Digital marketing is key in this day and age. But how do you translate what you and your brand really are into what your audience will find interesting and compelling? Online video may offer a solution.
Once you learn executable steps to discover your brand’s personality and market it across platforms in a way that works with the current trends of bringing stories and personality across, the possibilities are far reaching. Learning how to attract customers with effective content marketing versus just an obvious sales pitch can make all the difference.
Amy Schmittauer is the founder of Savvy Sexy Social, and has been helping brands find and show off their personalities online in order to grow awareness and increase sales as part of their social media marketing strategies.
Rich: Amy Schmittauer is the founder and face of savvysexysocial.com, a resource helping brands develop and execute a social media marketing strategy to grow awareness and increase sales by showing off their amazing personality online. You must bring your own personality.
Leading the charge in video blogging for business, Amy has grown a following that for the site has amassed more than 1 million video views and become a vital reference source to her video content market consultancy and professional speaking career.
She is a proud beagle mom, coffee addict and she shares most of her life via video and on Twitter, and I can tell you she’s also great at karaoke. Amy, welcome to the show.
Amy: Hi, Rich, that I am. I should totally add that to my bio, shouldn’t I?
Rich: I think you should. Even though we did it in a closed room, I will always have that memory burned into my brain, my ears and my eyes.
Amy: I could have gotten shy about it, but I was like, “No, I just gotta show up now, so let’s do it.”
Rich: As far as I know – I don’t think I ever told you this – I don’t think I’ve ever done karaoke before.
Amy: You hadn’t, you told me. I told everybody, “Listen to Rich, it’s his turn and he’s never done this before.”
Rich: Yeah, it was a little crazy. Anyway, before I got on the Skype with you today I was checking out your site and it’s completely video driven. How did you decide to focus on video as your main channel for marketing?
Amy: So I’ve been on YouTube for sometime long before I got into the marketing industry, but when I was making that decision to leave my job and work for myself, I knew I needed a platform to share my ideas with people who may want to work with me. I saw that there were already some really cool people out there that were eloquent writers and I thought, “You know, I could definitely blog”, but what I have that others don’t is the ability to edit a really good video.
So that was it, I decided if I’m going to differentiate myself I need to dive into video and just talk to the audience like they are already my own. And by doing that I think I was able to differentiate myself a little bit.
Rich: Alright, that makes sense. Now, we talk to a lot of small business owners and the people who market for them, and the thing that I think they feel is holding them back from doing video is it seems hard. Also, they may not be as savvy, sexy or social as you. What do you say to these people?
Amy: I say that if you pull out your handy, dandy smartphone you probably took a video recently of your dog or child doing something cute, and that’s really all this comes down to. You pull the camera out when something is happening, and when you do that, the best kind of videos happen.
We all have video, full HD video in our pocket. So that’s what I say to people. I don’t want you to come to my website and want to learn about video editing and think I’m going to tell you to go out and buy this fancy camera. I was dragging my feet kicking and screaming to buy the fancy camera because I loved proving the point that I could use this really great, little digital camera or phone or flip cam, whatever was cool at the time, to create a video to talk to my audience and it didn’t have to be this expensive venture.
This is not video production, we’re talking about content marketing, we’re talking about just having a regular connection with the audience and being able to talk about your ideas and continuing the conversation. That’s it. It’s not a sales video, it’s not for your “about” page, it’s not for a sales page. You need to think of it as this is content marketing, so really anything you have is a good tool to get started. You should just get started with what you have and prove to yourself later you need the fancy stuff.
Rich: Alright, so it’s kind of like when I was thinking about getting a bike, I ended up buying a cheap, used 10-speed just to see if I had it in me. And what you’re suggesting is people just get started rather than worry about having the perfect setup and the perfect lighting and the perfect camera.
Amy: Yeah, because most people will absolutely worry about those things. And it’s a couple of things. First of all it’s just worry about the prestige of your brand and by dumbing down the equipment your brand isn’t reflected as well on camera. That’s just not true, because there are not enough companies using video well.
The other thing is that people are just using equipment as an excuse to not get started. They go, “Oh, as soon as we have the budget and the lights and the camera and the green screen and a fancy suit, then we’ll start with video.” But those are all just excuses. If you think that you need all of those things to get started then you haven’t been paying attention to video today.
Rich: Ok, but you’re saying things like, “Just turn the camera on and start creating content”, and what does that mean to the average small business owner? Unless I have a beagle shop, am I really just going to tape my beagle and put it up to YouTube and think I’m going to make sales, or how do you kind of decide what is going to be content that is going to engage your audience and ultimately lead to sales?
Amy: Well, you certainly need a plan. I mean, we all need a content marketing plan. You’re not just going to want to publish just anything, But I think when it comes to that barrier to entry of, “When can we get started with video?”, some of it is a planning problem. And that’s fine, you should absolutely have that in place. But the other side of it is just that you’re not used to using a camera and you’re not used to doing this side of content, so it’s an excuse to not get started.
So you need both, I think you need to just turn the camera on and practice and use it and see what you can create. But you also need to have a game plan, you need to know why you’re posting what you’re posting on a regular basis, so that you won’t drop the ball or say, “Oh, we just won’t do it this week.” When you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, your call to action at the end is more clear to both you and your audience.
Rich: Ok, do you have some sort of editorial calendar that you use so you kind of stay on task and make sure that you’re creating content that your audience would find interesting or valuable?
Amy: Yes. I opted for a strict schedule every week and I just decided to post 3 videos a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – and I also have a podcast that comes out on Fridays. That’s my editorial calendar. And I’ve built in structure which is huge for making sure that you stay on task, because when you look at just one piece of content a week, you’re looking at 4 or 5 blank spots in any given month and that can still be overwhelming.
When you allow yourself to sort of structure things out and give yourself a guide to be able to fill in those blanks, it’s a lot easier to actually execute. So in my example where I have 3 episodes per week I have a structure of savvy Tuesday, sexy Wednesday and social Thursday. It can be a public structure or it can be just for you. It really doesn’t matter. But that theme tells me what i’m going to talk about that day.
So today is savvy Tuesday for me and I knew I wanted to post something that is a business tip, something business-related. So a video I did with Natalie Sisson about having freedom in business is what I posted today. Tomorrow is sexy Wednesday, so that’s going to be more about making the conversation more fun for you online. Maybe your business isn’t that fun to talk about, what can we do to make the conversation more sexy? Sometimes it’s a content tip but sometimes it’s just a design tip. Maybe there’s something like candid.com that you can be using to create some really gorgeous Facebook content, so that’s what we’ll do then. And then social Thursday is always a media tip.
So those are just the parameters that I’ve put up in place for myself that structure things out and make it so much easier when I have that idea and I know exactly where it’s going to go on the editorial calendar and the next available slot, and that makes it a lot easier to execute.
Rich: And I’ve also discover that sometimes having that structure ironically gives you more freedom. You know you have to have something done, but you also don’t have to have something done. And you just tend to stick to that schedule and it’s a lot easier.
Rich: So I’m listening to you, I’m totally convinced that I want to do video. What should I consider before I get started?
Amy: Well I think that’s the first thing is just what does your audience want to know. And I think people think about this to a certain extent, but not all the way through, because your immediate reaction is probably to go to a product and think, “What do they want to know about the product?” And you should just assume that they don’t know who you are or what your product is, so they don’t even know that they need it. Really just use what everyone else in the world is using, and that is Google. And that’s why YouTube is so amazing for video content because it’s owned by Google and there are people all over the world just searching for little bits of information, and maybe that’s stuff that you can help them with.
So think about what are the pain points and struggles of your audience and how are they relevant to you. Are there things you want to be know for, be an advisor or an authority in this space? Answer those questions, use that guide to build out your structure and your editorial plan.
I know that businesses come to me to know how to market themselves effectively online. So social media and video and design and all that kind of stuff is what they would want to be searching for and I want them to find me when they’re doing that.
So when you think like your audience and what they’re struggling with and googling, this helps you through the process of building out what your content plan is going to be and what you want to be known for.
Rich: That sounds very important. And so again, we’re just focusing on the customer – or our ideal customer – and answering their questions, helping them solve their problems and basically establishing us as a credible resource for them going forward.
Amy: Absolutely, yes.
Rich: Ok, so now I’ve got some ideas, maybe I’ve even created my video. What do you do to market and promote your own videos?
Amy: I go through a number of things. First and foremost is that as much as I adore YouTube, I don’t want people to live on YouTube when they are experiencing my brand. Not all the time. It’s a great place to be discovered, but if I’m asking people to go check out my content, I’m not going to send them to YouTube.com. I want them to go to savvysexysocial.com, that’s my space, that’s an environment that I can control.
So every video that I create has a corresponding blog post, which means it’s embedded in there, there’s complimentary copies so not only can I rank and search for the YouTube video itself for its own tags and description, but I also have a corresponding blog post that can rank well and search additionally. So by having that blog post, now I’m ready to promote. Because that is where I want people to go, I want people to be able to watch the video on my website where I’m also talking about my products and services.
So then I go to the social media platforms that I’ve chosen to integrate into my strategy, mostly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And each of those has their own sort of strategy. Instagram is much more relaxed because it’s more of a personal look into my marketing lifestyle, so that’s how I treat it . I won’t really market every single video there but I will add it in the bio. And then Twitter is a completely different story. Twitter is like a newsfeed for everything good happening on the blog and in social. So I make sure that I pump out a blog post at least 4 times in a day across all these time zones in a scheduler, such as meetedgar.com or buffer.com.
Then Facebook is where I also share content as well, and then I also have an email list that is so, so important to me. When you get to my website and you’re really trying to take that next step in getting to know my brand, you might not want to buy a product right away but I do want you to join my list so that I can have a direct line of contact with you. So those people also get an update from me once a week with all the content they may have seen or may have missed on the blog that week.
Rich: That’s so important what you just said, and it’s something that it seems like almost every expert that comes on the show talks about – even if you’re a YouTube expert or a Twitter lover – that it really is about building your email list. That really is where you grow your brand. And I would argue that the inbox is probably the most expensive or most valuable property on the internet, and if people give you permission to market to them there, that’s really the best thing next to making that sale.
Amy: Yeah, it’s so funny because somebody sent me a comment once on YouTube saying, “Hey Amy, how do I email YouTube and ask them for the email addresses of all my YouTube subscribers?” And I just thought, “Aww, man!” That’s the whole thing, you’re on rented space, YouTube pays you to use it, they’re not going to give you any contact information.
So that is why it’s so critical. It’s great when you can get Facebook ‘likes’, it’s great when you can get Twitter followers, it’s great when you can get YouTube subscribers. But the bottom line is, if something were to go away and one of those things were to just crumble or be nowhere near as effective as it used to be, what are you going to do when you lose contact with those people? So really getting people to have that next step in the relationship take place where they say, “Oh yeah, I do want to make sure I get all the information from her via email.”, so signing up for an email and there’s an incentive to do that. So thats why I want you on my website while you’re watching my videos.
Rich: Alright, but if I’m not on your website and I’m checking out your videos for whatever reason – I notice you have like 22,000 subscribers or something like that – that’s a healthy number of YouTube subscribers. What are you doing to increase your number of subscribers and do you feel that that’s valuable, is that something that we should be pursuing actively?
Amy: Sure, absolutely for a couple of reasons. What’s most important and one really good reason is YouTube search. If you want to be ranked healthily in YouTube search, you want to have a decent sized channel. Not in terms of numbers, just in terms of.engagement. So as long as you have a few more subscribers just coming every day or every other day, and you have a good audience retention – which means you’re publishing regular and the people who have subscribed are watching them and they’re not leaving immediately – that’s a good, healthy channel.
So you do want the subscribers because YouTube wants to see that you are trying to grow that presence because that makes them money in order to be able to rank well in search. I would say that growing my YouTube subscribership is not a Top 2 priority for me, it’s a nice thing to have especially for search – but it’s still somewhat of a priority.
But for that I would definitely think about how can you be collaborating with the great personalities on the platform already. How do you have a similar audience? Is there something that you can do to better their audience? See if you can cross promote in some way, because that’s been the best way for me to build my YouTube subscribership is work with people that have made that their priority to have a great number of YouTube subscribers and see how I might be able to give value to their audience to get them to cross over and begin that relationship with them where they subscribe to my channel and they watch my videos and hopefully get back to the website and subscribe to the email list.
Rich: Whoa, hold it, stop right there. Alright, so I want to dig a little bit deeper there.You’re talking about partnering with people that already have a big subscriber base on YouTube. Is that what I heard?
Rich: Walk me through the process. Say that I’m a guy with 100k subscribers, how would you approach me, what would you do to help build your own subscriber base at YouTube?
Amy: You have to remember that this is all relationship building. So anytime that I’ve ever had the opportunity to present to somebody that has 100k+ subscriber base, it’s because I’ve built a relationship with them on and offline.
First thing, you have to show somebody that you have support for their channel. Just like when you get a cold email for something, it never feels like that person has the best intentions in mind. I’ve even asked people to make a video for my channel to grow their brand. And those people have been in my comments section, they share my content with their community online on a regular basis and they just show that I support this person and their content and I think it’s good stuff.
That’s the first indication that you are somebody that’s worth at least continuing this conversation with. But from there you really do need to allow yourself the opportunity to come up with that plan of action, that actual piece of value that is even going to matter to the creator after all the work that they’ve put into getting this audience. What could you possibly say that’s going to be interesting to their audience and make it a better experience for them on this person’s channel?
I mean, that’s a big thing to ask and say, “Hey, you should have me on sometime because I can totally talk to them about X.” And you really need to do your homework, know the person’s content and know that that’s something that could be a missing piece or a missing link to what they’re already doing. That would make a great compliment to it.
Rich: Alright, so you create this content and you hand it off to them. How exactly is that you leveraging that? Are you literally asking them on their channel to create a subscribe button for my channel on there as well if people want to check out more of my stuff?
Amy: Honestly, I think that you can get into the nitty gritty all you want, but most people on YouTube who hang out there and want to know other YouTube creators are going to see a link for that person in the description, that’s fairly regular activity for any time a collaboration takes place. There’s at least a link in the description, again it will also allow you to list the cast – or whatever you want to call it.
There’s a new section at YouTube that allows you to say, like, “This person was an actor, this person was a director”, sort of like a movie. There’s a credit section where you can actually list somebody’s channel directly or even a normal url. I could put savvysexysocial.com there and llink up to somebody directly.
But we also have annotations for that, there are interactive buttons that you can put on top of a video for someone to click to learn more. Annotations may really be going out of style at this point because with YouTube cards coming out – which are similar to annotations, just a little bit more sophisticated and mobile friendly – there’s a way to call action to another video or a playlist or whatever.
I personally wouldn’t say, “Hey, make sure people subscribe to my channel.” I would rather give people a more compelling action step such as, “Hey, by the way, I did a video about this. If you want to learn more extensively, click here.” They they’re on your channel, they’ll subscribe there if they like the content, and you’re getting more views out of it.
YouTube definitely weighs views and your audience retention, which gets watched more importantly than subscribers. But subscribers are definitely a good thing to have, of course.
Rich: Alright, so basically you’ve taken all the steam out of my next 17 questions, so thank you for that. Just as a mention, this morning when I was checking you out on YouTube I happen to see – I’m also subscribed to SPI TV, Pat Flynn’s channel – and I happen to watch the other day when he was doing the interviews on the Mastermind and we were in there – so it was funny when I saw in your channel also featured the video that I had watched, and you were also featured on that video and I thought that was cool. And I wonder if that’s the cast feature that you were talking about.?
Amy: It’s actually a playlist feature. So with any YouTube channel you should kind of take it upon yourself to move things around a little bit and redesign it. How a YouTube channel comes is a little bit boring. They’ll probably do what your latest uploads are and not much else. But you have the ability to create playlists. So for me that’s really useful because I create so much content on a variety of things. If you wanted to come to me and just learn about Facebook marketing, you can go to a playlist for that, because I will put all that content on one list. When you click ‘play’ it will literally rip through all of those videos at one time, if you keep watching they’ll keep rolling.
And then they’re all that relevant piece of content that you want. So that’s what makes playlists so nice is you can organize a YouTube channel to allow somebody to take whatever route they like. So that specific playlist is just called Featuring SavvySexySocial, those are any videos I have been in on another channel that you can see there on my channel if you were to visit. It sort of gives me just some social proof that I have been featured in other content on YouTube.
Rich: Fantastic. Amy, I’m going to combine a couple questions here. Just very briefly you mentioned annotations, you mentioned cards, can you give us a 30 second version of what the new YouTube cards are and maybe why we should be paying attention to them?
Amy: Yeah, this is really important because annotations have been on YouTube for so long – really since the beginning – but creators have been so irritated with them because they’re not the prettiest thing, they’re kind of weird and they don’t work on mobile, which is so, so important because if you can do ads on mobile now you should be able to do a call to action that’s effective.
What cards allow you to do is add an annotation to a type of item, it’s just going to be designed in one way instead of a variety of ways. And it will only show up for 5 seconds and its basically just a link to whatever you put there. You can do an associated website, which means you can link to your own website. That means you have to have verified that you own that website with your channel, you can never really link outside of YouTube unless it’s to your own website if you have verified it. So I would go to YouTube.com/verify if you have not linked up your associated website. So YouTube.com/savvysexysocial is directly associated with savvysexysocial.com, that way I can link to any page on that website, but that website alone.
Pretty much anything else you’re allowed to link to outside of YouTube is a crowdfunding platform and things like that. But the cards will allow you to link to something like that or link to a video or playlist on YouTube and just as it allows you to have a little popup come up in the corner and if someone clicks on it whether they’re on mobile or a desktop, a little menu slides out and it has a thumbnail – which is new technology we’ve never had on YouTube – which is great. Because we all know when we’re linking to something, having a little preview thumbnail is really useful and it allows that to happen all in the video instead of hiding in the description. It’s a more compelling call to action directly on the content.
Rich: That is fantastic. I definitely want to check it out, I have not played around with the cards yet. I definitely played around with the annotations over the years. How are you monetizing your videos.
Amy: So there’s a number of different ways. The content of course, the initial strategy was just to build my own consulting business, so that was piece number one. People are finding my videos there, reading and watching the stuff on my sight and thinking I know what I’m talking about and they want to hire me and work with me. So that’s one piece of it.
I also have online products that if you go to the website and you’re like, “Man, I really wish I knew how Amy was editing these videos because they’re very good.”, you can find a product in there that you can purchase for that. So that’s another monetization tactic.
YouTube, of course, also allows you to monetize your videos on their platform which is by having a Google Adsense account. So depending on your CPM and the number of views you have you can make a little bit of money there. But, it’s not that significant, especially if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
I definitely make a small amount of money from Google Adsense and it’s a regular amount of money. But when you only have 28k subscribers on YouTube and roughly 1,200-3000 on a really, really good week views per video, it’s just not going to pay the bills. So you have to keep that in mind and you really shouldn’t depend on the Google Adsense.
And then of course there’s really any monetization opportunity if you’re working with sponsors or affiliate opportunities, video is a way to deliver making those calls to action happen. So as much as you can open your mind to the opportunities of monetizing your business, then video can help you do that.
Rich: That’s some great advice. I just want to throw in a point on your previous answer about the associated websites and how you can only inke to them and a fundraising site. So, one way that I’ve gotten around that in the past is when I just use the ‘pretty link’ feature in WordPress.
Amy: Yes! I really hope that they don’t pick up on that and then start banning people, because I’ve been doing that, too.
Rich: Ok, good. Then you’ve never heard this, YouTube, if you see this.
Amy: I really hope they don’t find out about pretty link, because that’s a pretty nice hack.
Rich: Amy, I had so many other questions for you today, because I went through some of your videos and I want my listeners to know that there’s so many great videos that Amy has put up with aspects of social media and some hacks. For example, I just found out today how easy it is to stream your iPhone video to your screencast of your iPhone. So stuff like that, there’s so much great resources. There are a lot of questions I want to ask that we didn’t get to today that we just didn’t have time for, we’ll have to bring you back another time.
So for people who are super excited now about all this stuff with YouTube and video marketing, where do you want to send them?
Amy: Everything is available at savvysexysocial.com. I will say that if you did want to get a little bit more technical and learn about some equipment stuff, there’s a resources page that you’ll find very useful, with the camera and lighting and stuff I’m using.
And I’m really excited to be spending a day in New York and Orlando coming up at the end of this month for Savvy Sexy Social Live, where we get business owners in a room to create a video content strategy and content in the same day that you’re ready to execute on your own.
Rich: Alright, and as always, we’re going to have links to all of the kinks that Amy shared with us, and also a full transcript of the entire podcast. So you can listen and read along as you like, That’s all over at The Marketing Agents website.
Amy, thank you very much for your time today, it’s always a pleasure chatting with you.
Amy: Thank you, Rich, I had fun with you in San Diego and I’ll come back any time.
- Check out everything savvy, sexy and social that Amy is doing over at her website.
- Using a scheduler to send social media updates is one of Amy’s helpful tips. Consider trying one of these:
- Head on over to the resources page on Amy’s website to get more info about the equipment she uses and chat with her about that.
- Planning to be in New York or Orlando at the end of April. Check out Amy’s Savvy Sexy Social Live events.
- Transcription for this podcast provided by Jennifer Scholz Transcription Services.
- Check out 1 Day Business Breakthrough with Pat Flynn & Chris Ducker
- Like what you heard and are desperate to know more about the host? Rich Brooks is the fearless leader of flyte new media, a web design and internet marketing agency in Portland, Maine. He is also the founder and brains behind the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference. He also fancies himself a witty tweeter, follow him on Twitter at @therichbroooks.