BRINGING SCIENCE & ART OF ONLINE BRANDING: PULLING THE CURTAINS BACK FROM SENSATIONAL YOUTUBE SUCCESSES

Author – Pankaj Mohanta | Download PDF: Online Branding & YouTube – Pankaj Mohanta

 

 “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle
– Abraham Lincoln


The online space and much of what it has in it have been the talk of the town ever since the dawn of the era of web 2.0. The user generated content mass has contributed to the creation of a datasphere much like lithosphere or hydrosphere & the likes. Not to mention, the internet of things [IOT] in this world of ever increasing connected smart devices which are only going to balloon that datasphere to larger dimensions in terms of volume. With that being mentioned, there is a direct resultant for those who actively inject materials to their own catalogue of unique contents. Nevertheless, late Herbert Spencer might have had really meant it back in the day when he said, “survival of the fittest” but this digitally tech savvy generation Z knows nothing of that kind because what stands more true now is the new theory of, survival of the smartest.    

So, what does it really take to become the king/queen of the online sea of contents to be singled out as one among the very few that have a distinctive panache? The answer to this may be very simple. Simple enough for a 7 year old to understand & do it but agonizingly slow enough for even a ton of grown-ups to give up.

THE 2 WORDS RECIPE TO THIS DISH – BALANCE + CONSISTENCY  

Aside the 2 words recipe for the holy grail to online success, there is a power play of two other elements to it as well. First, the target audience; second, the content creator. These two are the prime reasons why we even have most of the user generated online contents existing the way they are in the first place. However, from a content creator’s frame of reference for what it’s worth, we are here because they are there.

 Nonetheless, I will now focus on the first element that is, the target audience.

This pool consists of all the ladies & gentlemen who might be interested in you & your content[s]. Now, we all do realize that they are humans too just like me, you & others. Which means for most of them in that pool if we zero in on some primal higher functions of getting things out of something, which successfully presents a stimuli that has been put across, works almost the same way with their cognition & perception. Let’s see what really goes down in here with a scenario context in hand:

[Assuming a content,  X, at YouTube  to be appealing enough to a reasonable millennial audience named, Miss. Yolo]

  1. Yolo runs into X from some form of media
  2. She sees that. Due to an extremely engaging content, X gets through her short attention span
  3. She likes it at first. Then checks another content, X2, from the same publisher
  4. Now, Yolo loves it! Then checks few more contents like X3, X4, …, XN, from the same publisher
  5. Yolo subscribes that channel
  6. She hits the like & follow buttons of the X’s creator, across her social media
  7. Shares it with her friends in her personal circle [In cases of viral videos, this might advance in some geometric progression with a fractal pattern]
  8. Yolo checks back again wishing for more similar freshly released contents
  9. Start over from #7 – #8 [Typically applies the same way to Yolo & most others as well]

Understand something, I haven’t written down anything up there that isn’t unknown but behind the scenes physiologically & psychologically, there are indeed quite a few things that are less known. I am going to try summarizing it up for all of you, readers.

Down below is the behind the scenes to cover the inside story of Miss. Yolo’s behavioral processes:

Our brain works in ways that is extraordinarily amazing. It is THE control & coordination headquarters of literally, EVERYTHING. Mentioning more to the topic specific theme, there are numerous cascade of events that takes place simultaneously to let the viewers feel elated in a certain way by ways contents are usually projected. They trigger emotions, thoughts and association of an array of sensations by controlling various parts of our brain that are responsible for secretion of few hormones & neurotransmitters. The chemical cocktail of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and adrenalin are the ones that constitutes in totality of a positive experience; although these biochemicals do a lot immensely more than just generating the feel good emotions. Primarily, when the viewers watch a particular content of which they are pretty rabid fans of, it pushes them into a dopamine drive after the visual cortex decodes the messages received by the bunch of neurons relayed through optic nerves, post-retinal coupled with the auditory system doing its’ thing on the sensory frontlines. This is interpreted in highly affirmative ways in viewer’s limbic system to bring back that euphoria again another time, rich in more dopamine that constitutes a pleasure-reward system. This is what exactly provokes the viewers crave for more and may often stay on an alert mode on a look out for fresh releases with even greater deal of effort & heightened awareness that lets them keep tabs on all the whats & whens with a conscious state. This translates into tangible results like the complex mechanism of muscle movements to initiate physical actions on a behavioral note.

Knowing the physiological cover story well enough how the brain works and the way it lets a person associate with the content & its publisher, it will often help content creators to choreograph their productions to design & deliver so as to have a maximal drag for a lasting impact & minimize excitement attritions & distractions.

Anyway, I will now focus on the second element that is, the content creator.

The one thing that ALL sensational YouTube successes share is the fact that they are married to what they do. They are unusually passionate beyond measure at every step while those contents are in the making. They constantly seek advices, suggestions and recommendations from a lot of people whom they know and whom they don’t in a never ending quest for improvisations & making room for more ideas & inspirations. They steer clear of any online/offline pitfalls well advance when they see some of those coming which might even have a remote possibility of jamming their work. But only being passionate & keeping oneself busy in stuffs won’t help unless its’ done right & for what its’ worth, down below are certainly quite a few must dos:

  1. Have a roadmap: When you start off, the vision may be a little blurred [which is kind of natural] because you just initiated & there are so so so many things which you don’t generally expect but get to happen anyway. Thus, have a plan & move with it. If you have some milestones the way you picture it, well then, do write them down & have clearly defined objectives to engage your viewers. Remember, even the would-be multi-billion dollar worth of mega-projects also start with simple ideations, designs & plannings on a drawing board, prior to execution.
  1. For fringe benefits, know when is a good time: While being consistent is good but being strategically consistent is even better. Watch out what are trending & be a part of that trend itself. There could be no better timing than receiving some collateral benefits of the viral season & exposing your content to much bigger potential bulk viewers who could be, not only interested in your contents now, but also much later too. Thus, be the part of a bigger movement for expanding other’s awareness horizons.
  1. The Hook – Adding eye & ear candies creates a brain candy: Try creating contents that look, sound & feel “premium”. We humans generally have a tendency to move up the Maslow’s hierarchy. So from a context of psychology, strive for production details on a qualitative scale that hints towards an association which approaches our esteem needs. Hence, even if a set up of a bunch of gears & accessories that costs a little extra is what it takes for achieving that premium standard, you may still resort to such investments but however, not necessarily always. The end goal is to generate positive emotions & it is still highly possible to create visual elements with better regions of interest & engaging features without any studio-level equipments & gadgetry. Like it or not but these are the facts which affects most of us at a subconscious level & we may not fully realize any of them happening but understanding these definitely helps designing contents that could be more likeable.  
  1. Social media is the best thing that has happened since wheel, fire or electric bulb: Once again, if you are good at something then put it out there already! Well, your friends at your school or your mom at your home gets it that you are really good at something & you do your thing day in & day out in your basement but what good is that skill unless you showcase it & turn it into a business? That said, share it across your social media platforms which will drag attention of your friend’s friend’s sister’s dad’s nephew’s bff’s cousin. The more this link is complicated, the better it is for you. As you keep at it, your contents could get flashed in various social media feeds, related & recommended videos, other referrer sites, various search results etc.; so the more time you are investing, you are really making your odds better. Unlike little over a decade ago, promotions over other forms of media & the pace at which they went have radically changed with the tools we have now. It has become as easy as breathing. You could also very well use the pay for promotion services at the social media platforms at times.

***BONUS TIP***

Make it a moot point to be hyper active on one of the most underutilized social media site, Google+ & take advantage of Google’s sophisticated search algorithm their team uses, it lets your content have more prominent visibility by having raised your page rankings & friendlier indexing by letting web spiders crawl.       

  1. Make the viewers say, I know right?: The trick here is to bring in generally happening things of everyday life in everyone’s day which are nothing out of ordinary. So, ringing a bell always helps & when you address them with some easy to follow solutions, it often gets merrier. So, show them what they want to see without having them thought to have that seen & give them what they want to have without having them feel to have that need. Simply put, have that appeal that creates a compelling content & which will eventually go onto generating an urge in them feeling to check out your other videos. Simpler put, make them I.N.T.E.R.E.S.T.I.N.G.
  1. Make the viewers go, LOL: Okay, may be not always or way too often but most viewers of any age group simply love to laugh. This feature of sense of humor is quite intrinsic in value as we naturally tend to stick ourselves with things that spread positive vibes & we always look forward to things that brightens our day. So, sure, make your contents genuinely count by giving others a reason to smile & you being the reason for their good mood is probably, one of the best motivational drives out there & arguably one of the best content creation strategies to create new fan bases as well.
  1. Do the math – Analytics & performance measurement: This is extremely crucial. Quite possibly one of the regularly overlooked areas by the new entrants. The YouTube analytics provides you with a ramped up knowledge horsepower & this torrent of data can supply you with unique insights to remodel your existing framework or restructure your current strategies. Even at an enterprise level, let alone at an individual level, data is seen as an asset. It lets you have an informed decision making by giving you a unique stream of past & present information so that you could extrapolate for the future. It enables you to know by assisting you in measuring your metrics & identifying the key performance indicators that led to an optimized/desired state of outcome, plus, often it may also answer some of those hard to explain reasons for questions of deteriorated results over a timeframe, if any. Like most other Google analytics in various services they have, it is uber simplified. The best thing about them, you don’t have to be a Data Analyst to quantitatively build some predictive-statistical modeling, simulation or data-web-text mining to dig into those unique insights so as to figure out if any of them make sense, strategically. Regardless, this is a very unique capability which that service comes with & it certainly isn’t anything which you could afford to overlook!   
  1. Authenticity footprints: As you get bigger, better, higher, after making your way through setbacks, intense competition & failures, there will be a signature ingredient to your content when you are no more just about another YouTuber over the web. When people start looking upto you as their role model, irrespective of the glam & glitterati, you have to keep up with that thing which separates you from the rest. That “thing” could be the sum total of the heterogeneous mixture of your attitudes, values, perceptions & persona compressed into one that personifies the unitary appeal that is symbolic of how great of an accomplished artist you already are. For most part of it, if I were to put this aura into words, it is that one thing which truly means a universe to your fans that reminds them of you. In many ways, this stage could be a pinnacle but the relentless efforts for going above & beyond for your fans just never stops.

Good Luck!

Thanks for visiting & taking your time out for reading. Comments | Feedbacks | Queries | Add-ons are welcome!

 NOTE:

  1. In the behavioral processes content section of neurophysiology with respect to reactions in it towards pleasure stimuli, I do realize that some of you readers might have certain disagreements to the generalized explanation that has been put forth. While the neuro-experts haven’t yet fully understood the end to end functioning & how that makes it all happen but there is a general consensus [at least, to an extent] about quite a few things after extensive medical research pointing to strikingly similar results across numerous conducted researches by various institutes &think tanks.

 

  1. For most of the parts in this article for the sake of convenience, the term “target audience” has been referred as “viewers”. 
    Cover Picture Credit: 9to5google | Techinasia

For getting/keeping in touch, here’s where I could be reached at:

Follow me on Twitter:  @thatpankaj

Circle me at Google+ : +PankajMohanta1

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