VidCon 2014: A Guide to the YouTube Convention

VidCon

VidCon 2014 is near. Starting this Thursday, thousands of fans and industry leaders will converge in Anaheim to discuss and celebrate all things YouTube. For up-and-coming YouTubers it is an opportunity to learn from the best. Agents can scout talent. Businesses get to hear what is happening on the platform straight from the mouth of CEO of YouTube Susan Wojcicki. Fans get to meet each other in person and get to see their favorite stars live. For brands it is an opportunity to see firsthand the power of YouTubers and their fans.

VidCon: A Brief History

VidCon was founded by Hank and John Green as a way to get YouTubers away from their screens and all together in one venue. Going into its fifth year, it has gone from conference to convention rather quickly. Initially just over 1,200 people attended the event. This year between 15,000 and 20,000 attendees are expected, necessitating the move from the Century Plaza Hotel to the larger Anaheim Convention Center.

VidCon: 2014 Sponsors and Exhibitors

Every year the event has sponsors that range from YouTube (of course) to Taco Bell, United Talent Agency, a wide variety of MCNs, and more. There is a bit of a trade show component to this event where sponsors and exhibitors have a hall with booths to reach YouTube audiences live and in person.

Tips and Tricks to Make The Most of The VidCon Experience

VidCon

Meet people. One of the best reasons to go to VidCon is to meet the people behind the industries and channels you, and fans, care about most. Everyone is going for one reason or another, and by the virtue of being there, there is something to talk about. Whether you are scheduling meetings, or meeting people in line, VidCon was founded as an opportunity for people working and playing in the YouTube ecosystem.

Participate in “Lobby-Con.” Some of the best networking happens in a nearby hotel lobby, long after the panels have ended for the day over at the Convention Center. The Marriott is where many VidCon attendees will be staying, so the best bet might be to head over there if you’re looking to strike up an impromptu conversation or tag along to an after-hours gathering. (Note: there will be a dentist’s convention staying at the Hilton, in case you forgot your toothbrush, but that won’t prevent VidCon attendees from hanging out in that lobby as well).

Get your bearings. Give yourself enough time to learn the lay of the land. Some panels are more popular than others, with longer lines, and a first-come first-served seating policy. If there is something you really want to see, getting lost along the way could be the difference between getting a good seat or even getting in at all.

Panels to See at VidCon

The panels at VidCon tend to fall into two categories: industry and community. The industry panels are geared toward those who are already in the business of making money of YouTube. The community panels are designed for beginners and fans.

ZEFR’s Panel Recommendations

Industry:
Thursday
9:30AM-11:15AM “Keynotes” (Ballroom)
1:00-2:00pm “Keynote and Fireside Chat with Ynon Kriez” (Ballroom)
2:00-2:45pm “The Brand Panel” (room 213)
3:00-3:45pm “Copyright on YouTube?” (room 213) with ZEFR’s Director of Business Development, Adam Goldstein
4:00 “Keynotes” (ballroom) and “YouTube Address with Susan Wojcicki” closing

Friday
9:30-10:30AM either “How to Be a Fan of Your Fans” (room 209) OR
“Branded Content” in 2014 (room 210)
12:30-1:30pm “Intentional Virality” (room 209)
2:00-3:00pm “Getting Clicked” (room 208)

Community:
Friday
2:00-3:00pm “A Guide To Vlogging” (room 204)
3:30-4:30pm “Building Communities: How and Why” (room 204)

Saturday
9:30-10:30AM “Less Than Famous” (room 202)
11:00-12:00pm “Faceless Channels” (room 202)

Q&A’s, Performances, Signings etc.

VidCon isn’t just for creators and professionals, it’s for communities too. There are Q&A sessions with YouTube celebrities of every size fielding questions and doing signings. (This can also be a valuable experience for brands and business to observe, to witness firsthand the impact of YouTube fandom.)

If you work in a specific vertical there will be different YouTubers that will peak your interest. This year, there are a lot of panelists from the fiction, education, music, beauty, and vlogging communities. This year there are also open mics, concert series, performances, and movie nights. The Kia Mainstage is the arena can draw the biggest crowds, especially when the Mainstage hosts events that resemble rock concerts.

Recommended Q&As
Friday
2:00-3:00pm StyleHaul (room 304)
5:00-6:00pm John and Hank Green (Ballroom)
Saturday
9:30-10:30am The Shaytards (Ballroom) OR Pemberley Digital (room 304)

Mainstage
Saturday
3:30-5:00pm Final Mainstage Event

Why Should People Attend?

VidCon is highly valuable for brands because it takes all the enthusiasm and loyalty of fans and distills it into a few days of priceless insights. All the metrics in the world can’t describe the energy and enthusiasm fans actually have live and in person. Engagement in its purest form isn’t about likes, dislikes, or comments. It’s about brands, entrepreneurs, and especially fans, interacting around a shared excitement about the future of YouTube.

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