Episode 173

How to create viral YouTube videos (without spending hours on key word research)

Pianist David Bennett is one of the keynote speakers at my upcoming live event Courageous Content Live - which is happening on 1 & 2 in Newcastle.

He’ll be talking about how he’s monetised his YouTube channel - so this interview is a chance for you to learn more about him - and what to expect from his talk at the event.

You’ll also learn how David grew his YouTube channel to 645k subscribers - without doing tons of keyword research. 


Key Links

Janet Murray’s Courageous Content Planner

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Janet Murray’s Courageous Planner Launch Content Kit

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Janet Murray's Courageous Blog Content Kit

Save £30 on my Courageous Email Lead Magnet Content Kit using the code MAGNET67.

Save £30 on my Business Basics Content Kit using the code PODCAST67.

Save £30 on my Courageous Launch Content Kit using the code PODCAST67.

Janet Murray’s Courators Kit

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David Bennett on Youtube

David Bennett’s website

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Listen to David Bennett on Spotify

Podcast or YouTube: which is better for your business? (podcast)

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Transcript

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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Unfortunate that something that you just have this keep trying let's keep rolling the dice. You never know. What's a good idea until you try it. I first stumbled across David Bennett's YouTube channel. When I searched the term did Paul McCartney, learn music theory, which is pretty clear here. I know, but he's actually super important in the context of this interview.

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So this channel, the one that I now have with 600 K subs was one in a line of many failures of channels or lesser successes. In this episode, it's a courageous content podcast. You'll learn how David grew his YouTube channel to 645,000 subscribers without doing tons of keyword research. You want content that you'll be proud to have in your channel because every time you get one of those viral moments where suddenly the aphorism pushes you beyond your regular audience,

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those people will come in. And what you want them to do is get hooked on your videos. David is one of the keynote speakers at my upcoming live event, courageous content knife, which is happening on the first and 2nd of November in Newcastle that's in the UK at the event, he'll be talking about how his monetized his YouTube channel. So this interview is a chance for you to learn more about him and what to expect from his talk at the event.

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So what inspired you to start a YouTube channel? As long as I remember, I've been obsessed with YouTube and YouTube and the idea of making it, sharing things on the issue. So I don't really remember a time when I wasn't interested in making videos on YouTube and, you know, it's effectively a dream job to be doing it now, really? And your channel now has I think 645,000 subscribers.

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Last time I checked, how has it changed since you first started? When I first started, I was working as a professional musician. That was my, I did that for about 10 years. And when I started it very much, wasn't part of my job. It was just like a thing I was doing on the side. And then there was never like a solid moment where it's like,

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oh, now it's my job. It's just over the last four years, things have peeled away and now I am completely, I'm just a YouTube. So it's weird. It's just slowly morphed into my career. And your first video was about three years ago. If is that right? That's three years ago. And it's interesting because the channel now, if somebody was to ask me to describe it,

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you can say if I haven't got it right, but it's the music theory of pop songs, which is quite a niche topic. But when I look back at your first videos, it's you playing the piano and really, really nice arrangements of popular songs, but it feels like it's moved along quite a lot. Could you talk a bit about how it's changed and why it's changed as well?

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Yeah. So this channel, the one that I now have with 600 K subs was wanting a line of many failures of channels or lesser successes. And over the years, I've tried all sorts of different things, usually through music, but I've been teaching music has to be performing music, writing music, this channel. I started with the idea of this format,

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where I'm explaining these theory with pop songs. But I actually, the reason that the beginning of my channel was all me playing piano. And that's, it is I wanted people to know that I am a musician and that's where I'm coming from. With, from this angle. I'm not somebody dry academic. So I wanted to make sure there was like a good bank of actual music on the channel before I started getting into the,

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the lectures and the analyzing. But even with the actual analyzing videos, the format has definitely evolved because when I first started, I was sort of just like trying anything, seeing what would work. And then when I stumbled across formulas that hit a chord with people I so decided to go down those avenues more. And now it's a very sort of clear format that people could recognize.

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This is one of David's videos, but at the start, it was just a mishmash of different ideas. Really? Yeah. There's been a few videos where it's suddenly said, I sort of roughed the algorithms back the right way and, and it's suddenly shut up. One in particular was one about pop songs are based on classical music, which around it was actually,

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you know, from personally it was a perfect time to video because it was in February, 2020, just as obviously the world was changing dramatically. And this video just sort of kept growing, kept growing. It's now my most viewed video with 4 million views. I don't know the exact numbers, but I'm sure that brought in a decent chunk of the people who announced to my channel.

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Wow. Are there any other videos that were sort of turning points when you saw, ah, there's something in nurses it's going to work? Yeah, that's various ones. Like, it's funny, like when I upload videos, they will, some will just appeal and reach my existing audience and then some will effectively go viral and break beyond. And that's the times when my channel grows and I see waves of new subscribers and that kind of happens roughly every four months I have about three or four videos a month.

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And the way I see it, it's like rolling. Every time you upload a video, it's like rolling the dice. Like you can never predict what's going to work. But then when it does work, it's something that, you know, whereas one video gets a hundred K the next video we'll get 2 million in the same time span. It's just, you can't predict it.

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Yeah. Yeah. You do get videos. And I feel like when they do bomb, you can reflect and think, okay, maybe this topic didn't have as much appeal. Sometimes it's an element of just sort of like, I feel like wrong time and place where the algorithm wasn't interested in promoting it that week, because there's so many different factors that play in,

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whether someone else uploaded it on the same day as, and wherever the topic is trending right now, that sort of thing. But I think when it's weird that you upload it, obviously thinking, yeah, this will do well and suddenly it doesn't, but it gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you think your audience want and what your audience actually want.

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Yeah. And do you find that that's commonly the problem if a video doesn't do as well, but you had an idea of what you people want you to learn about, but actually maybe you didn't quite get it, right? Yeah. It could be the execution. It could be a good idea executed badly, but generally I think, at least in my experience,

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it's an idea that was never going to work. It just didn't have the appeal. Maybe a very small subset of people would like to, but it didn't have that broad enough appeal to actually before. And when you talked about execution, the execution, wasn't like, well, what does that mean? I think, you know, with any YouTube video,

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you could have a good idea and execute it well in the sense that you could edit it well, presents it. Well, it could be a refined video that you've thought through and vice versa. You could have a bad idea, but spend loads of time and money presenting you really nicely. You have to have both right. And obviously like editing, presenting,

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and that's the thing that's skills you can learn. And, but having the great ideas, unfortunately, is something that you just have to keep trying lucky, rolling the dice. You never know. What's a good idea until you try it. And I'm guessing things like the length of your video, how you break things down, those kinds of things will impact in terms of execution.

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The way I try and think about it is the value. The view is time. So anytime you are just like rambling about like, oh, subscribe, hit the like button, like get rid of that. And out the door, the moment you click on the video, the person needs to be engaged, which is why you often get videos. I didn't do this as often,

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but you get a lot of videos where they'll put the juicy bit at the beginning as a little sort of preview. And that keeps you watching because unlike traditional TV or web, usually it's designed in a way that if you're not interested in the first set of seconds, you can just live in the next thing. So you need to constantly be grounding people,

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keeping them interested, respecting their time and attention. So the structure matters to the, the yeah. Yeah. And where do you get your ideas from these days? I have a document of ideas, as you said, like my videos are about music and music theory. So often I'll be listening to a song or, or something like that. And something will jump out to me.

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And I think, oh, that's interesting. I could talk about that, but I always try and consider how much appealable this idea happens. So I could be to this final upskill song and it can have something really cool, Annette, and I could do a video on that, but because the song is so skill, not many people will click on it.

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So it's a balancing act between finding something interesting and finding something with a broad enough appeal that people will actually click through. So I found your channel because I was searching, did the Beatles, or I think it was probably did Paul McCartney know music theory. And I think it was around Christmas time. I'd just been given the Paul McCartney, the box set for Christmas.

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I was listening to lots of podcasts about Paul McCartney. And I don't know why that question came into my head, but it did. And interestingly, when I was talking to my dad about my event and I said, oh, I've got this guy who analyzes Beatles songs and pop songs. He goes, oh yeah, I know I watch his videos.

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And because we might have facial stands, but for me, that sort of says it all really is that I had this question in my head, which is probably quite an easy question, but obviously not actually, she can talk about that video, but it gave me the answer to a question that I had to over problem. And is that how you approach it with your ideas thinking,

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you know, who is my ideal viewer? What are they interested in basically? What are they searching for? I mean, I think that's a really good way of thinking about it is your ideal viewer is you the creator that you should be creating videos that you would find interesting. And yet you had that question, not theory. I had that question.

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So I thought I'd like a video on it because I wanted to answer the question. And that's the thing is that there's so much information out on the internet, but people haven't curated it as much. So you can type into Google. Did Paul McCartney let music theory. And until I made my video, you get a bunch of like very loose rambling ideas.

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If you're passionate about something, chances are, there'll be hundreds of thousands. If not millions of other people in the world who are also passionate about it. So we have now have this amazing technology where we can connect with these people. And even if it seems like a niche question that the beats will say music theory, I think that video has got a couple million views.

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So there's at least a couple million people who are interested in that. And it's interesting. What is it about your ideal giver being you? That's such an interesting question or such an interesting point, I should say, because I've grown up where I've had this thing where I'm listening to songs literally drives me nuts because I can hear other songs. And, and I'm like,

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what is that song? Where does that come from? And it bugs me and I learned music theory at school. I did a live music I did to grade eight or various instruments, but it wasn't until I actually started analyzing songs properly, that I was able to then understand what I was hearing. And it's been really helpful for me to kind of break that down.

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But if you sort of go down the pub with your friends, it's not everyone that was sitting there will be saying, I'm really fascinated with songs that sound the same with similar chord progressions. It's a community with people isn't it, who were interested in that topic. And it sounds like you're creating content for that community. That you're part of, if that makes sense.

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Well, I think, yeah, being part of the community is a big part of understanding what will work on YouTube for years before I started the videos I do now, I was watching seminar creators doing what I do and loving their videos. But of course it's only thing, you know, you've watched them all and then you think, oh, I more so that kind of like anything,

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whether there is this demand and this there's people wanting this stuff. And the amazing thing about the internet is there has always been since the beginning of time, they own these people around the world who have quite so niche interests, but the internet and the algorithm. And then, whereas I can connect these people with low, basically no friction. I can,

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I've got this group of 600,000 people who are all weirdly obsessed with music theory. So you're building a community and you're building a community of people who like you are interested in the same thing. Do you use keyword tools or any other tools to have you find out what you should be talking about? So I don't use any like particular tools, but I am thinking about how to title my video,

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how to present it. I think the thing is you can have a really great video with some really good information in it. And if you sort of brand it wrong with the wrong time now with the wrong title, people won't find out. And there's some channels I watch on YouTube who really should have a lot more subscribers, but they're just not very good at presenting their work.

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I know because I've watched it, that I'll click on it and it will be entertaining, but you know, new viewers aren't going to be coming in. And so I'm not using a particular tool. My songs that are based on customer music. I, even though it's a little bit like on the edge of telling the truth, I said some sort of rip-off classical music and that's a little bit more sensationalist,

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but it's not like, actually it's sort of lying wherever it is, click. Right. But as long as the video delivers on the promise that you make people won't get agitated and annoyed by circle clickbait. Yeah. And as you've also, creativity is on things like high profound use stories like ed Sheeran, he's in the news quite regularly for allegedly ripping off other people's music.

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Is that quite an intentional thing? So this is for people talking about, they're searching for information about this online and you're jumping onto that. If you like, I think in my experience, cause it's been a few times I've tried jumping on things that are happening right now. And although it sometimes works, generally speaking, the cushion will be rushing and you'll be thinking in terms of,

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I want to make this quickly not, I want to make this well, it doesn't work. And like, do you even miss the train? Somebody does it better. Or people aren't as interested as you think they are. What aren't you more is rather than what's hot this week. It's just, what's hot in general. Like I did a video on Bohemian Rhapsody and the film has already come out and you know,

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it's not like I was trying to catch that way, but people are just genuinely interested in Queensland Bohemian Rhapsody. They will be for the next few years, at least if not for decades. And same with the beetle was this noticeable boost to my videos when the recent get back documentary came out on Disney plus, but people are always interested in these things.

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And I think you're wasting resources if you're chasing trends, in my opinion, this stuff that has general appeal, not like no hot topic appeal. Yeah. As we're recording this, it's all about stranger things. Isn't that Kate version. So you wouldn't watch our video on. It's really interesting that you mentioned that because I, that exact thought process went from my head a couple of days ago.

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And it's a case of, like you said, rushing out, like I gave savory salt to, I could analyze running up that hill. It would probably do really well right now. But have I got the time and you know, I've got other videos I have to get those done. So what will happen is I'll rush out some half-baked thing and they won't be very good.

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And I would have really pushed myself to get it done and I won't get them at wolves. So if you have the time and resources and you genuinely can make the same quality product you would have made, if you weren't against the clock and yet chase the trend. But I feel like nine out of 10 times that won't be the case and you'll be like rushing to get it done.

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And so if you felt that Kate Bush was on an upward trajectory, then you might consider making a video. If you think, actually this is not just going to be this week or this month, this is going to be a trend moving forward. Then you might consider making a video when you've got the time. But I think the thing about YouTube as well,

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I think that could work on Tik TOK or Instagram jumping on and picking up your phone and creating something. But with YouTube, you're creating content. That is it's evergreen, isn't it? It could be there for a long time and you don't want to put up crappy work. Yeah. I think I take talking that is all about quick short content, which you can just pick up,

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you're trying to make, but that, isn't what YouTube is about. The expectation of production value and, and duration is much higher when you shoot. Yeah, because I take toll. Yeah. You'd be making like a 32nd, 62nd thing is a different game. But yeah, you want evergreen content. You want content that you'll be proud to have a new channel because every time you get one of those viral moments where suddenly the operas and pushes you beyond your regular audience,

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those people will come in and what you want them to do is get hooked on your videos. So you want them to go through your back catalog and with everyone that they watch, they personally are getting invested in you. And also the algorithm is, is thinking this guy likes these videos. I'm going to show them more and more and more. So if you haven't got that evergreen backlash,

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you know, it doesn't matter if you have a viral hit, it won't lead anyway. Yeah. A couple of questions that have crossed my mind as you've been talking for people who might be thinking about starting a YouTube channel or, you know, really going all in and one that they've got, which maybe isn't doing that great at the moment. So the first one was about,

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you said earlier, well, I was watching all these other videos and people were doing the kind of videos that I liked like mine. So I will often hear people say that that's a reason for me not to start my own channel because somebody else is already doing that. What would you say about that? You obviously don't want to copy someone's format. Exactly.

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But you almost definitely won't because your personality, your resources and your angle will influence the video format. So it's true that when I started my channel, I didn't know what my niche, my angle would be. And now I can tell you, I spend a lot of time talking about the Beatles and I show a lot of like sheet music on the screen.

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And I actually directly analyze stuff when there is actually another channel that does that I didn't set out to do that you just kind of like find your niche. And the bottom line is even if your content is very similar to somebody, else's people often want more of the same that you see it in like movie franchises or whatever, like there's 101 superhero movies.

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And that doesn't mean that I think in, oh, we shouldn't make any more. I think in the opposite that we should make more because people like this. And I often say to people, there's only one of you. So even if you're tackling the same topic, you're very unlikely you going to do it in the same way, unless you're copying,

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which is not, not a good idea. And the other part of that was about quality. So I am imagining people listening and saying, well, he's talking about quality. That means that I need the best camera. It means I need to be brilliant at editing. And I will often see people procrastinate about starting YouTube channels for years because they maybe don't have what they would consider to be the right camera,

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or they don't have the right setup. Or they don't think they're very good at editing, or don't even know how to edit that spend months fiddling around with keywords and learning about it. And, but you've talked a lot about quality and not just rushing things out. How do you balance the two? So creating quality content, but not being so worried about quality that you don't actually make anything.

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Well, I think the thing is you will inevitably get better with every video you make. So I personally really don't like to get the videos out because there's decisions that I made of editing and camera angles and lighting. I was like, why, why did they do that? But the bottom line is it doesn't actually matter that much from the YouTube people.

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Although there was a baseline for quality, it's all about the content. Like I, you know, people love watching streamers and streamers because like, it's live, it's very low policy, but it's not, they don't care. Like it's about the personalities and, and what's going on. I would say though, that obviously, as I said, there's a baseline.

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And I think if you had a thousand pounds, you could buy the camera, editing software, maybe like an led lights and microphone, and you'd have everything you need to make content that would work perfectly well on YouTube. And what if you didn't have a thousand pounds? What if you had a mobile phone and you didn't have much money at all, what would you recommend?

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The one thing which you could get, and this would probably only cost about 40 pounds is a better microphone to fit to your mobile phone because it's true. Particularly you have a, quite a modern phone. The quality of the camera will actually be really good, but the closer of the microphone will be really naff. And on YouTube. Audio is definitely more important than visual.

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There's something very like frustrating to the viewer about bad audio. I don't know. As you ever been on like a bus or train, someone's having a phone when you could hear the person on the other end and they're really great, but if they were talking to the frame next to them, it wouldn't create. And it's because of all the frequencies that get amplified by the bad microphone,

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it's just winds us up. So yeah. Yeah. Better microphone, Australians, your iPhone or whatever, you know, as long as you make some sensible decisions, like why started? I didn't have lighting by, I made sure to do it on a day where it was sunny enough to get enough light in the room. So it's just like sensible decisions.

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Like, Yeah. It's interesting. What you said about cameras. Say friend of mine who works for BBC London, who actually his films are events and they will be filming the one that you're speaking out, which we'll get to in a second. But he said the BBC, now they just use the latest iPhone because everything's on such a shoestring. Now that often the reporter will film it and edit it and put the whole package together.

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They often have the tripod and the latest iPhone, which if people are creating quality TV content with that. But yeah, I guess it's about understanding the things that were important. I always say, if you can't invest in anything, if you've only got a small budget, if the sound is always going to be the most important thing. And I also noticed that you talked about watching a lot of other people's videos and seeing how people were doing it.

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And I think people often think there's a formula. Like, you know, you just do it like this, but actually watching a lot of content to see where your retention drops off and where you losing trust in. And that kind of thing. Learning. I find it really interesting when I'm watching YouTube and I find myself clicking up a video and obviously you're doing it kind of subconsciously,

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but if you're paying attention, you catch yourself and you think, oh, why am I taking off this video walk? You know, I take the net in the beginning because I thought it was interesting. And through those experiences, you can get an idea of what makes an engaging video. It's the same thing. Like if you want it to be a filmmaker,

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you'd watch those films. If you wanted to be a musician, you'd listen to lots of music. If you want to be YouTube, but you watch those as YouTube and you pay attention to what makes it good. And when you pay attention to what makes it bad. Yeah. And we will get into this more when you speak at the event, but how long do you think people should get it?

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I told myself that I would make a big list for year as if I'm getting views, regardless of if no one watches them. Because from my experience of watching out for creatives, that's kind of what they've been doing. I got lucky and it picks up quite quickly, but I think give a year. But of course, don't just bang your head against the wall for a year.

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If it's not picking up things, okay. Maybe I'll try this. Maybe I'll try that experiment until something works. So you're speaking at courageous content live what's courageous content mean to you when you think about somebody being courageous with content, what does that mean for you? So put yourself on the internet, especially like your face. Your name is courageous because I think the YouTube comment section is a funny place and I love it and I hate it because people just say what they mean.

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And sometimes they're not even thinking they're just like splurge into the comments and it's very easy to take it very personally. So to even upload yourself into YouTube is courageous. But the reason I say I love and hate YouTube. And the comment section is for every negative comment that is ill founded and you should just ignore that might actually be a negative comment. It's pointing out something that,

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yeah, you probably should fix. And you know, me personally, it's not just video quality. It's the one I'm talking about. Music theory. I pride myself on being correct. And fact checking on being academic. And you should comment section will often pick me out for that. And because of that, as I'm writing the script, I know I've been a double check that because if that's wrong,

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I'm never going to hear the end of it in on YouTube. Yeah. Yeah, totally. And what are you going to be talking about at courageous content live, Ultimately how to make good videos and then more importantly, how to actually get them in front of people with eyeballs, because it's ultimately views that turn into earning a living from it or, or,

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or translating it into sales in a different department of your career. And you're also going to be talking about monetization. So you have advertising on your channel. You also use Patrion. So that's all that you can use so people can pay you money. So you'll be talking a bit more about that. Yeah. I was talking about all the different ways that you can monetize it from direct ways,

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such as SEO, Google ads, patron, like you mentioned, sponsorships merchandise, but also some of the more peripheral ways went because you've got an audience. You can then sort of use that as leverage to open up opportunities in other aspects of your career. Well, we're really excited about it. What do you think will surprise people that you share at the event?

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Probably that or they, my first video that I uploaded got a hundred K views in a few weeks that my child, isn't what you'd call an overnight success. Okay. Well, we look forward to hearing that. So thanks so much, David. We look forward To that Event. So I hope you found that interview useful. If you'd like to check out David's channel,

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it's David Bennett, piano, and we'll link to that antisocial in the show notes. And I hope it's given you a taste of what to expect. If you come and hear David speak at my annual content marketing event, courageous content live it's happening on November the first and second in Newcastle. And that is a virtual version. But given the events of the last few years,

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we'd we love for you to come and join us in person at the event, David will focus on how he's monetized his YouTube platform, but even if you don't have a YouTube channel, that is going to be a heck of a lot. You can learn from his talk because he'll be talking about dealing with advertisers about how to reach out to potential advertisers and sponsors,

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how to negotiate fees and contracts, how to use tools like Patreon, where your subscribers, and you can do this for any content platform can make a donation to thank you for the content that you're creating and how all of that works. If you're interested in launching a YouTube channel or growing one that you have, this will be perfect for you, but equally you will learn a ton that you can apply it to any content platform.

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And David is one of a number of amazing keynote speakers that will be talking about all aspects of content and content marketing, blogging, podcasting, social media, you name it. We cover it at courageous content live. And we also really focus on monetization. How do you actually generate income, including recurring revenue from the content that you create in your business?

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So if you're an aspiring course creator, or you already have an online course or membership, that will be tons for you too. We cover it or content marketing, social media, marketing, email marketing, and we are the only big event of this type happening in the UK in 2022. So I would love you to join me. I will put a link in the show notes to courageous content live,

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and there will be more interviews coming up over the next few months with some of our speakers. So you can get to meet them and get an idea of what they'd be talking about at the event.

About the Podcast

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Courageous Content with Janet Murray
Content marketing advice for small businesses

About your host

Profile picture for Janet Murray

Janet Murray

I’m Janet Murray and I’ve helped thousands of coaches, creative and entrepreneurs learn how to create engaging content – so they can build their online audience and make more sales in their business.

I’m also a podcaster and keynote speaker who has spoken all over the world about content marketing and building online audiences.

Work with me and I’ll teach you the strategies I’ve used to grow a multi six figure online business, selling digital products (including Ebooks, online courses and two membership sites). And launch a physical product – the Social Media Diary & Planner, which has sold thousands of copies, all over the world.