YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world with over 2 billion users logging in each month. Its algorithm has the power to make and break careers–and in a number of unique ways, it can help you create a hugely memorable brand and reach customers.
Sagi Shilo knows this well. In the last five years, he started Tech Gear Talk, where he’s amassed nearly 300,000 subscribers and over 20 million views. He’s a good friend of mine, a long-term business partner, and a mentor.
In today’s episode, Sagi returns to the podcast to talk about why so many entrepreneurs are missing the boat when it comes to building a presence on YouTube, what they should be thinking about, and the first steps to take to create a powerful brand of your very own.
Andrew Rafal: Welcome back, listeners, to a brand new episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. And today I am super excited to introduce you all back to the show a good friend of mine, long-term business partner, and a mentor. Sagi, welcome to the Your Wealth & Beyond Podcast. How’s it going this summer day for you?
Sagi Shilo: It’s going great. And thank you so much for having me again. It’s awesome. We talk all the time so I’m excited to get on this topic, do a deep dive, and yeah super excited.
Andrew Rafal: And the topic today, listeners, is going to center around YouTube and how you can use it as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, as a solopreneur, to build your brand and some of the things that Sagi has learned along the way through trials and tribulations. And now with building out a brand that probably five years ago you didn’t even think you would have called Tech Gear Talk, which you now have almost 300,000 subscribers. Is that correct?
Sagi Shilo: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you’re right on. I mean, five years ago, I had no idea.
Andrew Rafal: And over 20 million views or something ridiculous like that. So, blood, sweat, and tears. And so, part of that, listeners, we’re going to go through is some of the things you can start doing today to ensure that you’re taking advantage of YouTube, which is what, Sagi, the second most trafficked search engine out there, is that correct, behind Google?
Sagi Shilo: That’s exactly right. Yes. I mean, it’s the second largest search engine and it’s actually the second most visited website too. I mean, it’s unbelievable. They have over 2 billion monthly log-in, like users logging in, like 2 billion.
Andrew Rafal: That’s insane. And so, what do you think? Let’s start off with YouTube. Where are most people missing the boat? What do we got to start thinking about? And then we’ll take the steps of how to get there.
Sagi Shilo: Okay. So, well, I think most people are missing the boat because they either think their audience is not there or that it’s not going to be an effective way to reach or convert. But what I hear most of the time is like, “Well, my audience is not watching YouTube videos,” and that’s just simply not true when we look at the sample size of who’s there.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah. And we think about for all of us, listeners, once you start searching things on YouTube, one of the neat things about the algorithm is that if I find a video on Tech Gear Talk, hopefully, and we’ll talk about this of how you’ve built it where then hopefully another video of yours will show up but the algorithm will then bring in something that’s very similar to what you’re watching. So, if you can crack that code and figure out, “Okay. I have these people watching it because once you watch one video, I mean, the average engagement on YouTube is probably, I don’t know the stats, but I know myself once I’m on there, you kind of can go down this rabbit hole. Would you say that’s accurate in regards to what people are spending time on when they’re online and YouTube being one of the highest potential participation of people’s time?
Sagi Shilo: Yeah. I mean, absolutely. So, like video in general, I mean, first of all, because Google owns YouTube, if you just do a google search and you know that because we’ve gone through that exercise, if you just do a google search, you’re going to get video results as part of your results. So, Google is actively pushing and those are showing up above the actual organic website results a lot of the time. So, Google is actually pushing YouTube and promoting videos and from a discoverability standpoint, that’s a huge advantage. And if you’re specifically in a market where your competitors aren’t doing this, which is very likely because a lot of people, as we just started talking about, aren’t taking advantage of this, this is an opportunity to differentiate very quickly and effectively. So, like video in general, the whole idea of video marketing is to use video to promote your business and then to educate and grow your audience.
And if you compare video to written content, you need to ask yourself, as a viewer, do you want to sit for 10 minutes and read a long webpage, or do you want to listen to a three-minute video of someone presenting it for you? And even if you just put those side by side, you could see that a lot of people just rather hit play and sit there and have someone talk to them.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah. And it is sad that people are not reading anymore, but it’s facts. And it’s those too of getting to know you as a personality similar to podcasts but with a video, you’re able to engage even further and then tying in potentially like with the editing and things of that nature, they really can get to know you in that short period of time. And that’s what you’re looking for in anything like when you look back in your previous world but where you came from which is branding and SEO and website design. So, you figured out a long time ago that SEO is so critical and you started building web pages and content around that. Well, where did this transition happen? How did you figure out that YouTube was this next frontier? Where did that come from? And then how did you learn what worked for you going from one subscriber to 300,000? So, let’s learn about your journey first, and then we can dial it back for the audience so that they can learn how they can do it.
Sagi Shilo: So, I think what was interesting for me going to YouTube, so I do think there are parallels between web design and YouTube in general. And when we build a website, when we design a website, we’re looking at two different audiences. We have the algorithm or Google, let’s just call it Google, a search engine, and we’re looking at the actual visitor who’s the human being, who’s on the site. And when you develop a good website, it should satisfy both of those audiences, because if you don’t show up in search results, no one’s coming to your website. And if you show up in search results, but then the website doesn’t provide a good user experience or doesn’t convert the client, then it’s not being effective. So, that sort of mindset of that two-headed approach is what I did as soon as I started on YouTube. And you said it a little bit ago but there is a lot of failing. And I’ll come back to this but I know a lot of people are intimidated by YouTube and by the idea of making videos. If you go watch my first video, you can’t make a video that bad right now. If you just took your phone, point it at yourself, and record it, you literally cannot make a video that’s as bad as my first video, even if you tried. So, just take a deep breath. It’s not going to be that bad.
Andrew Rafal: But still you haven’t locked that out so we could put that in the show notes?
Sagi Shilo: Yes. I’ll put it there because and, you know, it’s part of the journey. So, I think another point that you made that’s super important and, again, I just want to hit it again, is that connection. If I go to your website and I’m watching your videos over and over and over again, by the time I make a decision to pick up the phone and call your business, I already know Andrew. I know what he sounds like. And when I’m talking to him now like we’ve made a connection versus a faceless new business that I’m calling out of the blue and that type of connection, you just can’t do with written content. Because when someone reads like you have blog posts and they’re great but when people read blog posts, they read them in their own voice, in their own head. It’s not like you’re reading it to them. So, when they’re watching you, even if you were communicating the exact same content, they’re making such a deeper connection with you.
And so, I mean, that’s a huge advantage of video over written content. And when I started out, so why YouTube? I mean, we already touched on the fact that it’s huge, right? And the audience is huge. And it’s with one piece of content, like realistically, if one of your videos ever goes viral, which is not necessarily the goal, but one video can change your entire business and that’s happening over and over again. And even though that’s not my approach, I don’t try to make viral content, I just try to provide value over and over and over and over and over and over again to make a connection with the viewer and then foster that connection moving forward if that makes sense.
Andrew Rafal: It totally does. And like going viral like so when you think about some of the videos that you went through, this first video and then you started figuring out, “Okay. This works. This doesn’t work,” what does that mean to the audience? We know what it means going viral but what does it mean on YouTube? What does that mean going viral? Are people sharing it or the more likes that happen on YouTube, the algorithm kicks into gear? What does that mean viral there versus on Instagram, which we know that can go viral because it gets shared a lot? Is that the same premise, people are sharing the video?
Sagi Shilo: So, there are different ways to get views on YouTube and there are different algorithms. I don’t want to go too deep into it but when you look at what YouTube wants, YouTube wants viewers to stay on the platform. They want to stay on the platform for as long as possible. So, for YouTube to consider a video successful, it should engage the viewer and keep them watching and then maybe get them to watch another video. So, I’m increasing sort of the view duration, a view session duration. And so, it’s very important, so as you make content and maybe we should sort of get to that, like how would you even start? What would be if you have a business already and you’re thinking of creating a YouTube channel, how would you even go about it?
Andrew Rafal: Yeah. Perfect. And that’s what I was going to ask you because blogging you go, “Okay. I could write it down.” But now maybe I’ve never been on camera before. I have no idea what’s going to work, how long it needs to be. So, when you talk about these blogs, do you almost have them take the blog that they just wrote and create a two or three-minute piece on that? Or what should they do to build content?
Sagi Shilo: You can. And I would say, okay, even before that, take a step back. And because a lot of people don’t even have a blog, right, like you’re a super-advanced user and Bayntree as an organization is very advanced with your podcast and your videos and your blog. So, what I would say to someone who’s starting out is, first, just define your audience. So, who is your target audience? Demographics, right? Age, gender, how much money do they make? Where do they live? And then also their psychographics, right? So, what are their attitudes, their interests, what do they like? And that’s going to give you and you’re essentially creating an avatar there of who you’re going to be talking to because one of the challenging things when you start recording is you’re sitting there looking at a camera and there’s no one else. You’re talking to a camera. So, it’s good to have this sort of image of who this person is that you’re talking to and give them a name if you need to.
And now you know that’ll help how you craft the video. Now, if you have an existing list of clients, if you’re an established business, well, you know who your clients are. You can look at your client list. You can see where they are in life, how old they are. All of those things you already know. And then what I would do, again because you’re just starting out, I would go and research maybe 10 or 20 channels on YouTube that are in the same niche as you. And pick the most successful ones and then start looking at the type of content that they’re making. And you can see what’s being successful so you can go to their video page. You can sort their videos by most popular and you’ll see which videos have the most views. That’s going to give you an idea of the type, I mean, that’s going to give you so much information.
Sagi Shilo: It’s going to give you an idea of the types of topics that the audience is responding to and it’s also important to see like when the video was published. So, if it’s a video from eight years ago, think about whether that’s evergreen content that’s still relevant or know it was relevant back then, but not now. But if you’re seeing recent videos that are being popular, that’s letting you know what the audience is responding like you could see the demand right there. You’re also going to get to see how they design their thumbnails and how do they write their titles. Let’s take a moment and talk about those two things because they’re critical. So, starting with the thumbnail, which is the image that you see in search results or served to you on the browse page, that’s the picture that you see that you’re going to click on. If that thumbnail doesn’t get you, right, because I’m on my phone and I’m scrolling, I’m scrolling, I’m scrolling and I’m getting thumbnails. If that thumbnail doesn’t get me to stop for a second and look at the title, I’m never going to get that view. That person’s just going to move on to the next video.
Sagi Shilo: Then comes the title. The title is what’s going to make me click. So, there are a lot of strategies to creating effective titles, but I want you to think of the human being who’s reading that title, what’s going to make them click on your video versus the other ones that are already showing up on the same page.
Andrew Rafal: So, one of your most popular videos, the title is in big capitals DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY. IPAD PRO VERSUS GALAXY, right? So, that along with the thumbnail, boom, had a lot to do with the success of this hitting over 600,000 views.
Sagi Shilo: Yep. So, I photographed those two products with a custom image and then the title I want you to grab. And then I want the viewer to think, “I don’t want to waste my money because this is a big purchase for me.” So, let me see what this guy has to say about these products. Now, those are going to contribute to your CTR or click-through rate, meaning for every impression, every time YouTube shows that image, how many people are clicking? We’ll come back to that later on. But once I got them to click, then it comes down to actually delivering on what you promised with the thumbnail and title, because that’s where clickbait comes in. I can put some crazy thumbnail and a title and then you’re going to click on it and the video is going to be about some different topic altogether and the person leaves. Well, you can’t trick YouTube. YouTube is going to look and see, “Oh, well, every person that clicks on that video, they leave within five seconds.” That’s not a video that YouTube is going to promote anymore because it’s clearly not offering a good user experience. Does that make sense?
Andrew Rafal: Yep. That’s similar like back in the day when we try to trick years ago, they create dummy pages like Britney Spears back then and that would then drive people to a website that had nothing to do with her but it was back then the search engines weren’t smart enough to realize that.
Sagi Shilo: Yep. And then also answers another question that you ask, which is how long does the video need to be? Again, you can look. The great thing is that all this data is public. You can go and look at the top 10 or 20 channels in the world who do what you’re doing and you can see, well, how long are their videos? How are they presenting the content? How are they structuring the content? Another thing that I would definitely recommend that you do is read their comments. What are their viewers saying about the video? Are they asking questions? Do they like what they see? Do they think it’s too fast? Do they think it’s too slow? Do they want it to be longer? Was it too detailed or is it not detailed enough? And that gives you insight into how you can improve your own videos. Because if I see that of the top 50 comments, 10 of them ask the same question like, “Oh, okay, they didn’t address this one thing. I can cover this same topic.” I don’t suggest that you copy their videos, but you can cover the same topic and put your own spin on it.
And so, that’s actually another point. A lot of people say, “Well, there are already so many videos about this topic.” Well, guess what? There are already so many videos about every topic on YouTube. Unless it’s something new that’s happening, the videos probably exist, but there’s a reason why someone watches creator A or business A versus business B or creator B and it’s not that they’re presenting different content necessarily. So, I might just like how you present content better than someone else. I’m going to choose to watch you versus another wealth advisor just because I like how you present it.
Andrew Rafal: But you also say that it could be because of that thumbnail, it got them there. Because of the title, it got them there. Looking at how your thumbnails are all set up, they’re all a little bit different but kind of have that same warm color to it and they pop. And how important that is also with the video itself, the content, with the description like how important is that in the realm of over the eyes of the YouTube algorithm?
Sagi Shilo: So, the description is probably of the elements that we talked about so far. There are tags and description. That’s probably the lowest in terms of importance right now. The YouTube AI is so smart and already knows what your video is about. Like, if you think about it, you could write whatever you want in the description. Like you said back in the day when we could just put keywords on a page and it would trick Google to show that page, I can do the same thing in the description. Well, YouTube is too smart for that now. Actually, it transcribes your video as you upload it. It contextually knows exactly what you’re talking about. So, the description is somewhat helpful, not as much as it used to be years ago. It should still be a good description of what the video is about. You can actually create chapters of your content with timestamps.
So, lets say you have a 12-minute video. You could say, “Oh, at 2 minutes and 30 seconds, I talk about this, then I talk about this, then I talk about this.” You could do that intentionally. And again, if that video shows up in Google, it will show those results to the person who’s making the search.
Andrew Rafal: And I have actually, from the standpoint personally here, one of my last podcasts, I had Ed Slott on who’s a well-known retirement expert. Amazingly, in the show notes, we didn’t put these chapters. Google or YouTube figured out exactly when we talked about a different topic. And actually, listener, if you google “Ed Slott” it should be coming up on the first page and it has like six chapters of the video breaking down what we’re talking about, beneficiary forms, the widow penalty. And it’s like, “I don’t think I could have done it as well as YouTube did it.”
Sagi Shilo: I mean, it’s amazing, right?
Andrew Rafal: Scary. Amazing. Well, that’s the power of it right there.
Sagi Shilo: And you guys were talking about complicated things and like the fact that it knew at this point in the video it transitioned from this topic to this topic goes to show you just how smart and how much information the algorithm has. And something that you talked about before, which was YouTube sort of figuring out what to show each viewer, one of the ways that it’s doing it is it’s going to say, “Okay. If I have viewer A and they watch this video and they enjoyed it,” and we’re going to talk about what it means, how do I know that they enjoyed it? Then I’ve got a viewer B that watched that same video and enjoyed it. Then YouTube can say if viewer B also liked this other video, I’m going to suggest that to this person because since they both enjoyed the same video, maybe this person also likes this video. Can you hear the dog barking, by the way?
Andrew Rafal: No.
Sagi Shilo: Okay. Perfect.
Andrew Rafal: So, no. We’re good. So, when we think about then you talked a little bit about niches, right? So, from our standpoint on the financial services side, we do a lot of things but we have a focus, a niche. And one of the things, as I’ve researched other firms that are doing these channels in Myspace and have been very successful, the one thing that kind of refreshing is that they’re not these high-quality videos with all this editing, nothing even comparable to yours, but they’ve got like 10,000, 50,000, 60,000 views. So, again, it’s just I think from the standpoint of they’re consistent, they focus on that video on a certain topic, but it’s like from that standpoint, listeners, it’s like think about the questions you get from your customers, your clients, what are they asking you? And then just create the content or the video of whether it’s a how-to or answering that question because you know that that’s what other people are asking, too.
Sagi Shilo: Yep. I mean, you know that every time you get a new lead, they probably ask you several of the top 20, 25, 30 questions. And you know that in your business over the last however many years, you’ve answered that same question over and over and over and over again. You know what that person’s doing at home? They are literally typing that question into YouTube but that’s how they’re finding the answer before they actually get to talk to you. So, you can use those as very simple topics, even if it’s just a first step of building a catalog. Because what you’ll see about YouTube is, you know, we say, “It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint.” I know that every once in a while you see this like, “Oh, this person put out their first video and it blew up and they got millions of views.” Okay. And some people win the lottery. So, that’s not what’s going to happen for the vast majority of channels on YouTube.
But what you want is to build a catalog of videos. Having your first video go viral is not necessarily great either because now they found you, they go to your channel, you don’t have any other content for them to watch. So, why would they subscribe to you? You have nothing else. Whereas if I watched your 20th video and I go, “This guy is smart. What else does he have? Oh, look, I also have this question and this question that he answered.” And what you’re doing there is you’re providing value like you can put calls to action in your video and drive someone to become a lead and bring them into the funnel but do that after you’ve provided the value. So, a lot of times you’ll see a channel where in the first 10 seconds they’re like, “Oh, welcome to the channel. If you’re new here, hit that subscribe button.” “Why would I hit the subscribe button? I don’t know you. I just clicked and you just said if I’m new here. So, I clicked on it. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if you’re going to provide me with content that I like. I’m not going to subscribe.”
Sagi Shilo: What you want to do is maybe at the end or the last third of your video after you’ve provided value is if I invested that much time and I’m watching, now I’m more likely to subscribe. So, that’s just a thought there about how you interact with your potential clients. Go ahead.
Andrew Rafal: Well, these call to actions in the video so how do those work? Are you actually able, when you say you’re halfway through a video and people are liking it, you’re like, “Hey, if you like this content, subscribe,” can you put that function in there that they can subscribe or you just turn and tell them, “Go down to the subscribe button,” which is right below the video? Is it interactive?
Sagi Shilo: So, actually on the bottom right if you’re watching, bottom left if you’re on camera of every video, there is a Subscribe overlay image that’s on the video itself. You can put your logo there or you can upload your own image. That actually becomes a subscribe button. And then, of course, there is the subscribe button that’s on the page. So, a lot of times I’ll say I’ll literally point down to where that is. And you might have a different call to action, right? You might have a white paper that you created or download our 10 steps to do whatever. That’s a lead magnet for you. And again, you get them in your funnel. That’s something that you would do in the description. You can actually also add cards that link once you connect a website with your channel, you can actually have a card that links to a page on your website. So, there are a few ways to do that.
And I want to take one step further. Once you’ve started uploading videos, then the important thing is to look at feedback because otherwise, you’re just putting out the content that you think would work. But if you’re not looking at any type of feedback, then you’re just guessing and you’re just putting out more content. So, there are a number of ways that I suggest doing it. There’s the actual data and then there are the people. So, as far as data and we’ve talked about this in the past, YouTube Studio is a platform that’s available to anyone who has a channel and it actually gives you data for your whole channel and about every single video. So, beyond what you can see on the front end, which is how many views, you can look at things like CTR or click-through rate. So, it will literally tell you we showed this thumbnail a thousand times and then 40 people clicked on it. So, your CTR is 4%.
Sagi Shilo: And this isn’t so much about comparing your numbers to somebody else’s. It’s really like comparing your numbers to yourself. When you go from one style of thumbnail to another one, did your CTR go up or down? And if you have a CTR of 4% sort of across your channel and you upload a video and the CTR is 1%, well, was the thumbnail bad? Was the title bad? Was the topic bad? But in creating those baselines then lets you make an informed decision about content. So. YouTube Studio gives you a lot of the elements, but I only want to focus on three today. So, the first one is CTR so that’s the click-through rate. The second one is AVD or average review duration. That means literally in minutes what was the average view duration of a person?
So, you had a 10-minute video and on average someone watched it for 5 minutes and 30 seconds like if you look at all the viewers, so the AVD, the average viewer duration for that video is five minutes and 30 seconds. And that’s important because, remember, YouTube wants to increase time on the platform. But you can’t just make videos that are long to try to keep people on, because if you don’t keep them engaged, they’re going to leave. So, you can’t just draw things out. Given the choice, if you can provide me the same information in a two-minute video or a four-minute video, if I’m not getting more information here, I want it in two minutes. So, something else that you can look at to learn from is average percentage viewed. So, forget the time but if you had a five-minute video, what percentage of that video did your average viewer see? Did they watch 10% or 70%?
Sagi Shilo: And there is actually a retention graph in YouTube Studio where you can actually see if it’s a ten-minute video, it starts at zero, it goes to ten minutes and it’s a graph and it shows you how many of the subscribers watched that part of the video. And the reason why that’s super valuable beyond just giving you that one number is you can see where in your video you lost viewers. And like for me, if I’m looking at trends, that’s super valuable because if I see that every time I say this particular thing, the views dropped by 10%. Well, I need to go and look at that. Like, what am I saying there? And it really lets you learn from the content that you put up. So, those three things and the retention graph, those are a great place to start.
Andrew Rafal: And when we look at your– and I’m looking at your page right now, but obviously it’s done very well. You are the editor. You are the creator of it. You’ve got this mindset that most don’t have. So, if we get into then, in the mindset of being able to do those things, so now I want to get my channel going. I have this content I want to talk about, but then what am I supposed to do? Do I have to– how do I edit it? So, do I have to hire somebody? What does that look like? Because now, I’m afraid. I’m looking at you and saying you’ve got all these things, but I just want to start slow and small. Like, what is somebody who doesn’t have the knowledge base and the expertise like you, what do they do?
Sagi Shilo: Okay, so a lot to unpack there. So, first, like definitely, don’t compare your step one to somebody else’s step 50 from that standpoint, like you can learn from those bigger channels, but that your expectation of your channel in terms of the quality of the content and the production value, all of that stuff, you don’t need what they have to start, but you do need to start if that’s where you want to be, that whole, you don’t need to be great to start, but you need to start to be great.
So, some of this will depend on your budget and your resources. Alright. And then also, how much is your time worth, because is it worth your time to learn how to do very basic editing in iMovie or a very inexpensive piece of software like Filmora? Maybe. Are you going to start using your phone? Or are you going to buy a dedicated camera? Like some of that has to do with your budget. If it’s in your budget to hire an editor then, by all means, they’re going to do it faster than you and they’re going to do it better than you. And you also aren’t going to need to fit that into your schedule, whereas you already have a full-time job. Your time is full. That means that if you need to sit down and edit a video, which will take you hours, especially if you’re not an editor, you’re probably better off doing your job and paying someone else, but if you have the time and you want to learn and you want a particular style of editing, you don’t need to overcomplicate editing either. You might just have a talking-head video where it’s just jump cuts. You just cut, cut, cut all the parts that you don’t need. As you want to get, like, more sophisticated, you’re adding B-roll, which is shots of a product or something else and overlays and texture, and that’s where it gets more complicated and might just be easier and faster and less expensive when you factor in your time to just have an editor.
It will also let you get more reps because probably, the most important thing on YouTube is getting more videos done because there are some things that you just can’t get better at until you do them. So, you could do research on how to speak to the camera when you’re sitting alone in a room. And I can watch 20 videos about that. I know some concepts, but I’m still no better at it because I haven’t done it, that if I did it 20 times in a row, I’d already be well ahead of where I was just by watching those tutorials. So, I would watch a few tutorials and then execute because there are these things that you just simply can’t get better at without doing.
And a sort of pushback that I get from some clients is, oh, I don’t want to do this video about this topic, like let’s say the FAQ questions that we talked about. I don’t want to do that now, and then it’s a bad video that I sort of wasted that topic. There’s nothing that says you can’t redo that video next year, and that video in a year from now will be better for lots of– it’s not just that you’re going to be better. You’re going to get questions from viewers on that first video. They’re going to give you feedback, not necessarily about the quality, but more about the content that’s in that video.
And when you redo it, first of all, maybe new things came up in your industry, but number 2, you’re going to go, oh, I didn’t cover X, Y, or Z because maybe you take something for granted about your business that your audience doesn’t know. So, maybe you use the term and you didn’t define it or maybe you didn’t cover a particular aspect. The great thing about putting content out is that we’re getting feedback, and now, I’m like, okay, I’m going to redo that video even better. I’ll still leave the old one on, but I’ll rerelease that, a newer version of that video.
Andrew Rafal: And you talk comments earlier and now. So, one of the things that helped you build your channel is that you went in, and every comment you replied to in the beginning before you got to this point.
Sagi Shilo: Absolutely. And it is invaluable, like interacting with your audience. They’re going to ask you questions, and go in there and reply to every single comment, even if it’s not a question. If someone says, “Oh, thanks so much like this was super useful.” I really appreciate your time. Glad I was able to help. I mean, again, you’re building a connection there. And yes, maybe that person is not going to become a client, but it doesn’t matter if you’re doing this at scale, and I’m going to give you myself as a user of platforms. This is true for social media in general. If I’m looking at a brand’s Instagram page and I see a thousand comments, and they haven’t replied to any of them, I don’t leave a comment. Why would I leave a comment? They’re probably not reading it.
You want to send signals back to your viewers that this is a back and forth, this is a conversation that we’re having around this topic, not just putting this content out there. This is the beginning, and now we’re having a conversation about it. And that’s how you form relationships and that’s how you build trust and that’s how you become an authority. And most creators aren’t doing this. So, again, this is a way for you to stand out. I don’t know if I share this with you, but last year, at the end of last year, YouTube sends out an email just telling you about how the channel did. And I replied to 65,000 comments last year.
And now that the channel is at this size, I can’t reply to any of them, but until I got to 108,000 subscribers, I replied to every comment and to that thread. So, no thread ended with someone else. It was always me. Now, I don’t suggest that you spend that much time doing it, but it did help me build a community. So, yeah, I think it’s…
Andrew Rafal: But now you don’t reply to any, it’s just too– you can’t reply to some and that also you’re just not doing.
Sagi Shilo: No, I reply to, like as many– not as many as I can, but I set time aside every day where I’ll just sit down and spend a half-hour to replying to as many comments as I can because I still want to keep that relationship going, but I was spending like three or four hours on comments before. Now, it makes more sense to me. I still read, I read a lot more comments that I respond to because I still want that feedback. Yeah, so…
Andrew Rafal: At one point, maybe hire somebody to reply to them if it makes sense, but I think you’re right, just learning, researching, understanding what’s working, what isn’t. When we go back to this editing, one thing that the viewers, the listeners can look at is go to Upwork, go to Fiverr, you can find somebody that does it, lives and breathes this all day long and could put together the video and you are paying them, but your time you have to look at is what is more valuable. And for most business owners, for most people trying to build a brand, their time is going to be better spent doing those videos and having somebody behind them doing the production of them.
Sagi Shilo: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, your business isn’t to build a media company, so yes, I would definitely outsource that as soon as it makes sense.
Andrew Rafal: Now, let’s talk about layout real quick. So, the layout of the YouTube page itself, so your YouTube channel, there’s different ways in how you can lay it out. Number 1, first is having the proper graphic of your brand when they see it. So, that’s got to be created into…
Sagi Shilo: Channel art.
Andrew Rafal: Channel art, right. So, that is a little bit different than in regards to sizing. So, you have to just make sure that you stay on brand, but making it where it fits in with that size that YouTube has.
Sagi Shilo: Yep. And the easiest way to figure out the sizes is literally Google YouTube channel art dimension, and what you’ll see is it’s going to give you a template because it looks different on your phone than it does on desktop than it does on a tablet or your phone vertically and horizontally. So, it actually shows you all of those dimensions, and you pretty much start with the smallest one. Make sure that everything that’s critical fits in there, and then you can add stuff to that bigger picture if that makes sense, but as soon as you Google that, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about, it’ll make complete sense, but your channel art is important. It should communicate your brand and what the viewer should expect from that channel.
And we haven’t really touched on this too much, but we sort of did in the beginning. So, I just want to make sure we don’t forget it. You have to think of your audience. I know I said your avatar, but you have to think when you’re creating content, you have to have the audience in mind. They are now watching this video for you. They’re watching it for them. They’re looking to get something from that. And that should be your priority. And that priority is probably not buying your product. That’s not why they’re watching.
Your product might solve a problem for them. It might provide them value, but they’re watching the video not to give you money. The outcome might be that they’ll give you money. So, keep in mind that what you’re doing here, again, it’s giving to the audience what they need. You give, give, give, and then you ask. So, I just want to make sure we don’t overlook that, but okay, so going back to the channel sort of layout, you can also create subsections of your videos, so you’re organizing your content for someone who’s there. You can break that up by topics, for example.
So, when they come to the channel, if they’re looking, presumably, they saw one of your videos and they said, “Oh, I like this first. I’m going to click on their channel name.” Now, they’re looking at the channel page. And you can break down for them, specific topics that you can create playlists or whatever it is. And that’s telling them, oh, okay, if I’m interested in this subtopic right now, I don’t know, maybe it’s taxes. I can click on it and watch your videos about taxes and sort of get that information rather than– like, it’s unlikely that I would chronologically be interested in every topic equally if that makes sense.
Andrew Rafal: That’s been very helpful for us as we’ve been building our channel is having these different playlists and whether it’s the podcast, whether it’s webinars, whether it’s us in the media, whether it’s us just doing these how-to videos, but that way, for most people being able– they’re not going to go and sort of by most popular in most cases. They’re going to go to the homepage now and then they’re going to look to see. So, what we try to do is bring to the top the videos that are performing the best, but then make it organizationally easy for them to try to find one that’s going to be another topic that they may like. So, make sure that you’re using these layouts, the playlists, the channels within the channel to help segment as you start building your list and your inventory of videos.
Sagi Shilo: Yep. And then, within your channel, look at the videos that are performing the best and try to reverse engineer why they’re performing the best. Is it a topic that you covered? If it’s a topic, make more videos about that topic. Your audience is literally telling you that’s what they’re interested in. So, you covered it from one angle. What’s another angle? Maybe you can go deeper in another video. And what you’re doing there is you’re creating other videos that YouTube is going to suggest to the viewer of the original video.
So, this video is being popular, and YouTube is just serving it to everyone. They’re watching it, but now on a sidebar, YouTube is giving them another one of your videos. So, guess what happens? First of all, when they click on that second video, you’re going to watch another video. Their session duration gets longer. It’s another engagement with your brand, and you can lead them through a journey where here are, maybe, instead of covering five big points in one video, I’m going to cover one point in every video and I can even do a handoff at the end of the video. Meaning? In this video, we covered, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. In the next video in this series, we’re going to talk about X, Y, or Z, whatever the next thing is. And you actually get an end screen.
You can put another video or two on the screen so when that video finishes, they can literally click right there and watch the next video. And again, by creating a series, I’m getting to watch another one of my videos. There is more of a chance they’ll become a subscriber, and the subscriber number doesn’t really matter as a metric. It’s more of a vanity metric, but I want them to become a regular viewer, whether they subscribe or not, it’s fine. YouTube knows who to serve the videos to. I want them to become a regular viewer.
Andrew Rafal: I like that end where you can have some videos that you want them to see because otherwise then YouTube is just going to give them videos that they think that they should see. So, is that what you’re talking about there when the video ends?
Sagi Shilo: So, it’s actually before that, before the video literally ends, you can say in the last 10 seconds while I’m talking, on the screen, I want you to show, and you can pick your layout, you can say, I want a video here and a video here in the subscribe button in the middle. I’m still talking. So, in my videos, I might end the video by saying, “Hopefully, this video is helpful. Click on my face to subscribe and then watch one of these videos.” Or I might say, “Click on my face to subscribe and then watch this video about iPad tips or this video about why I chose this MacBook Pro versus the MacBook Air.” So, I’m literally telling them what I– like, rather than leaving it up to them, I’m telling them what I want them to do.
In other videos, it all depends on the topic of the video because sometimes, I don’t want to tell them which one to watch. I might tell you to show this specific video right here, but over here, you pick best for viewers from my channel, of course, not from YouTube in general. And YouTube will serve a different video to each viewer based on their viewing behavior because that’s really what the algorithm does, that’s how it figures out what to suggest to you in general. It has so many data points because when you’re logged in, it sees what you’re searching for. When you search for something, and it shows you 10 thumbnails, it knows which one you looked at, which one you didn’t click on, and which one you clicked on.
So, if I showed you 10 thumbnails, and you clicked on the fourth one instead of the first, what was it about that video that made you click on it? It has all those data points. So, it’s literally learning and getting better and better and better at serving the videos to you. And that’s why subscribers don’t necessarily matter like viewer behavior does. It’s going to give you what you actually watch, not what you say you want to watch.
Andrew Rafal: Right. And that’s the case in point. We don’t have a lot of subscribers like you, but having that one video, just because of the fact of how people are finding it and it’s coming up and watching it, the viewer duration on that out of a 40-minute video is over 25 minutes. So, for us, that’s a huge number. And obviously, YouTube likes that because it’s getting them paid.
Sagi Shilo: Absolutely.
Andrew Rafal: One item before we wind down on these ads, right? So, from the standpoint of like I can’t control on some of my more popular videos YouTube is putting ads on that, within three seconds, four seconds, but there’s an ad there that I’m not getting any monetary value from. Is there anything we can do from that standpoint? And I think I’ve seen some of your videos where YouTube put in an ad in the middle of it. What happens there? And as you get larger and bigger like you are, there are some things that you can do that you can stop them monetizing and that you can monetize.
Sagi Shilo: So, they’re going to monetize it no matter what. Now, you’re using their platform that they’re going to show ads if they want to.
Andrew Rafal: It used to be you could control that. You can’t do that. They take that away and say this is our problem. Go find another platform if you don’t like it.
Sagi Shilo: Right. And you shouldn’t go find another platform. You should let you do it, but once you reach a thousand subscribers, there are two thresholds, a thousand subscribers and then 4,000 viewing hours in a 365-day period. So, going back 365 days, did you get more than 4,000 hours of watch time? Once you passed that threshold, you can apply with a Google AdSense account to the partner’s program. And then there is a revenue-sharing model for the ads. What you can control on the back end is when the ad is being shown, so you might say, I don’t want any ads in the middle, I don’t want an ad in the end or I only want an ad at the end, but not at the beginning. So, you do have that control on the back end.
And with enough views, that could actually generate some pretty good income. And for most businesses, that’s not a goal. So, they’re not going to maximize, like for me, it is a good source of income. So, I do incorporate it into my videos because there aren’t enough revenue streams on the other, and I’m not selling them a product or service. So, that is part of my income. So, I do focus on, but for a lot of businesses, it’s not necessarily a priority, but it is something you could do.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah. So, we talked today to find a niche, do your research, and that could be from looking at competitors to just understanding what works, what doesn’t by you watching videos and doing those things and then just dipping your toe in. And like you said, watching 50 videos versus doing 50 videos is going to give you a lot better outcome if you ask to do it.
Sagi Shilo: Make them, I mean, no doubt. And just accept the fact that the first 35– I know it’s going to sound like a huge number, just accept the fact that the first 35 to 50 videos that you’re going to put out are not going to be great and have no expectations and know that you can’t get beyond that by not doing like you have to do that in order to get to the other side of it. And maybe you’re great. And after 10 videos, you’ve figured it out. That’s awesome. But have the expectation that you’re doing the work, doing the work, doing the work because there is a value at the other end. So, it’s worth it. You’re investing in something that’s never going to happen if you don’t fail, let’s call it, right? It’s like you can fail, but you’re still learning. So, you’re not really failing because you haven’t quit. So, absolutely, I have a few takeaways that I would say.
And so, number 1 is start now, literally start. Stop thinking about it, okay? You’re never going to have everything figured out. Like, we can talk a little bit about gear if we want, but you’re never going to have all the answers. You’re not going to get better without doing, you need to literally start so that you can get better rather than saying, “I’ll start when I can make a video that’s that good.” You’re not going to make a video that’s that good if you haven’t started.
Andrew Rafal: And find something that you’re passionate about, right? I mean, if you’re not passionate about it on video, it’s going to come through a lot more than obviously, a podcast or a blog that you write. So, if you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it.
Sagi Shilo: Right, I mean, yes, you’re going to need to want to do it because part of it is your personality on video. And when we talked about connecting with the audience and engaging with them, that’s what you want. And again, if you watch some of my early videos, I’m literally sitting there like, I’m so excited to tell you about this product. And I was excited to tell them about this product, but I needed to get better at being on camera and communicating, and not being as nervous.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah, and that just takes time rather than it looks like you’re going into prison or something like that. So, real quickly on gear, I mean, and you’ve helped me through on making sure we’ve got some of the things established, the biggest thing…
Sagi Shilo: Look at that crispy image. Look at how nice and sharp you get.
Andrew Rafal: So one, don’t do is don’t use a webcam to shoot a video. Can we at least say that is an important thing?
Sagi Shilo: Yes. Don’t use a webcam. Webcams, they’re just– you’re trying to sell a service, and if it looks like you shot it on a webcam, as a potential client, I’m going to say, oh, there I have been taking this video seriously enough, I mean, it doesn’t need to look like The Avengers, but I wanted to look like you actually put some thought into it. And like you’re making an investment like that it’s important for you that I have a good viewing experience. So, don’t use a webcam.
Number 2, probably, people will look at this backward. Number 2 is actually audio. And once you get to the baseline of good enough image quality, having good audio is more important because if you’re filming with a camera that’s 3 feet away from you in a room, that’s going to be very echoey because you’re probably not sitting in a studio. You’re going to hear that echo, and the user experience of watching it, interacting with your video is not going to be great for the viewer. So, any type of dedicated microphone is better than using the built-in microphone on your phone or a camera. You can even get a $25 lavalier that plugs into your phone or your camera, and it’s clipped onto you. And the difference in audio is drastic. I mean, I can’t overstate that. So, good audio is very important.
Good lighting is important also. You don’t need to go and get studio lighting, but if you can avoid overhead lighting, that would be the one thing I would recommend. Even a ring right in front of you, pointed at you, and personally, I don’t always love the ring light that’s right in front of you and you can see the circles in your eye, but even that would be better than overhead lighting. It’s just the worst. So, any light that you can have in front of you, a little bit to the side, is just going to give you a much better look.
And then when it comes to cameras and lenses, you should go on Tech Gear Talk and get some recommendations there so we don’t have to talk about most of them, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money. You really don’t. You’re getting a piece of gear for very specific use case. Probably one camera and one lens is all you’re going to need.
Andrew Rafal: And it’s more important, too, learning from you, is let’s get a better lens than the camera, right?
Sagi Shilo: That’s 100%.
Andrew Rafal: I think I went a little overboard in following some of your guidelines with the lens, but we looked and said, let’s get the best because that’s an investment on making sure that the videos is crisp as possible and make sure that it can be.
Sagi Shilo: And you know what? You’ll never need to replace that lens. You might choose to replace that, I don’t know why, because you got such a good lens, but when I say never, literally 15 years from now, as long as you have a camera with the same sensor size, that lens is still going to be amazing. And so, investing in a lens, I’ve upgraded my camera bodies a lot of times over the past 10 years, but I still have lenses back there that I bought more than 10 years ago, no reason to replace them.
Andrew Rafal: So, what’s next? Where do you see the next three or five years? What’s next for Tech Gear Talk? What are your plans? What do you want to look like?
Sagi Shilo: So, a couple– well, so, I mean, I’m going to continue to grow this platform in this community, working on a couple of courses that will help people in photography and video space. And I’m also working on a new project called The Creator Mindset, which is more targeted specifically at creators, people who are looking to build a YouTube channel for themselves or for their business. And so, there will be some overlap in terms of tech, but looking at tech specifically from that perspective.
Andrew Rafal: So, will that be more like a subscription-based? They’re going to build tutorials?
Sagi Shilo: No. It’ll still be just a new YouTube channel. I don’t have any plans for a paywall right now for any of the content, maybe in the future, if I want to do smaller like group training, because some of the advice you can give on YouTube or even in a podcast like this, you can’t get really specific because it needs to be general enough to apply to a large audience and still provide value, but when we’re looking at, even something simple like a thumbnail, the reason why I tell people to go look at channels in your space because a thumbnail for a wealth management firm is going to be different than a gaming channel, is going to be different than what’s effective for a beauty channel or a tech channel. And yes, there might be some common elements, but we’re looking at a different audience. And so, those types of things when you get into the specifics, that’s where working with a smaller group makes more sense.
Andrew Rafal: I think that’s great. And I assume also you’re doing dog training because I know that. So, you’re doing fantastic.
Sagi Shilo: Oh, well, no.
Andrew Rafal: I think that evolution to that second channel would be great in tying it back into Tech Gear Talk because then, go back on there to figure out what type of products you should be buying and learning and educating yourself on. So, all of that will be in the show notes. Listeners, I know we went through a lot of things, a lot of high-level things. Don’t be nervous. Don’t overthink it. Get it out there.
Sagi Shilo: Yes, 100%.
Andrew Rafal: Awesome. Anything that we missed before I send you back into a wonderful Cleveland summer day?
Sagi Shilo: Just get started. Go, literally go.
Andrew Rafal: The man, the myth, the legend. Sagi, well, we thank you for coming back to the Your Wealth & Beyond podcast. Appreciate all you’re doing, and we appreciate what you’ve done for our firm. So, thank you so much. We continue to build our relationship, and keep doing what you’re doing. So, thanks for coming by.
Sagi Shilo: Yeah, thank you so much, and have a great day.
Andrew Rafal: Alright. And listeners, stay tuned for a new episode of Your Wealth & Beyond later this month. Happy planning, everybody.