Listen to this episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast using the player above or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.
Welcome to episode 259 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, Bjork interviews Beth Le Manach about effectively creating and sharing content on YouTube.
Last week on the podcast, Bjork chatted with Julia Coney about wine, race, and Netflix’s “Uncorked.” To go back and listen to that episode, click here.
Keep Showing Up
Do you know how to create engaging content on YouTube? Or how to make money from YouTube videos?
If not, you’re in luck! This week on the podcast, we’re talking to the talented Beth Le Manach from Entertaining with Beth about creating YouTube content and getting more views.
If you want to start creating YouTube videos, or maybe you already post on YouTube and want to level-up your channel, we think you’ll learn a lot from this episode. But even if you’re not interested in YouTube, her advice about remembering the purpose of your content is a great reminder for everyone.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How podcasts were influential to Beth
- Where Beth creates content
- How Beth decided to create YouTube videos
- Where she earns her money
- How she produces content now that she’s not working with a video crew
- How to overcome the fear of negative comments
- What kinds of videos perform best on YouTube
- Why watch time is important on YouTube
- How to create content for your super fans
- How to get YouTube to suggest specific videos
- How to generate revenue on YouTube
- Entertaining with Beth
- 010: Working with Brands on YouTube with Beth Le Manach from Entertaining with Beth
- Kin Community
- The War of Art
- Amazon Influencer Program
- Follow Beth on YouTube and Instagram
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].
Transcript (click to expand):
Alexa Peduzzi: Hello. Hello. Hello. Alexa here, and you are listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Thanks for tuning in today. Today’s episode is a really exciting one. Today we’re interviewing Beth from Entertaining with Beth. Among other things, she talks about YouTube and finding success on YouTube. I don’t know about you, but for me, YouTube is definitely one of those social media platforms such as like a black box. I watch a lot of YouTube content, to be completely honest with you, but I just don’t really know how it works or how to be successful on YouTube. Other social media platforms are relatively simple to figure out, like Instagram, you post a picture, you use some hashtags, you connect and engage with other accounts, but YouTube is a whole different beast. Beth has the YouTube beast figured out.
Alexa Peduzzi: In today’s episode, she’ll share some information about how you can create engaging content on YouTube, how she’s found out that she can triple her revenue on YouTube and how to get YouTube to suggest specific videos when she wants to promote those specific videos. She’s just so excited about the type of content that she creates, and I hope that this episode will make you excited about, potentially, either leveling up your game on YouTube or just starting to post content on YouTube. It’s a really great interview. We hope you enjoy it. Without any further ado, Bjork, take it away.
Bjork Ostrom: Beth, welcome back to the podcast.
Alexa Peduzzi: Thank you so much. It’s so good to be here with you, Bjork.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. One of the things I love doing whenever we have somebody who’s coming back on the podcast is, thinking back to first time that we connected, the first time that we talked. You were almost a single digit number podcast interview. You were episode 10, one of the very early episodes in 2015. September 2015 is actually a new publish stat. It was within the first few months of us doing a podcast. We’re still doing podcasts, you’re still building your brand working on producing content, but my guess is, a lot has happened since we had that first conversation back in 2015. Can you rewind the tape? Usually what we do is, we ask people to go all the way back, but because we’re able to pick that pick up here… and if people want to listen to your entire story, they can hear that in that episode, episode 10. You go to foodbloggerpro.com/10. But catch us up, Beth, what’s happened in the last five years in your world?
Beth Le Manach: Oh my gosh, so much, and so much thanks to you, Bjork. I have to actually say, after I was on your podcast, you introduced me to a whole world of podcasts.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome.
Beth Le Manach: I started listening to every episode you produce after that.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s grassroots marketing for us, where the people we interview become listeners, and if we do that enough.
Beth Le Manach: Totally, totally, but it really helped me turn my little, what at the time was probably a bit of an art project, into a business and helped me because I think at the time I was still working for a media company called Kin Community. I was running their production and programming department and producing for this YouTube channel at the same time. That was a little bit crazy. I mean, I was working like 50 hour weeks, two hour commute. I have two kids. I think the moment when I got home and my husband was there serving our daughters cereal and fish sticks for dinner, I was thinking, “I can’t keep doing this.” Thanks to you and your podcast, I kept listening and I kept optimizing the business and learned all about this whole other world of blogging, which I didn’t know, because I was spending all this time in video and YouTube, and was able to turn that into a very significant part of my business too.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome.
Beth Le Manach: I think the biggest change has been that, has been the ability to quit the full time job. That’s been the best thing.
Bjork Ostrom: Well, congratulations. That’s so great.
Beth Le Manach: Thank you.
Bjork Ostrom: We were talking about this beforehand, but it’s a very long story that maybe I’ll tell him the podcast sometime, and I will connect this back in some way, but you’ll have to wait for the payoff. I was going to see this physical trainer, this doctor, the guy that I work with to do physical training, the personal trainer that we have introduced me to, and I didn’t know, but going into it, realized that he works almost exclusively with professional athletes. The only reason that I got in was because I had an in through this friend/personal trainer who goes to him because he’s this extreme obstacle course race guy. I get in there and it’s like, “I’m definitely not a professional athlete.” I joke that I’m a professional keyboardist, but after me comes in this a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and it’s like, “Oh my gosh, these are incredible athletes.”
Bjork Ostrom: What I’ve found about that was suddenly I found myself wanting… just even today, I’ve been thinking about it, suddenly I want to be more athletic. I want to work out. I want to achieve a certain level of athleticism just by associating with those people in this very short window. Here’s the payoff and where the question lives, do you feel like in listening to the podcast and hearing interviews with people who were building successful brands or figuring out how to monetize from a blog or building a business in a certain category, were there actual tips and tricks and things that you implemented, or was it more of much like me being a professional wide receiver for the NFL suddenly saying, “Oh, I’m close to this. I can see this. I can see this person doing it. Therefore, I want to do it.” How much of it was the tactical and how much of it was hearing people, hearing their voice, understanding that it could be done and being inspired from that?
Beth Le Manach: I think it’s 50/50. I think you’re always inspired first. To be perfectly honest, it was a little bit overwhelming in the beginning, just knowing about blogging and SEO and Pinterest and all these different things that you had introduced me to. I kept thinking, “How am I going to wrap my head around all of this,” but then hearing success stories of people who did and knowing that if it’s possible for them, it must be possible for me. Everything you can, at some point, figure out and spend enough time to learn. I think that’s what has been so great for me is having someone like you show me the way and be such a great teacher, and just little by little knocking things off the list of the things I had to do to make it happen. Yeah, but I think being-
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. I appreciate that.
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. For sure.
Bjork Ostrom: Obviously a lot of hard work. Maybe to draw the analogy to personal training, it’s one thing for somebody to say, “Here’s what you do,” but it’s not successful unless you are actually doing it, which is really, really difficult, especially as you’re navigating full time job, family. What were the things along that journey, when you look back, that were most impactful? Lindsay and I talk about it as unlocks, like the things that unlocked a new level, or you’re able to upgrade or a new level of achievement. It might’ve been a mindset thing, but maybe it was actually a tactical implementation thing. As you look back in the last five years, as you made that transition, could you highlight any of those?
Beth Le Manach: I really think the turning point for me was reading that book, and I know you’ve read it too because I think I even heard you recommend it, is The War of Art. Is that the right title?
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, for sure.
Beth Le Manach: But yeah. And just showing up and doing the work. At some point, you can dream yourself away, but until you sit down at your seat, the computer, and just say, “Yeah, this is hard, but I just got to do the work.” That’s when things really shifted for me, because I think we do get into that paralysis analysis, but we’re like, “Well, should I do this and try and do that? Well, I got to take this e-course. Well, wait, I got to take the webinar. Oh, wait, I got to sign up for this.” You can start getting yourself in such a ladder, trying to learn everything that you don’t just sit down and do the top three things you have to accomplish for the day.
Beth Le Manach: That was another thing, just, “I have 25 things on my to do list, but you know what, today I’m doing these three and I am not getting out of this chair until I do these three things,” and just keeping your eye on the prize really helps.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome. Steven Pressfield is the author. He writes the book aimed at creatives in general, but talks a lot about writing and what that’s been like for him. He wrote the book, The legend of Bagger Vance, which was a movie that Will… I was going to say Will Ferrell, Will Smith… two very different actors, Will Smith starred in about… it was a golf movie. But anyway, so he’s written fiction, but then he wrote this nonfiction book and he’s written some other ones about what it’s like to show up as a creative every day. I think it breaks apart some of the myth around it as this thing where you show up and you feel inspiration and you only create when you’re inspired and says more like, “Hey, it’s a grind and you’re not going to want to do it, but you have to sit down and you have to start and it doesn’t always feel good and there’s going to be things pulling you away from it.”
Bjork Ostrom: That grit that you need, which I hear you talking a little bit about, is so important to show up and to do it. The other interesting thing, as you reflect on the last five years on making that transition, doing it full time, is this idea of introducing another element, another outlet as you think of yourself as a creator, not just on YouTube, but also with your blog. What did that look like to start to look at… almost like syndication of sorts, where you have your YouTube channel, but that’s not the only place where you’re creating content, you’re also creating in other places. Is that a fair synopsis of what that transition was like?
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. I mean, I think the real aha moment was going to a food blogging conference, and the bloggers who were at my table were very friendly and chatty, and I really felt like such a fish out of water. I was like, “Wow, I didn’t even realize all these people are making some pretty significant money from this more so than I ever saw on YouTube.” They’ve all lifted me. A lot of these bloggers also had YouTube channels as well. They started laughing. They’re like, “Beth, YouTube is a nice to have, but the blog is where you all the money is.” I’m like, “Really?” I was so inspired. I was like, “Wow. I feel like I picked the hardest thing first video,” just because video is so hard emotionally in a lot of ways, which we can get into that, and technically. There’s a lot of things around video that make it hard. Not that blogging isn’t like. I think where blogging is hard as learning all the technical and tactical skills.
Beth Le Manach: But after three days at this conference, I was like, “Oh my gosh. Okay, I totally know what I need to do now.” Then realizing that you just have to follow the money. The amount of time that you put into something has to correspond with what the ROI is. I realized like, “Okay, 60% of my time still needs to be on YouTube because that’s where most of the money is coming from. But the potential for blogging, I need to start putting 40% there and not 100% just on YouTube because I can see that really paying off,” and it has.
Bjork Ostrom: Did you see that play out in a way that you thought it would?
Beth Le Manach: More, actually, and quicker than I thought it would. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons why I think that is, but I think… well, I think doing the work. I think getting the site on it and doing all the SEO optimizations and taking a few courses here and there and going to conferences and being part of Facebook groups and constantly learning. I think that’s one of the things with this industry is. You can’t learn it all and then decide, “Okay, I’m done now. I’m just going to go run my business.” You have to allocate a certain amount of hours really in the week, and maybe a course or two each quarter, to continue learning because things change so often.
Beth Le Manach: I think if you’re willing to evolve with the changes, even if you may not like the changes… and algorithm shifts happen and all this other kind of stuff happens, but you have to stay on top of it if you want to continue to grow and earn a living from it.
Bjork Ostrom: If you had a pie chart and you were to look at that right now, what does that look like in terms of your business, percentage-wise, revenue from YouTube versus ads from your site versus sponsored? I’d be interested in sponsored; YouTube and then sponsored blog if that’s something that you are doing.
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. The thing that’s crazy about this is there’s so many places you can earn money right now, digitally, that you could be chasing every rabbit in the field. I’m a one man band, so I don’t have the awesome husband, wife team or people who have another… it’s just me, and I’m doing it all. I’m shooting the videos and editing the videos, I’m writing the blog posts, and developing the recipe, so there’s only so many places I can be. Right now I decided that there are three main places that I earn the most revenue from and that’s where I will be spending most time. That would be; a third of it is YouTube, a third of it is the blog and the other third is Amazon. It’s Amazon affiliate, but it’s also Amazon video, which I am now able to earn income from.
Beth Le Manach: It’s going to be released, I think a little bit wider soon, but right now I’m in a beta where you can earn money off the videos that you upload to Amazon and the products you’ve tagged. If people watch your video and then end up buying anything within a 24 hour period in the common kitchen category, you get a percentage of. It’s less than affiliate because it’s on Amazon marketing, but it’s significant, it adds up. I am spending a lot more time now.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s interesting. This is a macro analysis of Amazon affiliate, but you see a shift happening where Amazon is pulling back the affiliate percentages you can earn as an affiliate who refers people from your site to Amazon. People who are really invested in the Amazon ecosystem know those percentages are consistently going down. If before you could get… I don’t know what the percentages are, but like 4% if somebody bought a certain pan. Now it’s like 1% or something like that. These numbers are going way down and the thought is that Amazon is doing whatever they can to shift people to going to Amazon as the place where they do an analysis of what product to buy and to do product comparisons.
Bjork Ostrom: What you’re saying makes a lot of sense, where Amazon is switching and starting to maybe move some of those dollars to incentivize people to create content on Amazon. Then also, in doing that, sharing some of that upside. What I hear you saying is like, “Hey, if you do a video, you put something together and in that video you mentioned a product or talk about a product that you use within that and somebody ends up buying something, not just that product, but something in that category, then you’re able to, as Amazon creator, get a percentage of that.” It sounds like it’s in the beta right now?
Beth Le Manach: Yes. That’s in the beta. It should be soon coming to most creators, especially if you have a influencer page. Have you seen those on Amazon where you can actually have your shop?
Bjork Ostrom: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. I started with that. I’ve been doing a lot of beta tests with Amazon over the years, I don’t know why. Somehow they got my email and we’ve been participating in things. I find it really fascinating for food creators because so much of what we do is tied to our favorite product a lot of the times, whether it be your favorite whiskey or your small appliance or this and that, and my videos have always just included that because I think it helps people succeed in making the recipe. When Amazon asked if I wanted to do the video beta, I was like, “Oh, I’ve got like 400 videos and I’m always talking about products, why not?”
Beth Le Manach: Then it also can sync up with your Amazon page or shop so you can put those same products in there, so that when I do something on social media like, “Oh, fabulous, fine, Friday,” something I love, and I can send people to the Amazon shop. I’ve found that there’s much more conversion that will happen when someone is dropped into a shop environment, because it has all of my point of view versus just an affiliate link. I try to send people to the shop as most as possible. I think it’s almost like a-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, it’s almost like a complimentary… it’s almost like you’d send somebody to your Instagram page where it’s a platform that you’re building, you have your own recommendations, you have curated products, and now also producing content on there. Is that something where you are producing video just for Amazon or are you producing videos and then putting them on Amazon as well, and how explicit do you have to be it being a product video versus a normal video that has a product?
Beth Le Manach: Yeah, totally. Well, I think what I figured out early on is that my programming strategy for video, because when I was hiring a crew, I had to really think about it because the crew would come and we would shoot four to five videos during that time. Those four to five videos, one had to be for SEO purposes, something that I knew was going to do well, because search is there, one is for the community. Things that people are really excited about, keep asking me to do, and I knew that it would be a community favorite, and one that was product focused, which I knew that I could use on YouTube, but I could also use on Amazon. I wasn’t doing it exclusively for Amazon, but it was definitely part of the strategy to have something that would work for Amazon.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It’s great. You hinted at this, you said, “When I had a crew coming,” obviously we are in very different season where being in close proximity to people in indoor setting is not encouraged, and so you’ve had to shift a little bit, my guess is, and we’ve talked about this a little bit. Can you talk about what that’s been like knowing that video is a really important piece of what you do? When you look at your history, it’s the way that you got started, the way a lot of people know you and knew you in a way where you had video that was you speaking to the camera professionally produced, there was a crew there you could tell, it was really well done, and then suddenly you can’t have people come to your house anymore to shoot these videos. What was that like to make that transition?
Beth Le Manach: Well, at first I was in denial a little bit, probably like all of us. The first two weeks of the quarantine, we were like, “Oh, this is interesting.” It’s felt like a big snow day, right? “Oh, we’ll just wait this out and see how it goes.” Then in one thing to it, I was like, “This isn’t going to get better really soon. I better figure this out because my whole business is tied to producing videos and what am I going to do?” Back in the day, I had spent a little bit of time producing my own videos and never wanted to go back to that because it was such a painful experience. I still look at some of those videos that are still on YouTube and I cringe a little bit, I think probably because I come from a video background.
Beth Le Manach: Even before all of this digital stuff, I produced lifestyle content for the Scripps Network, HGTV, Food Network, Fine Living. I always had this bent for video quality, so it would really bug me if something didn’t look good or didn’t sound good, especially if I was the one creating it, it was even worse. I was like, “Oh, I don’t want to do that.” But I realized if I was going to continue with this business, I could either show up or give up, and I wasn’t ready to give up. I had worked too hard on this and the following was still there. I just figured out a way of like, “How can I do this? How can I actually shoot this myself? And would people still watch it?” I think that was the big question, is like… I think that’s what’s so about YouTube is, it will confirm or deny your worst suspicions or best hopes because it’s so vocal, it’s such a vocal platform.
Bjork Ostrom: What does that look like? Is that through comments, through stats? Yeah.
Beth Le Manach: Both, really. You really know within the first… I would say, two hours, if something is doing well or not. I think YouTube does a really great job of giving you metrics. They now have new Snapchat metrics that will tell you the first 24 hours, how things are trending based on how you typically do. You really can find out. But yeah, it’s the comments. I mean, people can either be really, really kind or really, really mean. I think that’s probably true of most social platforms now, but YouTube especially. I think YouTube is just really tell it like it is.
Bjork Ostrom: Why do you think that is. Is that the culture of-
Beth Le Manach: I don’t know.
Bjork Ostrom: … the platform?
Beth Le Manach: I think so. I think because it’s been around so long, it’s also really anonymous, so you can have a YouTube account, butterfly one, two, five and it’s not connected to your Facebook page. I don’t know. I don’t know, but it is. It’s very vocal. Luckily, I have been very lucky and have a very supportive community, but still it’s scary to get out there and throw something up there that’s a hot mess, which is what my first video looked like.
Bjork Ostrom: Do you have advice for people who… this is a little bit of a rabbit trail, but I think it’s important to follow… advice for people who that is their ultimate fear is putting something online where people can leave a comment and critique on anything from how they look to how they sound to what they’re talking about. How do you navigate that?
Beth Le Manach: I would just say that; a, it happens to everybody. It’s part of being initiated on YouTube. You have to know going into it that you will have some of the nicest, kindest things ever said about you and you will also have some of the meanest, almost awful things said about you, and it could happen in the same day. You know what I mean? Just know that that’s what’s going to happen. Then the other thing is, is because there are the blocking mechanisms, you can just block people, and it doesn’t happen often, but over the years it just happened where I’m like, “That’s super obnoxious,” and you just block somebody. I always think of that scene from the Wizard of Oz when… is it Glenda the Good Witch comes down and she has her little one and she has the evil witch and she says, “Be gone, you have no power here.” That’s what I think of, I’m like, “You have no power here. This is my channel that you’ve come into and you’re not invited anymore, so out you to go.” and that’s how I have to think about it.
Bjork Ostrom: That’s great. I would say, building off of that, if you are somebody who’s extremely sensitive to that and know that some of those things would bounce around in your head, maybe one of the best first hires to make is somebody to spend a couple of hours a week to filter through those and to make sure that the worst of those aren’t things that you see, because that stuff can be impactful in terms of having a longterm impact of how we think about ourselves or about the content that we create. Part of it is developing thick skin around that, which I think comes in time. I think your point to the statistics of it, regardless of who you are, what you do, how successful or capable you are, the statistics are percentage wise. There’s always going to be some of that.
Bjork Ostrom: Obviously that scales up and down, depending on what it is, and if you do something egregious, then chances are it is going to be higher, but it’ll just happen. But I think it’s also wise, especially when you’re first getting started, to allow yourself ample time for that thick skin to develop and not to jump into the weeds right away. You know that you want to produce quality content, you have a history with this, you hire a crew, they come in and then suddenly that’s taken away and you have to respond to that. What did that look like?
Beth Le Manach: It was really soul searching. You go through all the emotions, right? Where you’re like… you feel depressed, you feel sad, you’re like, “What am I going to do?” You feel stuck. Then you come around. At the same time this was all going on, my dog, our little puppy, fell off a garden bench and had to get emergency back surgery. I know, it was horrible. I know you’re a dog person, too-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, totally.
Beth Le Manach: … and so are we. They were like, “Well, no, he’s not going to walk again. There might be a 30% chance.” I’m like, “What? This dog is only three years old. How is this possible?” But he’s a biter. He’s a nippy little thing, not with us, but with most people. He’s such a fighter. This dog, lo and behold, just got himself up every day and kept trying to walk-
Bjork Ostrom: That’s awesome.
Beth Le Manach: … and ow he’s like a walking machine. Yeah. I was like, “If he could learn to walk again, surely, I can learn how to shoot a YouTube video.”
Bjork Ostrom: Your inspiration. Yeah.
Beth Le Manach: He was. He so was. It just hit me. It was like, “Okay, you can sit here and have your own little pity party, or you can pull up your sleeves like you’ve always done and figure it out.” I think it does show you and the world what you’re made of. We all have those moments in life, and that, I guess, was mine.
Bjork Ostrom: It was interesting, we talk about the idea of posting your first video or getting started with it and some of the hesitations that you have, how do you imagine that with that first video, that was the new way of you creating video, maybe had a little bit of that?
Beth Le Manach: Oh my gosh. It did, and it was so bad, Bjork. It was so bad. You go see it. It’s still there. It’s a grilled chicken three ways, or grilled chicken three meals or something. I had not figured out how to set the exposure settings on the camera. It was nuclearly bright, the whole thing, and I knew it, but there was nothing I could do to fix it. What was just interesting about it is, people didn’t really care. They were just like, “A plus for trying, and we’re glad you’re back. We didn’t want to lose you because you let the quality thing get in the way.” I think that’s what really underscored for me what YouTube is all about, which is, at the end of the day it’s not the high quality video, and the professional this and professional that that people are really tuning into. It’s the personalities and your unique point of view. No one can take that away from you. You just keep showing up and you can deliver that.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. One of the things that you said that I think was so impactful is “you” in YouTube, and you think about it and it’s like, “Oh, that’s really the heart and soul of YouTube, is you. It is the person.” You see that in regards to the channels that are most successful is, it’s very personality centric. I think it’s important to talk about that because for people who create food content, one of the types of content that has success on other platforms, or at least did in a season was this idea of hands and pans videos, which is almost the opposite of you. You don’t know who it is and it’s just focused on the recipe. Can you talk about the difference between one of those hands and pans videos and the success that might find on Facebook or Instagram or maybe a platform like TikTok, and then talk about YouTube and why YouTube is so different?
Beth Le Manach: Yes. I mean, I think what’s interesting about the hands and pans… and they do serve their purpose, it’s great to be scrolling through a feed and see that and get inspired and want to make the recipe, ut what’s missing from those types of videos is, there’s no real emotional connection to them. Once you’ve seen one hands and pans, it’s hard to really differentiate others. They all look the same at the end of the day, where I think with YouTube, you’re really putting yourself out there. It really is putting you on the tube, in all of your quirks, sense of humor, POV, all of it, and people are buying into that. While, yes, there’s a YouTube app and people just scroll through their uploads, they have a personal connection with you. When someone has subscribed to 200 YouTube channels and they see you and they like your personality, they’re going to click on that thumbnail first because they already feel invested.
Beth Le Manach: In a weird way, in a very on demand world, it’s almost the last fashion of appointment viewing because people will say, “Oh, it’s Saturday morning. I know Beth’s going to post her video on Saturday morning,” because I’ve always posted on Saturday morning. That is very hard to get, I think, in today’s world where we’re a score based society. To get somebody to actually go to a platform because they know you’re on it with a new video that day, half your marketing is done. They’ve already known that. I only think a personal connection can do that.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s a different version of what growing up was. Your favorite show coming on at a certain time and everybody gathering around to sit down and watch it, but maybe on a more individual level people knowing, “Hey, there’s going to be a piece of content that’s coming out this afternoon and I’m excited about that because this is a channel that I really like.” I can think about a podcast as maybe a similar example, where if you have a podcast… I have MacBreak weekly comes out on Tuesdays, and I know that there’s going to be one to two hours of conversation around the latest in Mac and Apple world. That’s just something that I know, it happens on a schedule.
Bjork Ostrom: The other thing that’s interesting and maybe a little bit different with YouTube versus a hand and pans video on Instagram is length. Would you say in general that longer is better on YouTube, as long as it’s engaging the entire time?
Beth Le Manach: Yes, that’s exactly right. That is a really a new shift, I think, that we’ve seen on YouTube. I think when I started, you could get away with three to five minute videos. There was a world where hands and pans worked on YouTube, and I understand why people are doing it. I do understand making these videos that they can then put on their blog, they don’t really want to put themselves out there, but my feeling is, if you’re going to go through the pain and suffering of creating video… and we all know there’s pain and suffering, you might as well attract a new audience on YouTube. It may as well work for YouTube. You can always cut that video down into hands and pans if that’s what you ultimately want for your blog, but for YouTube now, you really need to have a 10 minute video plus, I think.
Beth Le Manach: But that you will get a great return on that for a couple of reasons. One, you are paying into more watch time for your channel. Not necessarily completion rate, but watch time. This is a new metric that YouTube has really prioritized over the last few years, which is, if you post a video that’s five minutes long and you get a 50% completion rate… so you have people watching two minutes and 30 seconds, you’ve clocked two minutes and 30 seconds of watch time. If you post a 10 minute video and people only watch it 50% of the time, you’ve clocked five minutes of watch time. It’s the higher amount of watch time that YouTube likes and will surface more of your videos in suggested and in all these other promotional places on YouTube that you are not getting audience. Exposing your video to new audiences that allows you to grow. That would be number one, is longer videos can help you grow on YouTube, but you have to keep their attention.
Beth Le Manach: You can’t go on there and be like, “Okay, I’m going to read from this cookbook now and get my 10 minute video.” You have to have the engagement because there’s hundreds of algorithms on YouTube, but engagement is one of them. It’s that balance of like, “What can I do for 10 minutes that’s going to keep people’s attention that they’re going to comment on it, they’re going to like it, they’re going to share, they’re going to put in a playlist?” And you’ll do all those signals that YouTube says, “Oh, this is a quality video.”
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. It makes sense when you think of… if you had a one minute video, you’d have to have people watch 10 of those to equal the same amount of attention given to one 10 minute video. If somebody does watch a one minute video all the way through but then they also watch a five minute video all the way through, that five minute video is going to be much more valuable. It’s five times more valuable for YouTube because not only are they running ads against that, they want people to stick around, they want people to continue to use the platform. That makes sense, but then the question becomes, how do you create engaging content? What does that look like and what are the things that you need to be aware of from a content creation perspective?
Beth Le Manach: For sure. One other thing… we’ll get to that in a second, but one other thing that I want to also point out is, yes, a 10 minute video takes a lot more time to shoot and to edit, but you can triple your revenue from a 10 minute video because once you hit that 10 minute threshold, it clicks in that you can now put three pre-roll, three ads. You can do a pre roll, you can do a mid roll, and you can do a post roll. When I’ve looked at my analytics over the last few weeks when I’ve been doing longer videos, because shooting them myself, I can do longer videos because it’s not costing me any money, I don’t have to get four videos out of the shoot day, I’ve tripled the revenue. Even though I’ve gotten the same amount of views, because I’ve had three ad placement, I’ve made three times the amount of money. You say you make more on that.
Bjork Ostrom: With YouTube, are you picking when you want those ads to play or how many you want or is that just a general like, no ads, medium ads, lots of ads. How does that work in terms of deciding how many ads you’re playing?
Beth Le Manach: For sure. You can totally pick it. If your video is 10 minutes, then it’ll allow you that the box opens up and then you can check it for mid roll. If your video is not, you can’t. They are limited in that sense. You can manually insert them. Or what I do is, I let YouTube insert them based on viewer behavior. I think that’s actually better. The funny thing is, unlike a blog where people will complain about like, “Oh my God, there’s too many ads,” on YouTube people don’t. I’ve never seen it for that length of video because they’re wired to television. That’s how television is. You watch for a little bit, you get an ad, it’s different.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. Yep. That makes sense. Idea being, you’re creating this content, this content is longer, and longer engaging content is going to be prioritized by YouTube and you’re also able to include more ads on that. When people go into it, if they’re used to creating these hands and pans videos, maybe have a little bit of a formula for it, you have to blow that formula up and rebuild it in a way where now you have 10 to 15 minutes of time to fill about something that you were previously communicating to varying degrees of success within a minute. How do you expand that or what are the additional valuable things that you should include in a video?
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. You can do it a couple of different ways. I usually use a few of these tactics in each video. Tactic number one, the easiest, is to do recipes that might have more components to it. If you just do a blueberry muffin, you’re probably not going to get a 10 minute video. But if you do a blueberry muffin with three different toppings, then that suddenly takes that one idea, and then you’re doing a crumb topping and then maybe you’re doing almond crunch or an oatmeal, or maybe you’re then doing a vegan muffin. You can do one recipe three ways. That’s one way to do it.
Beth Le Manach: Another way to do it is to inject personal stories and personality into a video in a way that is teaching people things but is also entertaining. If you’re stirring something and you say, “Well, you want to reduce these mangoes down,” because people will know that they’re not missing anything, there’s just stirring going on, that’s a great time to say, “The first time I peeled a mango or here’s how you cut a mango.” Some personal thing that starts to engage people with your story, with who you are as a person, so that over time when they watch enough videos and you bring up that mango story again, they’re already in on the joke.
Beth Le Manach: There’s something really powerful about being part of someone’s tribe in that way, that you’re always in on the joke. That’s another way to do it. Then the third way I would say would be to break down certain tips and things. If you’re making a beurre blanc sauce and then you show people how to do it, and then you can also say, “If you beurre blanc sauce breaks, here is how you fix it.” You’re not adding any new recipe content, so you don’t have to develop it, but you’re basically adding a tip that adds more time.
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah, and diving deep in certain areas. I think part of that-
Beth Le Manach: Diving deeper.
Bjork Ostrom: … comes down to… Which path you go down depends on what you feel most comfortable with and capable of. If you are somebody who is maybe more left brain and love the idea of providing clear guidelines and tips and advice around, let’s say, perfecting a certain recipe or a coffee or something, you can do that. But if you’re somebody who loves storytelling and can tell really engaging stories around a recipe, then you could do it in that way. Some reflection on who you are and how you create content and the way that you do that puff, I think would make sense there.
Bjork Ostrom: One of the things that you had mentioned that I think is so fascinating and so foreign to people who don’t use YouTube is this idea of getting exposure to your content. In the blogging world, we think of SEO and search optimization, and maybe Pinterest a little bit as well. But what does that formula look like on YouTube? You talk specifically about this idea of different rings. For me, as I read through that, I was like, “Oh, that makes sense.” But it was a different type of idea for getting exposure to content.
Beth Le Manach: Yes, exactly. I think that’s a bit of something that people have to get their head wrapped around in the beginning, they’ll think, “Oh, I have 10,000 subscribers on YouTube. When I post a video, all 10,000 people are being notified,” but that’s actually not how it’s working. I think a lot of platforms probably now work this way, where you have to earn your self, earn your way through the various rings. When you post a video on YouTube, the people who get the notification first are your super fans. These are the people that typically watch your videos every week, they comment, they’re subscribed, they put things in playlist. It goes to them first. If the video performs well in watch time, in completion rate, in shares, all the different metrics that you did looks for “Oh, this video is resonating,” then it goes to that second ring.
Beth Le Manach: This might be the people who then watch your videos occasionally, they may or may not be subscribed, and so on. Until you get to what I would call the brass ring, which is that ring of… they’re not exposing your subscribers, they’re exposing the YouTube audience as a whole, and that’s the brass ring or the gold ring, because then you’re getting new subscriptions, and this can be posting it on home page or in up next, or in related to a video that’s not one of yours. When I’ve had videos appear there and you can look at it, you can see it in your analytics, it’ll say “suggested.” If your suggested is, say, at 10%, and then suddenly it starts to climb to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60%, you’re going to see tremendous growth there because that’s all fresh eyeballs.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. It’s interesting. I feel like a good example of that is this YouTube channel that started to pop up in my feed a lot, and it’s become a joke now because whenever this person creates a new video, I send it to my friends, which I’m sure then they just continually show it, is the Saxsquatch, and it’s a guy dressed up in a Sasquatch suit playing the saxophone, cover bands. It feels like a fringe YouTube, but what’s funny is, there was at one point, for whatever reason, YouTube said, “Hey, I think you would like this video.” I feel like it’s the ultimate YouTube suggested video, and now it’s something that I’m seeing all the time, but there’s lots of other examples of that. What’s interesting about it is, it’s based on your personal watch history and the things that you have been interested in, which maybe speaks volumes to how I’m consuming casual YouTube content.
Bjork Ostrom: But then it’s also… what I hear you saying is the performance of that video based on those earlier rings for that account. If it proves to be successful with the inner rings, the followers, the super fans, the people who know it and are familiar with it, then YouTube says, “Hey, if we show this to other people, they might also stay engaged with this piece of content like these earlier rings did.” It sounds like that’s how you get at growth is you get outside of your immediate rings by producing, engaging, interesting content that people continue to watch, and then eventually get outside of that to people who haven’t searched for your content or they aren’t looking for it, but they come across it because it’s a suggested video. Is that right?
Beth Le Manach: That’s exactly right. Which is why it’s so important to play to that super fan audience, meaning, do the content that they want, create content that they’ve already loved, because if it’s going to resonate with them, it’s like those rings in the ocean when you drop a pebble, it’s just going to reverberate. If you create something that doesn’t resonate with them, then you’re not going to get that early engagement signals that’s going to send to YouTube to widely distribute it. That’s what makes it easy, is just listen to the audience.
Bjork Ostrom: What does that look like for you? As you think about paying attention to your audience, listening to your audience on YouTube, would be an example of how you do that and then fold that into your production in a weekly or monthly basis?
Beth Le Manach: Yes. I mean, the simplest way really is just to ask them. You can always do that. I’ve started doing that now that I’m shooting these videos myself, because I’m only shooting one a week, so the ramp up time is really small. I can basically say at the end of a video, “Okay, what do you guys want next week? I’ve got this really great pasta recipe or this really delicious Nutella ice cream. Tell me what you want.” Then everybody chimes in and that’s easy enough. I just did that. But the way that I used to do it, because I produced so far in advance… sometimes that wasn’t as easy because people don’t want to delay between when they request something and then two months later, you bring it, that’s a little frustrating, is to look at past success.
Beth Le Manach: This is my new little YouTube grills hack that I think is so valuable and I’ve seen it play out really well, which is, looking at your analytics for your top 10 videos, what was number one or number two a year from now? I did this around Christmas time with this puff pastry video that I produced. I could see that over the course of two or three years, every December, this video would spike and would just do really well. That’s the thing that YouTube is doing now that’s a little bit different is they will resurface old videos. This is a video that was a video that was four or five years old, but whatever reason, it was in my top 10, because they are now surfacing videos. It doesn’t have to be a new video. Chances are, if you look at your YouTube analytics, I bet half of the videos are all videos that continue to perform the best.
Beth Le Manach: I took this puff pastry video and I was like, “Okay, I’m going to produce a new puff pastry video, knowing that this one seems to do well.” I did that and put the new video as an End Card in the old video. As that old video is getting all of these new views on it, it’s now driving to the new video. Then the new video had the End Card driving to the old video.
Beth Le Manach: Basically what you try to do is create a reciprocal relationship between those two videos because you knew one was successful, but the new one is going to be successful. What that does for YouTube is it tells them, “Oh, people who watch video A then suddenly watched video B. We should suggest these videos to each other in up next.” I’ve done that and in two cases had a video reach over 100, 0000 views in just seven to 14 days, only because the old video was so successful, it was driving all of these views to new video, and they continue to do well because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Once YouTube has established that connection, it just keeps connecting them.
Bjork Ostrom: Got it. I’m going to recap here to see if I can understand that correctly.
Beth Le Manach: Sorry, it’s really in the weeds.
Bjork Ostrom: No, it’s great and it makes a lot of sense. With all of this, assuming the goal that YouTube is trying to accomplish is keeping people on the platform, which we’ll call watch time. As a creator, like you said, you want to think about creating longer videos, but another way that you can impact watch time is for people continuing to watch multiple videos of yours, and that being watched time. If they watch two, five-minute videos, that’s 10, two 10-minute videos, that 20. The idea is, you had a really popular video and what you did is, around the same season when that spiked, you created a related video, and then you put in an End Card on the old video that allowed people to click and play the new related video.
Bjork Ostrom: For those who aren’t familiar, End Card is just… essentially, it’s a little picture in picture ability to click and then see another video. Is that a good-
Beth Le Manach: Yep, that’s exactly right.
Bjork Ostrom: People would click on that and then they would watch the next video which was related. At the end of that one, you would put an End Card back to the old video. There’s this reciprocal relationship. But the interesting thing that you talked about was, it sounds like one of the things that happened was YouTube eventually saw that a lot of people watched that video by clicking on it and then started to autoplay it as a video that played right after they finished. Those are two different things. One somebody clicks on it and says, “I want to watch this video,” the second is, there’s an autoplay video once somebody’s done that just goes into the next video, like you’re watching Netflix or something, but on YouTube, they do a little countdown or something and then just start playing the video. That’s something that YouTube controls for the most part?
Beth Le Manach: Yes.
Bjork Ostrom: What you’re saying is, there was potential that that was connected, where they saw a lot of people were watching the old video, and so eventually they just said, “Hey, let’s just autoplay this as the next video,” is that right?
Beth Le Manach: Yes, exactly. You sort of force the connection and that ends up creating a lot more views because the secret in this strategy is, you have to see, “What’s the video that’s on fire?” Because the video that’s on fire is delivering so many views. That video was delivering… I think in the course of 28 days at Christmas, it was delivering its own 100,000 views. I want to get in front of those people for my new video because I want this new video to do equally well, and it did. But you have to pick the video that’s on fire.
Beth Le Manach: Sometimes if you miss the window… and I’ve had that happen, I did a healthy lunch box series on a video that had about 3 million views on it, and it was with a brand, and I said, “Oh, well, let’s do it in January because that’s when that video is on fire and it has been for the last few years,” but because it was with a brand, they dragged their feet, we couldn’t get this. Long story short, the video did not post until February, did not do half as well because we missed the window because the old video wasn’t on fire anymore.
Bjork Ostrom: It happened earlier than when it peaked, and so it didn’t work in the same way as the puff pastry. That makes sense. One of the things that was interesting was, at the beginning of the show, you had talked about how expanding beyond just YouTube was really helpful in regards to building the stability of the revenue for your business, but obviously YouTube still being a source for that. For people who want to fold YouTube into their business strategy, create some revenue around it, what is the best way to do that? Is it ads? Is it working with sponsors? What do you see right now in terms of a revenue creation from YouTube and the best way to do that?
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. I mean, it’s such a good question. I think there will always be brands who want to activate on YouTube. If your audience size warrants it, you can command a pretty good amount of money for that. I have seen those fees go down over the years just because there’s so much more choice now for advertisers on YouTube.
Beth Le Manach: Yeah, it’s become a little bit saturated, but it’s a great thing to add in conjunction with everything else, and that’s what I have actually done is I’ve just done one price. I don’t piecemeal it all out. I do one price, and with that, they get the YouTube video, the blog posts, the social amplification, the newsletter, they get everything and I don’t let them pick it all apart. I just say, “Here’s the one price and you get everything.”
Beth Le Manach: They see it as such added value because so many brands right now need content, and they need video content. Video content is hard for brands to do. What they can do on YouTube, which is a great service for them, is they can use your video and cut it down and run it as a pre roll. They can take like-minded channels or demographic or interests and run it across other channels and you have your video… and you’ve probably all seen that where it’s like, “Wait, this looks like a YouTube video, but it’s an ad.” Then you click on it if you’re interested in it, and then it’ll take you to the full length video. That can also-
Bjork Ostrom: Yeah. The idea with that is, a brand will pay somebody to create a video and then they’ll run a little pre-roll ad that will be in front… let’s say it’s a flower company, and they’ll run it in front of a another cookie recipe, but it’s just a cookie recipe itself, which you click on and then you can see that. But essentially it’s a way for them to do a certain level of grassroots-y type marketing, where they’re getting in front of other content that already exists to see the content that they’ve paid somebody else to produce.
Beth Le Manach: Right. In an environment that’s at home, do you know what I mean? It feels so much more organic to run an actual YouTube video as an ad as opposed to an ad before a YouTube video. They really like that and that seems to work well. I would just put a turn on it. Most brand deals like that. They can only do it for three months. Yeah.
Bjork Ostrom: Yep. That’s great. Beth, we’ve covered so much and I feel like there’s so much more. We can do two or three episodes-
Beth Le Manach: I know.
Bjork Ostrom: … with the amount of knowledge that you have and your enthusiasm and your ability to speak into these issues that is encouraging and exciting for people. If somebody is in the place where you were five, six, seven years ago, they’ve been doing this, they’re excited about it, but they need to make that leap, what have you learned along the way that you’d give as advice to them in how they can make that transition if they want to be doing this full time or even just want to level up a little bit, what were the things that would be most helpful, whether that be an encouraging word or on-the-ground tactical things or reading a book, maybe it’s The War of Art, they pick that up and read it. As we come to the end here and wrap up, what advice would you give to people who are along that journey with you, but maybe a little bit earlier?
Beth Le Manach: Yeah. I mean, I would say, look at what it is that you really love about food content. Everybody has their own unique point of view. For me, it’s always just been this sincere form of love when we cook for people. I realized that getting on video, I had to get beyond the “Oh, I don’t like the way my hair looks, I don’t like the way I talk, or Oh, I don’t like…” because I had to keep going back to why I was doing it, which was to get people to make their own memories in their own homes and create this nurturing, loving environment around food for their friends and family. When I’m feeling insecure or when I have to like, “Oh my gosh, now shoot my own videos,” it was that feeling of why I was doing it.
Beth Le Manach: I think really focusing on the “why” because that sees you through the uncomfortability of it and the insecurity when you can really focus on what the purpose is. Then the crazy thing is that you find other people that share in that purpose, and that’s where you get this really amazing community. When they come back and say, “I’m the first person in my family to go to college and I made your apple tart when I told them I got my acceptance letter, and now this is a tradition for us.” You’re like, “Okay, mission accomplished. That’s what I set out to do, and that’s what’s happening.” That’s a great feeling.
Bjork Ostrom: It’s such a great reminder that we can have these numbers or metrics or goals around business success or whether it’s building followers or fans or likes. I think those are good and those are helpful, but those will never be as fulfilling as having a clear “why” and working to accomplish that, and they’ll also never be as motivating. Inevitably, you will get to a certain level and then just want to be at the next level and it doesn’t really end. To embrace that “why” and have a clear understanding of the purpose behind it is such a good reminder.
Bjork Ostrom: My guess is there’s going to be some people who are interested in following along with what you do, seeing journey as you continue to produce video and following along with what you do. Beth, where’s the best way for people to connect with you online if they do want to follow along?
Beth Le Manach: Definitely on YouTube on Entertaining with Beth and Instagram, Entertaining with Beth. Those are usually the two places I check first for comments in the morning so those are good spots to find me.
Bjork Ostrom: Awesome. So great. Beth, so good to connect again and hear what you’ve been up to, and thanks for sharing some of the high level advice, insight, inspiration, and then also some of those cool tactical things that are happening on the ground right now. I really appreciate it.
Beth Le Manach: Absolutely. It’s always good to be with you, Bjork. Thank you so much for having me. Stay safe during these crazy times.
Bjork Ostrom: Okay. Yeah. See you too. Appreciate it.
Beth Le Manach: I’m saying… Okay. Take care. Bye-bye.
Alexa Peduzzi: And that’s a wrap for this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Again, thank you for tuning in and for making the show a part of your week today. I just loved this interview with Beth and I loved when she said that she was either going to show up and give up, and she’s worked too hard to give up. I think that’s just a really great reminder in life and in business and running a food blog, it’s easy to feel like you’re at a crossroads where you could either just give up and scrap your whole blog or keep going and pushing yourself. I just think Beth’s story and her experiences are just such a great reminder for when things get tough.
Alexa Peduzzi: We hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, you can leave us a comment on the show notes for this episode at foodbloggerpro.com/259. That will take you right to the show notes and you can check out some of the links that they mentioned in this episode, like the Saxsquatch YouTube channel that Bjork mentioned, along with some other resources that Beth mentioned in today’s episode, but that does it for us this week. We appreciate you. It’s just so awesome that you’re here. We love connecting with you in this format, and we’ll see you next week. Until then, make it a great week.
Great episode! I’m still in the relatively early stages of my blog and sticking to a plan to keep rolling out written content, but I definitely want to add video into the mix at some point soon. Beth gives me a lot of confidence to dive in when I’m ready!
YES!! That’s what we love to hear. Excited to see you dive into video, Alistair!