Last Wednesday afternoon during one of the SES Talkback sessions at SES San Francisco, I coined the term “schmooze optimization.” And last Thursday morning during the keynote panel at that event, Mark Huffman, the Integrated Production Manager at Procter & Gamble, gave me a shout-out and said his key takeaway from the conference was the concept of optimized schmoozing.
So, before my neologism gallops madly off in all directions, I guess that I should define what schmooze optimization is. And since P&G’s executive production manager for Tide, Downy, and Duracell thinks it is important, I suppose that should explain why optimized schmoozing expands views, engagement, and earnings on YouTube.
According to Wiktonary, schmooze means “to talk casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection,” and optimization means “the design and operation of a system or process to make it as good as possible in some defined sense." So, schmooze optimization is the process of making casual conversation with influential individuals who can help you to increase views, improve engagement, and boost earnings of your YouTube channel.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Everett M. Rogers calls influential individuals “opinion leaders” in his book, “Diffusion of Innovations.” Guy Kawasaki calls them “evangelists” in his book, “Selling the Dream.” And Emanuel Rosen calls them “Hubs” in his book, “The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited.”
Who to Schmooze for YouTube
But, whatever you call them, these influential individuals come in three categories on YouTube:
- YouTubers can like your video, post a comment, add it to their favorites or playlists, create a video response, and subscribe to your channel.
- Bloggers can embed your videos on their blogs and sites across the web, often adding their own commentary and perspective.
- Influencers can share your videos with their friends and social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Now, many advertisers may think these influential individuals make up only 10 to 20 percent of their target audience. But most YouTube partners understand that schmoozing with these influential individuals is one of the keys to building their audience on YouTube.
These YouTube partners have read the second edition of the YouTube Creator Playbook, which compiles important tips, best practices, and strategies to (1) interact with YouTubers and involve them in your videos or channel, (2) share your content with relevant bloggers and site owners, as well as (3) leverage social media influencers to build viewership on your channel and engage with your audience in new ways.
But, most of their schmoozing to date has been limited to email or private messages.
And YouTube now has more than a million partners from 27 countries around the world, so it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, only a small percentage of them have schmoozed with influential individuals face-to-face.
That’s why even a little bit of face-to-face schmoozing with influential individuals is the tell-tale sign of optimized schmoozing. It sets you apart from the vast majority of the other partners who are only known by their names or recognized by their avatars.
How to Optimize your Schmoozing and Reach Influencers
So, what might a schmooze optimization program look like?
Schmooze via Networking Events
To start, you can join an existing YouTube Creator Club or throw a party with a memorable theme.
For example, the coven of witches and warlocks at Eastwick Communications is famous for holding Halloween Parties in Silicon Valley. This is a great way to meet influential individuals face-to-face months before you pitch them a story about one of your clients.
So, when Sian Blevins, an Associate at Eastwick, emailed me last week to say that the Pac-12 Digital Network powered by Ooyala had gone live, I was more likely to mention that fact and embed “2012 Pac-12 Football Sizzle” in this post.
Schmooze via One-to-One Outreach
Next, you can reach out to an influential individual and invite him or her to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner the next time you, he, or she is in town.
For example, Will Keenan of Maker Studios invited me to have dinner back in February when both of us happened to be in San Francisco.
Now, I already knew that Maker Studios was home to many of online video's top digital stars and content, including the all-time most-subscribed personality Ray William Johnson, KassemG, The Game Station, Nice Peter’s “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the Shaytards, and celebrity actress/comedian Lisa Nova, among others. But over dinner, I learned that Maker Studios was planning to launch PoliPop, YouTube’s first entertainment and politics network.
So, I’m much more likely to mention John Fugelsang’s original PoliPop series, "Caffeinated!" And I’m just as likely to embed his epic rant, “KARDASHIANS! (John Fugelsang/Caffeinated#3).”
Schmooze at Industry Conferences and Events
Finally, you can network with influential individuals at industry conferences like SES, Streaming Media, and VidCon. Even better, you can pitch sessions, submit proposals, and speak on panels at these events.
For example, Jim Louderback, the CEO of Revision3, invited me to be on a panel he was moderating at Streaming Media East back in May. But, I had to bail out unexpectedly when my wife and I were invited by the president of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design to attend the honors convocation the day before the graduation ceremony. (Our daughter got the most As.)
Then, Louderback invited me to be on another panel he was moderating at VidCon 2012. Unfortunately, I had to cancel at the last minute because my mother-in-law passed away that week.
So, now I owe Louderback, big time. And I’m much more likely to embed “Replicants are Coming, Kids Predict Cat Videos, and Air Jaws” in a post even though he didn’t ask me to mention Revision3’s very first Shark Week as a Discovery company.
That’s what schmooze optimization is. And that’s why optimized schmoozing expands views, engagement, and earnings on YouTube.
Get it? Got it? Good.