YouTube has been a game changer in the online video business in the last decade and the platform has matured consistently every year. Along with the platform, the way business is run has also witnessed a considerable change over the last few years.
Big Multi Channel Networks backed by bigger Media companies have changed the way creators look at the landscape. They have helped creators make better videos, reach more people and get better financial returns by assisting them in production, marketing and monetization. However off late, MCNs have received flak from popular YouTubers like PewDiePie and Ray William Johnson, for their lack of transparency and deceiving contracts. This has predictably resulted in a lot of apprehensive creators shying away from partnering with networks.
So, for an MCN; building trust amongst prospective partners is now more important than ever. In this blog, we list down 10 Best Practices that can help them not only build this trust, but run their overall business successfully:
1. Be transparent
One of the most common mistakes that a lot of MCNs do, especially when they’re in their nascent stage, is that they over promise and under deliver. When they acquire a new partner; they promise them illogical and unachievable numbers. And when the promised millions of views do not happen, they bury it with other obscure promises like lucrative brand endorsements, collaboration with popular artists etcetera.
This might help the networks acquire new partners in the beginning. But in the long run, people will see through the lies. And if word gets out, damage to their online reputation can be devastating. That’s why it is imperative that an MCN which is in the game for a long haul treats its partner creators right. It should be transparent in its revenue reports and give a realistic estimate of viewership growth. Transparency should reflect in each and every aspect of the partnership and only then will the network be scalable.
2. Acquire the right creators who fit your niche
Most successful MCNs rely on a simple formula when it comes to searching for new creator partners – they look for the ones that fit their niche. There is no point in trying to be a genre-independent MCN, i.e., partnering with creators from varied genres. This will only dilute the overall operations & management of the network. So, the best way to grow is to partner with creators in the same genre.
If you are an MCN that works with Music creators, look for prospective partners in the same category. If you’re working with Gamers, look for those in the same category. This not only helps you manage your network better, it’ll also help you strategize with a much better vision.
3. Use the right technology to optimize your network
Working with creator partners individually and helping them scale up should be the primary goal of any MCN. It should give all the technical assistance necessary to make the partner’s channel perform efficiently and to the fullest. But this should not be an unstructured effort. The MCN should provide world class technology solutions that can help fine-tune each and every aspect of the partner’s channel. Title & thumbnails, end cards and programming of the existing video library, upload schedule of the upcoming videos; are just some of the things to begin with.
4. Build an audience development strategy for your network
After onboarding creators to the network and optimizing their channels, the next thing that the MCN should be concerned with is enhancing their audience.
It can start by optimizing the channels using the right SEO techniques like – adding traffic relevant tags to existing videos, using the right keywords in the video and channel descriptions etc. This can give a solid boost to the overall viewership of the channel which in turn would result in an increase in the subscriber count.
Note: Using the Vidooly dashboard, MCN’s can optimize the videos of partner channels based on real time actionable analytics. Click here to know more.
It can also help the creators collaborate with other creators within their network (provided both have audiences which are similar to each other) to expand the audience reach of both of them.
It can run paid campaigns as well to enhance the visibility of the channels.
5. Hire the right people to manage the business
This goes without saying actually. When you’re hiring for any position for your network, ensure that the person has the right background experience. A thorough understanding of the YouTube ecosystem should be mandatory. Without an understanding of the space, it would be difficult to guide the partners in the right path.
6. Build a rights management strategy to cut down on revenue losses
YouTube has a strict copyright policy which works based on a strong Content ID system – a system which identifies copyright infringement. While the system is quite robust and finds out most videos which are stolen from creators without their permission, there can still be a few which slip through somehow. The MCN should use intuitive technologies that can help them identify these videos for their partners. They should then help the partner creators either monetize or track the view stats for these videos or block them from YouTube altogether.
7. Manage partner payouts seamlessly
Despite a steady increase in the number and quality of MCNs, most creators are still apprehensive in joining networks because of the stories they hear from other YouTubers- stories of delayed payments, confusing payout contracts etc.
That’s why MCNs should
- Be very transparent in their financial terms and contracts with the creators.
- Use the right technology solution that helps them manage the financial nitty-gritties easily.
Note: Vidooly MCN dashboard has a centralized financial module for easy payout management. Click here to check out the features of the dashboard.
8. Find multiple revenue sources
An MCN’s monetization strategy relies primarily on YouTube. However, depending just on YouTube alone for revenue does not help in building a sustainable digital business. Right from Day1, it should follow a platform agnostic content distribution approach. All other viable profit making platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Netflix, Hulu etc, should be included in the business plan.
Brand mentions and product placements in videos is another source that can add substantial revenue to both creators and MCNs. For example:
– An MCN which handles food related channels can reach out to food product brands like Heinz to sponsor for the video
– An MCN which handles fashion and beauty channels can reach out to brands like Lakme
9. Create a marketing strategy to increase visibility
One of the major reasons why creators choose to work with MCNs is for increased visibility and reach on YouTube. The network should therefore use all possible avenues to give a boost to the performance of the partner channel. Besides using paid adverts, it should also equip the partners with technology that can help them improve their discoverability on YouTube.
Note: Vidooly’s MCN dashboard can be useful for networks to optimize and increase the reach of their partners’ channels and videos.
10. Improve the production value of the partner videos
Making entertaining and interesting videos on shoestring budgets is an art that is hard to master. There certainly are numerous examples of creators using creativity to come up with brilliant videos on a minimal budget; but a general rule of thumb is –
Better production value = Better videos
MCNs should ensure that its partners are not tied up by production constraints. They should give them access to better production and editing facilities to enhance the quality of their videos.
Subrat is the CEO and co-founder at Vidooly. A passionate Entrepreneur by heart, he oversees the product and marketing strategy at Vidooly.