Turn viewers into fans
The Creator Academy’s 10 Fundamentals of a creative strategy is a rich guide gathered from some of the most successful and engaging YouTube creators. While these aren’t a checklist, they present important considerations for early stages of content development.
The ten fundamentals of a creative strategy can help large organizations think and solve problems like top YouTube creators.
Keep yourself happy
Large organizations will have very different goals than aspiring creators. This lesson highlights how brands can adopt proven strategies and techniques that top creators use to win millions of fans.
Do you have the resources to sustain this idea over time? Using content formats can make your ideas more sustainable.
Thinking very early in the content development process about whether it’s possible to cheaply, easily, and conveniently make additional versions of content becomes very important if fans love and want more of something.
See it in action
Standout sustainable contentVogue’s “73 Questions with...” single-shot video series is cheap and quick to shoot, and feels insider-y and behind-the-scenes. The magazine leverages its access to stars, forgoes high production values, and earns extra mileage by posting these videos to their own website as well as to their YouTube channel.
Fundamentals of sustainabilityGrowing and maintaining a successful channel can be a long road, so it’s important that you develop ideas that make sense on a practical level. Will your channel concept stand the test of time — from an audience retention point of view and from your personal ability to produce it?
Win over your audience
To convert casual viewers to subscribers — and maybe even customers — people have to find your brand’s content on YouTube. Let’s look at a few ways to expand your audience.
Will this content be found? YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. Help your message cut through the noise by leveraging what people are already searching for.
- What are people looking for right now? Consider holidays, national elections, or major sporting events that occur at dependable times during the year, and release topical content ahead of big events.
- What are people always looking for? Instructional content is always relevant, and “how to” is frequently the most-searched term on YouTube.
Will viewers share this video? Successful YouTube channels nurture communities of loyal, zealous subscribers. The “share statements” that people include help pinpoint what shareable videos have in common:
- They move emotions. This is the funny video that your co-worker passed along. It’s the video that made you cry, so you send it to your sister because you think it will make her cry, too.
- They are relatable. Relatable videos often connect to identity: “That’s just like our dad!” Or “I thought I was the only one who did that!”
- They are useful or valuable. Tutorials are among the most-shared videos on YouTube.
Can a brand-new viewer appreciate every video? People discover content through sharing, or embedded across the web. Develop messages that are welcoming to new viewers. Every video your channel publishes should stand on its own merit, and be appropriate for viewers who know nothing about your brand.
Is there room to feature guest stars? Someone on YouTube is already connecting with your target audience: find and work with those creators to build your audience.
Viewers expect to see their favorite YouTube stars in new and unexpected contexts. Think tactically about creators’ audiences before proposing a collaboration, and look for alignment with your business goals.
See it in action
Fundamentals of discoverabilityFor your video to appear high in search, think about topics that a lot of people will be searching for, either at certain times of year, or year-round.
Why do people share videos?ZeFrank’s humorous “How to Dance Properly” video went viral in 2001 — via email, long before YouTube or broad adoption of social networks. In this talk, he identifies three types of sharing behavior: identity shares, emotional gifting, and social information.
Hannah Hart’s 5 Collab TipsPart etiquette, part organizational, top creator Hannah Hart offers five practical strategies for collaborating on the YouTube platform.
Keep viewers happy
Here are 5 strategies that can help you keep them engaged with your messages:
Can you break the fourth wall to speak directly to your audience? The generation that likes YouTube likes to be talked to, and to have their presence acknowledged.
Are you setting and meeting audience expectations? Include strong, recurring elements in your video content, and develop a consistent voice and point of view. Another element of consistency: ensure content is uploaded on a regular schedule.
Are you producing content for a clearly defined audience? Brand marketers have turned targeting messages into an art form and a hard science. YouTube elevates this further: you can use Analytics tools to learn about your viewers, and what would be niche audiences elsewhere (train enthusiasts, nail art admirers, moms who play Minecraft) are easy-to-reach, often enormous and active, communities on YouTube.
Can you involve the audience in this idea? The more you can challenge and engage your audience to take action as a result of your video, the more your audience is bought into your brand and feel like part of your organization's vision.
Is this message honest, and true to brand? YouTube’s audience is drawn to honesty. It’s a great strategy for smaller organizations who need to cut through the clutter, but every organization on the platform will benefit by being transparent and up-front.
Success doesn't depend on incorporating every principle listed here. Think about ways to combine different fundamentals: remember the “ice bucket challenge” for ALS? Its popularity can be attributed to the fact that the format was sustainable (cheap and fast to make), highly discoverable (one of the most popular searches of summer 2014), shareable (funny, often emotionally moving, and relatable), consistent (viewers know what to expect), interactive (user-generated videos are inclusive and reinforce communities), and utterly authentic (honest, inspiring, impossible to fake).
See it in action
Three opportunities to keep it consistentMatt Koval discusses the benefits of a consistent upload schedule, consistent content formats, and consistent voice.
Interactive fundamentalsInteractive content lets your audience participate in what you create. It makes them feel important and included, which builds loyalty.