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Sean Cannell

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S: Hello and welcome to Marketing Speak. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer. Today, we have Sean Cannell with us. Sean is co-founder of the popular YouTube channel Video Influencers. He’s an expert on YouTube marketing, a best-selling author, a YouTuber, and a lifestyle entrepreneur. He has a free online course at learnyoutubetoday.com. Across his three channels on YouTube, he has tens of millions of views. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s the go to guy if you’re a new or seasoned YouTuber and you want to improve engagements, you want to know if you’re tracking the right metrics, you want to pimp out your channel page, your video thumbnails, any of that stuff. He is your guy. Sean, it’s great to have you on the show.

C: Stephan, it’s so great to be here and love everything that you’re doing with Marketing Speak to help people crush it with their marketing.

S: Yup, me too. It’s so amazing to get to talk to an outstanding marketer such as yourself and get the latest cutting edge strategies and tactics. In fact, let’s start with that concept of strategies versus tactics. A lot of YouTube is tactical, like how to pimp out your channel and upload corrections to your transcripts or captioned files, to upload foreign language translations, and get found in foreign languages for your videos, doing keyword research. All that tactical stuff. But strategy is so, so important. In fact, in The Art Of War, Sun Tzu said tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Let’s tease this out, what is strategic for you in terms of YouTube marketing, and what’s the more tactical stuff, and where do you tell your clients to start?

C: I couldn’t agree with you more and I’m so glad you brought this up. I think a lot of marketers and people that want to build their brand online for their business, they do get those things in the wrong order. I agree all the tactics in the world are actually not going to help, in my opinion, ultimately achieve success or long term success if you don’t have a baseline strategy. I’ve heard the quote that says, content is king, but marketing is queen and she runs the household. But it still starts with that good content, then all the ninja marketing stuff that we can do. If I’m talking to clients and I’m doing coaching sessions, it really has to start where you to take a step back and you just think about, “Okay, what is the content that I’m really going to be delivering into the world that’s going to add value to my target audience?” It’s going to start with who do I want to reach, and how do I want to reach them, and with what am I going to be reaching them on a consistent basis. If we broke it down to a simple strategy, I like to keep this simple. If people want to be serious on YouTube, they should have a weekly show. You could go beyond that. I don’t think you can do less than that. I think you need to upload weekly. You could do a lot more, but you should think of it in terms just as The Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones, or The Flash has a show and it shows up weekly. It delivers value, in that case entertainment. You should think in terms of having a show as well.

S: That’s a great point. It also ducktails nicely with the whole idea around podcast marketing is the consistency, making it a weekly show and not just sporadic, here, there and whenever but to have it be something that people can rely on and tune into at the same time every week, but with podcast that tends to be audio only. With YouTube, you can’t just upload your audio podcast and stick a steel frame on there and expect lots of engagement. That’s a very sucky video. What do you tell people who are audio podcasting, such as myself, how do I leverage what I’m already doing with podcasting on YouTube?

C: I think there’s a couple of ways to do it. I think, in a simple way, we’re on Skype right now and it would be possible to capture that video as well. In that case, it has a both end application, people could see and have eye contact with you and your guests. I know a friend of mine, Lewis Howes, he’s got a podcast called The School of Greatness. He actually invests and hires a team, and has very higher quality produced content while he’s with his guest. He takes a lot of time to bring them in studio and not all of his episodes are like that, but if they can be in studio with him, he wants that production value so now he has more of a properly recorded show that he uploads to YouTube, as well as the audio version. But I think that yes, simply Google Hangouts or Skype, you could definitely do that video element. What the other angle I would go at, is that you maybe start something different. Meaning, maybe you do solo rounds and you may already do this, but you have solo rounds that are actually shot for YouTube but the audio could also be used in your podcast. You do an episode called 5 SEO Tips for Bloggers and it’s you teaching to the camera and thinking about being native to the platform. Again, the people who I’m saying crush it on YouTube over the long haul are treating it as their cable network. They’re treating it as if they had a show on USA, or CNN, or Comedy Central, whatever their brand or niche is. They show up in a consistent way on that platform. They’re not really repurposing in every case, they’re not repurposing content from somewhere else. You can still do that and have an impact, but they are treating the platform for what it is and saying, “I’m going to start a YouTube show and add value right then and there.” Also talk in YouTube language. One of the reasons that’s relevant is sometimes when we repurpose stuff, the language starts being inconsistent. We subscribe to a podcast, you also subscribe on a YouTube channel, but if you upload the video to Facebook, it’s not subscribe, it’s like. There’s just something about showing up in a consistent way native to the platform, speaking the language of the platform. That’s what I found that smart influencers do if they really want to break through and get noticed on YouTube.

S: Yeah, that’s such a great point. Let’s distinguish some of the differences in Strategy and Tactics for YouTube versus Facebook. You got Facebook Live, you got YouTube Live, you got your YouTube specific videos that you could, if you are a newbie and you don’t know any better, just post a link to a YouTube video on Facebook and it will just die right off the vine. If you upload that video natively, then you’ll get a lot more reach on Facebook. You can create a different kind of a video for Facebook that takes into account the fact that people tend to have the audio off, at least initially, so your captioning is much more important, and capturing their attention the first few seconds. Pretty different, right? Are you doing a lot of Facebook type of video as well as YouTube or you’re just pretty much doubling down on YouTube and thinking that’s really your best focus?

C: We are. We’re doing video everywhere. We actually double down on YouTube and I’ll pause here just for a second, and there’s a reason why I love YouTube the most. The reason why is because YouTube is a search engine. And of course you can appreciate this as someone who’s an expert in SEO. On Facebook, it’s not a search engine. It’s really kind of interruption based. People are just there shuffling through their news feed. They’re not typing in and looking for things on Facebook. They’re actually letting content typically come to them and we know that we could reach them with paid ads or, hopefully with good organic content that gets shared. Generally it’s just kind of going through their day and seeing what shows up. YouTube is a whole different psychology. Your target audience is typing in questions. If you can show up on the opposite side of those questions, by ranking your videos, then you can get views why you snooze and build your audience on autopilot and that’s why I love YouTube the most, because I actually find that when you put out quality content, it has the most long term ROI and most long term leverage. A lot of our traffic and views that we get is from a library of ranked videos, videos showing up in search. Rather than posting new contents–if I take a week off or a month off, we don’t even really slow down, the momentum continues. The other social media platforms as people know, I call it the social media hamster wheel, but I love them still. My answer to your question, yes, we do videos in all the different platforms, and we do try to go native. I was just on Facebook Live. I think that’s probably one of the best forms of video, not only do you get that live stream but you also get the replay, and there’s things you could do there. You could boost it if you want. Go back in and caption it, as you suggested important. Because I heard the stat was that 85% of people are watching Facebook videos with the audio off, sometimes the entire time because they’re watching it at work. They’re watching it during the meeting when they should be listening to their boss, but for whatever reason they are watching with their audio off, and so we do a Facebook Live. What we also do is upload native snippets to Facebook to hack the algorithm a little bit, and then link to the YouTube video. We upload the first few seconds or while we’re shooting a YouTube video I’ll shoot micro content right after. I’ll just be like, “Hey what’s up Facebook fam, we just posted a new video over on YouTube and I want to share one quick tip with you to add a little value right there. If you want to see all five tips, the video is over on Facebook, the link is in the post here.” Trying to hack a little bit of the algorithm because we are sending people away with the native upload there, but then same thing, we’ll upload native videos to Instagram. We’re doing a lot of native Twitter videos right now and seeing a lot of impact and success with those, I think one of the huge opportunities if anybody is active on Twitter is to pin a quality native video to the top of their profile. Whether that’s their about them video, just a chance where someone new finds you, that motion visual content that can show up on the Twitter feed is a great way to get to know someone and tell them who you are. The moral, I guess, of the story and to answer your question is native video everywhere. I think video is the hottest thing right now, and Social Media Examiner sighted a stat that said it’s the preferred content format of choice. I think we know that, not to downplay techs or blogs or podcast or anything else, but video is so hot. But if you can be native, give Facebook what it wants, give Instagram what it wants. Different time limits, different places. Sure it takes energy, but that’s just the cost of entry and I think it’s worth it because it gets your great results.

S: LinkedIn is another social network that’s critically important. A lot of people don’t know that for summary, it also supports posting at the bottom of that slideshare and YouTube videos. I think on your LinkedIn page, you have at least a couple of YouTube videos.

C: Absolutely, it’s like when I’m meeting somebody new, I say, “Watch this first. Here’s a chance to get to know me a little bit.”

S: I love it. Another way to hack the Facebook algorithm that I’ve used is, let’s say I found a video, one in particular comes to mind, Jonathan Fields, a guest on my other podcast, The Optimized Geek, great episode by the way. I found an amazing talk that he gave at Inbound about mindfulness and how he had tinnitus and this was actually the gateway to mindfulness for him, it was driving him nuts, he was ready to kill himself. He still has tinnitus, but he had overcome what he was doing to his psyche through mindfulness meditation, and this is such a powerful talk. I had tinnitus for awhile so I was going to post this video, but it’s only on YouTube. I’m about to post it this on Facebook, I’m thinking, “No, no, this is going to get buried.” Nobody is going to see this, I wrote about my own story, a few paragraphs. I thought okay, let’s take this, turn it into five paragraph article posted to my Huffington Post column, and then that’s what I submit. I include an embed of Jonathan’s YouTube video in my HuffPo article. Before I even had a chance to push it on my own, HuffPo was pushing it and I got 1,100 likes within a day before I even mentioned that I wrote that article. So much more effective to understand the algorithm that you’re dealing with, if it’s edgerank Facebook versus YouTube, you got to play in that environment. I also love what you’re talking about the social media hamster wheel. It’s so true with Snapchat, you’re creating all this amazing content and it just evaporates so quickly. That’s what drives me nuts about Snapchat. I’m just not willing to invest that much in Snapchat. How about yourself? Because all the stuff disappears. You get the authority and positioning of your accounts but then what do you have to show after the stuff evaporates?

C: Exactly. I guess we share similar passion, probably because we’ve done SEO for so long and realize the power of basically evergreen content. I would agree, for me, I treated as the 80/20 rule, and realize that YouTube is where our biggest leverage is by far. That is the ball that cannot get dropped for me and my business. We prioritize YouTube. We want good content on YouTube and we’re always striving to rank those videos because those will going to give us a month of reach, six months of reach, years. We have videos that have ranked for years. It just keeps adding and it keeps building. With extra time, I do like to allocate because I do think there is value, so I experiment a little bit on Snapchat but to answer your question again, it’s not our strategy. It’s not the business builder what we are thinking big picture, it’s where we then want to be relevant, we want to test things out, experiment a little bit, see if we can get any traction there. I do think there’s a lot of value in being on other platforms, but you got to know your priorities. If I get to that, cool. If not, no worries. But there are certain things we never let drop in YouTube, is that for us.

S: Makes total sense. Let’s have different kinds of show formats. You do a lot of interviews. You also have your co-host on Video Influencers, Benji, and you guys kind of rift back and forth, some of your episodes are just the two co-hosts. You might even have some one man show kind of episode as well if the other person is unavailable. Do you have many of those?

C: Yup, absolutely.

S: How do you decide what type of episode to do and the topic, the kind of hooks, are you newsjacking on anything that’s trending? Give us your thought process on when you’re deciding on a new episode.

C: The short answer is all of the above, but my thought process in tactics is that we could break some of these things down. I think that probably the most value to the community listening right now, you’re in the tension of creating content on a consistent basis, and also realizing you have all these other things you need to do in your business. We could, and as I joke here, we could rent a helicopter today, hire film crew and do some stunts, and make a crazy film, spend a bunch of money to make a YouTube video, thinking at the extremes. That would take money, energy, time and on the total opposite side, we could just set the camera on the desk, hit recording and talk to the camera, maybe share the same punch line. That’s not going to have the same flair but we’re always in attention of our resources, of our time. It depends on what you have going for you. I think a good example would be to start with whatever is sustainable. You’ve got to be consistent, project what can you do weekly, what is sustainable for you within all the editing and the things that come in. Marie Forleo, pretty well known online entrepreneur, has a great YouTube show and I cite her as an example because she’s had her MarieTV show for five years. If you go a little back to the first one, she’s just sitting on her couch with a laptop like, “Hey guys, I’m here.” That’s the first episode. Fast forward to today though, and now it’s like she has a whole team, and they cut in with quotes, and there’s screen shots and sometimes there’s skits. There is so many layers of complexity that we could add. I think it’s personalized where you have to just weight all of your different resources that you have going for you. I always actually want to produce content that is high value as much as possible. Meaning, if you can have B roll, meaning Bonus Footage that illustrates it, that’s just going to make it more valuable. If you are not just talking but you could screen share and show some more value by really walking people through something and teaching something in depth, that’s going to be more valuable. If you can have lightning and cameras and all that stuff. All those things, they bring up the content value and the production value. But then you scale all the way back to we’re busy and we have a lot of different things going on so Benji and I will batch produce content together. We just got done with a batch. Huge power tip for getting a lot of content done for YouTube, we shot eight episodes in one day. We took time to plan them out. We shot them and most of them were talking head. Do I aspire that we could have more in depth content in that, yes, but then even us, we are in the tension of the practicality of showing up with the weekly episode. I don’t know if that makes sense. Every once in awhile, THiNK Media TV will have voice over and I’ll write out a script and lots of B roll and there’s music. It takes longer to edit, and then sometimes it’s like, “Hey I’m just going to share my seven tips and it’s just talking ahead.” Some interviews are over Google Hangouts. They’re quick and we edit them a little bit and some have multiple camera angles and they’re with the person live. It’s all across the board. It’s a sliding scale and I think with wisdom you just have to make a decision to what are our resources right now and what’s going to be sustainable for me as an influencer online, week after week.

S: Are you typically using whiteboards or not so much? My co-author on the first two editions of The Art of SEO, Rand Fishkin, he does his whiteboard Friday, he’s the founder of moz.com. Without the whiteboard, it just wouldn’t be a great video. It’s almost like a character in the video. How important is whiteboarding? I know Brendon Burchard loves using post it notes. What’s your take on that?

C: I think it’s critical. I think if there’s anything you can do to up the content value, and that’s one of those things, now somebody could follow along. You mentioned Brendon’s method. It’s phenomenal because he’s not stuck writing. All the answers are hidden, but there’s also a psychological trigger there of wanting to know what is under every box that he has hidden with post it notes. All of these are great, great ideas, for thinking about, “How can I just deliver the most value possible?” One thing that we’re noticing in videos too is that if you don’t have any cuts, it doesn’t hold attention as much. If you have a lot of cuts, some people, they punch in and out, they just crop in and out, they shoot it in one resolution, and they just set the camera up but then they just crop in and out on the video so there’s those visual changes, those things hold attention. The whiteboard, that’s going to hold attention, people want to follow along. You’re also hitting some different learning styles. Video is powerful because it’s visual and audible, but then also with white boards now you’re giving people who want to see that list and they want to be able to read that text or however you’re doing it. The punch line is definitely thinking about how you can just communicate as effectively as possible and deliver as much value as possible, but then also not feeling limited to realize that just like Marie Forleo, if you just start on your couch with you laptop on your lap, you got to start somewhere. If that’s all you can do, and hit record, and there’s nothing fancy, and then turn it off when it’s over and upload to YouTube. I heard the quote that, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Everybody started somewhere, and it’s usually it’s never where they are today. Starting with what you have but then every single week thinking, “How could I make this a little bit better? How could I take up this value and teach a little bit clearer?” I think all of those tactics are great ways to do it.

S: Yeah, another great quote is perfect is the enemy of done.

C: Love it.

S: Just get started. Imperfect execution is really what we’re after. What I think unifies all these ideas around whiteboards, post it notes, and everything, these are props. Yeah, you’re hitting these multiple learning styles but you’re also engaging the viewer in a way that keeps their attention, like you said, not just one camera angle, not just one shot of you. You’re mixing things up and keeping their attention, it’s so critical. Even if it’s just going to be you in a talking head. Have two cameras, or use a mevo cam. That allows you to quickly switch between whatever size of the screen or zoom in and keep them engaged. Are you using a lot of props in your episodes or are you relying more on B roll? What’s the mix of that? What percentages of each?

C: Yeah, typically it’s B roll or what I really love is the ability to screen share. Even more than a white board, one thing that’s accessible to everybody right now is if you have a YouTube channel, you can go into your live streaming and go to create an event and then run a live with Google Hangouts, so now Google Hangouts is essentially just YouTube Live. They use the same platform and put it underneath that banner. You could go live from your webcam, and talk and they can hear the audio but then you can share your screen. I feel like at that point you could do slideshare or powerpoint, and take people through content much like a webinar. But then you can also show them exactly how to do something. We’re teaching YouTube and just today I was doing it, actually on Facebook Live. I was on Facebook Live, I was using OBS, a free software, Open Broadcast Software, I could share my screen right there and I taught seven tips for optimizing your YouTube channel. I think that it’s like a prop. I could have had it visually on a white board and I could have had pictures of it and I could have wrote the seven tips, but I like to do it through visually following along where I’m on camera a little bit then I go back to my screen, and say, “You could change your cover right here.” Show them right there. Show them how to do it right there and that’s what we do the most.

S: Awesome. Do you do webinars? Do you teach through webinars?

C: Yes.

S: What’s better then? Is it to adjust offer the replay as a YouTube video? Or is it to re-do that webinar but as a Google Hangout/YouTube Live where you’re engaging the audience that way, because I’m using GoToWebinar and I record it and now I got the replay but it’s just not that enticing for somebody to just watch a YouTube video that is a webinar replay. It’s just really flat.

C: I would actually say that this is a funnel and a framework that people could use. If you want to use YouTube to get an audience to your webinar, especially if someone is just meeting you, so we have this one running right now. I don’t believe you go from being a stranger to watching a webinar. It happens but it’s like I don’t know you so I expect you to hang out with me for 90 minutes, that’s a big ask. The bridge that I think is necessary is that YouTube content or it could be anywhere on social. A great way I think to create interest in the replay is to create a YouTube video that is three to five minutes, it could be ten minutes that adds a ton of value. At the end of YouTube video you say, “Hey, if you loved this content and you actually want to see a full webinar training that I did on this, you can check it out here.” And then, let people go to that. I think it gets your audience in the right mindset and it’s the necessary bridge to have interest in that replay, I don’t know if that answered your question.

S: That’s a critical distinction and this is a progression. You just don’t walk up to someone in the bar and say, “Hey, nice to meet you. Would you like to get married?” You got to go through progression here, a funnel. I’ve actually done a bit of going right up to the person and saying, “Hey, at least you want to go out to date,” in a marketing sense. I’ll advertise on Facebook, direct them to a webinar sign up instead of dropping them on a blog post that’s informational. And then, use the retargeting pixel as a way to capture them with another campaign little bit later on to a lead magnet or to the webinar sign up, which I do some of that too but a lot of times I’m just driving them strict cold traffic straight to the webinar sign up. It works, but I think it’s always best to make this a progression and think through their process, where they are in their mindset at the time you’re hitting them.

C: I agree 100%.

S: What sort of funnels are you using in your own business? You offer coaching, you offer sponsorships of your YouTube channels and videos. You have different monetization strategies and you offer online courses. You’ve got free course at the learnyoutubetoday.com. You have a paid course at what was the URL of that one?

C: videorankingacademy.com.

S: Clearly you’re eating your own dog food. Just give us a quick example of this funnel progression idea in your business.

C: For us, I’d have to say we’re not very advanced yet although my project manager and sort of number two in my business is also here in Vegas. Her name is Heather and she is a master. We’re pretty new in building a lot of this stuff. She is building out some click funnel stuff. We’re architecting that together. Email auto responder campaign and the full deal. In answer to your question, it is very simple right now. It’s so simple in fact, and I think this would maybe encourage people who don’t have any of that stuff built out. We say we help people build their influence, their income and their impact with online video. I encourage people to always build their influence first. You’re not going to build income or have an impact if you don’t have any influence. That’s your followers, that’s your subscribers. Really, in simple terms, the focus for the beginning of our business was just add a ton of value and build that reputation, build those relationships. For about a year as we launched into this space and I was transitioning out of other jobs, I was able to go full time for about two years now. For that first year, we just did live webinars. It’s just like weekly value on YouTube. We did about four, we did about a quarter and just every once in awhile went big. We’re like, “Hey, the next big master class that we’re doing is coming up soon.” Uploading that as a YouTube video was where our traffic was, because we already had so much audience, we have such an engaged audience from being consistent on YouTube that then we were just talking to that audience as well as the email list.  “Hey, master class is coming up.” Not very complex. We just go live, and we leave the replay up for about four days and we take it down. Some emails and things that followed up. It was really simple, that was it. Now, we’re moving in this more advance things and the basic funnel that we have running. I’ll give you one example that maybe then takes it a level deeper, you probably talked about it on the podcast. Baby offers or trip wires, the same idea for those maybe that’s a new concept is the same idea that if maybe you’re consulting your coach and you’ve got a $2000 program or a $1000 program. A lot of people maybe are not going to just jump right in and meet you right there. The idea of a trip wire or a baby offer is just a chance for someone to get to know you at a very low ticket. To see that you’re good for it, to see that you have actual value, to see you have great content. The way this funnel works, it’s a $7 program we have. It teaches people how to monetize product reviews. I believe the quickest way if someone is more or like in a niche, passionate about motherhood or home schooling or any of these things that if they review products with affiliate marketing you could start earning pretty good side income quickly. I actually built a full time income off of affiliate marketing before I ever did any online courses or thought anything else. It’s just a course on that, and the way it works is there’s some rank videos. There’s some video content. There’s about four of them. They teach a concept free value, right there on YouTube. At the end of the video, I say, “If you want to see a training that we recently did with my three biggest tips on how to do this, you can check that out.” That’s a lead capture page. I typically tell people to not sell on YouTube, to progress the relationship that we’re talking about. Meet and add value, then bring people off of YouTube with more free value. And so then end at the opt-in, they get a training video that adds more value and then says, “If you want, you can jump into this course. It’s $7.” People then opt-in, they watch that training video that is gated. It’s behind the need for an opt-in. Right at the end of the training video it just says, “Hey, if you want to jump in on this course, $7.” And then actually, that is a four video course, it’s in depth, totally over delivers value of course, which I think you just need to do in modern marketing to build, know, like and trust. Completely over deliver, get people results in advance, prove your good for it. At the end of the course, in the fourth video of the course, then it says, “Hey, if you want to go to the next level, then you can jump into basically our signature program, our premium program.” I don’t know if the steps were outlined very well there, but that is that progression. That’s working on auto pilot from free traffic from YouTube because as people typed in questions, we have so many videos that show up in the search results which is ultimately what we help people to do. We happen to do it in the space of helping people with YouTube and online video, but our members and different people, they’re doing the same thing again, home school. How to barbeque, fitness channels, business channels, real estate, all of those types of things. You could set something up like that.

S: Just a recap of a couple of key points from what you’re saying. Some of the videos have to be gated in order that you’re not just giving the farm away, right?

C: Correct.

S: That’s not something that you would necessary do on YouTube, you might do that on Vimeo or Wistia, right? Or are you doing that on YouTube as well because I don’t know if you can do that on YouTube, have a gated video.

C: You could. You could just make it unlisted and technically then if they found the link, they could share the stuff but that would never pretty much ever happen. You’re pretty safe to just make it unlisted, once they know about it but they will not find that link until they opted in, but in answer to your question, that video is on Wistia.

S: One feature I really love about Wistia is turnstiles. It’s where you can put a stopping point where you’re asking for an email address or even multiple questions and they have to answer it in order to go on to watch the rest of the video. I remember the Wistia folks explaining that it’s critical where you put the turnstile. It shouldn’t be at the very beginning, it shouldn’t be at the very end. It should be about 10% into the video, maybe 20%. That’s genius.

C: I love that.

S: If you put it right at the beginning, they don’t know what they’re going to get. Put it at the end and they got the content already, they’re good. Put it 20% in and 10% in, you’ve really weighed their appetite if you’ve done it well. Now, you get the reaction that you’re after which is them opting in.

C: Love it.

S: You’re using Wistia. I use Wistia as well. You’re getting the traffic in from the YouTube searches because YouTube is the number two search engine, not Bing and not Yahoo. How are you scaling this? It’s quite something to get where you’ve got to now which is tens of millions of views? What if you wanted to get to hundreds of millions of views or billions of views? I just interviewed Jamie Salvatori and he’s got several billion views on the Vat19 channel. How do you scale this approach? Is that even possible on your viewers or more like luck?

C: I think that in my opinion, diligence is the mother of luck. Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet. I think what you can do is you can do best practices and I do believe there’s a mix of serendipity. I was thinking about one quote. The harder I work, the luckier I get. I think there’s a lot of hustle. There’s a ton of things that we’re doing for scale and there’s a lot of ways I think about it. One, practically, is that if you double your videos, you’ll probably double your views. Pretty simple but profound. We talked about having a weekly show. Once you figure out how to make that sustainable theoretically, if you got 1,000 views a week, if you posted another episode that the quality stayed high with another show, now you probably get 2,000 views a week. Probably exponential because you’re hitting at two different upload times, maybe each one’s 1,100, it grows and grows. I think trying to increase the volume of content without letting the quality drop. How do you scale, which is a business principle in general, is team. People are essential. At some point, every solopreneur is going to max out. Our team has grown. I’ve got shooters and editors that help me now. That was a huge key to our year. In fact in 2016, it was a 10x year for us. 2015 we had 650,000 views that year because you go into your YouTube analytics, 2016 we had 6.5 million, so literally 10x growth. Part of that was the team, part of that was also you have to keep going back to this whole content thing. You have to just have great content. It means you stay deep in the trenches, you keep learning, keep attending conferences, keep investing in yourself, investing in courses so that your stuff is good. In my opinion, we live in a world where the bars are always racing, where you’re only as good as your last. It’s intense pressure for content creators but you have to stay good to stay relevant. It’d putting out great content but then also I think doing some big growth hack thing. Our goal is to hit a million subscribers by the end of this year. We’re at the beginning of this year right now. I think MediaTV, one of my YouTube channels, we’re under 300,000. Based on our current rate of growth, we’re going to hit about half a million if we just maintain. My big question is what you just asked. What’s it going to take to get up there? Some of the big needle movers would be collaborations. Sometimes they’re hard to get but if you could have one or two significant collaborations, that’s where you maybe not just interview somebody but do something on different channels where you post a video on your channel, they post a video on their channel. That would be 100x growth if you could land one of those. And then, just daily consistent content, how could we post more. I like to target viral videos. That’s where I think preparation, opportunity, you try for it. I don’t think you can guarantee it, Jamie probably does. I would say if you wanted to study a brand that does as well, Buzzfeed obviously has cracked this code of virality. My caveat would be it’s also niche relative. Some people are so hyper focused, I don’t think they should be thinking how to get a million views, if it’s high end, they only need one cline a month maybe or a lot fewer exposure as far as views. When I say I want to reach a million subscribers, it’s on a tech channel and there’s plenty of tech channels out there that have 5 million or 6 million subs. It’s also very practical for the niche. If you’re doing how to business advice, none of those channels are going to usually get super large, whereas if it’s an entertainment aspect, some of those can be larger as well. I think there’s a lot of different things that go into scale. I’ve got a video ideas book where I’m always trying to cook up something in the lab here, like a mad video scientist. I think if you go for 12 viral videos maybe you’ll get 1, and we did last year. We have a video that got 1.5 million views and it also, luckily, is a video that was in the funnel I just describe to you. We have massive traffic, free traffic going into that trip wire,low ticket offer funnel which is really cool all from YouTube.

S: That’s amazing. I got to learn more about this viral video in just a moment. Let’s just circle back to a couple of things real quick. You mentioned invest in conferences and courses. Of course one of the premier conferences for YouTubers is VidCon. I just went last year for the first time. That was a lot of fun. There was a lot of kids running around essentially, and I’m thinking like, “Wow, I feel really old.” Is that one of those conferences that is a must for somebody who’s serious about YouTube marketing or are there others that you think are more appropriate?

C: You’re absolutely right. VidCon is a little fan based or heavily fan based and not as much focused even on the business side, however if you’re going to go to VidCon the industry level tickets, the bigger investment but that’s the level you want to be on. For those listening, there is the fan level basically. It’s like the viewer level. There’s creator level for people and it literally is three different levels of the Anaheim Convention Center. Floor one is where the entertainment is and you get autographs from your favorite YouTuber. Floor two is you have a YouTube channel, you are a creator, and you want to learn some tips. Floor three is industry, that’s where you’re going to hear from a lot of the CEO of YouTube and all kinds of people in this space that are on the biz side of things and the brand side of things. The answer to your question I think probably one of the best conference for video marketers actually is the best, is actually called VidSummit by Derral Eves and that happens in Los Angeles. It’s going to happen again this year. It’s much more like this podcast. You’re going to get around people who are also working on the viral campaign side of things. Maybe they’re not a personal brand, but they’re helping brands or doing those commercials. They’re thinking through analytics. They’re thinking through all kinds of things. You get really cutting edge information there. Our calendar is packed this year. We have this thing called ClamerCon. That’s an influencer only conference. We have VidCon. We have Vloggerfair in Seattle, vlogger focused, Vid Summit. Benjie and I were just going through it. We’re like it’s the year of YouTube conferences for us, but it should be a lot of fun.”

S: Amazing. One thing that really stuck for me when I was attending VidCon, and I did have a creator pass, so I was going to some of the creator sessions. I met Shawn Inman, the Oatmeal, it was fun. I met some other folks at Cards Against Humanity they, had a panel, that was a lot of fun too. I didn’t go for the industry pass but sounds like maybe I should have, but one thing that really stuck with me is I felt so out of touch with teenagers today because everybody is going crazy about these guys that I just didn’t even recognize. I’m like who are these guys, a huge mob is after these people. They were The Try Guys. You know who The Try Guys are?

C: Actually I don’t think I know who those guys are.

S: On Buzzfeed, there are these three or four guys who will try anything, crazy stuff and you got to see some of those viral videos, they’ve got huge numbers of views. These are The Try Guys and they are bigger than Angelina Jolie or whatever for a 12 year old. I just felt like, “Wow, I am out of touch.”

C: Completely. I think that’s something. You bring up a good point not just about how the world is changing, but that this new school of influencers are forced to really be paying attention to and to be recon with. One, some people are inspired to become that. But two, especially for this podcast, this whole idea of influencer marketing and one of the hottest opportunities for brands to get noticed would be to be hiring these influencers basically on social media. It really has the potential to be one of the most underpriced forms of marketing right now. A lot of these YouTubers, especially some of the multi million subscriber channels, that’s not who I’d go after, but if you had a campaign where you found influencers that matched what you want to promote with 100,000 subscribers 200,000, 300,000 or even 20,000, 40,000, 50,000. It’s amazing, not that you’d want to take advantage of them. That’s what I do, but just thinking like I know when brands reach out to me, they’re like, “Yeah, we’ll send you some free headphones and retweet your video.” I’m like, “You will?” It’s so many of these influencers, they’re not really sure how the world works yet. There’s a lot of opportunity with influencer marketing to get exposure to your brand. There’s actually friends of mine. I have a platform called Social Blue Book. It’s something to check out for anybody with any social media platform. It’s like the Kelley Blue Book of social media. You go there and you link up your platforms. They have a lot of data, a lot of analytics, a lot of people working to compare what influencers are being paid and what the audience is worth and the quality of engagement. You could get a rate for your own platforms. You could check out somebody else’s, but anyways I digress as we talk about exactly this whole world of influencer marketing and this new school of influencers is completely were marketing is going in a lot of ways.

S: What would it cost to get a typical influencer? Give me a range of prices and a range of the reach. How do you stay compliant with the FTC and all the guidelines for disclosure and all that?

C: I’ll just give you my numbers based on what Social Blue Book is saying right now. A video on THiNK Media TV, which probably is my largest channel, and here’s what the numbers say. It says that the average views of a video is 15,000 views. In a way, even subscribers is a vanity metric. As you know, it’s like followers on Facebook. It doesn’t really matter how many page likes you have, it matters how many actual eyeballs see your video. It doesn’t matter how many people see the video for three seconds, as we know about who just started your video. We’re even more concerned with how many people watch and actually see whatever it is you’re talking about. Some brands don’t know that, so you could play on ignorance on either side of the coin when it comes to this stuff. Quality matters more than ever, more depth. Social Blue Book will tell you right now that my average watch time is 200 seconds, which is pretty great. 200 seconds, that’s a lot of seconds. If you had a short video, that means that they definitely probably want their product included in those first 200 seconds and they would know that they could probably bank on 15,000 views. What it’s telling me is to do a dedicated upload on my channel right now, it’s going to be about $1,100. If I work with a brand, I would say, “That’s my starting point.” Some of the things that working with a lot of brands, you could include production cost as well. That’s just the value of the video. That’s the upload fee of that going on my channel. I also could say I’ve got a cost of $1,000 to get the video produced especially if you want some B roll or some other things. Out of that is a creator too, side note, I could probably monetize off of affiliate marketing as well, plus I’m also going to get the YouTube ads, plus I’m also going to get the income from the brand. As far as FTC compliance, super important, you need to not just disclose in text in the description but you need to verbally disclose, that’s what the FTC expects. Furthermore, you also need to do at the beginning of the video and not the end. A lot of people are getting away with this, and a lot of people don’t know. It would be typically at the beginning of the video. I’d say, “Hey, I’m excited to be partnered up with Samsung for this video, I have taken the first look in one of their new 360 cameras.” Just a disclosure of your relationship with the brand and then as well as text in the description below. YouTube actually has a box now where you can check it in your settings, and it’ll put up a little lower thirds and the lower left hand corner that says video includes paid product promotion. That’s nice, it actually is a feature in case you didn’t verbally say it. You have old videos and you’re like, “Oh no. I wasn’t compliant.” Helps you move towards compliance. I think some of that stuff can be intimidating. I will tell you this one huge fact that scares a lot of creators. It’s that the FTC is actually, typically, never going to crack down on creators or is never even applying this rules to creators. The FTC holds brands accountable. The brand should be enforcing what is said and not said. It should give you a little peace of mind that if the brand approves the video, it doesn’t mean nothing’s going to happen to it in the future compliance wise, but it is completely up to them. The FTC is saying, “Hey Samsung, if you work with influencers you need to make sure they disclose that.” You could go to YouTube and all day every today there’s probably videos being uploaded that are out of compliance. I wouldn’t worry about it too much again as a creator. Just do your best. Do your due diligence and learn as you go. Anyways, those are some numbers, that’s what you can imagine from my channel. I work with Youtubers. We coach a lot of YouTubers with bigger influence. There’s people who do brand deals for $10,000, $20,000, $75,000, six figure brand deals obviously with huge influence with big brands. It’s a major, major space.

S: Wow, that’s some big box. Let’s circle back to the 1.5 million views that you got on one of your videos and it hit that viral threshold. What did you do that made this viral compared with all the other videos that are typically 15,000 views on average?

C: The video is titled How to Get Free Stuff on Amazon. That’s probably one reason why I didn’t know it was going to do that well, but one reason why is because not only is it titled that, but it actually delivers on that promise. It’s really simple, but first of all best practices. Your title and then your description, your tags, just SEO best practices on the video. The thing though is there are three things that YouTube values more than anything in this proportionately more than anything right now when it comes to basically ranking. That is audience retention, meaning actual consumption of the content. It’s not even views, it’s not subscribers. They want minutes watched. If anybody goes in their YouTube analytics, you’re going to see three analytics on the home page, the top is minutes. It will say minutes, then it will tell how many views, and then how many subscribers you gained in the last 30 days. Minutes first, then how many views and then how many subscribers. The reason why minutes are so important is if you think about it, a view, might not even be close to a minute, a view could be one second, and that is zero value. But a minute in the internet, that’s like a year these days. If you have their attention for 60 seconds, that’s what YouTube is counting minutes. If you’re getting a lot of them, then YouTube loves that. When it comes to your audience retention, it even is less important if you had a 50% audience retention or 30%, it doesn’t matter. They just care about minutes, and what I mean is 50% of a 10 minutes video is 5 minutes, but 10% of a two hour video is longer. They just want as much attention as possible and so the video is good. It’s a framework. With a lot of people click baiting, that’s another thing you might do. How To Get Free Stuff on Amazon. And then, you get on and you’re like, “Well, you can’t really do it but I tricked you.” That doesn’t work. That’s why click baiting doesn’t work because click baiting doesn’t hold attention. It does work and maybe works in blogs and people could do different things. But on YouTube, if you don’t hold the attention, YouTube’s going to derank your video, because it was bait. Not only is it how to get free stuff on Amazon, but then I literally showed people how. The answer to the question is just one of this free review sites. The reason you get free stuff is because they were incentivising text reviews. You could go there, even on tech and you could get a free wide angle lens for your iPhone. They send it to you, you review it on text. What I recommend people do is not only did you get something free, but then you could actually make a video reviewing that free thing, and then you could link us and affiliate, so now you got a free thing. You have content for your YouTube channel and you’re monetizing that, and you didn’t pay any money, and you made YouTube ads and all of this different things. It really adds a lot of value and strategic value. Part of it was just serendipity though. I had no idea that was going to happen, but it did. It ranks on the first page of Google as well now which can happen a lot with Youtube videos of course since Google owns YouTube. Videos are 53 times more likely than text to show up on the first page of Google. I’m sure a lot of traffic comes there. A lot of traffic continues to come from YouTube.

S: Awesome. What’s the best time to post on YouTube?

C: The best time to post on YouTube is when your audience is on YouTube. Reverse engineer it. If you’re a teenager, maybe after school. If you think that people are going to be able to decompress on the weekends, that’s when they’re going to watch your content, do it on the weekends. The time zone where the most of your audience lives. That’s the question number one, the second best answer though is to just condition your audience and be consistent. If it’s always 7:00AM or 10:00AM on Tuesdays, well then your audience is going to gravitate towards, they’re going to learn and know when your new content comes out. The third answer to the question is just a study that I saw from MailChimp about email open rates. Across social media, generally, engagement’s lowest on Sunday, and then it starts going up Monday, it goes up a little more Tuesday and it’s peaked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It starts to drop as people move into the weekends and they check out a little bit. There are exceptions to every rule, but I typically like to have those videos released Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday because it’s the height of the people’s week before they check out for the weekend.

S: What are some of your favorite equipment? Camera equipment, lighting equipment, software for video editing, all that sort of stuff.

C: My biggest tip is to start with whatever you have. An iPhone with iMovie or a droid with some free software, an Android is more than enough these days to get on YouTube. For me, I use Canon products. I’ve got a video out called Factor Ranks so if you type in best YouTube equipment, my video goes through my setup, Canon 70D. I love a DSLR that has good autofocus that can track your face. It looks pretty and it’s easy to use. Plug a little shotgun mic on there, throw it on a tripod and you’re good to go.

S: Any particular brand of mic?

C: I use the Rode Mic Pro, but I’ve also found a lot of $18 mic. I’m forgetting the name on Amazon, it’s a lapel mic. You could just plug that right into your mic jack. It has three rings on it so it also works on a smartphone, it has a little switch on it. These days, it does not have to cost a lot to level up your production. In fact, TAKSTAR has a shotgun mic for $30. There’s a lighting kit by Limo Studio for $75 on Amazon. Audio and lighting can be improved for a very low investment with just some Amazon things like that.

S: Yeah, Rode makes a lapel mic, it’s called smartLav. That’s about $60. You can plug it right into your iPhone. It’s got a microphone jack. Even if you’re taking video completely on a separate camera, you can just easily, with your software, stitch in the audio that’s a higher quality coming in the recording on your iPhone or whatever.

C: Absolutely, let me tell you about one of my favorite things. If you go to Amazon, it’s called the Arkon iPhone tripod mount. It’s 1995. It’s an 11 inch tripod and then it holds your smartphone, and that is the best $20 I believe you could spend on any gear for the fact that everybody listening to Marketing Speak should be live streaming. Throw your phone on that tripod, plug in that smartLav that you just talked about, set it on your desk and then go live on Facebook or wherever you want. That’s a nice little tripod to have for that.

S: Speaking of live equipment and software, what about the Mevo camera, you like that? What about Wirecast, that’s a software for live streaming, any other software that you recommend?

C: Yep, Wirecast is great, again I just use OBS myself. I’ve used both. The Mevo camera is also a very, very cool camera, but you can also with Wirecast or OBS just use a webcam and go live right from your computer or just use your phone, so yeah those are the ones. But use whatever you have. The key, get on there, get on live because live video is hot right now.

S: Right, like Facebook I think the stat is like double the reach versus a pre-recorded video.

C: Completely, I heard 4X.

S: One more or maybe two more quick lightning questions. What about video thumbnails or the image thumbnails for videos. What do you do to pimp those out?

C: I use photoshop and luckily I’ve got a little bit of a design background. It comes kind of natural for me to do those, but I recommend people use Canva. I’ve got a video out called How to Make Custom Thumbnails for YouTube. The same would be true for Facebook which allows you to upload custom thumbnails as well. Canva­ is a great free software, canva.com.

S: Last question. How do you pimp out your channel page? What would be some best practices so that your channel is a really cool place to go?

C: Let me give you seven quick ones.

S: Okay.

C: The first one is your cover. You only get one chance to make a first impression. I should put my own resource together but I just Google YouTube channel cover, and there’s a free template that’ll be if you just click the images tab. Because it’s unique, because YouTube can be on your smart TV, it’s this huge cover. The part that people see is just as little rectangle banner. That template will show you how to do that. Think about your cover and on your cover I believe that every marketer and listener right now, they need to know their sentence, they need to know their value propositions. Some people call it your tagline. It doesn’t have to be your tagline, it’s in one sentence what people can expect to get from your channel. If you go to Video Influencers, it says, “Interviews and training videos to help you build your influence, income, and impact with YouTube and online video.” If it’s a cooking channel it could say, “Weekly cooking videos to help you save time and eat healthy.” It’s your first impression that gives your channel clarity in a confusing world. I say if you try to reach everybody, you end up reaching nobody and so having, a clear statement that shows the niche of your channel. Number one, your cover. Number two, your website. A lot of channels don’t take advantage of the fact that you can link to your website. Number three, your social media links. Not only do some people not upload those and have those linked up on their YouTube channel, but sometimes I find dead links all the time. They forgot about it. They need to do some spring cleaning and make sure those links work so people could connect with them on their favourite platform. Number four is your homepage. What people can do is you can upload different playlists. Best practice is to create a playlist called Watch This First or “New to my channel? Watch this series first.” It could be an introduction. You get to dj the content that shows up on your homepage of your channel. Number five, is your channel trailer. That’s a chance to upload a trailer to tell everybody what your channel is about. A power tip there is if you’re creating a channel trailer, you might as well use that same content for all the social platforms and just shoot different outros. In Video Influencers, we uploaded our channel trailer there on YouTube. We shot a different outro and said, “Hey, like our page on Facebook.” Uploaded that and pinned that to the top of our Facebook page. You could do the same thing on Twitter. It could just be an about you video. “Follow us here on Twitter so you always hear the latest content that we’re releasing.” That’s just something that eventually everybody listening should have. It’s your about me video, your why video, what you’re all about. Your about page, just like your about page on your website, you have an about page on your YouTube channel. The last one is your business email. You don’t want to be hard to get in touch with. If brands wants to work with you, if somebody want to collab you, if somebody wants to connect, you need a place for people to reach you. Brands know it’s there, people are learning it’s there more and more. It says business inquiries. It’s behind a captcha or whatever. Then, people can get that and so we get opportunities and inbound things happening there. A lot of noise too but we got to filter through it and a lot of cool things can happen right there in their inbox. These are some tips for maximizing and optimizing your YouTube channel for the best results.

S: That is awesome. Sean, this is just a torrent of amazing advice, strategy tactics, tools, techniques. I love it. I’m sure our listeners are loving it too. If they wanted to work with you, let’s say hire you to be their YouTube coach, are you available for that and how would they reach you? What would be the best place to send them?

C: seancannel.com has contact info if you want to get in touch. We do some coaching right now. Again, I think the best thing that I always like people to do first is go to learnyoutubetoday.com to see the free training that we have up there. A lot of value to just jump start and start getting results with YouTube first. It’s a dense training that will get people up and running with all the best practices and stuff that I know. That’s the best way to start. Just connect with me on social. I’m really active on Twitter. I love Twitter lately. It has this thing that oh is it fading out, is it fading away, but I still think it is the internet’s social forum. You can talk to other influencers, you can connect with your audience, inclusion of video. If anybody is on Twitter, they could tweet me questions, I spend a lot of time just engaging with people right there.

S: Your Twitter handle is what?

C: @seancannell.

S: Thank you, Sean. Thank you, listeners. This is Stephan Spencer, your host of Marketing Speak. Again, go to marketingspeak.com for the shownotes, for a transcript of this episode, all the links to the different tools and stuff that we talked about, and also a checklist of actions to take that will help you take your YouTube marketing to a whole new level. marketingspeak.com. This is Stephan Spencer, signing off.