One thing that has come up in conversations for me time and time again is the professionalism of YouTubers. I first heard this complaint three years ago when I was working with a producer who works on a lot of music videos on YouTube. Since then, this has been a trend I have been hearing in my conversations with “big players” including big brand executives and investors of some of the major YouTube networks. These complaints include:
“They don’t respond to important emails on time”
“They are flaky”
“They don’t seem to know a good business opportunity for them when they see one”
“They don’t get what advertisers want and are not willing to accommodate to their needs”
While I think some of these complaints are valid and I do see some truth behind it, I personally think that both sides are at fault in some way. For one, I believe that a creator’s job should solely be to create awesome content — which is ultimately what they want to do and are good at, so who cares how “unprofessional” they are? It’s not their job anyways. However, on the other hand, if you are big enough to be offered major gigs and business deals, why the heck don’t you have a manager handling all your stuff?
I think that once you hit a certain point in your YouTube career, you need to focus seriously on finding a good manager to deal with all your business affairs. I personally believe that hitting an audience of 1000 that you can call “true hardcore fans” is a good number to start with. However, as fast as the industry is going, no one really knows what makes a good “new media” manager. While believing in your work and the passion to develop you as an artist is a big deal, I think that a good manager in this industry need to possess the following qualities:
1. They know what advertisers want
Online advertisers see only the bottom line in the end when it comes to marketing their stuff. They want to work with you because they see value in your traffic and want it driven to their site. This is with the intention to get that traffic to “convert” into something that will build their business, whether it’s them showing interest by putting their email down or buying their product. A good manager needs to understand your audience and be able to pitch your channel to advertisers with a similar target audience. You may think that you can use a sales person for that, but he/she also needs to be able to work with you to craft a good video that satisfies an advertiser’s needs without jeopardizing your creative direction. This happy medium will not only ensure great quality content, but returning advertisers as well.
2. They are resourceful and know how to build a good team
As I’ve mentioned in the past, new media talents are an interesting hybrid of artist and business entity because they own distribution platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook where they can connect and reach their audience. Because of that, I believe a good YouTube talent manager needs to know how to build a quality team with an array of talents that support and believe in the brand. Knowing how to hire the right people including assistances, producers and sales people who are or are open to understanding new media are crucial to success.
3. They know when they need to step back
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen managers make with new media talents is that they try to manage everything in their lives, like taking over posting on their social media channels and dictating what they put out. One of the things that separates new media talents with traditional is that they love being hands on and prefer to manage all of their outlets to connect with fans themselves. This ensures that they preserve their authenticity and creativity and not jeopardize their personal brand.
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