I’ve been harping a ton on YouTube lately…and well…it’s because there is a TON of money being spent there by brands.
In sponsorship, we sell advertisements. We sell the ability to reach an impassioned group that we have access to and influence over.
But that influence today can be easily taken away from us. While we used to thrive in being able to contain that reach in our stadiums for decades, the new fan consumes more of our content outside the stadium than inside of it.
With this, if we don’t own the conversation around our team on these platforms…someone else will…and brands will pay them over us for the influence they hold.
In this article, I’m going to dive into a few quick tweaks that will help you build a YouTube library of content that gets views that you can leverage to drive sponsorship dollars.
First, why does YouTube matter for us in sponsorship?
Well, to put it bluntly…brands are spending their advertising dollars there. When they spend their ad dollars here out of their budget, it is dollars they aren’t spending with us.
We all know that brands are going more digital with their spending…budgets are becoming more and more digital heavy for many brands that we work with.
But how much money could we really be losing out on?
$15Bn was spent on YouTube Ads in 2019. Yes, Billion with a B.
To put that into perspective, that number is bigger than the media conglomerate Viacom (last valued at $12Bn).
More perspective that is more than 20% of the $70Bn spent on US TV ads in 2019. YouTube is on its way to taking over the television market. Brands are spending in large quantities here.
But are the major brands we go after spending here? Absolutely…in large quantities.
In three months Lowe’s has spent $3.6M on Youtube ads, look at the difference between that spend and NFL.com.
Here’s another one with Liberty Mutual (Insurance)
$66.1M in 90 days. That is an insane amount of money on one channel in 90 days. This is why it is vital you have a presence on this platform. You are losing money by not being there as brands are already comfortable spending here.
In sports, this is even more significant when you consider that YouTube is the number one platform fans consume sports highlights on.
More than Twitter or Facebook. This platform is THE king/queen for sports content consumption. It is where fans want to be….scratch that… it is where fans ARE when consuming content.
The point here is if you aren’t here. If you don’t have content that is grabbing that attention…someone else will. Alonge with eyeballs they will grab brand dollars.
A key example of this is The Hockey Guy. He’s a guy in a basement that has netted an estimated $262K in ad revenue from his channel.
He has over 60 Million views on his videos. Volvo is paying to be in his YouTube pre-roll ads (definitely in our sponsorship category).
This guy in his basement has more YouTube subscribers (170K) than most NHL teams (I’m not kidding…look at his compared to actual NHL team accounts).
If I was a brand…and I was looking to reach hockey fans…and I regularly spent on YouTube ads… I would spend with The Hockey Guy over most NHL teams. The brand of a team doesn’t matter when it isn’t capturing the right eyeballs.
So why does it matter to your sponsorship team that you grow on YouTube? Because if you don’t have a presence here you are losing out on major dollars from the brands you work with.
Let’s start with the key to YouTube… It’s a search platform
Unlike other platforms like Instagram and Facebook, YouTube has no “wall” to discover content organically. It is very much a search-heavy platform.
This means fans search for videos with keywords over discovering them based on whom you connect with (like on Facebook & Twitter).
This is vital to understanding how to be successful here. If you can think through the lens of what your fans will search for over putting up mindless highlights…you will beat others in gaining views and subscribers.
With any type of search-based platform, this means you need to optimize for the keywords that are trending for fans.
In essence, you will be implementing YouTube SEO…or Search Engine Optimization.
I know, SEO, a big scary expensive word that people pay a lot of money for. And yes…you could spend a lot of money here…but once you understand the system there are simple tricks you can implement to be successful here.
The first is, of course, the name of the video. When we name the video it has way more of an effect than you may think.
For example, let’s say I was uploading a video of Alvin Kamara and wanted to capture fans searching for that player as a team. You would think I could just upload a highlight video of a game he was in and it would garner views.
Wrong, you have to think about what the user will search for. They aren’t going to search for the college or the game name, they will search “Alvin Kamara Highlights”.
Just adding a player’s name can’t drastically change my reach, can it?
Yes…it can. By tens of thousands of views.
In this example, when searching Alvin Kamara Juco Highlights, the junior college that paid a lot of money for him to have a field, uniform, and play a game lost 63,000 views to someone who probably made the video in his basement.
Literally…it is the same game video. by not adding his name to the highlight the team lost 6X the reach.
The key that this basement-dwelling YouTube creator did was understand that fans wouldn’t search for “Hutchinson Community College vs….Highlights 01/01/2014”…he understood they would search for “Alvin Kamara Juco Highlights” and optimized for that.
As we add videos, we have to understand how to optimize for what our fans will search for. Literally, a few tweaks to the name and description can help us climb in views while we sleep.
Here’s where YouTube looks for keywords:
The most obvious is the name. Again with the example above, if the college used a video name like “Alvin Kamara runs for 366 yards vs. ….. highlights” they would have grabbed the views lost.
A simple tweak that also makes the video more enticing than just “Team A vs. Team B highlights”. I mean…how many people do you think search for that?
This is another place where you can get creative and “visual” with your text. The more keywords you can put in here, the better.
Again with the above example of Alvin Kamara, having something like:
“In a battle of #1 & #2 in the JuCo Hawkeye Conference of 2014, sophomore Alvin Kamara ran for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns behind a stout offensive line.
The team totaled 600+ offensive yards in the first half bolstered by a 97-yard touchdown run by Kamara with 10 seconds to go in the half.”
See how I’ve added keywords while being informative? This builds interaction that brings more commentary of the game to life WHILE adding to the algorithm.
As crazy as it sounds…YouTube actually looks at the file name of the video with the algorithm. Other than the name, this is also the easiest way to increase your rank.
Instead of naming it “Game178348.mp4” calling it “AlvinKamaraHutchHighlights.mp4” will make a world of difference…and it takes 2 seconds.
But how can I predict what my fans will search for?
As we look at YouTube being a search-heavy platform it is important that we put out the right content that fans will search for. Items that are trending to make sure that we are front & center on what is getting the most views.
But we can’t read our fan’s minds…can we? Well, you can come close.
If we understand what keywords are trending, we can build content around that early to take advantage of it.
There are a ton of tools that you have to pay for that solve this…but we can utilize one, in particular, that is free to be successful.
There is a tool called Google Trends that allows us to see search volume across the web, well since Google owns YouTube they have the same tool for YouTube searches.
With this tool you can search for key terms, so the first item I would search for is your team name.
In this example, I use the Minnesota Vikings.
Just below the search volume, you’ll see a section called “Related queries”. These are the search terms that people are using when searching with Minnesota Vikings.
As you can see, rookie standout wide receiver Justin Jefferson is the top trending term in this search. In other words, right now people are heavily searching for content on this young receiver.
If we continue to check this, we can get a good pulse on what is being searched for and what keywords we need to create content for…which comes to step 2
Build your content based on what people are searching for
We can almost crowdsource what our fans want to see based on what they are searching for on YouTube. In real-time we can adjust to what our fans want and feed it to them.
All this can be found for free on Google Trends for YouTube. No cost to you.
Honestly, this is what YouTube “Superstars” already do. They know what content is popping around their keywords and not only can they take advantage, it helps drive their content. It makes creating content EASY.
If you can own this process and do it each week, you can make sure no one ever steals your eyeballs by understanding YouTube better than you.
Notice how the NFL OR Minnesota Vikings are not the first result in the search above. This is a problem. This means views are being taken from both organizations.
If someone steals your views, they are stealing your dollars in the form of YouTube Pre-Roll ads. Not doing the steps above will lose you money (you’re losing money right now from it).
This content can be spread across all your social media channels as well. If people are searching for this on YouTube, good bet they want to see it on Facebook and Twitter. The video you make here can help you with content creation on other channels.
Simply cut the video you make here to fit the short-form content of the other platforms. You’ve already done the work, capitalize on it.
If you build this, sponsorship dollars will come
It’s a pretty simple formula. More content = more views = more leverage with sponsors.
If you can nail this, you can be a college wood-bat league team and have more national leverage than any MLB team. You can close sponsors that you never dreamed of because you have an asset that they need (and have a budget carved out just for it).
It’s as simple as understanding the system. This is a new era of sponsorship. We have to understand the systems we compete with (digital ads) and mold our offerings to them.
Eyeballs are shifting. Where fans consume content is changing. This affects our work in sponsorship and the brand dollars we fight for.
My goal is to help give you the knowledge to compete with ads. There are little tweaks we can make that can make a BIG difference in our leverage with sponsors.
I hope the tactics above are helpful in building your YouTube channel and leverage with fans.