The Brand Playbook reveals the tools and best practices developed by a generation of YouTube content creators in order to help brands as they develop content strategies that will resonate with 21st-century consumers and to build engaged audiences.
Until today, the only cryptic advice that YouTube was willing to give to content creators and brand advertisers about how to make videos worth watching and create content worth sharing was this little nugget hidden on the programming checklist in the Creator Playbook: "Create content that is unique, compelling, and entertaining or informative."
Instead of revealing the secret formula to content marketing success, YouTubers seemed to have adopted the policy of "letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend" in order to create "a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small."
In July 2008, the YouTube Spotlight channel uploaded an animated short by Jantze studios, "The Birds and the Biz," which claimed there was no "magic formula" or "secret potion" for content marketing success. "The truth," according to Papa Bear, was YouTubers "never really know what crazy new thing will be next."
That was then. And with Susan Wojcicki now the chief executive of YouTube, this policy appears to have changed – big time.
Today, Suzie Reider, Google's managing director of brand solutions, will be giving the luncheon keynote at the 2014 ANA Media Leadership Conference. Reider will look at the key industry trends and tell advertisers and brand marketers what they can do (and should do!) to prepare for this next decade of rapid change in all things advertising. She will also announce The YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands.
The Brand Playbook reveals the tools and know-how developed by a generation of YouTube content creators in order to help brands as they develop content strategies that will resonate with 21st century consumers.
This newest playbook is divided into seven sections. Each section presents several optimizations or strategies for building engaged audiences on YouTube.
These best practices are explained in stages to help content creators and brand advertisers understand each point and guide them through taking action.
In addition to being more up-to-date than previous Creator Playbooks, the Brand Playbook is also more comprehensive. For example, Version 2 of the Creator Playbook, which was published in February 2012, was 73 pages long and organized into three sections: Programming and Producing, Publishing and Optimization, and Community and Social Media.
By comparison, the Brand Playbook is not only organized into seven sections, it is also 100 pages long. About the only things missing from the newest playbook are some of the best practices for leveraging Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that were included in earlier versions.
One of the few anachronisms in the Brand Playbook is a tip on Page 87 to "Partner with a third party such as Wildfire, Google's in-house social media marketing platform, to help you seamlessly execute consistent campaigns across multiple networks." Google started winding down Wildfire as a standalone entity on March 14, 2014, and began rolling its technology into the DoubleClick ad platform.
In addition to announcing the Brand Playbook during Reider's keynote, Vanessa Pappas, the Global Head of Audience Development YouTube, is also expected to post an announcement on the YouTube Creator Blog and/or the Official YouTube Blog.
A draft of the blog post was shared with Search Engine Watch on Friday. In it, Pappas asks, "Ever wonder why Smosh gets millions of views on every video posted to their channel? Or how Michelle Phan is able to attract and retain an audience of more than 6M subscribers who tune into her videos every week?"
Pappas then says, "To demystify what makes these top channels tick and help you better understand how to create a successful strategy for your brand on YouTube, we developed the new YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands. Similar to the Creator Playbook, which has helped over 2 million of our creators grow their audiences, the Creator Playbook for Brands walks you through the steps to help you create, plan, and implement a YouTube content creation strategy; from tips on how to create videos to video promotion."
In her post, Pappas also does some myth busting on the five most commonly misunderstood fundamentals about creating content for YouTube:
The LEGO Brand Channel on YouTube provides an excellent example of how to make videos worth watching and create content worth sharing.
With toy products, YouTube provides a unique opportunity to tell a story around the product, show the toys in action, and create a world that customers want to engage with. LEGO has turned their YouTube channel into a highly effective means of engaging fans, creating episodic content that entertains customers and encourages them to stay on the channel and watch more.
"We don't view our brand channel on YouTube as a means of selling products; rather, it's a great way for us to deliver against what today's kids need and want: to be entertained, inspired, informed and amused," said Michael McNally, LEGO's senior director, brand relations. "We've found that the LEGO brand can successfully deliver against those needs in an authentic and very distinct way, thereby making our brand channel a valuable means to more deeply engage fans in the LEGO brand.
"We plan our content, then, to optimize brand engagement, support promotional activities and generally maintain relevance among children," he said. "We program content at a global and regional level, depending on the scope, scale and focus of the content, and we're always motivated to keep content fresh, timely and frequent."
What are the most engaging content pieces? Short-form, humorous, bite-sized videos, McNally said.
"Also, we find that videos on how to improve building technique, behind the scenes sneak peeks and other inspirational brand content that will spark a child's imagination to continue building are also popular, because they convey that we understand them, what they like and what they are looking for, which strengthens the personal connection they have to the LEGO brand," he said.
In other words, now that YouTube has revealed the secret formula to content marketing success, content creators and brand advertisers can learn how to make videos worth watching and create content worth sharing. The rest is "kids' stuff."
This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.
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Greg Jarboe is president of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization, public relations, video marketing, and social media marketing services. He's the author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day," a faculty member at Rutgers University and Market Motive, as well as a frequent speaker at SES conferences.
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