Earlier today, I found this article about the taxonomy of YouTube videos via Music Ally – It’s an outline for “how you can develop original content that works”.

The article has a simple structure for the eight formats of successful YouTube content series. In author Matt Gielen’s words:

This will allow you to go to your creative teams, your companies, your businesses, your studios, etc. with an understanding and way of analyzing what content is currently doing well in your vertical, what’s missing from your vertical, and how the content you make can stand out, feel completely original, and generate millions of views.

Essentially, it’s a guide to developing unique content for YouTube.

A chart showing viral YouTube formats

Matt explains how every great content series, from Complex’s Hot Ones with Bill Burr to VOGUE’s 73 Questions with Kendall Jenner, are mostly a hybrid of two of the above formats, creating a new format to provide the largest fishing net to engage user interest and increase view velocity.

Not interested in Bill Burr? Well you can still enjoy the video to see what happens when he eats that super spicy hot wing. Couldn’t care less about Kendall Jenner? Well you can still enjoy seeing how a multi-millionaire lives.

What I love most about this article is its emphasis on blue ocean strategy, which states most new innovations are merely mixtures of elements that already exist.

Being different is often more important than being great, especially if there is demand for the area of differentiation – This is my definition of relevance.

In the article, Matt mentions, “One area where we’ve seen little innovation is in music videos.” And he’s right. There is so much potential to incorporate music into video in intriguing ways that convert fans. In order to take advantage of the opportunity, artists and their teams must understand this taxonomy, commit to a format (for the long term), and execute well.

Things to think about…

  • What would a music video that doubled as a “how to” video look like? How could it be titled and formatted for both maximum virality, while still ensuring it builds brand equity for the artist?
  • What about a music video that incorporated interviews throughout (like this one Fort Minor did years ago!)?
  • How could you create a music video doubling as a challenge many would find interesting? Examples: OK GO anybody?! or this live music video from the Academic capitalizing on facebook live’s lag delay (this activation was designed by one of my favorite music marketers, Amber Hosburgh)
  • Is there a viral narrative you can edit together a string of clips and republish them with a new spin where the comment actually has your song serving as the soundtrack?

The final point is always remember you don’t have to come up with something completely new!

Many of our company’s greatest viral marketing campaigns have been inspired by activations in other industries.

Innovation happens from taking ideas already working and combining them in new ways… Hopefully, understanding Matt’s YouTube taxonomy is an inspiring place for you and your team to start!

What are examples of successful content series on YouTube combining multiple of the above eight formats? One example that comes to mind is Cooking with Marshmello. I’d love to hear what you’ve seen work!

Check out the YouTube series Cooking with Marshmello:

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