Last week, ICX Media made it's way to sunny Southern California to take part in VidCon, the world's biggest celebration of online video and digital culture. With more than 20,000 fans, creators, industry representatives and brands from around the globe, it was quite the scene and and an excellent opportunity to learn from the community. Here are my five takeaways for creators from sessions and conversations with influencers leading the way:
1. Focus your efforts. Daily vlogger Benji Travis of 'itsJudyslife' and Sean Cannell of Video Influencers believe strongly that having a focus is the key to success. They advise creators to think of their channel like a TV network: is it a sports channel, entertainment channel, cooking channel, and so on.
2. Act like a marketer, think like a creator. Connect directly with viewers, read their posts and spend time understanding who your audience is. Creators can then apply their creative energy toward content that strongly appeals to their followers, and use social networks like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter to find and drive more fans with similar interests back to their content.
3. Being 'huge' isn't always about size of viewership. John Green, cofounder of VidCon and ''VlogBrothers'' YouTube channel contends that having a small, highly active viewership can be just as, if not more, powerful (and lucrative). ''I don't want to grow,'' he said in his opening address. ''I want an awesome audience, not a huge one. If you're able to engage more deeply with a small audience than a huge one then I'd argue shrinking is good.''
4. Don't get intimidated by the data. Today creators have access to powerful data through online platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and more to help them dig in deeper into who's watching, when and for how long. They can also use data to do such things as optimize their titles, descriptions, tags and more to increase video discoverability. The most successful creators I talked to said they lean on other influencers for tips on which data to focus on. Many creators also look to new technologies, like ICX Media, to help them bring all of their data together in one place and to better use data to help find more viewers for their videos and, ultimately, make more money.
5. Above all else, be passionate. One point that was echoed throughout the three days across many panels was the importance of passion as fuel for creation. Making videos strictly for money or as a means to make money, will only get you so far.