Behind the camera: Wales' successful YouTube stars

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Media captionTop vlogging tips from Wales' successful YouTube stars

With the possibility of gaining a global fan base, product endorsements, money and self-made stardom, it is no wonder the number of YouTubers is on the rise. But how have Wales' most successful vloggers actually made a name for themselves?

While it might seem like a basic concept - you just need a camera and an idea, right? - vloggers are much more savvy.

They build up an authentic brand, creating content that is easily accessible and able to entertain or inform audiences across the world.

As Michael Parsons, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of South Wales' business school, said: "There are more than two million blogs published every day.

"In terms of those who blog on YouTube, people who really engage with their audiences are those who do so through humour, through good story telling, and through visuals as well.

"We are inundated with information in today's world, and people gravitate towards those who are creative, inspiring."

Authenticity and trust are also key.

"People are very distrustful of the media, of politicians, so if they can follow somebody like themselves then they are more likely to believe it and follow it," Mr Parsons said.

Many successful vloggers have now moved away from it being a hobby and have turned it into a business - making money through Google AdSense or being paid by companies to review their products.

But how much can they really earn?

"If you have more than one million followers, you can be paid between £5,000 and £25,000 per post about a product," Mr Parsons explained.

"It really depends on the person, their personality, the channel of communications and the company, but these figures are pretty accurate."

Image copyright Simon Martin/Real Ale Craft Beer

Real Ale Craft Beer: Simon Martin

The 37-year-old from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, sure knows his tipples - in fact, he runs Europe's largest craft beer channel on YouTube.

It all started in 2009 when he had "a couple of beers" bought for him at Christmas and looked to see if anyone had reviewed them online.

"Ever since then I wanted to be a part of the whole blogging world," he said.

"I try to be witty and funny. I try to make it as clear as I can and to make it all about the beer. The product in front of you is why someone has tuned in to watch, I'm just the presenter."

Simon said his vlog has led to exciting new experiences - like working with Brains (his Barry Island IPA is now sold in supermarkets) and with brewers in Norway, Belgium and America.

And his passion for beer has rubbed off on local brewers, with Llandeilo-based Evan Evans brewery recently offering him a job.

His views have grown from 50,000 in his first year to 1.2m a year, earning him recognition across the world.

He said that while new vloggers might feel "a bit down hearted" if their channel does not grow quickly, he stressed they need to have "patience and passion".

"Whatever you choose to do, whatever your passion is, do it for the love; don't do it for the views, the comments, the likes," he added.

  • Subscribers: 15,507
  • Views: 2.9m
Image copyright Wayne Goss

Goss Makeup Channel - Wayne Goss

As a man demonstrating how to apply make-up, Wayne stood out from the crowd when he first took to YouTube eight years ago.

It was a "rare and unique" combination back then, he said, which helped to set him apart.

"There has been a huge change since I first started. Everybody wants to be on YouTube now and be a star. Of course it's not going to happen for most people," Wayne, 38, from Cardiff, said.

"YouTube was in its infancy back then, no monetisation, so you were doing it for the love of it."

His biggest hits include celebrity-themed tutorials, such as applying concealer like Kim Kardashian and highlighting makeup like Gigi Hadid.

But success online can also have its downsides.

"You can suffer a lot of abuse, you have to have a thick skin," Wayne, who owns a makeup brush business, warned.

But he added: "I do think there's a massive amount of luck that goes into it. I'm still not sure why people follow me but it's nice they do and it opens up avenues that weren't available to me before.

"It's important to remember though that while you might be successful today it might not last tomorrow."

  • Subscribers: 2.77m
  • Views: 345m
Image copyright Huw Richards-Price

Huw's Nursery: Huw Richards-Price

Seventeen-year-old Huw might still be in college but what he lacks in years he certainly makes up for in maturity.

Huw made his first vlog aged 12 and now has one of the biggest gardening channels on YouTube - having made a staggering £12,000 from his videos.

"It basically started as a hobby, I didn't set any goals but I began getting tens of views a day, then a couple of hundred, then thousands. It has been really cool seeing how it's grown," he said.

Being brought up on his family's small holding in Tregaron, Ceredigion, Huw's videos covered all sorts of gardening but now focus on how to grow food inexpensively with sustainable methods.

"There is no one-set formula to making a video successful, I have found. I think something that has helped me a lot is that I'm a young person, it's a niche idea and I'm really passionate about gardening," Huw, a student at Llandovery College, said.

"What I want to do is try to inspire a younger generation to show how fun growing your own fruit and vegetables sustainably can be."

Named aspiring entrepreneur at the University of South Wales' Making Business Happen awards earlier this year, Huw hopes to create online gardening tutorials and grow his Youtube channel once finishing his studies.

  • Subscribers: 37,511
  • Views 7.3m
Image copyright Kinging-It

Kinging-It: Craig Holmes and Aimee Bannister

The couple from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, started out in 2014 but were thrust into the spotlight after that video - when Aimee was "hit in the face" by a fish during a storm at the seaside resort.

The comic clip went viral, with the pair receiving calls from outlets as far afield as Japan and Hong Kong wanting to use it, and has amassed 1.5m views to date.

Since then, their travel vlog Kinging-It has seen them document their travels around the world, visiting destinations such as America, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand and Iceland.

"Our followers buy into us as people rather than the actual channel. It's not about where we are so much, but about who we are," Aimee explained.

"As a travel blogger, I think you really have to be real and put your personality into what you do. You can't keep up any kind of façade, if people like you then they like you."

Their success has enabled Craig, 28, a former business consultant, and Aimee, 27, a dog groomer, to give up their jobs.

They now have their own merchandise, are working on promotional and advertorial videos, and are in various sponsorship talks.

"Sometimes we do have to pinch ourselves over what we are doing, how happy we are," Aimee said.

Craig added: "My advice to anyone starting their own vlog would be to find your own niche. It's easy to fall into the trap of what other travel vloggers are doing."

  • Subscribers: 10,543
  • Views: 2.7m

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