YouTube creator MatPat, who launched a channel that passed 1 million subscribers in one week, breaks down the strategy

  • YouTube creator Matthew Patrick (known online as MatPat) and his wife Stephanie co-own Theorist Media, a digital production studio behind several YouTube channels with a collective 26 million subscribers.
  • They spoke with Business Insider about how they create a new YouTube channel, including tips like how many videos to launch with and what makes a good thumbnail image.
  • "Content creators or businesses who aren't spending an appropriate amount of time thinking about how to best brand their video are throwing all that work and money they spent to make that video away," Matthew Patrick said. 
  • Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.


YouTube creator Matthew Patrick (known online as MatPat) and his wife Stephanie Patrick have built a business around their content strategy.

Their digital production studio Theorist Media is behind the YouTube channels The Game Theorists (13.2 million subscribers), GTLive (2.3 million subscribers), The Film Theorists (9 million subscribers), and The Food Theorists (1.7 million subscribers), and they consult to companies launching new channels. Their new channel The Food Theorists where Matthew Patrick breaks down the science behind food, passed 1 million subscribers in seven days.

Matthew Patrick and Stephanie Patrick spoke with Business Insider about their YouTube business, how to craft a good thumbnail, and the strategy behind creating a new channel. 

Launching a new YouTube channel means having more than just good videos, Matthew Patrick told Business Insider.

"You could have the best video in the world," he said. "But if no one clicks on it, they would never know. Content creators or businesses who aren't spending an appropriate amount of time thinking about how to best brand their video, are throwing all that work and money they spent to make that video away." 

The Patricks' 4-step strategy, from content to measurement

New channels need a content plan and take the following steps before going live, Matthew Patrick said:

  • Launching with five episodes. 
  • Posting a variety of videos that span across the different types of content the audience can expect to see. 
  • Creating a posting schedule, and knowing when the next video is coming. 
  • Setting a goal, like subscriber count, or for brands, comment engagement and conversion rate to a product.

"It's not overloading the audience with too much and showing them what this channel stands for," he said.

These steps will help show YouTube a lot of people are watching for a lot of minutes on the channel right out of the gate, which in turn could get YouTube to suggest the channel to new viewers.

Matthew Patrick said the company has run tests on things like eye gaze (where viewers' eyes are going) to what colors users interact with most to measure the strength of thumbnail images. 

He said images that blend into the background of YouTube actually pop out more as opposed to being just another rectangle. Other hacks and tricks can make content stand out, like certain colors or images. 

Your thumbnail image should tell the story of the video and the title should be as enticing as possible without stretching the truth, Stephanie Patrick said. 

The Patricks meet every week with their team to discuss new versions of titles along with thumbnails. 

"The amount of time people are going to spend deciding whether they are going to click on your video based on the thumbnail is so short that it's just as important as the video almost," Stephanie Patrick said.  

Inside their team of freelancers, channel managers and creative directors

Along with freelancers, the Patricks rely on a small full-time team that includes a head editor, channel manager, head of production, graphic artist, and creative director. They oversee things like production calendars, channel packing elements and thumbnails, channel analytics and keeping track of data.

Before launching Food Theory, they researched all of YouTube's food content from cooking tutorials to funny food challenges and pranks. 

As they geared up for the launch of the new channel, Theorist Media took a hit to their revenue as advertisers on YouTube trimmed budgets and brands cancelled or postponed campaigns. Matthew and Stephanie said the decrease in ad dollars were mostly made up for by a sharp increase in viewership. 

"We saw a lot of advertiser hesitation and uncertainty right around March and April and into a little bit of May," Stephanie Patrick said. "Luckily, I think we've seen advertisers start to very quickly adapt or reallocate budgets that were supposed to be used earlier in the year to new pandemic-friendly campaigns." 

For more on the influencer industry, check out these posts: 

  • How much YouTube pays influencers for 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top creators
  • Instagram Reels versus TikTok: Influencers and marketers break down the strengths and weaknesses of each
  • Inside the life of Natalie Mariduena, YouTube star David Dobrik's assistant and childhood best friend who has helped grow his business
  • Inside TikTok's exclusive creator ambassador program, where 12 influencers get paid trips, brand connections, and access to new features

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