This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.
YouTube has been around for a while but it’s finally becoming the transformational platform everyone thought it could and would become. Until recently, brands and businesses have written off the medium as a place for teenagers to film short, quirky, and often nonsensical short form videos. But something funny happened along the way. Many of these teenagers became overnight sensations which has people rethinking the power of online video.
Take for example Jenna Marbles. With about 10 million YouTube subscribers and over 1 billion video views, she has amassed a following most brands would be envious of. And there are plenty of others trying to follow in her foot steps by using YouTube as a platform to create a meaningful brand and personality. This week, many of these YouTube stars and celebrity hopefuls will converge in Anaheim, California for the VidCon conference. In attendance will also be other forms of professionals and they are ones you’d only expect to find in Hollywood: talent managers and entertainment agents. The talent and respective managers are both starting to realize that YouTube has completely changed the game. And this trend is only increasing. According to Rolling Stone magazine, just last week Russell Simmons announced a brand new music label with YouTube and Universal Music that would be focused on promoting and developing new artists using YouTube.
But music isn’t the only category that is taking advantage of the medium.
Major retailers, consumer packaged goods companies, and beauty companies, are beginning to partner up with influential YouTube bloggers in order to facilitate product placement within online videos. Companies like Stylehaul and HaulerDeals have been created to facilitate these types of transactions between product companies and video bloggers.
Media companies are starting to invest heavily in in-house video production and content creation, whereas just a few years ago they would argue that it was too expensive. However, after recently speaking to a number of executives at various media companies like Conde Nast and Hearst, it’s clear that they realize the time to invest in video is now. And with the costs of video production coming down due cheaper and better tools it’s starting to become a no-brainer for businesses to get into the video production game. Cameo.tv is one such example where videographers can film, edit, and publish a professional video without needing anything more than just an iPhone.
Even medium to small sized businesses realize that in order to do effective marketing and sales, you need to be able to tell your story in a meaningful and engaging way. And how much more engaging can you get than using site, sound and motion? This is the reason more and more businesses feature videos right on their home pages, and even about-us pages, instead of static text.
So if you’re thinking about building your own personal brand or adding fuel to your business, you should take another look at YouTube. It’s not just about teenagers and cute kitten videos anymore.