What Advertisers Can Learn From Observing The YouTube Community

Monday, July 26, 2010 | 9:00 AM

A few weeks ago, a bunch of us from YouTube attended VidCon, an online video conference produced by and for the YouTube community. During the three-day event there were plenty of screaming fans, music performances, and Justin Bieber-inspired hair cuts. To quote YouTube partner extraordinaire, ShayCarl, "If you have an internet connection and you were NOT at VidCon then you are obviously still using 56K. NOOB!!"

You don't have to have attended VidCon to learn from the event, though. Conference organizers, Hank and John Green, aka the
vlogbrothers, made sure there was ample opportunity for YouTube's top partners to teach the next generation how to be successful on YouTube. We took good notes and, as it turns out, many of these tips could help advertisers be successful on YouTube, as well.

1) You can't make it on YouTube alone.

Make friends and build relationships with producers who have audiences, then leverage their audiences through cross promotion, shout-outs and annotation referrals. Many popular YouTube producers are also willing to create branded entertainment videos or provide
product placement opportunities.* Some partners, like whatthebuckshow, have been very successful with these opportunities, building trust with viewers at the same time by calling out the product placement in videos when they occur.

*Keep in mind that certain
FTC Guidelines may require disclosure of endorsement relationships between advertisers and partners, so you may want to check with your legal counsel.

2) Keep to a schedule and theme when publishing content.

Expectations are important. People want to know what type of videos they will be watching week after week on a particular channel. They like a recognizable topic and show format for the videos. That doesn't mean that producers can't mix it up, but consistency definitely counts. The top partners, like
sxephil, also highlight when they publish new episodes in the header banner of their channel so fans know when to return for fresh content.

3) Think about the next action and viewer engagement.

YouTube is an interactive medium. What do you want someone to do after watching your video? Ask them to rate, comment, or share your video. Ask them for their opinions. You can even ask them to click on a link and purchase your product. Top partners often respond to previous comments in new videos. This also provides a great opportunity to get to know your fans and build deeper relationships.

4) Cross-platform promotion and the first 24 hours are huge.

As soon as partners upload a new video, they notify their fans via Twitter, Facebook, etc. (Their YouTube subscribers are automatically notified when they return to the site and log in.) They also email influential blog editors and traditional media outlets that are relevant to the topic or that have featured them in the past. Leverage every distribution channel you can to promote your new video. There are a lot of ways people discover videos, so leveraging as many outlets as possible increases the chances of discovery. (Be careful not to spam though!) Advertisers shouldn't forget about using paid media to launch new videos either. Both
Promoted Videos and traditional display advertising can provide lots of additional views.

5) Watch comments, but not too closely. Obsess on

Comments can provide valuable feedback and additional information about your videos and your audience. Viewers will tell you what they like and don't like about your videos. But you need to have a bit of a thick skin since there will always be haters and trolls; don't take them too seriously. Good content will always get plenty of positive comments, as well. Focus on watching Insights to determine where and how people are finding your videos and if any external sources are directing a lot of traffic. If you do discover that a particular blog is sending you a lot of referrals, reach out and say thanks. Then add them to your notification list for the next time your publish a video. Hot spots will also tell you when people start to lose interest in your video.

Posted by Rick Silvestrini, Product Marketing Manager (and nerdfighter), just watched '
Top 10 Moments from VidCon'