Ever felt awkward asking for a collab? Not sure what to talk about? Or why? Or with who? Well, don’t worry – we attended the Collaboration Etiquette panel so you’ll never be unsure again!
The panellists have a range of experience with collaboration: Hannah Witton regularly features other creators, and Daniel J. Layton has his collaboration series Baking With Layton, while Ellen Rose works with other creators every day as part of her work for Outside Xtra. The panel was moderated by Steven Bridges.
Here’s what we learned from them…
1. Collaborate with anyone and everyone
When first starting your YouTube channel it can be pretty daunting to approach other creators, whether you have very few subscribers and don’t feel comfortable asking bigger channels or you simply don’t know anyone else with a channel. Don’t worry though, Hannah has the solution for you: collaborate with people you know from your personal life!
Hannah cited how, in the early days of her channel, she made videos with her mum and several of her close friends. The bonus to this is that you’ll already have great chemistry with them – and hopefully great fun!
Who asks who to collab is unfortunately a matter of hierarchy, and thanks to a question from a member of the audience (about how to equalise the relationship when the collaborators have radically different subscriber counts so cannot give the other person exposure), the panel suggested ways around this.
Hannah commented on how, in terms of sponsored collabs, she always makes sure to pay the other person. Ellen discussed how, if the smaller creator has a particularly unique or different idea to the bigger YouTuber’s regular content, variation and fun can be its own reward. Steven then followed that up by discussing how YouTubers with very regular upload schedules (weekly or even daily) are often going to be more likely to collaborate as they need someone to help them make content.
3. Establish ground rules
Transparency is crucial to good collaboration etiquette and our panellists were keen to discuss the relationship between collaborators. Dan and Hannah agreed it was crucial to not expect a collab to go up on both creators’ channels, and said it is necessary to have a good understanding of each other’s expectations.
4. Invite experts onto your channel
Hannah’s channel is mainly based around sex education, and she talked about how she will invite other people onto her channel who have personal or professional experiences with topics that she doesn’t necessarily have herself. So, if you’re looking to educate people with your videos, make sure to collaborate with people who can offer different perspectives – especially on areas you are less informed about. You and your viewers can learn together!
Collaborating with experts can be a great educational opportunity, but collaborating with friends can be just as fulfilling. Dan discussed how his Baking with Layton series began as a result of his friends messing around in the background of videos, and now people approach him to be part of it, and added that his primary collaborators and his friendship group are mostly YouTubers. Ellen Rose thinks it is important to build up a friendship with someone before collaborating – fortunately, that’s what Summer in the City is all about!
6. Sharing audiences
Hannah pointed out that, in the case of very niche channels, “you can be very close friends with someone but your channels just don’t cross over and you’re never going to collab, and that’s okay”. But the panel went on to discuss how great it can be when two people who are friends from very different niches with a small amount of common ground do collab, because it allows each channel to become known to other audiences.
7. The video after…
On the subject of sharing audiences, the importance of the next video you publish after a collaboration was pointed out. If you’ve gained subscribers from someone else’s audience, then keeping them interested if you’ve done something radically different to your regular content in a collab can be a challenge, so Dan suggested considering the next video carefully.
8. Have a clear video in mind
Ellen pointed out how many people approach her in emails asking to collab without an idea, which makes it difficult to say yes. If you’re approaching a total stranger for a collaboration, it’s crucial to pitch them a clear idea of what you envision the video to be.
Want more from Summer in the City 2018?
Check out our Summer in the City tag, where you’ll find all of our coverage.
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