How Grace Helbig & The Slo Mo Guys Became YouTube Influencers

The four key strate­gies come­di­an Grace Hel­big and The Slow Mo Guys (Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy) use to win friends and influ­ence peo­ple on YouTube.

Greg Jarboe By Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Join the discussion » 0 comments

If you’ve read “Influ­ence Now,” our free guide to influ­encer mar­ket­ing, then you’ll know that you can use Tubu­lar Cre­ator Pro­files to find the YouTube influ­encers who are the best fit for a par­tic­u­lar cam­paign. You can also use Tubu­lar Leader­boards to quick­ly iden­ti­fy and even con­tact the top 10 influ­encers in 86 pop­u­lar cat­e­gories. But, how did these YouTube influ­encers become so influ­en­tial? Well, you know, it wasn’t easy.

Grace Helbig: What A Charming Idiot

For exam­ple, Grace Hel­big began in 2008 by cre­at­ing Dai­ly­Grace, a dai­ly comedic vlog, for Sev­en years lat­er, she’s the host and cre­ator of her own YouTube chan­nel, Grace Hel­big, which has more than 115.6 mil­lion views and almost 2.5 mil­lion sub­scribers.

Hel­big is also host and cre­ator of The Grace Hel­big Show, a comedy/talk show on the E! tele­vi­sion net­work, and Not Too Deep With Grace Hel­big, an audio/video pod­cast. She co-pro­duced and starred in the fea­ture film, Camp Tako­ta. And she’s the author of Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pre­tend­ing to Be a Grown-Up, a New York Times best-sell­er.

Hel­big uses four key strate­gies to win friends and influ­ence peo­ple:

1. Be Authentic And Embrace Quirkiness

In Helbig’s sev­en years on YouTube, she has been known pri­mar­i­ly for her fun­ny, hon­est, and authen­tic vlogs. In these direct-address videos, shot pri­mar­i­ly in bed­rooms, cars, hotel rooms, or wher­ev­er Hel­big might find her­self, she shares a lit­tle bit of every­thing with her audi­ence.

Helbig’s token style is unre­hearsed, goofy, and relat­able. She’ll stum­ble on her words, make weird faces, mut­ter obscen­i­ties, make end­less puns, and mock her own silli­ness — her chan­nel ban­ner describes her as “a charm­ing idiot.” She makes audi­ences feel like they’re hang­ing out with their fun, awk­ward old­er sis­ter rather than watch­ing an inter­net celebri­ty.

2. Upload Consistently To Keep Viewers Watching

Since 2008, Hel­big has uploaded more than 1,000 videos, aver­ag­ing three to five videos every week for sev­en years. While her video style makes her feel like a friend, Helbig’s com­mit­ment to upload­ing on a reg­u­lar basis makes her a friend fans can count on. The reg­u­lar stream of video con­tent gives fans a rea­son to keep com­ing back.

As a result, more than 60 per­cent of her view­er­ship comes from sub­scribers who eager­ly watch each new video.

3. Foster An Active Fan Community With Interaction

Whether Helbig’s reply­ing to fan com­ments on YouTube or oth­er social media plat­forms, or cre­at­ing “Q&A” videos in which she direct­ly acknowl­edges and responds to ques­tions from her fans, she has always fos­tered her com­mu­ni­ty by direct­ly engag­ing with it.

Helbig’s com­mit­ment to com­mu­ni­ty build­ing has dri­ven incred­i­ble fan engage­ment on and off YouTube. On aver­age, her videos gen­er­ate 54 likes per thou­sand views and 3.7 com­ments for every thou­sand views, both of which are sev­er­al times greater than oth­er top YouTu­bers. In addi­tion, she has amassed near­ly a mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter and Insta­gram.

4. Take A Risk, Try New Things, And Trust Your Fans To Follow

All the ground­work that Hel­big laid to devel­op a strong and loy­al fan­base has empow­ered her to try new things. In 2014, after six years of cre­at­ing videos for, she decid­ed to take a big, unprece­dent­ed risk. She left Dai­ly­Grace, which had 2‑million sub­scribers, to launch her own, inde­pen­dent chan­nel on YouTube.

Hel­big uploaded a teas­er to her new chan­nel on Jan­u­ary 6, 2014, and before post­ing a full vlog, she’d already attract­ed 275,000 sub­scribers. Thanks to the help of her fans, as well as oth­er YouTube cre­ators who helped dri­ve peo­ple to her chan­nel, 1.6 mil­lion peo­ple, or 70 per­cent of her exist­ing fan base, had sub­scribed to the new chan­nel with­in two months of her channel’s launch.

Slo Mo Guys: Take On The World In Slow Motion!

The Slow Mo Guys pro­vide anoth­er exam­ple of how hard it is to become a YouTube influ­encer. It took five years and mul­ti­ple burns/scars for Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy to grow their chan­nel to more than 556.2 mil­lion views and over 5.4 mil­lion sub­scribers. Mix­ing sci­ence and com­e­dy with their pow­er­ful high-frame rate cam­eras, they’ve shown every­thing from slow motion airbags to mouse­traps.

The Slow Mo Guys is just one project for the duo, with Free busy as an employ­ee of Roost­er Teeth, a U.S. pro­duc­tion stu­dio, and Gruchy as a Lance Cor­po­ral in the British Army. How have they built such a huge fol­low­ing with such con­straints on their time, while liv­ing on dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents?

Here are four key strate­gies that drove The Slow Mo Guys to their cur­rent lev­el of suc­cess:

1. Consistently Deliver The Goods

The Slow Mo Guys are unusu­al YouTube cre­ators in that their con­tent strat­e­gy has remained main­ly unchanged from the first video. This con­sis­ten­cy means you know exact­ly what you’ll get when you sub­scribe. The Slow Mo Guys deliv­er noth­ing oth­er than slow-motion videos!

Although their uploads are much less fre­quent than those of oth­er YouTu­bers with a sim­i­lar size fol­low­ing, this con­sis­ten­cy has served them well every time they upload a new video. The ever­green nature of their con­tent means that when they upload a video, their back cat­a­log receives a bump in views as peo­ple get hooked into watch­ing more.

2. Tell The Full Story

Beau­ti­ful high-frame rate, slow-motion footage is includ­ed in every video, and it usu­al­ly makes up around 30 to 60 sec­onds of videos that are on aver­age 3.7 min­utes long. How­ev­er, their engag­ing per­son­al­i­ties mean that the sto­ry of how they get the high-speed footage itself is also huge­ly com­pelling.

The stress, per­sis­tence and some­times phys­i­cal pain that for Free and Gruchy (usu­al­ly Gruchy) go through to make the videos are just as big of an attrac­tion as the stun­ning slow-motion visu­als.

3. Create Shareable Content

With 5.3 per­cent of their views com­ing from exter­nal web­sites and embed­ded play­ers, this is con­tent that peo­ple like to share and dis­cuss.

Their first video to go viral was “Giant Six Foot Water Bal­loon.” The video was fun­ny and sci­en­tif­ic but also inher­ent­ly tech­ni­cal by the nature of the high-speed footage. This meant that the video was shared on a wide range of blogs and web­sites, from to Giz­mo­do and Buz­zFeed, and it drove a large amount of traf­fic from social media sites such as Face­book and Red­dit.

4. Respond To Audience Demand

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, liv­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries has a huge impact on the num­ber of videos that Free and Gruchy can cre­ate togeth­er. To com­bat this, they often block shoot videos to ensure they have enough con­tent to upload on the chan­nel dur­ing the months they are apart. How­ev­er, they are active in the con­ver­sa­tion and engaged with their audi­ence, some­times let­ting them guide the edi­to­r­i­al.

Fea­tur­ing con­tent that their super­fans love as well as videos that appeal to a wide range of audi­ences has helped spread the word and cul­ti­vate a loy­al fol­low­ing.


It’s also worth not­ing that Hel­big has shot com­mer­cials for Mar­riott and St. Ives, while The Slow Mo Guys have demon­strat­ed “cold spray” for GE and cel­e­brat­ed the release of EA’s “Bat­tle­field 4″ game. So, it appears that a wide vari­ety of brands have start­ed to har­ness the pow­er of YouTube influ­encers.

Greg Jarboe

Written by Greg Jarboe

President, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is President and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency that was founded in 2003. He’s the author of YouTube and Video Marketing and also a contributor to The Art of SEO, Strategic Digital Marketing, Complete B2B Online Marketing, and Enchantment. He’s profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and writes for Tubular Insights and The SEM Post. He’s an executive education instructor at the Rutgers Business School and the Video and Content Marketing faculty chair at Simplilearn.

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