Who doesn’t want to improve the results they get from their YouTube efforts? Today Jeremy welcomes Sean Cannell of THiNK Media TV and Video Influencers to talk about the tricks he used to grow his views by an order of 10 in just one year.
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Hey, everybody. Jeremy Vest here with Vidpow.com. Today I have an awesome guest. I have Sean Cannell. Sean, what are we gonna be talking about today?
Hey, Jeremy. We are gonna be talking about how to 10x your YouTube results, which is a hype-y title but it’s something that I personally experienced. 2015, I had 650,000 views on my YouTube. Then in 2016, that bumped up to 6.5 million. It was a 10x year and there was a few strategies that we applied to get there. That’s what we’re gonna be talking about.
Awesome. What’s the first way you were able to get that 10x? What’s the biggest thing you were able to do on your channel?
Well, before we get into any kind of nuanced strategies, I think the general strategy that everybody here would know is a formula that we talk about all the time. That’s “CQSC,” I think, if I said it right. That’s “Consistent, Strategic, Quality Content.” People always talk about consistent, quality content, but I think that these days just being consistent and even just having good content is not enough. You need that strategy piece in there. That’s what some of these 10x strategies are. But more than anything, it was a year of a lot more content. I gotta admit that, really, before in 2015 YouTube was a side project. But once I started very consistently posting a lot of videos, that was the number one trigger of growth.
That’s very cool. Obviously the more content you have, the more visibility you’re going to get on YouTube. When you’re creating that content, what were some of the things- Obviously, I know you’re great at video SEO and discoverability. What are a few of those triggers that helped? Just putting out more content, obviously, like you said, is not gonna help anything. As you were developing this strategy, what was your philosophy there?
Yeah, I think the first one, you mentioned video SEO. That’s the bedrock of my entire philosophy. Whenever I put out a video, I never want to to put out a video- I say “never,” and this is probably different than a lot of people’s philosophies, because sometimes they maybe put out videos that are just meant to talk to their subscribers, just meant to talk to your audience and just add value to your audience or communicate something. But almost every time I step up to YouTube, I’m actually always thinking about search and discoverability.
A couple times, maybe, we’ll do surveys and we’ll say, “I need your help” in the title. That’s just talking, of course, to our audience, But literally every time I really want to try to get videos to rank in search, and I think in doing that we’re also reaping the benefits today because 90% of our videos are ranking in search. A lot of times it’s sometimes not very glamorous. You might have a video that only gets a couple views a week or 100 views a week or something like that. That’s good, but it’s not super glamorous.
But if you do that over and over and over every single time, then you really can build up massive momentum on YouTube. In fact, today we are at the time of recording this getting about 18,000 new subscribers a month that are mostly on autopilot from this library of ranked videos. I usually continue to focus on that over and over again. I think probably a nuance there is that some people, I think, only go for big topics. They want a glamorous- For instance, if you were in the personal development space, you’d want the video titled, “How to Be More Confident” or something like that.
But something that general is gonna be hard. There’s a lot of competition in there. For me, the strategy when it comes to ranking that I think is a big takeaway for people here on the podcast is really honing those video ideas down and looking for long-tail keyword phrases and looking for those more nuanced keyword phrases that may not get you this huge impact, but it lets your channel grow slow and steady because you’re able to rank.
Instead of “How to Be More Confident, it could be something like, “How to Be More Confident in the Workplace as a Woman.” Now we’re getting the amount of distinctions where I think there’s a ton of opportunity to really clean up digital real estate, if you will, and get your videos positioned ranking in your niche.
I think both of us have really figured this out. I call this the “nested philosophy.” Essentially, when I worked on, for example, Gillette and some of the other big brands we’ve done, we would create content, 100 pieces of content around one thing like “How to Shave.” Then we would create “How to Shave Your Back” and “The Royale Beard” and “Your Mustache.” Just go on forever and ever and ever. I believe, looking at your content, I think you’ve done the same thing. You’ve been able to think bigger than the particular tutorial that you’re doing at that moment in time.
With Funimation, we were ranking them for terms like “free HD anime.” Free HD anime, at one point about a year ago, was bigger than “Dragon Ball Z” on YouTube. Understanding the universe in which people are searching for and the intent of search depth they’re doing specifically on YouTube I think is absolutely key. I just wanted to get your take on if you’re gonna go do camera reviews or something like that, would you go and make a series of videos on that one topic?
Yeah, that’s a great question. That nested philosophy goes into one of the 10x strategies, which also ties into playlists. Beyond just thinking about “What is a series of videos that you could do” like you mentioned, and I’m sure you were using playlists when you did videos with Gillette. One of the playlists that we did was all about smartphone accessories. What I realized was when doing keyword research, I realized that some people were looking for “cool smartphone accessories.” Some people were looking for just “the best smartphone accessories.” Then nuanced things like “best mic for iPhone” and things like that.
That turned into what we called the “Smartphone Gear Series.” There was a few things that I did practically that, which is, yes, right in line with your strategy. I saw ahead. I started with the end in mind of that series. Then I also started seeing technically cool smartphone accessories and mobile phone accessories could be the same video. But what I would do is I’d a video like “Cool Smartphone Accessories” and then it would be three more wacky gadgets. These are actually cool. These are interesting. Then the mobile phone accessories was “The 10 Essentials.” That was a wall charger plus a case plus an iPhone lens or a smartphone lens, etc..
They were all different and I mapped them loosely on a Google Doc and then even verbally in the videos used them to promote each other with playlists, using cards. The whole series continues to just swell with views. They’re showing up in each other’s suggested videos and that, as a 10x strategy is a playlist strategy that stacks on top of that good video SEO and that nested philosophy.
That’s awesome. What are one or two other 10x strategies you use beyond playlists and the amazing keywords? Also, another question is how do you find out what people are searching for specifically on YouTube versus Google?
For me, I use mainly the YouTube search bar. There’s some good keyword tools out there, but I pretty much just lean on those predictions that show up in YouTube search. I go to YouTube, I start typing. I think what you mentioned, too, you gotta have a broader understanding of your space, if you can get at a higher level. Understanding the nuances of language. Sometimes the tools will serve those up, but you also maybe need to prime the search bar with that.
One little tip is with smartphone accessories, if you were to type that into the search bar and then you press space after, you’re gonna get a bunch of predictions. But you also, with the YouTube search bar, you can put in underscore space before whatever the term is and it’ll give you the predictions of that search term in a sentence. That’s where I found “in front of smartphone accessories.” Of course, those YouTube predictions are YouTube saying, “Here’s what real people are searching in order, from top to bottom, of how much search traffic they’re getting.”
One other tweak there is you can actually go a letter of the alphabet. You could go “A_ smartphone accessories” and it’ll put that word in any of the A sentences. You could go all the way through the alphabet. B, C, D, and those will pop up, as well. Obviously we’re on a podcast, but this is a really fun thing to try. One caveat is it doesn’t really work on mobile. The underscore thing and the predictions are a little bit different. It works best if you’re on desktop in a normal browser.
That’s usually where I’d get the ideas. Then what I do is probably what most listeners are doing, is we’ll use something like Google Keyword Planner. Obviously, the numbers there are for Google search for the amount of monthly search traffic. However, I figure that it gives you a barometer. It gives you a benchmark of how much search traffic there is. If it has 100,000 searches a month on Google Keyword Planner, it’s probably very popular on YouTube, as well.
Conversely, if it only gets 10 to 100, then it’s also probably nuanced, a much smaller search, but still good in my opinion because you can growth hack just by doing these smaller sniper videos and build your influence up over time with ranked videos.
That’s awesome. One little thing to add to that is after we use the Keyword Planner tool here at Vidpow, we take a lot of those terms into Google Trends and we actually select the YouTube dropdown and now we’re actually looking at trending tags, rather, specifically that’s from YouTube. Now, a lot of things don’t rank in Google Trends. However, there are a lot of words that they recommend at the very bottom of it. Converting those Keyword Planner words into the YouTube terms is definitely another trick we use.
Oh, that’s a great tip.
Alright, how can people find you? What’s your channels? Where can people find what you do?
Yeah. My main channel that I’ve been focusing on is called “Think Media.” That’s the best tips and tools for building your influence with online video. That’s where I’ll do a lot of video cameras, lighting reviews, microphones, smartphone accessories, and it’s basically the tools for content creators. We just did a video on USB microphones, like the one I’m using right here, whether people want to live stream or record podcasts. A lot of tech gear reviews there as well as tips and strategy video that are focused on online video but also all the things that entrepreneurs go through, building an email list or even just networking and building relationships with people. A lot of tips videos.
Then the other project is called “Video Influencers.” I co-founded that project. It’s a collab project with Benji Travis. We have a weekly interview show with Video Influencers that are heavily using YouTube or any platform that are really crushing it with video. That’s a great resource for people, too, that want to learn how to build their influence, income, and impact with online video.