YouTube recently added five tailored Playbook Guides – for education, media companies, music, nonprofits, and sports – to be used in conjunction with Version 3 of the Creator Playbook, which is the main resource for site-wide best practices.
After reviewing each of the five new Playbook Guides, it’s clear that one size does not fit all when it comes to audience development. Although every YouTube channel needs great content to be successful, the strategies for building audiences around each type of content are significantly different.
For example, YouTube EDU is home to high quality educational content from around the world. YouTube’s ambitious goal is to provide a global platform where anyone, anywhere can teach – or learn – anything they want. From Pre-K (e.g., Sesame Street) to Primary and Secondary Education (e.g., Khan Academy), to Higher Education (e.g., Massachusetts Institute of Technology), to Lifelong Learning (e.g., Big Think), YouTube wants to encourage creators in this category to continually discover, create, and share educational videos with the world.
However, some schools block access to YouTube, so the Education Playbook Guide talks about a gateway feature called YouTube for Schools that provides school networks with access to YouTube education videos, while continuing to block the rest of YouTube. Additional features include disabled comments and related video suggestions that are limited to YouTube EDU content.
There are two main types of media companies on YouTube. The first type creates “new” content that is tailored for YouTube’s audience and platform (e.g., PBS Off Book and Nerdist). The second type “repurposes” content that was originally produced for television or a partner’s owned and operated site (e.g., Comedy Central or TED Talks).
The Playbook Guide for Media Companies tackles a question that both types of media companies would ask: At what point is it smart to launch a new channel? The answer: If your content appeals to multiple, diverse audiences, then create multiple, diverse channels. And how should media companies leverage their existing audiences to drive viewership to a new channel? This particular guide says, “Annotations, calls-to-action (CTAs), description links, and promotional videos are effective traffic movers.”
It’s worth noting that the Music Playbook Guide doesn’t begin a category landscape like the other four playbook guides do. Perhaps this is because YouTube’s relationship with Vevo, the leading music video website, is “complicated.” Vevo is a joint venture operated by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media, but Google and Vevo share the site’s advertising revenue.
Instead, the Music Playbook Guide jumps straight to the top concerns of YouTube’s other music partners (e.g., The Warner Sound). This includes how to use YouTube to release an album or song. It also includes how to use your artist or talent more effectively on YouTube. The guide suggests creating promotional videos and extra content from the artist.
YouTube has a large number of success stories from nonprofits who have used the platform both to fundraise and to raise awareness for their causes. The Playbook Guide for Nonprofits features:
- The American Foundation for Equal Rights,
- Project for Awesome,
- It Gets Better Project,
- charity: water
- Jumba Lenana Academy.
The Playbook Guide for Nonprofits tackles category-specific issues, including how to build awareness around your cause, reach supporters, and recruit volunteers. Nonprofit partners can use Call to Action Overlays or a Google Wallet “Donate” button.
Sports channels on YouTube allow people around the world to follow the leagues, teams, and sports that they love. Some sports channels are focused on entire leagues and teams, while others are focused on single athletes. The vast majority fall into one of these five categories:
- Leagues/Governing Bodies (e.g., NHL),
- Teams/Players (e.g., Real Madrid),
- Action Sports (e.g., NetworkA),
- Made for Broadcast/Commentary (e.g., Bleacher Report),
- Fitness/Instructional (e.g., BeFit).
The Sports Playbook Guide highlights important tools for many sports channels: Content ID and live streaming. Content ID is especially important for channels that are also rights holders of game or match footage.
This is the content that is most frequently uploaded by unauthorized channels, so activating Content ID is critical. Features that allow live streaming are also available to some sports channel partners. This is a great new self-service tool that allows live streaming of a sporting event or a press conference, engaging sports fans in a unique way.
So, is anything missing? There are a lot more than five categories of content on YouTube. In fact, there are another 20 categories of YouTube Original Channels that haven’t been addressed yet:
- Family Oriented
- Film and Animation
- Home & Garden
- Pets and Animals
- Science and Technology
- Women’s Interests
So, don’t be surprised if these five Creator Playbooks are just the first of a much larger set of resources for YouTube partners and other content creators. Or, as they use to say on early TV shows, “Don’t touch that dial, we’ll be back after these messages.”