YouTube Creative Strategy
by Leesa Dean
What an intense few weeks! Between Thanksgiving, which is always kind of complex for me (I have no immediate family) and the overwhelmingly horrifying grand jury non-indictment in the Eric Garner case which just made my world stop (yes, I was one of those people in NYC who took to the streets in quiet protest) plus just…work/life, I’ve been pretty caught up. Actually spent part of the time ideating. Structuring the game plan for the Season Two Lele Show launch which is going to be dramatically different than it was last season. I’m prepping five solid months of episodes–over 40–half of them semi-serialized, so it’s a lot. While I don’t have a firm release date yet, I’m getting my ducks in row. So it was perfect timing to attend a YouTube workshop on creative promotion strategy.
It was my first time in the new facility and it’s really nice. It’s in Chelsea Market in NYC and if you’ve never been there, there are tons of places to eat, buy stuff. Kinda like high-ish end mall.
The room the workshop was in had seating for about 75-100 people. Super modern. You could see some of the shooting facilities beyond a door. Unfortunately, you have to have a certain amount of subscribers to use the shooting facilities there for free. I don’t have enough. Yet.
The vibe was WAY more organized than the workshops I attended when they were Next New Network. So I was…skeptical. I really liked the homey vibe the old facility had and learned a lot from Chris Chan Robeson (who ran the workshops there). Everything was looser and got down the real nitty gritty. The vibe at the new place was a little more disconnected. But the workshop rocked.
It was called 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy on YouTube and Matt, the guy running the it gave way more than what’s normally in the YouTube Playbook, which is best practices for building an audience. Most of what he said was culled from interviews from the biggest names on YouTube, like Jenna Marbles, Ze Frank, PewDeePie, etc. It’s was incredibly valuable.
Most of the people in the audience seemed to be doing projects that were vlog-based. The good news: It’s much much easier to build a fanbase if that’s how you’re doing it. The bad news (which nobody needed to tell me): It’s WAY harder to build a fan base if you’re doing anything scripted. Sigh. Even most of the scripted shows that have been huge hits have had a character that faces the camera, vlog-style, like the Lizzie Bennett Diaries and The Guild. Bottom line: You wanna (hopefully) jump start your acting/tv personality career? Be a vlogger. Wanna be a writer/producer/filmmaker? Slog it out the hard way, writing scripted shows and killing yourself trying to get views. And remember: success on YouTube is a completely different animal than success in TV. Shows that work in a traditional TV or cable TV format normally don’t fly on YouTube. And you don’t have to have millions of views to be taken seriously by Hollywood. The Broad City women didn’t.
So, that means for me, and anyone else who’s an actual writer, you have to really pump up your supplemental content and, maybe, tweak some of the scripts you’re working on. And part of the key is: Just keep churning out content. Quality content.
I really have my work cut out for me…