For people who aren’t familiar with Gear Live, how would you describe what you do as a video influencer?
I think my readers and viewers would describe me as a gadget/tech reviewer, while brands and marketing types would describe me as a tech or video influencer.
For me, though, I am really someone who loves consumer electronics and is passionate enough about it to write about the subject and make videos about them because I want to share that passion with others.
I’m just a guy who loves gadgets with a big personality!
Is Gear Live your full time job or is it more of a passion project?
Gear Live is much more than a full-time job.
It’s a company in its own right, and as an entrepreneur, and video influencer, I face all the challenges that any other business owner comes up against.
The thing about entrepreneurship, though, is in the vast majority of cases, the business owner is doing what they love.
To do this, it requires passion, though.
I am kind of a one-stop shop, in that I pretty much do it all – I don’t have a staff.
Most people think I sit around all day playing with toys, and then writing about them at my leisure.
Or they think that making a great YouTube video is as simple as pointing a camera at a smartphone, hitting record, and talking.
It takes much more than that to keep people engaged and interested in content.
As an example, the other day I posted a video that was about 6 minutes in length.
That video took about 4 hours of shooting, and another 3 hours of editing before it was ready to be shared – and that doesn’t include the upload process, the social sharing, and the writing of the content that will live alongside the video.
The magic is in making something that is hard and takes a lot of time look effortless.
How did you get started building your audience? What steps did you follow?
I wouldn’t say there was really a specific audience-building strategy, other than making content that I’d like to see.
When I create something, it has to be something that I would be interested in watching or reading.
So my audience is people who are fans of things I am a fan of, and people who are interested in the things I am interested in.
That turns out to be early adopters of consumer electronics, with a good overlap in the gaming space as well.
That was the start.
As time went on and more people found my videos, either through my fans sharing them on social networks or emailing them to friends, my audience expanded to people who were more generally interested in personal technology – after all, who doesn’t have a smartphone these days?
Just because you own one doesn’t mean you’re an expert.
When you are seeking out tips and tricks, or the best apps to download, or which device to upgrade to next, my content is helpful because its useful from the research perspective … like when you want to make a purchase.
It’s not just entertainment for like-minded gadget fans.
In the world of YouTube, which do you consider most important, subscribers or views and why?
I focus more on views myself.
I want to get my videos seen by people who are interested in seeing them, or who would be helped by them.
The subscriber count doesn’t mean much in my opinion, because it is so easily gamed, and is also done at a whim.
Someone can hit the subscribe button and then never see your videos again simply because they weren’t on YouTube when it showed up at the top of their feed, or for other algorithmic reasons.
So, I would rather than 1 million views and 0 subscribers than 1 million subscribers and 0 views.
Do you use a marketing strategy to grow your audience? If yes, what is that strategy?
The only strategy I employ is to make sure I make videos that I think people will want to see – so, think of the audience before you make the video and plan out exactly how you will get the point across and how it would best be received.
Keep your audience in mind.
From there, I make sure to share it across the social networks that I am a part of.
All of my Twitter followers, Facebook followers, Instagram followers…just because a person follows me on one platform doesn’t mean that they follow me on all, or that they subscribe to my YouTube channel.
I make sure to go out to the people, rather than expecting the people to come to me.
That’s how a real video influencer has to think.
How important is having a video “go viral” to subscriber growth?
If you are asking how important a viral video is to getting your subscriber number to grow, I guess it would do a good job at that – but I don’t know that it is really meaningful in any way.
A video going viral is normally because of something about that one, specific video.
How often do you hear the term “viral video” compared to the term “viral channel”?
Viral videos are kind of like fads. People like them for a while and then they disappear. I am more about staying power and consistency.
Do you have a video crew who helps with your production or do you do production and appear on camera?
I do it all.
I’m behind the camera setting up shots and making sure things look good, that the colors are right and the white balance is on point.
I do the staging of the area where the video will be shot to make it look interesting.
Of course, I am on camera talking about whatever needs to be explained and showing up as the face of my brand.
When all is said and done, I am also the one at the workstation editing the video and trying to turn a couple of hours of footage into a nicely-packaged 4-10 minute compelling video.
Of course it doesn’t have to be that way though.
If you are great on camera but don’t know anything about editing or shooting, you can get help in those areas.
I just personally like to be involved in each step of the process because it all interests me.
How important is having the right gear to being successful at online video?
You definitely need to have the right gear – it’s important. I’ll give you a quick rundown of all the gear you need as a bare minimum in order to be successful on YouTube:
A video camera.
No, really. That’s all it takes.
Does your smartphone record video and audio?
Perfect, then you have the ability to shoot a video and upload it to YouTube.
No one has ever seen someone’s video, and then said to themselves:
“Before I conclude that this person is a success, I need to take inventory of what gear they used in order to produce this. Only then can I determine their worthiness of success.”
No one does that.
Some of the most-watched videos were shot on a cell phone.
There is no need to get caught up in the gear aspect, and it is very easy to spend a bunch of money on expensive cameras, lights, editing workstations, lenses, microphones, and the like.
Forget all that, and just get started with what you have, and grow from there.
If you could improve one thing about your current video strategy, what would it be?
I love creating content and talking tech – and I’d love to remove any other barriers that require my attention that are also necessary.
For example, I have an accountant who handles business finances because I’m no accountant and I’d rather an expert deal with that.
Another area that would help with videos specifically is having someone who can handle my sales and sponsorships.
It’s a process that is time consuming, and takes me away from the camera, because it has to be done.
Any advice for people looking to get started? What should a newbie focus on first?
There are so many lists out there for what you need to do to get started on YouTube or in video or with blogging.
The longer the list gets, the more intimidating it looks.
My advice is to just use what you have, record something, and upload it.
Get used to doing it. Make it a habit. Post on a regular schedule.
Don’t worry about the views, the subscribers, the comments, or anything else.
Don’t compare yourself to other channels or other people.
Just start doing it, and get used to it, and things will start to make sense.
You’ll start to get a knack for things, you’ll see what works for you and what doesn’t.
The hardest part is just getting started!