More and more successful internet stars are looking beyond YouTube to grow their brand and audience. With so many media platforms available to the modern day content creator, which ones give you the biggest bang for your proverbial buck and can help grow the “brand” long term…free from feeling beholden to anyone platform?
Consider that this whole “Brand” revolution is not stopping anytime soon. The name of the game is Intellectual Property rights…as in, who has them, who has the keys to the bank accounts, the creative process, and the brand itself. The independent creative cannot afford to be held down by any one platform…or distribution outlet. He/She must adapt to the times and grow your series, show, product, or intellectual property on as many platforms as possible. Here are the 5 smartest ways to grow your series or brand online right now:
One of the most popular platforms across the digi-sphere that has exploded is the use of the social network, Vine. While some argue that Vine is bastardizing content creation…and the video making process (How can anyone tell a story in six seconds?) many find the ease, simplicity, and creativity here unstoppable. Suddenly, everyone is a mini-filmmaker without the huge production company behind them. Vine allows you to tell stories all day long…from the comfort of your phone. If you’re already very active in the YouTube business, this is certainly another platform you will want to explore and build your brand upon.
This may be obvious, but Instagram continues to expand it’s reaches into all demographics. Who doesn’t love the art of a good picture? Because a picture is still worth a 1000 words, Instagram will have a healthy place in the hearts of any creative for years to come. Also, the ability to post your pictures on multiple platforms at once is a huge advantage. And with their recently added video feature, any video content creator would be remiss to not use this as apart of a successful marketing strategy.
3. Live Screenings
Is the live screening a lost art? No, in fact, I think one of the BEST ways to create social media buzz and create ancillary content for your show is to get people in the same room! Having people sharing, liking and posting all at once creates a huge combustion! If everyone i their communities sees them at the same function, at the same time tweeting, posting and #hashtaging around your series, it can have residual effects in social media growth for days after the event is over.
4. Video Embeds
One of the hardest, yet most powerful tactics to growing your series off of YouTube is getting your videos embedded elsewhere. Getting a huge pick-up in Huffingtonpost, or the like, can mean the difference between 5,000 views or 500,000 views. Continued outreach with proper embed codes makes THE difference in finding your widest possible audience.
Ze Frank, one of the original video grandfathers, is now taking BuzzFeed to another level. They are now in the content creation game themselves, but if you can get one of your videos or your entire series picked up like Hella did, you’ll be well on your way to new media stardom.
Are Vine, Instagram, Live Screenings, Video Embeds, and Buzzfeed the only way to grow your brand or series off of YouTube? No, but if you start employing these strategies on a consistent basis, you are sure to reap the rewards of a growing and excited fan base.
Our dear friend, the master director/writer mrmattenlow told us 10 months ago when we were interviewing him for digitalnativestheseries that one of the hottest internet tv series going, was this priceless little gem called HIGH MAINTENANCE. As we tend to not always run out and follow the latest trend, it took us a few months before singlehandedly binge-watching every last episode. As we are not huge on the cannabis culture here at the BRC, we found ourselves really processing why we immediately connected to the show and its main character: the endearing, affable, everyman-entrepreneur-pot-dealer “the Guy”, played by Ben Sinclair. After much processing we realized why we loved the show so much, why it is perfectly suited for the internet, and what, if anything, could other content creators learn from it. Here is what we came up with:
1. Anthologies Work
The anthological (procedural) style works REALLY well in scripted internet tv, or #webseries as it were. The fact that you can watch any of the currently released 13 episodes in any order and not feel like you missed anything if you don’t watch them in order is not only a bonus, but critical to the shows success. Consider that most people may not have the time or space to follow all of the series in order, so it’s great to feel FREE to pick up anywhere and consume the episodes at your own leisure. The common thread of these people “trying to maintain” in the city, gives the series a cohesiveness yet freedom, that many series lack.
2. The Content is Consistent, but not Predictable
With episodes that range from 3-12 minutes, the creators really honor each story line for it’s truth. You get the sense that while each moment is specific and intuitive, they are not precious or beholden to any sort of formula. If the story they want to tell takes 4 minutes, it takes 4 minutes…if it takes 9 minutes…they take 9 minutes. Following the journey of the “Guy”(Ben Sinclair) allows the viewer the consistency he/she craves from a scripted series, while the length and revolving cast of characters gives one the freedom of a one off. At some point the pot dealer will be called in to help the other characters “maintain”, but we never know exactly what scenario he’ll be pulled into next. It’s consistent, yet far from predictable. #brilliant
3. The Show Embraces the Culture of the Internet
One of the things that i really applaud creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair for, is how the show organically embraces both internet and pot culture. High Maintenance never feels preachy or snobby, rather both insidery AND open. It feels both insidery in terms of the content itself, but also because of the way they are using the internet. Did you know, that their website is a Tumblr? We’ve been encouraging our clients for years to make their website apart of a larger social media network…one of the fastest ways to go viral…and of course, http://www.helpingyoumaintain.com/ is doing just that. Also, the show is exclusively on Vimeo. They have built their audience on one platform rather than spreading them everywhere, which we think is a super pro move.
The next episodes are uploaded November 11th…and we can’t wait to binge-watch a whole lot more. How about you?
Last month an amazing article came out by Variety stating that of the Top 20 mainstream media stars, the top 5 were Digital Media (Youtube) stars that were the most influential to teenagers between 13-18 years old. This is HUGE…and honestly, I am thrilled to have some solid evidence for an idea that I have believed in for years.
I was going to joke here and say that the top 6 reasons you should cast a Youtube star are: Smosh, The Fine Brothers, PewDiePie, KSI, Ryan Higa, and Shane Dawson, but that would just be SEO baiting (wink,wink).
In all seriousness, there really are strong reasons to cast talent with any sort of social following and who understands the culture of internet tv, Youtube, and web-series in helping build the audience of your show. Here are my top 6 reasons:
1. They have a built in following
This may be obvious, but i’m generally shocked by how many producers/directors don’t look at the entire package when casting talent. We must look at talent from all angles, not just who is right for the role, but who will fit into the entire team and who can bring some klout or audience to the table as well.
2. They understand the digital space
Many traditional TV/Film Stars will not understand social media or the role it can play in promoting the show from the very first day of shooting. A youtube star will organically share the experience of being on set, and once the internet tv show hits the web.
3. They are self-starters
Youtube personalities are used to taking control and creating their own content…so they will most undoubtedly bring a level of respect and empathy to your indie tv project. They are used to self-starting and will be a great team player infront of and behind the camera.
4. They are connected to circles of influencers
If you can bring one key weblebrity to your show, they can open up a whole world to you of digital media and social media influence. Think about your long term goals as a a creative and who you would want to collaborate and build your brand with long term. The right Talent, could help your series and your career more than you initially thought.
5. They want to ACT
Many Youtube or digital personalities got into online video as an outlet for their own creativity as an actor/actress. While many are known more as a “personality”, numerous personalities still want to take on the challenge of a great acting role.
6. They are well versed at long term promotion
The life of a series can go on for years, and casting the right digital influencer, who believes your series can also help grow their brand, can be critical in it’s long term promotion. Unlike a traditional TV/Film Actor, a youtube personality may be more inclined to run with the project long term and keep promoting it LONG after the cameras have stopped rolling.
So, is a youtube personality right for your series? Only you will truly know the answer to this question, but I assert that casting the right influencer can make THE difference in the sustainability and growth of your internet tv series long term.
What are you up to in 2014? How can we help you take your online video and social media presence to the next level?
FINAL DAY to donate to this inspiring new web series that aims to tell the truth about being gay in the Boy Scouts. http://thndr.it/1xXjJys
It has recently come to our attention that the new business model goes more and more like this, “GET IT OUT THERE AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE” vs. “Let’s create a product/show that audiences really want to see and will come back to time and again.”
We recently read this article about VINE stars on Gawker, and had a got a very strong sense that this is the type of thing that Millennials will flock to in a heart-beat: vapid, talent-free “vine-lebrities” who are giving them exactly what they want; a cotton candy hang-over. The odd part of this, however, is that this isn’t just happening in the millennial/tween set.
After a recent conversation with a professional graphic-designer/coder, we quickly realized that everyone steals (this is NOT new) but what is new, is that the code that the web-developers “borrow” is shoddy code. The idea being that someone else will fix it. Another developer will come along and fix their bugs for them to improve upon what they created. Put it out there, before it’s ready and see what happens!
This mentality also prevails amongst many young Youtube creators. When looking at many Youtube web-lebrities, one can only conclude that besides looking cute, the next biggest ingredients needed for success are narcissism, perseverance, a whole of time on your hands, and narcissism.
Where is the happy medium in all of this? Is BETA just a state of mind or have we reached the point in human evolution where we constantly live inside of a “beta testing” frame work where quantity will inevitably trump quality?
We’re not sure what the answer is, but we will most certainly be getting over our perfectionism moving forward and striking the happy medium between offering value AND creating content/product/services in a timely manner.