Going Viral

photo by Matt Cornelius
photo by Matt Cornelius

Going Viral

In recent years, the rise of YouTube has revolutionized the way people consume and create content online. With over two billion logged in monthly users and countless hours of video uploaded every minute, YouTube has become a global platform where individuals and businesses alike can share their ideas, stories, and expertise with the world. What was once a simple video sharing website has now evolved into a thriving ecosystem of diverse content creators, giving birth to an entirely new industry.

YouTube businesses are enterprises that leverage the power of the platform to generate income, build brands, and connect with audiences on a massive scale. In this fast moving digital age, “going viral,” a phrase we often hear thrown around, can happen quicker than the time it takes to refresh your browser. For three of Texarkana’s very own, becoming YouTube famous happened organically when they began sharing their passions with the world.

Matt Cornelius, who you may know as the man behind the lens of Texarkana Magazine, started the Cornelius Creations YouTube channel in 2016 as a platform to showcase his custom carved tomahawks. The tomahawks found relative popularity among knife enthusiasts and people seeking one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones. However, the channel really took off toward its viral status when Cornelius began uploading tutorial videos on how to carve wood with a Dremel-style rotary tool. The level of craftsmanship and professionalism of Cornelius Creations is unrivaled. To Cornelius’ knowledge, he was one of the first content creators of his kind on YouTube. “There were a few power carvers on YouTube, but none really taught how to carve with a Dremel style tool. When I published a video on how to carve letters with a rotary tool, my channel really started taking off,” said Cornelius.

Evolving from a place to feature his work to a space where he could share his gift of teaching is where Cornelius found his passion. “I saw there was a market for teaching, so I planted my footing there and everything seemed to fall into place with a little determination and hard work,” he said. Currently, his channel comprises wood power carving (using an electrical tool to carve), leather work, and laser engraving. Cornelius feels his channel has morphed into an art/do-it-yourself channel, which allows him to share his talent around the world and brings him a deep sense of fulfillment. “I am inspired to help people find their creative thumbprint on the art they are called to do.” Cornelius’ advice to someone interested in starting their own YouTube channel can be broken down into these three steps:

“Pick your niche. If it’s not your passion, you will burn out.”

“Add value to your niche by teaching other people. Find the problem people are having and help them solve it.”

“Be consistent. Work on your skills, work on your talent.”

“The fastest way to fail is to seek out fame,” Cornelius said. “Fame is like a flame. It goes away. Be a person of impact and bring impact to people where they are. Being famous will get you nothing but a false sense of security. If you are moved by people’s praise, you will be moved by their criticism.”

Click the photo above to check out Matt Cornelius’ YouTube channel
Highest Content Views—2.1 million
164,000 subscribers

While Cornelius Creations is on the “edutainment” side of YouTube, Texarkana natives, Mark and Matt Peyton have honed the art of entertaining their audience in the midst of the storm.

Drawing inspiration from fellow vloggers, Casey Neistat and Logan Paul, Mark and Matt Peyton created their YouTube channel in 2017, hoping one day it would become an income generating entity. For those who are less familiar with the concept, a vlogger is a person who regularly posts short videos to a video blog or video log. Mark and Matt began making videos about daily happenings in their lives, but without a specific direction or focus, their channel eventually fizzled out and took a three-year hiatus. In 2020, Mark and Matt found themselves back in Texarkana at their parent’s house after being sent home from college and work during the COVID-19 quarantine. “We decided to dust off our cameras and start making videos again,” Matt explained. “One month in, we were invited on a storm chase with Mark’s friend Chad. He had heard we were creating again and thought a storm chase would make for good content.” Chad was on to something, because that video, to date, has over 18 million views. “We ended up inside a 400 yard wide tornado in Bowie, Texas, and we were hooked!”

A passion ignited inside the Peyton brothers like a whirlwind (pun intended) and they began to cultivate personas that would entertain their now enormous and ever-growing audience. Known as “The Trio,” Mark, Matt, and Storm Chaser Chad have a number of different catch phrases and nicknames that their audience has come to expect in each episode. “We are known for having a good time and keeping the energy high for the ‘Nado Gang’ (our viewers) while feeding off the adrenaline rush of a storm and also a little bit of ‘Nado Juice’ (Red Bull),” said Matt.

What started out as a daily vlog has developed into something much more impactful than the brothers could have ever imagined. “Because of the success of our videos, we have had the opportunity to assist in disaster relief along the way. To be able to give back to the communities that have been painfully impacted by storms is something we could not foresee when we started our channel, but is one of our proudest accomplishments,” said Mark.

Three crucial pieces of advice these adrenaline junkie brothers would share with anyone inspired to start their own entertainment YouTube channel are as simple as the following tips:

“Start creating videos and don’t stop creating videos.”

“Take it one video at a time and never stop learning.”

“Create, Create, Create!”

With a tenacious drive to create and a belief you can accomplish anything if you are willing to put in the work, the Peyton brothers have now found themselves in the eye of a hurricane and do not see their channel slowing down anytime soon. “We have now created a second channel called @MarkandMatt that is a throwback to how it all began for us on YouTube. We are applying all we have learned on our journey thus far and firmly believe it will be our most successful venture yet,” said Matt.

Albert Einstein once said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Our YouTube famous locals, Matt Cornelius and the Peyton Brothers, are using their platforms to enrich lives and be of value to everyone who comes in contact with their online space. The future is wide open and is theirs for the taking.

Click the photo above to check out Mark and Matt Peyton’s YouTube channel
Highest Content Views—18 million
466,000 subscribers


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