By Kaila Yu, for Edwardsturm.com.
Although this post features a case study on a Youtube project launched in 2012, the tactics used are still extremely relevant for Youtube channel strategies today.
While 10,000 subscribers is just a drop in the bucket for the over 2,000 channels with at least 1 million subscribers, for most channels, an additional 10,000 subscribers will not just be a welcomed gift, but a boon.
Why Is 10,000 Youtube Subscribers a Benchmark?
10,000 subscribers is the minimum number needed to have access to the premium YouTube Space facilities: allowing you to rent sound stages and professional camera equipment for free. The YouTube Spaces also offer seminars, channel collaboration opportunities, and VIP event access. Currently, there are YouTube Space locations in LA, NY, Tokyo, Paris, London, Mumbai, Toronto, Berlin, and São Paulo.
The Channel featured in this case study is Nylon Pink Official. I’ve always valued the importance of marketing to a niche audience, which Nylon Pink certainly does. We’re an all Asian girl band that plays rock & roll music. Definitely a niche.
Music Videos have always been one of the top marketing tools musicians have and many bands have used them to build incredible followings on YouTube. We saw the value in building a Youtube presence, but our first few single releases on Youtube received negligible view counts. Although we were confident in our music, it’s difficult to simply release music on Youtube and expect traction. It was imperative that we developed a strategy for our brand and that we meticulously studied the current market.
Youtube Marketing Strategy: Cover Videos
Many musicians have had great success gaining huge followings on Youtube via cover songs. One of the standouts when we came onto the scene was Karmin. Their top cover received over 100 million views and the band went on to be featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, later getting signed to Epic Records.
While we were in awe of what Karmin was accomplishing, we saw the cover song market quickly becoming oversaturated. We thought carefully about whether or not we could break through using this method.
Luckily, another trend was happening concurrently- the KPOP phenomenon. KPOP = Korean Pop Music. KPOP was massive and gaining huge traction in the United States. There were almost no rock bands covering KPOP songs, giving us an unfair advantage.
We did a fair amount of research before deciding on which song to cover first, and although many of Nylon Pink’s members were fans of the breakout band 2NE1, we settled on the juggernaut of a nine-member girl group called Girls’ Generation. At the time of our cover video, the Girls’ Generation single, “Gee,” had garnered 65 million views and counting (the video has since gotten a total of 165 million views).
Song selection was a very important part of our process. We chose from amongst the most viewed KPOP videos on Youtube.
The Importance of a Solid Marketing Strategy
The song was recorded and produced, and the cover video was shot and edited. We had experienced the effects of launching a video without a marketing plan in place, so we had the emotional motivation to take our time developing a solid outreach strategy.
Weeks prior to the video launch date we had started posting teasers about the upcoming video. We had mapped out and recorded all the KPOP related forums, press outlets (e-mails and Twitters), and Facebook groups.
We made sure to optimize our keywords, the keyword for this video being, “Girls’ Generation ‘Gee’”. We made sure that the keyword was in the video file, the video title, and mentioned several times naturally in the video description. For a deep dive into Youtube video optimization and developing a Youtube video marketing plan, check out James Wedmore’s Video Traffic Academy Course. We followed his teachings very closely during our launch.
We scheduled all our social media marketing posts on our launch date to land the moment the video went live. Our PR and marketing outreach was scheduled to launch simultaneously. Our tactic was to get a big burst of traffic immediately upon the video release. We learned from the above course that videos that have the best chance of ranking on Youtube are those that receive a large number of views within 48 hours.
To facilitate this launch, we scheduled a Skype chat room with all the band’s members and invited our top street team fans. We had read the 1,000 True Fans manifesto by Kevin Kelly and had been building a dedicated and loyal fanbase. The purpose of this live chat was to foster camaraderie and a shared goal. Everyone in the chat would receive instant updates to exciting or relevant news about the video launch.
After the video launched, we quickly jumped to 10,000 views and the count continued to climb steadily for the rest of the day. The next day we saw huge success when the KPOP media authority, ALLKPOP, featured us, quickly catapulting the view count to about 150,000 views.
We didn’t realize how much controversy our video would cause in the KPOP community, but that controversy ultimately boosted our visibility. We partnered with our clothing sponsor Abigail Greydanus to wear her stunning and sexy latex dresses for the production. Our lovely makeup artist team assembled by Mindy Holguin of Vanity Box Studio created super glam makeup looks for each of the band members. All of this prep unexpectedly created a huge backlash from the KPOP community and from the fans of Girls’ Generation.
These die-hard fans didn’t appreciate the amount of skin we were showing and what they thought to be our overly made up faces. Some of the members had a tough time reading the comments for our video- the Youtube community can be harsh! It was brutal, but the arguments going back and forth between fans and detractors only served to keep the momentum on our video going. Today the video is at over 290K views
Similarly, you can use Google Trends to identify timely news and brainstorm how to add a discussion worthy topic to your video.
By the time we released our cover of Girls’ Generation’s “Gee,” the original song was no longer a new single and had already been out for almost three years. For our second cover video release, we wanted capitalize on buzz and traffic from a KPOP new release.
We selected the KPOP artist, BIGBANG, for three reasons.
- Covering BIGBANG would be a huge contrast from our first video as BIGBANG is an all-male pop group.
- Their upcoming release, “BLUE,” was a ballad and would be different from the super upbeat, candy pop song that was GEE.
- We wanted to keep our covers fresh and interesting.
Once BIGBANG published their release date for BLUE’s music video, we had one week to rush into the studio, record the track, and shoot the video. We were able to release our video almost simultaneously with the original artists’ video release. We successfully capitalized on the huge buzz generated from BIGBANG and received more views than with our “Gee” cover. The video is now at over 365,000 views.
Aftereffects of Our Strategy
We had a huge year for the band the year these videos premiered. We went on our first regional tour and our first international tour in Asia – working with the very prestigious Hard Rock Cafe Macau and the Hard Rock Malaysia. We then went on to tour Japan and get booked by the brand Havaianas for their premiere launch party in Shanghai, China. Prior to our successful Youtube strategy, we had never toured at all. For our band, these were huge effects and a thoughtful online strategy led to us becoming international artists.
Ironically the Youtube Channel ultimately lost its momentum because the band was so busy touring. Another major problem that we were never able to solve was that shooting our style of cover videos is expensive. Here’s our cost breakdown per video:
Music Production: $300-500.
Video Production: $300-500.
I believe that we could have easily grown our channel to 100,000 subscribers if we had enough budget to release one cover video weekly.
We are now exploring how to pivot our channel to produce more cost effective and easily produced content.
We can’t wait to share what we come up with!