Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Learning from YouTube Masters...

I just finished spending the last two days at the Personal Democracy Forum's annual conference in New York, "Rebooting the System." In addition to learning from technocrats and politicos buzzing with great ideas and insights, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel entitled, "Mastering the World of Online Video." It featured three YouTube greats - Robert Greenwald of bravenewfilms, Josh Marshall of TPMtv, and Matthew Sheffield of NewsBusted. Each had some great thoughts to relay on how to succeed in the world of online video.

Just for some reference, here is the incline that anyone faces when they decide to start uploading video to YouTube:

  • Hundreds of millions of videos are viewed on YouTube every day
  • Hundreds of thousands of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every day
  • In just one minute, 10 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
How do you succeed and get your videos to rise to the top of that chaotic stream of content?

Here are some of the ideas that Robert, Josh, and Matthew had:

Be timely. Create content that is relevant to the news cycle. So much traffic is driven by search on YouTube - people search for what is relevant that day. Josh uploads at least a video a day to his channel (and will soon upload more...) and Matthew's Newsbusted comes out with a new episode every three days or so.

Understand the ecosystem. Robert went to great lengths to describe how Brave New Films utilizes both the blogosphere and the mainstream media, and capitalizes on their need for new content to feed their broadcasts. In fact, he premiered a great video at our panel about how Brave New Films conceives of and promotes a piece of video content from start to finish:

Build networks. Email lists matter - Matthew said Newsbusted was a success from the beginning because their massive email distribution network was a great pipeline to distribute their links.

Say something original. Both Josh and Robert stressed this - online video is a great place to say something that isn't being said somewhere else.

The "Rocketboom" strategy. Matthew touched on this... and though he took some flack for it from the audience, it seems to bear true: it does not hurt to have an attractive female starring in your videos.

Listen to feedback. Your community on YouTube can give you great advice on how to tweak your content - keep an eye on those comments and video responses. Matthew said Newsbusted made some tweaks to the show after viewers made recommendations on what they liked and didn't.

Experiment. All three said this was key... Josh in particular has experimented with a wide variety of video styles... you might not know what will work until you try, and YouTube is a medium of abundance, not scarcity. Use that to your advantage.

Many more insights, but these were the highlights...


Post a Comment