Speaker 1: 00:00 On this episode of Edge of the Web.
Tim Schmoyer: 00:04 Your audience needs to really resonate with someone in order for you to get the amount of time spent on that video that you need that video to start performing well. One of the best ways to do that is to tell a story that people don’t only get the information that they wanted or hear the story that they wanted, but they actually get it in a way they’re like, “Wow. I need to watch another one.”
And then that happens. That’s when your videos really start to perform.
Speaker 1: 00:33 Your weekly digital marketing trends with industry trend setting guests. You’re listening and watching Edge of the Web, winners of best podcast from the content marketing institute for 2017. Hear and see more Edgeofthewebradio.com.
Now, here’s your host, Erin Sparks.
Erin Sparks: 00:55 Welcome back to the Edge. If you haven’t followed our show before, we’re talking through digital marketing tactics with marketing professionals from around the world. To get the best information over to you the way you like it, we’re now actually streaming live each Monday at 3 PM eastern and laying all of our podcasts down in two different sections. Check out all the digital news, briefs with our guests, as well our in depth interview each Tuesday right after our live broadcast. So there is the gratuitous commercial.
Now let’s unpack some of the secrets of YouTube growth. We want to introduce to our audience Tim Schmoyer founder and CEO of Video Creators. Tim has actually some great insights on YouTube, how it works, how to make it work for you, and the most important goal of any video creator, how to grow your audience. He’s done YouTube strategies for companies like HBO, Warner Brothers, Disney, Ebay, Budweiser, as well as new creators who are just getting started.
So far Tim and his team has actually helped clients earn over 1.4 billion with a B views and 61 million subscribers on YouTube. I think it’s enough to say he knows what he’s doing. So again, welcome to the show, Tim.
Tim Schmoyer: 02:03 Yeah. Thanks for having me. It’s actually 14 billion, so multiply that by four.
Erin Sparks: 02:03 Dude.
Tim Schmoyer: 02:08 Yeah, it’s –
Erin Sparks: 02:08 Oh, that is a B, isn’t it?
Tim Schmoyer: 02:11 This has been a fun journey, man, going from nothing to 14 billion views, 61 million subs, and just continuing to grow and have a lot of fun.
Erin Sparks: 02:19 Excellent. Tim, tell our listeners a little bit about you. You got into it with our new section, but we’d certainly love to have you unpack. How’d you end up creating a business around YouTube?
Tim Schmoyer: 02:30 Oh man. It was not on purpose at first. Yeah, I was in graduate school down in Dallas, Texas and my family was back in Philadelphia. This was back in 2006. I wanted a way to introduce my girlfriend at the time to my family and there was no Facebook yet. Myspace was a thing but I didn’t really have Myspace. I was just hearing about all the dangers of being on the internet and having your information out there.
But I wanted a way of introducing my girlfriend and my family across the county. So I heard about this thing called YouTube and I was like, “Oh, I could figure out how to make a video.” So I dusted off my old eight millimeter camera. Remember the ones that took ribbon?
Erin Sparks: 03:14 Absolutely. Oh no.
Tim Schmoyer: 03:18 It would eat my ribbon half the time. I’d lose everything but I was like, “Oh well. Let’s see if I can do this.” So I figured out how to use fire wire to connect my camera to my card. I had to transfer and record in real time, so the videos were very short mostly because of that.
Erin Sparks: 03:34 Oh my gosh. That’s hilarious. That’s awesome. He’s bringing me back through tech geek lane, man.
Tim Schmoyer: 03:39 Oh yeah. It was Windows Movie Maker. I had never edited a video before so I just decided to make this video, 31 second long. It’s still on YouTube today. I uploaded it March 2nd, 2006 and it’s called Test Video. So you know I put a lot of creative energy into this thing. I just wanted to know could I get video footage off of my camera and onto my computer and onto YouTube.
Turns out I figured it out and so my girlfriend, now wife, but at the time we were just dating. I started making little videos of us going out to eat, going out to restaurants, going out to eat, going out to a park, going out to movies. Today they would be known as vlogs. Back then that wasn’t a word, it was just being awkward in public with a camera.
We would do that a lot and post those. I’d share the links with my family back home, and it was a lot of fun. And then other people started watching and I was getting a little nervous now. I’m like, “Who are you?” I was just putting on videos on YouTube for my family, but who are you? Why are you commenting? Where did you come from? How did you find my video? Why do you keep coming back to watch more? And that’s when I started trying to figure out the answers to those questions.
At that time, 2006 and ’07 and ’08, no one really had answers to those questions. So other people are getting those questions, too. They’re like, “We don’t know, but this guy, Tim Schmoyer, is trying to figure it out. Go talk to him.” From the very beginning stages YouTube I ended up being the guy that people were looking to for answers to how is this YouTube thing working? How do we do this on purpose?
After having some success myself and for a few different channels and the people I was working with and helping, I really got into this ultimately because our family … My wife and I kept … We got married and kept sharing our family’s story. We were reaching about a million people a month at the time on that channel, and I was a full time youth worker working with students and their families. I just loved the life change and the impact that we were seeing happening with about 180 kids a week that I was working with. But there were a million people on our YouTube channel with the same stories of impact and life change happening.
I was like, “Well, what if I would scale the amount of impact I could have on the world on this thing called YouTube? But then what if I could help other people scale their impact, too? So it’s not just about me reaching my million, but what if I could help other people reach their million and their 10 million and their 160 million and whatever? That’s when I got really excited about it.
That’s when I long story short started a company called Video Creators and that’s exactly what we do is help people grow on YouTube. Help them with all their strategy, not just for the sake of making money or feeling popular or whatever, but ultimately for reaching people and changing their lives. That’s what we’re all about. That has been a crazy journey.
Erin Sparks: 06:25 That sounds like it, but I think at the root of this, Tim, what I heard was you grew it organically from pure content. It wasn’t staged, it wasn’t formulaic, it wasn’t agenda focused. It was literally you’re putting out content that people were eager to lap up, and as you were moving these stories and moving these insights into what your vocation was, people were gravitating around it.
At the root of all of this is being authentic. Would you say?
Tim Schmoyer: 07:02 I would say that’s part of it. Authenticity certainly helps, but what that means to different people different thing. Because some people feel like they’re being really authentic and everyone else is like, “I disagree.” They don’t watch. So being authentic is part of it but there’s a lot of branding elements now. YouTube strategy overall has changed dramatically from 2006 to now 2019.
Erin Sparks: 07:28 Oh yeah.
Tim Schmoyer: 07:28 It’s gone through phases and phases and things that work, that don’t work, and that work today that never worked before and things. It is … We’re plateauing now where, what’s the word? Where the rate of change isn’t as fast as it used to and now there’s some established principles and not just work. A lot of it could come back to being authentic, yeah.
Erin Sparks: 07:54 Very good. Well we certainly want to unpack this. But at the root of your guidance is story telling, so can you give us the concept of story telling as it applies to more of a general application? Because obviously you’ve got businesses of all different makes and models that are trying to move mountains inside of YouTube. You’ve got personal YouTube, individuals that are trying to be influencers. Everybody can’t do the same type of story telling obviously.
But at the root of it is this structure. So can you give us a synopsis of how to start our story telling mindset?
Tim Schmoyer: 08:31 Yeah. What a lot of people do when they come to YouTube is they bring some traditional [SCO 00:08:38], like Google SCO type of stuff with them. So that’s usually where they start. It looks like doing things like key word research and it looks like them trying to get all their tags in the right places and writing all their metadata descriptions and titles and thumbnails and stuff.
Then they post this piece and it goes nowhere. And they get frustrated because they’ve done everything quote unquote correct. All the words in the right spot. I actually worked with one client and they were publishing weekly videos, one video every single week so at the end of the year they came to me after publishing 52 videos and they had seven full time production people on this YouTube channel, they were using $20000 red Epic cameras, all with television and background, Hollywood experience. They came to me after 50 some videos and they’re like, “Tim, why is it that our videos look amazing … “
And they did. It was a vegan channel. I’m not vegan but I was looking at that thinking, “I could eat that. That looks awesome.” And they’re like, “We have this amazing production. We’ve invested hundreds of thousands, over a half million dollars into this project. We’ve been consistent, we’ve been publishing every video, one video a week for a year. Why does our top video only have 24 views?”
And they’re like, “But the kicker was, but there’s this guy in his basement with a webcam getting millions. What the heck?” They didn’t say what the heck, but that’s what they were … And understandable so because the misconception is YouTube is about high production value in terms of the way it looks. And then also key words and metadata and things like that. That’s definitely not how it works.
What it really comes down to is how well do you form a human connection with someone? People don’t have to watch your videos. They’ll watch it because they want to, so you’ve got to make it like, “Okay, my boss told me … ” I guess some people do. Their boss told them to watch a video, they go they had to watch it or something. But for the most part, people are sitting down just browsing YouTube.
So if you put YouTube.com next to Google.com, they are very different landing pages, right? That indicate very different goals, very different objectives. You have to come at YouTube with a very different approach and different strategy than we do to Google.com. Now YouTube is a search engine. It’s the second largest search engine on the internet, second to Google itself. Search feature. But unlike Google it’s at the top and it’s small. It’s like browsing mode is what they want you to get into.
We want to just put content in front of you whether it’s the home page or suggested videos or something, we just want you to click from one video to the next video to the next video to the next. You don’t do that at Google.com. It’s very different, so what it really comes down to on YouTube is how do you get Google to understand who is this video for? And then get them to push that video and put it in front of the right person at the right time? Whether it be through suggested videos or the home page or watch next or a playlist or whatever the case may be.
There’s a lot of discovery mechanisms on YouTube outside of search that have a lot more value in terms of watch time and viewing sessions and things like that. What it really comes down to, to summarize, is your audience needs to really resonate with someone in order for you to get the amount of time spent on that video that you need for that video to start performing well. One of the best ways to do that is to tell a story that people don’t only get the information that they wanted or hear the story that they wanted, but they actually get it in a way they’re like, “Wow. I need to watch another one.”
And when that happens, that’s when your videos really start to perform well. That really comes down to storytelling, whether you’re trying to get someone to sit in the dark movie theater for three hours or a television series that literally has over a story that’s over 100 hours or seven seasons of 24 episodes each or whatever. All the way down to Tik Tok and Vine and Instagram where it 15, 60 seconds. It can all be done in that amount of time.
Erin Sparks: 13:01 Well we certainly know, and I appreciate you going into that depth, because there is a myth that if you have all the whiz bang design, all the quality graphics, all the overlays, everything that you pull together here, that it’s all going to be … You’re going to be sprinkling magic fairy dust on your video and it’s going to rise to the top, right?
Tim Schmoyer: 13:01 Right.
Erin Sparks: 13:23 Well at the core of it is some people don’t know how to tell a story.
Tim Schmoyer: 13:28 That’s right.
Erin Sparks: 13:28 And so with that, do you have instructions on how to give guidance on … Because some people as much as they’re wanting to, they’ll just plow through it without knowledge that it’s very similar to almost playing music in a particular manner, right?
Tim Schmoyer: 13:46 Oh that’s a great example. Yeah, or an athlete. Someone who’s like, “I know how the sport works but I’m not actually good at the sport.” Or, “I know how the instrument works but I’m not good at playing the instrument.” Same thing. I know how a camera works, a lot of people who know how a camera works just publishing content and not getting anywhere. But it’s like how do you craft the content in a way that really gives you something?
When we work with people, there are seven questions that we have them answer. This happens on a few different levels, so if we have time we can get into a couple different, the three different levels. But just on the content itself, the video itself, a story structure is made up of how it answers seven basic questions. And the seven questions are number one, the video first needs to establish who is the character?
Then number two it has to establish what does that character want? If you’re watching television or a series or something, it’s not uncommon for the main character to just flat out state exactly what they want. Like, “Man, that guy just needs to die.” Or, “I just want that girl to notice me.” Or whatever, they just flat out state somewhere close to the beginning what the character actually wants. And then that becomes a thing that the rest of the story revolves around, which is do they get that thing or not?
The third question then is well why can’t they have what they want? What are the obstacles that are in the way, the things that are holding them back?
Erin Sparks: 15:05 Right.
Tim Schmoyer: 15:05 Number four, and a lot of people miss this, and we’ll break this down a little bit more in terms of different context. But number four is then what is at stake? What is it going to cost them if they don’t get what they want? And that’s number … And that’s usually a lot of people miss that. And when you miss that, the story falls flat pretty hard. That’s an important part.
Erin Sparks: 15:23 Yeah, it’s the risk involved.
Tim Schmoyer: 15:25 Exactly, yeah. It’s like, “Okay you want that thing. Good for you. Whatever.” But it’s like, “Oh but that happens if you don’t get it.” Now there’s a little bit more intrigue, right?
Five, who or what comes along and helps them do what they couldn’t do before. And that could be the guide that comes along and equips them with the proverbial sword, whether that be Luke Skywalker or that be Gandalf coming alongside of Frodo or the guide. And the marketing world, that’s the role we often play is we’re the guide coming along our customer who wants to be the hero of their story. But they first want to understand our story as the guide because the guide always has a backstory that qualifies them to be the guide now for the hero.
Who or what comes along and helps them do what they couldn’t do before. And then number six is how do they then ultimately get what they wanted? Which sounds like it could be the end of the story but the question number seven is what makes the difference between a story that people actually like and a story that people actually love.
Erin Sparks: 16:24 Okay.
Tim Schmoyer: 16:26 How are they changed as a result? Because ultimately any good story is about character transformation. It’s like how is this person different now as a result of all the obstacles and the conflicts that they’ve gone through. When you get to the end of that story you’re like, “Ah, I can see how that person is a different person now than they were at the beginning.” And that’s ultimately what our customers want to experience.
They have these challenges that they’re facing, these problems that they’re trying to go through. We come along as the guide and we get to help them transform their business or their goals or whatever it is. Like I said, ti happens on a few different levels. One is just on each individual video itself. One is for your brand, like a series of videos that keeps them watching from one to the next. And then it’s also understanding then what our audience’s story is so that we can position our videos to fit into that story as the guide and ultimately make them like, “I’ve got to watch every single video this person does.”
Erin Sparks: 17:22 You’re tapping into … It’s almost like this archetype of storytelling back in Odysseus times. It’s the same narrative all the way through, it’s just about the different aperture. You’ve got the Vines and the Tik Toks. It’s the same bloody thing. You’ve got consumers that are wanting to watch different amounts of time of video, but if you can actually score on those key points, we’re already wired, we’re conditioned to look for these different elements, the plot line. Right?
Tim Schmoyer: 17:56 Mm-hmm (affirmative), that’s right. So if someone comes along, let’s say you’re making a video on how to weed your garden or something, I don’t know. I’m making this up.
Erin Sparks: 18:08 Trust me, I would be looking at that video right now as my front yard looks like crap. Keep on going.
Tim Schmoyer: 18:14 Yeah, so you want something. So instead of me just going and making a video like, “Guys. Here’s how you grab the weed and pull it so that the roots come up because if you don’t grab it this way … ” And just give them the hard, dirty facts, there’s a lot of that out there. And that’s the stuff that doesn’t perform as well as you for example, going onto your grass and is like, “Guys. Look at my lawn. This is a mess. I just want all of these weeds gone.”
So you’ve told them what you want. You’ve established the problem, and you’ve also tapped into what your audience wants which is my lawn looks like that, too. I want my lawn to look better. And then you say, “That’s my neighbor’s lawn. Look how good his looks.” So then maybe you’re like, “I’m going to go next to my neighbor to see how he does it.” So you go next to your neighbor, you get … Maybe you set this up with him. I’m making this up off the top of my head.
Erin Sparks: 19:03 Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tim Schmoyer: 19:03 Whatever actually works for you. But you’re like, “Why does your lawn look so freaking awesome?” He’s like, “Oh it’s because I use this product.” Or, “It’s because I do this technique.” Or, “I do this in the spring that most people don’t do.” Or whatever it is. And you’re like, “Oh.” And then you go ahead and do that to your lawn and then you show this is what it looks like.
Now the character who wanted something … We left out a couple parts what was at stake and stuff –
Erin Sparks: 19:25 Yeah I was going to say, that point number four is if you don’t fix it mama bear’s going to actually have your head on this little platter. That’s where we can all bond is you’d better bloody well fix your lawn.
Tim Schmoyer: 19:36 Or the HOA is going to come and you’re going to have a lien against your house. I don’t know. But it might just be a sense of pride, there’s internal stakes, there’s external stakes and external conflicts, internal conflicts. A lot of different ways that happens but it could be either one of those.
And then you tell that story that way, and that would … I guarantee you, that’s going to get much better retention than being like, “Here’s how you pull a weed.” And this is going to sit there with 24 views as your top performing video on your channel.
Jacob Mann: 20:09 Tim, I was going to say what I liked about the questions you went through is I can picture some big YouTube stars that I can think of and while previously I may have looked at it and just been like, “THey’re great on camera but I can’t figure out why.” As you went through those questions I could be like, “Yep. Check. Check. Check. Check.”
And I’m sure they are aware of it to some level, but some of it I think for some people might just be a little bit more natural. But I mean, they’re just hitting every single thing that you were talking about there and it was so … I don’t know. Anyone that just listened to this or watched this, go back and hear those questions and think about those really big YouTube people that you can think of and you’ll see they’re hitting every single one of those easily.
Erin Sparks: 20:48 You’ve got to set the case up and you can’t avoid those critical steps because that’s whee you’re going to have the audience empathize with your situation. Right, Tim?
Tim Schmoyer: 20:57 That’s right. Yeah, and so that’s one of the other ways that is is important because when we’re telling this structure in every single video but then it also needs to point to a series of videos. And that keeps them watching from one video to the next. It’s a self contained structure in each video but then it’s like in our case for example, my wife and I had seven kids in eight years. There’s always like, “Oh she’s pregnant again. There’s another nine month … They want another baby. What are the obstacles they’re facing to getting that? And that unfolds over several months. Then we had to get the 12 passenger van because we outgrew the Honda Odyssey.
Now I need the bigger house because our 900 square feet isn’t cutting it anymore. So it’s like all these obstacles we faced and people will subscribe and watch, in this example because of there’s something the character wants, but this unfolds over several videos or a season of videos or whatever the case might be.
Again even bringing that back to an educational value proposition for your channel, or a teaching/instructional type of thing, it’s the same thing. I’ve been talking on my channel for a long time, I want to learn how to tell better stories for you guys rather than just teaching you how to click here and click there and how to turn that into this or whatever. I want to share with you guys stories of creators who have done it in a way that’s much more engaging.
People are watching me learn how to tell better stories and I’ve been working at it for two years. Now than doing other stuff with it prior to that in a private way before I was really ready to start experimenting publicly with it. Whenever I do the story telling like in an interview, instead of saying, “Give me three tips on how to get a million subscribers in one year,” I’ll sit down and be like, “Tell me the story of how you got one million subscribers in one year.”
That story thing, whenever I do that, and I’ve tried this. I experiment with both side by side, both videos of the same person, same content, everything. The story element almost always gets at least double the watch time, double the retention, quadruple the engagement, and typically around 10X the views.
Erin Sparks: 23:06 Oh my gosh.
Tim Schmoyer: 23:07 Equivalent exact same material, same content, same value. The short bullet point, point one, two, and three doesn’t perform nearly as well as the twice as long video that’s a really good story that follows these seven questions. But we’re outperforming all day long. Unless one of those questions is missing and especially number four. That’s the one people usually forget is the at stake one. When that one’s gone, then your bullet point video will out perform the story one all day long because people didn’t actually care about the story. And the story was told poorly, so people just left.
And then the last, if you’d like, but how this applies to your audience because that’s important, too.
Erin Sparks: 23:47 A sidebar real quick about what you’re talking about from this recipe. And I don’t want to call it a recipe. These are points in the journey, so to speak, as opposed to a formulaic. We want to avoid … It’s not a wash, rinse, and repeat. Each and every video has to find its way to those points naturally, right?
Tim Schmoyer: 24:05 Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erin Sparks: 24:06 But whenever a business is looking to jump into YouTube optimization and develop a channel, there’s a dissonance from the companies that they can’t understand how to tell about their product in a personal manner. So can you dispel some of the myths about business actually trying to get into or avoiding the story telling mindset? Can you break down some of those reservations or hesitations that companies may have?
Tim Schmoyer: 24:39 Well and some of them are valid, to be honest. For example, one of them is yeah this takes a lot longer to produce and just sit down and here’s how you pull a weed. I’ve got to go talk to my neighbor, I’ve got to get this all edited, I’m going to need to get some of my royalty free music now. It does take longer and that is valid and that is absolutely right. It’s kind of like what do you want? A video that you do quickly and doesn’t perform or a video that you put a little bit more time and energy into and it actually performs?
Erin Sparks: 25:10 Right.
Tim Schmoyer: 25:11 Do you want to throw away your money or do you want to spend more and get a return on it? You know? So yeah. Sometimes the reservation is like, “We don’t know about this YouTube thing,” so they’re going to be a little bit more … They’re not going to go all in on it. They’re just going to be like, “Let’s just try it. Oh it’s not working for us.” And they’re out.
It’s like starting a blog and putting up a few posts and, “Oh we’re not ranking number one. We’re out.”
Erin Sparks: 25:38 Do you actually consult with businesses and steer them away if they’re not ready to be able to go jump in with both feet?
Tim Schmoyer: 25:47 Sometimes, yeah. We actually start with what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? What’s your main objective? What would be a win? Things like that.
Erin Sparks: 25:54 Sure.
Tim Schmoyer: 25:55 Then we can help determine like, “You know what? You do an online video in general, it’s just a tool. It’s not the solution for every problem. So if you’re experiencing this problem where you’re like, ‘We think a podcast might be better for you.'” Or maybe you should consider Instagram or maybe social media isn’t your thing. You don’t have a good business model or something. I don’t know.
Erin Sparks: 26:12 Right, right, right.
Tim Schmoyer: 26:14 But it’s like how do we use this tool in a way that helps you get the job done that you’re trying to accomplish as opposed to like, “Oh yeah. YouTube is the answer to every problem.” It’s not that for us.
Erin Sparks: 26:27 No, no, it’s not. Although I’m sure you’d advocate strongly to be able to have a representation in that channel. But how do you set up those expectations of growth for the corporate client that’s willing to jump in but at the same time are still looking at ROI as the tunnel vision quantifier or the end goal that they’re looking for? As opposed to understanding the larger lens which is engagement within all these different types of channels. How do you break them through that?
Tim Schmoyer: 27:05 Yeah, we don’t try to push too hard, to be honest, just because this is going to sound kind of cocky. I don’t mean it. But we have a lot of opportunity. There’s a lot of people to work with, so we enjoy working with the people that don’t need a lot of convincing and pushing. They’re like, “We’ve been trying. It’s not working. Can you help us take it to the next level?” We’re like, “Yes absolutely.”
As opposed to the people that are like, “You need to sell me on why I should do YouTube and why I should work for you.” We’re like, “We ain’t got time for that.” You know what I’m saying?
Erin Sparks: 27:35 Yeah. No, I get it. But there’s a lot of audience members of Edge that are internal digital marketing professionals in a large organization that are trying to make the argument to get into a YouTube channel. We try to arm them with some key points, but it is tough if the C levels aren’t bought into this, right?
Tim Schmoyer: 27:58 Yeah. For those people I would say maybe look at some competitors of other people who are in a similar space. Maybe not a competitor necessarily but they’re doing the same thing on YouTube with their audience as you would like to do with an audience and you can see how it’s helping. Those case studies can often be pretty effective.
I worked in corporate stuff enough to know that there’s always political things, too, about this would just happen except for this guy thinks that this isn’t … Okay, now you’ve just got to how do you change someone’s mind? Well usually the best way to do that I’ve found is to tell them a story, not just make a presentation of facts. And this has been psychologically proven. I’m not even making this up where when you tell someone a story they actually relax.
They can just enjoy and listen. Their guard comes down and they can get to the end. You don’t even need a lot of proof. Just get to the end and that was that person’s experience. They’re like, “We would like that to be our experience. How do we make that happen?” I found that just telling stories to people that I’m trying to convince, like, “Listen. I know you’ve been doing your YouTube strategy this way for this long and you’ve gotten okay results. We want to take you from 2000 subscribers a day to 40000 subscribers a day. And to do that you’re going to have to shift it.”
That’s where we start hitting that same type of rub. Then we show them examples and case studies of we’ve done this this way with this person and that person. This is the results that they got. Do you want those results or not?
Erin Sparks: 29:29 Wow. It’s like inception. You’re actually bringing a story inside of persuading them to actually tell stories.
Tim Schmoyer: 29:38 Yeah. The stories bring down the guard, make how human connection happens and that, and you start picturing stuff in your mind as opposed to just listening to facts and details. It’s a more immersive type of teaching experience. Yeah, it’s really … Case studies might be one of the ways. But to be honest I typically don’t spend a lot of time trying to convince people that this is the way we need to do it. Unless there’s like … There was one time I did lose my job actually prior to YouTube days and I was like, “This thing is dying. This organization is dying and we need to … It needs to be done like this.” The person above me disagreed and ended up firing me over it.
But at that point, that was a stake I was willing to die on. I was like, “If this doesn’t happen, I don’t want to be part of it anyways.” So that was maybe a little bit different scenario, but that’s what happened.
Erin Sparks: 30:30 Let me ask you this. Out of the seven points that you brought up of the journey and video communication, pick one and unpack it a little bit deeper if you will. Because I know you have three levels to each and every one of these. Out of respect for time because I know you’ve got another one coming up here soon, can you unpack one of these elements and give us a little bit more context?
Tim Schmoyer: 30:55 These are all really important not only for the content we’re presenting which has been the level we’ve been talking on so far, which is how do I craft a video that people will actually really, really love and watch? That does need to happen but I mentioned there’s a couple other levels to this that needs to happen as well. And one of that is remember, and I think we teased this a little bit, is that your video is actually a part of their story.
What do … They’re the character asking the questions maybe a little bit differently, which is who is your audience and what do they want? Then really defining, not just in terms … A lot of people they think about their audience in terms of demographic information such as age, gender, geographic location, median income level, stuff like that. But we actually want to understand their story so that when they find your video, they start watching, they’re like, “This is exactly for me. I feel like he’s talking to me. This is exactly what I need. I need to watch more of this.” And really get into longer viewing sessions, subscribing, and watching more and more.
Rephrasing the questions then. Who is your audience and what do they want? Then is there something that’s forcing them to act? Some sort of inciting moment or inciting incident like they can’t take it any more. There’s something that’s forcing them to change. This is why they’re watching your video in the first place.
Erin Sparks: 32:16 Okay.
Tim Schmoyer: 32:17 And number three is like why can’t they have what they want? What is standing in your audience’s way. For four, what happens if your audience doesn’t overcome this? What’s at stake for them? And then understanding number five, how can you help them? How can you be the guy that comes along and helps them do what they couldn’t do? And then question number six is what will they be able to do with your help that they couldn’t do before? And then wrapping it up with number seven, what does transformation look like? What does victory look like? How do they ultimately get what they want? What does that look like for this person?
But in the end, how will they be different than when they got started with you, your content, your brand, your products, your services, all of that? So it really puts a story to your audience so that way you’re looking at the camera lens if it’s an on camera personality for example. You’re looking at the camera lens and you’re making this content, you’re not just talking to some general audience of someone that would hopefully find this weed killing video helpful. But instead this is a guy who feels like his neighbor keeps one upping him and he’s just been through a lot in life and he doesn’t have the time to really put into his lawn like he wants to. He’s feeling like he hates driving home every day feeling like my neighbors are upset with me or all of my dandelion weeds are blowing into his lawn now or whatever.
It’s like you’re really understanding the audience’s story so that you understand exactly how the video you’re making fits with exactly where they’re at. When they click play, they’re like, “This is what I need.” And the only way to really make them feel that way is to actually I think do the work in really understanding your audience’s story, what they want, why they can’t have what they want, the transformation and all of that so that your video solves all of those same questions for them when they click play in every single video.
Each video, season of life or series of videos as well as then your audience’s story. All three of those dynamics at play here.
Erin Sparks: 34:25 You know, you describe this as more and more as is resonating for me is that we on a regular basis are talking about buyer’s journey. And buyer’s journey the minimum series of stages is three stages. Awareness of a problem, consideration of solutions, and then decision making criteria of what particular solution provider you should select. And it literally is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from pain to comfort. And what you’re talking about is exactly the same thing, is development of content that hits all those particular points of pain, consideration of a solution, advocating on the side of the customer or the watcher of the video, empathizing, being able to connect with their pain points, and taking them through these solutions.
Now that’s where corporate America can truly connect with their audience. It’s no longer just talking about what their product is. It’s about how they solve these pains and story telling is an incredible vehicle to do just that. Right, Tim?
Tim Schmoyer: 35:31 That’s absolutely right, yeah. And what happens on YouTube when you do this is the search and discovery systems and all the algorithms on YouTube, they’re not actually ranking videos based on keywords and things like we said in the beginning. They’re ranking it based on human signals that they’re capturing from viewers. And the signals are if you go spend time watching this. Do they engage with this? Do they watch more after this?
Or, and this is a mistake a lot of marketers make, is they want the goal of every video to get the people off of YouTube into their website to buy or sign up or register or whatever. And then that ends the viewing session which is a negative signal to Google. So instead it’s like how do we use YouTube as a way to engage an audience so they watch more and then more and more and really dive into our brand and be like, “You know what? Now I need help with this thing. I’m using those guys because I love what they’re all about.”
Erin Sparks: 36:22 It’s not the hard push of buying now. In fact, that’s the key point is that if you push too hard you’re literally sending a negative signal back to Google and you’re really harming your user engagement as opposed to what you think you’re doing by getting to that purchase KPI. Right?
Tim Schmoyer: 36:40 Yeah, and there’s ways to do it. Like one of the ways that real briefly is you have different strategies. You have one goal for each video that you make. Not like I want every video to get lots of subscribers and every video to get lots of views and lots of video get lots of conversions. And to go big on Reddit and to be featured by [inaudible 00:36:56]. You can’t have all these goals.
Every content needs to have one specific goal. So one goal will be discoverable, like we want this to rank well and be suggested well. We want this video to grow our the know I can trust factor you already have. And then this is our sales video. Just like an email sequence where you get the lead magnets/discoverable piece, you get the emails that grow the I know I can trust factors that then lead into a sale. I’m published probably once or twice a month and I’m probably seen pretty often. But once or twice a month, one of them is just a straight up sales video and the whole goal is to give them some valuable information that leads into a pain that they have that is solved with this product.
But those videos I’m not trying to intend to get them to rank or perform anywhere. It was like I brought you into discoverable, I built a community with the community videos, and now I’m capitalizing with the sales video. We had one guy, one client we’re working with who started doing that and he was making around $20000 a month from his YouTube channel, from his sales but we told him he was publishing daily every weekday and he was selling at the end of each one. We told him only sell once a week, but craft that video intentionally for the sale and then the other videos make them discoverable, community, don’t sell on those at all.
Which he felt like, “I’m going to take a big hit here because I’m only selling once a week instead of five times a week.” That he went from $20000 a month to $100000 a month in that one little switch because now he had a purpose and a strategy to how he’s crafting each one.
Erin Sparks: 38:24 Wow. That is awesome. That is awesome. Don’t push so hard. Bring people in and be able to create a latticing of sorts of content based on where people’s journey is and don’t be hard selling. We’ve got to mature ourselves from a marketing standpoint that our consumers not ready all the time to buy.
Tim Schmoyer: 38:46 That’s right. It’s just what you said, thinking through the customer journey and do the same thing on YouTube. Bring it on as discoverable, build a community, capitalize on it. Rather than it’s always got to get someone to our website, to our email, to our sign up, whatever. It’s like what if you just gave really good value because you want to help people. And I know every business wants to help you, that’s what the business is for is to help solve people’s problems.
But what if we just did that, gave away our best information for free so that we’re like, “Oh my gosh. What do I get if I actually pay these people?” That’s what it’s all about.
Erin Sparks: 39:17 There it is. There it is. Well, Tim, we could literally go on for hours and we certainly appreciate your time today. We’d love to have you back around and unpack more of this because I mean, you’ve got a rich depth of knowledge in all of these different stages. But we want to make sure that you hit your next appointment, as well.
Can you give us one key thing that aspiring videographer, that aspiring next YouTuber can do to really make sure that they’re point on on what they need to do to craft that new following for themselves?
Tim Schmoyer: 39:52 Yeah, I would just write down these seven questions that we went through and then answer them. Literally answer them. Don’t be like I asked you you’re going there, Tim, but literally sit down, open a Google document, answer them about your each video you’re doing and also about more generally about your audience.
Erin Sparks: 40:08 There it is. There it is. Amazing but true fact everybody, literally Tim has never tried Coke, Mountain Dew, or Dr. Pepper.
Tim Schmoyer: 40:17 Never have. Never chewed gum either.
Erin Sparks: 40:19 Never chewed gum either? What’s happening here?
Tim Schmoyer: 40:21 That’s another story, but I was born with … Shortly after I was born I developed a tumor in my left ear and the tumor would feed off of anything that was artificially flavored, colored, or preserved. So I could only eat all natural stuff growing up. Five surgeries later the tumor is gone and I could get away with it, but I’m like, “I’m 30 some years old now. I don’t … ” How old am I? I don’t even know. 39 years old and you can’t miss what you’ve never had. So I’m like it’s better for me not to get started so I just haven’t.
Erin Sparks: 40:51 Well, turn that around and I applaud you greatly because I tell you what. They’re addictive and they’re bad for you. I’ve got four kids myself, it doesn’t hold a candle to your nine. But my gosh, it’s like whack a mole trying to get them off the sugars. That was amazing and I appreciate you confiding in us there.
Hey, we want to make sure we promote something for you, so how can we best help you?
Tim Schmoyer: 41:19 Yeah, anyone who’s listening to this, if you’re a podcast person you can come join us. We have a … I have a podcast every Tuesday that goes out on iTunes, Sound Cloud, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, all those places. Just search for Video Creators or Tim Schmoyer. Either of those my podcast should show up.
We’ve got new weekly videos every Thursday at YouTube.com/videocreators or if you want a free guide that will walk you through this process, you can get that at videocreators.com, sign up for the email list, and just download that and that will walk you through it, too.
Erin Sparks: 41:49 Where can we find you on social? Twitter? You out there as well?
Tim Schmoyer: 41:53 Twitter at Tim Schmoyer. Instagram just personal but it’s at Tim Schmoyer and love to have people there, too.
Erin Sparks: 42:00 Very good. Well, thank you so much for unpacking and again I’m so sorry that we can’t go longer because I really, we really want to. If we can swing you back around sometime in the future, we’d love to.
Tim Schmoyer: 42:12 Sounds good. Yeah, I’ll do it again.
Erin Sparks: 42:14 Cool, cool, cool. All right. Well thank you for listening, thanks for putting me in part of the show. Thanks for listening to Edge of the Web radio. Also thank you to the colleagues here at Site Strategics, especially our guest Tim Schmoyer. Be sure to check out all the must see videos over at edgeofthewebradio.com. That’s edgeofthewebradio.com.
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From everybody here at Site Strategics, thanks so much for listening and we’ll talk to you next week Monday at 3 PM. Do not be a piece of cyber driftwood. Talk to you. Bye.