In my last post, I explained why every comedian needs to develop a video strategy. But that leads to another obvious question: How do you figure out what your video strategy should be?
Because every comedian has their own unique skills and interests, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how you should approach video content. However, I can give you some suggestions to frame the way you think about video and hopefully guide you to a strategy that will make the most sense for you.
Here’s what I think you should consider…
What’s Your #1 Goal?
Producing video content will benefit you in many different ways, but I think it’s worth taking a few moments to consider what the single most important thing is that you hope to get out of the time and effort you put into it.
Personally, I see five main benefits that you can get from videos content: Exposure, Money, New Opportunities, New Fans, and Enjoyment. If you do things right, you’ll wind up getting some measure of all of these things, but I think it’s important to consider which one will be your main goal and adjust your strategy accordingly.
If your main goal is to get more exposure for yourself, then you may want to focus your efforts on joining up with an existing video channel or producer who already has a large audience. For example, if you’re just after more eyeballs on your work, then you’re better off trying to get somebody like Funny or Die or College Humor to distribute your creations to their large audiences than you are trying to build your own.
If it’s money you’re after, you’ll want to develop a video strategy that takes into account subject matter that sponsors or advertisers will be interested in or that easily leads itself to merchandise and other revenue opportunities.
If you’re chasing new opportunities – for example writing or acting gigs – than make sure that the content you’re creating showcases the skills that you’re hoping to generate opportunities for.
If you’re hoping to attract new fans through your video efforts, then you’re going to want to produce a lot of content and have it be as personal, interactive, and niche-targeted as possible to your potential fanbase.
And if you’re just planning to make videos for the fun of it, then obviously you’ll want to make sure that you’re creating things that are fun for you to produce.
What Resources Do You Have?
Once you’ve decided what the main goal of your video content will be, the next thing you should consider is what resources you have at your disposal. The amount of money, time, and equipment you have to work with should absolutely be taken into account before you start making videos.
If you have limited resources that are going to make it difficult for you to produce videos of a certain type on a regular basis, then you shouldn’t make those kind of videos. In general, you’ll want to create a video strategy that allows you to release at least one video a week (and ideally you’d release 2-3 each week).
Many comedians think because they don’t have the budget or connections to filmmakers that they can’t possibly produce videos, but keep in mind that you can do something as simple as shooting a video blog with your cell phone or laptop if need be. As long as it’s funny, it will work – many of the most popular channels on YouTube have relatively low production value.
The key is to be creative and come up with a video concept you can sustain and produce with whatever resources you have available.
Do You Want To Launch A Show, A Channel, Or A Network?
There are a lot more ways to play in the video space than most comedians realize. For example, I see three distinctly different approaches that can all be equally effective and it’s important to ask yourself if it makes more sense for you to launch a show, a channel, or a network. Here’s what I mean…
If you’re going to launch a Show, then by that I mean you’re going to launch a series of videos that are all about the same topic or format. For example, if your focus is on a Sportscenter-type web series about funny sports stuff, then don’t also upload occasional stand up videos or clips of your stoned cat to that same channel. If you’re pursuing a show strategy, then the only videos on your channel should be episodes of that show.
However, if you’d prefer to upload a variety of different types of videos, then you’re really building yourself a Channel. And if you’re focused on a channel strategy, then your channel should be titled/presented in that manner and it should be about whatever thruline the videos all have in common – if the only connection is that you made them, then the channel should be about you. If they’re all sports-related videos, then use that as your channel hook.
Finally, another video strategy option that most comedians don’t consider is a network approach in which you would team up with other video producers to essentially share a channel. This can be an interesting approach and can work really well if you don’t have the ability to produce the volume of videos necessary for success or if you have a good relationship with other creators who have a similar style or sensibility.
Another advantage of a network is that it allows each person in the network to benefit from the cross-promotion of each other’s contributions and can increase your collective audience from the start.
How Will You Define Success?
In everything you do, it’s important to consider how you will measure success before you begin the actual work. In this case, your success metrics will likely relate directly to what you initially determined to be your main goal of pursuing videos in the first place.
There’s lots of common video success metrics including things such as views, subscribers, revenue, etc. But it’s important to understand that some of those metrics can be meaningless traps – distractions that make you feel like you’re succeeding (or failing) but are ultimately hollow if they don’t sync up with your real goal.
For example, if your goal is to develop a video property that you can sell as a TV series, the view count isn’t as important as the quality of the series and an understanding of who is watching it (ideally, industry people and producers who could potentially option it). Sure, more views will help you, but ultimately you’re using video in that scenario as a proof of concept and whether or not you get a few extra views will have minimal impact on your ability to sell the concept to TV producers.
On the flipside, if your main goal is make money from advertising on your videos, then view counts are obviously much more important.
Once you figure out how you will measure success based on your goals, then you can develop a strategy for how to get there that will emphasize the things you need to make that goal happen.
How Does Your Video Strategy Fit With The Rest Of Your Career Strategy?
Finally, I think it’s important to figure out how your new video strategy will integrate with the rest of the things you do to further your career. Your videos shouldn’t just be this other thing you do that floats out there, disconnected from the rest of your efforts. Rather, it should be a seamless extension of your stage act, your blog, your social media activity, and whatever else you’re up to.
For example, if you’re hoping to book corporate comedy gigs, then your video series shouldn’t be about getting laid (unless the corporate gigs you’re looking for are in the sex industry which I highly doubt).
If you’ve had a lot of success on Twitter thanks to your one-liners, why not explore ways to translate that into videos and build on that success as opposed to trying something that has nothing to do with what people are already enjoying from you?
Again, with all of these questions you’ll need to figure out for yourself what works best based on your goals, resources, and strengths – and be prepared to fall on your face a bit because it’s likely that it will take you some time to figure out what makes the most sense for you. But that’s ok, it’s a process.
And hopefully, just thinking these things through will help get you started in the right direction.
If you’ve got any specific questions, I’d be happy to give you some additional advice in the comments below…