Thought Leadership Monday Mashup: YouTube Marketing Tips From VidCon

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So you want to build an empire through YouTube video marketing. You're wondering how to make a YouTube video and how video distribution works. You also want to know how to build an audience, and whether to expand beyond your vertical market. Help is on the way. Sit down, and get tips from these YouTube experts.

At VidCon 2105, video thought leaders weighed in on how to set up an Internet broadcasting ecosystem and discussed how to promote your YouTube channel.

What type of personality do you need to be a new media mogul?
Hank Green of VlogBrothers and co-founder of VidCon, stated that “You need to believe in your own obsession and be OK with that.  Others may not get what you are doing or may think it doesn’t matter, but you will be able to find a niche audience."  He stressed that “You need to know what are you going to do with the audience when you get it. Instead of waiting for people to hire you to do it, do it yourself."

Shira Lazar of What’s Trending agreed that "You really need to have a manic passion with no other choice but to pursue your vision. You need to have an instinctive drive to the degree that if you can’t do it yourself, you will make it happen with or for someone else. It’s not work, it’s how we breathe and express ourselves.”

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Freddie Wong of RocketJump

Freddie Wong of RocketJump noted that "You should be in it for the work, not for the idea of the work. Don’t be someone that just likes the idea of doing something for the glitz and glamour, be the one that actually likes doing the work. Rather than doing things because you think they should happen and forcing them, find a pathway to organically make it happen. Don’t set up reasons why it won’t work.” A mindset like “I can only get started once I do this or that” can be a self fulfilling roadblock.  “Look at the resources that you do have first, rather than thinking about what you think you need.  At a certain point you have to start doing it.”

Wong also liked the idea of taking your perceived disadvantage or unique situation, and turning it into into a strength.  Change your mindset from why it won’t work to why it will work. Green responded to a question on how to get more views on YouTube with content that may not be that interesting by saying “Don’t ask what is not interesting, ask what is interesting about the stuff that you do”.

Once you become successful and the money is coming in, you can get into a pattern of day-to-day activities. While you're feeding the beast, step back and continue being creative and passionate.  Even though it is built, continue to strive.

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Olga Kay - Vidcon 2015

Personality or content?
Personalities and entertainment based channels have dominated YouTube, as seen in Tubular’s list of the top 10 YouTube video creators, but that does not mean that content needs to take a back seat. Don’t confuse personality with content, they are both valuable. Bonding with your audience through personality or charisma can build subscribers.  Banter and fun will make viewers feel comfortable and welcome, and the content will keep an audience more engaged. YouTuber Alli Speed explained “Personality does come into play—build an audience on who can relate to you. If it’s something that you wouldn’t watch though, then why are you doing it?” Prolific YouTube creator Olga Kay added “Create what makes you entertained and know your audience. My audience’s demographic is 78% female, age 13 to 25. I like knee high socks and they probably do too, so I created unique, different knee high socks that were unique and alive by adding ears to them." This opened up other opportunities for her including animated shows and ancillary merchandising.

When do you grow and how should you scale?
Benny Fine of Fine Brothers Entertainment noted that "When you reach a critical mass to where you can’t do it all anymore, bring someone in to help. It’s awesome to have a team.”  Fine’s help has grown from just a handful of people to a team of over 40. Help could be in the form of a writer, on-screen talent, a motion graphics designer, perhaps someone that specializes in YouTube video marketing services, or a video agency that can help you produce and shoot your online video. 

Lazar suggested hiring people that are better than you and added, “The Why of You is what you need to remember.  Put it through that filter.”  When to scale should be based on continuing and expanding what is important. Learn how to trust your instinct and have a support system. Wong added “The best collaborations are where both parties add value.”

Should you have more than one YouTube channel?
Kay’s success and ambition led to four different channels.  She increased her frequency of posting to an astonishing 23 times per week—one on her original channel, five on a blogging channel, 14 on a gaming channel, then 3 times per week on a beauty and fashion channel. “I lost all my friends though” sighed Kay after which she reflected, “Friends are more valuable than subscribers—your friends inspire you to make better content and subscribers will come because you are happier.”  At some point it will come to  a matter of work / life balance. Jamal Edwards of SBTV summarized the importance of your three Bs support system "1 – body, 2 - base (friends & family), and 3 - business (customers)."

Online video distribution success may be enhanced or hindered by adding another YouTube channel.  Alli warned that “ You shouldn’t spread yourself too thin.  A brand should probably not consider splitting off its audience until the channel gets over 100,000 subscribers."

As his YouTube audience was growing, Fine wondered “Would serialized content that wasn’t about us work”.  It did work. YouTube Internet broadcasting is not that dissimilar to a television network that has a lot of shows.  Fine perceived that extensions to that brand would have oversaturated the main channel.  "To create their own universe, additional YouTube spin-off channels were formed. If you want to try something new but don’t have a big enough audience to justify splitting them up, keep doing the thing that people subscribed to your channel for on the same day on the same schedule that it has always been on. One of the biggest pitfalls of our peers that have fallen off is that they decided to do something different and fully stopped why people subscribed to them in the first place and that is a mistake. You can try something different, but don’t forget why people subscribed to you in the first place.  Communication is important to your subscribers.  If you don’t really talk to the subscribers that’s where you get yourself lost—if you tell them why, that will help. We actually have one show that just tells viewers their strategy on what the different shows are about, that way people are part of the growth. We even created the Self Destructing VLOG which gives an extra buzz about it because it deletes after 24 hours!"

From growing a brand to self-destruction, creating YouTube content can be challenging and rewarding if you are passionate about it and stay true to yourself.

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