When it comes to developing a video monetization strategy, digging deep means taking a vertical approach to content strategy by focusing on a single topic or related topics and super-serving that niche with targeted content that appeals to a given audience subset. Going long is a more horizontal strategy where the content provider tries to cover multiple, disparate topics in an effort to have something for everybody. Both are valid, depending on your goals and your resources.
Focusing on a specific area of interest – like fashion, food, sports, video games, etc. – is a smart way to develop an audience of like-minded viewers interested in whatever topic you choose to specialize in. Think StyleHaul, TasteMade, or GTChannel. It allows content providers to concentrate their efforts on not only content production, but also sales, advertising, marketing, and overall tone.
Not only is it much simpler, it’s more affordable…particularly for up-and-comers just getting into the game with limited resources (both human and capital). This allows providers to establish their brand as an authoritative source and build up the company as they scale within their topic area.
Of course that scale will only take them so far, to the edges of their target audience to be precise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a limitation that anyone following this path should be cognizant of before getting started. There’s plenty of money to be made, but there is a ceiling on it, as the sharper the focus, the more limitations there will be in both audience and advertising. For some, building up such a network is just a precursor to selling or merging into a broader video content network. Which brings us to…
The horizontal strategy is less focused on a particular topic, and more focused on achieving the broadest reach possible by aggregating multiple verticals under one umbrella. The idea is to amass a massive audience by having not only something for everyone, but enough different “somethings” that will keep individual viewers active across their multiple areas of interest.
The advantages here all fall under the category of scale. More topics mean more viewers, which means more types of advertisers paying more money. Some advertisers can even advertise across content verticals to achieve larger economies of scale for their budget. And as we’ve seen with the acquisitions of Maker Studios, Big Frame, and others, big audiences bring big money.
The challenge of course is supporting this scale. The larger the scale, the more resources a company needs in terms of sales people (to focus on each vertical), cash (to pay for all that content), and marketing. The latter can be particularly tricky as the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none message is an awfully nuanced and potentially confusing one to communicate.
So before you take a step into this increasingly crowded market, take a real close look at your interests and strengths and figure out which of the above options makes sense for you at this time. Are you ready to go long? Or should you stay where you are and start digging deep? The only wrong answer is the answer that’s wrong for you.