Music has been one of YouTube’s main categories since the platform’s inception, way back in 2005.
During the YouTube boom, artists such as Justin Bieber, 5 Seconds of Summer, Shawn Mendes and Pentatonix got their start on YouTube. They used YouTube to showcase their wares and grab the attention of both music fans and industry decision-makers.
Collaborations, in particular, have been essential for some of YouTube’s top artists and content creators.
In addition to new viewers and subscribers, a good collab empowers you to play the long game by keeping your audience entertained.
But are YouTube collaborations still relevant? And how can you reap the benefits of collaborations?
Are YouTube collabs still relevant?
Investing in a good YouTube strategy is still an important component of a 360-degree marketing strategy.
Like any other sector, who you know matters more than what you know.
Successful YouTube creators tend to amass an equally strong following on other social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
Collaborating and building connections with influential artists and content creators enables your video, and ultimately, your channel and your profile on different social media platforms, to cut through the noise.
Consider what your channel goals are
Before you start emailing and DMing YouTubers, you should carefully consider what your channel goals are. You should also create a short-term and long-term strategy for your channel, that will, in turn, inform your current and future goals.
Goals can range from growing your fan base within your current category to taking over a geographical region and becoming an influential content creator across different social media platforms.
Your goals will set you on the road to the perfect collab.
Analyse your potential collaborators’ work
Before reaching out to other YouTubers, make sure that you analyse their work, their audience and their metrics.
See why certain videos have more views and comments than others. Check what their audience persona likes and dislikes. Analyse what they’re doing to build their brand and strengthen their longevity in a particular category.
It’s also a good idea to incorporate certain trending elements from successful YouTubers’ videos into your own videos.
If your content is similar to other creators’ in your category, YouTube’s algorithm will pick it up and suggest it to their viewers.
This helps you gain a certain degree of notoriety with your potential collaborator’s audience, which will, in turn, put you in a stronger potential when pitching a collaboration.
Examine your metrics
Collaborating enables you to step outside your comfort zone and to show a different side of your personality to your subscribers.
However, make sure that you examine your metrics and audience distribution before approaching YouTubers in different categories or regions.
Use your YouTube Analytics Demographics data to check your top locations. Head over to your YouTube Analytics Watch time card to check impressions, watch time and views. If one of your top ten locations is, say, Mexico, explore the possibility of collaborating with a YouTuber who also has an ever stronger following in Mexico.
By using solid statistics, you can tailor your content to your target audience and market.
Think about complementary categories
Most creators build their content around a particular niche. However, building a long-term YouTube career often requires you to tap into other categories and markets.
Consider which categories are complementary to yours and target potential collaborators in sister categories.
Through collaboration, you might even discover that your content resonates with an audience from a category that you’ve never even considered before.
Reaching out to other YouTubers
Tweeting and DMing are informal yet effective. Twitter and Instagram enable your target collaborator to check out your socials and see what you’re all about. After all, follower counts do play a role in landing highly-coveted YouTube collabs.
Emailing a YouTuber’s publicist might seem a bit too formal. However, this should be your go-to route if you want to collaborate with high-tier YouTubers who might not respond to your DMs.
The biggest faux pas that you could commit is to copy and paste an email /message and send it to hundreds of different YouTuber. One of them is bound to call you out for doing that.
Consider how you can reach out creatively and assertively. Show that you’ve been following their content and that you’re informed about what they’re doing. Highlight your USP and how you can add value to their channel (without sounding too cocky, of course!).
If done right, YouTube collaborations are a smart way of ensuring that your channel remains relevant. They enable you to:
- Cultivate strategic relationships
- Spread the word about your content
- Tap into new markets
- Experiment with new topics and formats
- Cross-post and cross-share your content across different channels and social media platforms
- Freshen up your channel
- Keep your audience engaged
- Learn more about content creation
While virality is appealing, collaboration enables you to play the long game by cultivating a dedicated following that will watch your every video. After all, true fans, not passive viewers, are the ones that help you sustain your channel over the long term.