A post from forrester.com on lessons for content on YouTube, and by extension on 'informal' online content generally. In summary, be sincere.

But first here are a few reasons why BlendTec succeeded — reasons you ought to pay attention to before trying it yourself:

  1. It's funny. It's visually arresting. It's short. These are three qualities your videos must possess. Here's another company that also succeeded with a visually arresting video: Ray-Ban.
  2. It's authentic. These guys are geeks. Wright told me the CEO — Tom Dickson, who's featured in the video — is an engineer. It comes across. This stuff ain't slick, folks, and if it were it wouldn't work. (I love the proud and cheesy smile while he watches his company's blender reduce some object to dust.)
  3. It's original. Figure out what your unique value is. Then film it and put it up there. Don't copy Blendtec, or Ray-Ban, or Dove. This may be the hardest part.
  4. It actually connects to the value of the product. You see these videos and you can't help saying "Can that blender really do that? Maybe I should get one." And many people do. You could be a hit on YouTube with a video that doesn't connect to the value of your product, but that will help your ego a lot more than your sales.

From willitblend.com: Speaking through YouTube, blogs.forrester.com.

Sometimes I think sincerity is regarded as daggy or unsophisticated, or just too simple to work; but I suspect it's part of the reason the participatory web has taken off.