SPAA Conference: Becoming rock stars of the internet

14 November, 2011 by Sam Dallas

The Internet audience is like a really hot celebrity – you really want their attention but they don’t know who the hell you are.

So says online content creator Natalie Tran – and she should know, she is Australia’s Queen of YouTube.


The Sydney-born writer, actor and "video blogger" currently has 1,075,872 subscribers on her YouTube channel, and her videos have now had about 400 million views.

“If people are nice enough to give you the time, they’re nice enough to come to your site, then you really want to be special – you want to do something that they go: ‘I might subscribe, I’d like to hear more from this person, I’d like to come back’,” Tran told a SPAA Conference audience earlier today.

Tran, who’s had an online presence since 2006, says to have success in the online space you need to be consistent (in quality and timeframe), establish a relationship with your audience and treat them nicely.

“It’s really important to encourage people to come back to your content,” she says.

“While a lot of companies just want that one viral hit, really it means that if that company ever wants anything again, they’re starting all over again.

“With my audience…the audience knows me and if they are a loyal audience they will click the next month and so forth.

"Try and establish some kind of sense of familiarity. I know that sounds strange but it's like when you listen to the radio or watch the TV, a program makes you feel something and you really want to create that kind of atmosphere as well."

Things to avoid include communicating with your audience for no reason and bombarding them with content.

"You don’t necessarily want to meet the demand – you just want to justify it. You just want people to still be enthusiastic about your content. You don’t want to go ‘here’s all the crap, take it or leave it, I hope you find something’."

Tran reportedly made $US101,000 from YouTube in just one year – from July 2009-10, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Joining Tran on the panel at the SPAA Conference in Sydney were Dario Russo, creator of Italian Spiderman and upcoming SBS series Danger 5, content creator Joe Brumm (Dan The Man) and YouTube representative Richard North.

Russo, whose Italian Spiderman trailer went viral, has been busy creating Danger 5 for SBS – an action comedy series about World War II. Five-five minute webisodes will begin next week before the series screens on TV.

Russo was adamant that content creators need to think hard about the content before putting it online.

While Brisbane-based Brumm, whose credits include Charlie and Lola and Little Kingdom, says you need to hook an audience as early as possible to be successful.

His Dan The Man short received more than one million views after just a month online. An extended version of the short, which will be in seven parts, will be uploaded online in February.

North says the most important thing for content creators to do is to stand out from the others.

“Understand the audience and where they hang out,” he says, indicating there are numerous tools to assist in finding this.

“Be aware of viewer habits. Connect with the community and make them feel important. And understand different ways to monetise.”

He added there are “happy accidents” in the online world, however if you want to succeed, you need to “work hard”.

The SPAA Conference concludes on Wednesday.