Welcome to our office hours with Ben Toalson, the video content marketer at Podia.
Ben creates all kinds of videos for Podia and has grown its YouTube channel to 25,000+ subscribers. In this session, we talk about:
There we go. Sorry about that. Um, no worries. I'm new to new, to Livestorm. So good to meet you. Um, I think we're live, sorry. I like, uh, I thought we'd be able to chat for a second before this kicked off, but, um, it's on, so maybe we just dive into it and do our own let's intro as we get rolling. So, um, context for everyone. There's, uh, there's been a few threads in our slack community recently about, um, B2B video strategy covering like a very wide range of questions, everything from like how to create it, who should, who should do it, whose responsibility is it? Production value, cost, budget, um, metrics and measurement that's. There was a, a pretty lengthy thread recently about that specifically. So I have some questions for you there. Um, but, um, I would love first just to get an intro, um, from you Ben, you run video content at Podia. Um, I have only like a loose understanding of like your, the full spectrum of your job and your background and all that. So it'd be great. Maybe if you could just give us some, some background there.
Yeah. So quick story. Uh, I think it was 2019 craft and commerce conference that's put on by convert kit. Um, some folks from Podia were in attendance. I think they also sponsored, uh, were one of the sponsors for that event. And so, um, I also attended, but I did not meet up with any Podia folks at that time, but they talked to a guy named Sam O from a H R and he's, uh, I, I can't remember what his exact title is, but he, in addition to other things, he runs their YouTube channel has had amazing success with it. And, and so they had a conversation and, and kind of decided, you know, what, it's time for pod to open up a position and really try to focus on growing the YouTube channel as a meaningful, uh, marketing channel. And so I got the job later that year. And, and so, um, when I was first brought on my primary focus was to create content for the YouTube channel, uh, to, to grow it. And really for a number of reasons, you know, like
providing educational and, and valuable content for creators is something that we're passionate about as a company. Um, so it was just giving us an opportunity to do that through a very engaging medium. And then it's also a good signal when you have a healthy subscriber count on a YouTube channel, it's a signal, um, for social proof and, and that kind of thing. So, um, so that was my primary focus. And then, uh, I was also going to be creating videos for product announcements and feature releases and that kind of thing thing. Um, and so that's pretty much what I've been doing. Um, here lately, there's been a little bit more of a shift toward, um, doing video for marketing initiatives. Um, that's still something that we're doing through the YouTube channel, but that's not geared as much toward YouTube growth as much as it is kind of leveraging the audience we've built. Um, and then we are also going to be producing online courses and, um, and really trying to do those well meeting creators, you know, where they're having their biggest struggles and trying to provide something that can take them more in depth and, um, produce some results for them. So that's gonna, that's gonna be, uh, a lot of my work in the months, maybe years to come. So
Super cool. That's super interesting. I wonder, um, I guess also if people have questions, feel free to just drop 'em in the chat, and I think you may even have, I think people should have the option if they want to just turn their camera on and, and even ask it too. But, um, Chad is good too. I'm happy to cue stuff up for folks. Um, I wonder
to me, like when I think of, okay, so I'm sort of comparing like video content to, to written content. Um, there's like, you know, for a, a written content strategy, you probably come up with a couple of different lanes, like a lane being like you've got SEO, maybe you have thought leadership, maybe you have like, um, kind of more like product for like a use case type content. And then when I think of video, I imagine there's something similar. Like there's very product focused content. Like I sort of feel like I know you already, because I'm a Podia customer and I've watched quite a few tutorial videos and like video seems like a really amazing way to just show people, like, in Podia's case, like here's how to create a course. Here's how to run an event. Here's how to, there's very specific, like how to things, but, you know, based on what you just described, sounds like there's probably a few other lanes. Do you think of it that way? Or like when you think of video strategy, does it, you know, like, is there a framework in your mind that that's different than that to help you think of like, kind of a, sort of like a holistic approach to video?
Sure. So the strategy that you applied to YouTube for YouTube growth, which really like, you know, that, that means all of the other things you want YouTube to do for your business. If you're growing an audience, you're getting more attention to your business. So, um, every, everybody kind of talks about this idea of niching down and finding some, something really specific as specific as you possibly can. And sticking with that topic. Um, YouTube likes that a lot when it comes to recommending your videos. And, um, because, because the calculation there is, okay, is, is this channel an authority on this topic for these people? Um, the challenge, one of the challenges with Podia is that we, we kind of, we're in, we're an all in one platform. So we cover a lot of different problems. Um, we solve a lot of different problems for creators and, and so in order to kind of relate our content to those problems, we find ourselves kind of split into different topic lanes, if that makes sense. So now that's just for the educational content. Um, then there are things like when we have a new product released, because we have that audience there, we wanna share, okay, this is, uh, this is a new feature that we're adding, or this is, um, we recently added a free plan. So we had a big marketing push around that. And so we kind of, you know, strategically interspersed those things with our educational content so that we still have, we still have the, the growth that you get from providing that type of content, um, while still being able to leverage that audience and, and bring attention to these other things. So, um, we could grow the YouTube channel faster if we only focused on one topic. Um, but we do that. We kind of do that at the expense of providing
value to the kind of creators we're attracting these, uh, and, and the way that they'll use our product, if that makes sense. So, yeah, because, because they're using our product to solve so many different problems, we wanna make sure that the content we're providing is a reflection of that as well.
Yeah, that's really interesting. Um, I'm getting some messages on slack that some people are locked out. So I'm gonna queue up a question from Kyle, which I think is a very good question. And then while you answer that, Ben, I'm gonna try to troubleshoot this problem real quick. Um, uh, and we have another question from David too, so, but first Kyle had asked, I'm interested in hearing how you're measuring the success of your channel. Are you looking at YouTube stats by themselves, or are you looking at web traffic from YouTube YouTube's impact on SEO, et cetera?
All right, Kyle, that's a great question. So right now we're really just focused on, um, YouTube analytics and, uh, and, and using different signals in the YouTube analytics to figure out how the, how the channel is doing. Um, I focus a lot on two things, views and impressions, um, views and impressions kind of paint the same picture, but it, it really comes down to how, how much are we getting our brand in front of people? How many, how many people are being exposed to the Podia brand, um, and then when it comes to channel performance. So, so that's, that's kind of how we gauge channel performance in terms of its connection to our actual brand, um, the channel performance by itself. You know, one of the things we look at is, um,
subscribers, obviously, if, if we're having regular subscriber growth, um, I also look at a video level on, uh, things like audience retention and seeing how well, um, our videos are keeping people's attention, keeping people engaged. Um, and then I kind of, I kind of keep a loose, uh, track on the comments that we're getting and whether or not people are engaging in that way. Um,
excuse me, this is kind of an unconventional measure, but I also, uh, sometimes will do a search and the comments for the word helpful or help or helped. Um, anytime, anytime someone mentions, Hey, this was really helpful. This was, um, this made things easier for me and some. So I look for, I look for those things as signals too, that our videos are doing what we want them to do, um, for a channel and creating, uh, kind of creating that picture in the, in the viewer's mind of what our brand is all about, I think is just as important as having them be aware of our brand in the first place.
I do wanna, I do wanna talk about the other parts of that. So we, we don't use any, um, like, uh, I think it's called GTM link or something like that from the video, we do link to our website, but we're not currently tracking at least as far as I know, we're not currently tracking how much of the traffic to our website is coming from specific YouTube videos. We have a sense of how much traffic is coming from YouTube in general. Um, so we do keep track of that, but I'm actually, uh, planning on implementing a little bit more of that, uh, granular sort of tracking to see, okay, which videos are performing well for us. Um, and then I can, you know, take those videos and kind of work backwards and figure out, okay, what, how did I set up the call to action in this video? What were some of the things I did in this video that might have made it more likely that they'd click on the link? You know, things like that.
It, it seems like just anecdotally that videos a lot more of an art than written content, which is in some ways can be boiled down to a science, you know, like we all know or have like a pretty strong understanding at least of like the search algorithm, like what it wants, you know, and like always qualities at the top of that, but that's super subjective. The rest of it is fairly well understood. Do you find that to be frustrating? Like, I, I feel like I would find it to be frustrating, but maybe like, you know, sort of a more creative person or someone who like really works more deeply in this world. Doesn't think of it that way.
I'm not, I'm not an analytics minded person. And, um, I, and I think that that was, um, I think that's one of the things that kind of helps me sometimes. So for example, I'll make these videos that are like for marketing initiatives that are a little bit more fun and kind of, um, comedic maybe, or I, I did one recently. We, um, we put together this thing called the creator friendliness index. Um, and it's a, it's just a ranking of different companies based on how creator friendly they are. And then we, we actually, um, came up with a methodology, you know, figured out, okay, what are some of the key principles that constitute creator friendliness? And then we did this scoring and the ranking based on that. So I made, I made a video in a like fifties era style educational video, you know, like with the, uh, find
The link for that.
Yeah. I'll have to, I'll have to share it with you. Um, you know, kind of the, the old fashion sounding voiceover, and I got my, I have twin boys who stood in as actors for me, and the video was, uh, was how to be creator friendly. And I, I had a great time making that and we, we put it out there, uh, on our YouTube channel. It did not perform well. Like I think we, we might have, we got fewer views, fewer, um, likes or comments. And then I think we may have even lost one subscriber. Um, but we also heard comments from people either on Twitter where we shared it or, or elsewhere saying that they really appreciated that they found it funny. It made their day, you know, I get comments like that on those types of videos. I've made several, just, you know, throughout my time at Podia. And
that's, that's one of those things where if, if I was more analytics minded and I was too focused on like, okay, I wanna make sure that everything we put out performs that well, um, I wouldn't, I wouldn't be as willing to take those creative risks. Um, but to an, to answer your question about it being an art, I think, I think in some ways it is an art. Um, but the more time I've spent working,
uh, in YouTube and the, honestly, the more time I spend on YouTube as a consumer of content myself, the, the more I, I feel like I start to understand the, the different levers that, um,
and, and while there's not
There, there isn't a like step by step. Here's how you, like, it's, it's all earned experience, it's all time and, and trial and error. Um, but when you understand kind of the, the end result of what you're going for. So for example, uh, if, if you wanna hire, click through rate that comes down to how you title your videos, the thumbnail. And, um,
I mean, and, and some, in some cases the description, but, but you, you can test a lot of different things, you know, that, you know, that if people are finding this video, um, if it's showing up in their suggestions and it's compelling enough, then it's, it's being effective and it's, and so it's really just like tuning for those specific things. Um, I hope that makes sense. I'm kind of,
Yeah, no, I think that's great. There's so much here. And I feel like, um, it's making me think we should, we should do this again sometime. I'm wondering, um, well, David asked several questions, all of which I think are really good and would love to queue up for you. One quick question I have is, um, where do you hang out? Like, are there PLA there communities, blogs, newsletters, YouTube channels, where you gather with other people working on this and like, basically, like, is there a super path for video content folks? Um, and I said, because I would imagine that for there's a lot of content marketers who are curious about this, or maybe even have been tasked with configuring out what their company's video strategy should look like. Are there places we can send them?
I, I wish I could send you to a specific place. Um, there was a community I was a part of for a while, and they have not been meeting now for several months. Um,
but I could, um, I think I can, I can go ahead and point you to this creator's channel at the very least there are a lot of great resources and a lot of great conversations, especially for like newer YouTubers. Um,
so, so the creator that, that I'm talking about is Heather Ramirez.
Um, and I think you can look up
Heather, just create.
Yep. I see it here. I'll drop the link.
Okay. Um, another, another one. Who is, are you creative entrepreneur trying to make an income from your passion? Sorry. That's um, another,
another really good one for, um, more advanced YouTubers is Roberto Blake.
Awesome. I'll drop a link to that one as well.
Yeah. I mean, I I'd say between those two, there's plenty of really great information. Um, but yeah, I'm not, I'm not currently a part of the community and, uh, I would love to jump back into one or maybe I should just build one.
That's a great idea. I fully support that. Um, cool. Uh, so David asked a number of questions. Can you see David's questions in the Chatman? Um,
Yeah, I can, I can, yeah,
Maybe we can just, we, we can run through these the first one. Um, how have you, have you found certain types of videos perform better for B2B audiences first B2C?
Yeah, so it's, it's really interesting with, with Podia. Um, we are technically a B2B company because people join our platform to, you know, build and grow their business. Um, but it feels, it, it really has more of a feel of B2C because most of the people who are coming, uh, onto our platform are individuals they're they're creators. And it's, it's kind of this different classification that doesn't fit neatly into either B2B or B2C. And, and when it comes to,
when it comes to, um, growing an audience on YouTube, whether you're doing B2B or B2C, the most effective way I've I've seen is, um, providing educational content that solves a problem that's specific to an individual. So if you're thinking about B2B content, you're really thinking about what are the problems an individual inside this type of company is experiencing that I can address with my content. And when you're thinking about B2C, it's the same thing. It's, um, what's, what's a problem. This individual is experiencing that I can address with my content, but that love it. Educational type content really does, um, seem to hit well.
Um, I feel like you kind of covered the second question there too. Um, another one David had was what does the team and or toolkit look like for video production? Who does animations edits, uploading, et cetera?
Yeah. So I currently, uh, do the whole process from, um, from topic ideation and content roadmap, video content roadmap, uh, all the way to, um, publishing and promoting the, um, other, other parts of our marketing team will handle like, um, paid advertising or, or promoted videos and that kind of thing, but basically from, from conception to, um, publish video and shared on, you know, other social media platforms, I own that whole process currently. Um, so
that's something that over time I'm, I'm really interested in, you know, growing my team out. And, um, and at the same time it's been kind of hard because I, I really genuinely enjoy every part of the process. Hmm. Writing is probably my biggest bottleneck. And it's because I, I feel like that's where I am the weakest in terms of, um, my experience skill. And then editing is actually probably my strongest. Um, I feel like I can just, you know, get lost in editing for hours and, and really enjoyed that part of it. Um,
but, uh, but yeah, it's, it's kind of difficult because I'm not sure, like, you know, when, or if we expand the team, do I want to get somebody who does what I do and kind of duplicate our efforts or do I want to start to feel different pieces of what I do, um, and kind of supplement it that way. So, uh, so to answer the question about the toolkit, I, I use, uh, Adobe premier pro for video editing. Um, I've got a DSLR camera and a shotgun microphone that I use for capturing and everything's done in camera so that I only have one, um, file to export into my computer. And, um, and then from there I do a first script.
And I don't know if, I don't know if you've ever heard the script. It's a, um, it has been primarily a podcast recording and editing
software that can also handle video. And the thing that it does, that's so cool is that when you bring a video or audio file into it, it automatically creates a transcript and you can edit, excuse me, you can edit that transcript and it will actually make cuts in your video. Um, you can also do a search for filler words and that kind of thing, and it'll automatically remove those. So it's, it's a, an amazing tool that saves me a ton of time when it comes to doing that first pass edit. I, I use a teleprompter when I record my videos. So I like script everything out and sometimes I'll have to do like multiple takes of a section or something like that. And so it makes it really easy just to pull those out and then I can put that into premier pro. Um, so that's, that's probably as far as, um, and then as far as animations, I actually found Canva. I was, I was doing all of my animations either in after effects and bringing them over into premier pro, or I was doing them directly in premier pro as I was editing. I've actually found that Canva has some really great animation templates. Um, and so I've, I've actually been using those, I've moved my entire, um, title and graphic, uh, animation workflow into Canva. And I do maybe just a few things still in Adobe, premier pro
That's really super interesting. I will. I never thought of using the script for video. That's pretty cool. We do some like really basic video editing over here, but, uh, I think the script would actually really help, uh, because I'm just tinkering around with iMovie mostly <laugh>. Um, we have, I know we're coming up on time. We have a, a few other pretty good questions here. Um, Bruno asked he has two questions. How do you typically source and decide on topics for new videos? Um, and then in addition to that, what would be your main advice to someone who's just starting a B2B YouTube strategy and is limited on resources?
All right. So, um,
I used to, it, it used to be really collaborative with, um,
with the content lead. Um,
we, we would kind of sit down and, and go back and forth. And then since I've, I've taken a little bit more ownership of, of that process, but a lot of what I do is really trying to, um, we, we have the Podia creator community now. Um, I can, I can look through there and I can find, you know, common things that people are struggling with or have questions about. Um, I can, of course I can go to other online forums like Reddit and do some searching around there, but a lot of it really is based on what our product already solves. Um, we have been using internally kind of this idea of the creator journey and how the, how the Podia journey fits with that. And so if you think about the, the creator journey and, you know, all the, from, I I've been, I've have this knowledge, or I have this skill, I've been thinking about sharing it with other people, starting a blog, or making an online course, or, you know, just selling a guide or something like that. I I've been thinking about maybe growing an audience around this and talking about it all the way to I've grown my audience. I've created several products, I'm scaling my business. Now I need, you know, I'm, I'm gonna have teammates and people doing different things and, and processes. Um, we, you know, we want to provide content for all of those folks around the things that pod can do for their business. Um, not just, not just to point people to Podia, but to, to be genuinely helpful. So that is kind of the, the bigger answer to that question is we're really trying to do a great job of defining what the creator journey is, so that we have a really good understanding of what kind of content would serve different creators at different stages in their journey, um, identifying the content gaps that we have and, and trying to fill those
That's super helpful. I feel like because video is so time intensive to create, or at least that's my impression, like, by the time you script shoot edit, but like that's a lot of time probably far more time, I would imagine than whatever the equivalent piece of written content might be, where you can kind of just do it all on a Google doc. You know, mostly because like editing, I would imagine is the thing that probably really can, can start eating up hours and hours of time.
Yeah. I'm kind of, I, I don't know if we can get many people to answer this, but I'm curious to know, like when it comes to making video, what's the, what's the most time intensive piece of that for you? Um,
I would be curious what other people think I find, well, we do some videos here. A lot of it is this type of stuff. We record it. I, I clean it up a little bit and we publish it. We have some videos on like landing pages and things to explain what is our slack community, or, you know, how does, um, such and such part of the business work, things like that. Um, Nicole says editing for sure. I don't do any editing. So it doesn't like I trim it just to like clear out kind of the junk on either side, but I don't know how to edit and I find it to be very intimidating. Um, I would wonder, I wonder too, if a lot of the, a lot of folks are resource strapped, you know, like in the sense that we are like, like super path, like at some point it'd be amazing to have a, a video content marketer on our team. We're certainly not there yet. Um, I could, Angus is scripting for the teleprompter, eats up a lot of time. Um, but like, I, I'm sure there's agencies and stuff that would help with this type of thing. Again, that seems like, like we wouldn't quite be ready for that. Just a resource constraint. Um, so we're sort of forced to do like the DIY thing, which I feel like kind of works actually. Like I feel like people have become so used to videos that look like this one that it's okay. I, I'm not like so stressed about the production value any longer.
Absolutely. Yeah. I, and, and that's, you know, one of, one of the things I think a lot of creators get hung up on is this idea that, oh, if, if I'm going to do video, if I'm gonna do YouTube and I'm, I'm going to, you know, do it well and, and actually grow, I have to have this like really well produced content. Um, when a lot of times you can just turn on a camera and talk about the thing that you, um, about the problem that you solve and just do it, you know, do it live, um, live streaming that content. And then maybe going back in, like you're mentioning and, and just kind of trimming the fronts and the back. Um, you can, you can actually, if you just do that consistently, um, and that's, that's really the key, right? It's that consistency, if you're, if you're doing that consistently over time, um, um, and your audio quality is, is not terrible. <laugh>, that's, that's probably the, like more, more important than video quality is, is audio quality
For sure. Oh, that's interesting. That's a good tip.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so I I'd say 50% of the content I consume on YouTube. I consume with the screen off, like I turn it off and oh, uh, and I'm just listening to it in my AirPods, or I've got it playing while I'm doing dishes or, you know, something like that.
Um, that's really interesting
And that's, you know, that's just me, but I know a lot of people do consume content on YouTube that way as well. So,
Um, we have one more question. I know we're over time. Do you have a few minutes to chat in?
Yeah. Yeah, sure.
Um, Kyle asked another question for you, Ben, have you been able to connect YouTube growth to any sort of customer conversions or has pod aligned on YouTube as, uh, as a top of funnel channel? I think that's really interesting question. Cause I would imagine that's probably where folks get back from, uh, from leadership about putting really time and money into creating video content.
Yeah. So this is actually one of the big questions I've had in our organization is really like, how do we, how do we create that connection? Um, we
Even, even though we've been around for a while and, and we have a really amazing product and we've got a lot of people working on it as far as YouTube as a marketing channel and how we measure that as, uh, the success of that in terms of conversions. Um, we're really just starting to, to seriously have those conversations and think about ways to implement that. So, um, yeah, so we, we don't have anything concrete in place yet outside of being able to see, you know, how many people are coming to the website from YouTube, but, um, in the near future, I see us, you know, going to individual video level, making some custom links and being able to measure things that way. Um, being able to see a path from, you know, the path that people take from a YouTube video to the product, maybe looking at different, you know, like the pricing page or something like that, and then ultimately converting. Um,
and, uh, yeah, so that, that might be a good follow up if we, if we get a chance to do this again, I can tell you, okay, here's what we've been doing and here's how it's been working.
Yeah. I love that. I love that. Um, cool. And,
And to answer the last part of that question.
We have been thinking of, and using YouTube primarily as a top of funnel, um, a, a top of funnel marketing channel with middle and, and bottom of funnel inroads. Um, but most of, most of the content we produce is still pretty top of funnel.
Very interesting. We should, if you're up for it, then I would love to revisit this at some point. Uh, cause I feel like there's a lot more here. Um, can't thank you enough for your time. And we'll obviously point people to the Podia YouTube channel. Can we point them to anything else? Like, I mean your Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube website or anything like that?
Uh, yeah. If so I have, I wanna make sure I should have figured this out beforehand, but, um,
uh, yeah, so definitely check out the Podia YouTube channel. Um, and then you can also go to, uh, Bentolson.podia.com. I'm gonna send you to my Podia website and you can sign up for my newsletter there. I talk about awesome YouTube strategy. Um, a lot of this kind of thing, uh, primarily for kind of newer creators who are trying to start and grow their YouTube channel. Um, but I'm gonna be sharing, you know, there, I share a lot of the kind of behind the scenes stuff that I do for the Podia YouTube channel.
Awesome. That's great. Cool. Um, awesome. Well, thank you so much. We'll publish a recording. Obviously, Ben, I'll follow up with you so we can drop some super path swag in the mail for you. And um, if you ever feel like chatting video stuff, there's always, uh, conversations happening in our slack channel. So we'll send you an invite, uh, to that also. And if you do start a community about this, we will gladly promote it for you.
All right. Sounds good. Cool.
Well, thank you Ben so much. Thanks folks for coming and uh, we'll definitely be doing this again soon. Hope everybody has a great day.
All right. Thank you Jimmy. Thanks everyone.
Take care, everybody.
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