The money is in ‘da YouTube, and WordPressers are missing out.
You heard me right.
So that got me thinking, with all these butt-kicking WordPress blogs out there, why aren’t there many WordPress vlogs out there?
I’m not talking about tutorials, which we so often lean towards in the WordPress world when it comes to video (understandably). I’m thinking of real discussions, information and the diverse content our blogs produce, but in video format.
I mean, video covers at least three of the common learning styles: visual, kinesthetic and auditory. Whereas blogs and articles only cover one – reading.
So why don’t we use video very much in the world of WordPress? And more particularly, why aren’t we capturing the audience that is already on YouTube?
Why YouTube and video matters to all content creators
YouTube Channels and ad networks are beginning to stump the value of TV shows. When explaining why traditional TV companies should care about this trend, one article paraphrases the VP of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) as saying, “the converging worlds of television and digital mean “you cannot stop at TV” anymore.”
This article hopes to show that WordPress content creators cannot stop at blogs anymore.
But there are more reasons we should be doing it. Below is the part where I convince you why, by explaining what other media companies and individual personalities are achieving through YouTube.
Then I’ll explain how it all relates to us WordPressers and bloggers. Bear with me.
The content cross-over trend:
At first I was going to make the point that traditional written media (be it news moguls or digital blogs) are now expanding into video content. This can be seen with the example of say, Mashable’s multiple channels on YouTube (5Facts, AskADev, SociallyAwkward, Mashable Originals). These are in addition to the company’s core branded YouTube channel. Popular newsstand magazines such as Fortune, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, and so many others have also made a presence on YouTube, turning their writing skills into visual story telling.
Then there’s Buzzfeed (that fun list blog we all love) and all of its YouTube properties (namely, BuzzFeed Central, BuzzFeedPop, BuzzFeedVideo and BuzzFeedYellow, which is just “more yellow”…). Oh, and CNNBuzzFeed (yeah…I don’t know about that one either).
But it’s not a unidirectional movement. So I had to change my angle.
Traditional TV is finding a space on YouTube, while ‘traditional YouTube’ is moving to print (like Smosh magazine), or written media (like whatstrending.com). More prominently, all over the web famous YouTubers are driving droves of fans to their TV and movie appearances.
It is turning into one big ‘melting pot’ of content creation. These days, it’s like you can’t be in one type of media without crossing over into all the others too. Seriously.
Content mediums are converging, and here are examples to prove it:
And they’re not the first YouTubers to do something like this. Ray William Johnson also released Riley Rewind in late 2013 and is moving on to even more projects of TV nature (so much so, he’s looking for a new face to host his über successful =3 YouTube show, to the dismay of many, I’m sure. Wait. Make that, ‘to the dismay of at least 7 million viewers…’).
In 2013, the nearly 17.5-million subscriber-base of the Smosh YouTube channel (which is associated with several others) launched a print magazine. Yes, it comes in digital format too, but the hard print version started selling to fans on newsstands before it was even video-announced.
That’s not all. FineBros (you know those guys that do the “React” videos on YouTube?) might have their show (which gets millions upon millions of views) adapted for Nickelodeon. This was after they partnered with a ‘big leagues’ media company named Fullscreen.
These buy outs of YouTube properties are turning into an investment trend. Revision3 took over Philip DeFranco’s channels, affiliating SourceFed with the likes of the Discovery Network. SourceFed is not just video though – it’s a blog too.
And our most recent ‘big’ YouTube news: Disney just bought out the company started by YouTubers to help YouTubers, Maker Studios, for up to $950 million. Yes, Disney is on the Internet video bandwagon now, and they had to bid big to get in the game.
Moving on, aside from proving that vlogging, merchandizing, holding conferences and fighting ad revenue models can be a real career, the VlogBrothers empire has shown that Internet-based TV shows can even win Emmy Awards (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was SUCH a fun spin on modern-day Jane Austin-ism, I have to say).
John Green of the VlogBrothers is also a top-selling author (yes, as in, books), and his novel, The Fault in Our Stars will air as a movie soon.
Rhett and Link, comedy Internet icons on YouTube, also have a successful podcast, as does CGP Grey, the most popular YouTuber whose face we’ve never seen; the guy that makes those insanely smart stick-figurine videos.
Let’s not forget all the music artists that are being discovered on YouTube (and no, I don’t just mean Justin Beiber). Kina Grannis, Chester See, Lindsey Stirling, ThePianoGuys and Rebecca Black are only a few that come top of mind.
Seem like a lot? We’re only touching the iceberg here. This section could be longer, but we don’t have all day.
The point is: content creators are now, by default, becoming hybrid-creators, producing video, audio and written content. But we don’t see that very much in the WordPress space.
YouTube facts and stats that will amaze:
Let me just show you a video titled, “YouTube Facts That Will Amaze You,” and it will do my job for me here:
Plus there are statistics from YouTube themselves. Like the one that says, “80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US” and, “YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network.”
There’s a lot of money in YouTube for advertisers and content creators alike.
In fact, there’s so much money in it, Yahoo is fiercely trying to enter the video platform too.
People don’t often talk about their earnings, but for the most part, ‘big time’ independent YouTubers probably make more than what the majority of WordPress creators make (not in all cases, there are always exceptions). One New York Times article discusses the matter more deeply (it’s not as simple of a way to earn a living as it sounds). But according to YouTube, “Thousands of channels are making six figures a year.”
The point is: many WordPressers and WordPress-based companies are frantically trying to earn money through blogging, either as an ad revenue platform or as a marketing platform for a product or service. But as WordPressers, we’re missing out on a rather huge piece of the pie, which is mainly in video, and more narrowly in YouTube.
Where are all the WordPress YouTube channels?
Yes, there are a few. But not many. Most are tutorials-based channels and not frequently updated. I decided to see which of the major industry (or industry related) blogs were active on YouTube, and the results were surprisingly disappointing.
Copyblogger’s channel: one video uploaded 3 months ago.
iThemes’ channel: a good chunk of videos, mostly on their products but with a few company bios. Last active 6 months ago though.
WPEngine’s channel: only four videos posted, with the last three having been uploaded a month ago. All were recordings from the same event.
Evanto’s channel: Not bad, with more than a dozen videos but mostly purposed for marketing the company rather than providing content for users. Still, they’re working on some good quality video, which is more than can be said for most companies in this space.
ManageWP’s channel: again, not a lot going on here other than promotional content, but seems like they’ve set themselves up with some video at least.
Edublogs’ channel: 4 videos with the last one uploaded 8 months ago. They do have well made marketing videos though.
WPBeginner’s channel: this is a bit of a cool one, albeit it’s mostly tutorials (which is expected, of course). Here we are seeing actual intros, proper thumbnails and banner graphics being used, showing a ‘professional’ YouTube effort. 38 videos and counting, way to go!
WPMU’s channel: a whopping 181 videos, also mostly tutorials.
StudioPress: I couldn’t find a ‘real’ StudioPress channel, but it seems like someone may have hijacked their brand here.
WooThemes: also couldn’t find a ‘real’ company channel.
Elegant Themes’ channel: this is, of course, our channel and has 32 videos on it, the last one being uploaded 4 months ago. Of course these are all tutorials on our products.
As you can see, not a lot happening in comparison to other industries producing content. Many of the above channels also had no channel graphics set up for branding.
Below are some attempts at good YouTubing by WordPressers, though you can see that when it comes to quality, video training, branding or frequency and consistency, our growing niche in this industry is still lacking when it comes to video content production and marketing:
WP Dev Table (this one is actually not bad, I hope they keep it up!)
The Matt Report (these are videos of great interview podcasts, basically. Claims to be the #1 WordPress entrepreneur & small business podcast)
Then sometimes when you type in “WordPress” and use the “Channel” filter on YouTube you get “topic” channels that seem to algorithmically aggregate a lot of content about a popular topic. Like the “WordPress – Topic” channel or the “Automattic – Topic” channel.
Of course there are also smaller channels from meetups and WordCamps, and some various interviews here and there, but not many concentrated efforts at producing quality HD video on a consistent schedule for the topic of WordPress.
The videos that are up also don’t get a lot of views. Except one, which has over 2 million views, which means it must be A-mazing. Check it out here (it has a great vlogger-style intro).
So that brings me to wonder…
Is WordPress too boring for video?
It’s no secret that the topic of WordPress and vlogging within the WordPress industry isn’t going to be as popular as teen-centered channels telling fart jokes and swearing at video games.
WordPress is not entertaining. We love it, yes, but it also has its ‘place’ in our lives. Most of us use it for work and let’s face it; YouTube is not a platform where we go to be ‘work’ centered.
So is that why we don’t have much YouTube action among WordPressers? Is it because it’s just not worth the effort? Is our audience only drawn to our written blog posts and tutorials?
Time and tests may reveal the truth to this, but my feeling is that it doesn’t have to be so.
There is a way to make any topic fun and entertaining to watch. Think Andrew Warner of Mixergy. He keeps his audience engaged with amazing interview skills.
I also stumbled on Architectural Digest Magazine’s channel on YouTube. They also have a work-focused niche topic. But they’ve found a way to tell their industry’s inspiring stories through video.
Or, let’s look at Bon Accord Creative’s YouTube channel, which has started a great effort at bringing video to the ‘websites’ and WordPress industry by giving simple tips with a friendly face. Here is an example of a great, quick tip that many business owners would find useful, if not fun to learn from:
Also related to a niche industry is Karen Kavett’s channel, where she gives excellent graphic design tips in well-made videos that people would want to subscribe to, because it’s valuable information we can put to good use, without being long, drawn out, screen cast tutorials.
To conclude: YouTube may still be an open door for WordPress bloggers
There is not a lot out there to show us that YouTube and video won’t work for us. Most of the videos are screencasts, which are great for tutorials, but not great for discussion, announcements, interviews or news about WordPress, development or the subject of blogging and content creation.
Yes, WordPress.tv has dominated the online space for videos from WordCamps (which is awesome). But the fact it’s on its own domain (and it’s a not for profit site) means it’s not quite what we’re aiming to encourage in this article.
The time for WordPress bloggers to try out a stronger presence on YouTube is now. The case has been made!
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