4 insights from YouTubers at Brandcast Australia

Chris Dodson / September 2017

Today, there are 65 Aussie YouTubers with more than 1M subscribers. These popular creators reach huge audiences of engaged, attentive viewers—and they’re gaining fans every day. Check out what YouTube’s biggest stars had to say (and sing) at Brandcast Australia 2017.

YouTube creators aren’t just vloggers; they’re empowered activists, passionate entertainers, talented businesspeople, and fierce fashionistas. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

At this year’s Brandcast in Melbourne and Sydney, we witnessed the creative power of these internet-famous trendsetters firsthand—power that ranges from changing and shaping culture to influencing and shifting brand perception.

Keep reading for four important insights from Vlogbrothers’ Hank Green, Creators for Change ambassador L-FRESH The LION, beauty vlogger Wengie, and musician Mike Tompkins at Brandcast Australia 2017:

1. Creators are clearing a new path

For many YouTubers, what started as a fun side project is now a full-time gig. More and more of the platform’s biggest names are launching their own production companies and hiring other digital natives just like them. And they’re creating an economic ecosystem that doesn’t necessarily rely on advertising. Instead, they’re using apps, subscription services, and crowdfunding—even writing books and licensing their content—to bring their online video passion projects to life.

Hank Green, host of the popular YouTube channels Vlogbrothers, CrashCourse, and SciShow, went from creating a video blog with his brother to interviewing President Barack Obama in less than 10 years. He is now cofounder of VidCon, the popular online video convention that came to Asia Pacific for the first time this year. In his Brandcast speech, he discussed why online content and culture are the most important things to ever happen in media, encouraging brands to hire people who understand its value and nuance.

2. Creators can generate positive social impact

Whether they’re encouraging body positivity and confidence or offering their fans different perspectives and new ways to drive change, an increasing number of creators are using YouTube to spread social awareness. Why? Because online video enables creators to tell their stories to a diverse, global audience.

Australian hip-hop artist L-FRESH The LION is one of 28 emerging creators to receive production funding from YouTube Creators for Change, a worldwide initiative dedicated to amplifying and multiplying the voices of creators who are using their channels to tackle difficult social issues. Through his thoughtful lyrics, L-FRESH The LION combats hate speech, xenophobia, and extremism—simply making the case for greater tolerance and empathy toward others—with uplifting, self-produced beats.

3. YouTube reaches real people

There’s one thing creators and brands can agree upon: Audience is everything. Much like brands, creators are constantly shaping and refining their identities to reach broad (or even niche) audiences. And both creators and brands measure engagement to determine their value and reputation, with the goal of earning and holding their audience’s undivided attention.

With more than 8.7M subscribers, Australia’s Wengie has one of the fastest growing YouTube channels in the world. The beauty and lifestyle sensation inspires her viewers with simple life hacks, creative DIY projects, and step-by-step tutorials. She was even recently tapped to voice the fourth Powerpuff Girl on Cartoon Network. In her Brandcast speech, she called for brands and YouTubers to come to the table together, assuring those in attendance that creators are hungry to collaborate with brands on useful, relevant content that connects with their audiences.

4. Creators provide an authentic voice for brands

When creators collaborate with brands, the result needs to feel like an authentic, organic product of that creator’s channel. Successful partnerships require a shared purpose and, most importantly, a desire to create innovative content that will inherently appeal to a creator’s audience.

A cappella musician Mike Tompkins took his diploma in music production from the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology and launched his music career on YouTube in 2009. Since then, he has collaborated with big-name brands like Disney, Pepsi, and Chevrolet to create catchy music videos that resonate with his loyal fanbase. By partnering with Tompkins, brands instantly expand their reach to more than 2M subscribers—and foster an authentic connection with an audience that shares his passions and purpose.

How brands can take action

More than 14M Aussie adults come to YouTube each month to watch diverse, quality content from popular YouTubers like Hank Green, L-FRESH The LION, Wengie, and Mike Tompkins. Brands looking to earn and hold the attention of these leaned-in, engaged audiences should consider working with up-and-coming and established YouTubers alike. Whether they collaborate with creators to develop attention-grabbing content or advertise in front of popular creator channels, brands can benefit from these unique partnerships and drive measurable business results.

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