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YouTube – Its Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

By April 21, 2011No Comments

by Mark Thomas 

When YouTube sold to Google for $1.65 Billion…I was laughing – hard. Now, I am just using it as much as I can.  Just another reason there are bench players and superstars in every facet of life.  Hard to imagine that having advertising sales last year for YouTube of $500 million is a slow start, but with that price tag, I can understand the pressure for more ad sales.  Ad sales are not the point of this diatribe.

If you have been living under the rock with the Geico TVgang and don’t know what YouTube is, here’s the Cliff Notes explanation.  YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005 and now a part of the search engine giant Google.  It is growing by the minute and now a major part of progressive companies and organization’s marketing plans.

YouTube, like a print ad, direct mail piece or radio ad is a viable and probably a more progressive marketing vehicle. Need proof?  Two years ago when I started with the National Shooting Sports Foundation we had a YouTube channel, but I noticed that we hadn’t posted anything to it in four months.  When I brought that up to our crew, it surprised them.  They had forgotten about it.

This was even more disturbing since we had just committed to and made a major investment in a full-broadcast studio and focused our efforts in video augmented with a full-time professional.  Hunting and shooting sports are especially conducive to video.  Gun “nuts” love to watch and learn from video.  It is also a great way for a novice to learn what to buy, where to shoot and how to get better without embarrassing themselves.  For a marketer, it means much more.

Video is how you get traction in your marketing.  Since we began regular tips and sportscasts, NSSF’s YouTube page just surpassed it’s one millionth view – up from a little over 100,000 just 18 months ago.  It was a focused effort, however I think our success at NSSF was mainly due to that we included it in everything we do – just like every good marketing discipline. Now, NSSF’s YouTube channel has been allowed to be branded (YouTube only grants this to a scant few based on quality of videos and viewership) which enhances our message and image even more.

Video was a key success in all our emerging media efforts.  Our Bullet Points e-Newsletter is a free electronic newsletter with key happenings each week in the hunting and shooting community.  Our internet numbers were steadily growing, but now that we use video in every issue, the numbers are growing larger faster. We began another e-Newsletter called Pull The Trigger. The concept is to go directly to the hunter and shooter, (not the primary audience for NSSF as the trade association of the firearms industry) and mimics the old Popular Mechanics premise: Get people involved in your activity and tell them how to do something easily with an immediate time frame.  We begin all our editorial planning for PTT with what video tips we can produce and then determine where should they be placed.  It is then distributed once a month to almost a million subscribers.  The result?  We are finding our web numbers have almost doubled from 2.7 million in 2009 to over 4.3 visits in 2010 and perhaps more importantly, our unique visitors are up 50 percent.

Now it is not lost on me that we are in a very unique and enviable position.  We have a true professional and natural videographer who is a great story teller and editor and knows our business.  Our studio is in-house which makes making videos cost effective and our response is faster than a Chris Carpenter fastball.  But, with today’s flip phones and easy-to-learn editing system, quality videos should be a part of every marketers arsenal.  I am sure glad it is in ours.