A person I know well recently asked me why he should keep producing his media when people seem to not want what he produces, but instead want the animal videos, people making fools of themselves, and teenagers lip synching to copyrighted music. In other words, Youtube content. I gave him a pep talk, but have thought about it in more detail since. Here is what I would say now.
Youtube has stacked the deck against quality web productions that are made by truly indie producers, get used to it and keep producing
Why make a statement like the one above? Because it is true. Youtube has set the bar of Internet entertainment and media content at the lowest level possible. Just look at what people view there and push to the top of the heap.
Yes, take a good look at what is at the top. The freaks, the oddities, and when it is not the freaks and oddities, then it is mainstream stuff snuck in, before it is pulled due to copyright issues. There is great stuff there, but it tends to get buried.
Some of the oddities and such are actually very interesting. The Weezer video for Pork and Beans showcases some of these interesting things you find on Youtube, and a couple of the absolute worst. Chris anyone? The Superman dance guys? Please.
Unfortunately, Youtube is where most people go when they think of user generated content. It is easy to use and has tons of things to watch. People in general do not like to search all over the net for their online media, they like “one stop shopping,” so to speak. Youtube capitalizes on this.
So what does this mean for producers of quality media? For one, it means get your stuff on Youtube. Like I said, there is great stuff on Youtube, even if it stays buried a bit too often. It also means getting on Viddler, Veoh, Blip, Vimeo, and all those other services out there, as well as offering your stuff from your own server and siteÂ with a subscription feed.
“But,” you say, “I produce audio content, not video, what about me?”
Well, audio is it’s own beast, and if someone is looking for audio content, they are generally not looking on Youtube, so you have a bit of a break there. Also, people looking for audio are generally looking for the great stuff, as horrible audio is not entertaining, so they tend to search out the best.
So, as a producer of video content, look to those other video networks mentioned above. Networks such as Viddler, Veoh, Blip, Vimeo, even Utterli, and the many others that tend to reward and promote the higher quality content. It is true that these networks are smaller in viewer numbers, but quantity is not everything. The viewers on these networks seem to be more discriminating, and thus, are more likely to stick with a quality production, unlike the Youtube folks that are always looking for their next freak video fix.
Also, don’t forget about your own production website. This should be ground zero for all your promotions, so get it set up for the task. Get your content together and take promoting it serious. Make sure you have a good site design, have good SEO through unique written content as well as your media so you get Google’s attention, cross promote and get backlinks with other sites of like content and other media producers, and always offer up an easy to find RSS subscription option.
Getting your media noticed is a battle of sorts. It is a marathon, not a sprint, that is for sure. Build, Build, Build, and reap the longtime rewards.
Whatever you do, don’t stop producing. Those videos on Youtube that have no redeeming quality and took no talent to produce yet get seriously silly viewer Numbers may get you down from time to time during your building phase, but what you build will be hard to tear down, those Youtube videos are generally the truest definition of the “one hit wonder.”
So produce, promote, and be proud of what you create. Continue to grow and experiment. Increase your skills with every production and never stop being open to learning new things. You will win in the end. You may not be the “be all, end all,” or most popular producer ever, but people will not remember you for being a freak, a fool, or worse. They will remember the quality of your productions. That is a win!