Luke says. “That's just part and parcel of any job.”
That really is the reality for any creative industry. You aren’t just shooting and editing videos all day. You’ve got to complete admin tasks to ensure everything stays on track. But, the thing is, that’s a skill you can flaunt on your resume for any job, so keep that in mind when you get tired of filling out yet another spreadsheet.
3) On Camera Experience
You know how every single job posting seems to list that “strong written and verbal communication skills” requirement? You’ll definitely pick up these skills when you work as a pro channel manager. Not only will you need to communicate within your company, but you’ll also communicate with your audience.
For instance, Luke was never afraid to jump on camera and do an unboxing video when needed. Since his time at BBC, he’s been on camera to talk about Doctor Who (whose channel he went on to manage). And Oli has even been the star of a YouTube video where he dissected a tiger for BBC Earth. There was another video he was in (shirtless!) that got more than 1 million views.
Although camera time isn’t always a guarantee when you’re working as a channel manager, it’s great to hop in and take advantage of these opportunities when presented. A lot of employers value this on-camera experience, and it can also turn into a job in itself if you become the talent.
4) Attention To Detail
When you’re managing a YouTube channel — especially one with hundreds of thousands of subscribers — you quickly learn the devil is in the details. Viewers aren’t afraid to call out even something as small as a typo.
Luke learned this as a channel manager, and now his attention to detail is essential in his job as a digital marketing manager for Doctor Who and other BBc Dramas. This translates across all social channels.
“I am now so, so all about detail and all about not getting anything wrong for audiences… making sure it’s the right content, the right tiles, the right descriptions, the right links,” Luke says. “I learned all this stuff via YouTube.”
Luke’s spot on. Attention to detail is important in so many jobs, especially if you get a job managing online content down the road.
Trust me when I say there's not a single hiring manager that is not looking for that skill.
5) Customer & Client Satisfaction
If you work as a YouTube channel manager at a company or brand, your goal is to make sure the stakeholders (read: the bosses) are happy with your output. That means putting together performance reports, listening to and implementing feedback, and setting realistic expectations.
This type of “customer satisfaction” translates to any number of fields, and I’ve found it especially useful as I’ve ventured out on my own and worked with my clients. I just treat them as I would any other stakeholder to ensure they’re satisfied with the product.
Any new role is going to be looking for a strong communicator and having solid examples of how you've worked with various departments and people of all levels (and managed to keep them all happy) is going to look great on any application
It's also going to help you grow your network and increase the amount of referrals and recommendations you may get in the future
So even if becoming a channel manager isn’t your dream job, it’s a great way to get your hands on some real YouTube experience and experience of other incredibly useful and transferable skills. This in turn will either to help you climb the YouTube channel management ladder, open yourself up to additional YouTube opportunities or even explore other career paths down the road.
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