Many independent YouTube creators have a lot of clout on the platform, and have built up a significant subscriber base that is engaged and enthusiastic about the content that is produced. How can brands work with those creators to reach those new audiences and get the best return on their marketing budget? We show you 4 ways in this week's Creator's Tip.

Brands & YouTube Collaborations: The New Marketing

Collaborations between brands and creators isn't a traditional marketing or advertising model, and brands need to approach this type of promotion with a different expectation. There are several factors that differentiate this type of marketing, and these include:

#1 Integrate, Don't Advertise

Working with YouTube Influencers means that you are buying into their audience, and brands need to tread carefully to maintain credibility, for both themselves, and the creators they are working with. The creators know how to speak to their audience better than any brand ever could, so allow those creators the freedom to produce the content that they know will work. Integrating the product in the right way will mean a far more successful campaign. A stunning example of this was the BuzzFeed led campaign for Friskies cat food which didn't overly push the product, and stayed true to the BuzzFeed ethos. The video went viral within hours:

#2 Work With a YouTube Creator You Trust

A creator may have a lot of followers, but that doesn't mean they are the right fit for your marketing campaign. Brands need to be make themselves familiar with the content that is being produced by influencers, and understand which creators can endorse their products and services to their audiences. This may not always be apparent so research is needed, as is a leap of faith.

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#3 Give the YouTube Creator Enough Flexibility

YouTube collaborations can be very successful, and fans do get excited when a brand deal is really well executed. However, the opposite can also be true if brands try and push their slogan, or catchphrase, or product. The creator needs to be trusted with the message, it's really the only way that their subscriber base will buy-in to the collaboration. Exerting too much control may just backfire.

#4 Look Beyond YouTube Channel Subscriber Counts

When looking for a YouTube influencer to collaborate with, it isn't always the biggest that will work for a brand. There are so many great creators with loyal audiences that brands can work with, even if their subscriber base isn't in the tens of millions. You don't have to work with Michelle Phan or PewDiePie to win success on YouTube, teaming up with one of the smaller channels can be just as beneficial.

What brand collaborations do you think have really worked for both parties? Do you have any favorites? Are there any that you really haven't bought into? Let us know in the comments below.