Video is one of the greatest marketing tools in your business arsenal, hands down.
When it comes to positioning your brand, engaging viewers with your ideas, or building a long-term relationship with your audience, it blows every other type of content out of the water.
But only if — and that’s a big “if”! — you do it right.
Anyone can make a video. Creating something attention-grabbing, relevant, helpful, and compelling enough to stand out and attract your target customers…
…that’s a whole different story.
So today, I’m going to share 5 brand-building and storytelling lessons that will help you level up your marketing videos. And in order to do it, I will turn to an unlikely source — YouTubers. Yep!
For this week’s article, I hand-picked several fascinating YT video creators to study. I intentionally avoided mega-stars with tens of millions of fans and focused on mid-level influencers with audiences between 600,000 and 8.5 million extremely dedicated subscribers.
I wanted to know how these YouTubers attracted their passionate audiences, and what business owners like you and me could learn from them.
Read on, and you will discover:
- The #1 difference maker between a brand that attracts tens of thousands of subscribers vs. hundreds of thousands and millions.
- Why you should stop emulating what your competitors are doing… and look for what they’re missing.
- How to create content that people are guaranteed to love and use it to attract new viewers — and boost your credibility at the same time.
- The #1 reason you need a compelling “origin story” and a resonant “why” behind your brand’s mission.
And more. Let’s do this!
1. Create a cohesive brand philosophy (Marie Kondo)
Marie Kondo, a.k.a. KonMari, needs no introduction — she’s a household name in the personal organization / productivity space. Even though her English-language channel sits at “only” 606,000 subscribers, her content reaches millions of people through her book, Netflix show, and more.
But here’s the interesting thing about Marie Kondo… she’s much, much more famous here in the West than in her native Japan. Case in point: her Japanese-language channel has 10 times fewer subscribers!
Why do you think that is?
Well, if I had to guess, I’d say it has something to do with how differently KonMari brands and positions herself to Western vs. Japanese audiences.
Back at home, Marie Kondo is simply a very competent organizer / tidying consultant. Knowledgeable, charismatic — but not unique by any stretch. She fits neatly into the larger ecosystem and aesthetic of Japanese vloggers and influencers.
However, in the US and the rest of the English-speaking world, KonMari stands out from everybody else thanks to her spiritual, Zen-like approach to personal organization. She doesn’t just teach Westerners how to tidy up — she connects it to the larger context of sparking joy, and living a fulfilling life. People are drawn to her philosophy much more than specific tactics, strategies, and methods.
The Takeaway: put your values in people’s faces! Make sure that your unique differentiators shine through in your branding, marketing, and the content you create. The more you can go against the grain and stand out from everybody else in your industry, the better.
2. Find and fill the content gap (TwoSetViolin)
TwoSetViolin was started by two Australian violinists, Eddie Chen and Brett Yang. It caters to a very specific crowd — classical musicians and unabashed classical music geeks.
The majority of classical music channels on YouTube are focused on the craft: how-to’s, tutorials, theory, analyses… that type of thing. And that’s understandable, because career musicians live and breathe that stuff!
But there’s a whole other side to the classical music community, too. It’s very much a way of life, with its own humor, memes, stories, and niche interests. TwoSetViolin realized that few (if any!) other creators focused on the lifestyle / entertainment aspects — so they stepped up to fill the gap.
This allowed Brett and Eddie to build a dedicated audience of 3+ million subscribers, and translate their success into revenue — mostly through ticket sales (pre-pandemic) and merch sales.
The Takeaway: what does your audience want or need to hear that nobody else in your industry is giving them? What type of content do you wish existed in your space? If you can identify and fill these gaps in the content landscape, you’ll have no problem standing out and attracting your ideal customers — even in an oversaturated market.
3. Leverage popular content formats (Legal Eagle)
Legal Eagle is a channel about the US legal system, with over 1.7 million subscribers at the time of this writing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s not easy to make legal content exciting and accessible to a massive audience… So how on earth did creator Devin Stone manage to pull it off?
And the answer is: by taking an already-established content formula and using it to entertain viewers — and showcase his legal expertise!
“Expert in [field] reacts to depictions of their profession on TV / in film” is a massively popular content format that YouTube viewers absolutely love. Legal Eagle adapted it brilliantly, tackling famous courtroom scenes from a variety of media — from the usual suspects like “Suits” to complete outliers like “South Park.”
These reaction videos are easy and quick to make, extremely entertaining, and they attract millions of viewers to Devin’s channel; the “Suits” video alone clocked in at over 5+ million views! He uses this content to:
- Establish his credibility as an expert attorney, and
- Attract not just new viewers, but also potential clients for his practice
The Takeaway: meet your target customers where they are. Take a popular format, infuse it with your unique brand personality and expertise, and leverage it as “gateway content” to reach a wider audience with your message.
4. Create an episodic show (Babish Culinary Universe)
Babish Culinary Universe (formerly Binging with Babish) is a cooking channel that rose to fame on a very simple concept: recreating dishes from popular films and TV shows.
Every week, creator Andrew Rea would tackle anything from the cannoli from “The Godfather” to the heart-bursting “ribwich” from “The Simpsons.” The show’s central gimmick is perfect for building an audience, and it does so in two stages:
- Attract new viewers by “borrowing” the name recognition from beloved media properties, and
- Engage said viewers for the long haul by promising more similar-but-different content in future episodes.
Right now, Babish Culinary Universe sits at a cool 8.5+ million subscribers — largely due to the popularity of its original concept. Andrew has long since branched out into doing other types of content, like regular recipe videos, but the “Binging” series is still his most-viewed show, by far.
The Takeaway: create ongoing episodic content around one compelling concept. Check out this article for ideas on what kind of branded show you could create. People will remember your video series and come back for seconds even before they get to know the company behind it! But once your audience is hooked on your episodic content, they will naturally check out what else you’re up to.
5. Start with WHY (“Dad, How Do I?”)
“Dad, How Do I?” is an object lesson in the power of a compelling “origin story.”
On the surface, it’s just another advice / how-to channel that teaches how to accomplish mundane household tasks: changing a doorknob, unclogging a toilet, changing your oil etc. There are thousands, if not millions, of similar ones on YouTube.
But how did this channel gain over 3 million subscribers in 10 months? That’s where the story comes in…
Rob Kenney — the man behind “Dad, How Do I?” — was abandoned by his father when he was 14. Growing up, he didn’t have anyone to teach him the things we normally learn from our dads, and had to figure it all out on his own.
And he did! Rob grew into a successful, well-adjusted adult — married for 29+ years and with 2 amazing children. Now in his 50s, he decided to pay it forward, and share practical “dadvice” with kids and young adults like him, who grew up without a father figure.
(Actually, he’d wanted to do it for years — but it was the quarantine that finally allowed Rob the time to do YouTube and removed all excuses!)
Rob’s story resonated with people, and his audience grew exponentially, leading to national media appearances and even a book deal!
The Takeaway: before your audience can feel emotionally invested in what you do and how you do it, they have to care about the why. A compelling story is what separates forgettable brands from remarkable ones — so make sure you share yours proudly.
Earn your prospects’ undivided attention (in 30 seconds or less)
Today, you’ve seen some stunning examples of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking on display. But there’s another, even more important lesson that these video creators can teach us as entrepreneurs…
Creativity won’t get you anywhere without clarity.
Where there is clarity, there is revenue. When you engage potential customers, you literally cannot afford to be vague. You need to present a compelling and complete vision of your brand — why you do what you do, and how you do it… fast.
This is the only way to stand out and attract your ideal customers.
My team and I want to help you do just that, with the power of the Elevator Pitch.
An Elevator Pitch is designed to cut through all the distractions and grab your prospects’ attention as fast as possible. It’s a single, memorable statement about your business that you can deliver in 30 seconds or less. And it has ONE job — getting potential customers excited enough and curious enough to say the 3 all-important words…
“Tell me more!”
I know what you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can hook people on my business in 30 seconds!” I disagree. My team has already helped dozens of businesses formulate an irresistible Elevator Pitch — and we want to create one for you, too.
All you need is to hop on a 15-minute consultation with one of our expert copywriters here at The Draw Shop. They will help you define the problem you solve, how you solve it, and the life-changing results your customers will see from working with you.
Then we’ll transform your input into a unique Elevator Pitch for your brand — a powerful 30-second statement scientifically designed to stand out, delight, persuade… and convert.
And we’ll top it off with a one-page, one-of-a-king infographic that makes your pitch into an engaging visual story! That’s going to be a valuable marketing asset in its own right — you can use it to…
- Share it with your team
- Feature it on your website
- Use it in your email signature
- Put it on the back of your business card
- Spread it on social media