Video Essentials

The Secret Path to Success in Online Video

Want to know how to succeed in online video? According to Dina Kaplan, co-founder of Blip, it boils down to a few key disciplines. Kaplan and some online video all-stars led a South by Southwest Interactive panel that spelled it out for the capacity crowd. The reward are high, said Kaplan, including seven-figure paychecks and the ability to reach audiences greater than some cable shows get.

Target a Niche

The myth in creating a show, said Kaplan, is that if you put out great content, an audience will find you. It’s not true. Instead, target a specific niche and direct your content to them.

One extremely targeted online show is Day[9]Tv, created by panelist Sean Plott. He creates five shows each week, all about high-level strategy for StarCraft II players. If that sounds too niche, consider that Plott created his show in grad school and has never had to work a real job. Plott considers his viewers a community, not an audience, and involves them in everything concerning the show. He even consulted with them on how many ads he could run. Appreciative viewers, they encouraged him to run more than he was planning.

Be Consistent

Even though much of your audience will watch your show on their schedule, they still want to know that there will be new episodes at a set time.

“Consistency is everything,” said Plott. “If you’re having a great day, you do the show. If you’re having a terrible day, you do the show.”

The young stars of Smosh started out creating three videos each month, said Barry Blumberg, president of Smosh, which was recently acquired by Alloy Digital. Now the Smosh office, which includes a production team and six workers just for the website, turns out six videos each week. As a result, Smosh serves more than 100 million views each month.

Market Your Content

Creating a show doesn’t end when your video is edited and posted, said Kaplan; marketing it is just as important. Luckily, marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Shows that have dedicated viewers can get their audience to do marketing for them.

Plott turns viewers into “evangelists” by attending live events and meeting his community. Showing up and being approachable goes a long way.

“If you get that dedicated audience, then they become your evangelists,” said Plott. He gives back to them with giveaways and meet-ups.

Build a Brand

Don’t just build a show, but create an overall brand. For Burnie Burns, founder of Rooster Teeth, which makes the long-running web series Red Vs. Blue, this was a concern early on. His goal was to make his brand bigger than the show. To create that brand identity, he was consistent in how he presenting his brand at the front of each show. Be careful in what you choose for your brand’s name, he cautioned, as you’ll be stuck with it down the line.


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