Today's trending content marketing campaign is the still ongoing #DearMe campaign put together by YouTube. The campaign has gained huge traction on Twitter, while still pushing people to YouTube where Google pretty much has a money printing press made just for them.
The campaign definitely has great intentions, better timing, and some compelling user generated content.
What is YouTube's #DearMe campaign?
Yes, even YouTube needs to do a little bit of creative content marketing to market the user generated content on their platform. This time they have gone the easy route and are having their users do the pushing for them,
The entire campaign starts with, as you'd guess, a video:
It's a pretty simple premise: create a Gif on the official website for the #DearMe campaign, upload it to Twitter, use the #DearMe hashtag. For bonus points, upload a video to Youtube itself as well.
Many well known YouTube users have taken part with videos of their own such as Felicia Day, Hannah Hart, and Lily Superwoman. Each video offers a different insight into the past lives of the creators.
While users can't actually go back in time to deliver this message to their younger selves, the goal is to give young YouTube viewers the chance to reflect on how nothing going on in their life is new: we've all dealt with this before and you will be ok. Eventually.
What I like about YouTube's #DearMe campaign
First, the timing for this couldn't have been better. March 8 was International Women's Day. and the major push for the hashtag started shortly before this and is still going strong. This has really helped to connect conversations that women are having with the day itself. Within hours of it being announced the hashtag was trending on Twitter, with videos being uploaded all the time.
Better than having ordinary users, one of the most influential women on the planet even joined in on the hashtag with a comment:
Yep, even the first lady had a #DearMe moment to share!
I also enjoyed how they didn't leave it all scattered across Twitter and YouTube. The official page is full of GIFs that women made and that you can view all at once:
A post over on the YouTube blog summarizes nicely what they want to do with the campaign:
"YouTube is a place where people can come together, share interests, relate experiences and offer each other support. From #ItGetsBetter to #ProudtoPlay, we've seen our community inspire and empower those in need of encouragement. Today, we're asking you to do the same for girls who don't have to face their problems alone."
This is one of those moments where I hope that your content marketing doesn't have to be all about you or your company. At its best, it won't have anything at all to do with your products, services, or the new location you opened on the N1.
What I don't like about YouTube's #DearMe campaign
It's hard to find fault in a campaign that has been so well thought out, and is for such a good cause. There is a more cynical side of me that feels that YouTube has co-opted a larger movement for social change for their own marketing gain...but my reasonable brain rationalizes that this is what all marketing does in some way or another.
I'm also a little bothered by the website where they gather the GIFs. That can be really tough to load as each GIF is a series of images. Once you get past the first few it seriously starts to bog down.
Speaking of the GIFs, I haven't really seen one yet that works as a GIF should. They are mostly all taken directly from the videos of their #DearMe moment. This has lead to it being a whole lot of talking heads with words on them. So you see these people talking, but it's a GIF so their mouths are opening but no sounds are coming out. A great GIF takes this into account and makes the action relevant. One example from the image above is the girl making the heart with her hands. This makes much more sense than if she made a GIF of her mouth moving. This problem is on the users who created the content. There's not much that can be done on YouTube's part.
I would like to see them make a push with a campaign like this again in the future that doesn't focus on women and instead focuses on everyone who is having a hard time growing up. Yes, I know, this is me talking from my privileged position as a straight white male, but I happen to know a few straight white males who didn't make it to adulthood due to them not hearing 'it's going to be ok' when they needed it.