The Nive Nulls are a young and creative YouTube family with over 165k subscribers (or Internet family members, as they like to say) who follow the family in each vlog, watching the Nive-Null children grow from wee little babies to toddler-aged kiddos. Major landmarks of their lives make it to their YouTube channel, from the birth of a new child to moving from Kansas City to Los Angeles to follow their dreams.

[a]listdaily spoke with Austin Null, one-fourth of the Nive-Null family to talk about what inspired them to throw themselves into vlogging, making a living on YouTube, and advice for brands on how to leverage YouTube effectively. The Nive Nulls have previously worked with such brands as Listerine, NBC, Pepsi, Audible, the NFL, MTV, Naturebox, Ford, and Hulu as well as being part of the ION community, a growing network of online trendsetters. Find out more about The Nive Nulls by checking out their YouTube channel here.

What inspired you to share your family’s life on YouTube?

Austin Null: We started watching the first family of YouTube, the Shaytards. We started watching them a little over 4 years ago and we were like “we should do that!” and just started making videos– and we kept making videos– and here we are 4 years later.

What do you think your kids will think about the videos when they watch them when they’re older?

Austin Null: I think they’ll like them. I think they already do, though. My daughter is two and ever since she was born, she’s been in videos. She’s at the point now where she’ll ask “I want to watch baby Audri!” and she’ll go back and watch her when she was a baby. It’s also nice just to watch our timeline as parents. We like to go back and see the older videos and see what the kids were like when they were younger or what we were doing at certain times. So we can see what things were like when we aren’t able to necessarily remember it.

What social platform do you feel is most important to you in the future?

Austin Null: For us at least, for the kind of videos we make and who our audience is, YouTube is the most important. The other ones are like extra complimentary things. Me tweeting people doesn’t enhance the business per se, but it definitely enhances the community aspect, which we’re really big on. I like Twitter because it’s so easy to communicate with people, but I like Instagram because it’s another form of entertainment in a way, by creating a picture or a full video. I also like Vine a lot. It’s something I’m still trying to get used to, consistent at and good at, but I think Vine is actually really cool because it’s a way of creating different content, maybe different from the YouTube channel.

How do you introduce branded content to your audience?

Austin Null: We’re really open and honest with them. We’ll just straight up tell them that we’re going to work with this brand. We don’t try to hide the fact that it’s a brand deal in the integration. We’ll just straight up tell them. Like right now, we’re doing a 5-part video series with Listerine where we’re uploading a video every week on our channel. On our normal vlogs, we’ll tell them: “Tomorrow’s going to be a video that we’re doing with Listerine.” We’re just really open with them and for the most part, they’re open to it as long as the content is really cool.

What can brands learn from YouTube creators, as far as communicating with the YouTube audience?

Austin Null: Nowadays, with the younger demographic or millennials, you can’t just talk at people. You have to reach them on their level. A lot of brands will come in with all these talking points and just go on and on, paragraph after paragraph. I’m just like, I can make this work, but I have to talk how I normally talk and get the point across in a way that people are used to seeing. I think it’s hard for brands because this whole YouTube thing is kind of new, but I am hoping that they’ll learn to let [YouTubers] have free reign. We know what our audience likes. I’ve done a ton of brand deals and I know which ones the audience did not like and it’s because it was kind of forced around. When we get the ability to make our own, I get emails back and they’re like “Oh man, yeah, the response was really good on that! Everyone was checking out the linked video we were talking about.” For the most part, YouTubers know exactly what they’re doing and how to communicate and it’s not in the traditional form.

What do you like about working with brands?

Austin Null: When it goes well, I like that they offer promotions. It’s not really baked in as much, and it would be nice to do in a sense where we make a video, but they have a million followers on Twitter and a million Facebook likes.

It’s nice to do one-off shoutouts, but it’s nice when the brand is willing to work with you to create content that stands alone, which is what we did with this Listerine deal. It was pretty different that what we’ve normal done, but we did 5 videos with them and they had a whole team come to our house and we shot 5 videos in a day. Now it’s this whole series and it still has our feel a little bit and our personality, but it also stands out. It looks good for us and it’s also something that the brand can be like “Hey, look at this cool project we’re creating on YouTube!”

Whenever they’re willing to put a lot of effort into it and not just be like “do a shoutout,” which… it can work, I just don’t think it’s as effective.

What’s in the future for The Nive Nulls?

Austin Null: Oh man, I don’t know! I guess we’re just going to keep making videos. I kind of want to do some things and just branch out. I mean, we’ll always be doing the family vlog stuff but I’d like to be doing more, I guess you could say… acting. But I don’t know if I would say acting. I just want to do more creative [things]. Like yesterday we did a little video for ABC where we did this little skit to promote a new show. I want to create content that can stand alone and it’s not necessarily the vlog, but we’ll show our personalities.


Here’s a taste of some of the creative ways The Nive Nulls have worked with brands in partnership to create content: