Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to Win at YouTube

YouTube is reaching out to Hollywood for help. But its “channel” strategy doesn’t mean it’s abandoning the amateurs and semi-pros who have been stocking the video site with clips for years.

And if you’re in the latter group, YouTube has something just for you: A “Playbook” that’s supposed to help you get your skateboarding dog seen by the widest possible audience. The site just put out a revised version, and even if you never plan on uploading a single video, it’s well worth skimming the 91 slides here.

When you do, you’ll get a sense of the increasing similarities between YouTube successes and the ones you see on TV and in theaters — note the emphasis, for instance, on “tentpole programming” and cross-promotions. And the importance the guide places on consistent scheduling and frequency.

And then there are some tips that are quite specific to YouTube, like the best way to use “annotations,” the interactive text video makers can layer onto their clips.

It’s also important to note that a lot of this stuff is applicable to anyone who creates anything, in any format, and wants to get it distributed on the Web.

There’s a basic primer on search engine optimization (crucial because YouTube is the world’s second-biggest search engine), for instance. And also a handy guide to understanding Google+ (and, in less detail, how to use Facebook and Twitter).


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus