From authentic to influential

Video Summary

In this panel talk we have Dan Markham, the creator of What’s Inside channel in YouTube, Jenna Mourey a.k.a Jenna Marbles a YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian and actress and Navid Javaherian Hadzaad, a product leader for the Amazon influential program discussing the importance of building authority and influence online.

Speakers

What started as a science fair project overnight transformed Dan Markham and his son into YouTube superstars with nearly five million subscribers to their “What’s Inside?” channel, and combined video views of more than 650 million. Along the way, Markham became an engagement expert in building a brand presence on the platform—and positioning it to go viral. In this session, explore one of the fastest growing channels on YouTube and gain insights that will apply to your company’s channel.

Navid is a Product Leader for new initiatives at Amazon.

Previously, he was the Founder & CEO of a Angel.ai, a technology company focused on building technology to extract actionable intent from natural language queries to direct customers to the products and services they are looking for.

Navid was featured on the 2016 Forbes "30 Under 30" list for Consumer Tech.

Prior to founding Angel.ai/GoButler, Navid worked for Rocket Internet where he served as a Co-Founder & Managing Director of ZipJet, an urban pickup & delivery service for laundry in London and Berlin. Previously, Navid built-up Helpling as the Global CMO. Prior to Rocket Internet, he worked as an Investment Manager at the Volaris Group, an operating group of Constellation Software, Canada's second largest software company. While at Volaris Group, he was responsible for managing all existing and new investments in Europe. Navid started-off his professional career at The Boston Consulting Group and holds a B.B.A (Hons) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

What you will learn?

  • Why authenticity is important for influencers
  • How to monetize content by doing what you love to do
  • What characteristics do you need have to become an influencer

 

Greg:

Awesome. Great. Well, thanks for having us. I’m Greg Galant. I’m the co-founder of the shorty Awards and Muck Rack. I’ll tell you a very brief background about myself and then we’ll get to our great panel where we have millions I guess tens of millions of followers of this one couch. That’s now great time them. So I ridging onto the social media world. I signed up to Twitter super early. I got my first name on there, @Gregory simply because no one had grabbed it. In fact the domain name is that time was just TWTTR.com because they couldn’t yet afford the vowels. And I saw there’s all this great stuff happening on social media, but no way to find it. So I thought we could make an award show to find the very best of social media and we let people vote simply by sharing with the Twitter other kind of status update that went viral. So after spending two weekends building this site it became the top trending term on Twitter and we have a really short video I believe from the shorty awards that we can play now.

[00:01:27]

Video:

Preventing someone sure. I’ve been in boo. Yeah, I’ve been I’ve been a ballet but until today I’ve never been to shorty. Shorty Awards. Hashtag shorty Awards. The shorty Awards the show is already going viral and dominating the social conversation everywhere. The Shorty’s are an annual award event used recognize people and organizations for their content on Twitter Facebook Tumblr. YouTube Snapshot Tell you now musically Instagram whoever else I’m forgetting. This no mores for tiny people. You’re finally gives them the recognition they deserved. Like an Oscar or a Nobel Peace Prize better probably. With Shorty are by far the most prestigious. May I have the envelope please? Thank you. We about to get busy. And the best TV show. Comedian. Best instagrammer. I’m talking of course about emoji’s.  She forget the Brand and toss out the predictable. And that was pretty cool. People that indulge in narcissistic behavior of caulking out into the internet need to be acknowledged for that. They don’t want me to win this award. So I won this award. I just want to give thanks and hugs to everyone. I am so proud to be a part of this community. I want to thank my mom for telling me to stop making videos. Thank you so much. Shorty Awards. Somebody don’t believe you can do anything, you can do anything. What an incredible room of people here celebrating a year entertainment, education, activism and creativity .And your insecurities and you don’t think you can make it honey, you can make it. Honestly could not have been here or done what I do without the beautiful platform that YouTube is I found my community and my family when I was in high school. Social media is shifting and dictating culture right now more than anything else. I’m happy to be a part of it. Thank you for this and congratulations to everyone in this room who’s a part of this and a part of the future. Thank you guys.

[00:03:32]

Greg:

And that’s the shorty Awards in two minutes. We cut down the actual three-minute award show to 2 minutes because you only have 20 minutes for this panel. With that, let’s start with our panelists. You could start to introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about yourself. Let’s start with you Dan.

Dan:

Okay, so I’m Dan Markham and we have a channel called What’s Inside and so me and my better half, my 11 year old son Lincoln, he had a second grade science project and he wanted to know what’s inside a sports ball. So we cut open these sports balls then posted the videos to YouTube. About a year later, randomly people started watching it. And I was like hey Lincoln maybe if we continued cutting stuff open, by the time you’d go to college you might have a little extra money for your for school or whatever. So he’s like, yeah, let’s do it dad. So we started cutting things open January 2015, by December, we hit a million subscribers by the following December we hit four. I was a biotech sales rep for 12 years. I walked away from my job. And now I just make goofy YouTube videos and it’s a blast.

[00:04:34]

Greg:

It’s amazing. Did you find out what’s inside of a football?

Dan:

What’s inside of a football, we’ve done that, that was one of our first ones that we did, yeah.

Jenna:

Now I gotta watch the video.

Greg:

Now you gotta watch the video, Jenna.

Jenna:

Hello. I’m Jenna Marbles. I make YouTube videos and most of them involve just me messing up my hair and or nails or my face or life. And I hang out with my dog. So hello and hell, yeah.

[00:05:00]

Navid:

Hi everyone, I’m Navid. I’m the product leader for the Amazon influential program, which is a program that we launched just a few months ago. And the goal of it is really to create a new way or a new empowering way for influencers to both monetize their organic content and also invented a new way for their followers to easily shop their product recommendations. So really excited to be here.

Greg:

Thank you and then you told us what you were doing before becoming a full-time content creator. Jenna what were you doing before your videos took off?

Jenna:

I have a Master’s Degree in sports psychology and counseling. So I had a very different life path and I did some goofy stuff when I was about 21-22. And I was like, I think I’m going to see where this leads me instead of pursuing a PhD so I actually haven’t stopped since then. I’m just waiting to not have a job anymore.

Greg:

Nice and I’d love to hear from both of you and then I’ll continue with Navid. What was the moment where you know, you’re making these videos; and how many people in the audience who are like aspiring content creators or content creators make videos? All right, good numbers for all these guys like they’re all probably wondering like, when can I quit my job and do YouTube or just make videos full-time post them on the web? So, you know maybe starting with you Dan, like what was that moment where you’re like, I’m gonna walk in tomorrow and tell my boss I quit so I don’t have to have a job.

Dan:

Wait, what I mean, it was about a year into it, when we hit a million subscribers, there were two months that we made more money off of the Google ad Revenue than I did with my day job. But at the same time I’m like I’ve been doing this job for 11 years at this point, like would I really walk away from something for just 2 months of Revenue. And so I hung on for a bit longer and then it just kept getting bigger and bigger and I would not sleep at night because I’d be editing videos and replying to comments and talking with Brands and different things. And finally, I was just like, okay. I’m out of here. I’ve got to go. So I really like my job before it was a great job, but the opportunity with digital media is so great right now and we’re in a position where we could really harness it and have fun with it and really grow with it that I just figured might as well do it. I can always go back into sales if I have to, but yeah.

Greg:

Nice and Jenna was there like a particular moment or day where you just had this traumatic realization. You’re going to commit?

 

 

[00:07:28]

Jenna:

Well, I mean, I’m not particularly envious of that decision because that’s a little heavier than mine. My threshold for quitting my job was pretty low. So, I was like bartending and things like that. So I was like, I’m not going today or ever again. It was much more celebratory and not bitter-sweet at all. But there was definitely a moment when the AdSense Revenue again had surpassed the money that I was going to make in any given time. So I was like, I’m not going, nope

Greg:

Well, Dan and Jenna you guys both have millions of followers now. We’ll talk more seeing about how you make the economics work on that. But Navid, I was hoping maybe you could tell us like does someone have to have a million followers to quit their job and start making money?

Navid:

Yeah good questions. I think what I can do is what I can say from what we seen the influence of program is that it really boils down to the relevance of your content and how much of an influence you truly have on your followers. I’ve seen people with tens of thousands of followers only compared to these guys that have been able to say hey, I’m going to quit my job and do this full time just based on their earnings that they have made through our offering which is just one of the many ways that they can monetize their presence. And what we actually do we give folks their own landing page on Amazon as well as a vanity URL. So like amazon.com / shop / what’s inside that lands page. And you can curate all of your favorite products on that page making it actually a lot easier for your follower’s to find and Shop your product recommendations. And then you start making earnings through our Amazon Associates program, which is our affiliate program for all the qualifying purchases you drive through your page. So really think that this is, you know, Sorry?

[00:09:14]

Greg:

How do we sign?

Navid:

Just go to amazon.com/influencers, and actually just today we’re announcing that we’ve launched support for Instagram and Twitter influencers. So if you have either YouTube or Instagram or Twitter account go to amazon.com/influencers sign up and get your own page and start making life easier for your followers and start making money

 

Greg:

And now it’s real exciting. We’re able to convince Dan to release his full tax returns. Actually. We just got a few revenue slides. He was very generous to share some of the actual numbers he made so if we could put the slides up, please.

Dan:

Let’s see. So I think it’s when people always ask us like, how do you make money on YouTube? And yes, there’s ad Revenue, but I remember when I was talking to one influencer devinsupertramp early on and he gave a talk and he said that only 10% of his revenue is from ad Revenue with Google. And so I was like, oh my gosh he already gets so many views as their ad revenue must be really high. I need to start working with Brands because 70% of his earnings was there. So we started looking at it or the slides.

Greg:

You got the excellent web Summit AV team to pull up these slides for Dan that be awesome. so he’s gonna show all these numbers.

[00:10:32]

Dan:

Yeah, maybe we don’t have the slides anyway, so we started working with Brands and trying to find a way in. At the beginning, it was really bad. We basically we’re making a commercial for a brand like we got a Rubik’s Cube that somebody paid us $250. Okay, I’ll skip to this with so this can you go back one slide?  And then we learned that oh my gosh, we don’t need to make commercials. We need to say things, we need to do the videos in a way that’s authentic to our audience and ways that they’ll connect with. And so since then we’ve stepped it up a little bit. We’ve been able to work with some really cool brands. But I wanted to do my own kind of background check to see like how powerful does our channel; how powerful is it? So we did a couple of videos that were not sponsored but we use Navid’s Amazon affiliate code in the bottom and we just said in the video like hey, if you’re interested in this product, you can go to our Amazon affiliate code. And so these are two different videos we did. And the Fidgets Cube Yeti Mug, and these are the 90 days revenue of how many things were sold. So, With the Fidget Cube, we sold a $160,000 of fidget cubes, which those were around $2.50 per item and then we got about 8% of the affiliate code off of that. So it was interesting for me to see like how many people actually went and bought the thing that we talked about and the clicked on our link.

Greg:

And your son gets to spend all that money in college?

 

Dan:

He spent it all on ice cream and candy that’s pretty much what he likes.

[00:12:03]

Navid:

Yeah, having that data is, I mean make like these numbers are great. And I think you know, the money is just one part of it because having that data like knowing exactly what your followers are purchasing like what you’re shopping influence really is and what they’re really like, I think can really help you curate your content right like creating an even better content experience for our followers. And honestly, like you can also use this data when you’re when you’re negotiating with Brands for deals because this is the best data. These are this is not number of subscribers or followers of use. This is actually you know, how many purchases you’re driving and I think this is yeah. This is this is really empowering for influencers.

Dan:

The last thing I’ll say on it. The last thing I’ll say on is like the Yeti Mug, it didn’t have as much I had $36,000 in sold, but it reached a different crowd like all the sudden we’d be in the airport and instead of 6 to 14 year old boys coming up and taking pictures with us. It was these dudes wearing car hearts that are like hard-working blue-collar guys in America and they’re like shaking my hand with this really firm grip. Like I saw your Yeti Mug video and it was awesome. I went and bought one at Cabela’s. And so these are just people that actually clicked on our links. It doesn’t even talk about like to the overflow in the brand awareness.

[00:13:16]

Greg:

Now Jenna I know you take a very different approach to making money, you stop bartending. How are you making money now?

Jenna:

I will, like you said I differ from you as from the next creator and that all of our revenue is different. So my lion share of revenue comes from Google AdSense, whereas someone else that might be their merch or affiliate links or something else. I don’t do a lot of branded content because where I think you’re brilliant and your channel is amazing and that you can just cut something open and somebody wants to buy it, you know, maybe the cut it open or maybe to use. Whereas me I earn a living on being myself. So every time I suggest something to someone it really, I have to make sure I’m not breaching that level of trust with them. And I do I really appreciate what you just did which is having full transparency that this is in fact an affiliate link because sometimes people don’t and then that’s when your audience feels like that’s my stuff in here making money every time somebody clicks and you didn’t tell me? So I think it’s really cool when people do it when their content lands itself to it and when there’s transparency there because people like to support you. They want to know how they can so that’s a really cool way I think to do it

[00:14:34]

Navid:

Actually I think that you know, promoting authenticity is important to us and to our program and I think that what the program allows you to do, you know what Dan just showcases that you don’t have to have an affiliation with a brand to be able to promote a product and monetize it right. You can actually showcase your favorite, irrelevant whether you have any type of partnership with the brand or not, so while I think I totally agree with you, you should let your followers know that you know, you’re monetizing a link but like this empowers you actually do to do this for any product. Basically that’s in the Amazon catalog specifically for our program.

Greg:

So we’re down to our last two minutes. We promise we’ll stop talking about money and let’s just talk about all the people out there who are like getting started as creators are not even thinking about making money yet. It’s your 30 seconds of advice to them to like just getting going with start with you Dan.

[00:15:21]

Dan:

I would say, my advice is don’t go and share your content with all of your family and friends with a Facebook page. The internet is a big enough focus group for you. Make content that you like. We had 80 videos on our channel that are hidden now that don’t exist anymore because finally we found like, oh my gosh, we’re going to be the what’s inside guys who would have thought like this is it. But see what the internet likes and what the world likes and you can get real comments and change based off of that. And also, of course be something that’s authentic and true to who you are that you enjoy doing. And if people feel your authenticity, it’s something that you like to do then, success will follow and then last thing learn the algorithm like crazy like do your research. It’s so easy. All the inner information is out there on the internet just search YouTube SEO and Instagram SEO and yeah.

 

Greg:

But what is SEO for anyone? Who doesn’t know?

Dan:

Search Engine Optimization. So yeah, like what can I do to have my stuff seen out there? No point in making content if it’s not going to be able to be seen by anybody because you didn’t because you don’t put the right tags or description or those things.

[00:16:22]

Greg:

Jenna?

Jenna:

I’d say just get started. I think for a lot of people when they’re just starting out there like yeah if I have some time this weekend, I might sit down and do it. Like no, just do it. There’s never a good time to start and you’re always going to want it to be perfect and better but put yourself on a little mini schedule and just go like start with your phone. You don’t need any equipment other than something to record yourself and a Wi-Fi access. So just do it. There’s only one you in the whole world go be that person. It’s really liberating and fun.

Greg:

And the video work with a lot of influencers, but what’s your advice?

Navid:

I’ll try to keep it brief? I think that you know, keep it authentic. Try to see what works. I see a Content presents just as like a product just as a tech product. So, you know iterate see what works see where you’re able to create engagement, even if it’s on a small scale and then try to scale that. But I think it’s you know, it’s getting more and more competitive. So I think you know creating something unique just like just like these guys did is kind of the key.

Greg:

Okay. Well, I want to go make a video, we’re out of time. So thank you so much for our panel. Please join me in thanking them.

[00:17:34]

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