On this week’s podcast I am interviewing the lovely Steve Dotto, who is a well-known speaker in the social media space. Steve is the business owner of Dotto Tech, but his career actually started in television. Steve creates a crazy amount of content, so I thought he would be the best person to talk to us about video content creation.
Key Takeaways Covered In The Podcast
- Creating content is about creating a conversation.
- Our audiences are getting far more sophisticated and demanding.
- People want intimacy with a content creator – feels more personal.
- Your audience want access to you, so they feel more connected.
- Your audience doesn’t judge you, they want you to succeed.
- Not everything has to be polished and perfect.
- Give yourself the same grace you would give others – we all get imposter syndrome sometimes!
- Listen to what your audience asks for and be guided by them.
- You want to create content for an appreciative audience.
- Creator burnout is a big issue – Don’t over-do It, make sure you give yourself a break if you need one.
- There are lots of different platforms and types of video content you can put out – Audio Podcasts, Video Podcasts, Live Streaming on YouTube/Instagram/LinkedIn, Webinars, Recorded Videos.
- When people watch your video on YouTube, they are watching with intent.
- People who click your video on YouTube are interested in hearing what you have to say, this is your chance to start building a relationship!
- Recognising which platform you are creating your video for is key.
- If you are going to live stream, you have to create an intent for people to come and view it.
- Video is not just “putting it out” – it needs thought behind it.
- Think of YouTube as a search engine.
- You don’t have to put your video on every single platform, just the platform it is most suitable for and will be most received.
- When we create content, we create it for search, not for subscribers.
- You could use your extra time right now to start creating some video content for your community.
- You could start with a video call to some of your loyal customers/clients.
- If you’re not engaged in a conversation with your audience, you won’t become a craftsman.
- Sharing your insight via video will allow your passion to come through and help to tell a story.
- You need to keep posting and being consistent.
- Success may not come straight away but don’t give up, keep going and putting your videos out there.
- Consistency is the key to building your audience, you have to keep showing up.
- Don’t compare your metrics to other people.
- We all have our own community, it doesn’t matter what the size. They are turning to you.
- Create videos that will help your community with their needs.
- Take it right back to basics.
- Advice from Steve – You CAN do it! Embrace failure, take a chance, if it doesn’t work, learn from it and move on!
The one thing you need to remember above all else…
When we start anything, we are always going to be the worst we can be, which means we can only get better from there! So try it, get started and then improve as you go along.
Highlights You Simply Can’t Miss
- An introduction to Steve – 03:01
- Understanding your audience – 12:35
- “Perfect” content – 15:15
- Tired of creating so much content? – 20:00
- Which platform for what content – 26:25
- Live streaming – 30:33
- Influencers – 34:15
- Getting started with video content for your business – 37:45
- Building an audience – 43:25
- Creating videos for your community – 48:41
- Advice from Steve – 51:18
Hello there, and a super warm welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. How are you doing on this very fine … Hopefully fine Monday morning, or afternoon, the following day, whenever you're listening to this. I'm just going to jump straight into this episode today, because it's an interview, and it's such a good one. Now, I say this all the time, but I do genuinely mean that. This one was so cool, because basically this week I'm interviewing a very lovely guy called Steve Dotto.
Now, Steve, if you're in the social media space you will probably know from Social Media Marketing World. He speaks a lot, he's very well known in this space. But Steve and I were both meant to be speaking at this year's Atomicon, which was an in person event happening in Newcastle. Of course as we all know, all in person events have been cancelled for the time being, or were at the point of recording this. So Steve and I weren't meeting in person, which was a real shame. We have met before actually, very briefly. But we ended up doing, or will end up doing the event online, so we're still doing the event for Atomicon, which I'm very much looking forward to, but it's not going to be an in person event. Anyway.
So I wanted Steve on the podcast, because like I said, I've seen him around for a bit. I know he's very good. Steve creates a crazy amount of content, and I'm really conscious that actually, there are lots of people out there at the moment who maybe are using their time at home, or have used their time at home, to focus on creating content for their business. Now granted, you might be doing this now because of the situation, but this is actually an ongoing, you should always be doing this thing. I thought Steve would be brilliant.
The other thing that I need to tell you about this interview was, I was doing it quite late in the day, as I often do on interviews in the States. I was tired, it's really … During this time I've felt very very tired, and I got on this podcast, and I just loved it. I genuinely laughed my head off at some of the things that Steve said, and just even thinking about the interview really makes me smile. He is such a nice guy, and I love this bit about the podcast. I love the fact that I get to meet and speak to people who are not only smart, and tell me things that make me think, which he did, and things that I don't know. But also, just genuinely are nice people, and I really enjoy having a conversation with them.
An introduction to Steve
So I'm really hoping you're going to enjoy this one, because he is a super smart guy. Before we jump into the interview, let me tell you a little bit about Steve. Steve would describe himself as a tech geek, and is the business owner of Dotto Tech. But Steve actually started his career, and he'll tell you about this in the interview, back in TV. I think you can see it. When you watch some of his YouTube videos, he's a very good presenter, a very good storyteller. But basically what Steve does, is he creates videos on how to use tech. The chances are, you might have seen one of Steve's videos when you were looking at how to use Zoom, or Evernote, or some other tech system that you're trying to use.
He also has a podcast, he has his YouTube channel which has loads and loads of subscribers. In fact, let me just check. Currently he has 272,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. Steve has also brought out a fairly new podcast called Grey Matters. This is a podcast that's aimed at what he calls the grey zone, which are mainly baby boomers and Gen X. His aim is to teach them how to use the digital world, social media, online communities. Because this maybe isn't something that they're entirely used to.
Honestly, Steve is just such a nice guy, and has an awful lot to teach us about content creation, as he puts out two videos a week on YouTube, and has his weekly podcast. Honestly, my hat goes off to him, because that is a lot of content to create. Anyway, I am going to leave it there, I'm going to hand it straight over to the interview. I really hope you enjoy it. Please do come and say hi to Steve and I, and let us know that you enjoyed this episode, and I look forward to hearing what you think.
Okay. I am very excited today to welcome the very lovely Steve to the podcast. Steve, how are you doing?
I'm just great, thanks for having me.
Good. It's my pleasure, my pleasure. For those of my audience that don't know you, first off, you need to check Steve out because I was just looking at his YouTube prior to this as a quick reminder, and it blows my mind, the amount of content you've got on there. But do me a favour. Just introduce us, Steve, and let my audience know how you are and how you've got to do what you're doing now.
Well, Steve Dotto, Dotto Tech is our channel. My YouTube channel is really an outgrowth of my previous career. I started doing the YouTube about 10 years ago or so, but before that I had a nationally syndicated TV show and radio show in Canada on how to use technology. I had a background in teaching technology, et cetera, and in media. We were on the air for nearly 15 years. Actually, more than 15 years, with the television show.
When we stopped doing that, and started to move over to YouTube, I already had a pretty good facility to create video. I was good at doing demonstrations and showcasing products, so YouTube came very very naturally to me. The result that you see a lot of content is just because I'm used to creating a lot of content, and I got good at it. I had nearly 20 years of training before anybody else was doing anything on YouTube, and doing videos that would be perfect for YouTube. That's why we do so much, and we create so much content.
Have you always been into tech? Was it a particular type of tech, or was it always this type of tech?
Well, that's going way back. But in the '90s, I used to talk about the technical impact, or the social impact that technology had on us. My TV show was always just trying to teach people how to embrace technology in their lives. I think it was just opportunity. It wasn't that I was into tech, I don't actually love tech all that much. But I was a good … My kind of, you know, they talk about your superpower or whatever. It's explaining things. It's taking difficult concepts and making them easy to understand.
I needed a job, and these new computer things were all over the place. They were going into schools and offices, and people didn't know how to use them. I could figure it out, I didn't think it was that difficult. I could explain it. So we just … Kind of one thing led to the other, and I kind of found a career as opposed to planning it out. I enjoyed working in television. I enjoyed the theatre, and I enjoy the teamwork and the camaraderie, so I did … That was great.
That's the thing I miss most about now doing YouTube, that I miss from when I did television. Is I miss my crew. All these individuals I used to work with have been replaced by USB ports, and I really miss them. I find it a little bit of a lonely experience, actually. But for me, though, it just blew my mind when I started doing YouTube how all of a sudden I could create video for the people that were watching. You know, when you do television, you're creating video for the advertising agencies and for the network executives, and for everybody except the people who are watching.
But all of a sudden with YouTube, you can create for the people who are watching, and you don't have these gatekeepers standing in front of you. These programme managers saying, “We're going to move you from Saturday to Sunday,” and disenfranchise you from your audience. We've now got this platform that we can build our own audience based on our own values, you know. What people value, not the fact that we've managed to go get Microsoft or Apple to give us X number of dollars so that we would showcase their product on television.
Now we can do what we really want, and what really moves us, and what really we find value in. To me, it's a very exciting space to be working in.
Yeah. It is, but it's interesting, a few things you said there. One, great, that you get to control the content you do and the stuff that you look at and you talk about. But the fact that it is a really lonely experience. You know, and I think sometimes people look at the amount of content you put out, and because they're on the receiving end of it … The same with the podcast. When you're listening to this and it's in your ears, it feels very personable. But when you're sat recording it on your own, it's a very different experience. That in itself, Steve, doing that as a skill to actually get that across is massive. Because that is a skill, to make it feel like you're not in a room on your own, talking to yourself.
I don't think people recognise … Content creators do recognise it. But when you're starting and you're just getting into content creation, you don't realise what a vacuum and what an energy suck the empty space is.
You know, when you're giving a presentation in a room, you get energy back from individuals. When you're teaching somebody in a classroom, you get energy back from the room that you're in. When you're recording a video or recording a podcast … It's not as bad when you do an interview like this. But when you're doing a solo podcast, or a solo video, you're not getting anything back, so you're just pouring energy in and it's just dissipating. I don't know about you, but when I view my content after it's been edited, or I listen to it, I always go, “Oh, that's way better than I thought it was.” Because at the moment, you just … You're not getting any back pressure on the energy you're putting in, and so consequently … I always come out of …
Even now. I've been doing this longer than, well, certainly … I've been recording screen casts and doing product demos since the early '90s. But back in the day, I would do it in a studio, and I've have cameramen and producers and get feedback, and so I always knew if it was good or not and I had people telling me. But once I started doing it on my own, I still end up recording a video, stopping the video, going, “Should I do that again?” I just have to … It's laziness that cuts me off, and I just say, no, I'm going to … I don't do my editing myself anymore. I do a rough cut, I cut it for time, and then I send it actually to just near you. Liz Azyan, who is in London, she does all of our editing. Liz will do it, but I'm always surprised when it comes back. I go, “Wow, Liz, you're a miracle worker. I sounded intelligent.” Because I didn't feel that intelligent when I actually created the content.
That's so funny. You're right, because the one question I ask my editor all the time, who edits the podcast, is if it's a solo one and I've done it and I sent it, I always go, “You sure that was all right?” Because I've always [crosstalk 00:11:33].
Yeah, yeah. You do, yeah.
As to whether it was any good or not. Because you just go ahead and do it. What's also interesting about your world is that you have … Content creation is not new for you. You have been a content creator for a long time, whereas because my background's marketing, content creation for me is a fairly new concept. Really in the last few years, anyway. Lots of businesses are still, I think, not fully aware of the benefit of creating content. Do you think?
You are … Probably you have the classic issue. Marketers think that you have to give a message. Content creators realise you have to have a conversation.
Understanding your audience
You know, being on brand, being on point. You hear all those things that are so important. When you're in a marketing space, I understand the importance of it. But the world is changing. How we do things is changing. What it takes for success is changing. The audience is getting far more sophisticated and far more demanding. You talked about something right off the top of our talk today. You talked about when you're listening to it, I think you said it was a very personal experience. Listening to podcasts.
The term that I prefer to use is intimate. People want intimacy. They want a relationship with the content creators, with the people who they're viewing. Because we don't recognise … We come and we think we're doing television, to a certain extent, when we do a video or something. But we're not. When you're doing television, there's a distance. There's no chance for you to have interaction with the person that you're watching on television. You typically do it sitting in a room, and with family members or something. But there's this distance between you.
The video that we do today increasingly is being consumed on a smart phone. Or at the very least, on a desktop computer, where it's like arm's length. I could reach out and touch you right now. If you're viewing somebody on a phone, you're cradling them in your hands. How much more intimate can it … People are listening to our podcast in the bathroom right now. I mean, how much more intimate do we have to be? Really? At this point here?
Just wash your hands, wash your hands.
Yes, indeed. But at this point here we're pretty much besties, are we not?
But people desire that additional connection. They aren't looking for the message, they're looking for the relationship.
Yeah. I think you're right. I think lots of people don't get that, do they? And they think, when they're creating content … It's taken me a good few years to start to see the benefit of the relationship, because when you're creating content you're thinking, right, where's the learning, where's the value, where's the message, where's the sales? But actually, the stuff that has gone the absolute best for me … When we hit episode 100 of the podcast, I had my husband on, and we did an interview, my husband and I. Someone came in and interviewed us. To celebrate it, and to sort of carry on the excitement of it, we did a live together. We did this live from my office, where you see me now, and we both sat on a Friday night with a gin, because that's our choice of drink, and we did live with gin with Teresa and Paul.
And people loved it. There was no particular value for them, there was no particular kind of trying to get a particular message. I wasn't selling anything, I wasn't promoting anything. We literally just went on, and we chatted, and we answered questions, and we had a bit of fun, and we loved it.
Yeah. Yeah, people want a relationship. They want a little bit of access. That's why I set up my office, when I set up this new office, that I set up the set. Which obviously pod people on the podcast can't see. But I used to do everything on a green screen, and people were always saying, “Your stuff looks so great,” because I would green screen all my demos over top. There was a certain sterile aspect to it. My personality came through, of course. But now, with the background, what's happened is my dog has become the star of half of my videos and my lives and my webinars.
I love that.
Because Farley is a jackass, and he's always doing something in the background. He's grooming himself in the most inappropriate ways, or knocking things over. But people want that, in even … We don't let it get in the way of the message, but it does enhance the message because they know it's coming from a real place. They know it's coming … It's not polished, it's not pre … It is prepared, but it's not polished, and it's not sanitised before people get access to it.
If I do a video on the YouTube channel, frankly, and everything goes too smooth, I'll throw something in just to break it up. It's always good if there's a little hiccup in the … That's a powerful lesson to people just starting out, is if you're comfortable enough in your own skin that you can stumble and not worry about it, that you can say something wrong and correct yourself, people … So many of our peers who are starting out in content creation think they have to put every word perfect, and that they have to be seen as this polished professional presenter. Nobody wants to … If they're going to follow me, they don't want a polished perfect presenter. They want Steve's humour, they want Steve's energy, they want Steve's knowledge and insight. They appreciate that. But they want Steve, they want me. Part of me is, I say things wrong occasionally.
But here's one of the most important lessons, I think, that people that are starting out in content creation can learn from. Is, your audience doesn't judge you. They want you to succeed. When we are recording this podcast, if you say something wrong or pronounce it wrong, or I do, or we stumble a little bit or go down a little bit of a wrong path, if we get embarrassed by it, they're embarrassed by it. They're empathetic rather than judgmental. If it doesn't bother me when I say something stupid or something wrong, and it obviously doesn't bother me and I laugh it off, and you can tell. Erstwhile, that it hasn't bothered me. It doesn't bother anybody that's watching.
At the end of the day, we're humans. I don't know about you, but do you think … I think I got better on camera, and got better on the podcast and everything, when I was doing more speaking onstage. Because I started to realise, onstage you can't edit yourself. You can't go, “Oh, can we just start that again, because I messed up there.” You have to just keep going, whether you like it or not. I had to do a video for someone. They wanted me to go and speak, I couldn't be there in person, so they said oh, can you record some videos? I thought, I don't want to, because I can't make them perfect. What I did is I stood up in my office, I hit record on my screen, and I just did it as if I was onstage.
Do you know what, and it was easy. Because it was like you said. If I messed up, I corrected myself, because that's what I would do onstage. Do you think they have to just get used to that? Or do you think it's kind of just something that you need to tell someone, just be cool?
I think it's a journey that they're on. We tell them it, but they don't believe it. They all get super sensitive, looking at themselves on camera, so you have to build up a certain set of calluses to it. And yeah, sometimes you are going to get jackasses who are going to say something negative towards you and all that sort of stuff. Yeah, sometimes things aren't going to work out perfectly. But you just have to kind of keep doing it. The one thing I hammer in over and over again, which I think lands for a lot of people, is, giving yourself the same graces you give others.
If you wouldn't judge me for it, why do you judge yourself? It takes a long time for I think people to get comfortable with that lesson, because we are all insecure and we all suffer from imposter syndrome to one degree or another. Actually, I think it's probably terminal. We all have terminal imposter syndrome. The few people that don't are absolute dicks.
If you don't have it-
Yeah, if you never think about it.
Yeah. Really, you don't have imposter syndrome? You are a jerk.
You should have imposter syndrome.
Yeah, because we all do. It is a universal thing, and if you don't have it, that means that you are overconfident, and that's worse.
Tired of creating so much content?
So Steve, before we get into … Because I want to talk to you about, obviously why you need to do video, and how the different platforms are different and stuff. But one thing I want to ask you, and I think this is from a very personal point of view, is do you ever get tired of creating that much content? Because if you could look at Steve's stuff, you have done a video … Or a video went live in the last few hours. A video went live a day or two ago. A video went live a few days before that.
Because this is exhausting. For anybody who doesn't do a podcast or a video or something consistently, it is tiring. It's hard work.
Yes, I do. Here's … It's when I don't follow my rules.
I think the most important, and to be honest, I have a team that helps me. A very small team. But in some ways, the team is also part of the problem, and here's what I mean. I believe that … I'm a big disciple of Marcus Sheridan, and his book, They Ask You Answer.
I've got him coming on soon. I'm excited.
Oh, you've got Marcus on? Well, you tell him Steve Dotto shouted out to him.
I will, I will.
But anyway, his book gave me my online career. Because when I transitioned from doing television, I didn't think that the audience was something that I could talk to. In reading Marcus's book, he gave me the ethos that I've built my business on, which is the conversation. I mentioned that earlier. And YouTube comments, which is a terrible place for many people because people are just jerks in it. But for me, it's a boon. If I'm paying attention to what people are asking for in comments, if I'm in comments after every video and reading what people want, and then they're saying please do this, please do that.
Guess what? So I do it.
You do it, yeah.
Because they want it. They put me in the right direction, and they inspire me to create the content. You want to create content for an appreciative audience. When I do that, it works. Now, when we fall off the rails is when we plan too far in advance. But my team wants to plan in advance, because they want to be able to have all the social assets in place and all of that stuff. They don't want me to … They say, “Well Steve, you said we were going to do a video on this next week, and now you're doing this video. We're not ready.” Because I'll just … I'll sit there and I'll go, “Oh, that's a great idea. I'm doing it right now.” Boom, and I'm into it, right? Sorry, that might be a bad audio hit.
But I'm doing it, and then all of a sudden they're playing catch up. I'm going, “I've got this great video,” and they'll go, “Whoa, we weren't working on that.” We're having to come up with systems and stuff in place to allow for that. Even with that, creator burnout is a huge issue. Not overdoing it, making sure that you give yourself … That you recognise there are seasons to our energy. Right now is a difficult time. I mean, as we're recording this, we're in the middle of the very beginning of the COVID epidemic, and we're just all starting to come to terms with what it means to be working from home and the social distancing and all that sort of stuff. We're all in various stages of grief, because we don't know what the world is going to look like. We've lost opportunities, we've lost plans, we've lost holidays, conferences. We were talking before.
The pressure that you put on yourself to publish, and the pressure that your community puts on you, they're expecting to see that content flow coming through that they start to rely on from you. Those can become wearing, and those can become a burden. I don't know of any content creator that doesn't suffer from it. I think that the one thing that I would say that you need to be able to do, to mitigate it as much as possible, is draw on your resources which is your community. If you can get them to energise you, great.
Sometimes they're not going to be able to do it. Sometimes you just have to take a break.
It's really hard getting back in the saddle, though, when you do take a break.
I can imagine. I have consistently come out every single week, and it's the first thing I've ever consistently done, I have to say. I genuinely am like, well done-
How many episodes are you in? How many episodes?
Yeah. See, that's a lot.
And I honestly high five myself. Like, well done you. You're amazing.
Because it is hard, and that consistency, but … It's the thought of letting someone down that for me is the thing. Maybe I'm bigging myself up way too much there, but the thought of someone going, “Hang on a minute, where is it?”
You know, when I make a promise.
Yeah. I can also hear, you also said earlier, you asked your editor. There's also the odd time you go, “Did I mail it in today? Did I do everything I could?” When you can't find it in yourself to do more on it, so you've done it and you're saying, “Oh man, I hope I'm good. I hope that I've developed enough chops that even though I'm not 100% into this particular message, that it's going to come and nobody's going to notice that I completely mailed it in.”
Do you know what, you're right. There's been a couple of episodes, and honestly they've way gone now, and no one's said anything, so I'm hoping they're fine. But there's a couple that I've gone, do you know what, I just didn't have the energy to do anything else. I just have to do it, and it was done. Sometimes I'm right on the wire. Sometimes, I am getting to edit it on the Thursday, and it's going live on the Monday, and I've got someone writing the show notes. Other times, I'm weeks ahead. But it's just … Like you said, it's seasons, and I think we can't be tough on ourselves about that. We've got to go, do you know what, I keep it going and that's the main thing.
Let's talk about, because obviously we have talked about the fact of where we are in the world right now. I was saying to you before we got on that what I found really interesting about this is, we've got suddenly … There's a big percentage of businesses that are going, “Oh God, we should have been doing that. We should have been doing that content creation, or we should have been doing that social media. We should be going live, or done those videos, or whatever it was.” They're getting into it now, or they're finding the time. Because that's the other thing. I just told you the example of a friend of mine, who runs an art gallery. I've been telling him for ages, you've got to do these videos. You're really passionate, you're great, you're so passionate about what you do that that across on camera would be brilliant.
He hadn't done it. Literally didn't do it, for years I've told him. Literally a week after all this started to hit, I suddenly see this video, and I messaged him. I was like, “So it took a pandemic, but well done. You did a video.” But now he's like, it's always important to do content creation but I think personally now, it's really important.
Which platform for what content
Yeah. Now, so here's what we're going to see, is we're going to see a bunch of people creating content that shouldn't be, and creating content into the wrong channels. When we say video, it's too big a catchment area to just kind of throw out there, creating video. Actually, that was my … I talked about this at Social Media Marketing World. I talked about using video to create community. The key things that I think people need to think about as they're stepping into content creation, and stepping into using video, is understanding the channels. Understanding the value and the type of networks that we're going to be going into.
Because … Are you recording this as a video podcast as well?
No, this is just audio, it's going to come out.
This is just audio, okay.
We've recorded video, but yeah.
If it was a video podcast, that's one form. You've got streaming video that we have on Facebook, and we have on YouTube, and we have on Instagram, and we have on LinkedIn now. We've got streaming. We've got webinar video, which is destinations where people are registering, and they're watching videos through webinars and then watching those sorts of live events. Very similar to live streaming, but slightly different. Then we've got recorded video that we have on YouTube. Or that we're hosting in that … It's mainly YouTube, as far as that platform is concerned.
Every one, we have to look at differently. When people think of YouTube, which is of course the 800 pound gorilla in the whole video space, they think it's a distribution platform. But it's not. It's a search engine.
You have to think about your relationship with the environment. How do people start their journey into YouTube? They go in and they search for something. They're searching for you, so you're delivering them content that they're looking for. Here's the key. When people watch that video, they're watching with intent. Because they've come and they've said, “I need to find out how to use Zoom. Oh, there's a video from Steve Dotto. I like Steve, or it's a nice thumbnail. He's a darn good looking grey bearded guy. I'm going to watch that video.”
You've got this grace period at the beginning, where even if they don't know you, they're going to be watching because they want to learn what it is you're … If you've been honest with them in your thumbnail, if you've been honest in your title, if you've been honest in your description, if you've told YouTube exactly what it is, YouTube has served you up to them. Then they're going to find it, and that's a chance for you to build a relationship. Awesome. That's awesome. It's absolutely amazing, because it's such a clean and pure relationship. It almost makes me tear up, compared to a search engine that we have with Google.
But now let's go to Facebook. When you're on Facebook, you don't want to learn how to use Zoom. You're watching, you're scrolling through your Facebook news feed, because you want to see dancing cats, or you want to see some news from your friends, or you want to see pithy little memes about something, right? You're not interested in learning about … If I put a video, the same video that has tremendous value to you on YouTube, if I post that same video on Facebook, it's interruptional. It's getting in the flow of it. What are you doing, Dotto? I don't care about that.
Why are you sharing that? You're a jerk. So it's actually a negative. Even though … and Facebook will scroll it past them, because the algorithm says maybe it might be something they might be interested in. But it has no way of knowing. Recognising what video you're creating for which platform you're creating it for is ever so important. It's the key. As far as I'm concerned, it's the key. Because I think that we can do ourselves more harm than good by creating the wrong type of video for the right platform.
If you're creating … You just did a little cat video that you're going to post on YouTube. Well, it might do okay on YouTube, but really that deserves to be in TikTok, or in Facebook, or someplace where the people are just scrolling through. It's just little sound bites, right? That sort of stuff. It's distractions. But if you're creating valuable content, then you've got to think about …
Now, YouTube obviously is the place that you'd be putting it. But that doesn't serve the live streaming needs that we have. Then if you're going to be creating content that you're going to be putting on Facebook, and you're going to be going into the live streaming space. Then you have to create some sort of intent for them to come view it, so you have to make it destination viewing. How do you do that? You do that by promoting the video in advance on social, by scheduling it as opposed to just popping up live. By having private groups or pages that have a community of like interests that you nurture and you develop. You've got to do a lot of hard work in the background.
Video is not just putting … I mean, they've almost done us a disservice by how easy they've made it for us to just go live and record. Because people do just go live and record, and it's crap. It's stuff that nobody's interested in, and you don't maybe even have a good reason, you're just bored, which is increasingly a problem now. I was just sitting around, I had nothing to do, so I thought I'd go live. Did you really? Did you? Why? That's one thing if you're a musician who's not on the road, and I just thought I'd go live and play you a song. Yeah, that's great. But Steve going live just because I'm bored? That's-
Just kicking around of a night, got nothing to do, so I'm offering my boredom unto you, and you can be bored with me. Steve, you've just really kind of … I love it when I interview people, and they tell me something, and I go boof. Because when you're in this world so much, there's a lot we know, obviously. But you've just said something that I've just thought, oh my God, why didn't I ever think about that? The fact of … I knew that you would use YouTube as a search engine, but for me, I guess what I would always think of, well you just put it everywhere. But you're right. Who is scrolling through …
Weirdly, I don't do a lot of video. I do a lot of closed stuff. I have an academy where I'm recording stuff all the time. I do webinars, I love doing webinars. Which I never even thought about as a video, I just thought about as a webinar. I do Insta stories that are very kind of short to camera, just chatting about nothing generally. But I just put this video about, which again like I said was weird, because I don't do them. I recorded a video about some tips about working from home, because I have worked from home for about five years, and I manage very well, and I've got a routine and I do certain things. I thought, “I know. Everybody is starting to work from home. I'll put this video out.”
But of course, I put it out, and I did exactly what you said. I shoved it in Facebook, I put it on advertising for a little bit. Not a huge amount, I mean, just to give it a bit of extra sort of oomph. I put it on IGTV. I put it somewhere else. For what? Because like you said, no one is just sat there going, “Oh, what I really need to know in my feed right now is how to work from home.” Now what was quite nice is, I had people tagging other people in going, “This will help.”
Which was cool, but that's doing the same thing as YouTube is doing, in terms of, someone is going and searching for that thing. The other thing I was going to say in the intro, which I'll say now is, I bet there's a lot of people listening to this podcast who when they see your picture they'll go, “Oh, of course.” Because I've seen lots of your videos, because I've searched for something, because I want to know how to use something. Then you've come up in the feed, and I've gone oh yeah, great. Watched the video, sorted me out, thanks very much Steve, I'll move on.
But like you said, it's … Is that a case of, are we saying that if it's an instructional or a real kind of content where I'm teaching you something, that we really need to be considering focusing on a YouTube channel rather than doing it anywhere else?
Perhaps. People get lot … One of the real challenges that we're navigating right now is this whole influencer concept that's so prevalent. Where you're an influencer in a space because what you say affects how other people do things, and so we use these different social networks. Of course there's lots of negative connotation now to the entire influencer label. But so much of what we think of success online is when we get identified, and we get that handle attached to us, that Steve is an influencer, or Teresa is an influencer, right? Those are the …
We kind of look at that as that moment of arrival, that moment of significance. But it's a very small percentage of people that are really what I'd call influencers. It's in the entertainment space, primarily. It's people who are … So many of us are … I look at myself far more as a craftsman, and as a tradesman, rather than as a star. Right? I mean, in the UK where you live, you've got so many actors that are so gifted, but they aren't stars. They do all those great dramas, they do all those great TV … But they just live down the street from you, and when they're not doing that they're working in the theatre, or they were working in the theatre. Nobody's working now.
But they aren't stars, that people go all goo-goo ga-ga over, and they need security around them, right. They do their own shopping. Right? They're tradesmen and craftsmen. That's the way I see us on YouTube. We're not stars, we're not celebrities. We're craftsmen. I teach people how to use technology, and I make good videos on that. That's my trusted … So that people trust me for that. But when we create our content, almost everybody that's teaching you about success online talks about the star power. Becoming an influencer, blowing up the number of subscribers you have, kind of getting into that space.
But that's Casey Neistat in YouTube. We're interested in what he has to say because he says it in such an interesting way, and we're engaged in his life. People watch his videos beginning to end because of his storytelling and his filmmaking. I teach you how to use Google filters. Right? Gmail filters. You don't really care … It's nice when you can have a bit of a relationship with me, and you find my dog funny, and you find me engaging, and you like learning from me. But really, the rest of it is, you aren't that interested in all of my backstory.
Consequently, when I create content, I create it for search, not for my subscribers. I create it … Now, I create it for the people who are engaged. I don't know if I've explained it well, but there's a different energy and a different mentality to the craft and the trade of creating content, as opposed to the star power of becoming an influencer. Most of us don't want to be … Well, maybe we want to become influencers. But I think most of us can attain the craftsman level. And you can make a very good living at it, and video is a tremendous place to deliver that content.
What if someone is listening to this, at this point during this crisis, thinking, “I've got to do something, and video is a very good thing to do.” What should they … Again, thinking of my lovely friend who owns this art gallery, who now, the art gallery is not open. He can go into the gallery, because it's very close to where he is, on his own, and get on video and do something. What's the kind of advice, in terms of getting started, and doing something, and using that as a tool?
Getting started with video content for your business
I mean, overall, if you've got … If you can tell a good story in video, and you've got a community that's going to be interested in it, it's just a great … I can't encourage people strongly enough. No, I hear about your friend, and immediately fireworks are going off in my mind. What a great opportunity to dive deep into different pieces of art, and for him to walk in with a camera and just videotape it. Or not videotape, just record, and narrate. When I look at the overall picture, here's this, and this is what we see. When we look at this other painting over here … Just kind of taking us through, and giving us a gallery experience that we don't get.
Projecting presence to people who can't get out there, and keeping people engaged, that side of our mind engaged. Now, I'm sure that to do that kind of work would attract people into his gallery when it's open. But now it's probably more important than ever to replace. What might have been … It might have been too much energy to create that in the past, when he had to actually worry about opening the doors and cleaning the windows and all of those sorts of things. Maybe this is something that can be a bit of a replacement. If he was doing that, if the artists are still alive, can he get on a FaceTime call with them? Can he record it like a Zoom call, and talk to them and ask them, interview them about the art, and create a nice video piece. That would be awesome, and he could build a following.
But that's just the beginning. That's what somebody thinks is potential. Until he engages with his audience and starts hearing back from the community, and they tell him that's what they want to see … And they will tell him how to make it successful, if he listens.
I mean, I know I've gone back to the thing that I said right at the beginning. But if you aren't engaged in the conversation, you're not … You might be able to be really successful. But I don't … I think if you're not engaged in the conversation, you might be really successful as an influencer. They might be able to get to that point. But you're not going to become the craftsman that I think most of us want to be.
Ultimately, when I think about him and why I said he should go on videos, because it's his passion. Because when I go into the art gallery, and I go, “Oh that's nice, Johnny,” and I'm literally saying it from a … That just looks nice, because I know nothing about art. And he goes, “Oh, but you know what, right. The artist that did this, blah blah blah blah blah.” I'm like, no! That's what I wanted him to get across. I wanted him to … It's not that he wants to be an influencer, it's not that … He wants to just sell more of what he does.
Because he has insight.
And the exact same appeal that you experience there is what you experienced 10 minutes ago in our conversation, when I first presented the idea of intentional versus interruptive video to you, and you went, ah. Because it's insight. Because I'm deep in the weeds, and so I've thought a lot about it, and then you benefit from that.
We all benefit from … You have to find that passion. And sometimes it's tough. But it's there. I've talked to people about payment systems, and they get super excited about talking about the new online payment … Because they're down in the weeds. They know what's going on.
It doesn't have to be something super artistic or super edifying, from that other perspective. There's a lot of really practical business applications that if you know better than anybody else, that you can give people insight into.
Can I ask a question? Do you think that one of the reasons that people struggle … Because one of the things you've said, and I totally agree, is that you need to listen to what your community wants. You need to listen to what they are asking, and what they are interested in. But often, when people first start doing this stuff, no one is paying attention. Because they're not. They don't know you exist at this point, or they don't know that it's a thing. Do you think the reason some people don't continue with the consistency of creating that content is because they do a couple, no one says anything, and they go, oh, no one wants it, see you later. Then they just drop it and forget about it.
Yeah. That's the toughest thing. I mean, you've got to get through that startup curve. It happened in your podcast. Your podcast, for the first 10, 20 episodes, nobody cared.
Yeah. It might be first 50 episodes.
Yeah. And in fact-
It takes a lot of time.
It was something like-
Hopefully it's not your first 114.
No, it's not! It's not, thank God. Do you know, it was nine months, right. Suddenly … And don't get me wrong, it improved-
There you, you got the message.
You're a better person to ask. I had success right away, because I was on TV.
I was going to ask this, yeah.
You went straight into it.
I went straight in, but I also didn't care at the beginning. I just made videos for me, because what I was doing was I was just playing. Because I had done TV, and I didn't really take YouTube all that seriously, to be honest. I kind of … Ah, it's kind of … I didn't invest much of my ego or anything else in it. I just wanted to figure out screen casting and figure out how I … I was just playing in the space. It was just [inaudible 00:42:51] for me.
Building an audience
So when I had success, I kind of went, oh. As opposed to … I literally didn't look at my subscribers for maybe a year. I didn't look at how many videos were being watched for a year. I looked at comments increasingly. Once I read Marcus's book, I started to look at comments. I came from a different perspective. But you've been through it. You're probably a better person to talk about what the … What a nascent product, building an audience is all about. Because [inaudible 00:43:23] very difficult space, although I think an awesome space. I'm absolutely enamoured by podcasting. We've started our own podcast, and I'm just in love with the whole … All my energy is going into it right now.
But you've done something very very difficult. You've grown it into a successful product. The lessons that you could share are probably more valuable than what I can deliver on this.
I think the interesting thing is, when I started, and we've talked … We were both meant to be speaking at Atomicon. Well, we are still speaking at Atomicon, but not in person. Andrew and Pete have their podcast, and they did crazy fun things. I remember them saying to me, “Oh, we just didn't want to be another boring marketing podcast.” I was like, oh God, that's what I'm going to be, or that's what mine was. Actually the fear, initially even starting, was bad [inaudible 00:44:10]. Then for nine months, well, I said to my assistant. She's like, “How long are we going to do this until you decide whether it's a goer or not?” I said 12 months, and she was like, “Are you for real? I thought you were going to say like three.” I went no, 12 months. I want to see it for 12 months. And I was right-
Why did you pick that number?
Do you know what, I don't even quite know why. I just thought … Because I harp on about consistency, consistency, consistency. I just thought, I can't not show up. I can't not do this properly. I said right at the beginning, I'm going to put it in for 12 months, and if it doesn't work, I'll stop. But if it works, I'm going to carry on. But literally month nine … I was tracking along, and I was getting increases all the time, and I was getting, I don't know, maybe 100-odd downloads of an episode. I was like, that's nice, that's cool. 100 people listening, that's ace.
Then suddenly, month nine was like a hockey stick. I'm not kidding you. Shot up into … My husband and my colleagues were like, what did you do? I was like, “I don't know, I didn't do anything!” It wasn't a guest, it wasn't anything. Previous to that, I'd had some amazing guests. But it just suddenly took off, and consistency, that's the only thing I can say.
What you did was nine months.
That's what you did. What I did was nine months.
You did the hard work, and you stayed the course, and you kept the faith. I don't know … A lot of people wouldn't stay that. Wouldn't be able to stay on it. Right? Especially if they're looking at other people's numbers all the time. That's a problem on YouTube a lot, is people comparing … It's so easy to compare your metrics. I always tell people, it's a little petty, but I always say, we all have the exact same size audience. It's a community, and it's one. It's our community. It doesn't matter whether you've got 100,000 or 50,000 or 5000 or 500. It's your community, and they're your people. They're your tribe, or whatever you want to call it. And they turned to you. They'll grow, or they'll shrink, but that's yours.
Nobody can take it away from you if you keep honouring them.
Like you said, the worst thing is … One thing that is quite good about podcasts is, people can talk about their numbers but there isn't really a … It's not like they're public, like they are with YouTube.
But it's a different kind of medium, isn't it? I want people to … This is I guess why I knew it'd have to take so long. I want people to get used to me being the person they listen to. I want people to think, Monday morning when the podcast comes out, I get to listen to Teresa and she witters on [crosstalk 00:46:44].
Yeah. It's a relationship, yeah.
Exactly, exactly. Do you know, one thing that's really funny and that you obviously must have jumped on is the fact that now everybody's going to want to do the online stuff. I was just looking at your account, and you've got a video that came out a week ago about Zoom basics that already has got 149,000 views.
Yeah, it's … yeah.
That is crazy.
Yeah, that video's done really well for us. It was timing. Well, my wife's a teacher, and-
She said, “I think we're going to be able to use Zoom.” Our lockdown here in Canada, in Vancouver where I live, started just as spring break started. Which is I think really fortunate in a lot of ways.
Because it was easier for us to establish physical distancing, this social distancing right away. Shannon said to me, she says, “I think when we're coming back, we haven't heard yet, but I'm going to be having to reach out to my students by Zoom. By some sort of video conferencing.” She says, “Can you show me how to use Zoom?” I said, “Well, let's just do a video.” Because if you're in this boat, all of the other teachers are going to be in this boat. So we actually did it, and that's what's taken off. In the educational community, and it's done really well for us. We're actually in the middle of … We're doubling down and we're leaning into it, and so I've released another video today, and tomorrow I'm releasing another video on using Zoom.
It's caused me to … I'm concerned, because it's not for my own personal business. My focus isn't necessarily on the how-to stuff as much. I continue to do it, but my real focus is on something that I call the grey zone, or teaching baby boomers about online marketing. I'm very concerned about my generation, which I don't know if we'll have time to talk about. But that's what my podcast is about. I've been doing all of my imagination work, all of my energy has gone into that. I've been in a maintenance mode with my how-to video channel.
Creating videos for your community
But this opportunity all of a sudden is like, we've really got to double down. We're making videos at a much higher rate than normal, and all to support … Because the teachers have kind of said, this is helping us a lot, can you do more? Literally in the comments they're saying, can you show me how to do this? Can you show me how to do that? So I went, yup, we're doing that. We're doubling down and we're leaning into that. But it all became … It wasn't me thinking, “Oh, I'm going to build a video that's going to serve and make me a lot of money.”
It was just, it was needed.
Somebody in my community needs this, and I'm going to deliver it, and it turns out that a lot of people in the community needed it.
Yeah. But also what you just said about people of a certain age trying to learn this. One thing I've noticed is, suddenly people are coming to me going, “Oh no, I need to learn it really quick. I need to know, what is Facebook and how do I use it?” I think sometimes when we're in this space, and this is what hopefully you're going to do and be able to do really well, is because you can explain things … Because sometimes I think when you're in any world, you skip over stuff and just don't even think about it. Because it's like, well this is … You know that, surely you know that. It's like, they don't. People don't know these things, do they?
Doing it in a way that you can literally take it right back to basics and explain, this is what this is, this is how you use it, this is what you do. In a way, as well, that isn't patronising, isn't …
That came from my television background. When we did the TV show, there was a lot of different shows that just taught technology. What we … The comment that always meant the most to me from people was, “You teach me how to do things, but you don't make me feel stupid. You don't talk down to me.” I explain things without being condescending. I just sounded very condescending.
To small people out there, I can help you.
Yeah. That's right. That's right. But I was really lucky, because the whole 15 or so years that we did the TV show, I had a producer and a director who, whenever I presented anything, would give me instant feedback. My muscle memory … My instincts to how to deliver this type of content were really honed, and I went … Like I was trained to do it. Somebody just starting to do their first videos, they don't have those instincts. They haven't sat down in front … They haven't sat in a studio every day … Well, for 15 years, with somebody saying, “This is good, this is bad, do it again, do it this way.” Right? I had all of that. So those muscle memories, kind of those instincts, are now a part of me.
Advice from Steve
Yeah. I love it. So Steve, just to finish off. I'm conscious of your time, you've been very generous. If someone's sat there thinking, “I need to get started,” and they go and find you and they look at your stuff and think, “Oh my God, I can't do that.” What's your one bit of advice to just get them to get off their bottom and do it?
You can. Don't give me that crap. It drives me … Self talk is so … Our limiting beliefs are the thing that just are increasingly driving me crazy. I'm getting less and less patience with it as I get older and older. If I mention, my podcast is called Grey Matters with Steve Dotto. It's designed for baby boomers and Gen-Xers who are increasingly being pushed out of the marketplace, out of the workplace, and teaching them to do what we do. To build an online presence. Because they don't know. They think that this space belongs to millennials, and they don't think that we have a place in it. That's my passion project.
But a couple of weeks ago I did a podcast on our relationship with failure, and the whole idea of failing forward. You might know this really well. I was really late to the party. I never read the book when I first came out, and so I'm just fairly new to the concept of embracing failure. For most baby boomers and most Gen-Xers, failure is the worst thing on the planet. It's like, we used to get physically hit when I was in school. The nuns would literally smack me when I did something wrong, when I failed, so I have this aversion to failure.
But I see so many people now embrace failure. They say, “I'm going to take a chance. I'm going to do it, and when it doesn't work, I'm going to learn from that lesson and I'm going to move on.” It's such a healthy attitude. Take that attitude. You're not failing when you produce a video and it doesn't work and it flops. You've learned from it. The best thing is that when you start doing really good video, you'll say … you should look at my old videos. I'm embarrassed and I cringe to look at them, but you love looking at them because you see how far you've come.
Just do it.
That's all I can say about it.
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. It's like, my saying is what's the worst that can happen? No one is going to die because you did a terrible video.
How bad is … You drop in at the end of this. Do us all a favour. Grab your introduction from your very first podcast and play it, just so people can hear how far you've come.
That's such a great idea.
Yeah, and … If that was where you, if you judged yourself on that, you never would have been here today, we never would have had this opportunity to share.
Of course not.
So just take that.
Thank you, Steve. That is wonderful. I've loved having you on the podcast. I will link up to everything in the show notes, and to your new podcast, and thank you so much for being a guest.
Oh, it's been my pleasure.
So. During that interview, Steve set me a challenge. Did you catch it? Steve challenged me to play you some of my very first episodes of the podcast, just so that you can see the difference. So I've been brave, and I've gone back and got a clip, and I'm going to play it here, just so that you know that when we start, we are obviously the worst we're going to be, and we're only going to get better from then on. So please enjoy.
Thank you so much for joining me for what it just my second episode on my podcast. Today I'm really excited to share with you some new techniques and tips that I've been learning through a course that I've just completed with Leadpages. I am now certified as a conversion marketing expert with Leadpages, so I wanted to share some of their thoughts, and some of the things that I learned with you today.
Before I get started, though, I want to ask you a question.
So, could I tell you what I think is my favourite bit of that clip? When you can hear me click to stop and start the recording. So professional. Also how echoey my mic sounds. Obviously my equipment has gotten better over time. But also how stiff I sound. I don't sound very relaxed, I don't feel like I'm having a conversation. It's very much like teacher at the front of the class. Anyway, I just wanted to play that. Bit of fun, just so you know that if you are thinking of starting some content, we don't and can't start off perfect. The best thing you could do is just get on and try it and start it, and then improve as you go along.
Okay, I'm going to leave you to it. I will see you next week for a solo episode. Until then, keep very safe and well, and have a great week.