This is an intervention. There are too many brands on YouTube posting bland marketing content in the hope of getting a 'viral hit'. It's painful to see. And it's time for them to hear the hard truth.
Video is one of the most persuasive and engaging mediums available. It makes sense that brands eager for social cred and relevance would gravitate to the platform in the search for fans. But the unfortunate reality is that as a channel it simply isn't for everyone.
Brands only account for 75 out of the top 5000 YouTube channels (which have over 43 million views each). So what is making it so difficult for brands to get it right?
You need to commit
As a channel for brands specifically, YouTube requires a level of commitment to content creation that other channels just don't come close to. Where so many brands go wrong is in thinking that by establishing a channel and sharing existing bland content they will suddenly explode on the social scene.
On the contrary - if you are going to have a YouTube channel you're going to have to fully commit to creating regular original, quality content. The industry standard for successful branded YouTube channels is an average of 3.65 videos per week. That one video you work on for months and post once a quarter just isn't going to cut it.
Quit the hard sell
For some people, YouTube has essentially become their television. They pick and choose what they want to see and when they want to see it. Just as traditional TV viewers don't PVR the advertisements, YouTube viewers don't actively seek advertising messages. They want to be entertained, not marketed to.
Take Chipotle for example. Last year the Mexican food chain released a made-for-YouTube animated video
to accompany the launch of a mobile game. The video beautifully framed their 'Food with integrity' stance, taking aim at the processed food industry. The video has over 12 million views and became a viral sensation. Why? Because it told a story.
The key is to strike a balance between branded entertainment and pure entertainment. Red Bull
is a prime example using action and adventure to create a smart brand association without having to overtly punt the brand itself in their YouTube content.
Focus on production and creativity
When it comes to YouTube investing in high quality production and using the right creative team can make all the difference. It's time to break out of your brand marketing comfort zone, think out of the box and dare to be different when it comes to your content. Give your brand a personality, have some fun and engage with your fans in a genuine way - the views will follow.
Also be mindful of what type of content your specific audience responds to. If they prefer How-tos to humour, create a content strategy that caters for that. Find your niche and master it. It takes time, a great deal of commitment and regular content updates to build and audience or subscriber base of people genuinely interested in your content.
Take off the blinkers
The majority of views of your videos do not actually take place on your YouTube channel. This is why you have to carefully and strategically consider your video distribution and dissemination strategy. Do you have a blog? A Facebook page? A Twitter profile? Use them. Share your video content far and wide and if you've hit the mark, others will do the same.
Brands are only just starting to wake up to the potential of YouTube as a medium. It's up to you to decide if you're ready to commit, to bring your brand to life and be at the forefront of harnessing the power of video to connect with your target market - or if you will be left to play catch-up.