W hen I started managing the video strategy at a large electronics distributor, the company had more than 10 different YouTube channels representing the various businesses and regions. We even had some employees who had created their own personal channels to represent their various functions. The result was disorganized chaos and our first order of business was to consolidate down to one controlled and organized corporate channel.
For the next eighteen months we focused on creating great content and growing our audience. Within two years we were dominating our industry in views, engagement, and number of subscribers. We had established a valuable audience and our success was opening doors to content partnerships we hadn’t previously known.
Yet with a great audience, comes greater responsibility when it comes to distribution cadence, content type, and even the number of videos published. We started to find that the different pieces of our video strategy were clashing to the detriment of our audience. For example, our business was tasked to create and aggregate great content for the conversion-based product video section of our strategy. We would shoot product video in bulk to maximize efficiency and then would batch upload to our YouTube channel. Yet every time we did this, we’d see a substantial subscriber count drop the next day. It seems that ‘blowing up’ your audience’s news feeds isn’t a welcomed action! At first we thought it might just be a content related issue, but this turned out to be untrue. Even fairly relevant content (like exclusive interviews from a large electronics convention) would stall or even reverse audience growth if uploaded in batch. Even two videos in the same day would be pushing the limits unless the content was extremely high value.
For a while we struggled with a solution. We were uploading all of our content into our branded media player on a website (powered by a third party solution called Brightcove) but we were missing the awesome indexing, syndication, SEO, and platform power of YouTube.
The answer turned out to be a simple one. It’s likely that our determined past effort to consolidate our many chaotic channels may have blinded us to enacting this solution sooner.
To protect our audience and maintain
better control of our content,
we created a second YouTube channel.
Now by no means is a second channel a new concept. Many of the most popular creator channels on YouTube utilize a second (or sometimes even third or fourth) channel to monetize more content. In the corporate world, however, this isn’t done as frequently for the reason of audience protection. Most companies that are using multiple YouTube channels like we had been: to separate multiple business sections (regions, functions, department, etc). In our case, the two channels would serve separate objectives and be organized by content type.
Here is how we laid it out:
Channel One: This would be our primary channel and feature our best, most relevant content. The channel would focus on audience, views, reach, and engagement. We would only release 1-3 videos per week and be consistent in our publishing pace. This would be the channel we promoted on our site, via other linked channels, and with our media partners. We would also cross-promote this channel with our very popular weekly web show channel.
Channel Two: All other content would go here. From product videos, to aggregated media, to extra/bonus material… all of it would be published and public on YouTube, but not at the detriment of our audience. Our leading industry community would also push digital video to this channel and it would become a home for user generated content, material collected from supplier partners, and a large archive of webinars. We would organize this channel into logical playlists and eventually this will mirror an updated media portal on our community site.
Primary Takeaway: Understanding your audience (customer, viewer, prospect, etc) is imperative to identifying a use/distribution strategy that will be most effective. Even though we were leading the industry with our primary channel, it wasn’t until we looked at the granular publishing implications that we were able to both identify the need for a second channel and then put one into practice. Keep a close eye on industry leaders to understand the tactics they use, but don’t be afraid to get creative and try new variations of those tactics that could propel your own strategy to new heights. Finally, don’t let yesterday’s actions overshadow today’s opportunities. We could have come up with the multi-channel solution faster if we hadn’t had the ‘only one channel’ mindset so set in stone.