Welcome to episode 50 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! In this episode, Bjork talks all things video with Tim Schmoyer from VideoCreators.com.
Last week, Bjork interviewed Allison Schaaf from PrepDish. They talked about how accountability partners have helped Allison take her business to the next level. To go back and listen that episode, click here.
The Secret to Engaging Video
We’ve all heard it recently: video is the new thing. Get into video. Video is key. Okay, okay. We get it. We need to get into video.
But once we make that commitment and dive right in, how do we get people to watch it? And beyond that, how do we get them to keep watching it?
Keeping viewers engaged with your video is extremely important. The longer they watch your video, the more interested they are in your content, and the more positive signals they send to YouTube (or wherever you upload).
Tim Schmoyer, founder of VideoCreators.com and long-time successful YouTube Vlogger, is here today to share his secrets to creating engaging videos that your viewers just can’t peel their eyes away from.
In this episode, Tim shares:
- What his very first video was like
- How he comes up with new content every week
- The most important thing video needs to have
- How to keep a person’s eyes glued to the screen
- The best kind of video cuts for YouTube
- How long your videos should be
- How to satisfy viewers’ expectations within the first 15 seconds
- How to prepare before recording a video
- Whether or not you need a team to be successful
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: Welcome to episode number 50 of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast.
Hallo, hallo this is Bjork Ostrom and you’re listening to episode number 50 of the Food Blogger Pro Podcast. We have almost made it one year. We are 50 episodes in and we really appreciate you being a part of this and listening to these podcast interviews. We also appreciate, needless to say, the people that come on and do these interviews.
Today the interview is with Tim Schmoyer from Video Creators. Not only does Tim have his personal family YouTube account, but he also has a YouTube account for YouTubers. Tim is going to be talking about the video creation process. We know that’s something that people are aware of and people want to be doing, but sometimes it can be a little bit intimidating.
We’re going to walk through that process and talk about how people can have the confidence to move forward and do video. Whether it’s on YouTube or some other platform or whether it’s live or prerecorded. All of these concepts we’re going to be talking about, can in some way shape or form be applied to the process of video.
There is no better person to talk to than the guy behind the videocreators.com Tim Schmoyer. Without further ado Tim, welcome to the podcast.
Time Schmoyer: Hey, thanks for having me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, really excited to have you here because I’m really excited to talk about all things video. You’re the person to talk about it because you have done a lot of video. Not only do you have the qualifications, the certifications from YouTube, but you also have the experience which is a great hand in hand.
Before we do that I want to go backwards to, when you didn’t have that experience and you didn’t have those qualifications and that’s almost exactly 10 years ago, March 2nd 2006.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah a little over 10.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah can you take me back to that point and tell me what was going on in your life. Why did you decide to press the record and then eventually the public button on a video, what was going on?
Time Schmoyer: Well I was a youth worker at the time. I had a blog it was called, well I forget what it was called, it switched names. I was doing a lot with WordPress and things when I was learning that whole platform.
I had just graduated from grad school and I was dating this girl. I was using WordPress back then primarily as a way to … It’s the like the way we use Facebook, you know status updates, “Here’s what I ate for dinner last night, here’s how it made me feel.” I don’t know why anyone cares about this stuff and still caring about it today for some reason.
I was dating this girl and I wanted my family back home and friends, I was halfway across the country, I wanted to introduce her to them. Video I thought like, oh like YouTube I just saw … Like YouTube sponsor in September of 2005, it was a few months later. I was like, oh I can start making videos, one to go along with my blog, my personal blog at the time and also to introduce my family to this girl.
I made a one video, that first one, March 2nd 2006. I uploaded it, just a quick 30-second little video. I titled it Test Video.
Bjork Ostrom: Classic, yeah.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, you know a lot of creative juice went into this one. Took it right off the little eight millimeter camera that ate the ribbon half the time and put that on YouTube just a little test. It was so painful, so awkward, it looks so bad, you can go back and watch. I even say it in there, I mean like, “Now, I think I would rather have a conversation with a fire hydrant than this camera.” It was so awkward for me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, but you did it and you published it?
Time Schmoyer: I did yeah, but at that time I didn’t care because YouTube was brand new and maybe no one is ever going to see this, I don’t know. Now thousands of people have seen it, but.
Bjork Ostrom: Was that time where probably 50% of the videos were titled Test Video?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah probably.
Bjork Ostrom: Like everybody is getting on, testing it out and getting a feel for it. After that, did you stick with it? Were you like, okay I can see that maybe this is something that I kind of enjoy doing. I’m going to continue creating these videos creating this content? Is that like the first one and then you take a little break?
Time Schmoyer: No, it was like, “All right this wasn’t so bad, I pulled it off.” My wife, now she’s my wife, but my girlfriend at the time, I guess spoiler alert sorry. This girlfriend at the time she, we just started making videos. I should say I did and she thought it was weird, but she went with it. You know when you’re in love you don’t really care, you just say, “Oh yeah.”
We started making videos of us going out on our dates, going out to the movies, going to the park, going out to eat and stuff like that. Now we would call it vlogging, but back then it didn’t have that word. We were just making videos of hanging eating out and I would post them for our friends and family to watch. Then we started doing some like prank videos for fun and things like that.
It just kind of grew from there. We never really had a goal or a mission behind it or anything. It was just, “Let’s make videos because they’re fun to make and share them with friends and family because that seems to be a really cool way to connect.”
Bjork Ostrom: Sure and I think that … Go ahead.
Time Schmoyer: I was going to say, then my blog started growing though at the same time. I started using video actually less for the family blogging stuff and more on the youth and family side. Because my blog eventually become the most widely read blog in the internet in the youth and family space, it has done several book deals and was traveling and speaking in all the big conventions. That became my full time income actually for a few years.
At that time I started using video more for that and talking about youth and family work. Because I actually discovered like, man it takes me a solid afternoon, if not all day, to write, edit and proof a good blog post. I sit down and I just talk in front of the camera for two and a half minutes. Its way faster for me to just shoot a video and talk, so I did more and more of that and then just embedding those videos on my blog.
That’s when YouTube became more serious for me. I was like, “All right, how do I leverage this platform, how do I use it?” I was trying to figure a lot of it out. At that time, this is about 2007, online video wasn’t an industry yet. There weren’t really big celebrities. Everyone on the space was very accessible. I’ll make a long story short, I reached out to a few of them, asked them, “Hey, how does this work, how does that work?” They’re like, “We don’t know Tim, if you figure it out let us know.”
I would go like all right, figured it out and dial up with them say, “Here’s what I learned.” They’d be like, “That’s awesome.” They started referring people to me saying, “Hey, we don’t know, but this guy Tim Schmoyer does, go talk with him.” Before long I was actually growing faster on the developing industry of online video than I was in the youth and family space.
Make a long story really short, now it’s now my full time job. I’ve been working full time with it at my company Video Creators, me and a small team of us. Just serving YouTube creators and helping them grow their online video platform so that they can spread messages that change lives. It’s just really what it’s all about to me.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome, yeah that’s great. It’s interesting to hear you talk about some of those different, like that realization for you like, “Hey I can sit down and record a video and perhaps have the same amount of value that a blog post would and I’m able to do that in a much quicker time.” Like it’s just so much quicker.
I think it’s important for people that are listening to this podcast to have as something that they should consider. Because some people get locked into thinking, this is the type of thing that I have to do. One of the things that we’re constantly trying to remind people is, there’s so many different avenues of building your thing on the internet. It could be a podcast like this. It could be creating videos that you published to YouTube. It could be a traditional blog.
Its fun to hear your story of working through that and figuring out like, “Where is the sweet spot for me?” Then you found it and you know that you found it because at this point you’ve produced, you said almost 3,000 videos, is that right?
Time Schmoyer: It’s been over 3,000 videos.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay, in 10 years which is insane. Along that way you’ve grown your family, so you have six kids under six, is that right?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah six kids, ages six and under.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Obviously it’s not something where you’re twiddling your thumbs just wondering what you can do with you time because you have plenty to keep you busy. When you average that out, that’s like four to five videos, its more than four videos a week that you’re publishing, almost once a day.
What is that look like for you on a day to day basis? How do you create content at scale, especially when you are balancing family and other life things?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah. When we got started, it was a lot of different than it is now. Now I have a team of people who work for me. I have a editor. I have a lot of people who do all this stuff, but it’s started –
Bjork Ostrom: Just out of curiosity can you talk about who those people are? I interacted with your business manager via email and then you said editor?
Time Schmoyer: Sure, yeah that’s Catherine.
Bjork Ostrom: Who are the other people on your team?
Time Schmoyer: Then I got an editor on my team, she’s awesome her name is Julia. She is way better at editing than I am and way faster at it. At this point my process is a lot different than it was when I was a one man show.
Now I’ll shoot my videos, upload them in the Dropbox, she gets them from our shared Dropbox folder, edits them. We use a platform called Frame.io to collaboratively work on the project. I’ll give her feedback here, change this. Usually I don’t have to give her too many revisions, sometimes like one round of revisions and it’s like two quick little things.
Bjork Ostrom: Can you talk about how Frame.io works, what that is?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, well there’s several ways you can use it. If you are a person like someone who is listening is also familiar with using Premier Pro for example, it can integrate straight into Premier Pro so you can almost share project files. We used to do that actually in Dropbox, but now we just use Frame.io. You can leave notes at different points in the timeline for them to switch and change things up.
The way we use it is, she just will render out a draft version of the video, upload it to the Frame.io, through our counter. Then I can just draw the screen like, “Hey this comms and this screenshot need to be blurred out, add little notes you know that are stuck to the timeline.” Then she’ll just go through it.
Basically it turns my comments into a to-do checklist for her and she just checks them all off. Then she just uploads them to YouTube. She makes the thumbnails and does all that stuff too.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s a service that’s specific for collaborating on video?
Time Schmoyer: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay cool.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, but before I had her, it was just me and so it was important for me, like you said, to make videos that I could just make at scale. For me I was making about three videos a week on my family’s channel. I vlog still since we really deeply believe in family and that message.
Also at the time I was doing about three videos a week on Video Creators, which is my business channel. Plus I had a contract where I was making one video a week for a client. That was seven videos a week, I was cranking up myself. You can see why I hired an editor.
The way I did it, is I tried to systematize the content creation process. I was talking about, like the way most creators do it, at least, on YouTube space and even in blogging, they sit down and they’re like, “Hmm, what I’m I going to talk about today?” They spend, I don’t know, some time trying to figure out a topic to talk about.
Then they have the topic and then they script it out. Then they script it out, they like tweak it to death. Then they sit down and they try shooting it. They do 37 takes and they don’t really like any of them, but they just frustrated, so they just take one and go with it. Then the editing is like tedious.
I cut corners on everything, because this is YouTube, no one expects … Especially for a talking head type of instructional training videos like I do on Video Creators. I put a system in place that will generate the content ideas for me.
One of the ideas is, “All right, I’m going to give updates about everything happening in the online news video space so that people can stay up to date with what’s happening, what’s changing on YouTube, so that we can continue to grow channels that are optimized for the platform and the audiences we’re reaching.”
All I would do is I’d just subscribe to a whole bunch of tech blogs and YouTube vlogs and other various forums and Reddit, subreddits and everything, just through RSS. Then every day I would just go through my … Or ever week, rather, I go through my RSS reader, pick out the stories that I thought were most intriguing. I would just sit down on camera, no script. I would just talk through them and I’d use jump cuts to get it super short and then I would just publish. That generated the ideas for me.
Another series was Q&A also that my audience was generating in the content for me. Every week I did a Q&A video. I would just look through. Today I get about a thousand comments a day on YouTube so I don’t look through all of them anymore. Back in the day like there’s always people, and it still is today, people asking questions. I would just screenshot them and make a quick video. They would generate the content ideas for me.
Another series would be a tip one which I always … I have an Evernote document full of ideas for like YouTube tips and things. I would just grab one of those. Those would often come out of questions people are asking also on like subreddit communities and things. I would just put systems in place that generated the content ideas for me. Then made the shooting and editing process as efficient and streamlined as possible, without many bells or whistles.
Bjork Ostrom: I think that is such a huge takeaway for people to realize that, part of the strategy with video creation isn’t necessarily attached to the actual video itself. It’s the systems that go into what will eventually be the shoot, to allow it to be as streamlined as possible.
Obviously at this point when you’re first getting started you’re doing all the editing on your own, but then you’re able to build out that team as well. I’m curious to go back, rewind that and just kind of finish that conversation out. Because we’re kind of entering into the stage a little bit too of intentionally building a team.
You have your business manager, you have your editor. Are there other people on your team right now that you’ve built out?
Time Schmoyer: Yes, let’s see I got a lawyer. I got accountants, those are contractors obviously. I’m in the process right now, just met with my business manager this morning, getting ready to hire a web developer to be in charge of all the website stuff. Because that’s, like you I assume, is a big part of our revenue income. I know WordPress because I’ve been on it since version 1.5, but I’m tired of it. I don’t need to, someone else can do that. I can invest my time into better things at this point.
Bjork Ostrom: Let’s go back.
Time Schmoyer: Facebook manager and some other things too.
Bjork Ostrom: Oh okay yeah sorry I thought you were done. It’s interesting too, kind of, the balance between the contractor and then people that maybe are a little bit more of a fulltime employee or are dedicating more of their time to your business and we’re kind of finding that balance as well.
Let’s rewind, let’s say that you’re just getting started. You’re in the beginning stages and I’m guessing that’s true for a lot of the people in our audience. That they’re at this point where they’re saying, “Okay I hear people talk about video a lot, I’m interested in starting. I know that it’s a great compliment to a recipe post, a blog post with maybe the content I have there.” If somebody is not in the food space and they’re listening to this, maybe they are in DIY or fashion like video is always such a great compliment to the content, if it … All great contents stand alone. There doesn’t need to be just a compliment to it.
It’s also really intimidating, especially when you’re first getting started, especially if you’re going to be standing in front of the camera talking. What do people do to take that first step into creating their own video? What gear should they buy and how do they go about creating that first video?
Time Schmoyer: I would say start with the gear you already have, which is like if you don’t have a video camera it’s probably your cell phone then. You have an iPhone or an android phone, that’s where I would start.
I don’t think there’s any sense in going out and investing thousands of dollars into gear and equipment and then sitting down and feeling frustrated. You don’t really know how your audience is going to respond to video yet anyway. A lot of people think or they get hicked up on, can you use it like that?
Bjork Ostrom: Sure, yeah hooked up, hicked up. Yeah we can use hicked up on.
Time Schmoyer: When they think about making videos, the only thing they have to compare it to is television. They think, “Oh I need to have this high production value, it needs to look sleek, I need to have all this great edits.” Online video is very different. We could spend hours just talking about that.
For our conversation, the thing to remember is that the reason why people watch YouTube videos is not just for like a sleek visual experience, but they watch it usually for the value that the content itself provides. Instead of thinking, “Oh the value of this video needs to look sleek, it needs to look pretty, it’s got to be high production value.” If the content value, of why someone is watching your content in the first place, is high that’s really all they want.
If you’re providing really good value in what you’re teaching or instructing or entertaining or whatever that is like 80% of what makes a video do well on YouTube. Even if it is just shot from a cell phone. I would focus on the content value more so than the production value.
Bjork Ostrom: That leads into the question that I had, and you referenced this before, where you talked about trying to cut corners in order to get content out there which is the most important thing is pressing and publish. At what point do you know if something is good enough? Because there’s obviously a point where it’s like, “That’s still a really crummy video.” You can lean too far one way where it maybe has some value in it but people won’t watch it because there’s not enough quality there.
What are the elements that people actually need in the video? Maybe it’s a clear shot. Maybe it’s audio that you can understand. What are those elements that’s it’s like, okay this is good enough it’s maybe not perfect like Food Network or something, but people will actually watch it all the way through without turning it off?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah it’s a couple of things to consider. One is that the most important thing is audio actually. A lot of people focus on the video style and everything. People are pretty forgiving online of shaky hand cams and things like that, as long as the audio is good. If people can’t hear what’s happening or being said or at least not very well, there’s a lot of background noise or something, that’s usually when you’re going to see the high audience retention drop off, you know the high abandonment rate of the video.
If you’re going to invest in something great, a good microphone is the best place to start. You can get like a little cheap wireless, well not wireless, but wired lapel mics that just plug right into your phone.. That would be the biggest investment that you could make to just kind of start out with.
Bjork Ostrom: Would there be one that you’d find on Amazon for that?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah Amazon, the Rodes are usually pretty good, R-O-D-E. That brand’s pretty good. I use it myself.
Bjork Ostrom: Cheap meaning less than a $100?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah. Then just make sure the room is quiet. If there is a lot of food people here, then make sure you unplug the refrigerator, that type of thing. Make sure you make a note to remind yourself, like tell Siri to remind you to turn it back on.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah so it’s tough. It sounds like you speak from experience there.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, turn off the air conditioning or the heating unit, whatever. It depends on how loud it is. You just want to eliminate as much background noise as possible. Sometimes it’s impossible, like you’re living on a busy highway and there’s just no way that you can go out and stop traffic for an hour. You just, kind of, deal with it. Then there’s different types of microphone’s you can buy that will isolate sounds and things like that too, you getting a little more spendy there, but audio is where you’d start.
Another thing to consider, and this breaks every film making rule but its normal on YouTube, is the best way to hold people’s attention is that the eye needs to see something change. What I mean by that, like what I probably wouldn’t do. Like if you’re just getting started totally do this. Just sit, do one take. Don’t worry about your arms. Don’t worry about your eyes or going back and trying to correct yourself. Just keep it as human as possible and just do one take, that’s great.
When you want to kind of go to level two, when people are just staring at one thing for too long, their minds start to drift. The eye needs to see something, like it needs something to refocus on. Typically that’s about every five to seven seconds, if you’re watching television that’s about the rate that will cut to a different angle or a different scene or something.
Unless you’re watching MTV, then they do these hyper cuts at about every two to three seconds. Because of the audience they’re going after is so ADD, so they’re trying to just keep peoples attentions there.
I would consider doing those jump cuts, when it makes sense. Sometimes that makes it easier because you don’t feel like you need to make it all in one take. You can back up say something again and do it like a cut. Cuts work okay, that’s bad film editing, but it’s fine for YouTube.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s interesting … Yeah go ahead, I was going to ask what is a jump cut? Just to explain it.
Time Schmoyer: Jump cut is basically like an abrupt like you finish your sentence, you cut it. Then you go to the next place you’re going to say, you cut it there and put the two pieces together. There’s like no transition, there’s no sleek dissolve or anything. It’s just boom like new. It’s just, kind of, jarring enough that it holds people’s attention. Even though it’s a really jarring cut that professional editors don’t use, but it’s totally acceptable on YouTube.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s interesting how the willingness to watch something is different depending on the device that you’re watching it on. If you were to watch let’s say the news, the nightly news and they were to do this drastic jump cuts. It would be like, what’s going on? If you’re watching it on TV, but you jump into YouTube and you watch somebody talking about, like let’s say a Video Creator’s episode.
Time Schmoyer: I have a professional editor. She has a PHD in digital design. I told her to use jump cuts. She cringed a little but she understood.
Bjork Ostrom: Right and it’s because the language of that platform is different. I think that’s so fascinating to see how that changes depending on where you’re watching and when you’re watching.
One of the things that I want to call back to that I’m interested to hear your thoughts on, is you talked about MTV and these hyper cuts that are super short. You see like micro video becoming a thing where there is Vine and there is Snapchat videos and Instagram, which is a little bit longer now but still very short videos.
I’m assuming more and more people are watching video content, YouTube content on mobile. Do you think that impacts how people should be creating video? Should we start to create videos that are shorter? Even if it maybe feels too condensed or compact on time wise? What are your thoughts on that?
Time Schmoyer: That’s a good question. There’s couple of ways to look at this. I was thinking about this I was speaking at an event in San Diego and met with one of my friends out there who is a Snapchat star. He’s got hundreds of thousands of people following him on Snapchat, he’s one of the top on the platform. He is moving to YouTube now. Because he found the 10 seconds too restricting, even though that’s what he’d been doing for a living for a while. Vine stars are doing the same thing. I see more and more Viners moving to YouTube to kind of break out of that six and a half second limitation that they have.
To answer the question though is, I wouldn’t try to make videos for every platform. I would look where is your audience? Then go connect with them like at that place. I think YouTube makes a lot of sense because it’s searchable. You don’t have the time restrictions that you would on another platform. It’s gained the most massive widely used acceptance and user base and everything.
As far as the length is concerned, rather than focusing on how long should I try to keep my content to? The better question that I found serves people better is, how long do I need to serve my audience well with this topic?
Rather than like trying to artificially take a four minute idea and cram it into two or to take a two minute idea and extend it to four, because your just trying to serve the duration rather than the viewer. I would say if you have a two minute idea, take two minutes and not a second longer. If you have a 10 minute idea, take 10 minutes and not a second longer.
I mean don’t just rumble, but do justice to the topic that you’re talking about in a way that serves viewers well. Then cut it off when you’ve done that.
Bjork Ostrom: Sure, I think it’s great. I’m assuming what happens because of that, is people stay engaged throughout the video. It’s more likely that people would be engaged because they’re obviously interested in whatever it is that you’re talking about. If you stay focused on that and continue to talk about that without adding in unnecessary additional information then it will keep people engaged, which I think applies to anything.
In the food space you could apply that to creating a recipe by perhaps not covering things that people know how to do. Like if people know how to whisk in eggs to the recipe it’s like, well maybe you don’t need to cover that. You can jump over that and just keep it to the more engaging valuable content.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, well on YouTube it’s called watch time. The more watch time your video accumulates, the better it will perform in search and related videos. Hooking the viewer in the beginning and then keeping them watching is really important.
If you have a two minute video, the longest amount of watch time you can get from a viewer is two minutes. If you have a 10 minute video, you could get potentially five times more watch time and make that video … Longer videos don’t necessarily perform longer just because they’re longer. It really has more to do with how well you hook the viewer and keep them watching and engage them through the whole duration of the content.
Bjork Ostrom: Do you have specific advice about that? How do people hook somebody? How do you engage somebody with a video? What are some things, even if they’re very basic things, that people can keep their mind in as they start to go in the video content creation game?
Time Schmoyer: The most important thing is that the first 15 seconds of the video need to connect directly to the title and the thumbnail of the video. The title on the thumbnail is what will get someone to click in the first place, but they click with an expectation of some value or entertainment, something they’re going to get from this video.
You need to affirm for them at the very beginning of the video that, yes what you clicked expecting to get is exactly what’s going to come. That’s really important.
Otherwise, if you have a title and a thumbnail that relate to something that happens 90 seconds into the video, you probably already lost most of the audience by that point. Because there was nothing that indicated whether or not what they clicked expecting is going to come. There is plenty of other videos just waiting there in the sidebar for them to just click through and leave.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s really interesting. I’ve heard people say how important their first 0 to 15 seconds is in capturing somebody’s attention. I’ve never heard somebody say that one of the ways to do that is to tie that back to the title and the thumbnail. I think that’s so fascinating and it makes sense. It confirms to people, “Hey you’re at the right place, we’re going to be talking about this thing that you thought we were going to be talking about essentially.”
Time Schmoyer: A strong ‘hook’ I use air quotes on that, in the beginning of a video even though it’s a strong hook, if it doesn’t relate to the title and thumbnail what people clicked expecting, it’s still not a very strong hook. People are like, “Oh, I clicked expecting this, what is this?”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah completely unrelated, all right sure.
Time Schmoyer: It could be related, but not directly. It’s important, I think to start, before you make your video already have in mind what your title on thumbnail will look like. Then that’s the only way I know that you can actually craft the first 15 seconds of your video to tie into it directly.
That applies to narrative, vlogging, storytelling type stuff. That applies to how to tutorial based stuff, educational stuff. It applies to any type of content, is start with the title on thumbnail. Like yesterday was Mother’s Day. Well maybe I wasn’t supposed to say that, I’m sorry.
Bjork Ostrom: No that’s fine. It will prove to people that we are planned out and building it through these podcasts. We are not building this on the fly.
Time Schmoyer: Mother’s Day recently happened so we made a vlog, a video of our story of Mother’s Day. We already knew that what I was going to give her for Mother’s Day was actually, my wife from our kids, basically just a board. It’s just a board. It’s a board that she really wanted, but it’s just a board.
I knew beforehand the title of this vlog is going to be something like lamest Mother’s Day gift ever. The thumbnail was going to be my wife holding up this board looking really disappointed.
I opened the video, the first shot was me like, “Hey guys happy Mother’s Day. We are going to celebrate Mother’s Day with Dana here. I kind of feel bad because I am probably going to give her one of the lamest Mother’s Day gifts like any mother has ever gotten,” or something like that.
You could see how that title, the thumbnail and how I started the story all connect to each other. I didn’t give away the punch line, but I did affirm for them. Someone who is just enticed by the title on my thumbnail I hooked them with that by saying, “Oh yeah the story is going to be about that lame Mother’s Day gift. Why would you give your mother, a woman a blank board for Mother’s Day?”
Bjork Ostrom: That makes sense. I’m curious, you kind of hinted at this a little bit, but what does that look like when you are going into the production mode for video? Let’s say somebody is, two options, maybe they have an iPhone and an affordable mic that they are using. One of those lapel mics that maybe they bought from Amazon or BNH. They have that. They say, okay I’m going to record on my phone and maybe going to do jump cuts.
Maybe they understand video a little video a little bit more they are going to record on their DSLR and maybe they have a nicer mic. Those are kind of the two options.
What would you recommend for the production side of things do you say, hey before you get into it always have the title in mind. Always have the thumbnail in mind and then always have a script? What’s the kind of bare minimum that people need to get into the actual part where they are pressing record?
Time Schmoyer: As far as gear and equipment is concerned or?
Bjork Ostrom: Not necessarily gearing equipment. Let’s say they have that covered. They kind of have the basics there, but in terms of preparation so –
Time Schmoyer: Like before, for the actual content?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah like how much of the creating of video is before you actually press record? Writing a script, planning the outline, things like that.
Time Schmoyer: I would say you should have a pretty good idea. I mean it depends on how comfortable you are in camera, how experienced you are or what your personality is, things like that. I go into every video I do and I have been doing this for 10 years, over three year’s full time. I go into every video, whether it’s a vlog or it’s a YouTube training tutorial or whatever it is, I go into it knowing ahead of time this is the value I’m trying to provide is.
I don’t usually script anymore because to me it comes off as too robotic and stuffed. I just usually have in my head, this is the value I want to deliver and I’ve done enough where I can just, kind of, like … I’ve kind of learned how to cut out my rumbling although not on podcast as you’ve figured out by now.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah me neither, so it’s you and I both.
Time Schmoyer: That’s another thing about editing video too, later you are just like cut, move on. I would say, yeah just have a good idea in your head of what you are going to talk about and how you want to deliver it. Whether or not you want to bullet point it, that’s up to you.
For people who are starting out I recommend that you at least bullet point a few points or the step by step process or something just so you stay on track and stay somewhat succinct and start there.
For some people, they’ll do best with like I got to write this thing word for word, I need to memorize it and I need to regurgitate it. I’m like that’s fine, if that’s what works for you. I usually recommend people get away from that when they can because of the roboticness that it has when people deliver.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah it’s interesting with online video and I think this is starting to spill into just video in general, but there is an authenticity factor that I think is really important. This maybe ties into the question I had a little bit before, but it’s hard to know how authentic you should be.
There is a lot of people that have built massive careers on relatively crummy videos with good content. I feel like the ultimate example is like the Justin Bieber. It’s not like it was a super high quality video and there is a Barton Simpson poster in the background. It was a really bit shaky, but he was really talented at what he did.
I think that’s probably true for you. You have a background in youth work where you were probably up in front of people and having to build you speech on the fly and to feel really comfortable crafting and putting words together.
The question is this is, it possible for people that are scared of the camera or don’t have a history of speaking on a podcast or in front of people that are maybe a little bit more nervous or introverted or hesitant about video. Is it still possible for those people to do video and create a following in that space?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah absolutely. I have a product that’s designed to do this exactly. I wasn’t planning on plugging it or anything.
Bjork Ostrom: No please do yeah.
Time Schmoyer: It’s called Find Your Voice. It’s a video course, about two and half hours long. It’s me and another guy. I’ve done 3,000 videos. I’ve learned a thing or two about it. The other guy is a professional acting trainer who trains actors and actresses how to feel comfortable on camera for commercials and short films and things like that.
Usually actors are used to performing on a stage, where you can feed off of the audience and the applause. Like a public speaker like I was or still do, when I was doing the youth ministry stuff. I was used to feeding off audience. I found in front of that camera it was so different because there was no feedback. There was no like clapping. There was no applause. There is no people, there is no one to look at. No captive audience. It’s just this cold dark lens staring you in the face. It was really awkward as I have mentioned in the beginning.
My course is called Find Your Voice. It really goes into all the details me and this other guy worked together to help people. How do you present and communicate your true authentic self, which is exactly what you said, that’s why I decided to bring it up, in a way that really makes it easy for viewers to feel like the connect with you? That they love what you are doing and they get the value that you are trying to provide for them? It’s kind of like short cut rather than taking 3,000 and 10 years like I did.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah for sure. Let’s say somebody is feeling that, they are listening. There is one tip or piece of advice you’d give to them, just as they are just getting started. The second tip would be to check out the course and go through that content, but the lead into what –
Time Schmoyer: Yeah I hate plugging stuff. I just feel like it completely blows off the value.
Bjork Ostrom: No I’m glad that you did. For sure, but one tip that you would give people that are just getting into the early stages with that.
Time Schmoyer: Outlining the ideas ahead of time is really important. A few quick tips that might help is when you do have your ideas or if you are scripting, read it to a friend. Have them close their eyes and just listen to you deliver it. Have them raise their hand whenever they can tell you are totaling reading that.
That’s really important to you because you are going to highlight that area and come back and figure out, okay do I need to rewrite this. Do I need to change my inflections you know where do I exaggerate? Where do I slow down those points? That can be a great way to take those scripts and rehearse them in a way that makes them feel more natural ahead of time.
Another great thing to do, this works for some people, is take a picture of a good friend of yours and just tape it to that tripod stand and make it feel like or try to pretend like you are talking to that person rather than to the camera. That works for some people.
Other people need to figure out like when is my personal rhythm at a place where I am most comfortable and relaxed. For some people that’s right when they wake up in the morning. They’ve had their first cup of coffee and they feel like ready to take on the world.
Other people, like me, I’m more of a night person. I am way more awake and energized and alert in the evening than in the morning so that evening I actually shoot all my videos, except for the vlogs, but the ones for my business I shoot them at night after the kids are in bed. Because one the house is quiet, but two that’s when I have the most energy for it, believe or not. Some of those things might be helpful as they are getting started.
The other thing is to just do it. It’s like your first blog post is probably embarrassing. Your first attempt at taking a good shot at like food, so you just made it probably bad. There is no way to get better. No one starts like a perfectionist … Well no, but you know what I mean? No one is perfect the first time they try.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah for sure, nobody starts perfect. The other thing, as mindset thing, kind of related to that that we like to talk about is … At first it sounds really terrible, but our hope is that it’s motivating, but it’s this idea that nobody cares.
I think that people really, really care and that everybody is watching. You publish something to YouTube and then everybody will come and make fun of you. If you have the problem of people coming and making fun of you, it’s probably a good problem to have because it means people are seeing it.
It’s this idea that the internet moves so fast and there is so much content out there. That the biggest mistake is not putting it out there and waiting until it gets perfect because it never will. You are constantly on that journey of moving towards better. The best way to get better is to start and to begin that journey.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah. A lot of this too comes down to what you believe about yourself. I don’t want to get all weird or anything.
Bjork Ostrom: No its good.
Time Schmoyer: It’s like if you believe, like deeply believe, that the value that you are trying to deliver to the world has the potential to change someone’s life or this is going to make a big difference. If you believe that you tend to publish content way differently than someone who is like, “You know what I like this and I want to publish like this so I can hopefully some money off of it.” If that’s the attitude then you are probably going to try to get everything perfect and you are probably …
If there is a mission behind what you are doing, like this why I do it. Money makes all this sustainable, its important, but the real thing I’m trying to do is like … I don’t know what it is I’m speaking, [inaudible 00:41:59].
Bjork Ostrom: No it’s good.
Time Schmoyer: It’s like you know it’s going to change someone’s life and you are really passionate about it. I feel like those types of people tend to just for it and those are the people who win in social media in general rather than the people who are just trying to extract value. They are like genuinely trying to give value at first.
Maybe what you believe about yourself and the value you had to deliver makes a big difference with how you present yourself on camera.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah absolutely. You can see how that becomes more of a sustainable thing too, which is so much of what this is. People come to you and I’m sure they are like, “How do I quickly build this into something that’s my full time job?” You like, “Well my path was starting 10 years ago, through some 3,000 videos.” Then people are like, “But I want to do it really quick.”
Time Schmoyer: Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: People are able to do that. We all have watched people that able to scale something really quickly and build something really cool. Often the story is one of like sustained effort over a long period of time. In order to do that I think you really have to believe in what you are doing because otherwise you’ll just burn out.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah money can’t be the goal, yeah you will totally burnout. If money is the goal then there is far easier way to make a living than building an audience, building a platform, gaining trust, gaining trust, building respect, earning credibility. All that kind of stuff takes time. It’s becoming increasingly a more and more crowded space. If money is the goal then I would say, “You know there might be an easier way to do this like get a job.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yes for sure.
Time Schmoyer: If it’s about passion and it’s about vision for something and it’s about reaching people in a way that you could never do as an employee somewhere, something like that. Then those are the people who will make it.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. It reminds me of this conversation. I met a lot of different that I knew that were entrepreneurs. It was maybe five or six years ago. I was interested in entrepreneurial things. I was like, “I got to meet with entrepreneurs and talk to them.”
I met with this guy who lives in the twin cities here and sat down with him with his son. I said, “What’s your advice for me because we are just getting started out with this, what are the things that you have to say to me as a young entrepreneur.” He is like, “Get a job. You go in at 9:00 you come home at 5:00. You can ride your bike at night with your wife. You cannot worry about health insurance and payroll.” It just took the wind out of my sails.
It was interesting because he was a successful entrepreneur coming to me and saying, just so you know like my advice to you is to get a job and to keep that. Which was you know looking it’s like maybe not the best advice, but interesting perspective.
Time Schmoyer: Every entrepreneur gets that perspective. We understand what he is saying. I’m not saying that we would throw in the towel and just give up, but yeah.
I think it’s the same reason why a lot of people maybe have problems selling. Because ultimately you need to sustain like your business’s mission with income otherwise you are going to quit and go get income somewhere.
I work with thousands of YouTube creators. One of the common things I hear is, “Well I don’t know, like I have this thing. I’m really passionate about it and I want to sell it to my audience, but I just don’t know if I can sell anything to them.” I’m like, “You must not really believe in this product then. Because if you really believe this would change people’s lives you would be like get this. Like guys you need this, this is going to change your world.” That would be the message that’s coming out.
We could probably summarize a lot of things down to what you believe about yourself. I think this is probably one of them.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah that’s great. I think that’s super insightful and a huge takeaway and high level, but I think a lot of the important stuff is that high level stuff.
To bring it back down to the ground level and to do a complete, kind of, flip on that it’s maybe a fork off of that. I’m interested to talk specifically about the creating an income from video side. One of the things that you had mentioned, you know I was looking one of the things that you do that you offer people is coaching. You will coach businesses or you will coach individuals.
You had talked about working with one company or maybe it was an individual that had started. Then it was like nine months later they were doing this as a full time job and creating a full time income from it. How does that happen with video? Was that just ads for them or do people work with brands. How are they able to grow so quickly? That’s a really short amount of time.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah and I worked with other creators that have done even more quickly. I have a client right now whom I’m working with who has gone from zero to, I forget the actual income numbers, but they are getting 5 million views a month like now. They just launched in like four months ago.
That’s a longer answer than you probably want. Let me try to boil it down. Is that there is some niches of the industry, some audience on YouTube that are one highly profitable from an ad perspective, because in the particular niche there is a lot of competition from advertisers. The CPM goes up higher than it would be in a family vlogging channel where you are getting the bottom of the barrel toothpaste ads and stuff on your content.
Bjork Ostrom: An example would be maybe something in the personal finance world where insurance or –
Time Schmoyer: Yeah finance, home improvement, gardening is a big one. Toys, kid’s toys is a huge one. That’s part of it. there is another part of it too where you find that there is a tremendous opportunity where there is a lot of ad competition going on, but there is a lot of content competition. In other words there is more demand than there is supply.
Bjork Ostrom: For sure.
Time Schmoyer: There is like hey there is a prime opportunity here to jump onto this niche, at this time and really dominate it. That requires some research and then that requires some skills to make content that serves that audience well. I’ve done that a few times and a few different people.
It’s not unheard to make, like in this example you saw that the guy went from zero, didn’t have a YouTube at all, within nine months he is making 15,000 a month from ad revenue. Today, just talking like last month or so, he is doing over a million dollars a year just from ad revenue.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s just ads before the video on YouTube?
Time Schmoyer: Yeah and –
Bjork Ostrom: For somebody like he is trading a video everyday or how often is he –
Time Schmoyer: He was doing three a day. Again, coming back to your original question, we put together a system that made that sustainable for him. Now his position was that he had just lost his job and had full time to give to this and was looking for a job. Now he’s no longer looking for a job.
At the time he was looking for a job and he is like, “While I am waiting, like I need to provide for my wife and kids.” He’s kids have some toys and so he did some research on which toys are the best on YouTube and made this videos that were just all one take of him just playing with toys, just his hands and his voice. Didn’t show his face or anything, just one take, 10 minute videos of him playing with toys.
Bjork Ostrom: Essentially reviewing different toys.
Time Schmoyer: Not reviewing just playing it.
Bjork Ostrom: Oh that’s so fascinating.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah. He would just be like make-up voice for each of the toys. They would play together and then he would make this little story.
Bjork Ostrom: What, that’s so awesome.
Time Schmoyer: He would just be like a kid, a big kid, but he was just being a kid. That blew up for him. He did quite well. Now he does all of this big deals with big brands and is at all these big toy events and things like that around the country so.
Bjork Ostrom: Just out of curiosity, is the idea that kids will watch them or like parents will queue-up a playlist then they will watch it almost as a cartoon?
Time Schmoyer: It’s actually really sad what’s happening. It’s mostly parents who are like, “Get out of my hair.” They throw them an iPad. The kids open up YouTube and they just see a really bright big colorful thumbnail and they just tap it. Most of them are too young to even know how to read. They are really not looking at titles. They are just tapping thumbnails.
Then those who are taping out comments, not all of them, but a lot of them are like, “Man I wish my dad would play with me like this.” It’s like, oh no.
Bjork Ostrom: Which reveals kind of just reveals the shadow side, yeah.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, so he’s actually, kind of, unfortunately become a surrogate dad to a lot of kids who don’t have dads or do but they are busy with work to spend time playing with toys, with their sons and their daughters.
Bjork Ostrom: That, kind of, breaks your heart a little bit, doesn’t it?
Time Schmoyer: Oh I know. I did not see that coming when we went into it. That’s unfortunately not uncommon for that niche on YouTube. That’s how he did it. There is a lot of ways to do it too. I mean I have substantially fewer views than he does and I’m doing okay, but I have a totally different business model. There is not just one way to accomplish what you want to do. It’s just that, you just need to start a business model to kind of support whatever it is your goal is.
Bjork Ostrom: I will say this, let’s say it’s an individual content creator, somebody that is maybe trying to maintain their blog, publish for SOPs in this case or it could be anything again DIY, fashion. Is it possible for somebody as an individual content creator to let’s say in 40 hours a week to do all of this on their own while still building a following? Do you think that people have to get to the point where they have some type of team that they are working with?
Time Schmoyer: We are quickly entering the age of small teams. It is still possible to do it as a man show. There are several people who do it. Several friends of mine do, but that is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s mostly due to the higher level of expectations that people have for their content due to the more and more saturated the internet becomes with content. You got to stay a step above the rest as far as the value you are providing and how you provide it.
Also there is more and more opportunity. That’s when I started hiring, is I started realizing that there is a lot of opportunities I’m missing just because I’m spending so much time editing.
Bjork Ostrom: You as a bottleneck yeah.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah. I mean when I first hired, it was actually my accountant. That was like a no brainer because I just wanted to be the creative guy who makes stuff. The accountant, that one easy.
The second one, that was someone who actually worked for me and that was my first editor that I hired. My plan was, “I’m going to hire you. I’m going to set aside $3,000 for you to do my videos for this set period of time. My goal was with the time you free up, I need to go make $9,000. I need to make at least three times more.”
I did that, I set aside 3 grand. I did the normal on boarding which you can expect it will take you way more of your time for the first few months than if you just did it yourself, but you got to see the long term big picture in it. I did that and within three months I made $20,000 instead of 9,000 with the plan. I’m like, “Wow there is so much opportunity that I’m missing.” I was just stuck behind my keyboard editing.
That’s when started making sense for me like, “Okay I’m going to hire a team. We are going to have a plan for what I’m going to do with that time that will bring in additional revenue to support not only them, but also my family and the time that I’m giving to this.”
It’s a lot of pressure to have people on payroll because you got to provide for your family and other peoples families. It can also be one of the … Like in my case now, I have so much more freedom that I had before to be with my family. My family needs put them first.
Bjork Ostrom: To live life essentially.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah going down to Texas for a few days with my son. We are taking a trip together and I can do that because other people will continue to keep things moving.
Bjork Ostrom: Where do you find an editor? Is it somebody local or do you go online, Upwork? Where are the different places that people can find quality editors?
Time Schmoyer: It depends on what you need. There is three places I usually do this. One is I usually start by asking, like just posting on Facebook and asking friends and family for a recommendation.
I found that usually people who know you and what you are up to, they kind of sometimes know. I usually do a better job of explaining than I need to, but this is what I’m looking and I’ll post a link to an Evernote document or something that has an outline of some brief skills. Not just skills, but more like character qualities of the type of person I’m looking for. I’m interested in something that works well with me and my team than I am in someone who just has some skills, but I don’t get along with.
I start there then I’ll go to local Craigslist and look around in there for a little bit, then after that I got to Upwork. I have hired people through all three of those.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s like the circles, so you go with your closest circle, your friends and family. If you can’t anything there, it’s like going out a little bit. Maybe it’s local. People around the area, Craigslist, things like that. Then maybe it’s going one more circle which would be contracted work on a site like Upwork, which makes sense, cool.
We are coming to the end here, but one of the questions that I always love to end with is to hear people kind of reflect back. We can go back to that March 2nd 2006 date because we have that concrete date. If you were to go back and you were to have a conversation with yourself on let’s say March 1st knowing that the next day you would be publish this view and starting this, kind of, journey this video content creation career. What advice would you give yourself?
Time Schmoyer: Shoot, so many. Can I just rattle off a bunch like on the way?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah please.
Time Schmoyer: Okay, one is do a better job at networking. You need people. You need relationships. You can’t just do this on your own. I wish I had done more of that back in the beginning. Also have more confidence in the value that you are delivering and the differences you are trying to make in people’s lives. Another one is be more consistent with your content. Don’t be sporadic in publishing at random times and places, well not places but random times and dates.
Consistency, that would have been huge for me, if I had stuck to that for the first few years better. I probably would also tell myself that you need to get over yourself consciousness. You are eventually going to get over it anyway, so do it now.
Bjork Ostrom: Just get it out of the way.
Time Schmoyer: Don’t take so long and just do it. I probably would have told myself to take a camera with me to more places. Especially if you are doing vlogging stuff out in public its really uncomfortable when you first do it in the beginning and you feel like everyone is starting at you, everyone is watching you, but no one is. Most of the time you just tell them like, “Oh yeah I’m doing this for YouTube.” They are like, “Oh cool can I be in it.”
I missed so many opportunities that I would have loved to have on film now with my wife and I when we were dating. When we were first married, with our kids and everything that … We have a lot of moments, don’t get me wrong we have like 1300 video of our family from the past 10 years. That’s a lot, but there are some moments I’m like, “Man that would have been cool to capture.” Even if not to share, just so have.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great and it’s such an interesting angle at the value of the work that it’s not just building a business, but it’s such a unique space. Lindsey talks about this with the post that she published, but it’s a little bit of a journal.
There is value internally with creating this online journal for your family that you can look back on. Then your grand kids and their kids will be able to look back on and it’s such a unique period of time that we are in that we are able to do that and leave this, kind of digital, which is overwhelming and amazing all at the same time.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah and next trick is to get your grandkids to care.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah that’s like they can watch it, but will they probably?
Time Schmoyer: Like wow dad that was really … You get to [inaudible 00:59:15] and maybe even narcissistic of you. For you to assume that I would care about.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah that’s totally valid.
Time Schmoyer: Yeah, but that depends on how you raise your kids. Its’ not about you, but like, “Hey this is our family story. This is where you come from. This is your background. This is what you are rooted in. this is what it means to be a Schmoyer. Here let me show you a time when I was struggling and what that meant.” Because they are married, well they will, they have times when they struggle in their married. I’m like, “Hey you mom and I actually made a video about a time when we were struggling in our marriage. I will show it to you.”
Rather than just trying to remember, like have all those moments like marriage struggles, miscarriages. We had a miscarriage in the midst of six kids, ages six and under, so like all that. Hopefully we can just use that to show our kids.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome, cool and what a great note to end on. Last thing Tim where can people follow along with what you are doing, learn more about being a video creator, get tips and tricks from you? Where are the best places to find you?
Time Schmoyer: You find me at YouTube.com/videocreators, that’s where I publish all the YouTube training. It helps you master the platform of YouTube and use it as a platform to spread messages that change lives. Then videocreators.com is where I have all my trainings and premium trainings and courses and stuff.
Bjork Ostrom: Cool, that’s awesome. Tim thanks so much for coming on the podcast today, really appreciate it.
Time Schmoyer: Thanks for having me.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah its fun. All right that is a wrap for episode number 50, five zero. Can you believe it we’ve made it almost one year? We’ve done a podcast episode every single week and at number 50 I wanted to take a moment to thank 50 people. No, I’m just kidding, I’m not going to thank 50 people, but I am going to thank a few people. The interviewees that we’ve had on, really appreciate you coming onto the podcast, sharing your insight and the tips and tricks that you’ve learned.
I know myself, a podcast that I’ve listened to and also these ones that I have recorded have been one of the most influential ways that I have helped to move forward in the goals I want to achieve and in figuring things out and just processing all of the stuff that we have process as we build things online. Thank you to the people that have come on and interviewed.
Thank you to you wherever you are listening. Needless to say we wouldn’t be doing this if nobody listened. If you listened thank you because it helps us to continue to do this, to continue to record this podcast episodes and to make it a fun engaging thing. Then last I want to say a thank you to Raquel, Food Blogger Pro Team member Raquel. You have maybe interacted with her on the blog. Maybe if you are a member you have seen her on the forms as we have exchanged messages via chat.
Raquel does all the behind the scenes work for the episodes. If you ever get a chance to interact with her and you’ve enjoyed the podcast be sure to say thank you to her. Raquel you are going to listening to this while you are editing it and you can leave in this in, but I just want to say thank you for all the work that you have done.
Excited to continue doing these podcast episodes, excited for the next 50. I can’t wait to share with you the episode next week. Until then, make it a great week. Thanks guys.