Do you want to socialize and meet success-driven men like Jose Zuniga of Teaching Men's Fashion?
Here’s what we talked about during the YouTube Channel Growth Presentation at Menfluential conference… Enjoy!
Scroll down to the bottom to watch the video for the YouTube Channel Growth Presentation
Jose: I've had a channel for a while now, and I think the great thing with YouTube is that anybody can do it, anybody has the opportunity to start a YouTube channel.
Really, it's all about just determination and motivation to actually do it. And that's what I want to talk to you about today, because I know most of you might want to start one.
I've been running this channel for a little bit over four years. It's going to be five years this year. Just last year we grew by ten times as much.
So it's been an insane amount of growth, something that, honestly, I would have never thought about before. And through that I've – like Antonio was saying – learned from my mistakes, seeing what works and what helped us get to that point.
So here are some stats. Last year, when I came to Menfluential, we were at 54,000 subscribers. About a week ago we had almost 530,000 subscribers. So we grew about ten times as much in around 11 months. And through that we learned a couple of things that helped us propel our channel.
Jose Zuniga is the man behind Teaching Men's Fashion which offers educational videos on men’s style.
So like I was saying in the beginning, anybody could start a YouTube channel. One of my first videos was with my iPhone 4, a blanket and in my kitchen, and I was bald as well. So that's the beauty of YouTube – it doesn't matter what equipment you have or if you have a fancy studio. As long as you have the drive to actually do it and a smartphone, which most of you probably do, you can make videos.
So let's talk about the secrets to growth, what I think helped us grow. The first thing is constant content. The second thing is diversifying. Third thing is titles and thumbnails. And, finally, sponsorships. So let's talk about each one.
So let's start with constant content. There are two reasons why constant content is important. First of all, you're constantly marketing yourself. So before on YouTube when I started around four years ago, the norm was maybe one video a week, sometimes two. And the train of thought was most of your favorite TV shows are once a week so that should be enough, but the biggest difference is that most of these TV shows have thousands of dollars in advertisement, so through the week you'll see an ad saying, “Make sure you tune in Sunday night for The Walking Dead.”
But with YouTube you don't have that luxury, and people have short attention spans and they'll quickly forget about you. But if you're constantly putting out content for your subscribers, you'll always be on their feed. They'll never forget about you. You're constantly marketing yourself.
Now, a caveat to that is that you want to provide value with this. You want to make sure that what you're putting out isn't just content for the sake of content, because then it's just not valuable and your views are going to go down, your engagement goes down. Even if you grow there is no point in having a large audience if nobody is watching.
But if you're constantly providing value, you're going to grow because people are going to be constantly sharing that and YouTube is going to see that. YouTube is going to promote it through their algorithm and that's how you slowly start growing.
Now, another reason why this is very important is because you fulfill more search engine results. So what does this mean? Right now we're sitting at about 500 videos to date. I think we're close to 500 videos. These are all different topics trying to help men in whatever aspect of life whether it be skincare, hair, grooming, style, lifestyle, fitness.
These are all different topics or search results that we could pop up on. Men generally are always looking for help for advice, and we might have a video for that. So the more content that you can produce to help men, the more content that you can put out there, the more chances you have to fulfill search engine results, the more chances you have to grow and organically grow your audience, find your subscribers, people that like you because you're helping them. So those are probably the two biggest reasons why constant content is important.
Now, the next thing that we did that definitely propelled our channel was diversifying. You can diversify a couple of ways . For the first three years of our channel probably 99% of our content was strictly style content. So what happens is that you're marginalizing a lot of other men just talking about style.
Your base isn't going to grow as much. So starting 2016 we broadened our horizons, we broadened the subjects that we talked about, still under the same mindset of helping men, helping men improve and become better but now we were talking about lifestyle, we were talking about grooming, about hair, about relationships and about fitness, all giving us new topics to talk about, growing our audience with different subscribers.
The benefit from that is that maybe we'll have a subscriber that loves our style but could care less about relationship and fitness advice, or on the other hand, we could have somebody that loves our hairstyle and grooming videos but thinks our style sucks. Whatever the case may be, we're catering to different types of men, different types of likes, and that broadens our audience and that's one of the best ways to grow your channel. Make sure that you don't stay stagnant with one thing.
Find something you're good at and build on that. Yes, we like style and you can tell from our brand, which is called Teaching Men's Fashion, but our initial goal with our channel was always to help men become better, be their better selves, and we just found topics under that that did.
Now, another way you can diversify your content is the way you deliver your content. So a lot of my content is on a gray background, which is fine and it looks amazing, but what we did in 2016 is change that up a bit. We found different ways to deliver the same content, to deliver it in a more entertaining format.
So for example, we started something called the $100 challenge or $100 style challenge. It went across YouTube and a lot of other influencers started doing it as well. This allowed us to show guys how you can dress well on a budget – I could have easily done that on a great background but I brought it real life and reality, something that most people haven't done yet.
So that was entertaining to our audience. So you can diversify your content both in the subject that you're talking about and how you deliver it — and there are various forms of that.
You could also pick up blogging. There are different forms of how you deliver your content but if you can figure out how to diversify your content so you don't stay stagnant you'll definitely grow because you'll appeal to more people.
So let's talk about the third thing – titles and thumbnails. This is one of the most important things if you want views. This is the most important one – what I believe creates a viral video. Titles and thumbnails are extremely important because this is what gets people to click. YouTube is supersaturated nowadays with tons of different content from all over the place.
So what is it that your video has that's going to get them to click as opposed to spending their five minutes on another video? The easiest way to do that is with the thumbnail that you have and the title – how engaging can it be?
Two years ago all our thumbnails are pretty boring, they were self-populated by YouTube, and the titles weren't that good, they were pretty basic. And that's something that we work on as a YouTuber. So a huge chunk of our time after we created the content or even before is how we're going to title that video.
You can easily title a video how to wear blue jeans, pretty simple topic, but it's not engaging. It's not something like oh, my God. Let me see how to wear blue jeans. Most people know how to do that. But if you do a video — I did a video called the 6 Best Denim Trends for Men. That's different. That's something most people have never heard of and most people want to know what trends are. So knowing how to title your videos to get people quick is very important.
And with that of course comes the thumbnail. On all our videos today, our thumbnails are more engaging. When you see on your phone it's a little bit bigger, it makes you want to click on them. There are words, it pops out more, the colors are better, tons of things, as well, as you can tell from the titles, you probably want to watch them now. So if you can do that, that's what drives views.
Now, why is this important? Because a huge chunk of our growth comes organically from YouTube and YouTube promoting our channel. So when you watch a video you see a suggested video column on the side – a huge chunk of our growth comes from that and from being promoted on the homepage.
And YouTube does this through a lot of variables and their algorithms, but one of them is how many people are watching – which is what you want, the view count. How long are they watching for and how long can you keep them on your channel?
So if you can get people to click on your channel and they like your stuff and they continue to want to your stuff, YouTube is going to start promoting your channel because your channel is seen as valuable, your channel attracts people and entertains them for a long time, and that's what YouTube wants.
And that's important because, just to give you an example, around 30% of our views come from YouTube promoting, not even from our own subscriber base. So this is one of the most powerful things to grow your channel. You don't have to pay for it as long as you produce quality content.
Now, finally, the last thing that helped us grow and something that a lot of people don't talk about is sponsorships. The reason why sponsorships are important is that it makes your channel sustainable over time.
You see it all the time across YouTube where a lot of YouTube channels die down, where the creator no longer puts effort into those videos, and that's for various reasons. It could be they have a full time job, they have to go to school and YouTube stays in the backburner.
When you have subscribers supporting the creator, you can now allocate more time to your videos to create quality videos. Now I can put 110% of my effort into every single video to make sure that that's the best video I can produce.
And if you do that four to five times a week now you're growing, now you're producing quality content instead of producing I guess you can say crap or just whatever you have left, your leftover time. So that's one of the reasons why sponsorships really help make your channel sustainable over time.
Along with sponsorships there are other ways to monetize your channel, like through affiliates or your own merch or your services, but that's what it basically means, just monetizing your channel one way or another to make it sustainable.
Now, basically how they work — some of you may know that already — is that for example, for me if a brand reaches out and I think the brand works well, I'll do a video around it. Another way that it works is that I have a list of about 100 videos that I still haven't produced. Every time I come up with an idea I write it down, and I schedule those videos throughout the week.
Then we just find a brand that works with that video. So if I'm doing a grooming video where I'm going to be talking about how to shave, then I'll find a shaving brand that I love like the Dollar Shave Club and vice versa. That helps you keep it truthful and keep your integrity. Always promote things that you actually use and actually like.
A survey that Augure did shows that 84% of companies plan on working with a social media star in the next year. That's how effective influencer-marketing is becoming. And 81% of the companies that have worked with them already show that they were basically satisfied with the effect of it. So that shows the effectiveness of sponsorships.
It's a win-win-win scenario. The brand gets a great recommendation from a trusted influencer, the influencer gets paid for the job that it does, and the viewers get discounts and great brand recommendations, something they won't get anywhere else.
It just shows how powerful the word of an influencer is. It shows that 82% of people likely follow the advice of an influencer. And this is why, again, it's very important to keep your integrity as you grow because the more you grow, the more responsibility you get, the more people look up to you.
And the minute that you promote something that is trash or crap or that you don't believe in and that viewer buys it, you now have lost trust with your viewer and your influence. And as an influencer, that's everything.
So the minute you lose your influence and your trust, you've lost everything. And that's why it's very important to be very careful with what you promote. But as long as it's brands that you believe in, you should be good. And as you can see it's very powerful. So that's it for me today. Any questions?
Antonio: I know some of you guys have questions.
Male: A quick question for you. Have you noticed from the trends what an ideal length for your videos are?
Jose: My sweet spot, I try to be around the five-minute mark, five-minute 30 seconds. Again, a huge aspect of YouTube promoting your videos is the watch time – how long do people stay on your video? So I always tend to look at what my drop-off rate is and adjust to that and make my videos short and consumable, especially since I'm producing a lot a week. For me five minutes, but it could differ. There are some people that have ten-minute videos and their watch time is longer.
Austin: Hey, man. Austin. I've been a follower of you for a long time. Love your style.
Jose: Nice to meet you.
Austin: First off, how old are you again?
Austin: 22? Okay. We're the same age. So you really inspire me because I know I'm not alone in this whole thing. All right. I'm done. Now, I followed your stuff. And if you don't know what I'm talking about it's fine. But what happened to your clothing line? Because I really did like your stuff and then I didn't see anything.
Jose: I was actually talking to a couple of people here. So with my clothing line it was just the cost — again, I was pretty young. I launched a clothing line when I was 18. And I guess you learn from your mistakes. The costs were just outpacing my profits, so I decided to close it down.
I think I closed it down December of 2015. And then all of 2016 I dedicated my effort to my YouTube channel and growing this as a business, and I'm kind of glad that I did. But something is coming.
Male: Just real quick on the sponsorship thing just so I was clear. You use a product that doesn't necessarily like Dollar Shave Club or something when you're doing without the sponsorship. Is that the point you were making? If you did a video on men's grooming, on shaving, would you say — if you had no sponsor for it — would you say I'm using Dollar Shave Club or whatever?
Jose: Yes. You can see a couple of my sponsored videos. It depends on whatever it is that I'm using, like one time I used a cleanser. It's like those scrubbing cleansers. I used that for a video and I got a bunch of comments like oh — and it was completely unsponsored.
And the funny thing is that company reached out to me like two months later and they want to do a sponsored video. So I have included products just that I use just genuinely.
Male: Have you ever experimented with paid promotion of your channel and content?
Jose: I have not. Everything has been organic. Just like I say, if it's working, keep it up. I'm keeping this up and see how it goes.
Male: Jose, so on the sponsorships, that's good. I know that based off of what I see, you have a good mix of sponsored videos and advice videos. But as far as it comes to videos — you say you have 100 ideas that you write down. How many videos do you — when you do filming do you usually do with say five or six in a single day? Do you have five or six in reserve now that just haven't come out?
Jose: No. I usually do them per week. If I do five videos a week I'll record those five videos at the weekend. I might do two videos in one studio session, but that usually never happens. I usually do one video, edit it, then the other.
Male: How's it going, Jose?
Jose: Hey, what's up, man?
Male: Nice suit.
Jose: Thank you.
Male: With sponsorship, how do you remain authentic but then also sponsor something, like is there a timeline?
Jose: Well, like I was saying, you have to keep your integrity and make sure it's something that you would personally use. Again, I can't speak for everyone but I've been working on my channel for five years.
It's a lot of work that I've put into it. And even though I probably will never meet a lot of my subscribers there's a trust that's built with them, a certain level of responsibility. As soon as I break that trust my influence is gone. For an influencer that's everything.
Aaron: Here's the other thing though, Jose gets reached out to by ten people a day. And so he has just an insane volume of sponsors and potential products to promote. And so when you reach the level of Jose you can be very selective.
Jose: Yes, that's a very good point too.
Aaron: It's a volume thing.
Jose: You're not forced to ever do anything.
Male: Hi, Jose. How are you doing? How long does it take you on average to shoot and edit for a five-minute segment and what, as a beginning YouTuber, software would you suggest for doing the edits?
Jose: So a software, I use Final Cut Pro. And I would say roughly around — it depends on the video because, like I say, I do a lot of videos, but maybe five hours from idea creation, which is coming up with what is it I'm going to talk about, then I research it, the exact tips, make sure everything's factual, then I write a small outline for when I shoot the video. I usually end up with 20-30 minutes of raw footage, then I shrink it down to five minutes and then upload it. So about five hours give or take.
Aaron: Great. Thanks a lot. Everybody, Jose Zuniga, give it up.
Jose: Thank you, guys.