I Made It: Gibi’s creative process for making ASMR content
Learn from one of YouTube’s top ASMRists, Gibi, about how she grew her massive audience, her creative process, and advice for fellow online creators.
If you’ve ever nurtured anything from its infancy, you’ve seen the growth that happens between tiny to full-grown.
While it may seem like a fast-blossoming process, taking care of your beloved -- whether a young furry friend, plant, or child -- takes consistent daily effort and attention. As in, you can’t skip any days.
The same thing applies to online audiences. It was definitely the case for Gibi as she grew her online presence as an ASMRtist.
She popularized her online personality by taking consistent baby steps and grew her online personality one video -- and viewer -- at a time.
Today, Gibi ASMR is one of the most recognized ASMR channels on YouTube, and her audience extends far beyond the platform.
There’s one video in particular, What the H*ck is ASMR!?, that put both her business and genre on the map.
If you’re wondering how to start an online business or have one that you want to grow, you’ll want to pay attention to Gibi’s story today.
But on the topic of just what ASMR is, let’s take a detour to make sure we’re on the same page. After that, we’ll dive into how Gibi made sure her audience was on the same page, too, and created her big break.
How Gibi explains ASMR
We’ll leave Gibi’s featured YouTube video to do most of the explaining -- of course -- but the gist of ASMR, an acronym for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is:
It’s the ability to relax and feel a pleasant tingling sensation that’s triggered by audio or visual stimuli. Some people describe it as a brain massage, and others feel it in various body parts, like their back or limbs.
If you’re a skeptic, you may want to reconsider.
ASMR is backed by science (or science is starting to come around, anyway) and has been gaining popularity over the past eight years on YouTube. Even if you don’t have ASMR, you can enjoy the benefits of ASMR content, including relaxation, better sleep, and entertainment value.
Now that we’ve covered what it is, let’s dive into how Gibi gained her YouTube popularity as an ASMRist.
How Gibi grew her audience
First and foremost, Gibi grew her YouTube audience by choosing a niche that she loves. Put another way, she built an audience that loves what she loves.
“You build an audience that also loves things that you love and they'll keep coming back,” she claims.
And “keep coming back” they did. Her YouTube channel, called Gibi ASMR, has gained over 2.3 million subscribers to date.
In addition to building a loyal audience, Gibi is able to be authentic by choosing a topic she loves. “I come from a very genuine place,” says Gibi. “It comes from a very genuine place of ‘I am ready to do ASMR and I'm here for the viewer.’”
Focusing on her audience is how she enters her creative flow state. “When I catch the camera's eye, I find myself smiling because . . . I connect with my community even when I'm alone in a room.”
Despite criticism of ASMR, focusing on serving her audience is how Gibi wholeheartedly commits to her work as an ASMRist. “I am so happy doing it as my job and as my career because of the fact that people tell me it helps them.”
“I want to make sure that I have content three times a week like I promised. I love my community so much,” she proclaims. “Just knowing that people are relying on my content means a lot to me. And I'll always be there.”
Her authentic passion and support for her audience are how Gibi chooses all of her online niches. In addition to her adoration for ASMR, Gibi’s website also features her other interests, cosplay and gaming.
On top of choosing a genre and audience that she loves, Gibi also grew her large following by taking consistent baby steps.
Nothing complicated here -- just a lot of practice.
“It's all about baby steps,” Gibi divulges. “My first video was on a secondhand DSLR and a $100-mic . . . and that's it.”
Repetitive practice and simply creating her content is how she overcame her initial discomfort with being on camera. She reflects, “I was more self-conscious and self-aware and I was trying . . . to do something that I wasn't quite comfortable with.”
All that practice and consistent action paid off, but it didn’t happen overnight.
“It never blew up,” Gibi claims. “It was just baby steps going up and up as I kept posting.”
While it was a gradual growth, by most standards, Gibi’s ASMR personality did, indeed, “blow up”.
Pretty expansive growth for baby steps, no?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, her creative process follows a similarly straightforward and low-momentum but high-impact trend.
Gibi’s creative process while creating video content
Because Gibi typically works alone, her technical setup is straightforward.
“It's very simple because it's almost always just me,” she shares. “So, it has to be something that I can handle on my own. In terms of filming, I have . . . my camera and my tripod.”
Beyond that, if she needs to upgrade her scene, Gibi occasionally adds a couple more pieces of gear.
“I've got a couple of lights with some smart bulbs in it if I want to make it look fancy,” she explains. “And, depending on what sort of video I'm using, either a single standalone binaural microphone or two microphones, one on either side of the camera.”
Even for “fancy,” her equipment setup is streamlined.
During her filming process, Gibi records re-takes on the spot. If she feels she didn’t deliver her lines as well as she’d like, she simply pauses in the middle of a sentence and re-shoots the scene while the camera is still rolling.
Which means she relies on the editing process to fix her blips. “Editing is your friend,” Gibi claims.
As far as coming up with the scripts for her films, Gibi’s standard process is also free-flowing. While she has a clear idea of what she wants to include in her films, most of Gibi’s video content is drummed up organically and not scripted, which keeps her style relaxed.
“A lot of my videos are off the cuff,” Gibi shares. “They're just more relaxed. So, I'll just get in front of a camera and talk.”
But, producing her What the H*ck is ASMR!? video required a unique process that involved help from her cousin.
To film a conversation with herself -- of Gibi talking to the voice of Gibi -- she wrote out a script word-for-word. From there, she filmed herself having a conversation with her cousin’s voice, as a stand-in voice, that she later swapped out for a recording of her own.
“That's my trick,” Gibi reveals. “It's a great one if you can grab someone to help you out. It was my cousin. She's standing offscreen and reading my lines at me. And then, I just cut out the audio and placed it with my own voice.”
A nice trick that produced a smooth finish.
Though it begs the question -- how did Gibi decide to create a video on the topic, or for the matter, how does she come up with content ideas three times a week?
How Gibi chooses video content topics
As far as deciding what content topics to produce, Gibi creates content based on two things, the first of which is her audience requests.
Gibi keeps her pulse on what commenters are saying in response to her videos, of which there are many.
As of this writing, Gibi’s What the H*ck is ASMR!? video displays 8,626 comments.
Which present a lot of ideas to pull from, right? Well, sort of.
Gibi combs through her video comments and gathers topic requests from her viewers. If she sees something that resonates with her, she puts the topic on the docket for her next episodes.
She uses the comments to her discretion, however. “You do have to be in tune with the commenters, but not solely relying on requests . . . because you know what's best for your own content,” she coaches.
Gibi’s able to tell what’s “best for her content” by simply knowing her audience well.
Sometimes her viewers will request topics that she knows won’t be popular. “You know what? I know you. And I know if I make this video, you're not going to actually watch it," she says of her mismatched audience requests.
Speaking of knowing what’s best for your content, Gibi uses this same principle as her second way of deciding what topics to focus on. More specifically, she uses her intuition and experience in her community.
“Sometimes the audience does not know what's best for them,” she claims. “They don't know what they want sometimes.”
This means Gibi often has full creative reign to dream up topics for her audience to watch. “So, I can do something that just popped into my head at 2 a.m.,” she shares. “They have no idea it's coming because they don't know to ask for it.”
Unlike her audience, however, there’s one person who knows exactly what to ask for -- her editor.
How Gibi works with her editor
Gibi hired her editor at a time that was right -- when she had an overflow of editing -- by responding to an email that was composed just right.
“It was professional, it was clean, it was straightforward,” Gibi recalls. “You'd be surprised at how many emails are not that.”
Her editor simply reached out and offered his editing services in the case that she was spread too thin. That time came for Gibi, so she decided to give his talent a whirl. They got acclimated to working with each other and, after a brief learning curve, the rest was history.
“In the beginning, you do have to micromanage a bit, . . . let them know what you're looking for, and do re-edits and things like that,” she explains. “But it's gotten a point where you just sort of settle into the flow and he sort of knows what I'm looking for.”
Not only does her editor have a style that jives with Gibi’s taste, but he also embraces details that she wouldn’t take on herself, like more tech-based editing.
“He's half my tech guy, half my editor,” she boats. “And it's awesome.”
Curious about how Gibi and her awesome editor handle the project logistics?
For managing her video projects, Gibi recommends using Discord, a voice and text chat app.
“I would definitely say learn how to use Discord,” she urges. “It's just the best app in the world because you can screen-share, you can video chat, you can message.”
Using Discord, Gibi and her editor constantly communicate with each other and work out details for her films. “It's very easy to access him and for him to show me what he's working on [and] send me files,” she shares.
On top of recommending tools, Gibi also has recommendations for creators who are embarking on their online endeavors.
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Gibi’s advice for fellow creators
For creators who are starting off, Gibi recommends simply starting, practicing as you go, and avoiding or overcoming perfectionism.
“Get better by doing and practicing,” she coaches. “It doesn’t have to start off perfect.”
As you continue to practice your craft, with enough repetition, you’ll naturally improve your skill and gain confidence, which is a surefire way to deal with imposter syndrome.
“It’s a confidence that you just . . . build-up just by making more and more content,” Gibi reassures. “No matter what point you start at, when you're making more and more content, you'll look back and you'll see that you've gotten better just from practice.”
While perfection is far from a requirement, creating something that you enjoy is required.
“Make something that you like,” Gibi advocates. “Make something that you're proud of and put it online. It does not have to be perfect.”
Because, if you create something you like, you’ll attract an audience that you like.
"Make things that you like because you'll attract people who like that and you're going to get along with your audience just fine,” she elaborates.
Doesn’t get much better than creating content about a topic you love for an audience you love.
If you want to learn more about ASMR -- the topic and audience that Gibi loves -- don’t miss her YouTube video, What the H*ck is ASMR!?.
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