If you want to become a professional tennis player you need three things – hard work, skill and, importantly, a great coach. Nobody has made it in professional sport without a great coach. Learning from those who know more than you is vital in growing any skill – it’s why we have teachers in school and why parents shell out thousands to get their kids the best coaches. So what’s out there for influencers? I decided to make a series in which I find out what is out there for aspiring influencers. To kick off the series I had a chat with Tim Schmoyer, founder of the hugely successful YouTube consultancy company Video Creators.
Hello Tim, first can you give us a bit of background about yourself?
“Hello, yes for sure. My name is Tim Schmoyer, I’m 39 years old, married to my beautiful wife Dana. We have seven children and live just outside of Cincinnati.”
So now we know a bit more about you can you tell us a bit more about your company Video Creators. Firstly, can you some up what Video Creators is?
“At Video Creators we work with YouTubers who are trying to grow their channel. They’re already making videos, trying to get momentum and it’s just not working and they want to know ‘how do I make this thing work?’. In more technical terms we’re a YouTube strategy agency. We come alongside creators and brands and help them develop a strategy for growth on the platform.
“So far we’ve helped accumulate 14 billion views and 61 million subscribers…”
“So far we’ve helped accumulate 14 billion views and earn 61 million subscribers across our various clients which include the likes of Disney, Warner Brothers, Ebay, HBO, all the way down to creators who were just getting started on YouTube. Beginner or Fortune 500 company it doesn’t matter, we’ll help anyone dominate on the platform!”
Next question, can you tell me how Video Creators came about?
“So before I became a YouTube consultant I first was a YouTuber myself. The story starts when I was in Grad school in Dallas, Texas while my family were on the other side of the country. The first video I uploaded onto YouTube was titled ‘test video’ on 2nd March 2006. I initially starting uploading to YouTube with the intention of communicating with my family and friends back home what I was getting up to at Grad school. I was running a WordPress blog at the time which I was using as a journal of sorts but I realised that YouTube would be a much easier way of communicating. I also had just started dating my then girlfriend, now my wife, and I wanted my family to meet her.
“I started regularly posting what today are called ‘vlogs’ but back then was just called ‘being awkward in public with a camera’. Me and my girlfriend would go out to the park or the movies and I’d turn them into these little videos and upload them to YouTube for my friends and family to watch. But soon other people who I didn’t know started to watch.
“At first it was a bit scary but I soon embraced it and starting setting about how to figure out how the platform worked, why people were watching and what brought them back. Later in 2006 I married my girlfriend, documenting our relationship including our wedding and getting our first house. Soon we were hitting a million views a month.
“I started talking to other YouTubers about their channels and sharing tips and tricks on how to grow. So after honing my skills, including working for a marketing agency for a couple of years, in 2013 I decided to make my own path and created my company Video Creators and made it what it is today.”
What would you say is the biggest mistake you regularly see aspiring YouTube creators make?
“Two super common reasons for YouTube channels getting stuck is that they don’t know who they’re talking to, or, they do, but they don’t know why that person should care about their content.
“The only reason people consume content is that they feel like it’s for them and they’re getting some sort of value out of it. You need to know what value, or lack of value, your viewers are getting from your content. They could feel like they learn something from your videos, help them overcome a problem, it could be simply providing entertainment and cure boredom, it could be a perceived relationship they feel they have with you.
“The bottom line is that if you’re just kind of randomly making videos – making generic content for a generic audience – then you’re going to see very generic results.”
I know on your website you offer to help build effective strategies for grow on YouTube. How important is strategy and direction when it comes to growing big on the platform?
“Without it you won’t get anywhere. Most people do go into YouTube with a strategy it’s just it’s not a defined or well planned out one. Usually it is ‘I’m going to make videos about something I like and hope people will like it too’ and that strategy, typically, doesn’t work out too well.”
Do you think that having a defined strategy is something that somebody needs to have in place before they’ve even recorded or can you develop it as you go?
“Depends on what the goal is. Normally, there’s good strategy but no good strategy will make you grow if your content is lame. There is a lot of skill that needs to be required in order to produce good content. For example you need to know how to use a camera, how to edit video and how to tell an engaging story. These are all very important skills that no amount of strategy will help you overcome without doing it.
“When you’re getting started just shoot a lot, not with the intention of growing just with the intention of learning a lot. You’ll make a lot of mistakes but you’ll figure out how to make good content and then you can develop a good strategy. At Video Creators we help people with both of those.”
Looking ahead, where do you see YouTube in 10 years?
“Overall the direction is moving more and more toward mobile and in developing countries. YouTube is exploding in the South Pacific and in South America especially. I know people are talking a lot about VR and AR being where it’s at but I’m not convinced.
“I think the two main things we’re going to see with YouTube in coming years is that, first, we’re going to see YouTube be more and more focused on mobile. The knock on effect of that will be that YouTube will start to gear the service more and more towards mobile users.
Latest figures reveal that 70% of YouTube views come from mobile devices – omnicore
“Secondly, I think that brands will finally start focusing less on trying to sell and trying to like make commercials, and focus more on creating valuable content that creates a human connection with their ideal customer.”
Final question, how can YouTubers right now put themselves in the best position to grow on the platform?
“If you are a YouTuber right now and you haven’t defined your target audience then you need to make that your priority. I don’t just mean a demographic – like men aged 18 – 35 who speak English. I mean find out your target audience’s story – who are they, what do they want and what kind of content will help them get what they want.
“Once you’ve defined your audience then figure out a strategy to deliver the content that they want.”
Well thanks for joining me for this interview Tim, if people want to find out more about Video Creators and how to grow on YouTube where should they go?
“If people would like to know more then they should head over to the Video Creators website – www.videocreators.com. There you can download our free guide called ‘The Secret to Building your YouTube Audience’ which walks you through a step-by-step process on how to start formulating a strategy for your YouTube channel that will help you grow.
“You can also check out the various courses we offer and have a look at how we’ve helped other creators on the platform. If you’re more of a visual learner then check out our YouTube channel (Video Creators) which has a whole host of informative videos on how to grow on YouTube!”