The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


6 More Steps To Content Creation, Not Garbage Collection …

So following on from yesterday’s post about how to create content that people actually want to watch rather than run away from, here are the remaining 6 lessons.Remember, they’re not from me, but from a friend of a friend who started a YouTube channel [Kyra.TV] last year that has turned them into one of the most interesting and fastest-growing content creators in London.

Be grateful for that, because this is my version of good content.

Here.

Here.

And Here.

Exactly. Now settle down for the remaining 6 points.

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LESSON SEVEN: This audience loves ‘YouTubers’

When we first started making content for Youtube, I confess we used to turn our noses up at the “YouTubers”.

We learnt that made us idiots.

We couldn’t understand why young people loved them so much and just put it down to one of the mysteries of the internet.

Your Jake Pauls

Your PewdiPies

Your David Dobriks

Your Zoellas

We had watched some of their content, we thought we understood it and we made our minds up. We assumed their audiences came from getting to the platform first and I can’t tell you how wrong we were and how much respect I have for them and their teams now.

What we’ve come to understand over the past year is that some of these creators are nothing shy of complete genius. They are media powerhouses with intricate and refined strategies that are driving levels of engagement never seen before in our industry.

Take Logan Paul.

Say you what you want about the controversy, let’s look at the facts.

In December he generated 320 million video views.

He creates a 15 minute TV Show every single day.

Even his dog has 3.4m Instagram followers and generates 500,000 likes per post …

Let’s take another example.

KSI gained more subscribers than Complex, Vice, Buzzfeed and Vox COMBINED in the last 30 days.

These are some of the most innovative people in the media industry and unlike the past, they’re beginning to realise it as well and are now beginning to seriously monetise it. Every media house in the world right now should be paying attention to them, watching and learning from them every single day.

I know we are.

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LESSON EIGHT: This audience listens to and values people over brands

Leading on from that point …

Since the dawn of media, individuals and influencers have always been at the forefront of entertainment.

Think David Beckham, the Spice Girls, Gordon Ramsay …

Beforehand these figures needed media owners to reach their audiences but today that is definitely not the case.

The Kardashians … the Paul brothers… these are people and media giants rolled into one.

Just two months ago Will Smith started vlogging and has already amassed a huge audience of close to 1 million subscribers on his channel.

I’ve learnt that this generation expects to connect with influencers directly, and if you can facilitate that connection, you will win.

A lot of our business strategy at Kyra is centred around putting people at the forefront of our content proposition.

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LESSON NINE: Your audience is a manifestation of the content you produce

This one is glaringly obvious, but I find it pretty interesting.

If the content you publish is negative, you will breed an audience fuelled by negativity. Haters in the comments. Low sentiment ratios.

If your content is positive, uplifting, inspirational, aspirational, you’re likely to receive the same response from the audience.

If your audience is intelligent and thoughtful, you will see intelligent, thoughtful people gravitating towards it.

And so on, and so on…

It sounds obvious, but for me it was somewhat of a revelation.

In a world where so much is reliant on the kind of audience you attract, this has been a key factor to our success with advertisers and has a huge impact on the kind of content we produce every day.

The proof is out there, go and have a look at video publishers and their comments, I think you’ll agree that their audiences are a direct mirror of what they put out into the world.

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LESSON TEN: Long term value comes from consistent and regular programming

When we first started, we were constantly hunting for a viral hit … the mythical unicorn of the internet that everyone strives for.

But after creating and publishing hundreds of pieces of content consistently for a year, the question I am still asking myself is “does it really build long term value?”

I’m unconvinced.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that what will ultimately win, is creating quality content CONSISTENTLY and incrementally building a passionate army of fans that are unwavering in their loyalty and affinity to your brand, channel or content.

I’d take 200 videos with positive, steady growth over one big Gangnam Style hit any day.

What I’ve basically learnt is: viral hits do not build community and that is essentially all that matters.

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LESSON ELEVEN: This audience has REAL spending power

So many Brand Managers ask me ‘but how much money do these young people really have?’

For PAQ, we set up a Pop Up shop in London and put out some posts online the day before inviting them to come down and check out the shop.

Now to put this in perspective… I had no fucking idea what was going to happen. Up until this point, everything … the followers, the comments, the engagements were just pixels on a screen, ones and zeros.

So I was 100% ready to turn up the next day and find a ghost town.

Well at 7am we had 100 people already queuing outside the shop.

At 9am when we opened it was up to around 500, lines of people queuing around the corner to meet the people they watch every week on our show.

People flew in from Germany, Sweden and even Malaysia just to come to the shop.

My learnings from this were so valuable:

This audience has access to money and they are very much REAL.

I learnt that digital audiences can transcend into real world purchases very easily.

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LESSON TWELVE: Length doesn’t matter to the audience, it matters to the advertiser

I remember when we started producing content, speaking to dozens of people to try and understand what length our videos should be.

So many people told me so many different things.

But here is what I’ve worked out myself over the past 6 months:

It doesn’t matter if your video is 30 seconds, 5 minutes or half an hour.

If the content is good, the audience will watch it.

We have the same view through rates across our content, no matter what the length.

However, the length of the content is very, very important when it comes to making effective branded or sponsored content.

The bottom line is this: The longer you can engage an audience, the more right you have to show them an advertiser’s message.

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Again, there may be stuff in here you knew and stuff you disagree with … but I personally found all this stuff interesting.

The key – as is the case for all successful communication – is know your audience.

Not in terms of just what they do, or where they do it … but why.

That little thing that seems to have fallen out of vogue and yet in the right hands, can still make the difference between good and great.

Of course, the ‘why’ – or the other name for it, insight – isn’t good enough on its own.

For it to really unleash its power you need creative people who are given the time and space to explore, experiment and just be creative … and yet it appears to me that the approach favored by most people in addend – and their clients – is to only make content they want their audience to like rather than what their audience actually wants to watch.

As I wrote ages ago, engagement is not about relevance, but resonance.

Of course, it always used to be that way.

It’s why kids loved Beavis and Butthead but adults hated it … to name one out of a thousand possible examples.

But somewhere along the line, the networks started to focus on scale – meaning they made shows designed to appeal to as many people as possible. Hence we got juggernauts like Friends – shows that were kind-of relevant to everyone without being specific to someone.

This was fine until the internet came.

Then choice was handed back to us.

No longer did we have to put up with the general interest, mainstream TV … suddenly we could choose the things that reflected us.

Our individual tastes, interests, viewpoints.

The content creators who are making things that are changing things get this.

They know their audience and they double down on it.

The content creators who are making rubbish like that Nescafe ‘thing’ that caused this whole stream of posts, don’t.

If adland and clients really want to have a position in culture, then the thing they need to get back to doing is knowing their audience … not in terms of a demographic or even a psychographic … but really know who they are, what they do, what they hate etc etc, because while ‘appealing to everyone’ may sound good to the board of directors, it doesn’t really work then that means you mean nothing to no one.


17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thank you to Rob’s mate for writing only the second post on this blog that was worth reading.

Comment by Bazza

Though I noticed Rob wrote a bit more on today’s post compared to yesterday’s. Please don’t let him do that next time.

Comment by Bazza

His summary is pretty good.

Comment by George

Wow! Great content well-presented.

Comment by http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com

You won’t catch me saying this is better than some of the content guidelines I’ve read from our YouTube team.

Comment by George

Brave.

Comment by Pete

I’ve enjoyed reading these posts Rob. I’ve even enjoyed your summary/commentary. With more brands focusing on social content, they need to remember cheap, self interested advertising won’t sway audiences who are spoilt for choice. If they wouldn’t watch it from another brand, why do they think people will watch it from theirs?

Comment by Pete

Because their ego doesn’t allow them to see their content as duplication of their competotors.

Comment by George

True.

Comment by Pete

Entirely agree again.
Sensible point that seem obvious, but are not always so.

Comment by Rob (Other one)

All these points were made before about blogging and before that about older media. They’ll be made again about newer media. The real insight is that most people never learn.

Comment by John

I don’t know if you’re saying the advice is right – but people are ignoring it – or it’s wrong and the author has missed the point. Of course, it could be that you are demonstrating a variant on #9 ,,, that you are who you are talking/listening to. [Excluding me of course]

Comment by Rob

I’ve spent quite some time researching YouTube this year. I’ve made quite a sizeable financial investment in terms of equipment and an even bigger investment in time in order to start making films and really understand how it works, as well as getting to grips with what it takes to create great films and run a half-way decent channel. I’m working on a film right now.

It’s bloody hard work. Fun, but bloody hard work. It’s lonely too (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wj4py9/the-lonely-life-of-a-professional-youtuber). I’m not in any way, shape, or form, in the same league as the people who have put this list together, but it really is very good and covers most of the things that a successful YouTube creator does and faces.

Reading through that list, it becomes clear why brands and agencies struggle to come up with anything as authentic as the work that they’re trying to reproduce because they simply don’t have the freedom, drive all courage to stick to it. Christ knows how often I’ve heard “we need a viral” in a briefing. It’s probably why I’ve reduced my agency work to an absolute minimum and refuse to work on client briefs.

I think that corporate efforts to reproduce creator work always feel hollow because they lack the spirit of creator culture. Casey Neistat says “do what you can’t”, and to me, that’s the very essence of creativity. But in the corporate creative industry, you’re told to “do what you must”, which is the worst possible starting point for any creative endeavour.

There’s incredible creative work coming out of YouTube. Creator culture is the most interesting thing I’ve seen since Grunge.

Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Marcus

You’re right Marcus. it is bloody hard work … there was a fascinating article recently that talked about that and how ultimately, many of those who succeed feel exhausted by it as in addition to making the content, they are continually looking for ways to escalate the subject to keep things fresh and interesting … resulting in a feeling where they are slaves to the content creation process.

Fascinating and why most agencies and brands don’t do it well … because they can’t be bothered with the time or investment needed to truly create a channel that is distinctive and addictive.

Comment by Rob

Creators are also struggling with the algorithm, finding work that works for the code that will get them eyeballs, subs and eventually their audience. So there is a sense that they’re a slave to that system. Audience retention is also a stress factor: Ninja (online gamer and #1 twitcher) took a two-day break and lost 40k subscribers on Twitch. But they all work around and with these issues. Not something I would expect a traditional business to be able to do, especially not an agency.

Comment by Marcus

Indeed. I have tested a few ideas for You Tube, but having the time and space to do it properly is hard work.

I remember complaining about clients that said ‘we need a viral’ a decade ago… so nuts.

Comment by Rob (Other one)

Know your audience and give them what they want seems to be the basic rule that has worked for years.Of course, there is also the side line: know your audience and give them what you want them to want.

Comment by http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com




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