Most marketers-- even seasoned PR professionals and brand managers-- are still new to the idea of marketing through YouTube influencers. While the natural tendency is to dip a toe in and try one or two placements at a time, that's not going to yield results. Influence only happens when you gain enough reach. Here's the quick and easy way to ensure you're getting the reach your campaign requires.
First the why, then the how...
Why YouTube is Low-Risk, High-Yield Marketing
Influence marketing on YouTube isn't like traditional media placements. Whereas a prime magazine or website feature might take weeks or months to score, then succeed or fail on how well that single article fares among readers, YouTube placements aren't locked into a single point of exposure that requires so much work to achieve. That makes them much less risky to pursue.
Easy to Land, Easy to Manage
Because our marketplace makes YouTube placements so fast and inexpensive to obtain, it's possible to score dozens of placements in a single day. While that might pose concerns in traditional media, YouTube placements are so much easier to manage, the headaches just aren't there.
The vast majority of YouTube creators manage their own channels, which means the creators themselves pick and choose the products they want to feature. Some larger channels do employ business managers, but that's usually a good thing. And YouTubers tend to be very skilled at spinning one free product into an engaging video-- it's what they do! Your effort needed to help them to do that well with your product is about zero. This is nothing like working with a journalist or blogger to find an interesting story angle. In fact, on Content BLVD, there isn't even any pitching. List and describe your product, then weigh offers to feature it. Easy.
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As anyone in PR knows, to gain earned media exposures, you can't control the creator's content, but the "risk" that introduces into the equation is negligible. YouTube influencers are eager to build and maintain fruitful brand relationships-- not burn bridges. They simply do not trash products they receive from brands.
The risk for brands today is not the influencers you work with. They are your best asset. No, the risk is the millions of people you don't know who have a smartphone and a YouTube account. Working with influencers is the best way to ensure that your brand is getting the positive exposure it deserves.
For large, well-established brands, it's about reputation management, and staying relevant by being in the conversation influencers are having with their devoted audience. For smaller challenger brands and new ones that are just getting launched, it's about getting found in a cost-effective way that lends more credibility to your brand than just about any other promotional techniques.
In either case, no matter how many videos you want live, or viewers you want to reach, your per-video costs are limited to the products you ship. Free products go a long way toward helping YouTubers fill their content calendars. And additional products to give to their fans help them build audience. That's valuable currency. Considering your products actually cost you much less than their retail value,
It's Authentic Earned Media, Not Paid or Owned
The rise of influencer marketing has spawned an entire industry around helping influencers monetize their valuable audience. We feel strongly that these new mini media moguls can and do deserve to get in on the action, and we may build paid placement features into our marketplace.
However, the most direct way for everyone to see value-- brands and creators alike-- is the quick and easy exchange of products for exposure. Not only has that kind of exchange underpinned most PR for the past few decades, but it creates better, more authentic content for a discerning audience. Earned placements are credible and therefore more trusted than any other content you can buy or create yourself.
Authenticity makes all the difference.
So how do you take advantage of all that low-risk, high-yield goodness? Here's how...
How to Gain Real Influence on YouTube, Fast
1. Get What You Give: Offer a Product of Value
We've found that creators prefer to feature products that are over $25 in value, or to bundle more products into a haul-style video. If a giveaway is involved (often the best idea for more audience engagement), fans just don't care about cheap giveaways. They're going online to find the best and coolest new stuff. If what you want to offer is a bottle of nail polish, best to send the whole color palette, or combine it with a nail care set.
The more you give, the more interested YouTubers and their audiences will be. Sending out two products to each YouTuber so they can get one to keep and one to give away is the perfect way to do that.
2. Make a Splash: Ten or More Placements at a Time
Trying one or two placements only serves to prove that people do make videos when you send them products. That's not even a question. Creators can't linger around Content BLVD taking products for free and then NOT making videos. If the concern is whether that particular YouTuber will feature the product in a way you like, all you need to do is check their previous videos right from their profile card.
Like any PR or product launch campaign, you want your product in a lot of places at once. One placement on one YouTube channel isn't much of a blip. Ten, twenty or 100 placements is where the value lies, so set aside some products and make it a real campaign.
In addition to the views and comments on the videos that are published with your products,
if you publish enough videos. Not only do YouTube videos surface in standard Google results, but after Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, making your products that much more findable with just one campaign.
3. Come One, Come All, Channels Big and Small
Research has shown any two digital media properties (like websites or YouTube channels) are unlikely to share more than 5% of viewers in common. The bigger they are, the more they'll share. The smaller they are, the more fragmented the audiences become. That's good news when you can reach dozens of channels with just some clicks.
Because the incremental cost of accepting more offers and sending out more products is so low, it's best to spread your placements across more channels. Not only can you reach further across your target audience, but you will likely compete with fewer placements by other brands, as smaller channels do not tend to fill with placements like larger channels do. Besides, viewers want to "discover" new things, and smaller channels are the perfect avenue for making that happen.
4. Quick Decisions Earn Loyal Fans
Building your influence marketing engine isn't just about flipping a switch (though we do make it almost that easy). Influence is about people. The people who you want to help you market your brand are going to help you more the more you use them, and the more your relationship grows.
So we don't recommend sitting on offers for more than a few days at a time. For a YouTube creator to be able to go from seeing your product in the marketplace to publishing a video about it in under two weeks is a great user experience. When you help make that happen, you make happy YouTubers who want to help you more.
Questions, comments or concerns about working with YouTube influencers? Just ask in the comments. We're here to help!