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Credit: jsawkins on Flickr. Some rights reserved

YouTube's Chris Bailes advice to those creating videos for YouTube is "not to simply upload skeuomorphs".

A skeuomorph, according to this dictionary definition, is "an object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artefact made from another material – the pottery box with a square lid is a skeuomorph of a twilled basketry container," for example.

Speaking at Digital Storytelling, a conference organised by the Media Trust and being held in London today, Bailes, YouTube's industry manager, used this analogy to explain why video needs to be created with the platform in mind.

"Don't use the TV creative or what works on another platform and just put it on YouTube," he said.

His advice for digital storytelling on YouTube is to "go native" and "adopt the lifestyle or look of local inhabitants."

Although it is worth pointing out, as reported earlier today on, there are publishers who have found that certain aspects of traditional broadcasting do appear to have translated well onto YouTube.

Hero, hub, hygiene

Bailes's talk was headlined 'hero, hub, hygiene', covering what he considers the three elements for success.

"Hero" is "the big ticket stuff", Bailes said, which may include big campaigns. The "hub" is the "digital spine", which is the YouTube channel, but can also be a Facebook page or website.

"Hygiene" is the "most important", Bailes said. "It's a regular dialogue with YouTube users" – and something that the "stars" of YouTube, those who have built huge followings, do well. The "stars" are generally not brands, but individuals.

The advice is to "try and keep your message regular and consistent", posting every fortnight or month. "Act like a YouTuber, not like another brand," Bailes said.

Bailes told delegates at the conference – who were mainly from charities rather than news publishers – that this is what YouTube stars Sorted Food do, for example. They regularly post recipe videos and "drip feed content".

"A few years ago YouTube was just for snacking," Balies said, "But it's not now what is at the heart of YouTube". It is now about the "participants".

Partnering with other brands who have found success on YouTube can "super-charge the story", he added, generating much more traffic.

Bales used Jamie Oliver as a brand who has grown a YouTube following this year. The channel started on 21 January, he said, and he quickly learned to create content that is suitable for the platform.

"If you want YouTube success, look at the YouTube stars," he said.

Bailes also urged delegates to focus on tagging to improve search rankings and to add a "call to action". This can be done by adding "annotations" to a video. There are details of how to correctly tag and how to add annotations here.

Introducing Bailes at the conference, Gavin Sheppard, marketing director of the Media Trust, shared some YouTube stats, as listed below:
  • 500 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook
  • 700 YouTube video are shared on Twitter every minute
  • Video promotion is six times more effective than print
  • Sites with video are 53 per cent more likely to be on the first page of a Google search

The rough notes from the session are at this link.

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