In celebration of the powerful, cultural force that is online video, VidCon, has grown exponentially over the last seven years. Amongst this bustling gathering of brands, agencies, MCNs and creators, the next frontier for this ever-evolving space is redefined. Since it’s relatively early in the game, there is a lot of uncharted territory to cover in terms of standards, best practices, etc., but the excitement and potential is real to say the least.Just a bit ago, we talked abut the makeup of these super creators and what’s to be gained from this new, mass consumption of content. For a quick catch-up, you can check it out here.
One of the biggest bang for the online video/content creator buck is the younger audiences. They are ravenous content consumers who are redefining how they want to interact with brands and be advertised to. In addition, the kids love creators. LOVE them like Rock Stars.
As we walked VidCon, every few minutes was met with high pitch screams and a rushing heard of kids chasing after their favorite creator. Most of these highly influential creators have long standing followings of several years under their belts, so they’ve literally grown up with their audience - a connection that is unrivaled in traditional marketing. It goes way deeper.
Many creators even have professional partnerships with OTT services to produce original content. They're directing their own films and are leading the next wave of creatives.
So how does all of this come together? What can creators do for you?
How can you be sure that you’re working with the right creator?
From your imagination to YouTube collaborations, branded content, branded partnerships and beyond, below are our top 10 tips for fine tuning your creator picker:
1. SEEK BRAND/CREATOR AUDIENCE ALIGNMENT
Millions of subscribers and likes does not necessarily make one creator better than the next. It’s all about audience demographics, the type of content, the products they talk about most and how they connect with their audience. Make sure they care about what you care about. Without these checks in place, the content will feel forced and the response will suffer. Rely on the Audience 80/20 rule: You want to reach the 20% of their audience that’s engaging, commenting, retweeting, sharing, etc.
2. CHOOSE A CREATOR WITH HEART
Who cares about the content they are producing? Who is engaging? Look at views vs. comments. If the creator truly cares about their work, the creator consistently engages with their audience in the comments. This banter is key and a clear sign of a great partner.
3. TRUST AND BELIEVE
If the creator has tattoos, uses colorful language, or is a bit out there, has a certain way of peaking or style of filming - don't judge and most of all, don’t ask them to change. That is more than likely what they are known for, and precisely why people follow them. Trust their vision, trust that they know what their audience wants to see from them and most of all, trust that they will create the best content for your brand, themselves and their audience.
4. PICKY = INTEGRITY
Even though you may feel a creator is perfect for you, if they decline it’s because they know what their audience wants and what products or services their audience wants to see and cares about, best. It’s common for higher level influencers say no to 60-70% of pitches. Move on.
5. SMALLER IS BETTER
Since many of the top creators are inundated, try searching for smaller creators that work harder to create unique content and have smaller, yet highly engaged audiences. By building a relationship with them early in their career and nurturing it, as the creator grows so will the relationship.
6. PRE-DEFINE GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND METRICS
The brand is responsible for determining goals, objectives and metrics and the creator is responsible for coming up with the creative solutions. Identify KPIs for ROI before the start of a campaign and before choosing a creator. If it is not direct ROI, then determine how the campaign will help move someone along the customer path.
7. SET EXPECTATIONS - UPFRONT
Help the creator understand your brand guidelines with a list of do’s and don'ts. Make sure that expectations are pre-set and that everyone is on the same page. Ask for example videos or mock-ups to be sure you are aligned.
8. CREATE CREATOR AUDIENCE TRANSPARENCY
FACT: When the creator is upfront with the brand partnership, there is no backlash.
Failure to do so will affect how the audience perceives your brand. Have the creator use #ad and #sponsored on social posts (never #spon or some other ambiguous word/discloser, someone may not know what it means), have them announce the partnership early on in the video and disclose above the fold in the video description, every time.
9. LIMIT FEEDBACK
Let the creator be creative - they know what's best for their audience.
The partnership should feel natural and the creator is the best one to determine what's right for their audience. Focus on empowering the content and making it fun rather than disturbing it.
Reviews should be limited to two or three rounds – max.
10. DEFINE FTC GUIDELINES
Because the FTC has not completely defined influencer disclosure rules, every brand, every MCN and every company has developed their own interpretation. Until the guidelines have been made clear, it's better to have strict partnership discloser rules than to be lenient and chance being penalized.
We hope this helps define some of the undefinable parameters when it comes to the new frontier that is, content creators and online video…
Have your own content creator tip or story to share? Tell us about it!
Photo Courtesy of VidCon