BUSINESS: Observations from a potter on the edge – how YouTube can help your business
Steve Booton has produced an interesting article which may be of use (or at least thought provoking!) to others, both in the ceramics world and more generally…
Let me take a moment to explain the title of this piece, it can have a number of different meanings. I live on the edge of Sheffield which is very much on the edge of Yorkshire and also as a recent returnee to ceramics, I feel very much like I am on the edge of the world of pots looking in. This enables me to offer a positive perspective from which to discuss my recent observations and experiences of the world of ceramics.
At the risk of preaching to the converted, how many of you have viewed the global phenomenon that is YouTube. I read that in the US, 10.5 BILLION views of uploaded videos were made in the month of October alone. With viewing statistics like these, YouTube would appear to be a good way for us potters, or indeed any craftsperson, to reach a wider, global audience with all the potential sales a wider audience can generate.
Ordinarily, even with the best intentions in the world, we can only reach a relatively small number of people through exhibitions and crafts fairs. Of course these events have their place as they create essential revenue that all potters need to survive. However, I feel it is important to embrace as many diverse methods of reaching as many people as possible. With this in mind, I recently started posting videos of my work on YouTube. Initially, I uploaded slideshows of my work. Then, I posted some live action videos of me throwing pots and latterly a couple of videos of kiln openings and firings discussing the successes and, just as importantly, the mistakes I have made.
Up to the time of writing this piece, I have had over 11,500 viewings of my videos, with 132 subscribers to my channel from all around the world and all this from a virtually unknown potter. Simon Leach, on the other hand, has had over two million hits to his videos, with 3316 subscribers all of whom are notified each time he uploads a video, providing a very large captive audience. He also says that his website used to get a few hundred hits per year before posting on Youtube, since posting the number of hits on his website have become thousands.
As well as enabling craftspeople to reach a much wider global audience, videos posted on YouTube can be utilised to raise revenue. This is achieved via Google Adsense, where relevant related advertising banners are attached to the video which earn the owner revenue each time the banner is clicked. For example, if you wish to advertise an upcoming event or offer courses, you can incorporate the details in the information banner attached to your video and, in doing so, reach an incredible number of potential customers or students for free!
If you have a website it is easy to attach your URL to your YouTube channel so that people who watch your videos are able to navigate to your website easily and buy your products online. All of this is FREE and only takes a few minutes to set up; surely this is an opportunity too good to be missed!
By Steve Booton of www.youtube.com/user/stevebootonceramic