Michael Stelzner on YouTube as a Business Strategy

In this 15-Minute Strategy Podcast episode, we talk with Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World 2020 #SMMW20 about several sales tips for businesses leveraging YouTube!

Michael talks about YouTube thumbnails, watch time, session length, and so much more when it comes to using YouTube as a sales and marketing channel for your business.

Listen in as Michael shares his super-secret sales tip to you the listener! 

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About the Expert

Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder of Social Media Examiner, author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers, and the man behind Social Media Marketing World–the industry’s largest conference. He’s also host of the Social Media Marketing podcast and founder of the Social Media Marketing Society.


Full Transcript

Dan Moyle 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations filled with your strategy goals. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy pod

George Thomas 0:36
All right, sprockets yours. It's your boy George V. Thomas. And I'm back and excited because we have one of the most amazing men that I have met on the planet. He is Social Media Examiner he is Social Media Marketing World which by the way, if you haven't signed up to be there in 2020, you should. I'll be there for sure on the mainstage But Michael stelzner before we get into this week's 15 minute piece of strategy That people can't live without just explain a little bit more about who you are, what you do, and all the places that you do it.

Michael Stelzner 1:06
I am a marketer who happens to own a media company. And we exclusively market our own products. And we create blog. We have a very big blog, we have two podcasts. We have a live show YouTube channel, and very, very large audience of millions. And all we do is help marketers navigate their way through the social jungle.

George Thomas 1:29
I love it. And I love the social jungle tagline because it is crazy out there. And you also are a man of my heart because I too am a marketer. And I just like creating content, like I love podcasting, and videos and all of that. And today, I really want to lean into something that your team that you're doing and that is leaning into video. And specifically with this 15 minutes strategy. Let's go into YouTube and maybe tell the story about how you from a business perspective, not a creators perspective, but from a business perspective of using YouTube as a channel that you're seeing results.

Michael Stelzner 2:05
Long story short is for the last two years we experimented with a docu series called The journey and learned a lot about YouTube and experimented with cross distributing video on all the social platforms. And we came out of that with YouTube is where people watch video George, more than any other channel period. So we decided this year we're going to go all in on YouTube, create a lot of video tutorials, and a lot of great content kind of like what we've done in the blogging world and in the podcasting world, but go all in on YouTube to grow that tribe because George there are people that read there are people that listen and there are people that watch and we've got the listeners, we've got the readers but we want to get the people that learn by watching

George Thomas 2:46
which by the way, that's me I am a watcher man I love to watch video. If I don't like to look at my phone and it tell me where I spend my time because pseudo I want to feel guilty because It says YouTube, but then I realized YouTube is actually my Learning Channel. That's where I'm gathering all of my information. So, Michael, when you think about that, it's interesting that you went in this route of like textual, auditory and visual learners. When you think about these visual learners, what are some things that you as a business are putting in place in your videos, to make them have a little bit more impact or see a better result? Along the way, as you're kind of creating this content for the new audience or type of audience learner?

Michael Stelzner 3:32
Well, the first thing we learned is you've got to hook them in the first couple of seconds. And it's really, really important that you tell them why they should stick around. And we also learned that we can't have like this 15 seconds of music and fancy animation, you just need to cut that to almost nothing. People have the attention span of a flee as well here we've noticed, especially with video, that's the first thing we can talk about how we did that. The other thing is thumbnails are really really important on YouTube. YouTube provides these really cool metrics where they put your video out there. And then they tell you what percentage of people are clicking in on the thumbnail. So one of the cool tips that we learned George, is that if you don't put the title in the graphic of the thumbnail, instead create a graphic that like kind of connects with the title. Like, for example, stop this now with a big x. And that's it. And then the title has something to do with like Facebook ad strategy. Now all of a sudden, there's a story going on here, oh, I'm doing something wrong with my ad strategy. These are the kind of things we're experimenting with right now the idea that you're going to use a thumbnail, and text to get people to watch the video. And the last thing is retention man, YouTube wants people on the platform, you got to design those videos, so people will stick it out all the way to the end.

George Thomas 4:43
It's interesting when you talk about these thumbnails, there's as marketers, we're both marketers here. nerding out people are listening to us. as marketers. I've seen this thing historically where people will build like a content campaign and they'll spend a bunch of time on the E book. They'll spend a bunch of time on developing a landing page. Then they'll literally like poop out a call to action in like five minutes. I'm like, call it a day. And and it's like the call to action is the most important piece. Because if nobody clicks on it, nobody gets to the E book, the to the landing page and all the good content. Michael, what I hear you say is that the thumbnail for the YouTube video is literally the call to action. So how much time and effort and creativity Would you say that these businesses need to put on the thumbnail? And kind of reimagine, like, yeah, we should create the video but man, this is where the effort goes.

Michael Stelzner 5:33
So it's not exactly the call to action. It's more the front of the store. It's curb appeal. Do you understand? So you want someone to come through the house, they got a it's got to look good from the outside, right? So what everybody does is they just take a couple of words from the title and they put it in the graphic and they think that that's enough. So instead, what you got to say to yourself is like YouTube is giving you real estate, they're giving you a little rectangle, and they're giving you a line for the headline. The headline, of course is the most important, but that picture has to somehow come compliment that headline, so that when they're skimming it in mere seconds, they're going to decide to click on your video because they will ignore 95% of all the thumbnails that they see. So yours for some reason, has got to grab them. And that visual component is so critical.

George Thomas 6:17
So Michael, let's circle this background because I love in your intro, you're like, Look, we're a media company, and we sell our own stuff. And we're using YouTube as a business channel. Talk us through that part of it. Like you've got a great thumbnail, you're focused on the retention of the video, you're doing a super fast hook at the beginning to get them engaged and watch the video. But how do you handle the sell part of the things that you do inside of your content or even around the content on the YouTube platform, we do nothing we don't sell at all. So so go deeper into that because I think that might be shocking to the listeners literally.

Michael Stelzner 6:56
We literally have the end of the tutorial. And in the last microsecond of the video, and the only thing we do at the end is threw up the subscribe, Overlay and a n card for another video. Now you want to know why,

George Thomas 7:14
yes, I want to know why. And I know the listeners and viewers are like, wait, there's gotta be something we can

Michael Stelzner 7:19
use what matters to YouTube session duration, nothing more session duration, they don't care if you link to another video, all they care about is that your video makes a longer session duration for people on YouTube, so that they can put ads up there and they don't even care if your ad has if your video has ads turned on. So if your video can lead to a longer session duration, they will show your video to more people. So what that means is the goal is to build a loyal audience and get lots of viewers. Your call to action is subliminal or it's in the notes of the video. Because we as marketers, we want exposure first and foremost, right? So I'll tell you what we do. We put a little tiny sign on the desk in the back behind. We have people find our studio and just has a little logo that says Social Media Marketing World. Or I'm wearing a T shirt that says Social Media Marketing World just like you're wearing a T shirt. This is Brock sprocket talk. And that's it. That's it. There's nothing more in the frickin video. What's your reaction to that? And

George Thomas 8:23
I love that because what I want people to realize is sometimes you don't go for the jugular, sometimes it's about the soft sell. Sometimes it's about giving somebody an experience, that they're able to view and enjoy and want to do it more. And then eventually they read the sign Social Media Marketing World. The sprocket talk, oh, what a sprocket talk, let me get them to

Michael Stelzner 8:45
come. Well, we want them to come back as well. And that's the point. We want to be an indispensable resource that they watch all the time, knowing that only a tiny percentage of them will ever become customers because we want them to share the video. We want them to tell other people about this Video and they want them to become, if you will, we want to become indispensable to them, George.

George Thomas 9:05
So here's what I hear. And I'll use this as my last question. Because Michael, what we started out is how to use YouTube as a business strategy and platform. But through this interview, what I hear is why businesses should have a publisher mentality. So when you think about when you think about that business and YouTube and a publisher mentality, what kind of information would you want to unload that business should start to think about to help them transfer from sell, sell, sell, sell, to a publisher mentality and and helping people to almost be like the Columbus principle? Well, I should go to sprocket talk, or I should go to social media marketer? Well, yes, you should.

Michael Stelzner 9:46
Yes, you should. So the strategy here is to become so valuable in whatever medium that you're in, that everybody's talking about you everybody's watching everything that you're doing, and everybody really Just sees you as so valuable that that a sub segment of them a tiny little fragment of the funnel is going to say, Hmm, I wonder what else these guys do? Hmm, let me check them out more because the bottom line is the alternative ga is to go out and pay big daddy Google or big teddy YouTube or big Patty, Daddy, Facebook, a lot of frickin money. I would much rather gather up a super super loyal tribe that I if I want to, I could come out with a video eventually and direct sell them. But and and they'll give me the chance to watch it or I could remark it to those who watch that video. But the goal is to become your own media company so that you do not have to be reliant on someone else who owns the media.

George Thomas 10:40
Michael stelzner. If people want to know about the soft sell about having this production mindset about reimagining what they can do on YouTube or just want some more tactical tips, where do you want to send them?

Michael Stelzner 10:52
Well, first of all, Social Media Examiner on YouTube if you want to check out how we're doing what we're doing, and at a grander scale, if you just go to Social Media Examiner and just check out anything we do. And just kind of dissect it and reverse engineer it, you'll kind of figure it out that way.

George Thomas 11:08
Listen viewers listener sprocket tears, add value build your tribe, and we'll see you on the next episode.

Dan Moyle 11:14
Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership. And in that membership area, you can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.