I love this side of the job – sitting with creators, and chewing the fat
YouTube has kind of taken over my life.
I say that, not in a damaging, shocking, or detrimental context, but in a healthy, vibrant way. It was about this time last year, that I jumped ship, and waded deep into the unknown waters of YouTube, writing, and full-on content creation. I’ve had my down days, when I have had the feeling of “what’s it all about?”. But those days are tempered, by days such as today.
I have a podcast, Minus Sixteen, which I started not long after creating the Talkingtech brand. I felt comfortable in this space.
Whilst everything else I was doing was totally alien to me – shooting and editing video, uploading & scheduling, creating catchy thumbnails etc, in the podcast studio, I felt comfortable, and at home. Coming from a long career in radio, the microphone was my friend.
Why a podcast?
I know it may have seemed strange, that whilst I was focusing on so many new facets, I should also launch a podcast, but it was created very much with the YouTube channel in mind.
Moving away from my music podcast background, this would be a true podcast, which would very much be talking tech! The first few episodes were just me, but then, as the year progressed, I resurrected my interview skill-set, and brought guests on with me.
Not only is it a far more entertaining listen, but I have a ton of fun meeting these other creators, and spending the day talking shop, learning new stuff all the time.
Video is dead
OK, I’ll admit that heading was only to gain attention – but there is some truth to it.
As I migrated the podcast from a pure audio one, to a version that was YouTube friendly, I invested in the correct software for the Mac to be able to record guests on video. Of course, when I am interviewing someone in the States, it is just about the only way. But recently, I knew I was becoming lazy. Although all the interviews could be carried out online, I got to thinking, why?
One of the few, possible, negative sides to being a creator, is the hours spent alone. Moreover, that breeds a certain comfort. I get all too used to sitting, shooting video, writing, and recording interviews. But, there is another way – getting off my backside, and going old-school…driving, or flying to actually sit with these fascinating, wonderful creators.
Today was one such day.
It’s becoming a habit
The last three Minus Sixteen podcasts have now all been sitting with other creators, in their space, in their studios. I have loved every moment of these experiences, and today, found me in the company of Alex from the YouTube channel Alex Gear & Tech.
As we sit and chat, I learn that many of the feelings I have, are common to other YouTube creators. And this is another benefit of sitting with someone, chatting. Solo, it is easy to think that it must be you that is out of line, and it is only you having these certain feelings.
That word can haunt many YouTube creators. It is the one thing we need to understand, yet few, if any, actually do. The ’A’ word came up today, before we hit record.
I have had videos that have had good views, near to 10,000, which made me think I had cracked what I needed to do, in order to create some consistency. But then, YouTube comes around, and takes a big, fat bite out of you, as if to teach you a lesson. You can make another video, on a similar subject, good tags, and a creative thumbnail, yet it will only get a fraction of the views.
But guess what? It’s not just me! Nope, Alex told me today, that he too gets videos, that for no apparent reason, will tank. OK, so his levels of tanking and mine, may differ, but the principal is the same. It helped me enormously today, just to hear him say that.
And, it carried on. Don’t get me wrong, families are great. They support, encourage and let you do your thing. But, no matter how tolerant they are, they can’t fully understand and empathise with you when talking about your day. As Alex said to me today, if you mention “oh, I recorded the next video, but there was no audio”, their reaction would probably be similar to “well that’s a shame”. Obviously, they can’t really understand the ramifications of what that would mean.
It’s all new
It’s pretty odd how we choose to spend our days.
As I still struggle to gain subs on the main channel, I feel a fraud in calling myself a content creator. But, by the nature of how I spend my days, that is what I am. It’s what I do. Even today, after a healthy 150-mile return journey, I have posted to Twitter & YouTube about today, and now I am writing this. I love it, and would have it no other way. But, the content creator economy is still fairly young, which is why I think others struggle to understand what on earth we are up to.
Something else that came up with Alex today, was that it doesn’t ever get any easier, sitting speaking to yourself. Staring at a piece of glass, and speaking out loud is still a pretty, bloody odd thing to choose to do, right? As he pointed out, even in a studio, by yourself, it still feels weird.
Alex has found a great technique that he uses to get him zoned in, pre-recording – he goes for a run! See the things YouTube makes us do!
There is strength in numbers in this world of creators. Getting involved in Clubhouse, Telegram, or WhatsApp groups really helps.
So far, I have witnessed no precious attitudes. Everyone seems to be there to help & support. Alex brought that point up today, and how it helped him. Running a YouTube channel is a business. As such, part of that revenue will come from sponsors. When they approach you, you need to know how much to charge. Being such a new, and alien space, when those opportunities first come along, how can you possibly know what your value is? The community, thats how.
A little known fact of YouTube is how tight it is. I can only think of one creator I have approached with whom I have been disappointed in. Outside of that, it has been a welcoming, healthy, friendly environment.
As mulled over today, how many other businesses can you think of, where you’d actually go out of your way to help, and give advice to your competitors? It’s unheard of, right? Alex didn’t need to give his day up for me, but didn’t even blink an eye when I hit him up with the suggestion.
I’m not alone
Whenever I have spent the day with another creator, I come back energised, pumped, and ready to do better.
The podcasts now have their own dedicated YouTube channel. I wanted them to have their own space to shine and breathe. I think there is value to them as well, in particular if you are thinking about venturing in to YouTube yourself.
Recently, I have decided to stop listening to the ‘How To Make Your Channel Better’ kind of podcasts. That choice is not born from arrogance in the slightest. I used to listen to all of them, but I realised it was getting to the point, that I was double guessing everything that I was doing. And, there was another point too – behind every one of those podcasts is a business opportunity. They want you to buy their courses, and make them money. They look to foster doubt. Look, I am not sitting here saying I know it all, but, at some point, you have to back yourself, and use some common sense.
In Minus Sixteen, I have no wares to sell. There is no commercial motives behind it. Hell, it is not even a monetised podcast. But – the information in these podcasts is honest, uncut, and heart-felt.
I really hope these podcasts end up falling on the ears of creators that are staring out, and wanting some honest advice.
I count myself lucky, very lucky, to be able to meet these creators, chat with them, and turn the keys to unlock the chest of their knowledge.
I think I am not too bad at interviewing. If I had my way, I’d make the Minus Sixteen channel, the main channel. I’d forgotten how much I love sitting, and chatting to like-minded souls, about what they do. I find it inspirational, and energising.
Of course, there is one flaw in my putting all my eggs in the Minus Sixteen YouTube basket, and that is, I need the guests to say yes! I have a few in the pipeline that, I think, will come off…but as of now, there are no dates booked. It is a fine line between chasing a guest, and becoming a pain.
Today, though, today was a good day. Friday I will edit the podcast, for both YouTube and the audio version, ready for scheduling. If you fancy a listen, it will be up Saturday morning – 8am GMT!
I love days like today.
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Get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening to get in the vibe and listen along to today’s chosen soundtrack. I wrote this whilst listening tohttps://music.apple.com/gb/album/rhythm-machine/310794194
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