YouTube may have started out as a place to post crazy cat videos but over the years the platform has evolved from entertainment to a highly effective avenue for self-promotion. Currently, there are YouTubers get over 10 million views per video, more than some of the most popular TV shows.
With the potential to reach so many people at once its no wonder that so many brands are utilising YouTube as a marketing tool. Promoting yourself on YouTube is cheaper than advertising over the usual channels and it can get your brand in front of millions of people.
How do you leverage YouTube for your brand?
There are many ways to get your product featured on a YouTube channel. You could simply send the product to a YouTubers PO Box and hope for the best, or you could get in contact with them and try and arrange a Brand Integration deal.
Brand Integration will more often than not cost money, however it can be incredibly effective. The deal you make can be anything from simply mentioning your product briefly in a video to a full campaign on multiple platforms.
Which approach is right for me?
The best strategy depends on how much you are willing to spend, what your product is and your overall brand strategy.
If you are a local small business or start up you might want to start by sending various YouTubers a sample of your product with an introductory letter and hope they mention you in a video. Its important to be aware that with this method the YouTubers you approach have no obligation to mention your product or say anything good about it if they do.
If there is a budget, then Id suggest getting in contact with the YouTuber directly or via their agency and try to work out some sort of Brand Integration deal. The advantage of this is that they are guaranteed to talk positively about your brand, but it does mean there will be a fee.
Another approach that can be very effective is to actually work with them off YouTube. For example you could invite them to an event you are hosting, and ask them to vlog, so you can have some coverage. This is a good middle ground, and may be cheaper than a paid brand integration, although in some cases you may still have to pay the YouTuber for the privilege of going to your event and giving you coverage.
Who should I target?
Again this really comes down to what the product is, how big your business is and also how much you are willing to spend.
I highly advise you do your research before you start contacting YouTubers randomly and sending your product everywhere. Know your niche and really do your research into which YouTubers endorse products similar to yours. This will save you a lot of wasted time and energy and give you a far better chance of success than taking a random mass approach.
If you are a smaller business its a good idea to look for YouTubers who have between 0-100,000 subscribers and are local to you. These smaller YouTubers probably wont consider YouTube their full time job, but they may be looking to turn it into a career. This means they may be more open to featuring a variety of different products for a small or possibly no fee.
These smaller YouTubers, especially if they are local, will also be more likely to go to your events and film them, as they will be looking for different content to post to their channel.
Even if you are a larger business I would still suggest starting out with the smaller YouTubers, as you are more likely to be able to contact them personally, unlike the more established YouTubers who will have agents. While you can definitely try contacting the bigger YouTubers it may be harder to get your brand featured, at least in the beginning.