Lights, camera, action: Curated’s guide to working with YouTubers

We’re all guilty of it: spending countless hours mindlessly watching YouTube videos about anything from fitness tips, to cats meowing the Game of Thrones theme tune. Whether we like it or not, video content is thoroughly embedded in everything we see and do on social media. And why wouldn’t it be? There could be nothing easier than clicking onto a video and simply watching it for a few minutes. Video will undoubtedly rule the internet: with Cisco predicting 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2019. With YouTube being the biggest video sharing platform, it’s no surprise brands are jumping on the YouTube bandwagon.

‘YouTubers’, like bloggers, have a very engaged following with thousands of people eagerly awaiting their next upload, so it wasn’t long before companies started to see opportunities to work alongside them to promote their brands. Needless to say this new form of content took off with some of the top YouTubers being paid up to £50,000 for a single video (career change anyone?). Although this meteoric rise has plateaued now, there is no doubt that YouTube is an integral part of the new rise of collaborative and interactive content: here at Curated Digital, we couldn’t wait to get involved.

So what exactly is a vlogger?

It’s important to realise that YouTubers and vloggers are not the same thing—actually a vlogger is a type of YouTuber. The term ‘vlogger’ was simply invented due to the media being unable to use the word ‘YouTube’ in their descriptions because of copyright infringements. The most successful YouTubers tend to have vlogs as part of their channel, where they take their subscribers along with them on their day. From 2005 onwards (dubbed the year of the vlog by Forbes), vlogging suddenly skyrocketed: with people from all over the world, and with a whole manner of different backgrounds documenting their day.

But of course vlogging is not the only type of content on YouTube: gaming tutorials, cook alongs, live streams, fashion hauls, ‘unboxings’, fitness routines—you name it YouTube has a video for it. YouTubers will build their own brand identity along the lines of these themes, often throwing vlogs into the mix to add a dash of personality to their channel. YouTubers are effectively some of the internet’s best and most innovative marketers and content producers: really tapping into the needs and wants of their subscribers.

So why should brands get involved?

Ok so this is the part where I throw in some stats to shake things up a little bit. Currently, YouTube has over a billion users, reaches more 15-34 year olds than normal television (no kidding), and the number of people watching it continues to increase exponentially each day by 40%. In addition to this, with vloggers like Zoella and KSI ‘topping the charts’ so to speak, the demographic of YouTubers has leveled out with both males and females subscribers being glued to the screen constantly.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, then just stop and think for a moment: if you want to get a message out there to an audience under 40, surely you want to do it in a way that is measurable and easily tracked? Silly question, of course you do. That, my friends, is one of the best things about this digital platform: not only can you see how many views, shares, and reach the video has made. You can also test what types of the content work and what doesn’t: to truly gauge how engaged the YouTubers audience is. Gone are the days where brands rely on celebrity endorsements to get their brands out there, we are at the dawn of a new era now: we listen to YouTubers and bloggers. Why? They are a reflection of us, the millennial generation, and we believe in what they stand for. If we see them talking about a great product then chances are we’ll buy it, or at least start talking about it ourselves. Either way, there is no knocking it: brand awareness through video content works!

How can I get them to work with me?

There are several ways that you can collaborate with a YouTubers to get your brand out there. The most successful involve working with them to develop a product, creating an experience for them with exclusive access, or collaborating and developing an idea alongside them. There are other ways you can get involved too, through sponsorship or being mentioned passingly in one of their longer videos: but be aware that these lack authenticity and are likely to be ignored by their audience. Remember that the bigger the YouTubers subscriber number, the larger and less targeted their audience will more likely be, so think about what the goal of your message is. Trying several smaller YouTubers, with a smaller but more engaged reach may be more useful for your campaign, than paying out for a huge YouTuber which may not yield the same engagement.

Similar to collaborating with bloggers, it won’t work if you go in all guns blazing, throw some money at them and expect results. No, you have to go in with an open mind, looking to collaborate with them to create something truly exciting. Relevance is key here, consider the type of brands they have worked with before and whether or not your brand is relevant to their audience. Have a look at the type of content they produce, and before you even think of contacting them come up with a strategy of how your brand fits in with them: what can you offer of value? Most of the successful campaigns marry the talent style and the brand organically, so being open to the YouTubers ideas is essential.

A great example of this was when KFC collaborated with the vlogger KSI in an attempt to get more people talking about that finger lickin’ chicken. Together they worked on creating the KFC Challenge, in which people had to say what they would do for 50 years of free chicken. KSI created a video for his channel on the competition and the traction was incredible. Going viral in seconds, the video was watched over 2 million times. This is the sort of collaboration which works: when both brand and YouTuber are business partners. No one knows the product better than the brand, and no one knows the target audience better than the YouTuber: if done correctly, it’s a match made in heaven.

Got a brand out there and want to take it into the digital sphere but not sure how to find the right YouTubers to support you? Get in touch and we will help you get started!

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