Recently, I’ve been a getting a good amount of calls from my YouTube friends asking for my opinion regarding which network they should sign with. We’ve written about the 5 things you should know before signing to a YouTube network in the past, but I wanted to write an updated post going more in depth for those who are on the fence about exactly which one they should choose. While I don’t have any direct experience working with specific networks, I can definitely give you guys some good tips based on what I’ve seen other creators have to deal with. So without further ado, here are my personal 5 tips when choosing which specific network to sign with.
1. Take the bad press you hear from others with a grain of salt
A few networks have been publicly called out in the past on issues involving contracts, management, marketing, etc. While I believe that you should do proper research so that you don’t get screwed over after signing, keep in mind that this is a business — a competitive business where networks are fighting over the best talents available. No matter what people tell you, both parties are out to get the best deal possible. That doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily shady — its just business in the end. With that being said, if a network really fits with what you want to do, make sure you do your due diligence in protecting yourself legally (see the next point for details).
2. HIRE A LAWYER
I don’t care how expensive they are — find a good lawyer that you trust and who will sit down with you to discuss your goals. Then have him carefully review/revise the contracts that are presented to you from the networks. If money is a huge issue, one trick I’ve used in the past to get free legal advice is to call up the lawyer and offer to take him out to lunch in exchange for a short consultation when you guys meet. I’ve saved myself a TON of business disasters in the past getting advice from lawyers. Remember: this is your business career we are talking about, so this is an investment you shouldn’t skip out on.
3. Research your audience
While having a great contract and percentage split is great, one of the most important things to take into consideration is whether a YouTube network’s target demographic aligns with yours. You can have the best deal possible, but signing to a network with a different audience than the one you cater to is like putting a History Channel segment about the life of Carl Sagan on Cartoon Network — no one that visits that network is really going to watch it. How do you research your audience, you ask? Well, by using just a few tools at your disposal you can get a rough estimate:
- Step 1: Go to your YouTube “Analytics” tab and click “Demographics” on the left sidebar.
- Step 2: Go to Quantcast.com
- Step 2: Type in the main website of the potential network you want to sign with, then scroll down for demographic data.
- Step 3: Compare how closely your audiences align with each other. The closer it is, the more the network can potentially be a good fit for you. While Quantcast days is not entirely accurate, it gives you some valuable data to help you with your decision.
An even better alternative is that you can simply ask the network for data on their audience and compare that way as well.