Now that you’re a year into this, what have you learned?We always knew that audience development was hard, but it's so important.
Lesson one: Audience development is equally as important as great content. By creating fantastic content, and spending zero time on audience development, you are certain that you will not succeed on YouTube. You have to focus on audience development as much as you focus on creating content.
But you knew that already, right? Everyone who pitched you last year had to explain how they going to market and distribute their stuff, without your help.
We knew it. But we couldn’t tell with a great certainty. Now we know.
I’m talking about sustained success. Everybody can have a viral success. You find something unique, that can happen. But what we want is for people to repeat things over and over and build great brands. And for that, you need to work with audience development.
There’s a function with every TV channel, which is called a programmer, and they have great expertise in prime time flow, and late night flow, and they figure out the best way to optimize channel viewership. And then they also have marketing people. What audience development on YouTube means is really taking the marketing function from the TV channel, plus the programming function from the TV channel, and combining them into a job called audience development.
Who’s supposed to do that? The content creator or YouTube?
The content creator. That’s why I’m saying it’s similar to what happens with TV channels. Where you have programmers who schedule, and figure out prime time flow. As things go more and more on-demand, and less linear, the prime time flow expertise is less needed. You have to learn how you program in an on-demand world, which is a much different skill set.
Web video is much more than producing a quality video, that evokes an emotion, and leads to being shared.
You have to think about attracting and building an audience.
More than that, today's web audience, isn't them, it's us.
Last year I experimented with using Google+ Hangouts on SteveGarfield.tv at The Pulse Network. My goal was to try to figure out how to easily make the 'people formerly known as the audience' a part of the show. It really worked great and lead to my show being the #2 most watched live show, behind Chris Brogan's Kitchen Table Talks.
Image: The Road to #SXSW
This experience lead to the development my show, The Road to #SXSW, which live streamed a Google+ Hangout, and had smart and funny people talking about how to prepare for SXSW.
Image: Huffington Post Live using Google Hangouts
I think we are on to something. Huffington Post Live and Shira Lazar's What's Trending are doing a super job bringing in a Live audience via Google Plus hangouts.
I'm looking forward to seeing where I can experiment next in this fast changing environment.
What are your thoughts on what's happening?