“On YouTube you can’t buy your way to success the way you can on Facebook and Twitter,” said YouTube marketing expert Brendan Gahan, speaking at the Streaming Media West conference today in Huntington Beach, California. That makes YouTube the ultimate litmus test for brands: Can you create content that viewers want to engage with?
It’s a tricky platform. Kids creating shows in their bedrooms can get millions of subscribers, he noted, but brands with million dollar budgets struggle to do the same.
In his presentation, Gahan, the founder of brand marketing agency Epicsignal, offered a four-step process that video creators can use to boost their subscriptions and hits. YouTube is the largest social network around, he noted, with more millennials than any cable network, so the effort is worthwhile.
- Follow YouTube best practices: This isn’t complicated, but few follow through on all the steps. Make sure all videos have strong titles, tags, and thumbnails. At the end of each video, place a card asking viewers to subscribe or watch more videos. That’s the foundation for a channel, Gahan said, and the results add up over time. Consult the YouTube Brand Playbook for more.
- Go with what people know: Don’t overcomplicate your titles and descriptions with hashtags and jargon. Don’t pay for YouTube gadgets that change the viewing experience. Speak in simple language and let viewers know what you’re offering.
- Focus on the human connection: 86 of the top 100 YouTube channels are built around one or two personalities, Gahan offered. Viewers respond more to a personal connection than they do a glossy, expensive video.
- Iterate like hell: Successful channels create a lot of videos around a few formats. Craft an identity, then improve your efforts with each video, Gahan said. You can see how successful YouTube creators have evolved their identities over time.
“It’s just as easy as following those four steps,” Gahan said, then added: “It’s not really that easy. It’s pretty hard.”
Watch the full presentation below and download Gahan’s slides.