Chantal: Sean, I am so excited to have you on the show. Welcome to the Fitness Business Podcast.
Sean: Thank you so much for having me. Pumped and fired up for the show today.
Chantal: This is going to be amazing. I have heard a lot of your work. We actually picked up on a segment that you did on the Social Media Marketing Podcast with the awesome Michael Stelzner. I wanted to invite you on today, because your area of expertise is YouTube. So, to kick things off today tell us why should a fitness business or a fitness professional be on YouTube?
Sean: That’s a great question. Let’s just take it back a step, any entrepreneur and anybody that wants to reach people, needs to be leveraging the platforms where people’s attention is. There was actually a recent conference at Google, Google owns YouTube, that announced some new stats that are really staggering. In fact, right now YouTube has 1.8 billion monthly active users. What’s interesting is it’s actually growing around twice as fast as FB’s users. Facebook has more active users, but maybe a little bit with the Cambridge Analytica and Mark Zuckerberg having to testify before Congress, who knows. Regardless, YouTube is incredible healthy. It’s growing.
Sean: On top of that, if you even look at how much time people are spending on this platform, it’s around 27 minutes a day on Facebook, around 24 minutes a day on Instagram, but YouTube users are spending over an hour per day on YouTube on just the mobile app alone. So, what does that mean? It means people are there. People’s attention is there. Another important aspect fitness professionals need to know is that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. So, second to Google, people are going to YouTube asking questions, questions like, “How do I lose weight,” questions like, “Meal prep for weight loss and muscle gain,” questions like, “Yoga workouts for females.”
Sean: Myself, I use YouTube as a viewer, and I snowboard during the winter. I’m a runner year round, and so I’ve typed in, “Yoga runner routine,” and I’ve watched 30 minute yoga trainings to stretch those muscles that are important for runners and for snowboarders. When you begin to reverse engineer even the psychology of the people you want to reach … Everybody listening has a target audience that they want to reach. They have customers that they, strangers they hope become customers. YouTube is this place where people are getting information. They’re actually looking for workouts, and there’s great channels that are actually delivering value right on the platform and then monetizing that in other ways, and it continues to grow.
Sean: The last stat I will tell you is besides the 1.8 billion active users, and that’s a lot, Huffington Post recently announced an article that two to three, or rather three to five billion new people are coming online, as the world gets more connected, between now and 2020. So, the point is people listening to this podcast want to reach people, and people are on YouTube, so absolutely people should be leveraging YouTube. With that, I think even a broader vision of online video in general, because Facebook’s still a player. Instagram’s a player. All of these places is where attention is. Therefore, we need to be there as fitness professionals.
Chantal: Wow. That is an incredible answer. I’m sold. I’ve got to tell you, Sean. I think I heard you say something along the lines of … and I just want to put this into the minds of our listeners. I think the reference was when we think about Facebook, it’s a news feed. It’s what’s happening currently, what’s happening now. YouTube gives us an evergreen platform, in that we can post content that is going to be there for a long period of time, that people can refer back to. As a matter of fact, I think I heard you saying something about a video that you created years ago that is still one of the top ranking videos in YouTube. Am I right?
Sean: Exactly. What you bring up there, if somebody was to ask me, Chantal, if I could only pick one platform, what platform would I pick, it’d be YouTube, no question, no hesitation. It’s for that reason exactly. If somebody listening goes live on Facebook to talk about something happening at their gym or goes live to talk about mindset or anything on Facebook, you can reach some people immediately, often times even better than YouTube, because it’s a realtime experience, so the views are kind of more impressive, at least in the short term, but here’s the thing. Nobody watches Facebook content from a week later, let alone six months or a year later. It gets pushed down and really just kind of into the Facebook graveyard, if you will.
Sean: I think of these other social media platforms, because they’re not search engines, and they’re not really evergreen, as kind of a hamster wheel. You know, these days you do need to be there for relevancy, but it’s a lot of work. Some of these platforms, like Facebook, they say you should post four times a day. I can’t keep up with that, and I’ve got a team helping me in my business. It’s like they’re content monsters, and they’re really, really hungry, and they’re hard to feed and keep up with, whereas YouTube gives us this opportunity where a lot of the videos that perform the best could be six months old, a year old, or even multiple years old.
Sean: You referenced a video that still ranks. I actually have hundreds of videos that rank for different things, and while growth on YouTube for me started slow, over time, even if those videos are viewed two times a month, someone types in a search, or they’re viewed 100 times a month, or they’re viewed once a week, little by little a little becomes a lot when you build a library of ranked videos, videos that can be found in search, when someone types in … Maybe it’s a gym owner wanting to help other gym owners. If somebody types in, “How to start a profitable gym?”, your answer to that question, a video you post, could be serving and talking to people for weeks, months, and years to come.
Sean: The reason that’s so attractive to me is it’s leverage. We all need more margin. We need more time. We’ve got all these demands. I was so attracted to YouTube, because it’s more highly leveraged. There’s a higher return on investment of your time when you put the energy into creating some content over the long term, without having to constantly post, because I value my lifestyle. I value my family. I value having freedom, and so that’s why I love YouTube.
Chantal: That is awesome, Sean. You know, we’re going to be diving into the specifics of how to set up a YouTube channel. We’re going to move into that in part two in just a moment, but before we do that, I want to make sure that all of our listeners are really comfortable with the content that’s on YouTube that is related to what they do in their role in the fitness industry. You mentioned earlier about reverse engineering, and I’ve heard you talk about the importance of doing study before you actually start creating anything.
Chantal: When you say doing study, one of your tips was to type into YouTube a question like, “How to do a deadlift for older adults,” or something like that. I’m wondering if you’ve got any tips or advice for our listeners they can do to become really familiar with the YouTube platform and with the content that is relevant to them.
Sean: Yes. I’m so glad you asked that, because one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make when they approach YouTube is they set up their channel, and they just kind of start creating without getting educated first. What I mean by education is doing exactly what you said. Step number one, and the first few steps, is to go be a consumer of YouTube. Even if you aren’t and you think, “Well, maybe nobody watches YouTube. I don’t,” well, we just shared the numbers. People do, so put your kind of hat on to try to get into the shoes, the mentality, and the mindset of your target audience. What are the search terms and the things they would type in? Go do that, step one.
Sean: Step two, begin to observe what kind of content is ranking, what type of videos are, and journal while you’re doing this, and write down some of content format ideas. You know, at the end of the day, there’s a quote from Pablo Picasso that says, “Good artists copy. Great artist steal.” Years after that quote, Steve Jobs picked that up and used it partly to shape the philosophy of Apple. There’s a book called Steal Like An Artist. What it doesn’t mean is plagiarism. It doesn’t actually mean copy, because we know that doesn’t work too, and that’s not respected, but what it means is there’s a lot of fitness professionals that are experiencing success, and success leaves clues, so go do some research. Block a couple hours on a Saturday morning to watch, to interact, and you’re right.
Sean: We’re going to be talking about setting up a YouTube channel, but I would encourage people, as they set up that YouTube channel, to be a YouTube user. Leave some comments. Like a few videos. Maybe dislike the videos if you don’t like them. Immerse yourself a little bit in the YouTube culture, and that will absolutely give you so many more insights than you could get from listening to a podcast or trying to basically develop a strategy in the dark.
Chantal: That is fantastic advice, Sean. Thank you so much. Well, let’s step into part two now. Do you want to start to talk us through how we actually get started with setting up our YouTube channel?
Sean: Absolutely. All you need to do is actually create a Gmail address. YouTube is owned by Google, and so if you already have a Gmail account, you actually may already have a YouTube channel, because there’s usually one associated with it. You kind of just go in, activate it, and just jump through the hoops. What’s great is YouTube will walk you through the process. You fill out your name, fill out your information, but there are a few things to know, that as soon as you get into your Creator Studio, that’s simply kind of the settings tab of your YouTube channel, you’re going to see some things.
Sean: YouTube starts by limiting your channel, like it doesn’t give you immediately the ability to upload a video longer than 15 minutes, or it doesn’t give you immediately the ability to even say monetize your videos, if you want to turn on YouTube Ads. The reason they do that is because they don’t want people to just set up a bot or computers to set up some sort of a robot that creates spam channels. So, all you have to do is to block some time to just walk through the steps that YouTube will give you to let you know you’re a real person. It’s not a lot different than setting up your bank account or something. It’s not even that intense, but they want to send you a text, and you get the approval code, just little steps like that that you’ll jump through.
Sean: You want to get your channel set up. The way I want listeners to think about their YouTube channel is like a home base for their content. I think that your YouTube channel is kind of like a TV network, and your videos are kind of like the shows. So, your YouTube channel could be Comedy Central. It could be CNN. It could be ABC. It could be USA and could have sitcoms. Your YouTube channel is going to of course have a theme. In this case, it’s going to be fitness professionals, but is it going to be all about dieting, or is it …? Here’s the good news is that if your YouTube channel is all things fitness, kind of like CNN is all things news, well, some people might watch Anderson Cooper, but some people might not like the show that comes on after.
Sean: Does that make sense? It kind of gives you freedom to think, “Okay. The big idea is going to be my channel, and then as I move forward and think about my content, maybe I have a nutrition show that plays at times. Then you could categorize that show in playlists, and playlists are kind of like a list of videos. You think in terms of series or shows. We’re talking all about nutrition. I don’t want even people to feel too limited by thinking about shows. It’s just the idea of kind of category series, so that you’re grouping your content together.
Sean: You have the nutrition vertical. Then maybe you do weekly workouts. You can even do these are live streams. “Hey, guys. This week we’re going to be doing a 30 minute HIIT exercise,” you know, run through it, turn it off, but then it’s archived, and people could then of watch past workouts in that playlist. Maybe there’s a mindset vertical talking about the mindset and the mentality needed for being a champion, for getting gains, for growing, for whatever it is. Then you can begin to kind of craft your vision and think about, to summarize your channel as the larger network and your videos as the shows.
Chantal: Sean, I’ve got so many questions. Can you create videos or a playlist that is only accessible by a certain part of your audience?
Sean: What you can do is you can create unlisted videos. Unlisted means that they would not be publicly searchable on YouTube, but anyone who has the link could get to them, so they’re ultimately not private. I do not believe you can actually make an unlisted playlist, but what you could do with those videos is maybe you embed them on your website, on your blog, and you could send traffic there, or even, for anyone listening that maybe has a membership site or a private area, you could even embed them there as well.
Sean: Again, if someone was to kind of click through and figure out what that link is and share it with people, they could get to that, but that doesn’t happen. In fact, we do this at times. We would just make the video unlisted, sometimes with a training we’ll do, embed it on a webpage, and then that’s more private, send that to our email list, and then they can watch that content. Unlisted videos would be the way to do that.
Chantal: Now, you also spoke in there about live YouTube videos. I’ll put my hand up and say I do a lot of Facebook Live, but I have not done a live YouTube. Is it equally as easy to just jump online and do a live video on YouTube?
Sean: It is. It’s very similar. There’s also some aspects that are different. So, again, with YouTube there is some compliance. I want to encourage people, step one is to get started. Get your channel going. Get a couple videos uploaded, because I don’t think you have immediate access to go live. It sort of depends, and they’re always changing the rules, but once you jump through the hoops, and that’s really all you got to do … Get your first video uploaded. Make sure you’re a real person. You have the ability to go live in a couple different ways. You can go live from your mobile phone, so similar to how easy it would be with Facebook.
Sean: They now have a very easy Go Live button through just a web application, so if you have a webcam or a USB mic, you could do it that way too. Then you also can go live with Google Hangouts, which is a very easy way to interview somebody. It’s kind of an older … Google Hangouts has been around, so it’s technically YouTube Live, but Google Hangouts is the backend platform. It is a dead simple way to … If you have a webcam and a mic, and the other person does as well, wherever they are in the world, you could bring on a guest trainer, a guest interview, something like that, and you could stream that right on your YouTube channel, or you also could just record that, private or unlisted, and then download it, edit it, and re-upload it. Not trying to get too advanced there, but just knowing about some of the opportunities as far as it’s an easy way to capture content for free, built right into the platform native.
Sean: Then the last way is there’s also encoder features, which is just more advances, where you could push content from a fancier set up. The most important thing to know about YouTube Live is, again, it’s a big difference from Facebook Live. You do Facebook Lives. When you go live, your audience probably gets excited. Maybe a few people click share. People are punching the thumbs up button, the heart buttons. You’re getting more distribution. You might look at that Live after and be like, “Wow. I got 100 views. I got 1,000 views. I got 2,000 views,” whatever. You’re like, “That’s so impressive.”
Sean: If you go live on YouTube, especially when you’re just starting, I would just tell you right now, there probably will be nobody there. You probably will have zero people watching live, so that can seem discouraging to people, but here’s the big difference. Again, that Facebook Live is real impressive upfront, but again, after you hit that top … the views top out, it just goes in the graveyard, and that content is kind of lost forever, whereas YouTube Live, you could go live, and this makes it very easy. In a way, you’d be going live … Let me rephrase it. You could be creating a video in real time that’s living on YouTube.
Sean: So, you go live, and you just introduce yourself. You don’t say, “Is anyone coming?”, or, “Is anybody here?”, and, “What’s going on? Is this thing working?” Don’t do that. That’s just going to waste time. Think about the replay viewer, and if you position your video to be found with some information … Maybe you’ve got 12 facts people need to know about ketogenics, and you just deliver that information. One of my mentors, Chalene Johnson, says, “Be brief. Be bright. Be fun, and be done.”
Chantal: I like that.
Sean: It’s a great framework.
Chantal: Yeah. It’s great.
Sean: So, you welcome everybody, deliver your 10 points, land the plane, turn the video off. Now, you’ve got a video. You know? It was a live stream, but it’s a video that you could tweet out on social media, send to your list every time. If you get questions a lot, maybe you do a lot of one-on-one coaching, you’ve got a lot of people, you might be able to just say, “Hey. I’ve been getting this question a lot. Of lot of people were asking me about keto,” you know, whatever, “And so I just thought I’d put a video.” Now, you also have an asset that is archived that you can send to people one-to-one. “Oh. Good. Great question. Watch this. Oh. Great. Watch this.”
Sean: I actually work with some different people that do network marketing, Beach Body. Sometimes they use YouTube to have even onboarding series that they have people watch that are kind of public, but they’re not really meant for the public. They’ll just record them as they learn about the steps of training someone or getting somebody onboard and send them through a series. Leveraging YouTube Live that way is a very smart thing to do. Then over the next year or two, that video might have 20,000 views, while your Facebook video that was impressive at first is gone forever.
Chantal: Let’s keep walking through this little journey that we’re going on. So, we have done our research to begin with. We have gotten ourselves familiar with YouTube. We put ourselves in the shoes of the consumer. We’ve gone through the process of setting up our YouTube channel. Now, we want to make sure that when we start uploading content that obviously people can find our video, that we are doing the best when it comes to optimizing that video that we’ve loaded. Can you start to talk us through the things that we need to consider and include when it comes to actually putting the description, and the title, and the information that sits behind our videos?
Sean: Absolutely. I want to go one step back before we get that nuanced. That is two power questions that everybody listening should ask when thinking about creating videos for their YouTube channel. Question number one is this. Who is your target audience? Question number two is what is your value proposition to that audience? One thing to be very clear on is, again, there would be a difference between a channel, even like your podcast is helping fitness professionals, it’s a little bit different than people who want to get in shape. Two different target audiences. You’re helping leaders. Some people are leaders and wanting to help followers who are out of shape, whatever it is.
Sean: You really want to know this, because the challenge is … Again, maybe I want to learn how to sell products on Amazon, so I’m going to follow channels that are teaching me how to do that. Then some people want to buy the products on Amazon. One channel is educating entrepreneurs. One channel is maybe doing product reviews and showing off those types of things. So, this goes back to strategy, kind of beginning with the end in mind. Who is our target audience? Who do we want to serve with these videos? Then our value proposition is simply the promise that we want to make to them from what they can expect from our channel. I want to encourage listeners to put this in writing, to think through this, and really what you would end up with is potentially kind of an elevator pitch.
Sean: For example, when I start videos on Think Media, I say, “Hey. What’s up? Sean here with Think Media, bringing you the best tips and tools for building your influence with online video. On this channel, we do tech gear reviews and camera reviews, as well as tips and strategy videos, just like this one. So, if you’re new here, consider subscribing.” You just heard a phrase that I’ve said so many times, it is very easy for me to memorize, but I would even encourage your community to potentially play that back and use it as a template, as a framework to say who are you, what is your channel, and who are you serving, and how? Right? That’s kind of your value proposition.
Sean: So, you might just say, “On this channel we post a 30 minute workout every Monday to help you get in shape.” Maybe it’s the style of workout. Maybe it’s whatever your particular … obviously CrossFit versus, I don’t know, Plyo verses all these different things you could do. Start building your tribe, rallying around that content. Who is your target audience? What is your value proposition? That’s going to absolutely shape kind of the big picture of your YouTube channel, before you get into the actual videos.
Sean: Now that you have that defined, you’re going to start making videos. So, here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see people who are approaching YouTube make, and that is they press record before they do their research. What I mean is they think, “Okay. What should we post on YouTube? I don’t know. I’ve got something on my mind. Let me record it,” so they press record. They share what’s on their mind. They turn it off. They upload it. Then they sit there, and they think, “Okay. How should I title this? How should I position this?” That’s the least effective way to win on YouTube.
Sean: In my opinion, the most effective way is to actually know … Check this out. You want to actually know the title of your video, and you mentioned the description and the tags. You even want to know some of the tags, what you’re going to say in the description, before you ever hit record. This really isn’t rocket science. It’s kind of like we know the power of planning, right? Prior planning prevents poor performance. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, so we don’t want to just hit record and shoot from the hip.
Sean: Here’s what I want your community to do. Go to YouTube, and go to the search bar. I will actually do this with you. Start typing. If you type in, “How to lose,” let’s say, and you press space after lose, what you see is you see predictions. YouTube is finishing your sentence. Google does the same thing. When you do that, I see, “How to lose weight fast.” The second one, “How to lose belly fat.” The third one, “How to lose weight in a week,” or, “How to lose arm fat.” These are very significant, because, “How to lose weight fast,” is an entirely different kind of intent than, “How to lose arm fat.” That is very specific.
Sean: Now, if I go down to, “How to lose arm fat,” and I put another space after that, it actually finished the sentence more for me, “How to lose arm fat fast.” Everybody wants quick results, right? The next one though, “How to lose arm fat for women in a week.” Wow.
Chantal: Whoa. That’s specific.
Sean: Now, we’re getting very specific, and this, Chantal, is where the magic happens, right? You can see, this is why if you just shot the video from the hip, you probably would not be speaking specifically to women that want to lose arm fat in a week, but now, let’s make that video. By the way, I’m going to put another space out after it. It’s incredible. Now, I have, “How to lose arm fat for women in a week without weights,” or, “Without exercise,” or, “At home.” So, it just keeps going. Especially when you’re starting a YouTube channel from scratch, you are not going to rank a video in search for how to lose weight, for a couple reasons.
Sean: One, competition. Two, it’s also so vague that the intent of the users, it’s hard for YouTube to even serve the right video to people. We need to get into Google’s mindset. All they want to do is give the best possible answer to the intent of the person searching. Again, if I’m a man who wants to gain muscle, but I want to lose weight first, it’s just too vague. I land on the video, and it’s like, “Yeah. Do you want to lose arm fat?” I’m like, “No,” and then I’m going to bounce off the video. So, Google wants to give the best possible answer to that target audience.
Sean: When you’ve got that kind of clarity, now think about this. I can actually open out the video and say, “So, losing arm fat without exercise can be challenging, but there’s three power exercises that really helped me go from this,” show a picture, “To this in about a week. I’m going to be sharing those in this video coming up.” You could actually now be articulating the exact pain point or nearly the exact pain point, because you have so much specificity going into the video you’re actually going to create. Does that make sense?
Chantal: Yeah. I’ve got to jump in, Sean, because I find this is so amazing, and I just want to give you my mindset, because I think a lot of the listeners will relate to this. When I’m planning a video I won’t go through those steps. (I will now!) but I’ll think to myself, “Okay. I’m going to create a video on how fitness professionals can build their brand,” something like that, quite broad, and create the video, and then think about the tags and the descriptions. I just love your concept of reverse engineering that, and jumping online, and doing the YouTube search. It reminds me just how specific you can be. Thank you so much for diving into that level of detail. I love this.
Sean: You’re welcome. I just started. I typed in, “How to grow your fitness …” “Instagram,” is what it finished. “Your fitness YouTube channel. Your fitness brand,” right? so you can begin to use some of those tools. Based on your question, now you know your title before you start, but what you also want to do is those same phrases, those same search terms. Sometimes what you don’t want to do is say, “How to lose belly fat,” as a tag and then also use, “How to grow your biceps,” as a tag, two different things. But any that are aligned, those actually become those tags, those phrases.
Sean: A big mistake I see people make when filling out their descriptions, their tags, is what they’ll put in their tags is another celebrity in the industry. You’re not going to rank for that. That’s not going to help you. They’ll put one word tags like fitness. That’s not going to help you, because you can’t rank for that. But what you want to do is stack your tags really as signals. Again, just to explain that, tags are a way of Google and YouTube knowing what your video is about. A phrase we say all the time is one keyword or keyword phrase, that is that sentence, you know, “How to lose arm fat for women.” That is one intent, and one intent, one video. Any related tags, keywords that do honestly align with that, that’s what you put in your tags, and that’s also what you want to support in your description.
Sean: What you’re looking for is congruency all the way from the person you’re trying to reach, who’s on their mobile phone or on the other side of that computer, all the way to the end of your video, and you want YouTube to understand that. My video is exactly about this one thing. The description gives a little bit more content about that, and the tags also reinforce that. Essentially, if I was to say … and I don’t know a ton of fitness professionals, but I mentioned Chalene Johnson, right?
Sean: If I made a video and I wrote … tags were Tony Horton, Chalene Johnson, that’s confusing Google. Your video’s about all those people? You know? It’s about all these different things? If your video tries to be about 10 things, it’ll end up being about nothing, because it’s just confusing. It’s all about alignment, and so that’s kind of the basics. We have a checklist resource that I think we can put in the show notes, that if people want to download that, that can help with going through that, because there are a few things when it comes to the tags, the descriptions, and titles that can be daunting at first, but I think understanding the mindset of serving that exact intent that you discover through research with your video is huge.
Sean: The other cool thing about this is sometimes we have kind of a blank slate. We don’t know what next video we should make. That’s what’s cool about research is you maybe have a few ideas, a few topics. Begin playing around with the YouTube search bar to see what people are actually searching. Just to clarify, those predictions that come up, the top one is the most searched one, and then the one at the bottom of the list is the least searched. Don’t hesitate to keep going deeper and keep going deeper, because the more specific really the better. I would much rather make 100 hyper specific videos over time. You mentioned, early on I said I have hundreds of ranked videos. It’s from doing this over and over again, sometimes about just very specific and random things, but they all add up, and it’s built this massive momentum on my channel.
Chantal: Sean, we would love to get our hands on that PDF that you mentioned, so if we can grab that from you, we will absolutely put that in the show notes for today’s episode, so everyone can download it and learn some more about tags and descriptions. That was such a great insight into what we need to start doing. Also, for me what was interesting is what I need to stop doing, and that is the bit when you talked about just putting the generic tags, like fitness or people’s names, in there. So, we want to get away from the confusion and be super, super specific in our tagging. Would you agree that some great homework for our listeners today would be to actually do that search that you just stepped us through and find out … keep adding on and adding on to find out what’s super specific for their topic and for their target market?
Sean: Absolutely. The homework is go to the YouTube search bar, and then also open up a Google Doc, or an Evernote, or a Word Doc to capture the video ideas, which are going to be those predicted titles that stand out to you the most, because what’s cool is you might see one, and you’re like, “Well, I could talk on that right now. I don’t even need to prepare.” Well, that’s kind of low hanging fruit for you. You’re like, “Maybe I wrote a blog post about that. I could turn it into a video.” As you find those, the other thing is that you also do want to search them. Click on one actually, then press enter. Look what’s on the other side.
Sean: What’s interesting is that sometimes on the other side might be 10 YouTube channels that all have 10 million views and 10 million subscribers, and you’re like, “Okay. That looks pretty saturated,” but then you go a little bit more down the list, search through, and look, and you’re like, “The newest video is four years old, not even titled similar to that, and nothing even really adjacently answering that question exists.” You’re like, “Whoa. Nobody’s even really answered this well on planet Earth in the year we’re living in.” This is extremely low hanging fruit, where I can be showing up on the other side of this search term.”
Sean: What’s stunning is while it could be discouraging at first … You’re like, “Wow. It seems like there’s a lot of market saturation.” Every single day I’m amazed by how much white space still exists, if you’re willing to put in the work, do the research, and really dig a little bit to find those search term opportunities to get your brand, your fitness business discovered.
Chantal: Excellent. Okay. Let’s step into the final part of our discussion today. That is really I guess taking this the next step further and talking about really diving into that SEO area of things. So, I guess can you help us further understand search engine optimization, and how can we help optimize the videos that we do load onto our YouTube channel?
Sean: Absolutely. I’m actually going to give you a framework for the actual video itself, because we’ve talked a lot about SEO, but the important thing to note is what we’ve talked about, and we call it video SEO, video search engine optimization. Same thing. It’s because were on YouTube, and it’s video. That’s things like the titles, like the tags, like the description, but nobody has ever built an influential YouTube channel based off tactics and optimization alone. Content, at the end of the day, is king. I’ve heard it said this way. Content is king, but marketing is queen, and she runs the household. It’s not either or. You need both. You need the king and the queen. You need to know the tags, the titles.
Sean: When we’re talking about the content, here’s something to know is what YouTube values most. A lot of people think, “Well, YouTube probably … What do they want? They probably want views, or maybe if channels are getting subscribed to, that’s a good signal for them.” Interestingly enough, neither subscribers or views is what YouTube loves the most. What YouTube loves the most is actually minutes. If you go into your analytics, you can see that the highest analytic, meaning the data they show you about your YouTube channel, is actually minutes watched on your channel.
Sean: The reason they did this is because years ago, when YouTube was new, what people would do is they actually would tag their video, “Justin Bieber.” They’d put Justin Bieber in their title, in their thumbnail. They’d put him in the title, and they would click bait people to think that he was in the video or whatever. Those videos though could get like millions of views, because they would kind of hack the algorithm in the old school, before they updated it, and kind of trick things, but what would happen is … Maybe we’ve experienced this. You’d click through, and then you would see that it’s some guy in front of his webcam or some weird video that has nothing to do with what was promised, so you would just leave in a second or two.
Sean: What we learned was that while a view might only be one or two second, but a minute, that’s 60 seconds. That is real depth and connection in a place where we are scrolling, and things are just giving an impression, and they just zoom right through our news feed. That doesn’t mean we have impact. That doesn’t mean we’ve made a connection, we don’t have relationship. We aren’t building know, like, and trust with our potential community and customers. So, that means that watch time should matter to us, and we should be asking ourselves, “How do we craft our videos in such a way that they’re valuable, but they also hook people’s attention and keep people’s attention for as long as possible?”
Sean: So, the first thing is a little bit of what we just talked about, and that is don’t try to trick people, because again, if you over promise, but the content starts and you under deliver, it’s not going to help you win. People go, “Okay. Well, yeah, this sounded sensational, but it’s not that.” The key is actually just really promising something hopefully great in your title and then delivering on that, but the two things, before we even get to the video, that matter most first is your title, and it’s also your thumbnail.
Sean: That thumbnail that you can upload, it could be a custom picture. It is a big deal, because it doesn’t matter if inside your video at minute six you reveal the greatest workout that, man, if you do this one thing for one minute a week, you’re going to look like Brad Pitt in Fight club, but if nobody ever gets to eight minutes, where you reveal that, their life will never be changed. Therefore, your thumbnail, your title has to be really compelling and really grab attention. The action item there is, again, go study other people who are creating similar content to you in your niche, around your specific fitness topic, and look at what thumbnails stand out. How does the photography look? How does the design look? How can you learn, success leaves clues, how can you learn from those that are succeeding and reverse engineer their title and their thumbnails?
Sean: Now, let’s get into the framework. I’ll give you the whole thing, and then we’ll break it down. It starts with the hook. That’s number one. Number two is the bumper. That’s optional. Number three is you want to do a quick intro and potentially give a nugget of authority. Number four is the content itself. Number five is the question of the day. Number six is the outro, and were going to go through the whole thing. You ready?
Chantal: I’m ready. Let’s do it.
Sean: Number one, your hook, the first 10 to 15 seconds, it could even be a little longer if it needs to be, is so important. This is the intro of your video that needs to capture and grip your audience attention, teasing the content that is to come and giving a reason for people to stick around. One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make is … Number two is the bumper, and the bumper is your kind of intro, maybe music, your logo pops up, anything like that.
Sean: One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is starting with a bumper. You know, (singing). You’re sitting there, and you’re like, “All right. I get it.” If we even think about television, whether that’s Friends, whether that’s Seinfeld, whether it’s reality TV, think about it. When the top of the hour hits, they give a little teaser before the intro starts. You know, they give a little teaser, and that’s what that hook is. That hook could say something like, “Are you curious about …?” You’re like, “Are you sick and tired of those flabby arms, ladies? I was too, but I eventually found a workout and some nutrition that allowed me to …” whatever. I don’t know the language. “In this video, I’m going to be breaking down those tips,” or, “In this video, we’re going to be doing that workout,” whatever it is.
Sean: A little power tip there is you could even say something like, “And I’m going to be breaking down five tips in this video of how to tone up your arms fast, plus my favorite recipe that is lean, but tastes great, a bonus top,” you know, some kind of a nugget to just sort of … What you’re trying to do here is you’re just trying to get people to actually consume the video. Your title, your thumbnail is trying to get people to even click on the video, but once they’re there, it doesn’t mean they’re going to watch the whole thing. Now, your hook is trying to pitch the value of why they should keep watching the rest of the video. So, that’s the hook. That’s number one.
Sean: Number two, what could be your bumper? You could use a site like Fiverr.com, F-I-V-E-R-R.com I think is what it is. A lot of graphic design, video producers will produce a little logo intro for you. Here’s a key point. I think it should be 5 to 10 seconds at most. You don’t need to waste people’s time, but there is something about branding your show, putting it there. Here’s the thing. If you don’t want to do that to get started, don’t get stuck there. Just start. Do the hook. Skip right to the intro. Pitch the value of your video. Say that, and then you might move right into something like, “But, hey. If you’re new here, my name’s Sean, and this channel’s all about helping you get fit on the outside and develop inner beauty and confidence on the inside. We do weekly workout videos, as well as mindset videos on Friday, and today we’re talking all about how to get rid of that arm fat, so let’s dive into it.”
Sean: That was a little bit of an intro. You also maybe pitch authority, depending on how you want to stand out and really build your authority. Why should someone listen to you? Sometimes that could be hard to say, but of course if you could say something like, “Hey. Sean here, New York Times best-selling author and creator of whatever,” just something like that, so that’s optional. But that’s just going to be a time to introduce yourself, establish a little bit of authority.
Sean: The key point here is to remember that on YouTube it’s kind of tough, because you’re always going to be talking to two different audiences. You’re going to be talking to your subscribers, people who already know you, who you don’t need to introduce yourself too, but if you’re ranking videos, as we’ve described, you’re also always going to be talking to new people, and that is why introducing yourself in every video is important. You’re trying to set the stage. It would be weird to just straight to the content at a cocktail party, without saying your name first, who you are, what you do. “Well, let me ask you a question,” then you get into the content. That’s what the intro is all about, number three.
Sean: Then step four. That’s your content. Again, you want to make that valuable. Be brief. Be bright. Be fun, and be done. However, if it needs to be longer, that’s fine too. Interesting data came out from really a research firm that the ideal video length on YouTube was actually between 8 to 16 minutes, whereas years ago you would have thought it was 3 to 5 minutes. YouTube was sort of a place of quick content, sort of a place of viral videos and cat videos, but it’s changing, as more people are watching YouTube on their smart TVs and in other scenarios. There’s no reason to make your video 16 minutes if it only needs to be 8. I like to say your video should be as long as it needs to be, but as short as possible.
Chantal: That’s a good way to look at it.
Sean: If it needs to be 30 minutes, great, because you have to deliver all that value, or if it’s a 30 minute workout, then it’s a 30 minute workout. It’s probably going to be a 35 minute video. You give a little context. You say goodbye at the end, however you want to design it, but then deliver your content. Another tip here that I’ve learned, if your teaching, is having points is incredibly powerful. In most videos, I will find that title, like maybe, “How to get more views on YouTube,” but then I’ll also add a dash, and I’ll say, “Five tips,” or, “Three pro tips,” or, “Seven Strategies,” or something like that.
Sean: But I’ve also learned that it helps structure the content. It helps give people kind of benchmarks, and pillars, and milestones going throughout it, but it also, for a certain percentage of the population, they just will be incomplete and frustrated if they don’t finish. If it’s just open ended, well, then I could leave any time, but if it’s five points, I probably want to stick around until five, if I’m into the content itself. I’ve found that that does a lot of benefits, and it helps you teach. It helps give you breaks, if you’re cutting and editing the video. So, something like that, just a few tips on content, but deliver the content right there in the middle.
Chantal: Sean, can I just ask you a quick question about those points that you just mentioned? Is it beneficial for us to overlay a graphic or captions to reinforce those points?
Sean: I think so. I would say that, again, if you’re just getting started, you could put up your mobile phone. You could go live. You could do this framework. You could do it 20 minutes, turn your live off, and there’s no graphics. It’s just you on your phone. You’re talking to your phone. Then I think that this framework could be expanded infinitely into all kind of fireworks and B-roll, which would be extra footage, and in any hybrid and combination of in between. So, I would say that anything that can keep the viewer’s attention or reinforce that, whether that’s titles on screen, whether that is photos or … Again, if you’re trying to describe something in your fitness business, it’s always better to show than to just tell, but don’t ever let any of those things limit you.
Sean: I want to encourage people to get started with what you have. Start now. Punch perfectionism in the face. Say done is better than perfect, and just posts some videos, and start going live. Then just seek to make each video 1% better than the last video. How can I make it a little bit better? Maybe me on camera. I’ll make that a little bit better. How can I make the content a little bit better? Okay. Now, maybe we have a little bit of revenue being generated from this, a little more revenue happening in our business, because of this happening. Now, we can hire an editor, or now I can hire somebody else, so I can edit longer, to handle another aspect.
Sean: Start simple. In fact, I’ve seen a mistake that can get people in trouble is actually starting too complex. There’s a lot to learn. It becomes daunting. You get like one video out. It’s a masterpiece, but then you’re overwhelmed, discouraged, and you’re like, “I can’t even sustain this, and I paid somebody $500 to … I can’t afford that either.” It was too complex. You started too complex to start. Start simple, and then scale little by little, improving your content. But a long answer to your question. Yes. I do think having those titles pop up on screen is a great reinforcing visual to your points.
Chantal: Awesome. Okay. Now, I believe we’ve got two steps left in our framework.
Sean: Absolutely. Number five now is the question of the day. I call it the question of the day. I say that, “Question of the day.” You could steal that, or you could say anything else, but here’s what’s important about this. It’s a C to C. It’s a call to comment. Comments are a signal to YouTube that will help your videos rank. It’s also a way to create community. A lot of times the reason you’re not getting comments is because you’re not asking for them. The tip here is you want that question of the say to be kind of an underhand softball pitch. You don’t want it to be like, “So, question of the day. Tell me your workout in the comments below,” or something like that. They might be like, “Jeez. That’s a lot to write.”
Sean: I was just filming a video the other day about YouTube strategy. I was like, “Do you have a YouTube strategy. Let me know in the comments.” I was like, “Okay. They might be saying no, and then they’re not going to comment, or they might be thinking, ‘Yeah. But it’s going to be a couple paragraphs.'” You know what I mean? Then I changed it to one aspect of YouTube strategy was, “How many videos are you uploading a week right now, or how many videos would you like to once you start?”
Sean: So, someone could go, “Five.” You know? Somebody could go, “Two,” and some people might go, “Two, because of …” and they write three paragraphs anyways. The point is you just want to engage, get people commenting, but you don’t want it to be too complex. If someone has to dwell for a second, and they’re like, “Hm. Let me think about that,” they’re slightly confused, they’re not sure how to answer, then that’s probably not a good question of the day.
Chantal: Yeah. That’s so cool, Sean. Basically, we could change our question from, “Tell me about your workout routine,” and just say, “How many times a week do you do weight training?”
Sean: Yup. Perfect. That’s super. Someone’s like, “Well, I haven’t started weight training yet.” Somebody else is like, “Five.” It’s, yeah, such a great question.
Chantal: Awesome. Love that.
Sean: That’s really quick. Then you can go right into the outro. Now, this is interesting, and it speaks to a feature of how YouTube works right now called end cards. YouTube uses then end cards that are pretty easy to set up. Once you have your YouTube channel, once you upload your video, YouTube allows you to add your title, add your description, and it also has a few other features. You can upload closed captions, for example. But one of the tabs is end cards.
Sean: Now, what they are is you could put a subscription button to your channel on the screen, and you can put other videos to your channel on the screen. You can put a little logo and link away to your website. The key is it can only be 20 seconds, so you can only use those end cards on the last 20 seconds of your video. So, strategically, after your question of the day or whatever you do last, you need to land the plane, but land the plane quick. It forces you to be in 20 seconds. In this case, the best thing to do here is you could send people off platform, and in the past I’ve done that. We give free downloads. I’m sure many people in your community maybe have a free shipping list for food.
Chantal: Yeah. eBook or something. Yeah.
Sean: Or an eBook or something. However, YouTube does not mind if you send people off platform. They even give you the tools to do so and connect your website to your YouTube channel, and you could link straight to that landing page for your eBook, but it does end the session. When minutes matter most, I think it’s important to keep people on the platform for as long as possible, and Salesforce.com released a stat recently that says it takes five to seven touchpoints before you generate a viable sales lead. What does that mean?
Sean: That means that people need to go on five to seven dates with you before you get engaged. I think about online marketing and sales as dating and relationships and that watching YouTube videos is going on a date with you. Giving you your email address for something free is a pretty big deal. They’re giving you personal information. Now, you’re engaged. If they do business with you, now you’re married. They’ve given you their credit card. So, the problem is you don’t want to rush that also. It also is advantageous to not be sending people off platform.
Sean: What I’ve learned is that it’s only about 1 out of 10 videos that we’ll promote like a webinar, or we’ll promote a download, because here’s your goal. You want to create binge-able series on YouTube. You want to be thinking in series, and that goes back to us talking about playlists. If you finish your video, what I will do … I’m talking about a weekly YouTube tips.
Sean: At the end of the video I’ll say something like, “So, thanks for watching this video. Subscribe and ring the bell if you haven’t yet, and if you want to see other videos in our YouTube strategies series, click or tap the screen right there. For another video from Think Media, click or tap the screen right there. Until next time, Think Media’s bringing you the best tips and tools for building your influence with online video. Keep crushing it, and we will talk soon.” There’s my outro.
Sean: What I interchange is what series I’m giving a call to action to. Essentially what I’m doing though is at the end of a YouTube video I’m giving a call to action to another YouTube video. I’m increasing my watch time, for those who take action on that, and I’m also going on more dates, like we’re able to hang out more. We’re able to vibe more.
Sean: I just see too many people … just like it would not have worked when I first saw my now wife, Sonia, at Starbucks. She was a barista. If I walked in day one, saw her, and I was like, “Man, She is attractive,” and I was at the register, and I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to go for it.” I lean across the counter, kiss her on the lips, and say, “Will you marry me?”, day one. A little bit too fast, right?
Chantal: Maybe a little. Maybe a little.
Sean: Just a little too fast. What do we need to do. We need to go on a few dates first, but sometimes people do that online like, “Hey. Nice to meet you. Buy my stuff.” You’re like, “Dude, chill out, man. Let’s take a break.” So, I think thinking about your customer journey is really important. By using that end card feature and having this … The same way that I like to binge watch The Office, even though I’ve seen it all before-
Chantal: Who doesn’t?
Sean: Yeah. Come on. Give me some Dwight, some Pam, some Jim Halpert, some Michael Scott. You know? Then I’m watching one episode and the next episode. You would want people to be like, “Wow. That was great. That’s some good information about ketogenics. Let me see some other videos in the series.” Then eventually, maybe that leads to your webinar on the subject, and then maybe it leads to a training you have, or subscribing to products, or purchasing products from you, or something else.
Chantal: Sean, that is such an awesome framework that you’ve just stepped us through. I think, you know, I’m sitting here with so much more clarity around how to actually structure our videos, and it means so much that we’re not just jumping out and hitting record. I guess there’s a time and a place for that, but to have that structure behind it and have that actually contribute to all of the other information that we’ve gone through in regards to the title, and the description, and the homework, and setting up our YouTube channel now.
Chantal: You have been incredibly generous with your time, and I’d really like to make sure that everyone is completely aware of what you’ve got available and what you do. I’m going to be putting lots of links in the show notes, but just give us a quick overview. Tell us a little bit about the I think it’s a masterclass that you run, and you do coaching as well. Give us a bit of a rundown on that.
Sean: Yeah. Absolutely. I definitely would recommend, if anybody has enjoyed this content and also your minds probably racing … There’s a lot of information, and it’s kind of hard in the audio only, because you weren’t sort of seeing some of these things. So, we do have a free hour long masterclass. Yeah. You could just link that up in the show notes. Great training, kind of like over my shoulder, breaking these principles down. At the end of that it just talks about kind of our signature course, called Video Ranking Academy. So, if anybody wants to … I definitely recommend watching the masterclass, regardless, and you’ll get so much information to get started. Then we do have some advanced training for people, if they want to take that next step.
Sean: Then in addition to that, we also are putting out weekly content on Think Media. Just type in, “Think Media,” into the YouTube search bar to find that. We do a weekly interview show with … Video Influencers is what it’s called. It’s any entrepreneur or YouTuber that’s crushing it with video. We want to learn their best tips and practices. Then finally, SeanCannell.com, and it’s S-E-A-N, and Cannell is misspelled all the time, C-A-N-N-E-L-L, but you can just throw that in the show notes. All the information about coaching and other things is there. The checklist we talked about, which we can link up in your show notes, and also that masterclass, are some great free resources that are really going to help people.
Sean: You know, just to summarize too, we mentioned those stats, but I’m passionate. No matter what people do, at the end of the day, our business, like everything we’re doing, is flourishing. It’s going real well. I am not so concerned that anybody in your community would ever be a customer of ours or not. What I am passionate about is that they would take massive action with video. We are living through this moment of history that is kind of like … I go to Newport Beach sometimes in LA, right? Beachfront property. I recently went to a conference over there, and at one point in time that real estate was maybe a few thousand dollars, right? Beachfront property, Newport Beach, California. Now, that beachfront property is millions and millions of dollars and impossible to find, and crowded, and developed.
Sean: We are living through a time on YouTube right now where there is essentially beachfront property for fitness professionals to stake their claim, get some of these keywords, get some of these search terms, and build an empire that can affect your kids, your future, future generations, scaling your business, expanding your business, because it is still so early on these platforms. When we think about it, you think about a platform like Instagram, it’s eight. I don’t let eight year olds drive my car. You think about YouTube, it’s actually just coming into adulthood right now. YouTube is about 18. So, YouTube finally got keys and is like, “Bye, mom and dad. I’m headed out.” It’s still brand, brand new, and a lot of the information were sharing, people don’t realize it.
Sean: I’m just pumped to be connecting with you and your audience. Fulfillment for me is when people take massive action, and hopefully someday they’re like, “I remember I listened to the podcast with Chantal, and it changed everything, because I went al in.” I think that is where people need to be leveraging YouTube.
Chantal: Sean, you are seriously amazing. On behalf of all of the listeners of the Fitness Business Podcast, thank you so much for taking the time to really dive into such a great level of detail on YouTube with us.
Sean: Thank you so much. It’s my honor, and I love everything you’re doing in your community.
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