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Blake Emal: Welcome to the Yours in Marketing podcast. On this week’s episode, I chat with the best and biggest YouTube content strategist on the planet. Mr. Ohio himself, Tim Schmoyer. Tim has trained hundreds of people in the was of effective YouTube content strategy and he’s worked with brands like Disney, HBO, Budweiser, eBay, and Warner Brothers.
Here’s what you’re going to get out of this episode, why video may be the medium for you or your business. We also talk about how businesses can leverage video to create human connection. He chats about the whiles and the wins of owning your own company, as well as getting comfortable with filming yourself, which is something a lot of us struggle with. And finally, how to balance family and work when you have seven kids. That’s right, seven kids.
Just a reminder to please leave an honest review. Each and every week I’m going to be shouting out some of our new reviewers by name on this very podcast. So if you want to be famous, or you just want to help out the show, please leave a review and you’ll have a chance to be mentioned by name, by me, right now on the podcast. Enough with that, let’s get straight into the interview.
Social Media Marketing World
Blake Emal: So first off, we’re here with Tim Schmoyer and the first question that I have for you is about Social Media Marketing World because that was last week right? One of the biggest conferences for social media. It’s hosted by Social Media Examiner. Is that right?
Tim Schmoyer: Right, yes.
Blake Emal: Cool. So how was that experience? Take us through what you actually did there, what kind of people were there, what you learned, what you took away from it basically.
Tim Schmoyer: Conferences have changed a lot for me over the past few years. I remember about 10-ish years ago there weren’t really YouTube conferences and things yet, but it’s all about going to the sessions and it’s all about taking as many notes as you could. And I still do go to sessions and things like that that are of interest to me, but I spend most of my time just doing my best to shake hands and meet people and have conversations and hear what they’re working on, invest as much as I can into their projects and to their goals, especially as it pertains to YouTube. And then I love just meeting people and being like, “Oh wow, yes I need to talk about this. You’re the perfect person who…” Right. And it’s more about the connections and the relationships for me now.
It’s a great conference. Have you been there yourself before?
Blake Emal: No, and I’m just up the road. I know it’s in San Diego. I’m in Orange County, so didn’t make it down.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah. The thing that’s unique about Social Media Marketing World is that, well for me, for most of the conventions I’m at, is that there’s a lot of conventions that are very specific on a really small niche or something, but I like it that if you do anything with social media, this is like the one-stop event where you can get anything want to know about YouTube, about Facebook, about Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, like whatever. It’s all right there rather than having to go to the LinkedIn conference and then Instagram conference and the Facebook conference, right, you can just go there and get your feet wet with a little bit of everything.
So it’s a pretty big event, thousands of people, most of them are business owners because it is a marketing convention after all. Some of them are small businesses that are just getting started, and entrepreneurs, all the way up to Amazon, Google, Fortune 50 companies that are present there as well, so you never really know who you’ll bump into exactly.
Blake Emal: Most of you, if you’ve ever been on YouTube trying to actually create videos, you’ve probably heard of Tim because he’s kind of famous for helping people grow their YouTube channels, that’s what he does. But if you’re not familiar with him, he’s got about a half a million subscribers on YouTube, and he’s helped other brands and other people grow their channels in the millions of subscribers, millions of views. So that’s kind of what he does, but Tim, if you were to focus on another platform other than YouTube, what would be your focus right now?
Social Media Platforms
Tim Schmoyer: So the platform I actually use the most often is Twitter. I always have Twitter open as like a panel. I have a couple of monitors, and it’s the one all the way to the right, and I have the mobile version of Twitter open because it’s nice and clean, and I can have it in a small little window off to the side. So that’s always there, and I like Twitter because it forces everyone to communicate really succinctly.
So email can get really long and winded and DMs can be the same way, but if you just tell people, “Hey, Tweet me.” They’re forced to… What is now, 240 characters? So everyone’s forced to be pretty to the point, succinct and I feel like I can serve as many people pretty quickly by being able to use a platform that forces everyone to be to the point, direct and succinct. Maybe that’s just the guy part of me, just wanting… like get it done, crank it out. It’s really quick, and you get in touch with people who normally might not be as accessible via email or other means. So I like Twitter a lot for not only for interacting with more people who are in my community, but also reaching out to others.
Blake Emal: So it would be the same for professionally as well, you would prefer Twitter?
Tim Schmoyer: Well if I was going to dive somewhere next professionally, it probably would be LinkedIn for me just because it’s there, I use it, it’s a thing, but I wouldn’t say I’m using it strategically for anything right now. But I know there’s a lot of opportunity there.
Building a Business While Building a Family
Blake Emal: Definitely. So let’s take a step back here for a second. A lot of people are going to know you as, first and foremost, a family man because you have seven kids. Right?
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah.
Blake Emal: Okay, so through all the years, all the responsibilities that you’ve had doing Video Creators, doing all of these different things, how have you been able to juggle that? Because I’m sure that there are a lot of people listening that have families, or their just starting families, and they have no idea how they’re going to juggle being a leader, having a family, having kids, so how have you been able to juggle the responsibilities and relationships and still do your work?
Tim Schmoyer: Not well at some points, you know, just to be really honest. So I started Video Creators about five years ago, but I’ve been doing YouTube content strategy and consulting professionally since 2009, so 10 years now. And what I’ve found is that having a family and trying to grow a business and trying to make sure I have time for my wife and all the things that are demanding my time is, I actually needed a few things that have been helpful for me.
Tim Schmoyer: One is, rather than thinking about it in terms of balance, I just think about it in terms of priorities. I know some people don’t really like that, but it’s just kind of like, “What are the priorities? Let’s list them in order, and anything that falls below the red line just doesn’t get done.” And it is what it is. Right?
So that’s been pretty freeing to me to know like, this, if it doesn’t get done, yeah we might lose some money, or we might not be able to build that networking connection, or we might not be able to attend that event that would really good or whatever. But there’s just too many good things to do, you just can’t do all of them. So it forced me to say, “Is spending time with my family more important than spending time with that networking connection that could potentially be really lucrative. It’s like, “Yeah.” Because now I’m putting a price tag on my family, I’m saying the family is more important, right.
Now it’s not to say I can’t… there’s not times where the family is like, “Dad’s just really busy right now.” Because there are seasons of that, but I think it becomes really easy for the work to kind of take over and the family’s always sacrificing. One of the things that I believe is that my family is not here to serve my business, it’s actually the other way around. My business is here to actually serve my family and I have to remember that.
I know the temptation for guys like me is to just keep growing the business to be bigger, and badder, and reach more people and more customers and grow the revenue and things. But I’m the sole… Well, my wife and I are technically 50/50 owners of the business for tax purposes, but I’m the only one who owns and operates the company. We’re doing just fine personally, so I want to continue to grow this thing and reach more people and help them change their lives, but not at the expense of the lives of people in my family suffering.
“My Family is a Part of My Business, My Kids are Actually Assets”
Tim Schmoyer: So number one is just having those priorities set, and then the second thing, for me, is just knowing why. Like having a vision for both my business and for my family that actually converge in some way. I think it’s really easy for us to live pretty compartmentalized lives where this is my entertainment life, this is my personal life, my career life, my business life, my educational life for example. And we found that when the more buckets we have, the crazier and hectic life becomes. So we actually try to live like… this is going to sound a little bit weird but you asked the question, so it’s like… try to integrate things better.
So my family is a part of my business, my kids are actually assets. We had seven kids in eight years, but rather than seeing them as liabilities the way most people do, I’m like, “What if I actually turned them into assets?” So they get paid as child actors now on our families blogging channel. Our business pays them to an IRA so they get paid tax-free, when they take it out tax-free, right.
So they actually do contribute to our families economy that way. That was very intentional and YouTube is one of the places for us that allows us to really integrate, like my wife and I working together on business stuff, my kids being able… they shoot and edit their own stuff with iMovie now, so they got their own little channel going. So yes. And we homeschool our kids is another way of saying, “I don’t have enough time to do everything, so let’s spend time with our kids while we educate them.” So instead of sending them away to school, we can spend more time with them here at home and we can integrate education and family time together that way. Right.
So there’s a lot of examples I could give, but just doing like, this is our vision for our family, where we want our family to be in five, 10, 15, 20 years. And doing the same thing for our business which I think most people are used to thinking of that same strategy and that same perspective in terms of their business or career, but we apply those same principles to both if that makes sense.
Blake Emal: So for your kids, do you see it being like this is something that they would want to do as well in the future? Do you have any inkling if this would be a career path that they’d want because never before has this been something that’s actually viable right? Where you could grow up thinking, “I want to make a living on YouTube.” But now you can do that. So do you think that is a possibility for your kids or do you think that they are going to be done with it once they…
Tim Schmoyer: I don’t know. Yeah, it’s a possibility. I’m not pressuring them, I don’t think, one way or the other. They don’t watch TV really, they go and turn on our… They got a smart TV and they open up the YouTube app right away, and they just go and watch their favorite creators. They’re actually the ones that came to me saying, “Dad I want to make videos. Can I make a video?”So we’re like, “Sure.”
So we got them an indestructible GoPro and they edit… They shoot their own videos, they edit them themselves. I taught them how to use iMovie, but they edit, they pick their own thumbnails, they upload them, they write their own titles and descriptions and tags. My wife or I have to approve the video before it’s published, just to make sure there’s nothing sensitive or inappropriate or something like that. But after we approve it, then they publish it.
And I told them, “Once you start making money on it, you guys can keep the money and put it into a savings account or something that…” They still have a little bit of ways to go before they get there, but they’re approaching it much faster than I thought they were going to be, going to get there. They are learning the skills, if they want to use those professionally, that’s up to them one day really.
Blake Emal: When you’re giving them advice, is it the same Youtube content strategy advice that you’d give to a client?
Tim Schmoyer: No, not really. I mean my oldest is nine, my youngest is one, so right now beginning… And this actually is true for people who are getting started on YouTube, I’m just like, “Just learn the skill of creating content. Just learn how to shoot, use the camera. Just learn how to use iMovie. Just learn how to upload this, and just get into a habit of being able to create value for people.” Rather than jumping straight to the strategy part where… Most people jump straight to the growth part without having developed the skills they need to actually grow.
I want my kids to just learn the skills you need first of all, and do it a lot, do it often, publish a bunch of videos, make a lot of mistakes, and then when it’s time to actually start growing this thing, then we can start focusing on strategy. So right now I don’t really give them too much input.
Blake Emal: Well, you mentioned the first skill you’d want them, or anybody else to learn, is how to create content. So how did that come about for you? When did that click for you when you started, and why did Youtube content strategy become interesting to you?
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah, let me rephrase that a little bit. So what I want them to actually learn how to do is how to solve problems. I think that’s what any good business is actually based on, is solving a problem for someone and then selling them a solution. I think with video there’s a lot of problems they need to figure out. One, how do I use the camera? How do I turn it on? For them, it was how do I get the footage off of the camera once I’ve recorded it and onto the computer? There’s just a lot of problem solving that you have to think in logical, sequential steps in order to do and in order to create a video.
How Tim’s Creative Career Began
Tim Schmoyer: I was homeschooled my whole life, as well, growing up, k through 12. One of the skills I think I got from that is that I learned how to not just memorize information, but I learned how to be self-taught and figure out solutions to problems that I wanted to solve, such as YouTube back in the early days. I ultimately want my kids to think entrepreneurially, and if that applies to video or not, then that’s fine.
My first creative endeavor actually started, well it depends on how far back you want to go, I mean when we were kids we’re all building forts in the woods, and stuff like that. But what kind of started the trajectory that lead to where I am today is, when I was younger, shortly after I was born, I developed a tumor in my left ear and I had to have a bunch of surgeries, and ultimately that lead to me not being able to move as much because my equilibrium was all thrown off because that’s all in your ears. So I spent a lot of time on the couch.
I remember when I got closer to teenage years, my dad had gotten a computer, it was a Pentium 386. I heard about this thing called AOL, which we never got. Looking back it was probably a good choice, but then we ended up with a local internet company. My dad didn’t know what we were doing, what we were signing up for, “Why am I paying for this?” But I found Netscape Navigator, and it had a little thing in there called Composer. Do you remember all this from back in the day?
Blake Emal: Yes. Briefly.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah. I think I might be a bit older than you, but yeah. So there’s this thing called Netscape Composer, and that was a tool that let you build HTML pages. And so our internet provider provided like 20 meg of free website space, which is more than you could ever possibly use at the time. 20 meg, that was huge. So I just started making these little web pages about random stuff and putting them up there, and that lead to me starting to figure out how to build websites and how those worked back then.
Then when I was in Graduate School, I was bored one night and started a little website called TimSchmoyer.com and put up WordPress version 1.5 on it, I remember. This was pre-Facebook days, I just kind of wanted to use it the same way most people use Facebook today. My family was half-way across the country, so I’d just post updates on what I was doing, what I was eating for dinner the night before and how it made me feel. You know, the same we use Facebook today.
Blake Emal: So basically you invented Facebook.
Tim Schmoyer: Basically I missed out on a couple billion. Yeah, no biggie, whatever. But I wanted to that. It was all public on a WordPress blog, and so that blog ended up turning into… I was a youth worker at the time working with teenagers and their families. It ended up, kind of accidentally, turning into the most widely read blog on the internet in the youth and family space. And I started making a living off of that, and it provided for my family and I for a few years. Ended up with a few book deals, and speaking on all those stages, and working with a lot of people in the youth and family space, which was really fun and exciting.
But coinciding with around that time is when I started dating. Before I got married I was dating this girl and wanted a way to introduce her to my family, and so YouTube had just started a few months before, in 2005. So my first video was March 2, 2006. I just wanted to know, could I get the video footage off of my camera and onto the computer. That was step one, could I just do that. It was like one of those old-school cameras that use ribbon. Remember like magnetic tape? It was an 8-millimeter camera.
Blake Emal: Yep.
Tim Schmoyer: Half the time it would eat the tape and I’d lose everything, but I managed to get it off and I’m like, “You know what, this wasn’t so bad.”
So I got it up there March 2, 2006, with my first video. Then I just started making little videos with my girlfriend who… Like now, we would know them as vlogs, but back then that was just being awkward in public with a camera, you know. We’d make little videos going out to eat, going out to the restaurant, going out to the movies, going out to the park or whatever, and we’d post them on YouTube and I would put them on my blog for my family and friends to see back home.
That’s when I started getting into YouTube because at first, I thought I was just publishing these videos just for my friends and family, but then other people started watching and other people started coming to my videos and started commenting and I’m like, “Who is catlicker69? Should I be concerned if they keep commenting on my videos?” I’m like, “Where are these people coming from?”
In those days, it was during Myspace days, but Myspace was really big and people were really nervous, you didn’t use your real name on the internet. If you did and people found out who you were, for some reason there’s lots of media attention on people being hunted down and killed and tracked because some stalker found them online. So I was a little bit nervous and wanted to figure out how are they finding my videos, why are they watching, where do they come from, what keeps them coming back?
I started asking other people. They’re like, “We don’t know Tim. This whole YouTube thing is really new, but if you figure it out, let us know and we’d love to learn this with you.” So I said, “Okay.” Started working on it, and soon thereafter started doing a lot of YouTube education videos about teaching people what I was learning about how YouTube was working. And people were like, “Hey, check out this guy Tim. He’s figuring it out. Really helpful.” And pretty early on I started doing YouTube strategy for Disney, Warner Brothers, eBay, Budweiser, Century 21, like a lot of Fortune 50 companies all the way down to new creators who are just starting out.
Eventually, make a long story short, is I ended up marrying that girl. We had seven kids in eight years. We live in Cincinnati, Ohio now, and I started a company called Video Creators that now our clients that we’ve worked with, we’ve helped them organically earn over 14 billion views and 61 million subscribers so far and counting. So that is a lot of-
Blake Emal: Not too bad.
Tim Schmoyer: … change and impact happening around the world, so I love it.
Blake Emal: No, that’s awesome. You mentioned Disney, HBO, Budweiser, huge companies you’ve worked with, so what’s the difference in advising companies like that, or working with them, versus helping a new creator? How is the Youtube content strategy approach different? What were your key takeaways from working with brands like that?
Tim Schmoyer: Key takeaways is that they move really slow. Like annoyingly, frustratingly slow. There’s a lot of red tape, a lot of moving parts to kind of make some things that would normally be pretty simple changes, and ultimately none of them really did too much of what we said to be honest. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned the names. But whereas you work with the smaller creators, or the smaller businesses and things, tend to be a little bit more nimble. They tend to be able to make changes pretty quickly and if you charge them enough, they actually do what you tell them to do and then they get the results that they want, so I learned a lot.
But the Youtube content strategy advice itself, like the way you grow on YouTube isn’t really that much different if you’re a Fortune 50 company versus a beginning, new channel. People are people, you’re reaching people either way and people consume content in value and look for it regardless of whatever your background is.
Blake Emal: When you were starting creating videos, your first video was your girlfriend at the time, wanting to introduce her to your family via video. Were you uncomfortable being on video at that point? Was there ever a point where you were like, “This is kind of awkward to be on video.”
Tim Schmoyer: Absolutely. In fact, I even say that in the video. It’s only 31 seconds long, and half of it is like, “Wow this feels really uncomfortable.” And I said in the video, I’m like, “This feels like I’m sitting down and just talking to a fire hydrant. I’ve never talked to an inanimate object before. It’s really weird.” I think I’ve done 4,000 some videos since then, so you kind of get used to it after a little while. But even the thought of just hearing my own voice played back to me was like, “That’s not what I sound like.” And I had to get used to that too.
Blake Emal: It’s really weird, yeah. Well if you were talking to somebody that was really uncomfortable being on camera, really uncomfortable coming on a podcast, what advice would you give them? Would it just be, “Just keep doing it. Repetition is what’s going to make it all better,” or is there anything else that you could offer there?
YouTube Content Strategy – Become More Comfortable on Camera
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah there’s a lot of different things. I mean one, yes, repetition for sure. Just doing it over and over and over again, and you get the point you’re like, “Eh, that wasn’t perfect but it’s good enough.” You know, “I’ll publish it. It would cost me a lot more and take me a lot more time to re-do it.” So you just get comfortable over time, just like anything, the more you do it the more comfortable you get. First time you were behind the wheel of a car you were probably super nervous, and now after you’ve been driving for a few years, you don’t even think about it. You literally don’t even think about it, you just get in and you’re still thinking about something else.
I think that’s part of it. For someone who really wants to overcome some anxiety of being on camera, I actually have a course on this, but I have a friend of mine who is an acting coach who works with theater actors who are transitioning to do television commercials and on-screen stuff, and sometimes they have a similar type of thing. So he works with theater actors and helps them transition to being comfortable on camera. So taking some acting classes could probably help, and learning how to present yourself and talk confidently, and memorize lines if that’s necessary for your content, things like that. But acting classes could help as well.
Blake Emal: Well for your videos, do you memorize things or do you just speak off the cuff?
Tim Schmoyer: I bullet point, so I have a general outline of what I want to say, otherwise I just ramble and the videos… It’s hard to deliver the value if it’s just like, “Let me just sit down and talk for a little while.” I mean you can do that with podcasts and things, but there’s a different expectation on YouTube where people are like, “I clicked because I want to consume a particular value and you’re not really delivering on that. I’m out of here.” So, I do bullet point and then I sit down and I look at each point and I kind of get in my head what I want to say, and then I deliver it. Then I look at the next point, get it in my head, deliver it and I just keep doing that back and forth until the videos done.
Blake Emal: I would think that one of the key difficulties for leaders out there that are looking to create videos, whether it’s for thought leadership where it would actually profit their business or anything like that. It’s just coming up with ideas on a consistent basis that are actually worthwhile. You kind of reference this, but putting out videos for the sake of having videos out there, not the most effective Youtube content strategy, you really want to provide some kind of value. So what could you tell people that are saying to themselves, “I’m not creative, I don’t know how I’m going to put out good ideas, good videos on a consistent basis.”
How to Brainstorm New Content
Tim Schmoyer: I think it just applies to any other problem you’re trying to solve in your business, you got to put a good system in place, a good method in place for it. If you’re just like, “Hmm, what should I talk about today? Ah, I can’t think of anything good.” I think you need systems in place that generate ideas for you. One of the ways I do that, for example, is I pay attention to what’s happening in my space, not Myspace, but into the YouTube space. And that platform’s evolving so rapidly, there’s always something new that’s changing or being updated to talk about. So I have an RSS reader, I have, every week there’s over 1,000 different blog posts and articles I could read. I usually just skim the titles and headlines, but there’s always content fodder that comes out of there where it’s like, “Oh here’s this big change and update, I could talk about this in my industry. Or here’s this person who had this experience, I could add my two cents about that.”
So just going through industry news and articles and updates generates a lot for me. I also generate ideas from consultations that we do, whether it’s a one on one for an hour session, or if it’s the more ongoing clients that we work with. There’s always situations that they’re bumping into, and facing, and questions they have, and so I can often like, “Oh yeah, that would be a good question to turn into a video.” So I have a Trello board where I keep screenshots and links and ideas and whatever, about different content ideas that I could possibly do. Then when it’s time to shoot, I sit down and I look at that list and I’m like, “Oh yeah, I want to do that one.” Or, “I have two more ideas about that one now,” just kind of, maybe about once a month I’ll sit down and just shoot a bunch.
Blake Emal: You were doing YouTube content strategy before Google purchased YouTube right?
Tim Schmoyer: Right. Yeah. I was doing even before Google video actually.
Blake Emal: What was that transition like? Was there anything that was massively different when they purchased YouTube and then all of sudden, was the algorithm any different? Were there any tweaks to the experience, the interface?
Tim Schmoyer: Not at first. If I remember correctly, when Google bought YouTube it was… Yeah, nothing really changed for a little while. The biggest hurdle, I think, is when they migrated all of the user accounts to be integrated with Google accounts. So you had to link your YouTube account to your Google account and that was a pretty painful process if I remember correctly. Obviously, that’s not an issue anymore. At first, nothing really changed. I remember when the subscribe button became a thing. That was a huge change, you know. When you can now subscribe and you go to one place and rather than having to use your browsers bookmarks to bookmark all the channels you wanted to see and go back manually and check each one and see if they had a new video or not, like you could just hit subscribe and find all the videos in one spot. Like, “Oh my gosh, that is revolutionary.”
Blake Emal: How on earth was that not a part of the original platform. That’s crazy.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah, well…part too was the yellow button with brown text. Now it’s a red button with white text. And back then it was above the video too, the upper right. It wasn’t below with the video with the title like it is now. So the title and the button were above the video. A lot’s changed and Google keeps testing. They’re all about data and the more data they have, the more changes they make it looks like.
Blake Emal: Absolutely. Well, do you have any premonitions about what the future of YouTube is, or the future of video in general?
The Future of Youtube
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah. I actually just shot a video about that right before sitting down to record this. There’s a couple trajectories that YouTube is heading on. One of them is been a trajectory they’ve been on for a little while, but it’s really starting to take off now, which is mobile.
Most people watch YouTube on a mobile device, and so when we craft our content we have to make sure that we are really considering tiny screens and teensy speakers for our productions. So if you’re using text, you got to make sure it’s a little bit bigger than you would normally make it. If it looks fine on your 4K TV, the object that you’re… that’s on a really wide shot, that object might be a little bit too small to see on a tiny iPhone screen comparatively speaking. So you got to keep that…
Sound is really important. Whether they’re either listening to it on headphones, so it’s blaring right into their skull, or it’s through these tiny little, teensy speakers. So you got to really take a lot of different viewing environments into consideration. And mobile especially in some of these developing countries where they don’t have access to computers and things, but they have mobile devices and they can get to a WiFi hotspot, download the videos and then watch them later offline and then sync back up again later.
Especially in Asia-Pacific, there’s the kind of growth that the western societies, in the US and things were experiencing a few years ago online and social media is where Asia-Pacific is now. So they’re definitely growing very rapidly in the space. But keeping those audiences in mind can be advantageous depending on what your goals are on YouTube.
So mobiles big, those developing countries are also big and then third I’d say that the tactics that used to grow channels a few years ago are not the same ones that are as effective today.
The platform has been maturing a lot, very rapidly. People’s expectations for what they’re watching have definitely shifted and changed over the years, and the search and discovery algorithm systems have gotten a lot better. So today and going forward, especially in the next few years, the channels that are really blowing up and exploding are not the ones that ones that have figured out perfect keyword research and metadata and got all their tags right, and are making content on $20,000 cameras with a full production studio, it’s still not that. It’s people who have, and creators, who have figured out how to tell a meaningful story that really reaches people and impacts them in some way.
Those people who are integrating stories well into their content, whether it be educational content or entertainment based content, those are the types of videos that are more likely to hold someone’s attention, give Google that viewer signal that they really want, which is more watch time. And it gets that person to not just like the brand or the company, but actually love the brand or the company as they tell better stories. And it gets the viewer to be more likely to return and watch more videos. It gets them to watch a longer viewing session of videos on that channel. All of these are viewer signals that Google would really, really love, and that’s how they determine the value of a video and who they surface it to, and how many people it gets surfaced to.
So if you can really attract some of these human signals from your viewers by telling meaningful stories, that seems to be the skill that’s separating the people who are just blowing up from the people who are just still doing the same tactics that worked a few years ago.
Blake Emal: That’s really interesting because I got my start more in SEO. So that’s kind of where my background is, and looking from it… Google, obviously, is huge in SEO, it’s like it’s the main search engine you should be going for. When you’re looking at what they’re looking at for SEO now, for blogging, or for whatever it may be, it’s all towards user experience now. It’s not nearly as much technical… I mean it still has… like not using tags in your YouTube videos, not using titles, obviously that’s going to be detrimental to YouTube, to SEO, to whatever. But that’s no longer something you just manipulate. It’s all about the user experience, it’s all about the human element that you’ve mentioned. So it’s like everything that Google touches now is pointing towards is it helping answer a question? Is it useful? Does it help the user experience? Way more than the technical side of it.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah, I know. On YouTube, the technical side of stuff isn’t actually that important anymore. So rather than crafting a title that has all your keywords in it, it’s better to have a title that just says Do This, and then the thumbnail is maybe like an arrow pointing to something like, “Wow!” Right, it creates a… people are going to click right.
Just the other day my six-year-old daughter, actually the other week now at this point, she wanted to learn how to draw a cat, and so she’s like, “Dad can I watch a video on how to draw a cat?” So I searched for how to draw a cat on YouTube, and one of the top results was actually a video for how to draw a husky puppy. And I’m like, “What?” Then videos number four, five and six are all like how to draw a cat easy, you know, the types of things you’d expect. But the thumbnail of that video, the husky actually looked like a cat, and to my six-year-old, she’s like, “Oh I want to draw that cat,” and I’m like, “Well that’s not a… Nevermind, sure. Go draw that cat.”
But because of the viewer, Google will learn that if someone searches for how to draw a cat, this must be relevant result because this gets a high click-through rate on this video. And it’s because of the thumbnail, not because they had all their keywords matched right. It delivered the value that someone who was searching for how to draw a cat, it delivered the value that they wanted, so Google learned that it was a relevant result even though the metadata was actually about a dog.
Same thing if you search YouTube for music videos, you’ll likely get results for Billboard top 100 and things like that. Again, no keyword matching, but as you’re familiar, user intent. Google knows what the intent of the user is, so they surface content based on that.
Blake Emal: So I guess what you’re saying, if there’s a key takeaway from what you said for B2B listeners, is don’t optimize your content around technical things as much anymore. Optimize it around what people are actually going to care about so that they’ll click through. Because if you’re creating videos, on YouTube especially, if you can just be convincing and persuasive as to this is going to help answer your question right now, that’s going to be way more valuable than stuffing your keywords in there, or getting all the perfect tags. That’s going to have a way bigger impact.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah. The way… What we say here at Video Creators is to optimize for people, not robots.
Blake Emal: Love it. So do you think YouTube could at all go the way of IGTV? Instagram just launched IGTV and now it’s all vertical video. Do you think that could ever be integrated as kind of a different kind of function for YouTube, or do you think they’ll still with what they have?
Tim Schmoyer: It already is part of YouTube. So if you upload a vertical video, a nine by 16 video to YouTube, it will play in vertical mode, and if you’re on your phone it will take up the whole screen just like an Instagram story will.
Blake Emal: On desktop, though, will it still show a full widescreen and then it’ll be like the bars in the middle?
Tim Schmoyer: It had black bars on desktop, yeah.
Blake Emal: Yeah. Interesting. Well, I guess, anyway, it’s going all mobile anyway, so eventually, it’s not going to matter. We’re not going to use desktops in 10 years probably. Maybe we will.
Tim Schmoyer: I have no idea
Blake Emal: Maybe we will, I don’t know. We’ll see. All right, well I have some rapid fire questions for you.
Tim Schmoyer: Okay.
Rapid Fire Questions With Tim Schmoyer
Blake Emal: I want to end on this, okay. As quickly as you could possibly answer these, I’m just going to fire them off, okay. So, rapid fire round question number one, texting or phone call? What do you prefer?
Tim Schmoyer: Text.
Blake Emal: Favorite day of the week and why?
Tim Schmoyer: Friday evening because we shut down all of our computers and my family and I spend 24 hours just resting and having fun together every Saturday. Or Friday night to Saturday night, we protect that time.
Blake Emal: Favorite country you’ve ever visited?
Tim Schmoyer: Israel. I was just there. That was awesome.
Blake Emal: Wow, that’s fantastic.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah.
Blake Emal: Favorite city in the United States besides Cincinnati, Ohio?
Tim Schmoyer: Dallas, Texas.
Blake Emal: Oh, okay. Well let’s follow up. Why Dallas, Texas?
Tim Schmoyer: That’s where my wife and I started our relationship and got married. It was my first job. And I like the cost of living is also pretty low, just like Cincinnati’s, so I love that. And you get everywhere you need to be relatively quickly, and I like the people, and the weather was too hot in the summer, but it is what it is.
Blake Emal: Apple music, Spotify or YouTube music?
Tim Schmoyer: I’m actually still in Google music. I tried YouTube music and I have it, but man, I just don’t like it. So I’m waiting. I’m just on Google music play now.
Blake Emal: Last song you listened to?
Tim Schmoyer: Probably some ABC, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star type of something. [inaudible 00:36:46]
Blake Emal: Yeah, that makes sense. I have a young daughter and she’s obsessed with Daniel Tiger, so that’s all that’s ever stuck in my head is songs from Daniel Tiger.
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah, I’m sorry.
Blake Emal: Would you rather be able to speak every language in the world, or be able to talk to animals?
Tim Schmoyer: Someone else asked me the other day. I originally said animals, but then I was thinking later I wanted to change my answer to speak every language in the world because connecting with people is always better than talking to animals, you know. I think, I don’t know actually. I haven’t talked to-
Blake Emal: What would make the better YouTube channel, being able to go around the entire world speaking every single language, or being able to speak to animals?
Tim Schmoyer: If I wanted to get kids, probably talking to animals and adults are probably talking to adults. Yeah, I don’t know.
Blake Emal: All right, fill in the blank, Gary Vaynerchuck is…
Tim Schmoyer: I don’t really follow him that closely so… I’m more of a Marcus Lemonis guy myself. But he’s great. Yeah. I’ve shot videos with him and he’s going to be in one of my upcoming videos and stuff too, so let’s say very inspirational. How about that?
Blake Emal: Is he a nice guy?
Tim Schmoyer: Yeah. Totally. Yeah, he’s a good guy. Yep.
Blake Emal: Cool. All right, would you rather have invisibility or super strength?
Tim Schmoyer: Invisibility. Whenever I play RPGs I’m always, like I always got to be like the back line guys who are manipulating things. Not necessarily the super strong guys up front.
Blake Emal: Yeah. I think that a lot of people say invisibility to that one, which is kind of shocking. I’d think more people would want super strength, but invisibility is really useful.
Tim Schmoyer: Maybe it’s business owners who’ve been in… [inaudible 00:38:17] versus being the hero, you know.
Blake Emal: Yeah, definitely. All right, I want to end on this. You mentioned that you use Twitter a lot, other than YouTube, that would be your platform. Do you have any idea what your very first Tweet was?
Tim Schmoyer: Nope. Do you?
Blake Emal: I do. I have it right here. Okay, well technically this is your second Tweet because your first Tweet was setting up your Twitter. Like everybody sent out that Tweet, “I’m setting up my Twitter.”
Tim Schmoyer: Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. I think that was the default one they had you send out just to learn how to use it.
Blake Emal: Yeah. But I’ll give you the next one and then we’ll follow up on it. So your first real Tweet was, “Writing my freebie Friday blog post for this week.”
Tim Schmoyer: That’s right, that-
Blake Emal: What was freebie Friday all about?
Tim Schmoyer: That was that blog that turned into a full-time gig for me. Every Friday I would give away… I would either create or get from someone else, a free resource to make available for other youth workers to download, and so it was freebie Friday. And I did that for a few years straight, every single Friday I’d give away another free resource for youth workers.
Blake Emal: Very nice. Cool. Well, this has been a great interview. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. I would love to give you a chance to shout out your company Video Creators and then pitch anything else that you’ve got going on right now. You can talk about anything you want people to know about.
Tim Schmoyer: If you’re looking to learn more about how to grow your audience and reach people with YouTube, I have a weekly podcast myself every Tuesday. You just search for Video Creators or Tim Schmoyer or something like that, it’ll show up. And subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, Google Play, again, anywhere there’s podcast you can find us there. And every week at YouTube.com/videocreators we publish a new video every Thursday just to help creators learn how to reach people, impact their lives, and grow their audience, and monetize, and everything they need to know to really grow their YouTube body. And it’s mostly from a strategy perspective that we focus on there. So YouTube.com/videocreators.
Blake Emal: Cool. All right, we’ll make sure to include all that in the show notes, so you guys can click on the links right now. Tim, thank you so much for coming on. Tim is like a powerhouse on YouTube, so this is a super special opportunity for us to be able to talk with him, and it’s been a pleasure.
Tim Schmoyer: Cool man, thanks for having me.
Blake Emal: Yeah. Thank you.
Thank you for listening to Yours in Marketing, I’m Blake Emal. If you would please do us the favor of subscribing to the podcast if you found value in this, and tell your friends, tell other B2B leaders, tell other people that need to hear about this. If you have a website, if you are in marketing, or out of marketing, if you just want to learn how to build your website, how to build your business online, or if you just want to learn more about interesting people in general in the B2B space, please subscribe to this podcast. You definitely will get your money’s worth because it’s free.