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John Green and the Magic of Marketing to Teens

Marketing to teens

John Green is not simply an author of YA novels with an uncanny understanding of the teen set. Even before the wild success of The Fault in Our Stars (it sold out while he was still writing it), he was a YouTube sensation.

The vlogbrothers, the channel started by Green and his brother, Hank, is worth visiting. It’s a great example of relationship marketing and how it can be used to build a community around your brand.

Marketing a business wasn’t the brothers’ original objective when they began conversing via video blog in 2007. Initially, they simply wanted a way to communicate with each other more often. As their subscriber base grew, they took the time to build connections with their fans.

Today, they have much more than a marketing channel. They have a faithful and devoted community. A close examination of the Green brothers’ social media presence offers some great ideas about how to connect with teens and young adults.

Let’s take a closer look at the magic of the Green brothers and identify what public libraries can learn.

1.Use humor

It’s hard to miss the kinetic energy of a vlogbrothers video. While this might be enough on its own, it’s the comedy that sustains the motion and keeps your attention.

2.Be authentic

The Green brothers started their video blog as a conversation, with each brother passionately discussing his own area of interest. But they do it in such an approachable way that it feels like you’re getting advice from an older brother. This authenticity is what helped them develop a following of more than two million subscribers.

3.Speak the Language

The vlog brothers have taken the time to get know their audience. They know what teens like, what motivates them, and how they talk. This helps them create the kind of videos that teens want to watch, covering topics such as what to expect when you go to your first concert and how to manage middle school.

4.Create community

The brothers pay close attention to the fans, responding to questions and finding fun ways to build community. In fact, the community has developed its own lingo – fans are “nerdfighters” and tell each other DFTBA (“don’t forget to be awesome”).

5.Reward loyalty

John Green announced the publication of TFIOS on tumblr and twitter and promised fans he would sign all preordered copies of the book. John also treated regular viewers to video readings of the first chapters of the book before publication.

6.Show empathy

Green goes to extra lengths to understand his fans, particularly the kids sick with cancer. Several times a month he speaks personally, either by phone or Skype, to several cancer patients, according to the New Yorker magazine.

It’s no small effort to create a community like this, but keeping the profile of your audience in mind and finding ways to make connections is a good start. There’s no doubt that the Green brothers have built something very special in their community. It’s uplifting, educational, and inspirational – and, yes, a little bit magical.