How to Create Amazing Content on YouTube

The YouTube Creator formula:  Get Better Everyday

Greg joins Matt once more to continue their last discussion, YouTube’s Secret Sauce.   This conversation turns towards the process of making great content for creators and marketers.  While the discussion focuses primarily on YouTube, the power of video is unmistakable.

In this episode they dive into further aspects of creating great content, which is a simple formula:

1. Get better every day.

2. Don’t be afraid to fail.

The best advice is to avoid the “instant success” approach and methodically create, assess, learn and create more.  The headlines might be full of overnight sensations and viral stories, but the consistently productive producers are ones that have been working at this for years and perfecting their approach based on analytics, response rates, and feedback.

Greg shares stories that will motivate you to find your own story and to tell it with creative flair.  Don’t miss the part where Greg brings up-to-the-minute advice that will get your videos more visibility!

Want to see how Google sees you and your interests?  Go to and you’ll see how Google classifies you and determines the ads that you will see.


Greg Jarboe: [00:00:00] The answer is just try stuff. See what works, learn, and that’s then where young people have an advantage over what I’ll call the corporate types. Us corporate types are afraid to fail. Go fire us. Right? And the kids, well, let’s see what works. It is a radically different mindset. They’re not afraid to fail.

They learn from it. They get better at it. And if you watch any of, uh, YouTube stars, you know, and you go back and look at some of their earliest stuff versus what they’re doing now. Night and day, night and day.

Bumper Intro-Outro: [00:00:57] Welcome to endless coffee cup. A regular discussion of marketing news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee. Have a seat and thanks for joining.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:24] We’ve got another exciting episode with Mr. Greg Jarboe to talk about YouTube and search engine optimization for YouTube and creators as you intoned so well. Greg, how are you doing today?

Greg Jarboe: [00:01:39] Well, I’m doing much better now that the reverb has gone away. I, I can hear you. You can hear me. Technology works. Wow. What’s next?

Matt Bailey: [00:01:51] Sometimes it works.

Greg Jarboe: [00:01:52] Oh, okay.

Matt Bailey: [00:01:54] Yeah, I, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. We, we’ve been slowly upgrading our equipment here and it’s like a whole new learning process to go through new microphones, new mixers, and, oh, now what are the settings have to be? And all of this. So it’s a constant headache. I’m so glad I’m podcasting.

Greg Jarboe: [00:02:12] Wait, wait, wait. I thought podcasting was audio only. This is, this you’ve snuck in a camera here.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:19] I have, I have. Why not, Greg? You, you have convinced me on the value of video. It’s your fault.

Greg Jarboe: [00:02:26] Matt, I, I’ve called a lot of people. I have a face that was made for radio and, okay. We’ll do a podcast that people can watch and, uh, let’s, let’s hope that, um, they’d listen to the key words that we, that we speak.

Matt Bailey: [00:02:45] Absolutely, Greg. Hey, I wanted to pick your brain. You were in here a couple of weeks ago, and we talked about YouTube and why businesses tend to stumble with it. But I wanted to also hit the other side of it. Why are creators taking over YouTube?

Uh, seems like, and especially we, we mentioned this the other time that what I learned from my kids about who’s doing what on YouTube, they’re my best source of intelligence. Uh, it’s just amazing to see how creators have figured out this medium and they’re dominating it. And the brands are really nowhere to be found for the most part.

Greg Jarboe: [00:03:23] Yeah, and part of that is a oh, I hate to be ageist, but there is a generation that assumed that a camera was expensive and that you needed to go to an ad agency to get creative created. And that’s one of the reasons why super bowl commercials, not only cost $5.5 million to buy 30 seconds of time, but generally costs around a million dollars to produce.

And if that’s the world you grew up in, then along comes this YouTube thing where, pardon me? I can shoot this on my smartphone? It’s like, oh yeah, but, but, but that’s not a real video. Is it? And the answer is, well, I don’t know. I guess you haven’t seen the latest Apple commercials where they say we did all of this on an iPhone.

Um, yeah, you can shoot some really great content, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm or leg. What now becomes more important is what are you doing? What are you showing? What is your content? Are you telling stories? Are you showing people how to do things? Are you entertaining them? Are you inspiring them?

You know, that’s why the kids who aren’t encumbered by any, you know, misconceptions about the way it used to be done or the way I was trained to do it, you know, just pick it up and say, but that’s how it works. What you don’t get it?

Matt Bailey: [00:05:02] What’s not just that they’ve picked it up. It’s that they’ve been able to refine it.

We mentioned this last time, they’re not afraid to fail and they’re learning and they’re learning what works at such an accelerated rate. As an example, I was watching one of the videos my daughter was watching, and it wore me out because the creator edited out all of the pauses and all of their breaths, and it was just one long narrative for about five minutes. And I, like, this is enough. I can’t take this. I have to, I have to think about this, but there was never a chance to do that. Uh, so the pace is accelerating of how they’re figuring out how to keep attention.

Greg Jarboe: [00:05:42] Well, and guess what, one of the places where you can learn how to do this stuff turns out to be YouTube.

So, um, there’s a new letter, uh, from, uh, Susan and with Jackie, the CEO of YouTube that was just published today. And in her letter, she, uh, celebrates a fellow named Brandon Reed, who uh, was a single father. He was sleeping on a couch with his kids and his life was pretty miserable. And he taught himself how to create YouTube videos late at night after his kids were in bed, then he launched his own full length cartoons.

And, um, oh, by the way, his channel currently has more than 250 million views worldwide, and you know, how did he learn this? He learned it on YouTube. It’s like, you could do that? Yeah, he did.

Matt Bailey: [00:06:49] That is absolutely amazing. Well, and that’s where I’ve started to break down some of the components of why creators are so dynamic in what they’re able to produce. And one of the first things I learned about was the schwa that first second introduction of the, “Hey everybody!” And just that, you know, elevating the voice, bringing people in, and you could tell when people learned that that was effective, because then all of a sudden, everyone seems to be doing it.

So it seems like there’s just these waves of when someone figures it out, the whole community works on it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:07:26] Well, they got a little help, uh, in about 2008, when, what was called then YouTube insights, which came before YouTube analytics, actually had an audience retention report that would show you how fast you were losing your audience, and most people were losing half of their audience in the first 15 to 20 seconds.

And so that’s how I learned the hard way. It’s not like I knew it. It’s like, oh my Lord, um, what are we doing wrong? And how do we do it different? So, up until early 2008, I was creating videos for the search engine strategies conference, and we would do what we call the bumper. We would put a, “Here we are at SES New York,” and you know, it was, it was what we had learned from watching television, right? You, you, you have the little intro before this episode starts. Well, we were losing people in the intro and so we killed the bumpers.

We, we just started, “Here’s um, interviewing this guy named Matt Bailey. You won’t believe he’s from Ohio and he actually knows something worth listening to.” It’s like who, who could figure that out? And, and when you started cold, but by telling people, this is what the video’s going to be about. And then if we wanted to sneak in a little bumper, we might do it before we, we then went to the body of, let’s say an interview or whatever it was that we were doing, you know. That worked, that would hold people’s attention.

They would say, “Oh, Matt Bailey. Yeah. He’s that guy who did that Star Trek thing. Didn’t he? Yeah. Yeah. I want to, I want to hear this story.”

Matt Bailey: [00:09:12] That tends to go around a little bit, every few years I see just a resurgence, uh, of traffic on the site, on that article and some of those videos as well. It’s, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Greg Jarboe: [00:09:25] People are going to go rushing and trying to find it again, so there you have it.

Matt Bailey: [00:09:31] Well, what is it about creators? What is it that, uh, maybe they have in common or what is it, why are they able to tap into the psyche and create these massive amounts of, of views?

Greg Jarboe: [00:09:43] Well, if there was one type of creator, I would tell you the secret formula. If there were 12 types of creators, I would list the 12 secret formulas. It turns out there are millions of creators, and if there are any quote formulas, it’s be authentic, be interesting, you know. But beyond that boy there, there are very, very few patterns. And if people start doing what so-and-so did, you know, everyone knows, “Oh, that’s what so-and-so did first.” It’s like, “That’s not new.”

[00:10:00]  So let me start it this way. I never assumed that putting on makeup would become a genre….

Matt Bailey: [00:10:33] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:10:33] ….in YouTube where people would want to watch Michelle Phan or whoever, “Get the Lady Gaga Look.” In fact, it was because her videos were running longer than 15 minutes, and she complained to YouTube saying, “I can’t put my makeup on in less than 15 minutes, but you got this 15 minute limit and pardon me, you know, that’s not how it works.” And YouTube lifted the 15 minute constraint. Basically because Michelle and, and people like her said, if you’re going to let us show people how to do things, you gotta let us, you know, run long.

So they did, but, but who, who would have predicted that? Nobody.

Matt Bailey: [00:11:15] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:11:16] No one. Or an unboxing videos. Wait a second. You just bought a new gadget and you’re going to take it out of the box? That’s a genre? It’s like, who figured that out? Well…

Matt Bailey: [00:11:29] My brother started a channel and the biggest, well, let me say that the most viewed video he has is the unboxing video of when he got a new piece of equipment. That is the most popular video of all that he has created.

And so, yeah, it’s, it’s strange. It’s a phenomenon. I mean, I, I look at how I’ve used YouTube just in the past few months and I realize I’ve used it to fix a mower. Uh, I’ve used it to troubleshoot a printer. Um, it’s really become this utility of finding how to do things. Uh, but at the same time, I listen to music during the day, or I watch British television shows that I can’t get here in the U.S. It’s become this multi-tool where so much can get accomplished with it.

Greg Jarboe: [00:12:18] And, and the funny thing is, is the fastest growing device that people are now watching YouTube on is their connected TV. And so, uh, all of us have suffered through the pain and agony of going from, “What they’re not watching it on a desktop or a laptop?” and then, “Looking at it on a smartphone?”

And now it’s like, yeah, and addition to the smartphone, they’re looking at it on a connected TV and it’s like, who do I create for?

Matt Bailey: [00:12:46] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:12:46] And the answer is, you know, well, who’s your audience and better create in the high definition because it’s got to look really good, big, and it’s gotta look really good, small and everywhere in between.

Matt Bailey: [00:13:00] What strikes me is that YouTube really has reflected more of that long tail effect. And what we talked about in search engine optimization, where the long tail was those four or five or six word terms where people were being very specific. And a lot of the advice was let’s optimize for those terms, because the more specific and relevant you are, the more your people find you.

They’ll, that’d be exactly what they want rather than optimizing for the big term, like makeup videos, but YouTube seems to have been more successful with bringing so many creators into that long tail, almost more than the traditional search engine has.

Greg Jarboe: [00:13:45] Well, actually the search engine has too, but here’s how I was sort of shown the way. You know, in the early days we grew up with what, three major TV channels?

Matt Bailey: [00:13:55] Oh no, no. Four, four channels on a good day.

Greg Jarboe: [00:13:59] Uh, four channels on a good day. Now we’re American. In other countries, they had even fewer. So, you know, and, and guess what, when you’re segmenting your audience three or four ways, you know, uh, everything tends to look pretty much alike. There’s the sitcom, there’s the news, there is, you know, uh, sports. Yeah. Yeah. Got it. Well, uh, then we went to cable and my Lord, we had fifty seven channels and that allowed you to divvy it up a little finer. Well, what are you doing to the YouTube world when you’ve got, oh, I don’t know, eight million channels? So the key here is that why does long tail work? Cause I got eight million channels.

Which one do I want to watch? I am no longer constrained by the number of channels that are available. If I feel like music, I go watch some music. If I feel like sports, I go watch some sports. If I want to check out the news, guess what? I can check out the news and oh, by the way, if I need to learn how to fix the washing machine, I’ll go learn how to fix the washing machine.

Matt Bailey: [00:15:10] Right. So one of the things I wanted to ask about is early in the days of YouTube, and I think this was probably one of the first brands that actually figured it out, and that was the, “Will it Blend?” series. Um, I’m trying to remember what the blender was a Blendtec blender that I went out and I still have one.

Greg Jarboe: [00:15:31] No, you have, you have the consumer one, which actually came later, the original “Will it Blend?” Blender was that business to business blender. It was only used by stores that let’s say would do a thousand smoothies a week. Okay? And that’s why durability was a key issue because, you know, at the end of the week, well, let’s still blend, you know, the 1000th smoothie and, um, George Wright, who was a director of marketing at, uh, uh, Blendtec saw the boss blending a two by four, uh, into one of the industrial strength, uh, blenders, just to sort of check out that the blades were sharp enough and it suddenly hit him. Oh wow. This could be a, a video. So he spent $50.

$50 to buy stuff. And the stuff he bought was a bag of marbles. He bought a six pack of Coke. He bought, uh, a chicken, a fried chicken. Uh, he bought a rake handle, and he made five videos with the theme, “Will it Blend?” And guess what? It all blended. And at the end of the five videos, views took off. Millions of views. Got it. More importantly, their sales increased 700% for a business to business product.

Every smoothie vendor in the country had to have one of their blenders.

Matt Bailey: [00:17:04] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:17:04] And because they had become more popular than, uh, even in their original target audience, they were able then to create a new line for the consumer audience, they were able to enter a very competitive consumer market based on everyone had seen something blend.

Now here’s a trick question. What is the one thing that Blendtec could not blend?

Matt Bailey: [00:17:30] Oh, I used to know this.

Greg Jarboe: [00:17:32] A Chuck Norris action figure. That was a spoof. They actually could have blended it, but, “Chuck is so rugged and he’s the only thing we couldn’t blend.”

They even had Nike come to them and say, we’re going to launch a new sneaker. Will you blend it? You know, as a way of, you know, kicking off this product right. And they had a product placement, they got paid money to blend a Nike sneaker. So yeah. Put the company on the map, uh, helped accelerate it, getting, uh, acquired, which was, uh, it turned out to be the exit strategy there. Uh, George Wright moved on, but yeah. Put the company on the map.

Matt Bailey: [00:18:16] That’s amazing. Yeah, that was, uh, you know, one of the earliest, I think success stories and it was a brand-based success story, and yeah, I was amazed at how alternatively there were other brands approaching them to, “Please blend our product because it would get them on the map.”

It would get them some recognition. Uh, what are some other, you know, maybe not as back in the day type videos, but what are some other campaigns that have gotten your attention? Whether it’s a brand or a creator that you’ve seen just, you know. Whether it changed. I agree, the example of the makeup artist, who, she changed the algorithm. What are some of the, I would say the pinnacle events that we’ve seen?

Greg Jarboe: [00:18:55] Oh boy. Well, there, there are a number. Let me share one that I have to confess, uh, was a student of mine. I apologize. I teach this stuff, but I, in a group of other faculty members from Rutgers University were brought into Bothell, Washington. And when I told my wife, I was going to Bothell, she said, “You’re going to a brothel?”

I said, no, Bothell, Bothell, Washington, it’s North of Seattle. It’s a real name. I didn’t make it up. And, uh, we went to teach the entire marketing team at a Sonosite and they made, uh, portable ultrasound devices. Okay, fine. Cool. What kind of content do you create to show off your portable ultrasound device?

[00:20:00] And oh, by the way, you don’t buy these one at a time. You know, hospitals are the, uh, customer, they have to buy a system. It’s going to cost a couple hundred thousand dollars to install the system. And, oh, by the way, there’s a lot of faculty, uh, training or a pardon me, doctor training involved, because everyone’s got to learn how to, how to use this new device.

And so normally the sales cycle was about nine months long. Well, they started creating a series of videos, one of which was how to do heart surgery. Now timeout. You mean, you mean my doctor is in his office right now, looking at YouTube to learn how to do heart surgery? What? Didn’t he learn  that in school?

And the answer is yes, yes, yes. He did learn it in medical school. But what he was learning was how to use this device while doing heart surgery to make sure the needle didn’t go in too deep or whatever. So it was a, uh, unique kind of how to video that showed how to use this product in a specific situation so that the doctors who, you know, normally we’re a part of the opposition to any change would say, “Oh, I could do that.” Another one, a video that they created was, uh, they sponsored a group of doctors without borders who would get in Outrigger canoes and go to different Pacific islands that didn’t have electricity. And they would bring, uh, portable generators with their portable ultrasound systems.

And guess what? You know, the pregnant woman who was having complications, they could do a quick ultrasound and save the baby. Well, you know, videos like that may not sound as creative as Michelle Phan’s, “I’m going to put on some makeup.” But they tell stories. They tell compelling stories and oh, by the way, the net net was not generating new leads, which is how most of us marketers think in this case. It shortened the sales cycle from nine months to seven because the people who are normally the opposition could say, “Oh, oh, I could learn how to do that. Yeah. That would lower the mistake rate at our hospital. That would be a good thing. Okay. We’re on board with, with purchasing this business to business product.”

Matt Bailey: [00:22:29] And that will, yeah. That, you know, shortens your pipeline, shortens your sales cycle immediately. That makes a huge, huge difference. Yeah. That is a, I mean, that’s an amazing B to B application and, and, you know, it’s funny, we’ve, we’ve given two B2B examples where, and that’s usually your biggest obstacle.

Greg Jarboe: [00:22:48] Well, yeah, there are lots and lots of consumer examples out there, and most people have seen them. Most people celebrate them. I tend to look for ones that surprise you, because they’re doing everything that the so-called creator is doing, but instead of, uh, uh, interesting dance or an, you know, instead of whatever the trend last week was, what they’re doing is just perfectly normal. You know, let me show you something that until you see, it’s hard to understand.

Matt Bailey: [00:23:23] Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s why, you know, it’s amazing how YouTube now is, I think more and more it’s being accepted in education. That there is someone who can explain this so much better than I can, or here’s a practical view of how this concept can be done in the real world.

It’s really amazing. And usually it’s a self creator that has done it just out of the, their passion, their, their knowledge. Uh, it, it seems to be more and more accepted in education for that.

Greg Jarboe: [00:23:57] Right. And it started with Khan Academy, who was creating, um, basically tutorials for his niece. You know, I think he was in Baton Rouge or New Orleans and his niece was in a city up North and, uh, you know, can you help tutor her?

And so the only way he could figure it out, how to do it was to create some YouTube videos. It took off. It took off and I’ll tell you what, when teachers across the country and around the world for that matter suddenly found themselves having to teach remotely this year for the first time…

Matt Bailey: [00:24:35] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:24:35] …you know, there are a lot of old habits that are ingrained from, “Well I’ve always been able to stand in front of my classroom and I’ve always taught this way.”

Well, suddenly I’m sorry. You’re teaching on zoom. I can’t tell you how many of those educators suddenly discovered, oh, wow. There’s a YouTube video on this topic. And, um, I’ll, I’ll do my teaching and then I’ll tell the kids, watch this, watch this, watch, they were curating. They were selecting, uh, just like they might, uh, instead of handing out papers or reprints in the classroom, they were sending people to videos that might, you know, touch on a subject.

My son is an American history teacher. He teaches AP history and yeah, he’s got his slides for the classroom, but all of a sudden this past year, boy, did he discover the video archives.

Matt Bailey: [00:25:34] Well, yeah. You know, I find, you know, even my kids, they love some of the, the history videos where it’s animated. So it provides a nice visual example, and you know, I’ll say some of these creators, they’ve done a good job. They’ve done their research, they’ve done their homework and can put together a compelling story. And it’s really amazing to see that coming together. And of course, they’re, they’re monetizing this, which, it’s I think motivating many others to decide, “I’m going to do this too.”

Greg Jarboe: [00:26:06] Well, they’re trying to monetize it then, I mean, that’s one of the areas that YouTube actually not only needs to do a better job, uh, helping creators monetize their videos, but, uh, again, I, I think I mentioned that. Um, the CEO of YouTube just published a letter today, talking about some of the things that they’re going to do in the coming year to help, um, the creators find new ways to, uh, uh, to monetize.

So in addition to ad revenue, which has been the, you know, traditional thing, and unfortunately only a very small percentage of, uh, YouTube creators end up making more than a hundred thousand dollars a year from their ad share. All of a sudden, YouTube is rolling out things like channel memberships. So people may, um, basically pay to subscribe to your channel as opposed to you get a cut of the ad revenue.

Uh, and for different kinds of content, that makes some pretty interesting things viable. They’ve got a, uh, merchandise shelf. Uh, so if you’ve got branded merchandise, like, you know, your logo on your podcast, uh, you could, you can sell merchandise. It, depending on the country you’re in it’s, it hasn’t rolled out worldwide yet, but they also have something called super chat and super stickers, uh, and then of course the sweet spot is if you can get into premium revenue and as you know, you and I both teach a course in, um, the United Arab Emirates. And one of the secrets that I shared with the 22 creators who were in our first course was you can create whatever you want. You know, go to it, be inventive, but let me share with you the 10 categories that YouTube is monetizing using what they call YouTube Select, where they are basically funneling the biggest advertisers down 10 pipes.

Comedy, entertainment and pop culture, technology, food recipes, gaming, sports, music, science, and education, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle, and in the United States, Spanish language. And I said, if, if you’re creating content in one of those 10 categories, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re probably going to start out small, like everyone else does because that’s just the way it is.

But guess what? That’s where the money is. That’s where if you grow up and become successful, that’s where the most money is. So, I taught them who Willie Sutton was. I, you remember Willie don’t you?

Matt Bailey: [00:28:50] Yes. Yes. I like that example.

Greg Jarboe: [00:28:52] Well, you know, famous bank robber from the 1920s when they said, so Willie, why do you rob banks? And he said, “Because that’s where the money is.” So, um, basically I was showing content creators, these are the banks you want to rob. They’re typical.

Matt Bailey: [00:29:11] Great way to put it. Great way to put it.

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Matt Bailey: [00:30:47] Well, let’s talk about some of their reality here of, of, uh, monetizing. I love to tell people the, so about a year or two ago, one of my daughters, I was talking to her teacher and she was saying five years ago, they were asking kids what they wanted to be, and it was the traditional, I want to be, you know, I want to be the police. I want to do fire. I want to be a doctor and all these things. She says now, more than half the class wants to be a YouTube creator. And not just there, I was hearing that everywhere, just all the kids, now they have it in their minds that they’re going to be a YouTube creator.

And the odds of you, you know, as you said, there’s very few people even making a hundred thousand a year. What are some of the numbers that they have to contend with it just to get to, I don’t know, somewhere. What, what’s some of the obstacles there?

Greg Jarboe: [00:31:42] So, you cannot monetize your videos at all until you become a member of the YouTube partner program. And in order to do that, you need to have a thousand subscribers and about four thousand valid public watch hours of content. So a thousand subscribers means if you put up your channel tomorrow, it’s going to take you a while before you get to a thousand subscribers. You better be creating some pretty interesting content that people want to subscribe to and come back and not miss your next video.

And in terms of four thousand valid public hours, in other words, if you’ve got a video set on private or unlisted, that doesn’t count. If you delete a video, you’d lose all those watch hours. If you are running an ad, ads don’t count against those watch hours. You need to create content worth watching. And you need to create enough of it so that you get four thousand hours worth of watch hours in twelve months.

Then, and only then, are you ready to apply to the YouTube partner program to monetize your video. And of course you want to go north of that if you want some of these additional features so that I was, uh, talking about, or if you want to suddenly start making, uh, over a hundred thousand dollars a year and, frankly, there are a lot of content creators who are making more than a hundred thousand dollars a year and quit their part-time jobs and are doing YouTube full-time. That, that’s their new career path.

Matt Bailey: [00:33:26] That is amazing. Yeah, absolutely amazing. But it is a small group in comparison to the amount of channels, creators, everything that’s going on out there. And so that’s one of the things I try and communicate to my kids is that, okay, now, if you’re going to sit down and do this, here’s some of the things you need to keep in mind, because as you said, and it’s critical, you’ve got to create content that people love, that they want to watch.

They want to come back and see again, what’s some of the advice you, you know, I’ll take it from the, the class that we taught in the UAE. You had some great starting advice, uh, for those creators. What are some of those advice? If you could share that?

Greg Jarboe: [00:34:05] Don’t believe everything you’ve heard is the first piece of advice.

And here’s, here’s why people sort of get caught short. Oh, I heard that a short video is good because people have the attention span of a goldfish.

Matt Bailey: [00:34:20] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:34:21] And the answer is really? Have you tested this? What do you mean test? Well have you created some really short videos to see how it works? And the reason why the successful YouTube creators are successful is they tried a lot of stuff and a lot of it failed, but in the process of which they learned what worked.

So if you’re trying to do what you’ve heard everyone else does, it’s probably out of date. Um, YouTube has evolved a long way from when it was in beta in 2005. And so some of the things that you couldn’t do in the early days you, everybody is doing today. And just when I was making fun of short videos and encouraging everyone to consider longer content, because watch time became a key component of the YouTube algorithm in October of 2012.

Well, what does YouTube do? Well, they roll out YouTube shorts in beta, in India. And so now they’re testing videos that are shorter than fifteen seconds. So the answer is just try stuff, see what works, learn, and that’s then where young people have an advantage over what I’ll call the corporate types. Us corporate types are afraid to fail.

They’ll fire us. Right? And the kids, well, let’s see what works. It is a radically different mindset. They’re not afraid to fail. They learn from it. They get better at it. And if you watch any of, uh, YouTube stars, you know, and you go back and look at some of their earliest stuff versus what they’re doing now, night and day, night and day.

Matt Bailey: [00:36:10] Right. Well, it even sounds like to your earlier example, even YouTube is learning and adjusting based on how they see viewers react.

Greg Jarboe: [00:36:20] Yeah. Yeah. There are some people you can learn from. So, for example, one of the YouTube creators that I sort of encouraged people at the New Media Academy in the UAE to take a note of was a woman who was known as Superwoman, uh, Lilly Singh, who is half Canadian, half Indian, and she created a series of characters who are not her mother and who aren’t her father, but she’s created characters depicting stereotypical mothers and fathers, which, um, she’s done humorously. And I said, you know, just watch Lilly. Watch her at work. Uh, she’s engaging. She’s funny. And then all of a sudden out of left field she’ll tackle a serious issue as she did around racism.

And you know who she is, you know what she feels, she, she’s authentic. She’s real. Uh, and oh, by the way, she’s worth subscribing to. And that’s the kind of content that, uh, if you’re as good as Lilly, then you’re in the right league.

Matt Bailey: [00:37:38] Yeah, it’s amazing. I almost, uh, you would maybe put her in an entertainer category, but yet with flashes of this is really good, deep, interesting thought.

But overall it seems as though it really is a mixture. I mean, you have to have this some level of entertainment. Uh, depending upon what you’re going to be presenting, what you’re going to be telling. It’s not just a regurgitation of information, it’s, the presentation is everything.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:07] Yeah. And, and YouTube actually puts her in the comedy track. There is a second entertainment and pop culture track. Did YouTube get it right? Does a Lilly Singh sometimes crossover? Absolutely. Absolutely. But let’s take, um, one of the biggest success stories that came out of, uh, this past year was John Krasinski.

Matt Bailey: [00:38:33] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:34] Who can’t shoot anything because of COVID.

Matt Bailey: [00:38:38] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:38:38] Here I am stuck at home. What do I do? I don’t know. I’m going to create eight videos, a series called some good news. Yeah. That’s what we all need right now is some good news. Huge hit and he sold it off to Viacom. Um, and, and it was because he was stuck at home with nothing else to do. So next time I’m stuck at home I’m going to… no. It’s, it’s like, you gotta use your imagination. That’s, you know, if there’s one thing that’s in short supply it’s, uh, imagination and creativity, you know. Doing your thing.

Matt Bailey: [00:39:15] That really, uh, you know, that’s a big piece of advice, right there is, uh, I mean your number one was don’t do what everyone else does and don’t listen to what everyone else says. And now it’s imagination, creativity, come up with something that, yeah. It’s like, thanks. I appreciate that. That’s uh, that’s good advice.

Greg Jarboe: [00:39:35] There are 8 million answers to this question. That’s, I’m just picking two off the top, yeah.

Matt Bailey: [00:39:41] Absolutely. And that is what is so phenomenal is you never know what kind of audience is out there. Uh, almost you create your own audience because who knows what people want to see and what they’ll listen to, watch, or search for. Uh, that, that is, what’s so fascinating about this medium.

Greg Jarboe: [00:40:00] Well, here’s one other element that I think makes, uh, YouTube creators revolutionary and worth watching. They care about feedback.

They’re looking for what didn’t work. They’re reading their comments. They’re checking out where they lost people. Alright? They’re willing to take the bad news, roll with the punch, and come back and create another video that’s a little better than yesterday’s. And it reminds me of some great advice from a friend of both of ours, Avinash Kaushik.

Matt Bailey: [00:40:37] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:40:39] Who said a lot of people have like pie in the sky goals, and they fail miserably because it’s impossible to reach pie in the sky goals. He said the right goal to have is just suck less. Whatever you do today, suck less than you did yesterday. And you know what? That’s a better way to be successful long-term. Um, it’s, it’s very different, very different kind of advice, but, you know, I gotta, I, I’ve got to tip my cap, uh, when I did it right.

Matt Bailey: [00:41:14] He finds a way to say it. He really does. So what about the people that are afraid of the comment section? I think it’s well known that, uh, it can be, uh, uh, you know, a blood in the water kind of, uh, if you’re daring enough to even go to the comment section, but as a creator, what do you do with that?

Greg Jarboe: [00:41:34] Ah, well, here’s the choice that you have when you start reading the comments. You can get mad and that doesn’t get you very far. You can try to figure out, is this just a troll? Am I going to ignore this, or does this person actually, are they giving me constructive criticism um, disguised as destructive criticism?

Okay, fine. But here’s what you can do as a creator. And this is a little known trick of the trade, so secret sauce.

Matt Bailey: [00:42:09] Alright.

Greg Jarboe: [00:42:10] You can choose who to respond to, and you can skip the trolls, do not feed the trolls. Okay. But respond to somebody else who has made constructive criticism in a constructive way and say, wow, you know, thanks for your feedback. Boy, you know, the next video I make, um, I’m going to try to, um, change that. And all of a sudden, everybody who is skimming through those comments will say, this creator is listening, and this creator isn’t getting sucked into the vortex of haters and trolls. That’s such an easy trap to fall into. And by the way, those comments that get the most responses float to the top.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:04] Great. Great.

Greg Jarboe: [00:43:05] So later viewers, later viewers are more likely to see the comments that you’ve responded to and are less likely to see the ones that just, “You suck.”

Matt Bailey: [00:43:19] Exactly. Exactly. Which is they should go to the bottom and, yeah.

Greg Jarboe: [00:43:25] Yeah. Okay. Thanks. That’s really helpful. I’ll try to suck less tomorrow.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:31] Right. Right. Exactly. Well, uh, it’s in the title of your business, so…

Greg Jarboe: [00:43:37] You met, you met me when I was entering the search engine optimization, um, you know, industry.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:43] Yes.

Greg Jarboe: [00:43:43] You don’t know about the previous industries. Got it. Okay. Got it.

Matt Bailey: [00:43:46] I know a little bit, a little bit about that. That’s one of the cool things about video, and YouTube is owned by Google, is that we can optimize videos for rankings. And so what are some ways as if someone’s a creator and they’re trying to get some traction, they’re trying to get to those, you know, four thousand watch hours, uh, how can they increase their ability to be found by employing some of the search engine optimization techniques?

Greg Jarboe: [00:44:15] Well then let me share with you a brand new one.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:19] Oh, alright.

Greg Jarboe: [00:44:19] It didn’t exist last week.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:21] Oh.

Greg Jarboe: [00:44:22] Okay, so jump on this quickly because it’s really new, okay. YouTube is now, um, using hashtags more effectively. And what that means is when you’re finished writing your title, and we’ll talk about how to optimize your title, include a hashtag at the end.

When you’re writing your description, add a couple of hashtags, not too many, uh, YouTube will say too many is over fifteen. I would say too many is probably half of that.

Matt Bailey: [00:44:53] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:44:53] But you know, uh, some hashtags in your, uh, title and description, not in your tags, cause that doesn’t work yet. But, um, all of a sudden what YouTube is now doing is letting people find videos by clicking on the hashtag it’ll be live and all of a sudden everything, uh, about that will now get connected.

Matt Bailey: [00:45:16] Wow.

Greg Jarboe: [00:45:16] And if your hashtag is unique enough, they’ll find your other videos on the same subject. If your hashtag is popular enough, then they’ll find you with other people who were using the same hashtag, you know, use your hashtag wisely, but that’s new and that’s a week old. So, so add that to your repertoire.

Now, in addition to this new, new thing, you want to do the old-fashioned stuff, which is do some keyword research and by the way, do not make the rookie mistake of using a Google tool to tell you what people are searching for on YouTube. Uh, different people, different terms it’s like, huh? Sometimes you’d get lucky, more often than not, uh, no. So how do you find a YouTube search term? Start typing. The YouTube auto complete tool works the same way as the Google one does, if you type two or three words, YouTube will begin telling you, well, here’s the four or five or six word term that other people who’ve typed in these two or three words use.

And, and by the way, just as you said, you know, go for that long tail and people are afraid of the long tail, but it isn’t that, you know, niche and the answer is, pardon me, you’ve already typed in three words. So guess what? You get your cake and eat it too. You get the niche for the people who are looking for the niche.

You’re still using the big three words that are part of the popular search term, and they’re in the same title, you get it both ways and, and, and then you use those words in your description and in your tags and put them up front in the text. You can have twenty, thirty tags, make the tags that are the most important ones go first, and, and, and other tags go later.

Now you have a couple of shots of getting your video found, discovered. Um, if your content is crap, well, sorry. You’re not going to get much watch time, and you’re still not going to surface in search results after the first couple of weeks. But if your content is just wonderful and oh, by the way, at the end of your video, uh, you take advantage of the end screens to ask people please subscribe to my channel, all of a sudden you get to your thousand subscribers because people discovered, watched, and then took some action after watching. And that’s the magic formula, um, to getting, using the YouTube algorithm, to your advantage.

Matt Bailey: [00:48:05] Very good. Yeah. I love that. I love it. And yeah. Great point on the long tail. I, I think people tend to think it’s either or.  It’s either I use the short two or three terms, or I use seven words. I don’t think they realize that there is this cumulative effect that you’re actually doing both, but contextually as you build your channel, as you add more videos. Yeah, you’re hitting those long terms. You’re, you’re getting those niche but you’re also contextually building relevance for those primary terms. And so you can’t be afraid of being descriptive.

Greg Jarboe: [00:48:42] Yeah. I try to compare it to the Russian nesting doll where you got the little doll inside the medium sized doll inside the larger, what, you want to go with the large doll. You want to have the long-term inside of which is a medium-sized term inside of which is, uh, you know, a few core keywords. Alright? So phrase, term, keyword, all of the above. You know, just start by typing your core term and then look for the most relevant, you know, long variation.

Matt Bailey: [00:49:15] Very cool. Very cool. Okay, Greg, we’re getting towards the end here.  So I’m going to ask you the million dollar question. If I saw your YouTube history, what would be showing up? What are your favorite creators? What’s your favorite content you watch on YouTube?

Greg Jarboe: [00:49:32] Well, okay. Yeah, I think you may know the answer to this. I have three grandchildren and when, when they visit, they tend to watch things that I might not visit, like Daniel Tiger.

[00:50:00] So all of a sudden it’s like, sure, but you’re really into Daniel Tiger. And it’s like, it’s a Fred Rogers thing. You got to understand he Fred and I go way back. No, no, no, no, no. I have grandchildren. So one of the funky things that happens with, um, the suggestions that comes out of your YouTube history is they assume that it’s one person watching one device.

They don’t realize that in the real world, groups of people huddle around screens to watch stuff. And that actually has been true since the early days of YouTube in the old days back when there were offices, I know nobody has been in the office for a year, but in the old days, people would get together at lunch and watch YouTube videos together.

Well, whoever’s screen that was being done on, guess what, whatever the group was watching that day then became part of their history. So, um, I take history with a grain of salt. Um, I have very eclectic viewing habits, some of which are related to my family. Frankly, right now I’ve been watching a lot of Super Bowl videos leading up to the Super Bowl because I’m supposed to write a column about that two days after the event to say, “What was the best Super Bowl ad?”

And so guess what, I’m watching all the dreck now so that I can, I’m ready to pounce on the few best ones. Um, you know, um, yeah. Yeah. The Super Bowl is on the seventh of February. My column is due on the ninth. Um, but anyhow, so yeah, a lot of time, you know, it’s going to say he’s really into the Super Bowl. It’s like, no, I, I have an assignment for my editor. You know, this is not, uh, a passion or an interest. This is an assignment.

Matt Bailey: [00:51:43] It’s very interesting how I feel like how fragile the algorithm is. Um, I realized this was a couple of months ago. We are watching YouTube and again, it’s my wife and I were watching, you know, some British shows and we keep getting ads for horror movies over and over, every ad is for, and if there’s one thing my wife absolutely hates it’s horror movies. And I’m looking at these going now, why am I seeing this? What’s happened to the algorithm that all of a sudden? And so, and I’ll publish this in the show notes. You can go look at, uh, how Google sees you, uh, the interests that you have, what you’re interested in based on what you’ve watched.

I looked at my history and I realized that I had shown a clip. Now I considered this a comedy and I was telling someone it’s, uh, what was it? Uh, Evil Dead 2, uh,

Greg Jarboe: [00:52:44] Well at least it wasn’t Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know, that’s one of the classics.

Matt Bailey: [00:52:51] Yeah. Yeah, it was, uh, I’m trying to think what the, Army of Darkness. Yeah. Army of Darkness. I consider it a comedy and apparently YouTube considers that, horror. And I traced it all back that because I watched a couple of clips and I was showing them to my daughter about, you know, the, “Hail to the king baby,” and, and some of the quotes from there. All of a sudden, my YouTube channel changed on that video, and all I was seeing was horror movies. So I had to get in and say, no, take that out of my, uh, out of my recommendations, that’s not an interest of mine. It also gave me the chance to look and see all the other interests that YouTube says I have and curate those in order to, uh, get something a little bit more relevant to what’s going on.

But every once in a while, we, we feel like it’s a victory if, uh, we can get the algorithm to go off track. A few weeks ago, all the ads we were seeing were in Spanish. So we are trying to figure out what we did, uh, that made that happen.

Uh, so it, it, it gets to be a little game around here about that, but I am surprised how quickly the algorithm just skew right off the bat and go down a rabbit hole that you’re not ready for.

Greg Jarboe: [00:54:08] Right. Right, right, right. And, but, but that then lets you understand, um, that is, uh, yet another way that people discover videos.

So one is doing a search, new one will be, you know, checking out hashtags. Um, but for a lot of people it’s, uh, going to their homepage and getting recommendations and YouTube’s recommendation system is flawed. It, uh, is based on what it thinks you like and how, how do I say this? Machine learning takes awhile before it actually learns what real life humans actually know.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:50] Right.

Greg Jarboe: [00:54:50] Um, so it’s a little slow it’ll catch up. It’ll get there eventually, maybe, but yeah, it’s early days.

Matt Bailey: [00:54:59] Well, and especially for this type of content, because the reason I’m watching something is very nuanced. There is an intent, there is, or I’m, I’m thinking I could watch two very similar videos, but I like this one and it’s because there’s a nuance to it that this other one doesn’t have. I am not sure machine learning will be able to pick up that level of detail of that, “Here’s why I prefer this than that.”

Greg Jarboe: [00:55:26] Well, it, it we’ll look at how long did you watch? So if you watch for fifteen seconds for one and you bail, and then you watch another one for five minutes, you know, that’s a big strong signal that boy, he was really interested in this other one cause he spent five minutes watching it. If you, at the end of watching a video, then decide to subscribe to that channel, oh, well that’s a huge signal that, you know, you want more of that kind of content. So yeah, there are real signals there. The problem is YouTube is still learning to filter the signal from the noise, and, uh, it doesn’t, it doesn’t recognize when you are doing something, you know, well, like I was, I’m looking at this, um, you know, Super Bowl ad because I have to.

Matt Bailey: [00:56:19] You’re not all of a sudden shopping for Doritos. You’re uh, you’re just doing some research.

Greg Jarboe: [00:56:23] Yeah. Yeah. I’m I’m I’m, I’m not in the market for a Ford Bronco. Please. No Ford Broncos. Okay? I was looking at it because their new campaign is called, um, “Raised by Goats.”

Matt Bailey: [00:56:38] Oh, no. Yeah. Well, I think that’s always been a danger of our job, Greg is whenever we start doing some research, we just know the ads are on their way and they’ll show up on every webpage, they’ll show up on YouTube, whatever you’re researching, whoever you’re looking at. It’s going to take over.

Greg Jarboe: [00:56:56] Where did the goats come from? Oh, I know where the goats came from. Got it. Got it. Alright, goats.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:01] Oh, that’s great. Greg, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it. It’s been another great insight into the world of YouTube and, uh, wow. I can’t wait to have you back again. It’s a, it’s always been a treat, Greg.

Greg Jarboe: [00:57:15] Well, I I’ve enjoyed this too. And I’m watching your evolution, Matt, because you started off with audio only, and now you’ve gone to video. So I got to believe that the next time we do this, you’re going to have smell-a-vision.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:29] Smell-a-vision. I am where, I am working on that. Uh, I’ve got some people back in the lab, they’re going to try some things and, uh, we’ll see what we can do. Uh, but right now we’re limited to all the ports on the back of the PC here. So we’ll see.

Greg Jarboe: [00:57:45] Alright.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:46] It might be a, a USB that you have to install and we’ll activate it remotely. That’s, that’d be the only thing, right?

Greg Jarboe: [00:57:53] You do not want to want to stall that USB. No, no, no, no, no. Warning.

Matt Bailey: [00:57:58] Greg, hey, we’ve done this before, but where could people find you if they want to learn more about you and what you’re doing?

Greg Jarboe: [00:58:04] You want my secret undisclosed location? Oh, my website, my website it’s Um, I know it’s an oxymoron. You don’t normally make search engine optimization and public relations, but that’s what we did back in 2003, and so, it’s still we’ll find you there. Or, you know, you’ll, you’ll find, um, @GregJarboe on Twitter, I’m on Twitter and, um, but that’s enough. That’s enough.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:40] I’ll also put a link to, uh, your article page on, uh, I believe it is Search

Greg Jarboe: [00:58:46] Engine Journal.

Matt Bailey: [00:58:46] Engine Watch. Journal. Search Engine Journal.

Greg Jarboe: [00:58:49] I wrote for Search Engine Watch for a lot of years, I started writing for them in 2002, and I wrote for them up until about 2013. But a, a thousand articles over, over, uh, that period of time. But, uh, now, um, for the last couple of years, um, interestingly enough, Danny Goodwin, who was my editor at Search Engine Watch became the editor at Search Engine Journal, and.

Matt Bailey: [00:59:14] There you go. Alright.

Greg Jarboe: [00:59:16] So there is, there is a segue here, but yeah. Search Engine Journal.

Matt Bailey: [00:59:21] It’s all the same crowd. I, I’m, we all know it’s all, it’s all the same crowd involved somewhere in that industry.

Greg Jarboe: [00:59:28] We all have the same incriminating photos. Yes.

Matt Bailey: [00:59:31] Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Alright, great. Thank you so much for joining us and, uh, definitely going to bring you back again and we’ll talk more in depth about the, I’d love to go into more of the world of SEO and just how it’s matured over the years. I’ll use that word.

Greg Jarboe: [00:59:47] Matured?

Matt Bailey: [00:59:49] This is why I’m doing it on video. I love to see your reaction on some of these.

Greg Jarboe: [00:59:55] Matured? I know teenagers are more mature.

Matt Bailey: [01:00:00] Well, but it has matured. I’m not saying how much it has matured, but it, it has moved forward in some level of maturity.

Greg Jarboe: [01:00:09] Oh yeah. Okay. Yeah. Right. It’s, it’s past the, past the acne phase, got it. Alright.

Matt Bailey: [01:00:18] Yup. Yup. Yeah, now it wants the car. Alright. Hey, thank you, dear listener, I appreciate you tuning in to the Endless Coffee Cup today, and I hope this discussion was very helpful in thinking about how you can market with video and get some great innovative ideas to handle video and reach your audience. So, thanks again. Be sure to subscribe, send this video to someone that you know that might be struggling with YouTube and how to handle it. Certainly would appreciate that, and I look forward to seeing you again on the endless coffee cup.

Featured Guest:

Greg Jarboe

CEO & Co-Founder, SEO-PR

LinkedIn: Greg Jarboe | LinkedIn

Twitter: Greg Jarboe | Twitter

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