Influencer-generated content delivers value to audiences much better than brands can do alone.
Think about it for a sec. What’s the last YouTube video you saw and why did you watch it?
We’re willing to bet you clicked on it because you either thought it would make you laugh, motivate you or teach you something that you didn’t know yesterday.
In other words, you clicked on it, because you anticipated it would give you some kind of value.
Influencer-generated content is viewed and engaged with because a group of people anticipate it to give them value. The proactive action of clicking "view" is a much more intentional action than seeing an ad on the subway or having a commercial play in the midst of nightly news. You pay attention when there's something valuable to you as we all do. The audience you want to reach is no different.
There are three kinds of content that will always give value to your audience, otherwise known as branded content. And each category has millions of different types of videos; educational content, entertaining content, and inspirational content.
Some influencers are known for making great videos that are always entertaining, always educational, or always have an inspirational message. Others mix it up and combine all three. Let's take a deeper look at what these different video types look like.
Education Videos: People Love to Learn
People are always turning to the internet to learn how to do something or learn how something works; and YouTube is the king of How-tos, tutorials and other educational series. People take to YouTube to educate interested viewers in all kinds of ways on just about every subject you could think of, in fact, YouTube's educational channel boasts 10M subscribers.
I find myself turning to YouTube when I need to find out how to put oil in my car, fix the chain on my favorite necklace, or find inspiration for decorating my future college dorm room.
When choosing to work with an influencer on an educational video, think about what type of education video would be best for your audience. Here are some examples of the different types of educational videos.
How-To’s: Try It With Me!
When I need to know how to do something, a video is a great solution because I can listen to it, follow along with it and rewind whenever I need a second look.
Many YouTubers have become famous in the online community for creating how-tos that are extremely creative or give the audience a step-by-step walk through on a topic or task. Some YouTubers like GlitterForever17 have created channels that solely focus on these how-to videos.
With 3.4 million subscribers, her most famous videos are fun and creative with step-by-step instructions on how to make edible phone cases, edible EOS, and DIY school supplies. I love these videos because they are entertaining and give me great ways to reuse items I might have otherwise just thrown away.
Tutorials: How Did They Do That?
As Digital Content Studios puts it best, “a tutorial video is kind of a video equivalent of an instruction manual.”
Similar to How-To Videos, tutorials show you how to do something, but in a different way. Tutorials many times do not have voiceovers and highlight more practical skills; videos about how to make a 6-foot edible phone case may be a How-To but would not be a tutorial, for example.
Tutorial videos help viewers learn how to do something new. Buzzfeed, has taken over food tutorials on Facebook and Instagram with their "Tasty" videos. With no voiceover, their videos show you how to make fun recipes for your next party platter, or fried mac ‘n’ cheese sticks (yum) using clear visuals and limited text.
Whether you are a professional dancer wanting to learn how to perfect that triple pirouette, or your average joe on the dancefloor looking to hone in on your dance skills for your cousin’s wedding, online dance tutorials are a great way to learn how to move your body to the music.
YouTuber and famous choreographer WilldaBeast has created tutorial videos that show you dances that his company has performed in a slower step-by-step breakdown of the dance. This allows the viewer to learn the dance at their own pace. These dance tutorials are watched all over the world, and inspire dancers to keep dancing and be creative.
Instagram also has a great way to find tutorial videos. Check out the explore tab on the app (on the bottom row, second button from the left), and you will see a section on the top called “videos you might enjoy”. These videos are a collection of videos from different accounts that Instagram thinks you may enjoy based on who you follow and what photos you have liked. As you continue to scroll through the explore tab, you will find more specific collections of videos. My personal favorite is the “oddly satisfying” tab, where I can see thousands of people make slime from scratch or cut sand with a sharp kitchen knife. Instagram’s explore tabs are a great way to see great tutorials from hundreds of different creators.
Academic Educational Series: Taking the Classroom Online
Possibly one of the most successful education networks online is the vlogbrothers network called CrashCourse. Vlogbrothers, a channel started by two brothers, John and Hank Green, and has a dedicated audience of “nerdfighters” who live their lives following the slogan “DFTBA: Don’t Forget to be Awesome”.
The Vlogbrothers had always revolved their videos around education and learning new things and began the larger channel CrashCourse as a knowledge source for their subscribers. Crashcourse is an educational video network that is home to hundreds of videos on different topics such as Computer Science, US History, Sociology, Mythology, and other exciting topics. The videos on CrashCourse are used throughout the country in schools and as a resource to learn more about topics. Through live video and animated segments, John and Hank Green have grown the channel to cover everything from world history to film history and mythology, while making it entertaining and fun to watch.
One of my favorite series from this channel is the introduction to world history. As a visual learner, these videos helped me learn about Mesopotamia and all they other great civilizations.
Demonstration Videos: How Do I Use This?
Demonstration videos are similar to tutorial videos but focus more on using the product. When you get a new camera or piece of technology, it can be helpful to look up videos of how to use it. Ben Simon, a YouTuber who gives advice to other content creators on how to review products successfully and earn viewers attention says, “video is a great way to show off the product”. We couldn’t agree more.
When releasing a new product or idea, it is important to educate the consumer on what the product does or how it works, while also showing the results of the used product. This video from Linus Tech Tips is a good example of a product demonstration video.
From makeup tutorials, to practical life skills tutorial videos, to cooking shows, gaming strategies, DYI crafts, science channels and more, your brand has a myriad of opportunities to get in front of audiences. Snapchat, Instagram can also be used for educational purposes but are limited to shorter takes and thus, more high-level education of the product.
Entertainment Videos: Making People Laugh One Dad Joke at a Time
Many content creators started making content with one purpose: to entertain you. Many Youtubers started making videos on YouTube using just a webcam to make you smile and laugh and have a good day. As they grew and their channels matured, their content did too. Super Woman is now on a world book tour.
Comedy: Your Own Personal Comedy Show at Home
YouTuber IISuperwomanII, began making videos to make people laugh and have a good time watching her. What started off as a comedic anecdotes on her own life became a robust YouTube channel with multiple different content series. With more than 11 million subscribers, Super Woman is one of the most popular YouTubers in the world.
Shock Value: Did they just do that?
Have you ever watched a video that's left in awe of what you saw?
When creating entertainment videos, content creators will sometimes add a cool trick or stunt to keep the audience engaged. This shock value can come from action or the camera shots.
Devinsupertramp is a YouTuber that excels at creating a shock value in his videos. In his more well known videos, he combines the popular video game Assassin's Creed with live action parkour. With the characters from the game in full costume jumping off walls, doing front-flips, and running on top of rooftops, it looked as if the parkour stunt devils were actually from the video game. This had his audience excited to watch epic jumps from building to building and curious about the characters’ further interactions. Devinsupertramp has mastered the captivation factor; leaving viewers wondering if the stunt devils would land on the ground or fall through the cracks of the buildings.
Performance: Break a Leg (not literally)
Dance is one of many forms of self expression, and dance videos continue to amaze audiences around the world. Scott DW makes amazing dance videos that focus solely on the dancer's talent. His video "School Dance Battle" is a perfect example of a performance piece made to entertain.
Dance videos don’t just have to wow you, they can also make you laugh. In 2012, Harvard’s Baseball team released a video of their team dancing and lip-synching to the popular song “Call Me Maybe”. Their simple dance moves and enthusiasm were enough for people to smile and click “share”. Their video, made in the back of a van on the way to a baseball game, went viral and as a result was featured on national news. Alright, ladies… who has a van?
Kellogg's Chose Entertainment, and Did it Well!
Many of these videos have begun to be sponsored over the past few years, with famous YouTubers and former Viners taking on challenges from companies to make fun content in order to win prizes or trips. These videos normally take a product and challenge it in one way or another. A good example of this is a video from AmazingPhil and Danisnotonfire and their Krave Challenge. The video allowed them to go head-to-head in fun challenges that all promoted Kellogg’s Krave Cereal. While promoting the cereal brand, the influencers were able to entertain their audience with an upbeat funny video as well bring attention to the brand name.
Inspirational Videos: The Human Connection
The younger generation has learned to always turn to the internet in times of struggle looking for support. Both YouTube and Facebook have allowed communities of love and support to form.
Connect: A Place to Share Your Life Story
People have been able to share their story of coming out or bullying on YouTube and thus inspire others to live authentically to their values.
These life-story videos started to trend through the hashtag #DrawMyLife, where YouTubers would draw their life story out on a whiteboard. These videos enabled audiences to see a more personal side of their role models and see that they could overcome anything themselves.
Millions of these videos were made by YouTubers all over the world, and what connected them was not the hashtag but the personal struggle of how they overcame a dark spot in life.
Many brands have taken a similar approach by inspiring their audience through their products. These videos result in the audience feeling as if they can make a positive change with the product, and influence them that they may need this product in their lives too. A great example of this is the Subaru Share the Love videos. These videos were made to inspire the audience to buy a Subaru, knowing that they would automatically donate money to help different organizations like the ASPCA.
Being You: Why Authenticity Important
During hard times, turning to friends and family for comfort may not be enough. YouTube specifically has been a great source for support when overcoming emotional hurdles in life. One of the biggest emotional hurdles in life for some is coming out to family members.
YouTubers who have come out of the closet in recent years have made videos telling their audience that they are gay and have given support to their viewers who might be going through something similar. Ingrid Nilsen, a Youtuber known for her beauty and lifestyle videos, made a video coming out to her subscribers. In her video, she tells viewers more about her life story and how she discovered that she was gay. She also gave support to her subscribers who might be going through a tough time.
Insta-spiration: Motivating people through Photos and Videos
Instagram is great when it comes to inspiration. On Instagram, accounts have begun to pop up inspiring younger generations to be strong and happy. Accounts such as @happsters and @livingprettynaturally have made it their purpose to bring happiness and confidence every day to their followers. Their followers get daily doses of inspirational quotes in their feed, and are also given tips on being happy, confident, and strong.
Under Armour has also been a leader in making women feel strong, especially in the promotion of their clothing. They’ve created a following on Instagram through their constant message of empowerment that can be summed up to “you are strong and you deserve to feel that way”. They have achieved this by posting inspiring stories (especially on days like mother's day) and quoting inspirational women, such as Misty Copeland.
The Value in Educating, Entertaining and Inspiring
While these three categories are quite distinct and uniquely important, YouTubers often tend to overlap and intertwine these categories in their content, which is what makes their content so popular. With millions of videos on YouTube, standing out means going past the barriers of a single category and blending categories together in order to attract new subscribers. Online videos have become a staple of what is online, reaching new audiences and making people feel connected through what they love and what they are passionate about.
As a high school senior, YouTube has been incredibly helpful for choosing the right school for me and finding my next step. I would have never chosen the University of Alabama it it wasn’t for YouTube and the videos online that talked about the school and the specific program I was accepted into. Instagram helped me learn more about the city of Tuscaloosa and all that it had to offer from the food to the football. Without all this content, I would never have known that Alabama is the right home for me, and wouldn’t be as excited to go as I am.
Videos are a broadcast of thoughts and ideas that connect people all over the world through values and passions. The bottom line is that your audience will tune in when you present your brand’s values, messages, products or services through content that inspires, entertains, educates, or does all three. Interested in creating content of value with influencers?