From Zero To 15.9 Billion Video Views: Lessons From YouTube Sensation 7clouds

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Zvezdan Zdravic, founder and CEO of the YouTube channel and record label, 7clouds

Zvezdan Zdravic

Marketing luminary Seth Godin once said that marketing is no longer about the stuff you make; it’s about the stories you tell. And there’s no better way to tell stories than through the magical blend of visuals and sound that is video content.

It’s no secret that video has become a powerful marketing tool. According to a Demand Metric and Vidyard report, 83% of marketers say video is more important than ever, with 87% of businesses using video as a marketing tool and 93% saying that video converts the same as or better than other forms of content.

Behind the scenes: The making of a YouTube music giant

Enter the world of 7clouds, a YouTube channel, record label, and music curation brand that has tapped the power of video content to create an immersive experience for millions worldwide. Born from the passion of Zvezdan Zdravic, a music enthusiast turned digital entrepreneur, 7clouds has evolved from a personal platform for sharing eclectic music mixes to the largest lyric video channel in the world and one of the most subscribed music channels on YouTube. According to the social media analytics platform Social Blade, 7clouds boasts 21.2 million followers and a staggering 15.9 billion video views—numbers sure to hush a roomful of marketers eager for takeaways from lessons learned.

Adapting to the beat: Harmonizing content with audience

7clouds is the largest video lyrics channel in the world with more than 21 million subscribers.

7clouds

“Our journey with video content is a narrative about being flexible and adapting to an audience,” Zdravic says, explaining how 7clouds was initially a space where he could share his love for electronic dance music (EDM) and gaming mixes. But, as the brand grew, Zdravic quickly expanded to present music with lyrics for artists in various genres. This strategic flexibility worked, as is evident in the channel’s impressive growth. Recent stats from Social Blade show a consistent monthly increase of around 200,000 subscribers and more than 235 million video views.

Orchestrating diversity: 7clouds’ inclusive approach

Another key to Zdravic’s success has been his focus on diversity and inclusion. “They’re not just buzzwords,” he says, although video advertisers have been slow to act otherwise. The December 2022 “Diversity in Ad Creative” report revealed that 73% of actors appearing in video ad creative in 2022 were white, more than in 2020 and 2021.

This fact is surprising. Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach, said in an article discussing the Diversity report that 100% of the United States’ population growth over the last 10 years has come from Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific-Islander, Native Indigenous, multiracial, and multi-ethnic segments. “Adding diversity into one’s ad creative ‘is not just the right thing to do…it’s good business,’” she said. Zdravic agrees. “Our giving voice to diverse, emerging artists helped 7clouds build a diverse, loyal community,” he says.

Composing video content success: The 7clouds blueprint

Follow the 7clouds blueprint for success with video content

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Whether you’re a small business owner, creator, or entrepreneur, you’ll find several key lessons for using video to grow your brand from Zvezdan Zdravic’s journey with 7clouds.

Know your audience

Zdravic’s journey began with a passion for EDM and gaming mixes. But what truly makes him remarkable is how he adjusted and adapted based on listener preferences. He moved through genres like lo-fi hip-hop and electro-swing, landing where 7clouds sits today with a blend of EDM and pop. His shifts show how important it is to stay tuned to what your audience wants—and to be willing to change.

To know your audience, engage. Monitor customer feedback and social channels, and keep up to date on trends in your industry. Then, stay flexible enough to tweak what you offer in response to the insights you glean. After all, success isn’t just about what you offer; it’s about how well what you offer supports your audience.

Create and innovate

Zdravic paved his way to success using the power of innovation. He experimented with a new video format to keep his content fresh and engaging—a great lesson. This past January, he also introduced seven sub-genre channels, one each for rock, rap, dance, chill, country, Latin, mixes, and TikTok.

Think about how you might innovate in your business. Maybe you could use generative AI or augmented reality. If your audience likes newsworthy content, perhaps you could create a live-updating website that encourages people to visit often for the latest news or results. You could also create custom apps or even a custom GPT.

As Zdravic did with 7clouds, experimenting with new content formats can open up new channels for engaging with your audience and differentiating your brand. The goal is to stand out by offering something new, unique, and different—something that will grab the attention of content-weary customers.

Cultivate community

A few 7clouds’ playlists as seen on the label’s website.

7clouds website

At the heart of 7clouds beats the heart of a thriving community. The brand has 179,000 followers on Instagram, 1.1 million followers on TikTok, and a thriving Discord channel with more than 12,000 members. These platforms give Zdravic’s audience many ways to connect with the brand and each other, creating a multifaceted community experience.

“Our inclusive approach to content is what has helped us attract such a community,” Zdravic says, pointing out how he focuses on the quality of an artist’s tracks and how well they fit with the brand—not on how big a name they are. This approach appeals to fans because it helps them discover new artists they might not have known otherwise. It also helps new artists to be discovered and promoted. “We like to feature lesser-known artists,” Zdravic says, giving a nod to his blueprint for success.

To assemble your community, get out there. Be seen and known. Chat with your customers on social media. Run customer appreciation events. Host a dedicated online forum where people can share experiences and give feedback. And keep your listening ear tuned by sending regular surveys or posting social media polls. Asking for feedback shows that you value opinions and helps you tailor your products and services.

Get out there and listen to your community!

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Educate to empower

Reflecting on his journey, Zdravic envisions 7clouds as a platform where music meets self-development and innovation. He plans to get into the education business, offering courses and coaching that help people earn money from YouTube and the music industry. “I see 7clouds as a hub where people can come for music, knowledge, and inspiration,” he says.

You can follow Zdravic’s lead by adding an education arm to your business. Whether you offer courses, coaching, masterminds, ebooks, or apps, educating people can position you as a thought leader and add another layer of value to your brand. You could also share your journey and the insights you discovered along the way. “I’m extremely grateful for where I am now and the experiences I’ve faced,” he says. “Sharing how I got here and overcame to stand tall among falling curation channels would be helpful to new entrepreneurs.”

What’s next? Drawing inspiration from 7clouds’ growth

Zvezdan Zdravic, founder and CEO of the 7clouds YouTube channel and record label

Zvezdan Zdravic

Zvezdan Zdravic’s approach to growth is a roadmap for success. “I don’t just look at success in terms of 7cloud’s numbers,” he says. “For me, success is about the artists we’ve been able to help, the stories we’ve been able to tell, and the community we’ve built.”

The 7clouds story is a great reminder of the power of video content, especially when combined with understanding your audience, embracing innovation, building a community, and empowering through education. Those pillars will point you toward business growth and building a brand that stands out—and withstands the test of time.

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