You’ve finished producing your latest comedy masterpiece, but now what?
There’s a lot of options out there for uploading your video, but it can be confusing trying to figure out which platforms to use, whether you should upload it to multiple places, and how to give yourself the best shot of capitalizing on all the work you put into it.
To help point you in the right direction, I’ve put together a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of several video platforms to help you figure out where to post your latest creations.
The First Thing You Need To Figure Out…
Before I get into the specifics of each platform, I want to stress that there is ultimately no right or wrong place to post your videos. Each platform has different things to offer and that’s why the first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out exactly what your goal is for the videos you create.
Are you trying to grow a fanbase and build a community around a series of videos you plan to produce? Are you trying to get exposure for yourself with a certain audience? Is it a video that’s designed to be shared? Is it topical or does it more evergreen? Are you trying to reach a general audience or is it more geared toward industry? Are you trying to get somebody to sponsor future videos? Are you hoping to monetize your video?
It’s also worth thinking about what action you want people to take once they see your video, assuming they like it. Is it more important to you that they share it or subscribe to your channel? Or join your email list? Hire you as a writer? Or an actor? Or to do standup?
There will obviously be a lot of overlap and it’s likely that your goals will include several of these things, but it’s worth considering what single goal is most important to you when it comes to the videos you post and use that to guide the decision you make about where to post the video.
Once you have a sense of what you’re trying to accomplish with the videos you create it will be much easier for you to figure out the right platforms to use for it. To help you do that, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of different platforms…
YouTube is by far the biggest video platform in the world and it’s also the second largest search engine of any kind, only behind Google (which owns YouTube and therefore also prominently features YouTube videos in its search results).
This means that without a doubt YouTube allows you to reach the largest possible audience. To be honest, I think it would be pretty foolish not to have your videos on YouTube even if you decide to use other platforms as well. Opting not to have your videos on YouTube is the equivalent of telling Google to pretend that you don’t exist – and that’s obviously not a good idea.
YouTube’s enormous audience also means that you have the opportunity to get discovered on YouTube by new people through search results relating to the things you are doing in your videos. In order to maximize this opportunity you’ll want to pay close attention to titles, descriptions, and tags on your videos – that’s a much bigger conversation, but check out the YouTube creators playbook for a crash course in how to get the most out of YouTube.
In addition to YouTube’s reach, another major advantage of the platform is the sense of community that can develop around channels on the site. YouTube’s subscription tools, comments, and interactivity really lends itself to building (and growing) a fan community on the site.
That’s not easy to do, but it can happen and is crucial to success on the platform. There’s a reason just about every “YouTube star” built their fanbase on the back of serious community interaction – it’s a big part of success on the platform.
It’s also easier to monetize your work on YouTube than any other platform. Ultimately, you will need to generate views to make money, but you can easily do so thanks to YouTube’s ad partner program without ever having to go chase down your own sponsors.
In some ways YouTube’s biggest strength can also be its biggest weakness. With so many videos being uploaded to the site constantly, it can be difficult to get attention and easy for your stuff to get lost in the shuffle. There’s a lot of competition for eyeballs on the site and you’ve really got to work to stand out.
You also have to be willing to post content regularly and be patient – it takes time to build a following and it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to get featured by YouTube’s editors until after you’ve gained some traction. That means that often times what you’re doing to promote your YouTube video outside of YouTube can be just as important to driving views as what you’re doing on the site.
Funny or Die is probably the king of the comedy sites at the moment and it’s also deeply connected to the comedy industry. The site may live on the Internet, but it’s become a talent factory for TV shows and films.
Arguably the quickest path from Internet comedy to offline comedy is to get on the radar of the Funny or Die team.
This means that exposure on Funny or Die can create opportunities for you without needing a million views of your video first. The site regularly hires comedy writers and actors for its productions – including a ton on a freelance basis – and is constantly trolling for new talent. So having your videos on their site can increase your chances of getting discovered by them. By contrast, it’s unlikely YouTube is ever going to hire you for anything.
Another strength of Funny or Die is that you know every view you get from the site is coming from somebody who is interested in comedy as opposed to YouTube where the majority of people who may come across your video are probably not even looking for comedy – remember, not all views are created equal.
The niche nature of Funny or Die’s audience should (theoretically) increase your chances of converting each viewer into a fan.
The huge majority of Funny or Die’s traffic comes from its celebrity videos and whatever they feature on their home page or share on social media. Unlike YouTube, where people tend to get lost surfing around the site, Funny or Die’s audience is much smaller and doesn’t function in that way.
That means that uploading your videos to the site isn’t really about reaching the public as much as it’s about catching the eyes of the site’s editors and producers. In some ways, it’s like uploading an audition tape more so than uploading a video for an audience.
This is a long way of saying that you’re probably not going to get much traction from what you post there, unless somebody who works at Funny or Die sees it and loves it.
No matter how frustrated people may get with Facebook, they certainly don’t stop using it. Facebook has tons of users and its social nature makes it incredibly easy for good videos to spread quickly.
It’s also an easier place for people to connect and follow you if they like your video – as great as YouTube’s subscription functionality is, it’s still only a relatively small group of users who actually subscribe to channels. On Facebook, everybody that sees your video is used to the concept of “Liking” pages and connecting with people.
But perhaps the biggest strength of Facebook as a video platform is that it’s the best way to reach people on Facebook. If you share a YouTube video on Facebook, it will not get pushed into many people’s feeds because Facebook doesn’t really want you using the YouTube player – they’d rather have you use their video player. As a result, they “favor” videos uploaded into their own player and show them in more people’s news feeds.
Based on what I’ve seen, the exact same video uploaded into the Facebook player will reach at least five times as many people as that same videos shared in a YouTube player on Facebook. That’s a huge difference in exposure.
And not only do Facebook videos appear in more people’s feeds, but they appear as auto-play videos which really captures people’s attention in their feeds. If you’re a Facebook user, I’m sure you’ve noticed how many more videos are appearing in your feed and I’m sure most of them catch your eye because of the auto-play. That’s something you’ll want to take advantage of and you can only do that if you upload your video to the Facebook player.
The Facebook video platform is amazing for Facebook and it’s really powerful, but…it doesn’t really have any reach outside of Facebook. That means that choosing to only use the Facebook video player is the equivalent of ignoring every other platform, website, and social network, which isn’t a great idea.
I’m a big proponent of using the Facebook player for sharing on Facebook, but it really shouldn’t be the only player you use.
Vine stars are the new YouTube stars. Ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but there actually are some similarities.
Vine has blossomed into its own little universe and has created a bunch of its own stars who are now starting to make big bucks as brands chase their huge followings. Also, comedy plays really well on the platform and since it’s basically built on a social platform (and owned by Twitter) it can be relatively easy for your creations to spread and to grow your following.
It’s also still pretty early in the Vine game – at least as compared to sites like YouTube and Facebook – so there’s slightly less competition for attention than there may be on some other platforms.
Vine’s 6-second format favors comedians whose material and approach works well in short bursts, and it can be easy to capitalize on hashtags and trending memes that surface on the platform constantly. Plus, let’s be honest – it’s a lot easier to get somebody to give you 6 seconds of their time to watch your new creation than it is to get them to give you 6 minutes.
You can only do so much in 6-second increments. Also, even though Vine has a large and growing audience, it’s still much smaller than a lot of other platforms. It’s more of a niche play – a great tool for a particular type of content, but it definitely has its limits.
The strengths of Instagram are very similar to those of Vine, but Instagram gives you a little more time to work with as its video time limit is 15 seconds. But, a big advantage of Instagram is that it’s also baked into the regular Instagram app so you can benefit from the booming popularity of Instagram in general.
Even though Vine videos often surface on other platforms, it still has its own app and functions in its own separate universe. Instagram videos are much more integrated into the Instagram photos app which means a larger audience for your content and the opportunity to capitalize on your photos as well as your videos in the same place.
Also, since Instagram is owned by Facebook there is some nice synergy and cross-promotional opportunities there as well.
In addition to the 15-second time limit, Instagram videos won’t show up in-line if people share them on Twitter (because Facebook and Twitter aren’t the best of friends and don’t always play nice).
It’s not a huge deal, but if you’re somebody who focuses on Twitter a lot as a platform, it’s worth knowing that Vine videos will show up in-stream more prominently than Instagram videos which will just show up as a link on Twitter.
So…Where Should You Post?
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer and it completely depends on your goals and the type of videos you’re producing, here’s what I would recommend you do with your videos in general.
I think you should upload your videos to YouTube no matter what, so that you have a presence there. Even if most of your videos are short Vines, I’d still compile them and upload them there as compilations (or as standalone short videos) to give you a presence on the site.
Then, if you have a Facebook presence, I’d recommend uploading to the Facebook player when you share your videos there because it will be worth the little extra effort it takes to do so.
Beyond that, I think it depends on your own interests, goals, and the time you have available to spend uploading and sharing videos.
But I’d love to hear how you’re approaching it, so please let me know in the comments on this post. And if there’s another video platform you’d like me to write an overview for and add to this post, let me know that too. Thanks!