Welcome to episode 77 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week, Bjork interviews Joel Comm about how embracing trending technologies has kept his business fresh.
Last week Bjork interviewed Jeff Sauer from Jeffalytics about how correctly utilizing Google Analytics can superpower your blog. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Staying Inspired with New Tech
In the internet world, things move at a very fast pace and new technology – think social platforms, media, and gadgets – come out all the time. So do you jump on the bandwagon and try these new technologies, or wait until they’re vetted by others?
Joel Comm has found that trying new technologies not only increases your chance of success (just think about his iPhone app that went to the top!), but that it can also help you stay inspired with your business.
In this episode, Joel shares:
- What his first iPhone app was that gained tons of traction
- How he decides what social platforms to use
- What platforms serve what purpose for his business
- Why he thinks live video is worth the investment right now
- What the next thing beyond live video is
- What types of live videos he does
- His advice for sticking with your business over tough times
- iFart App
- joel20.live – 20% off any regular domain name
- Windows Movie Maker
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Be sure to review us on iTunes!
If you’d like to jump to the comments section, click here.
Bjork Ostrom: In this episode of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast, we are talking to Joel Comm, New York Times bestselling author, about social media, iPhone apps, and what it takes to stick with it for the long-term.
Hey, everybody. This is Bjork Ostrom. Today, we are chatting with Joel Comm, and this is going to be a really fun interview for me because Joel had some of the first books that I ever read about building businesses online. As I was reviewing for this podcast, looking through some of his books that he had written, I thought, “Man, this is really nostalgic for me to think back to some of the early days when we were first starting Pinch of Yum, and learning about advertising, and how to build a blog, and create an income from it,” so it’s really an honor to have Joel on.
As you’ll hear, Joel has a ton of experience building businesses online and has really come to focus on social media at this point, so he’s going to be talking about some of the favorite things that he’s using on social media right now. I’m talking about live video streaming, but he’s also going to be talking about his history a little bit. One of the things that I was really excited to talk to him about was his number one iPhone app that he created when iPhones first came out, and it’s probably not what you think it would be, but maybe you recognize it if you had one of the early iPhones. I’m really excited to have Joel on the podcast today. Without further ado, let’s jump in. Joel, welcome to the podcast.
Joel Comm: Thanks for having me. Always a pleasure.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. As I was doing some research for this, I pulled up obviously your books and was watching some of the videos, but specifically with a few of the books, they’re books that I had read a while ago, and it was really nostalgic for me to go back to the period when I was reading those because it was like really early on in my journey of like figuring out like, “Oh, there’s this like business online thing,” and I had this like really nostalgic feeling and this ping of joy. Before we get into it, I just want to say thanks for the books that you’ve written, and it was a big part of our journey, so I appreciate that.
Joel Comm: You’re welcome. I’m all about bringing pings of joy.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and that is a great segue into the first question that I wanted to ask. It’s the only time that I’ll be able to ask this question, so I want to make sure to do it, but tell me about iFart.
Joel Comm: Oh, gosh. Yeah, that was an app that … Do I have to drag out the puns because I really can? It made a bit of a stink. It exploded out to the scene.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. You have this … I’m sure you have so many of this in your back pocket.
Joel Comm: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Which could be a pun in itself?
Joel Comm: I’ve been on the frontlines of the iPhone since the first one came out in 2007. I had one that first month that version one was available. When Apple announced that they were making the software development kit available so they can have apps for the App Store, in summer of 2008, I immediately pulled my team into the conference room, and we whiteboarded so many ideas.
The first one we actually we came out with was in July of 2008. It was called “iVote,” and it got a little bit of traction, but immediately after that, there … It was really unanimous. There was one app that when somebody suggested we make a fart machine, we all just cracked up, but this has got to be easy to do, and so we created it. It came out in December due to Apple not approving fart apps for the first couple months.
Bjork Ostrom: Was that specifically written in, or was there like some general terms that they had?
Joel Comm: Oh, gosh. The beginning, there was nothing written, and they didn’t even know what to expect.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure, sure.
Joel Comm: We were actually getting ready to submit the app in, I want to say, September, and a story broke on CNET that same day, so ironic, that another competitor called “Pull My Finger” had their app rejected from the App Store, and so we literally sat on it for about two months before deciding, “What the heck? Let’s go ahead, and submit it, and see what happens.” On December 12th, our app, their app, and two others got approved, and the rest is history.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and how many downloads did it have at that … Do you remember?
Joel Comm: Ah, gosh.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s way back, I know, but …
Joel Comm: Yeah. We’ve had over a million now, but initially, it went to the top of the charts within, I want to say, 10 or 11 days. We hit number one in the world. It got all kinds of media coverage all over the world, and celebrities were using it and talking about it. It just went down in history as one of those infamous apps.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. The thing that I love about that, not only that I was able to start out the podcast interview by asking you about iFart, which I’ll never be able to do again. I just want to say it one more time, but also because I feel like it is something that I want to lean into a little bit in this conversation is you’re being on the leading edge of things and always being willing to try things out, and that goes back to really early on when you’re part of the worldwide web, so take us back. When did you first jump into this as a consumer, and right when you did as a consumer, were you also doing it then as … with a business mindset? Were you always entrepreneurial with this?
Joel Comm: Yeah. I was a consumer long before there was a worldwide web. I had a TRS–80 Model 1 computer, the first personal computer that was available mass market in 1980, and I had a 300 baud modem, and I dialed into bulletin board services, so I’ve been dialing in for 36 somewhat years now.
Bjork Ostrom: Was it just out of interest at that point, or were you like in a field that made it easier for you to get access to that? I’m so …
Joel Comm: I was 16 years old, so I was in the field of being a teenage geek. There wasn’t any business mindedness around it. It was purely, “This is cool, and this is the future, and I want one.” I never really had a desire to program, and I’m not a graphic designer. I was just a user, and I took to it immediately. I got it, and I enjoyed it, and I’ve been that way ever since. I’m still that 16-year-old geek in many ways that is just fascinated by cool tech and gadgets. It wasn’t until 1995 that I … The lights went on about this worldwide web thing, and I registered my first domain name. I’m in my 22nd year of building websites and doing business online now.
Bjork Ostrom: What was the first domain name that you registered? Do you remember?
Joel Comm: Worldvillage.com
Bjork Ostrom: Okay.
Joel Comm: July 1995.
Bjork Ostrom: Nice. At that point, did you say, “I got to grab a bunch of domain names” because I’m guessing there were some pretty interesting ones available?
Joel Comm: I wish. I wish I … hindsight.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, a time machine.
Joel Comm: I do have some that are pretty cool. That’s one of them. I also own a site called “familyfirst.com” which people come to me and have asked me to purchase it, and I’ve turned down multiple offers because I just really like the domain.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, that’s great.
Joel Comm: No, I didn’t. Back then, they were a hundred dollars to register them, and I just … I didn’t have that foresight. It’s like, “Why didn’t I buy apple?” Right?
Bjork Ostrom: Right. Yeah, exactly. It’s easy to look back, but at the time, it’s like you don’t know what they’re going to be and that they’re going to be valuable. At that point, people were still having the question of like, “Is this internet thing a fad?” which is so funny to think back to that.
Joel Comm: Oh, gosh. That was never a question for me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Joel Comm: I knew that the internet was here to stay, and I knew that when the bottom fell out in 2000 that it was going to come back. A lot of people closed down their business and walked away, and I was like, “No, no, no. We just rode the first wave. The second wave is going to be bigger than the first. We’re going to have real businesses with real business models rather than just throwing millions of dollars at anything with a ‘.com’ after it,” which is what they did prior to 2000, and so I stuck with it because it was just a matter of time. When it did come back, it came back with a fury.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I’m curious to know about some of your early entrepreneurial ventures. I know one of the … I don’t know if it was your About page or where it was that I pulled this, but you had talked about creating a site that was purchased by Yahoo.
Joel Comm: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: I was watching one of your videos, and you also said, “Do you know what Yahoo stands for like what …?” I was like, “Oh my gosh, I have never known that.” I don’t remember what it is. It’s like …
Joel Comm: I do. Would you like to hear? Yeah, Yahoo.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s like I need to memorize this as a trivia fact.
Joel Comm: Now, it’s going to be commemorated in your podcast.
Bjork Ostrom: Good. Okay.
Joel Comm: Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think “hierarchically” and “oracle.”
Joel Comm: Hierarchically, yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Those are two … Those are the trip-up words for me on that.
Joel Comm: Yeah, for most of us. I have to like actually deliberately say it properly.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Joel Comm: Hierarchically, that’s … Who says that?
Bjork Ostrom: For sure. Back to that question, I’m curious to know. When you first got started, what did that look like? As you’re experimenting with this and getting a feel for, what does it look like to build a business on the internet?
Joel Comm: Yeah. It was actually my first real successful joint venture online. I had built a couple of web-based games. I had this 3D maze that you would click through, and we had like a connect-the-dots game that was a web-based game and a couple others. My web master sent me an email one day and said, “Hey, you should check out what this guy is doing.” There’s a guy who’s a grad student, UCSD, and he had built Springerspan.com, the foundations of a … one of the first Java-based multiplayer game rooms. This was in, I want to say, late ’96 or early ’97.
We discovered him, and he had a few of his friends playing Hearts, Spades, Chess, Checkers, a couple of the games he had, and I wrote him an email. I said, “Hey, this is really cool. I’m into games. I think there’s something here. Let’s say we partner up. You keep developing, we rebrand it, and I market it, and see what happens.” We did. We called it “classicgames.com” and had thousands of registrations with the promotion we did. One day, Yahoo sent me an email, so they were interested in having discussions with us.
Bjork Ostrom: That opened that up, so you’re able to take the steps and …
Joel Comm: That opened it up. Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, interesting.
Joel Comm: Went out to San Jose, had a meeting. Long story short, they got it for a song, but it was an expensive song. Compared to their other acquisitions, it was really cheap, but for me and my partner, it opened up the door for freedom, and I’ve not had any debt since then, so I’m pretty happy.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and a proof of concept in that it is possible to build something that is an asset that is interesting for a company to purchase, even a company like Yet Another Hierarchically Organization …
Joel Comm: Yeah, organized oracle, who incidentally has failed and now belongs to Verizon.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Right, right. Interesting. One of the things that I’m curious to know about with you, Joel, is you have a really strong presence on social media obviously, and that’s a specialty area for you, but you also have experience building businesses and sites, so like applications or other kind of one-off sites like maybe this game site, things like that. For you, how do you view social media playing into that? Is that a separate container where you say, “I have my speaking. I have my book deals. I have social media, and then I have these businesses that may or may not be influenced by that,” or is everything a mesh?
Joel Comm: Yeah, it’s more like a stew. I don’t see social media as a separate thing. While I can identify those components obviously that are social media, I see social as an extension of myself. It’s something that I enjoy using. I only use the sites and tools that I like. I don’t let anybody tell me, “Well, you should also be doing this and this.” I do what I want because that way, it’s authentic and organic, and it’s just another tool. It’s no different for me than picking up the phone and talking to somebody or meeting a friend at a coffee shop. It’s all social, and it’s just different forms of how I engage with people.
People tend to overthink all this stuff. Just because it’s a new mode of communication, they begin to overthink, and they put these parameters on what it is and what it isn’t. Just be real. Just keep it authentic, and use it in a way that’s genuine, and it’s going to serve you, and you’re going to be able to serve others.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. I think that when you think about social media from a business perspective, it can quickly get into like strategy like, “What are the things that I can be doing in order to get the most click-throughs or to get in front of people the most?” So often, the biggest strategy is, “What can I be doing to create authentic content that is helpful to people?” That simplifies it down a little bit, and I think it’s a really good reminder, like you said, to do what feels most natural. I’m curious. For you, what are those sites like what are the platforms for you that you most enjoy engaging with?
Joel Comm: I’m engaged on Facebook, and that is where I discover my closest my community. These are people that I’m most connected to, most of the ones that already like, know, and trust me to some degree. I’m engaged on Twitter. Although for me, Twitter is more of a broadcast and content sharing channel. I’ve got almost three quarters of a million followers. Obviously, I don’t know the vast majority of them, so it’s great to be able to blast content out via Twitter with some things that receive engagement and also to use Periscope to do my live videos which display through Twitter, which get more exposure.
SnapChat. I don’t use it every day, but when I do, I like to get creative with it and give people a behind-the-scenes glimpse at something in my life that I find particularly interesting. I love the live video applications whether they’re Facebook Live, or Periscope, or something like Crowdcast, used to be Blab, used to be the big one. I’m always looking at the latest applications and seeing how I might use them as well. I dabble a little bit in Instagram. I have a LinkedIn account, but I don’t use it all that much. Of course, like everybody else, I signed up for Google Plus, but I hardly touch it. Occasionally, I’ll upload a YouTube video. I’ve got a pretty wide catalog of videos I’ve done over the years. That pretty much sums it up.
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative). For Crowdcast, we’ve been using that for internally. In Food Blogger Pro, we do a live Q&A, and it’s just been awesome. It’s been super effective for gathering questions, voting those up. I’m curious to know how you use it for … Do you use it publicly like you say, “Hey, I’m doing a Crowdcast coming,” interact, and engage, and …?
Joel Comm: Yeah. Yeah, I’ll do shows. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done one, but typically, I’ll bring a guest on and ask questions. Unfortunately, it lacks the community feel that Blab had, and there has still yet to be a replacement that I find adequate.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Joel Comm: Yeah, but I have hopes that they’re on the horizon.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about that a little bit for those that aren’t familiar with Blab and what happened?
Joel Comm: Blab was not the first video conferencing app, but they had a real and natural way ability to engage people to click to enter a conversation, or to join a room, or to create a show, and it really create … had a community feel about it. I became the most followed person on Blab and did a couple of regular shows. One of them was like a late night show with Vincenzo Landino called “Blab Talk Live,” and then I do The Joel Comm Show which was interviews with leaders like Kevin Harrington and people that were business and social leaders.
They did not monetize it. They did not do a good job of building a business around it, and they had closed the doors in August, and so it left a little bit of a hole, and nobody … While there’s been several companies, Crowdcast has Firetalk, BlueJeans that have sprung up to offer the broadcast type of functionality, there’s yet to be one that has created that same community feeling that Blab had, and it will happen. It just hasn’t happened yet.
Bjork Ostrom: It was interesting though. They sent out email and said essentially, “Hey, we’re shifting. We’re going to focus on something else, and we’re closing this down,” which is so … It was shocking for me on the other end where it looks like, “Oh, it’s this awesome platform, a really strong community.” Any time that you’d go, there would be some type of Blab happening and interesting conversations. I guess that’s the world that we live in where things start quickly and potentially end quickly as well.
One of the questions that I had for you actually had to do with that, and it seems like you’re very often an early adopter to things. You’re quick to the game and taking on new platforms, experimenting with those. Is that naturally part of your personality, or is that something where you say, “Hey, I know that this is the world that I’m in, and I need to move forward and understand platforms as they come out?”
Joel Comm: Yeah, it’s just part of who I am. I don’t … It’s real organic. I don’t force any of that. I see something interesting and I just … My antenna are up. I’m watching for things. Friends show me new things, and I check out a lot of stuff, and I’m like, “Oh, this is a cool little sandbox. I think I want to play in it. Let’s see what we can build here.” That’s pretty much how it goes. It’s not, “Okay. I’ve got to know,” I’ve got somebody researching everything that’s coming out and tell me what my next big thing should be, which is why I have seasons where I won’t be doing much of anything new because I just don’t see anything that really grabs my attention, but when it does, that’s when I jump in, and I tend to get in early, and I usually end up teaching others, “Here’s how you do this. I’ve gone before you. I figured it out, and this is how it works.”
Bjork Ostrom: One of the things that you had talked about was jumping into Periscope a little bit. I was watching some of the Periscopes that you did which were fun, and then you also talked about Facebook Live. I’m curious to know from a perspective of like where you’re focusing your time. Is the live video … Do you think that’s an important thing for people, and as they are starting to get into it, what are the important things for them to consider?
Joel Comm: I think it’s huge, and I feel like live video is the most important, most significant change in social media since the smartphone came out. That’s how big it is. It really is a live video revolution, and those who aren’t seeing it or involved in it yet are really missing an opportunity. There’s all those times that we look back and go, “Uh, I wish I would have started that sooner,” whether it was podcasting, or creating YouTube videos, or building mobile apps, or building a website. You name it.
This is that time right now for live video. This is the time that you’re going to look back on and say, “I either was … I started, and I was doing it then,” or, “I wish I had,” because the lines around what television is are not just getting blurred. They’re getting obliterated, and this is an opportunity for people to build their platform, get engagement, and grow their business and their brand. Live video is big stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: One of the things you had said in one of the Periscope videos I was watching was you said in some ways, it’s going to be the new … I don’t know what the phrase was that you used, but like the new network TV essentially like it’s slowly going to be replacing what we would consider to be normal TV where you sit down and watch it. Can you explain what you meant by that?
Joel Comm: Yeah. What is normal TV anymore? There was a day where we had CBS, NBC, ABC, and a local channel, and PBS, and then cable channels started springing up, and then there’s hundreds of them, and then video on demand, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime spring up, and then we’ve got regular people doing live video, and so what’s happening is the lines are being crossed. Now, all of the major networks have an … They have online components. They have apps. The way that people consume the content has changed dramatically, and because of on demand, we want what we want when we want it, and schedules don’t matter as much.
Where that content is going to come from in the future, I think we’re going to start seeing some of the networks picking up shows of people and signing contracts with individuals that started by creating content on Facebook Live or on Periscope. In 20 years from now, when somebody says, “TV,” they’re not going to be talking about TV the way we’ve meant in the past. All these broadcasts, it’s all going to be TV.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s interesting and even an evolution of that. I was watching this morning. Mark Zuckerberg did an announcement video on VR, and he was showcasing a conversation that he was having during the demonstration, and then there was a moment where he said, “Okay. Let’s go to my house,” so they changed the scenery of where they are. They switched over. He’s at his house, and then he gets a call in from his wife, and he answers it, and so she’s in real-time. They’re in VR. They’re in their house in real-time, and it’s like such a mind-blowing experience, but it’s something that they’re able to do, and I feel like it’s another example of how things are changing and content is being consumed, and so it’s like you can see this step to live, and then even beyond that, another step. What does it look like to consume content in virtual reality? It’s really interesting to see that, that development.
Joel Comm: Yeah. In fact, I’ve got an Oculus Rift.
Bjork Ostrom: Do you? What do you think of it?
Joel Comm: Yup. I love it. I’ve had it for several months.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s that early adopter thing again.
Joel Comm: It’s still new software. It’s still in its early primitive phase, but I’m having a lot of fun with it, and there’s an app on there called “AltspaceVR” that lets you enter into a virtual space, and see other people, and talk to them, and engage with them, and play games with them. Three months ago, I did a live stream, showing people what Mark Zuckerberg just showed people. I love this stuff.
I think that the future of conferences and seminars is virtual. Not to say that we’re not going to meet in person. We have to have that, but for people that don’t have travel and can be at a virtual conference from anywhere just by wearing their VR device and interact with people in real time in a very personal way. It’s going to be powerful, and it’s coming much faster than anybody imagined. Like if you’re not buckled in, future shock is going to hit you right between the eyes.
Bjork Ostrom: That was the first moment for me where I thought, “Okay, this is what VR is, and this is how it would work.” I’m not quite as far … was much of an early adopter as you are, so not only do I not have it, but I didn’t fully understand it until I saw that, so it was interesting. One of the things that I was curious to talk to you about was … This is going back, but you had written a book on AdSense, and a lot of the people that listen to our podcast have a blog that’s monetize in some way, shape, or form through display advertising, and I’m curious to know, is that something … Are you still … Do you still have sites and networks or blogs that are monetized through display advertising right now?
Joel Comm: I do, but I sold off my largest sites, my largest content sites several years ago, and so AdSense is still a fantastic solution. There’s a lot of people making a lot of money, and my latest book is at adsense-secrets.com or available on the Amazon Kindle. I probably won’t be writing any more on it because my focus has shifted, but it’s still a legit way to make money.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and it’s one of the ways that we recommend, especially when people are first getting started out. Sometimes, there’s ad … or not a specific ad network like AdSense, but there’ll be more of like a company that manages it for you, and there have certain limits for page views.
Joel Comm: Right.
Bjork Ostrom: AdSense, obviously, there isn’t a limit. At least not that I know of with page views, so something that works great for people to get started with it, and that book was one of the first books that I read as I mentioned at the beginning here at the podcast, so a great one to check out. You said that your focus has shifted. What would you say that your focus is right now?
Joel Comm: There’s a few things, really. I’m never on one thing, but live video is certainly a core of that. I’m a broadcaster from old school. I was a radio guy way back. I’ve always been into video. I’ve been doing live videos since 2008 online, and it’s the perfect storm that hit last year with increased bandwidth, and mass mobile adaption, and easy to use apps really just tapped in to say, “Okay. This thing that I’ve been doing the hard way, I can now do the easy way,” so I love that. I’m working on a new podcast of my own as well and a book that acts as a companion piece to the topic of the podcast, which I’m not yet revealing.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay. I was going to ask, but yeah, a top secret.
Joel Comm: I’m speaking. I get asked to do keynotes especially corporations, associations, organizations to learn about the power of social media and especially live video seems to be the thing that people really want to talk about the most, and I’m also a brand influencer for .live, the people that named .com that owned the .live registry. I’m happy to represent them because I think people should have a “.live” name if they are going to be doing live videos.
Bjork Ostrom: Oh, interesting. Can you talk a little bit about that? That would be the top level domain? Meaning, like .com, .net, .co, .uk, .live?
Joel Comm: Right. Yeah. I own Joel.live. I think it’s important. If you’re going to … Look, live video is just getting started, and this is … There is a domain rush any time there’s a TLD, but it really makes sense for a .live. There’s a lot of domain extensions. It’s just they don’t make sense to have them, but for live video, it really makes sense to own .live if you’re going to be broadcasting. Let people know where you are to be able to put your replays up.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah.
Joel Comm: In fact, they gave me a coupon code, if I can share it with your audience.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, please.
Joel Comm: If you’ll just go to joel20.live, that will actually embed the 20% off. Any regular domain name, so it doesn’t apply to the premium ones. Those are more expensive.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure.
Joel Comm: I encourage people to go register their .live. In fact, it’s funny. I’m looking at my … I just looked down, and I’m wearing their shirt today. If you can see the video, I have a .live shirt on. This podcast is brought to you by .live.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. Yeah, seriously. You are a true brand loyalist to them, a good rep for them.
Joel Comm: I believe that’s a thing. I have people approach me for brand influencer and ambassadorships regularly. If I’m not down with it … The money doesn’t matter. I’m not interested. I want to make sure that I can be authentic and represent. That’s why I have a site myself because I think it’s important to have one.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, so let’s talk about that. I think that would be a good thing to focus in here as a last subject area because I know a lot of people are interested in starting to do this. Let’s say somebody has never done a live video and they’re interested in getting started. Let’s say I’m that person. I say, “Hey, Joel, the infamous. Can I pick your brain about live video?” We sit down over a cup of coffee. What advice would you give to somebody who is just getting started and they don’t have any previous experience?
Joel Comm: Don’t worry about making it look all bright, and shiny, and perfect. Apps like Periscope make it easy to just turn it on where you are, have a subject that is important to you. Whether it’s something you want to teach, whether you want to inspire or motivate, whether you want to entertain people, go on with the intent of sharing something that you have that will bring value to your audience and just do it. You might not get any viewers the first time, but it will get you used to being in front of the camera, and the more you’re in front of the camera, the more you will get confident with your ability to share.
Then, be sure that you engage with the people who do come on. Encourage them to share your … excuse me, share the content on their page or to their following. Encourage them to ask you questions or comments so that you can speak to them because it is about that live experience. It’s the here and now of live video, and don’t be scared of it. If you’re not a professional broadcaster, guess what? Most people aren’t, but you do have something to say. When you take the focus off your concerns about how well you’re going to do and you put it on the value that you’re going to bring to the people who are watching you, it’s amazing. Content will just start pouring out of you.
Bjork Ostrom: Do you have a structure when you go live where you say, “Hey, I’m going to, for one minute, welcome people in, and then five minutes, I’m going to do my content,” or any type of like general outline that you follow even if it’s just in your head?
Joel Comm: Yeah. Usually, I have subject matter I know I’m going to discuss, right? There’s something I want to talk about. If I’m not … If I don’t have something to talk about, I’m not going to live. I’m not going to go live just to go, “Hey, what’s up?” Very rarely do I do just a “hangout with Joel” type thing. There is a topic. There is a subject. There are some form of intent, and then I’ll spend the first few minutes welcoming people, encouraging them to share, tell them what I’m going to tell them, but not officially start it yet, and I’ll give shout outs. “Hey, let me know where you’re watching from, what city you’re in. Say hi to me,” and I’ll say hi to people. If they share it, it shows me they’re sharing, and I thank them for sharing.
After I feel like, “Okay, I’ve got … People are here. There’s X number of people in the room. Let’s get this thing started,” and then I will officially start it with like … as though you just tuned in, “Hey, welcome. This is Joel, and today, we’re going to talk about …” because that way, I can take the live video afterwards whether it’s a Periscope, or Facebook, or whatever. I can save it, and then I can chop off. I can edit using a free movie editor like iMovie on your Mac, or Windows Movie Maker on your PC, or any number of apps on your smartphone. I can edit it, and I can repurpose that video. I can post the edited video with titles and music on YouTube, or on Facebook, or wherever else I choose to put it, so the content that I’ve created that one time, I can actually use a number of different ways.
Bjork Ostrom: When you know that you’re going to go live, you have that content that you’re going to share, do you also have something that you know that you’re going to do at the end like, “Here’s the next step that you should take?” Some people call it a call to action, or is it strictly, “Hey, I want to connect with you. I want to build relationships. I want to share some helpful information,” or does it depend?
Joel Comm: It depends. Honestly, I could probably be more strategic, and I’m not. Sometimes, I’ll finish, and I’ll be like, “Oh, I should’ve told them this.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, right.
Joel Comm: I don’t like to plan a lot. Part of it is I’m lazy, and part of it is I just … I really love it to be organic. I feel when I start doing too much planning, it feels like work to me, and that takes the fun out of it, and I want it to be fun. I want to be there in the moment and enjoy it. If I don’t always do the smartest things from a business perspective, I know at least I’ve done the smartest thing from enjoying my life perspective.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and maybe that would be a great question to wrap on here because one of the things that I think is really true is it takes a lot of time, right? I think some people expect to get into this and think that something will happen overnight, and it seems like from the outside, sometimes you look at somebody, and they have overnight success, but so often, what it is, is somebody who works really hard for a few years, and then they’re an overnight success.
In terms of building things online and being in social media, which is a component of that, you’ve had a really consistent presence. I’m curious to know what advice you would give to people that are in their first few years, what advice you’d give them to encourage them to stick with it and to not give up?
Joel Comm: Have fun. Honestly, making money, working hard, and bringing money is actually not a difficult thing to do, and it comes a lot easier if you are enjoying the process, and there’s a whole teaching out there about hustling and grinding your way to success, and I just … I think it’s horrible. I’m not saying there’s not a season for hard work. I think there is, but as a lifestyle, it will kill you. It’s detrimental. It takes the focus off the most important part of living, which is being alive and the people that are in your life, and it puts it on material possessions, which we know, of course.
While it’s nice to have your bills paid, ultimately, people that just have stuff are really not fulfilled and feel like they’ve missed something, so the best way to pursue your success in your vocation is to make sure that you really enjoy doing what you’re doing, that you’re truly engaged, that you’re having fun doing it because people are attracted to others who are having a good time, so I think … For me, one of the secrets to my success is that I’m just looking for a good time. I just want to play with the toys, and gadgets, and technologies, and engage with the people that bring value to my life and whose worlds I believe I can bring value back to them.
It took me quite some time to learn this lesson, and it’s why I’m so eased into my own skin now and what it is that I do. It’s not all about the money. I’ve made millions. I’ve lost millions. Honestly, money comes and goes, but the people in your world, those that you’re close to and those that you influence, and the message that you have to share, whatever that might be, is really what it’s all about.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome and a really good note to end on. Joel, where can people follow along with what you’re doing online?
Joel Comm: To my knowledge, I’m the only Joel Comm in the world, so you google me. You will find way more than you’d ever want. Joelcomm.com is my blog. I’m @joelcomm everywhere, on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and all the social places, so please do follow and connect.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. Joel, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I really appreciate it.
Joel Comm: My pleasure. Have an awesome day.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s a wrap for episode number 77. There were a handful of different resources that Joel recommended, so if you want to check any of those out, you can go to foodbloggerpro.com/77. That will redirect to you to the show notes, and for those that aren’t familiar on those pages, we also have a transcript, so if you are somebody that prefers to read an interview versus listen to it, you can go ahead and go to the show notes for the podcast, and that is at foodbloggerpro.com/77.
One of the things I wanted to occasionally do here is highlight some of the people that are leaving reviews for this podcast because we so, so, so appreciate that. That’s the one thing that really pumps us up about doing this podcast is seeing people that leave a review. It just means so much.
This is one from Caroline Grows. It’s an older one, but I thought it was a fun one to highlight so I wanted to point that out, and she included her website, so I wanted to give a little shout out for her for that. She says, “I have my own little blog, but I am learning how to grow my site to an additional income source. To hear Lindsay and Bjork talk about the time, effort, struggles, and passion it took to get them where they are as well as the tips they used and the places they look for inspiration and perseverance to continue being creative was really great. This podcast definitely made the gears start to turn about what I’m doing and what I can improve. I love that I can listen to a podcast about these topics while I drive to work. I look forward to the next podcast.”
Thank you carolinegrows.com for leaving that review. If you have a moment, it would be awesome if you would jump on to iTunes or the podcast aggregator of your choice, whether that’s Stitcher or the Google Play Store, to leave a review. That is fuel for our virtual fire for this podcast. A big thank you wherever you are to tuning in each and every week. We really appreciate it, and we can’t wait to connect with you again next week. Until then, make it a great week. Thanks guys.