Earlier today, Annie Betz of LaunchSquad gave me a heads up that the first two episodes of the AOL Original series “Follow Me” have premiered. The show offers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of Internet celebrities, with each of the nine episodes featuring a different star. As I scanned her email – thinking of excuses for not writing a post about this news – I noticed that one of the first two episodes follows Brittani Louise Taylor. Since 2007, the actress/artist/super nerd has created hundreds of videos on YouTube, ranging from vlogs to spoofs to her weekly Shout Out Sunday show. Yes, that Brittani!
Why are YouTube Superstars Flocking to AOL?
So, what is BLT doing on AOL? But wait, there’s more! The second episode follows Our 2nd Life, the online video boy group sensation comprised of Ricky Dillon and JC Caylen. YouTube vlogging phenom Our 2nd Life has charmed their way into the homes and hearts of over 2 million dedicated subscribers. Yes, that Our2ndLife!
So, what is O2L doing on AOL? Here’s the backstory. Back in April 29, 2014, AOL announced its 2014 slate of original programming at its Digital Content NewFront in Brooklyn. The announcement featured talent and producers such as James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zoe Saldana, and Ellen DeGeneres. And I was one of the few bloggers who even bothered to provide a thumbnail description of 12 out of AOL’s 16 original shows that were slated to premiere throughout the year on The AOL On Network. And my story over in ClickZ didn’t even mention “Follow Me” until the 11th paragraph. Here’s what I wrote back then:
This series documents the lives of modern day digital creators that are redefining the definition of celebrity. Each episode features a different star allowing us unprecedented access into their life to share their story. We’ll experience life when the vlogging, instagramming, and tweeting stops... if it ever does.
Heck, I didn’t even mention that the show would be produced by Fullscreen.
Redefining What it Means to be a Celebrity
So, imagine my surprise when read that the first two episodes follow Brittani Louise Taylor and Our 2nd Life. These digital natives are redefining the definition of celebrity, and “Follow Me” viewers have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at how they do it. How do they curate massive online followings? What kind of work goes into continuously building their brands?
Here are the show descriptions for episodes one and two:
101 - Brittani Louise Taylor
We get an intimate look at the consummate YouTube professional, Brittani Louise Taylor, as she preps for all aspects of her YouTube production and the constant workload that goes into maintaining her brand. From her work to her personal/private life, we get to see the real Brittani, not just the Digistar.
102 - Our 2nd Life
We catch up with Ricky Dillon and JC Caylen, two of the O2L’s hottest group members, as they navigate the sea of fans and perform at VidCon 2014. Life is never boring with this group. Join us as we get an unprecedented look into their private time where they finally get a chance to relax and unwind at home after a grueling, six-week U.S. tour.
New episodes of “Follow Me” will be available every week on Tuesday.
Lessons for Video Creators and Marketers
So, what lessons can internet marketers and video content producers learn from BLT and O2L appearing on AOL?
First of all, is it just me, or do you also find it ironic that the folks at The AOL On Network seem to have read YouTube Creator Playbook, which says, “Aim to publish a minimum of one video per week.” The YouTube Creator Playbook also says, “Release videos on a set day of the week, if possible; audiences like structure.” Could it be that these important tips, best practices, and strategies also work on The AOL On Network?
Second, we all know that Annoying Orange got a show with Cartoon Network, and Fred has created shows for Nickelodeon. But, appearing on The AOL On Network is another viable way to promote your content and channel beyond YouTube. According to data from the comScore Video Metrix service, AOL, Inc. ranked as the #3 online video content property in March 2014 with 69.4 million unique video viewers, behind only YouTube, which ranked #1 with 155.6 million unique viewers that month, and Facebook, which ranked #2 with 88.4 million viewers. (Yes, I know this data is old, but comScore hasn’t released any new online video data since then.)
Third, the folks at Fullscreen have one of the most talented, active communities of artists and creators on Earth – with almost 3.5 billion views, more than 445 million subscribers, and over 66.9 million comments / likes / shares this month. It wouldn’t hurt you to watch what they’re doing like a hawk.