Last week Tubefilter hosted their Hollywood Web TV Meetup, ‘You’re A YouTube Partner – Now What?’ The meetup included a panel of YouTube Partner Program experts and shined a lot of light on the world of YouTube, complete with fantastic tips on how to build your community, get more views and make the most of your YouTube channel and online video experience as a whole. We’ve compiled a list of ten great tips that came out of the meetup, which should definitely serve as some food for thought for video creators looking to maximize YouTube as a video sharing site and revenue source.
Before we get to the tips, lets start with a brief introduction to the panelists. The panel included Rafi Fine of the Fine Brothers, Barely Political Founder and Next New Networks VP Programming Ben Relles, Jason Schnell of Reckless Tortuga and former YouTube exec and co-director of the YouTube Partners Program George Strompolos. Check out the full meetup presentation below, which runs just over 78 minutes, followed by our ten priceless tips, gleaned from the YouTube experts on the panel. The post is a little long, but bear with me…there is a ton of amazing knowledge to be gleaned.
Your YouTube Channel Name
One of the first things that the panelists talked about was choosing a name for your YouTube channel. After all, your channel name is something that you can never change, unless you decide to open a new channel. Ben Relles talked about how in retrospect perhaps Barely Political wasn’t the best channel name because now they do a lot more content that isn’t related to politics. That being said, I don’t think that the name ‘Barely Political’ has been the cause of any roadblock’s in the popular channel’s rise to popularity, but if you are creating a new channel you may want to keep that fact in mind. Try to come up with a general channel name that won’t pigeonhole your content.
George Strompolos pointed out that Tay Zonday picked the name Tay Zonday because he Googled it and there were no results. In addition, the overall consensus seemed to be that the best name is one that is short, easy to remember, easy to spell and leaves room for growth and change. You want to be as easy to remember and find as possible.
The Frequency Of Your Video Uploads
Another big issue discussed at the meetup was the frequency of uploads. This issue was also discussed at Tubefilter’s CES panel, ‘Secrets of the YouTube Stars’, where the general consensus seemed to be that for keeping an audience it was important to stick to a schedule and upload new content as frequently as possible.
Rafi Fine said that he believes that the YouTube algorithm may reward those channels that post a lot of videos by giving them more promotion on the YouTube homepage. However, Relles said that posting frequently might not be the only key to success. He points out The Gregory Brothers, aka Schmoyoho, as an example. They upload a new video only once a month or every six weeks or so, but they still get millions of views every time.
That being said, I think it’s clear that fans of the Gregory Brothers would be ecstatic if they released new videos more than once a month. The more frequently you come out with new videos the happier your fans will be. Just don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Produce new content as frequently as you can, but don’t stress yourself out.
YouTube’s Mysterious Algorithm
Everyone wants to know about YouTube’s mysterious algorithm. How do YouTubers make it into the “Most Popular” charts? How are they promoted on the YouTube homepage? Nobody knows how the YouTube algorithm works exactly, but Rafi Fine shed some light on it at the meetup.
Fine said that there are lists that work within a 48-hour window that rank videos and channels according to who gets the most views, ratings, comments, favorites, video responses, etc. and the people at the tops of these lists make it into the “most popular” lists for their specific categories. Fine also pointed out that a lot of people are trying to dog the system through “category jacking”. In other words, they might upload a Kanye West video and post it in a less popular YouTube category like ‘Non-Profits & Activism’ in order to make it to the front page. However, Strompolos pointed out that YouTubers employing these sorts of tactics need to beware – YouTube has a team looking for this type of suspicious behavior and it’s a great way to have your account blocked from the site.
Jason Schnell of Reckless Tortuga says, “Trying to get on the homepage of YouTube is like algebra that I failed a long time ago that I’m not even going to try to come close to.” Rather than worry about the algorithm, Schnell says that Reckless Tortuga focuses on tagging videos, coming up with titles that people will remember and ignoring the algorithm.
Another consensus that came out of the panel was that it is incredibly important to use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Dailybooth to connect with and build your audience outside of YouTube. Viewers want to feel engaged and involved and the partners on the panel talked about using Twitter and Facebook to ask questions, start a conversation and ask for input for future videos and ideas.
Strompolos said, “Focus on developing your audience on Facebook. Three-fourths of the video shares on the Internet happen on Facebook. A good thing is a lot of them are YouTube video shares.”
Maintaining Your Own Site
It isn’t imperative that you maintain your own website but it is a great way to build your brand and monetize your video content even further. Strompolos points out that many YouTubers embed their own videos on their personal blogs and websites, which is great if you want to keep track of all your views in one place. But he also mentioned that for content creators that aren’t afraid of multiple platforms, hosting your website videos on a different platform may be a good way to earn even more revenue. He said that other players, such as Blip.tv or Ooyala, might be a better way to monetize the content on your website.
Wondering how to drive traffic from YouTube to your personal site? Schnell mentioned that Reckless Tortuga drives viewers to their brand website by censoring their YouTube videos and letting viewers know that “All videos are uncensored at RecklessTortuga.com”. Offering extended versions of your videos on your website is also a great way to drive traffic there.
Getting YouTube Subscribers
One of the biggest questions on many YouTube content creators’ minds is, how do you get more people to subscribe to your channel? The panel had a variety of tips and ideas on this subject. For starters, ask! You can speak directly to your users and ask them to subscribe, add a subscribe button or annotation reminding them to subscribe and even put a note in the video description.
Rafi Fine pointed out that another great way to up your subscriber base is by collaborating with bigger YouTube stars. For instance, the Fine Brothers got to know Shane Dawson before he became huge. Now that he’s one of the most popular and most-subscribed to YouTubers they collaborate with him to get their name out there and get more subscribers. Reckless Tortuga also gained a huge amount of subscribers and views when Ray William Johnson included one of their videos on his YouTube show.
Getting More Views
The same goes for getting views. If you collaborate with other YouTubers they’ll help promote your video. But you can also get views in other ways.
Rafi Fine suggests making music videos, parodies and topical content about things that are currently popular in searches – whether it be popular music, movies or news stories. This way, when people are searching for this popular content they may inadvertently click on your video.
Experimenting With New Content
There was also a lot of talk about experimenting with new content. Rafi Fine suggested trying all different sorts of video formats and concepts and then seeing what sticks. As you try new things you’ll discover what your subscribers like, what they don’t, and you’ll be able to improve your content and test treat new concepts and ideas.
Strompolos also suggesting testing content out first. If you’re thinking about creating a series do a mini-pilot first to see if people like it. Don’t go out and shoot ten episodes and then start posting. First find out if anyone will want to watch it.
Scripting vs. Vlogging
There also seemed to be a consensus that vlogging just isn’t cutting it anymore in the world of YouTube. Sure, people are still vlogging, but if you look at the most popular YouTube channels they are scripted content. Even big YouTubers that do still vlog, like Shane Dawson, also have a lot of scripted content like music videos and comedy sketches on their sites.
Creating A Buzz
Finally, what do you do if you can’t create content every day or you are working on a series or short film and want to have an audience for it by the time you upload? Start building a buzz! Upload videos in the meantime letting viewers know what you’re working on. Take them through the audition process and more and let them see your growth. This way, by the time the finished project is ready to upload your audience will be anxiously waiting!