Video is a highly engaging medium available to business owners. Countless marketers are leveraging videos online.
Starting out and not sure what you need? Or are you already publishing and keen to up your game?
Veteran podcaster James Schramko and passionate publisher (and tech lover) Charley Valher talk budget, equipment, setup and production in this informative SuperFastBusiness episode.
In the podcast:
02:19 – Before phones even had cameras…
03:56 – On the quest for clean HDMI
06:12 – The very first thing people want to know
07:04 – 4K cams and what sensor size has to do with it
08:34 – James’s continuing equipment adventure
09:50 – The setup we’ve got for this episode
12:15 – How to achieve video-audio sync
16:13 – Why sound may actually trump image quality
18:07 – Some practical advice for newbies
20:36 – The recommended minimum spend for quality output
21:46 – For the would-be vloggers out there
24:19 – All the things you can do with video content
28:11 – Marketing quality and being consistent
29:36 – Can AI produce usable snippets?
31:48 – The Iron Man suit to your Tony Stark
33:40 – How to avoid the trap of sameness
36:32 – Making the most of leverage
37:38 – The trends in today’s video content marketing
39:11 – Should you put the effort needed into captions?
40:15 – Quality of content versus volume
41:43 – Why you shouldn’t be intimidated
43:45 – In summary…
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 764. I have my very good friend and long-term guest, Charley Valher from Valher Media, on the call. Good day, Charley.
Charley: Hey, James, thank you for having me back again. It’s a pleasure.
James: Well, I’m speaking to you quite often these days. And one of the big reasons is that apart from helping you out with growing your business, which I love – and it’s certainly fun to watch it emerge and see how strong it’s been getting – is you’ve been helping me with my setup for videoing my podcasts. Because you have been one of the strong influences to me on promoting my podcast better.
And I want to talk about that topic, because I know a lot of our audience are either podcasting or making short videos, or thinking about podcasting or making short videos. So this is essentially an episode around video marketing for online business owners.
Let’s talk about what’s current; we might sort of delve into the tech gear side of it, because that’s the number one question we get. And I’ve just had an upgrade, which you’ve been patiently guiding me through. I think I’ve made every misstep known to men. I’ve had some obstacles, and they will be useful, I think, for someone else going on the same journey.
So why don’t we start with that. We’ll talk about the video arms war, where there’s been an inflation in the quality and the production capacity of business owners, podcasters, etc., YouTubers. There’s definitely been a rise on the content that’s coming out, and I felt it was time for me to upgrade.
Before phones had cameras
I’ve been making content for a long time, way back. Even before phones had cameras, I was using flip cameras. And then I went to the cameras, went into the high-level DSLR stuff, which was very expensive and a little bit painstaking to set up, especially when you’re dealing with those set lenses, those fixed 1.2, 1.4, 1.5 type lenses, very hard to get in the zone. Like, if you’re even a millimeter out, you’ll blur your nose or your eyebrows.
And I had boom mics and big lighting gear and stuff. And the tech setup was just a pain in the butt. And I lost track of how many times I’d record things and then discover that the sound didn’t get the right feed, or the lighting wasn’t quite right, or the memory card ran out of memory or the battery died. It was like, such a joy to go to an iPhone.
And for the longest time, I’ve been using a Logitech camera. Occasionally when I travel, I’ve used the camera in the Mac laptop, but it’s rubbish. The Logitech was better, but you still need an external software control to get that. Mine was completely blown out. I remember you and I were on a call, where I was just this big haze of white light.
And your picture image on these videos that we do, even with the webcam, is amazing. And I said, Charley, I bow down to you. Just tell me what to do.
And we started out – and this is where I think it’s really instructional – we started out with, what have I already got? What have I got on hand that I can turn into a better camera? And I did have my Canon DSLR camera still sitting in the cupboard there, which I only use these days with a 400-mil lens to do surf photography.
The quest for clean HDMI
And I ordered a dummy battery for it. And we got this ATEM mini Blackmagic deck. We had to wait for supply because they’re kind of out of stock, which is typical at the moment because of the pandemic. And when it all came and I set it up, the biggest trouble I had was getting a clean HDMI feed. What that means is, Charley, you can explain what a clean HDMI feed is, because that was my first part of the education.
Charley: Oh, clean HDMI. So what it is, is there’s an HDMI port on your camera. And when you plug an HDMI cable in it, it sends video out into your computer. Now, what we use cameras for is not really what they’re intended for. So the camera I’m on right now, the Sony, isn’t designed to be a webcam. We’re kind of altering the use of it. And they’re starting to pick this up.
So a lot of these cameras, when they have HDMI out, it actually has all these overlays, like maybe your battery percentage, what frames or how many frames you’re running, your ISO, all these things. So if you feed them directly in, what you end up is an image that’s just covered in all kinds of numbers and jargon and squares and doesn’t look very good at all.
James: Right, which you don’t want for a webcast, obviously.
Charley: Definitely not.
James: So what’s the big difference between the type of camera you’re using (you can tell us the model of it)…
Charley: It’s a Sony a6400 I’m using.
James: Right. What’s the difference between that and the Logitech camera for laymen?
Charley: That’s a really good question. So I guess this is probably the most confusing topic. Or, I think, out there at the moment. I think it’d be easier to learn finance than camera stuff, you know? Honestly, I don’t envy the journey. And I was really frustrated as well, to be honest. So to be clear, I’m not an in-depth camera person or expert or pretend to be.
James: But you’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos from people who are, right?
Charley: I’ve solved my own problem, is what I would say, is what I’ve done.
James: When I started trying to solve my problem, it was just a minefield. It’s like, Oh, my god. Charley, have you got a minute? Can you help?
Charley: It still is a minefield.
“Go to someone who’s already been through the challenge.”
James: It’s so much easier to go to someone who’s already been through the challenge. And just before we forget, I want to mention, you’ve got a resource guide of all the equipment that you now recommend your customers who are trying to produce videos and podcasts, on your website. Could you just mention where we get that?
The first thing people want to know
Charley: Yeah, absolutely. So the number one question I get is equipment. All the clients at Valher Media, as soon as they come on board, it’s the first thing they want to know about. So I made a guide that has it all in there with where you can get it, what model numbers, what goes with what, the works.
So if you head to ValherMedia.com/resources, I think it’s the third or fourth one down. You can grab that there and it’ll tell you prices, where to get, what’s good, budget – so we’ve got, like, if you’re starting out, an entry level, and then also if you want the whole enchilada, the premium, what I’m on now. That’s in there as well.
James: Right. So the basic stuff is, you use the camera in your laptop, and most of them suck.
Charley: You shouldn’t use that.
James: You shouldn’t use that. The Logitech, that’s the next logical step. That kind of camera, I mean, there’s all sorts of brands of webcam, but they seem, like, to own the market. I’ve got a 920 at one of my places, and I’ve got a BRIO at the other one, which was a 4K thing, but the resolution is actually higher than what we can broadcast on the web, isn’t it, Charley?
4K cameras and sensor size
Charley: So, this is where the perils start, James. I think companies start to throw around things like 4K and 10 ADP, and I think we want to believe, because maybe we’ve got TVs or phones or things like that, that have 4K, that we can create that level of image. And I think that’s the big misconception. And I’ll start there, and I’ll do my little rant, and then I’ll hand back.
So I think starting out, the Logitech BRIO series is fantastic. Bang for buck. Awesome. At $250, it is so much better than the camera on your computer, and you can do some really great stuff with it. I previously used one, I think they’re fantastic.
But to your question before, it’s like, what’s the difference between, you know, this is a 4K camera, this Logitech BRIO. Why isn’t it as good as the 4K Sony a6400 I have in front of me right now? And this is where it kind of starts. The next thing that you really have to understand when it comes to this gear is sensor size.
So the Logitech BRIO wide is a 4K camera. The little catcher when you look at it, I’ve got one right next to me over here, it’s so tiny. It’s maybe not even a centimeter, is the actual sensor size. And then if I look into my Sony a6400 that I’m looking into right now, it’s like, it’s four centimeters. So it can capture so much more light and so much more image.
And that’s the really big difference when it comes to these is that sensor, it’s what it’s able to capture. So the jump up from the BRIO is when you start going into these DSLR cameras, or real cameras, as I like to call them. They’re not these little webcams. And that’s the huge difference, is you step into this other realm of like, what you can actually capture and the light you can absorb, which makes such a huge difference.
James’s equipment adventure
James: Now, we’ve talked about my DSLR adventure. I couldn’t get a clean HDMI feed. So I’m sitting there with my ATEM Mini Blackmagic deck, but I couldn’t get a proper feed into it. I had another camera. I had a Sony Sure Shot, and it had an HDMI Mini output. So I got a battery for that and tried to plug that in. I had problems with that too. I couldn’t make that one work. No clean HDMI.
But it was alright, because I had a Canon G7 X, and I plugged the cable into that, and, you know, got that set up. Again, I’m one model short of when it comes with a clean HDMI. My Canon G7 X, I’ve got it here, is a Mark II, and the one in need is a Mark III. So I would say a Canon G7 X Mark III is probably the starting point of where you get quite good image on a budget, right? What are they, five or 600 bucks, maybe $700?
Charley: Absolutely, that’s a great entry point. The Canon M50 is another one. I think that’s about $900. And that comes with a lens, at about $900. And the Sony a6000, which I think you can pick up for under $1,000, with the lens as well, is also a great option.
James: So I tried the first route. I bought the ATEM Mini, had a bunch of cables and bits and pieces. I’ve got three cameras that are useless. And I’m like, Charley, okay, just tell me what I get. So you said, get the Sony a6400. And I got that. I plugged it in, I turned it to clean HDMI. I think it’s just turning HDMI display off. That’s the only setting I’ve changed.
The current setup
You recommended I get a SIGMA lens for it. So I ordered the naked body and a SIGMA lens, and I think all up it costs a couple of thousand dollars. However, this episode is actually the very first episode we’re recording some video with that camera setup for, and we’ll put that on the website at SuperFastBusiness Episode Number 764. Is that the right one?
Yeah, that’s where we’re going to put the feed. So you can have a look at Charley’s setup, which is great. And you can have a look at my setup. This is what it looks like. And this camera, I just plugged it in. It’s got a USB power, straight to the power point. It’s got the HDMI Mini, I think, into my ATEM Mini Blackmagic deck, and the SIGMA lens is brilliant. Tell me about the lens, and why is it different than the ones we could get standard with the Sony?
Charley: Oh, that’s a good question. So the Sony itself, the a6400, comes with a kit lens, which in all honesty is fine. If that’s all you can get, go for it. And it’s obviously a little bit cheaper. But if you want to spend a little bit more, the SIGMA lens that I use right now, what makes it special, it comes back to this thing called light again. It lets in more light.
Now for anyone that can see my video, or you may have seen videos like this, you’ll notice that I’m perfectly in frame, crystal clear, but the things behind me are a little bit blurry. It’s got this depth of field effect that really kind of adds to the shot. So the reason I got this lens is to create that effect, to create a look that is more common in more professional videos, and a lot of people do intentionally.
So the lens is all about letting more light in. And then it’s also about how far away you are from your camera. So for me right now, this camera I’ve got is literally on my desk, I’m very close to it. So having a lens that works really well when you’re close up to it is also quite important here, where you mentioned before, like your surf lens is, was it like, 400 mil or something like that?
James: Yeah. Four hundred.
Charley: Yeah, it’s a beast, and it’s designed if you’re at the beach and you want to take photos of people that are like, at the waves, where it’s a completely different game, when you’re actually like, this close to a camera.
James: Right, so what’s the SIGMA lens we’re using?
Charley: Yeah, so this is a SIGMA. And I can see, I’ve got the box to the right of me here. There’s a SIGMA 16mm F1.4. And it’s the Sony E Mount for the Sony camera.
James: Right. So I got just that lens and the Sony a6400. Plugged it in, it worked straightaway with the ATEM Mini.
Achieving the video-audio sync
And then what Charley did next is we had this situation where the video is coming through at a slightly different speed to my audio. I’m using a RODE podcasting mic, it’s an NT-USB. And it just sits on my desk, because I don’t have a swing arm or anything fancy. No amplifiers. I’m a simple guy.
But what we did to fix that is we took a headphone output from the microphone, and plugged it into the audio input from the ATEM Mini. And then Charley had me adjust some audio settings to do two things. One is to make the sound better, and two is to match it to the video so that it’s synchronized. You want to talk about that, how that actually works and why that’s important?
Charley: Absolutely. This is probably my favorite topic.
James: I know it is.
Charley: I’m excited.
James: Smile’s a dead giveaway. And we just spent, like, the better part of 20 minutes getting my sound perfect. So if you notice any difference in sound on this particular episode, that’s because of Charley.
Charley: Absolutely. And I could have talked for longer, James. I pulled up because I felt like you were getting bored. I was just getting heated up.
Anyway, I will cut into this. So there’s a device that came out that, honestly, and I don’t like this word, but kind of was a game-changer for me. And that was the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro.
And in the simplest terms, what this does is you can plug cameras into it. So you can plug a DSLR camera into this device, and then you plug the device into your computer, and then it makes it a webcam. That’s the simplest term of what it does.
Now what makes it so special, though, is that you can also plug your fancy podcast mics into it, and then it syncs them up and matches them up nicely to make it easy. So this is, for me, I mentioned before, I’m not a camera guy. So I like to think of myself as like, I want the setup where I can just turn it on, hit record and go. I don’t want to adjust lenses. I don’t want to change settings. Like, I want to go and record. I want a really simple workflow that’s easy and nice.
So when I saw this device and it came out, it changed what I thought was possible in my own studio, being it’s just me operating it. I don’t have operators here or anything like that. So this device, it’s got a really special thing about it that’s not on anything else in the industry, although something else may have come out by the time this podcast is out.
You can actually select how quickly your sound matches up with your video, where previously, if you’d have just bought a DSLR camera and had your microphone separately, you might notice this and you’ve probably seen it on videos previously where it’s like, their lips move differently to the sound, or you can see the mismatch.
And if you’ve ever watched a video where it’s out of sync, you’ll notice that you’re watching the out of sync-ness rather than listening to the person. And it’s really distracting. And you want to, from my point of view, I was like, I’m not going to make videos if people are just watching me be out of sync and that’s the thing they’re paying attention to, rather than the content of the video.
So this device is the thing that makes it all possible, and I’ll quickly run it through. So we’ve got the Sony a6400 with the SIGMA lens, feeds into the ATEM Mini Pro 4K, endless runtime, super easy to use. I just put it on auto and turn it on. I don’t play with any settings or muck around with any of that, because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m going to rely on auto. It does auto focus, the works.
I’ve got the RODE microphone set up, also plugged into the ATEM Mini Pro. And then I’ve just done a few little tweaks so that it doesn’t peak out. Some people’s say I’ve got a voice for radio. I really do because of the settings. That’s what we’re doing.
James: It’s been tuned. You’re like, the better version of Charley, because of the software.
Charley: Yeah. What is it, it’s like me, just a little bit better.
James: So this is controlled with software that we put on our computer, which talks to the ATEM Mini Blackmagic deck.
James: And you basically guided me through twiddling a few buttons and adjusting, but we were able to synchronize the video to the sound by setting a delay, and we were able to soften the highs and lows and adjust the gain and the volume of my voice. So it’s going to be an easier job for my editor. And it hopefully sounds better for a podcaster.
The huge importance of sound quality
Now, this episode’s about video, but why is audio so important?
James: I think a lot of people watch videos with no sound, especially when they’re well, back in the day when they were traveling or transporting or even walking around the block, you know, or watching TV or something.
However, a lot of the sorts of videos that we’re talking about are podcasts. And the whole point of that is that we want to listen to it. So the video might become a secondary sensory experience, but the sound is probably the primary reason that we’re listening to that content, right? In this type of video.
“With cheap technology, there’s no excuse for poor quality.”
Charley: Absolutely. And with how cheap the technology is, these days, there’s really not an excuse anymore.
James: Look, for a couple of hundred dollars, you can have a podcaster mic. Like, I have produced, I don’t know – if you add up my other podcasts and my guest appearances, we’re talking well over 1000 recordings with this type of tool that you plug in with a USB cord and you can buy at any local electrics store or Officeworks or online hi-fi or any music store is going to have a USB microphone for under a few hundred dollars these days. It’s unbelievable.
Charley: It is. The barrier to entry is just so low to get high quality stuff, even this mic now.
James: That’s why we’re talking about the subtle refinements. You know, I’m an experienced podcaster, and I’ve been making videos for a long time. And I’ve just thrown a couple of thousand dollars at upgrading my studio.
I guess it helps that I’ve been at home the most I’ve been at home for the last 10 years. I actually haven’t traveled anywhere since the beginning of January, and we’re recording this in August. I would normally be overseas at least once every month or every six weeks. So this is the longest I’ve been in one place. It actually is a good time to sharpen up the tool set for me, and I can justify it because I’m actually making good money from my podcast.
A guide for the newbies
But what about someone who’s starting out? Where should they start on the equipment ladder? And what’s your strategy that you would recommend for them? Because I know some people listening to this probably haven’t even started or they’re at the very early phases, and the money’s just not coming in yet. How critical is it on a scale of one to 10 to have the Sony and the Blackmagic, etc., straight out of the gate?
Charley: That’s such a good question. I like this question.
Okay. So I’ll reference a few things here. If you’re in a niche that is a very prestigious niche, and quality is important to them, I would say it’s essential. I’ll put it out there.
James: Give an example. What’s a quality niche?
Charley: Yeah, so if you’re in wealth management, and you look like you can’t afford things, I’m just going to say probably it doesn’t match your brand perception.
James: Gotcha. So it should be on brand.
Charley: On brand is very important.
James: So James, like, people know you as a surfer, and you’re a lifestylist, and you’re wearing a Nike hoodie right now, which I think is perfectly acceptable for your brand.
That’s all right. I got a Lululemon T-shirt underneath. Someone said I shouldn’t mention that, that Lululemon is not a brand for guys. But I will say it’s fantastic clothing, and I’m still waiting for my sponsorship deal. If you’re listening to this one, Lululemon, I think I’m probably one of your greatest ambassadors. But yeah, I agree with you.
Charley: I’m just laughing. I’m wearing Lululemon pants right now.
James: Me too.
Charley: They’re the best.
James: And the best undies. And anyway, it’s good gear. So I’ve recorded podcasts in my car, with a Lavalier mic wrapped around the rearview mirror. I’ve done one with Ezra. I’ve done one with a complete stranger who I got a car from Santa Barbara and drove back to Los Angeles after Ontrapalooza, once.
That episode was so popular and well regarded by Ontraport, they invited me back the following year to review the event. And I recorded that literally as ghetto as you get. It was just iPhone, Lav mic wrapped around the rearview mirror as we were driving, reading through the notebook from the event.
So don’t let equipment stop you. That’s my tip. I’ve managed to get this far with all levels of equipment. I had all the good stuff, I’ve had the least amount of stuff. I’ve done a lot of travel. I do live in multiple residences, so I have different degrees of quality in each. But I will say, in each residence now I’ve got a RODE podcasting mic. I’ve got at the minimum a Logitech camera, and I have my iPhone, tripod light and a Lav mic available to me to make content.
But when it comes to podcasts, it probably is worth considering your brand. That’s a really top point. What are other considerations, Charley?
The recommended minimum spend for quality
Charley: So the second point is, I like to think of like, minimum viable option. So there’s cheaper options than this, but I think this is where quality meets price. And for most people, it’s surprisingly low as well.
So the Logitech C920 goes for about 150 bucks, although there’s some price gouging going on at the moment, but around that price. And then the microphone is the Audio-Technica ATR2100. Now that’s about $99. So under 300 bucks, you will have really good sound and a reasonable video.
“If you won’t spend 300 bucks, don’t start a podcast.”
James: So if you’re not prepared to spend 300 bucks, would you say just don’t bother starting a podcast?
Charley: Yes. I would say, definitely don’t bother starting a podcast.
James: That’s fair. I’ll back that up. I’ll say, yeah, look, if you can’t spend $100 on a microphone, just don’t do a podcast.
A lot of people say to me, should I do a podcast? And I say, look, there’s over 700,000 episodes (you told me that number). Very competitive. You got to really stand out. We’ve done episodes before, Charley, and we’ll link to those in the notes on this episode, of talking about, you know, how you can get your fresh brand new podcast boosted up with some traffic.
Advice for vloggers
But the big discussion here is video marketing. And we’ve gone heavy-handed with the equipment. What about if we’re just making vlogs for YouTube? Are we talking about the same gear?
Charley: Probably not. Although I do know this camera is very well-recommended for YouTubers as well. So the big difference would be, if you’re a YouTuber, the camera and lens is probably very suitable, but you wouldn’t go to the effort with audio. You’d be more likely to use a RODE lav mic. Now the good news is, they’re actually a bit cheaper. So you’d probably be a little bit better off in that regards.
James: I did notice it’s got a mic input, which is not on all cameras.
Charley: Another big win for the Sony as well is that it does have that mic input.
James: And you could get a wireless one, too, If you want. There are ones where you plug the body into the camera and you can plug a sort of pack onto you. So whether you go up to Sennheiser’s and those sort of things. I’ve had all of that gear. Had it all.
Charley: The RODE GO.
James: Right. Right, so there’s lots of options for if you want to go wireless. I’ve had a 10 meter extension lead that I used to just roll on the floor and run up my T-shirt.
The thing I like about the Canon G7 X for vlogging, because my client, Scott from Scott’s Bass Guitars, he put me on to this camera, it’s got a flip-up screen so you can see yourself; it’s very easy to hold in your hand. And the sound quality, it does not have an external mic input, but the sound quality in this camera is good enough for a bass guitar teacher to use for his vlogs. And he doubled his downloads when he used the handheld Canon G7 X instead of the multi-camera DSLR high level production.
So go a bit organic, if you’re a vlogger. And I think the big difference is going to be portability. You got to have your gear to get out and about. I imagine they’re going to have a GoPro in the kit, maybe a drone. And they’re going to be heavier on the editing side of things.
But let’s talk about the other components. Look, if we feel like we’ve covered the audio for the moment…
By the way, just a little tip while I’m at it. I am a podcaster. So I always take a backup podcast recording. If my guest has the capability to do it, I ask them to, which is probably about 30 percent of the time. And I’ve got another little recording device here, an old Zoom H4n, which I sit on my desk on a tripod, and it’s capturing my audio as a second track.
So if something messes up with my podcasting mic, I’m capturing it. Now, if you don’t have that, but you do have an iPhone, just download Auphonic app and sit it on your desk and record it, so that you’ve at least got a ghetto backup track. And I’ve had to use the Auphonic version on my iPhone a couple of times where my primary source was broken for some reason.
The stuff you can do with video
So if we feel like we’re done with the equipment, we were able to capture audio and video, let’s talk about, what can we do with this video, right? I’m recording this, and most of my audience are tuned to the audio version of my podcast because for the longest time, it was audio only.
Firstly, one big change happened. I got NBN, which in Australia is a faster internet than I used to have. My old internet had absolutely zero chance of supporting this call as a video. Zero. So I managed to do my online business for the most part of a decade with crappy internet. I’m talking, like, 1.4 Mbps. It was bad. This internet connection change, which meant that I can now do video on a more frequent basis.
Number two, I’m in the same spot most of the time, so I can actually record in a more consistent environment. Because setup is a big consideration for me. I want to be able to walk in and as soon as we hang up, I want to go and put my wetsuit on and surf it off. I don’t want to be messing around with batteries, lights, SD cards and all the stuff that comes with – I don’t want that. I don’t want a gear bag that’s going to take me hours to assemble and stuff. So that’s another consideration.
So those things changed for me. I’ve now got equipment that’s just ready to go. So I’m recording this podcast, I’m going to give the split sides of it to my team after we hang up. I’m going to give them four things, Charley. I’m going to give them my audio side, your audio side; I’m going to give them my video and your video side. And they’re going to take that and do stuff with it.
Now I know your whole business, ValherMedia.com, does this sort of stuff for your clients, and you’ve even done some of this stuff for me. You’ve taken some of our feeds, you’ll probably ask me for this, I bet you, and ask if you can chop up some of it. But what do you actually do with the stuff? Because that’s probably the bigger question.
Charley: And a really good question.
It’s so interesting. I think about this often. I look at how many people are treating their short videos or even their podcasts. And it’s almost like they’re disposable. It’s just like, alright, record it, publish it, done. Move on to the next one. It’s, they spend very little time to leverage them or squeeze them for all they’re worth, in all honesty.
So what we really focus on at Valher Media is that, if I’m going to spend an hour recording with James in this example, is like, how can I get the most out of it? How can I turn it into more things? So why we love video podcast so much is it opens up the leverage, it opens up so many more things you can do. And there’s still some things you can do with an audio podcast, but video really is like the pinnacle at the moment.
So I’ll give you some examples. One of the ones we love to do is video snippets. So if you are going to make a podcast like this, we have someone go through it and pick out some key moments and cut that into shorter clips, which we can then use to entice people to come and listen to the podcast.
And the way I think of it, it’s like, you know, those people with the tasting plates that used to be at, like, supermarkets and go, like, Try this, in the hope you would buy the bigger product. It’s kind of the same thing where we’re putting out all these enticements across social media, and then enticing people to come to the podcast.
Now, that only really works with the video. The audio snippets don’t do nowhere near as well in that department. You can still do them. Again, if that’s all you’ve got, it’s a place to start. But that’s one of my favorite things to do with a podcast in itself, is really make those video snippets.
James: Okay, a couple of things on that. Certainly we do a lot of audio snippets, because that’s all we had. So, this is a point I wanted to talk about, when you’re intimidated by a better marketer. You see Gary Vee in your face every five seconds. Or there’s plenty of other ones. There’s marketers I see constantly in my feed, and some of them have really good videos. And you think, oh my god, I can’t do that. I might as well just quit.
But, you know, look to people like me, you know, unremarkable, unextraordinary, average people who just chip away, and I still manage to create a multi-million dollar business from it. So be inspired that it is possible. But don’t expect results in the beginning, because no one is going to listen to your podcast or watch your videos until you start being active with your marketing.
Marketing and consistency
And I’d say, Charley, that is one of the greatest impressions you’ve had on me, is to market our podcast better. We beefed up our guest materials. We beefed up the packaging of snippets and marketing materials that they could actually use. We’ve asked people occasionally to leave a review. If you’re listening to this and you love it, please leave a review. That’d be great.
We have got a more set cadence. You were pretty big on that, consistency. So we publish two episodes a week, pretty much all year long. I’ve worked much harder on my content. I prepare my content more. I think about what I really want to put in front of my audience. Because there’s so many good podcasts out there, I have to have something cool.
And I’m trying and innovating new things that other people aren’t doing. I’ll take a social media snippet, the last three episodes we had was off a one-page snippet that I got from someone’s story and turned it into a three-part series. And it was good, I got such good feedback from it. I’ve got solo episodes coming out. So thinking really hard about the content, thinking about your audience and what they need. Think about how you’re going to differentiate from the other people in the market.
I’ve upgraded my equipment, so that will be easier on the eyes for my audience, and hopefully easier on the earbuds, with the sound enhancements you’ve given us.
So you stack these things together. Now you start to get a vision of what’s possible. And over the long haul, you’ll actually build this amazing machine.
Can snippets be automated?
So you’ve talked about snippets. By the way, I just want to ask you one possible objection. I had someone in my inbox yesterday, and I haven’t even opened the email. But I just glanced the subject line and the first line, you know how you can sort of preview that? It was something about, they want to do snippets for my podcast. I think they’ve got a tool that automatically cuts my stuff into snippets. What’s your initial reaction to that news?
Charley: Sign me up. If it’s good, I’d love it. The problem I have is, there’s some great tools out there, or references right now…
James: I honestly didn’t think you’d say that.
Charley: I keep it interesting. I don’t doubt – I’ll say this now, like, and it’s not today, but I’ll preface this – sometime soon, doing snippets with software and them actually being good, will happen.
James: I reckon that sometime soon, I could steer my entire podcast library to an AI tool and it can probably produce future episodes for me. With me.
Charley: Absolutely. And I look forward to it.
James: Like, a deep, fake, intelligent robot version of me. And if I could, I’d definitely tune it to make it sound a little better and more interesting and funnier, and all the cool stuff you’d want it. Like those music artists when they have, you know, they auto-tune their voice to make it perfect.
I think AI is going to be a really interesting one to watch. And I think we’re not at the point yet, though. I wouldn’t believe that a snippet tool could find the right parts, because we do that by hand. Our humans listen to our podcast, they select what they think will be a catchy introduction grabber. That will have been at the beginning of this episode, what the human thought was interesting.
They’ve listened to all my episodes, my team. They also have cut episodes, they’ll listen to it and say, Boss, it’s just not good enough, and we won’t publish it. So they have a minimum standard. But a machine might not be able to do that.
And especially the context around what we talk about. I just had them edit out several paragraphs of my previous episode where I think it needed tightening. It just, it lost a little bit of the point or the focus. It went off track and we had them tighten it up, and it takes a human intellect to do that, at the moment, and my team are amazing.
The suit to James’s Tony Stark
And by the way, my team listen to this. I don’t have any intention to replace them with a robot or an AI. But what we do, Charley, is when there are tools like Otter that make it easy to transcribe an episode, we use them. I just give the tool to the team. We can just produce so much more using the tools that do have AI, etc., as part of our weaponry. Sort of like an Iron Man with a flying suit and missile launcher.
Charley: That’s such a good analogy. I really like that analogy, because that is exactly what my team is.
James: Right. Well, I know your team’s very similar to my team, because we talk about it a lot and we share notes.
And you’re doing what I can’t do, and that is, all the people listening to this, and my clients, they say, oh, how do I do a podcast or a video like you, James? And I’m like, Well, sorry, but my team is busy doing my stuff. We don’t provide that as a service. But I know who does. My mate Charley provides that service.
James: You complete me, Charley. You’re the extension to what I would provide if we could. And I will say this. We tried to provide these services about seven or eight years ago, but I think we were before our time. It was very hard to sell, and very hard to deliver. And we just never really got the momentum to the point where it was a business model that was going to work for us.
However, now, it seems there are several suppliers, which is a good indication that people want this. I’d love you to talk about other ways you can use the video. I think you mentioned something to me at one point about speaker reels or promos. And what trends are you seeing in the marketplace, as people now realize they should have been doing content marketing earlier than they started?
Charley: Certainly getting more popular this year, I will say this. One of the side effects of world events. I’ll just mention a couple of things here as well, that I think are really important to what you just said.
Avoiding the trap of sameness
These tools that are out today, some of them are really good, like Otter, which we use, but they’re not quite good enough yet where you can just unleash them. But where they all really don’t do well is, as you mentioned, context and strategy. And that’s something that I think is really important. That day will come, but we’re not here yet. And you definitely want a human reviewing that stuff one way or the other.
The other problem I have with them is, if you, let’s say everyone starts using a tool, is that all of a sudden, your stuff just starts looking the same as everyone else’s.
James: There’s nothing worse than sameness, is it?
Charley: And that is what I think is a very real concern with falling into that, is if you’re just matching the same templates and color sets, like, people will eventually know. Like, I remember when, like, back in the day, Leadpages came out. And it was like, oh, wow, like this is so different. This is great. And then about two years in, it’s like, you could almost tell the template.
James: Well, you can say that about Clickfunnels.
Charley: It’s become the thing.
James: It’s been very successful. It’s a very popular tool. You can see that little favicon on the top of so many squeeze pages. It’s like, oh, okay, here we go. I’m about to get belted with upsells and back ends, and the template looks exactly the same.
I was having a chat with John Lint about this, because I’m helping him with 10XPRO. And one of the things we decided is we’re not trying to be a mass market, generic product. Because those things can be victims of their own success. They’re certainly very profitable and very successful.
And you know, if you think about it in marketing terms, from my old industry, I’d say they’re like Toyota, you know? Good product, financially successful, very reliable, everyone knows it. A lot of people use it. Great. Can’t go wrong.
But then some of the good products come along. Like your service. Like my coaching. Like John’s 10XPRO. They’re kind of more Mercedes-Benz, with a little bit of AMG sprinkled in there. It’s not mass market. It’s not for everyone. It’s absolutely high quality and integrity. It’s extremely well-regarded, it’s in it for the long haul, and it’s got good brand values.
And I think that’s important to find your spot. So what we’re talking about here in particular, if you marry up the first part of our conversation to where we’re at now, if everyone out there is running a Logitech camera or their laptop camera and you go to the a6400 or the G7 X or a DSLR of some kind, you’re automatically saying, you know what? This is a slightly better quality version of what else is out there. And it’s one way to start differentiating.
Charley: Absolutely. It really is. On point with the analogies today, James. So we’ve got Iron Man, and now we’ve brought in a Mercedes one that I like as well. Look out, Toyota.
James: Yeah, these two metaphors have guided my whole business model. I describe what I do as an Iron Man business model, because I’m fairly, you know, the business is dependent on me in the coaching side of things. But I got a lot of help. My team are the suit. In Iron Man, the suit can actually fly without him in it, too, which is good. I like that.
You know, you still need the Tony Stark element. That’s my role. And you can still get a lot done with that model. It’s not as saleable, but it’s extremely fun and profitable, and it could be changed over time.
Aiming for leverage
And what you’ll see, as we heard about in my episode with Greg recently, is that when I was talking about my strategy, over time, I’m replacing more things that have leverage, information products on our site SuperFastResults. We just published our Profitable Membership training, a brand new course, for a few hundred dollars. And that’s selling like crazy.
But I don’t have to do anything. I’ve already done the work. I’ve already put in the 10 years to learn everything. I’ve already put in, I don’t know, seven or eight, maybe call it 10 hours of preparation for that course. And then three and a half hours of actually delivering it.
And then my team, the Iron Man component, they had to go and cut it up, slice it, dice it, load it up, and it’s ready for sale and delivery. And it’s now in this beautiful 10XPRO installation where people can go through the modules, they can mark it as complete, it triggers off things at certain points. So it’s really a great future we’re leading into, and it’s all fed from podcasts and videos. That’s why I’m so passionate about this topic.
Charley: It’s a great topic.
Trends in today’s marketing
Sorry, I’ll come back to what you mentioned earlier in the idea of like, what are we seeing as trends right now? Because I think this is really valuable for people that are doing videos in general. So what we really like at the moment, and I’m seeing working well, and you lead into this a little bit before – if you’ve got a podcast, and you want your guests to promote it, which is a big thing, I see people getting a little bit annoyed that people don’t share their podcast, overwhelmingly…
James: They’d be crazy to expect it.
Charley: Well, once upon a time, it was a bigger thing, where these days it’s not as common. But I will say this, if you really want to increase your chances of your guests sharing, give them assets that make them look great. If they’re great for their ego, it’s way more likely that someone will share.
And you mentioned before about, like, you give your guests the snippets you make so they can promote them as well. So I think that if you are going to leverage video, sometimes these things, not just posting them on social media, but they can be used for which has additional value, like that one there.
The second one I really love these days is, if you are going to make snippets with your videos, is using them as adverts. Not just posting them organically, but using them as the actual ads to drive people to your podcast themselves. So they are seeming to work really well.
Thirdly, on the topic of video, I know some people do audio podcasts and they’re sitting there going, I don’t do video, I can’t do that. I love the idea, and I’ve seen this work really well, and I’ve seen you do this, James, as well – is after you finished recording a podcast episode, whip out your iPhone, and tell people what they’re going to get from out of this episode.
So record a video on the payoff. How will someone be better off for listening to this episode? And then use that video to market your podcast itself. So they’re the video strategies I really like at the moment.
Are captions worth the effort?
I wanted to mention a test we’ve done recently as well. I was very curious about this myself, because to give you an example, if we make a video and we’re going to put captions on it, I know it’s going to take two hours of someone’s time to actually handwrite on the captions. It’s not a small exercise. And I think it’s misleading to think how easy that is with some tools, if you want to do it spot on. Like, it does require a little bit of work if you want to make it nice.
And I was like, Is it really worth it? Like, is it actually worth doing captions on your video or not? So we’ve been running some tests on, like, if we post a video without captions, versus putting captions on it with a headline or a hook, does it do any better? Is the juice worth the squeeze, so to speak?
And overwhelmingly, yes. Like, I could not believe that a video that has a headline and captions on it, if it’s designed nicely, will probably do about three times better than just an organic one, on average, from what we’ve seen from there, so it’s a huge worth.
So I would say, some people are kind of like, oh, I would never spend money on getting captions done or things like that. But I go, when you look at the amount of time you’re spending making these videos, or perhaps promoting them, you might have got a better ROI overall, if you had gone that route or thought about it a little bit differently.
Choosing your approach
James: That’s a very important point. So in summary, you’re better off to do better research, more relevant, higher quality content on a less frequent basis that you then put the work into producing, and publishing, syndicating in a more structured way than just churning out endless crap.
Charley: Yeah. And I’m not going to knock Gary Vee, because I have so much respect for him and I think he’s awesome. I really like Gary. But I think people who try and emulate a volume game really end up struggling either through exhaustion, number one, or two, it’s just the content never cuts through because it’s so average or poor.
James: Right. Well, he has a massive team and he’s on a mission to get attention. So his strategy’s most likely different to other people. For example, I think he published somewhere that he makes 100 million bucks a year, but he doesn’t make any profit. So that’s not my strategy. I don’t need to buy a sports team, so I’m not looking for a big payday. I’m happy to get paid along the way.
In fact, I wouldn’t start a business where I’m not making money in the reasonably early phases, because that defeats the purpose of what I’m trying to do. So you got to align your strategy.
It’s like the small business who thinks they’re going to take on the same marketing approach as Coca-Cola, you know? There’s no point buying a billboard on your local street corner, or sponsoring your local sports team, if you’re a small milk bar. Because the chances are, you’re just going to drop all that money for no big payoff. So we have to be careful.
Beware of intimidation
It does speak to that point about intimidation from the good marketers. It happens to people like me all the time. You look at, someone just published a book on pretty much the exact topic of a book I’m working on. But instead of being defeated and saying, Oh, it’s done now, I’m too late; I’ve missed out; Someone beat me to the punch; I actually purchased it, read it.
I realized that it was mediocre. There was a lot of gaps, and they certainly didn’t cover many of the things that I’m aware of. So I was kind of inspired by it. I’m like, Well, great. Someone’s had a first draft at it. I’m going to come in with my product, and I’ll differentiate, and it’ll have a different name. And they’ll have totally different concepts and ideas. And there’s plenty of space in the market for everyone.
And mine will come out when it comes out, you know, in good time. And during the process, I’ve realized that sometimes you just have to let go of trying to have everything lined up, all the things at once. And this intimidation and overwhelm and depression that some people suffer when they see other artists create, just chuck it out. Let go.
I’m going to do an episode on letting go. That’s an upcoming episode. I’ve got the draft notes for it. I’ve been doing my research. And I think it’s a critical thing to remember, that you’ve got to work to your own pace.
You are so individual, there’s not another person like you on the planet. You’ve got your own circumstance, your own upbringing, your own family values, your own relationship with siblings, your own audience base, your own expertise. It’s absolutely impossible for someone to have the exact same setup. Even if they’re an identical twin living in the same household, you’re still going to have some differences.
So just celebrate those differences and let yourself off the hook from comparing against any other marketer, videographer, famous podcaster, YouTuber, etc. Because you’re running your own race, you’re not in the same race. And I think this is critical.
Summing things up
So in summary, from today’s episode, the big point I wanted to make is where I’m at in my journey, Charley has really helped me get my equipment right, because it was a struggle. It was a pain in the butt. We got there with Charley’s persistence.
“Select the right equipment for your brand.”
You don’t have to go through the same burden. Charley’s got a resource page, you can see the exact equipment that you can choose from. Select the equipment that’s right for your branding or your budget. I think that rhymes well.
And if you need help with any of that, or you’ve created stuff and you want someone to produce it properly, not some of these slam-bam tools that just punch out the same stuff everyone’s using, but with a more hand-crafted, thoughtful, contextual approach, then get in touch with Charley. His website’s over at ValherMedia.com. You better spell that one, Charley, because it’s hard to spell.
Charley: I’d like to think that this keeps people, they’re going to be really committed to finding us. You’re not going to accidentally get there. That’s all we do. No, joke. ValherMedia.com.
James: Mate, thanks for sharing it. I appreciate all the guidance and help and support you’ve been giving me, because I feel like I’m probably being a burden. I almost think you get a bit excited talking about this stuff, so it eases my conscience a fraction.
But today really was, you know, the effort that we put in was able to produce today’s video, which is our starting point. See, I don’t think we’re finished yet. I’m still going to ask you about lighting and some other bits and pieces that will inevitably come up. But we’re just starting. We’re not going to wait till it’s perfect. We just hit record and get going.
And the next one might be better, and the next one after that. And, you know, if you’re watching this or listening to it, love to get your feedback. If you enjoyed this episode, I can always get Charley back. If you’ve got questions, send them through to us. Make a comment on the blog. My guest Charley, thanks so much, mate.
Charley: Thank you for having me, James.
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