Direct your efforts with a content strategy
On YouTube, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. This lesson will help you define a level of engagement on YouTube that’s right for you.
Choose a strategy that works for you
Before reviewing strategies, remember that all of them can be successful—it just depends on the initial goals of the video campaign.
First be sure to answer these two questions:
- What does the brand stand for?
- What does the target audience of the brand care about—their passion points?
Finding the sweet spot in between provides a window into developing a video content strategy and the “right” level of engagement.
When defining a level of engagement for YouTube, it’s important to honestly assess the resources (people, ideas, budget etc.) required to create a successful content destination. Not every company’s channel needs to become a destination to hit their YouTube goals.
See it in action
Virgin America: Safety DanceA company like Virgin America might be interested in producing one single awesome video — and that’s perfectly fine for their greater marketing strategy.
Dove: Real Beauty SketchesA company like Dove uses branded video content as one part of a larger campaign — across traditional, print, and digital media channels.
Strategy #1: Create content specifically for YouTube
Whether you’re trying to reach a huge swath of a demographic or align with a niche community, YouTube has an amazing capacity to deliver a company’s message to the right audience—at the right time.
When you create content for the YouTube platform:
- Avoid reusing traditional media assets.
- Experiment outside the limitations of traditional video marketing.
- Focus on making great content that people choose to watch.
Taking it a step further, when you combine content decisions with the unique targeting methods available on YouTube, a campaign-based strategy has the potential to reach specific audiences based on:
- Who they are (demographics)
- What they're interested in (intent)
- What content they're viewing (context)
- Review the Ads Leaderboard for inspiration.
- See all targeting options available.
- Visit the Think With Google site for more information about how to use video to reach the right audience at the right time.
See it in action
Sephora: How to Contour for Fuller LipsGlobal beauty retailer Sephora, for example, knew that beauty content on YouTube has been increasing and that searches on YouTube related to “how-to” were up 70% year over year. How-to videos and tutorials were the magical intersection of Sephora’s beauty-centric message and its audience's beauty education needs. How-to and tutorial content now makes up more than 60% of Sephora's library of video content.
Strategy #2: Collaborate with a YouTube creator
YouTube creators are extremely influential with their audiences—and millions of creators reach a wide range of audiences on YouTube. If the goal of the marketing brief is to reach an audience that overlaps with an existing creator’s subscriber base, consider a strategy that leverages the existing equity of an established creator.
- By working directly with a creator, a company might be able to quickly gain credibility on YouTube.
- As long as the partnership works for both parties, this strategy can work well for a long-term relationship.
Here are high-level considerations when working with creators:
- Don’t put all your eggs in one creator’s basket. Rather than focusing on a specific creator to work with, consider the type of creator you’d like to work with, for example a fashion and beauty creator who focuses on creating seasonal looks at a range of budgets. If you have a YouTube representative, ask for their help with identifying potential collaborators. If you’re on your own, you can discover potential creators by visiting the Trending tab of the YouTube homepage to see a wide range of popular and buzzworthy content from large cross-section of YouTube creators. The contact information for a creator is usually found on their channel’s “about” page.
- Make sure the creator speaks with their audience in a way that complements the company’s tone. And just like working with any spokesperson, be sure the creator aligns with the company’s identity and values.
- Be aware that it might take some time to figure out the best way to work together after the right creator has been selected. When collaborating with a creator, be open to new ways of working with talent. Creators tend to have a very close relationship with their audience and don’t see themselves as just spokespeople—willing to sell any product. So they probably won’t just deliver a message because you paid them. Make sure to brainstorm with the creator on not only the goals of the campaign, but also on ways to appeal to the creator’s audience.
- Read a case study of the Spencer FC and EE partnership on Think With Google.
- Visit the Trending Tab on YouTube to catch the videos, creators, and trends that people are currently watching, sharing, and talking about.
Strategy #3: Become an always-on content developer
With this strategy, the goal is to be an always-on content producer. Compared to other strategies, this one is the most demanding since it involves a high level of commitment to ensure a successful execution.
- One simple way to start applying this strategy is to create content on a consistent schedule.
- Consider using a dedicated staff—either from within the organization or hiring an outside agency.
- The content doesn’t have to be super high quality, but the key is to find a format that works and can deliver on a regular basis.
- Apply best practices for distribution and discovery.
- Review how other companies on the Ads Leaderboard have pivoted from placing ads online to creating destinations on YouTube.
See it in action
Ben & Jerry’s: Salted Caramel CoresBen & Jerry’s is a great example of a company creating content for YouTube, rather than just repurposing existing content, or focusing on an a specific well-executed YouTube campaign. In this example, Ben & Jerry’s created a video customized for the TrueView ad format.
Pint Sized Answers: FairtradeBen & Jerry’s also produce a series, “Pint Sized Answers,” where they quickly produce answers to commonly searched for topics such as: "What does fair trade mean for our farmers?" This strategy works because Ben & Jerry’s has a critical mass of existing or potential customers, but also demonstrates that the creator strategy isn’t as demanding as it may seem.