Since the dawn of YouTube, artists have found ways to connect to their fans through social media, promotions and reading through endless comments of praise or criticism.
However, many artists have always wondered which fans have the greatest influence in gaining views and fans.
Ben Smith, a former Google and YouTube executive, and now founder and CEO of his own company, said that the problem with trying to reach fans is that creators don’t know which are the fanatics and which are the taste-makers.
“Right now on YouTube, I think that so many channels have great relationships with their fans but they don’t know a whole lot about them, especially which fans are valuable in terms of creating a lot of views. The relationship between the channels and the fans are owned in part by YouTube. You don’t know your fans unless they comment on your videos.”
His solution to finding out who the taste-makers and rabid fans of a content producer are is Blayze. Smith wants his platform to encourage producers to reach out to their most obsessed fans and also reward them in return.
“They can identify which fans create a lot of distribution, reward them, and ultimately generate more revenue.”
Some of the ways that Blayze looks at fan engagement include which fans generate the most views, how valuable the views they share are and how important their networks are.
“Right now, we are looking at over 15 different items in determining how valuable your fans are,” Smith said.
He used the example of YouTube comedians Smosh as content creators who could benefit from the Blayze platform.
“We’re trying to identify which fans share with their friends and bring in more views. Obviously for Smosh, they want as many views as possible, so we track who’s sharing with their friends on Facebook and Twitter and getting people to check out Smosh, who’s increasing the size of Smosh’s audience.”
By tracking these items, Blayze can help performers like Smosh understand and reward their fans. Creators can reward their fans however they want, and Smith said that they have taken a page from Kickstarter’s book, where Blayze asks its fans to fuel distribution. Like Kickstarter, Blayze encourages creators to put up a video appealing to their most loyal fans and watch the process go through.
“Homemade rewards from the channel or the artists should power that fan distribution. Anything that’s homemade, anything that deepens the relationship between you and your fans — behind the scenes videos, shout-outs, T-shirts, cool items, a chat with the channel themselves, tickets to check stuff out can fuel your best fans for sharing your content.”
After enticing their fans, creators put links to their Blayze page on the YouTube videos, where fans register and Blayze tracks their sharing movements.
“At the end of the campaign, we generate data, and we give that back to the channel. The channel can also fulfill the rewards and give their fans the rewards. So far, we’ve had lots of channels that want to do one every week or every other week.”
Smith said that Blayze will eventually get brands to help content creators sponsor their rewards, which will help those YouTubers make money.
While not going into specifics, Smith said that over 50 YouTube channels that have signed on, including musician Kurt Hugo Schneider and bodybuilder Scott Herman.
With many of these questions answered, it looks like Blayze could be an effective tool in strengthening the bond between YouTube artists and their fans.