Transcipt: Exploring the Intersection of AI and Content Creation with Craig Hewitt – DS499

Doug: Depending on how, like what the conversation is, I think I could probably put it on my feed too, if it’s okay with you, but if not, okay. I think it’ll be

Craig: Yep. Yeah, all good. All good. To that end, what I usually do is we’ll just jump into some questions and, and start chatting. And then I record a quick kind of episode intro introducing you and recapping. I don’t know what the term is. Uh, what, what we talked about. So you can just use the, you can do the same if you’d like,

Doug: Perfect.

Craig: Doug, I think this is the second time ever we’ve talked, but like a lot of folks, like I have known of you and we’ve kind of run in the same circles for, for like a long time. So I’m glad to finally have you on the show.

Doug: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. And like you said, we’ve run in some of the same circle. So I’ve seen you around for, I think like a decade now we’re, we’re much younger back then,

Craig: Makes me feel old.

Doug: one of my listeners sent me an email and was like, Hey, I think, you know, Craig, super interesting episode. You should have a listen.

And that, that triggered me to shoot you an email. And I was like, yeah, we got to catch up.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I think, I think it was episode 300 talked about you know, the team had a really like really great kind of click baity title to is like the death of Google or Google Google’s killing blogging or something amazing like that. I had a lot of feedback from that episode and yeah, I think I was kind of talking about like how AI is changing content and content marketing.

And maybe, maybe folks who don’t know you kind of give your perspective on like how you’re coming at this like approach of, of content marketing and, and like what your background is so that folks kind of know what lens to put your perspective in.

Doug: Right now I’m running really like a media company. So I have a couple of podcasts and YouTube channels. It did all start with a blog back in 2013 through affiliate marketing and. Right, right away. I decided I was going to have my own digital products as well. So I was building an email list in parallel and slowly layered things on.

So affiliate marketing, then I added online courses, then a podcast, then the YouTube channel. And I really liked that, that me, those two mediums really. And I kind of couple the two together, YouTube and a podcast though. They could diverge at certain times, especially on the YouTube side, but that is kind of what I’m spending my time on.

And yeah, to your point, the AI shakeup in the last 18 months or so really happened much faster than I was expecting. I knew things would change, but it was so much faster than I expected. And. You could probably gather from how I’ve layered things on, continue to like, learn more and challenge myself. I’m okay with the change and I’ve positioned myself so that I don’t have to react too quickly.

And I have a lot of different mediums that I could lean on, a lot of different skill sets. So I’m not, I’m not panicking too much, but there’s certainly a shift in the industry. Now, what about you, Craig,

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. So I, I think what, what will be really cool is we can talk about the current state of content. Cause I think we should just put all this under the umbrella of content or inbound, right. Inbound interest. Um, yeah. So I’m the founder of Castos. We’re a podcast hosting and analytics platform. We’re going to have like six and a half years, do like millions in revenue, have done an enormous amount of content marketing and SEO in the last six and a half years and at podcast motor before that.

And I was, I was chatting with our marketing guy earlier today. I was like, I kind of like, that’s just my like hammer, right? I see a nail, which is growth. And my hammer is content. And, and I think that’s. This is a bit of a tangent, but I think that’s a lot of people. I think it’s a lot more people than most of us give credit to.

I won’t say who, but I heard one of the tiny seed mentors who is a very well known SAS founder say, I don’t know what I would do if I had to start a SAS company and grow it today, because the thing I did doesn’t work anymore. Probably. And that is somebody that we all look up to. And for them to say, I don’t know what I would do. this is a huge thing. It gives me a lot of, uh, hesitation to go do something else or to really pivot. Right. I probably would stick with Castos as a business. It’s a great business. I’m not going anywhere, but like. A lot of us get shiny object syndrome and I’m going to go over here and do this. I’m going to do this.

I’m going to start this new thing, starting a new thing right now, I think has a lot more risk than it did five years ago, and I think what it, what it gets to is the barrier to a competitive content marketing strategy is almost zero. I think, I think the I think the thing is what is the value of a content marketing strategy that’s only written these days, maybe that’s actually like the minutiae.

Doug: to flip it upside down, because he wouldn’t know he or she would know what, what to do. And you’re hesitant to switch to something else. Cause we’re using our content marketing hammer on everything on all the screws laying around us. I think it means that. There’s a great opportunity for people that don’t have a skill set that are starting.

I mean, it’s kind of leveling the playing field because the barrier to entry is much lower and the skills that we have, certainly like those can. Definitely help us out and we have years of experience and we’ve learned from our mistakes and others and all that. So that’s helpful, but I think it means that someone can come out of nowhere and disrupt any given space because they’re coming at it without all the baggage that we have,

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Do you, by that, do you mean like, they, they could come with a lot of the same playbook that we might come with, but just execute it better. Like they do the content marketing and bound engine, lead magnets, nurture, blah, blah, blah, blah, and just like do it better or faster or whatever with, than us because of AI.

Doug: I think they would do something different. That we, we wouldn’t think of to use AI for, or, or something else, right? I don’t know what it, like, if we knew what it was, we would do it, but I think it means there’s some opportunity because when we were starting and certain strategies, like worked for a little while until marketers ruined it and like overused it, then like, it just becomes the, the least common denominator.

Like everyone’s doing it. However. Some new folks may come in and just say, why are they doing it like that? That is a really silly way to approach something. And in a lot of it’s just like a legacy or they’ll read a blog post that has been rewritten and regurgitated so many times, or they’ll listen to a podcast and it’s just the same strategy over and over again, when really something that contrasts that may work much better.

Craig: Yeah. No, that’s, that’s very fair. Yeah. I mean, Tik Tok is the most recent thing to be there, right? It’s, it’s a different channel, maybe not a new, a new approach, but, but yeah, it was quite disruptive, right? A couple of years ago, Tik Tok, like quite became quite, quite popular and several really, really large brands, even in the SAS space where we’re probably grown out of that.

So, yeah, I get it. I think what would be fun, what, what I very selfishly, what I want to do is I want to play, what would you do with your content marketing within AI revolution with kind of my two. Uh, places where I publish content and maybe you have a couple and you can chat through those and share kind of however much you want, but, but for me, one is the Castos blog, right?

We have a ton of podcasting content there. The other is my website craighewitt. me where I post content about, you know, SaaS and growth and stuff like that. And then maybe you could share about like how y’all are thinking about using content. AI generated content, because I mean, I see what is it?

Jake Ward, right? The, the, the, the traffic heist guy on Twitter, right? He’d like, we stole all this, you know what I mean? You see all this stuff and you’re like, fuck, I am, I am missing the boat if I’m not publishing a thousand new articles a month. And then I go, eh, there’s, there’s some risk to that for sure.

So like that, that’s what I want to, that’s what I am trying to balance with, with like our AI content strategies. Like. What’s the opportunity? What’s the risk? And like, how does that balance for like a positive payoff? Maybe we could kind of chat through how we’re looking at this with some of our properties.

Doug: Love it. And that, that sounds perfect. And I think, so my, my framing will be, I’m in flux right now. So like I said, I spent some time with. Online courses really in the affiliate marketing space, but because that has been disrupted so much with AI and Google updates, the interest level in that space is lower.

And then I decided to sunset my courses in that area because I didn’t want to do updates where I didn’t know if they were going to work for like two weeks or two months or two years and everyone’s just kind of guessing. So I. I was like, it’s time to just kind of retire those down. So I think that’ll be a perfect way to approach it.

Cause we have like really different things that we’re trying to promote and do.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Cool. So, so I’ll go first just with the Castos blog. Cause it’s kind of the thing most people know. So we have about a hundred thousand uniques a month. So the Castos website that’s. Gosh, I could look it up hundreds of blog posts. They go back years and it directly drives you know, 30 to 50 percent of our trials a month.

I think a lot of, and this is the interesting, I think there’s a lot of like this network effect and of every, of everything on a website and, and there’s a lot of trials that start. Indirectly because of our content. So, so that’s kind of where we are. We have definitely created AI generated content.

It definitely ranks like our top rank, our top, top traffic article right now is mostly AI generated. It is super top of funnel, not really high buyer intent, but, but it gets us a lot of eyeballs and links. Right now, so we did a big content push in. October or November, we published about 30 articles which for us, it was like all the shit we already had that that was, that was pretty big.

We have taken most of all of January, a little bit of December and probably most of February to write very little and just kind of see how all this shakes out a little but probably we’re going to go back on the bandwagon and start publishing more. And we’ll have a mostly AI first content strategy.

Doug: I love it

Craig: that’s kind of where we are

Doug: Okay. I was chatting, I was doing an interview yesterday and the, the lady has just been trying. To publish AI content in various levels of like editing, I think you guys are probably editing up quite a lot, making sure it lines up with what your messaging is. She is getting great traction, publishing like thousands of articles per month and not editing at all.

Just like pure volume. And she, I mean, she’s testing. Right. But I think she’s making, you know, uh, Several thousand, I don’t want to out the person too much, but like several thousand per month on that one thing. And it’s just shocking. She’s like, ah, this shouldn’t be working while other sites were hit. So it’s cool that you guys are getting traction, especially, I mean, you’re putting the time in.

You’re potentially like feeding inputs. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Craig: Like how we’re generating the content. Yeah. So, I’ve not been doing it. Dennis, our writer has been doing it and he would be able to tell you more. I believe he’s just using chat GPT creating an outline and then having it feed each kind of section at a time. We do input other articles he wrote as reference.

Style, length, tone, things like that. And I think it largely that’s what, if you go sign up for copy AI or any of these, like, you know, content at scale, that that’s what they do is like they, that you templatize it by giving it these inputs. And then you can, at that point, just put in a keyword and it spits out an article.

But yeah, we’re, we’re priming the pump pretty heavily there.

Doug: Okay. Do you know what your competitors are doing as far as AI, like when you go check out their content?

Craig: No,

Doug: Okay.

Craig: I should based on based on your grin. I should. So that’s a good question. How do I know? So I go to, I go to a website. Is it just volume of blog posts published? Is it, I mean, all the, to me, all the AI detection things just always say it’s AI, even, even when it’s not. So I don’t, I don’t put a ton of weight on those.

Doug: Right. Yeah. Well, and I don’t know, I mean, I, when I talk about what I’m, I’m doing, like, I haven’t thought about it too much, but I’m just curious. I imagine if you’re testing it out and everyone’s talking about it, then everyone’s trying it, you know, everyone’s giving it a shot.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah.

Doug: All right.

Craig: How about you for, for kind of some of your properties? Like, what are you, what’s your current Mindset.

Doug: So a little, a couple of years ago, I started exiting some of my affiliate sites. So I just have one that I was kind of working on a little bit in about halfway through 2023. I was, you know, working to improve the existing content and doing the normal housekeeping that one might do for their content. The results were just not coming through.

There was no ROI. I’d given it a shot for like six months or so. And I don’t think there’s a lot of longevity for the amount of effort that I was putting in for the content. If I were to take an AI approach. That’s a long way to say I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to invest a lot in publishing a lot of articles.

I just, I don’t think it’s going to, it wasn’t going to help my website as far as like, What I wanted it to be. So maybe I did a worse thing by just neglecting it. So I, I haven’t been doing much with it and it’s slowly just like declining, like you would expect. And that said, I haven’t been publishing a lot of written content with the intent of like ranking it on Google using AI.

I’m just now starting to test this in the, you know, Q1 of 2024, but I’m basing it on. My own content on YouTube podcast. So instead of having an article written based on, you know, what’s online already and derivative of something else, it’s my own thoughts. It’s my own monologue typically, and I’m taking that and I’m having my VA.

So you can get a blog post directly from that, but maybe not the best quality. So we’re just now testing that just, just to see what might happen. The good thing is I have like a catalog of like hundreds of episodes. So if I wanted to, I actually, I could scale that. And from my perspective, at least it’s, it’s AI written with my own words.

So it’s probably going to be. Okay. Well, it’ll probably be nonsense if it’s written with the thoughts coming out of my head, but at least

Craig: It’s unique. Yeah.

Doug: it’s coming from a human and It should have like my tone and everything like baked in because of that. And the other way that I’m using it. So Craig, I use Castos for both my podcast and love the format.

Like I said, I kind of treat that and like long form YouTube videos hand in hand. And I’m using the AI tools to do research and come up with better questions. For example, I’ll send out a prep. Sheet for someone I’m interviewing has a little bio, maybe like three bullet points they want to talk about. I can add another two or three bullet points and say, chat GPT.

I’m interviewing this person. Here’s some information. Give me an outline, give me the questions and it’s 90%. And if I get hung up, I can refer to the outline. It’s a great tool for that.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think that I, I think it does its best at synthesizing information and, and reorganizing it. I agree. It’s not, it’s not like a, it’s not a bad writer. Coincidentally, the, the best tool I found that’s just really easy is by word. B Y by word. io it’s like you just put in a keyword and it spits out a pretty good article and then I go edit it.

That’s what I’m doing on my personal site is I’m publishing like an article a week and I just put in Sass rule of 40. That’s the one I just published, right? Sass rule of 40. It gives a great blog post about what Sass rule of 40 is. I go through and add my own tone and spiel and stuff like that. I’ll just finish that tangent. Not a lot of risk, right? My personal site doesn’t have a DR of 81. It’s not paying my mortgage. It’s just like, I’m trying to build up a little bit of, of kind of credibility on the written side of my, of my website. But to your point, I love using AI as a YouTube strategy.

What I’ve been doing there. I just fucking, I find YouTube so hard, which I think is part of the. Part of the allure and part of the opportunity is I kind of do the skyscraper approach on YouTube is I’ll go look up. Uh, I did one on social selling, right? So social selling is like using LinkedIn to network with people and then pitch them and stuff like that.

And so I went and I got like three YouTube videos. I really like, I got the transcripts, put them in a chat GPT. I said, here’s, you know, one, here’s two, here’s three now. Combine them all together, give me the best ones, and then give me an outline, minute by minute, of what’s talked about. And then I just watch those videos, and that’s 15 minutes or whatever, and then I look at the outline and I shoot the video.

And so it’s like, total 30 minutes to prep for a YouTube video.

Doug: Yeah.

Craig: It’s pretty sweet.

Doug: It’s ridiculous. And the, the other thing, do you use the Descript?

Craig: Uh, no.

Doug: They, they have this great feature that makes I, it moves your eyes, so it allows you to read your script and then it’ll use AI to just like center your eyes. It’s not perfect. It like, it looks, I think it makes my eyes like a little too white and maybe my eye eyelashes like a little too long or something.

I look kind of, I look kind of pretty, you know. But. But it works. And the thing is like most people watch on their phone, right? They’re not, they’re not watching too closely. It could shift the TV more in the future. But if you want to just remove all the barriers and reduce editing, you could just read your doc and then recenter your eyes.

You’re good to go.

Craig: Yeah, super interesting. I have on order, uh, the teleprompter from Elgato and it’s supposed to arrive on Monday. So yeah, and then like I’m talking into my DSLR, the teleprompter will sit right in front of it. And so if we have this episode next week, Doug, you’ll be, I’ll be looking at you the whole time, which I think is super creepy,

Doug: Yeah. Yeah.

Craig: but yeah, no, I mean, I think that’s the, that’s the key.

Like I had on. Two episodes ago on the show George Blackman, who’s like script writer for Ali Abdul and all these, all these big guys. Right. And, and that’s where, that’s where I kind of got like, man, I need to up my game in terms of like. Actually scripting out these videos because just having an outline and trying to wing it, like, you just say the wrong words so often.

But, but I find, like, writing a script takes a long time, but, but I, I haven’t really, like, done the math on, like, how does it change the edit time? Like, maybe I could use Descript. If I have, if I have a script and I shoot it pretty well the first time, I could use a pretty simple editing tool. Yeah.

Doug: I think I, in the past, I haven’t scripted too much. I think it helps a lot because we do tend to. Ramble, find the wrong word, we’re redundant. That’s the worst thing where our videos are just shorter and they’re tighter. And that’s a huge part of YouTube, which let’s talk about that more. So you are putting more time in YouTube.

And I think you mentioned the episode 300. Is that what it was that you wanted to publish how many videos on YouTube this year?

Craig: 200. Yeah.

Doug: Where are we at right now?

Craig: Oh man. I’m glad you asked. I’m glad you keep me honest. Uh, we’re at about eight so far,

Doug: Okay.

Craig: a couple on my channel, this, this one, the Rogue Startups as a channel, and I have the second one for the Castos channel ready to publish for an integration we’re launching. So I’m definitely behind. Yeah.

Doug: That’s all right. That’s okay. You got plenty of time though.

Craig: I appreciate you keeping me honest though.

Yeah.

Doug: So

Craig: How about you? What is, what is your cadence look like?

Doug: I typically I’m doing one live stream per week in one. Sort of long form podcast episode. I don’t have a specific schedule. I tend to publish just whenever I want. And this is one thing where, I mean, I’ve, I’ve spent a lot of time on YouTube.

So I think I have around 2000 videos and I realized at some point in time, if I didn’t want to burn out that I needed to make sure that I did it on my own terms and not for the algorithm and a handful of other things. And part of that is. I like doing long form videos versus like shorter ones. So essentially I have two coming out per week and I actually do like scripting, like we talked about doing a short video.

And it’s something where I’ve said for probably two years, Hey, I know what I need to do, but I just don’t want to do it like a stubborn toddler. And now I’m thinking, Hey. Maybe let’s, let’s check it out. Let’s put my money where the mouth is and see if I actually can do some shorter, tighter videos that get more views that perform like, you know, I think they should, which is always dangerous because then you have expectations and you get in your head and it could lean to burnout.

But the bottom line is, you know, me publishing videos doesn’t directly hit my bottom line or any other metric that I care about. So I could just publish when I want, which. Helps you not burn out.

Craig: Yeah. Let, let’s like take a step up in terms of like strategy, right? Cause we’ve talked about like the nuts and bolts of AI and all that kind of stuff. But I think the, the, the thing that really drives this from, it sounds like from your perspective and mine too, is like if written content is more commoditized potentially people even using Google less than we got to find another place to publish effective content.

Is that, is that kind of the, the beginning of all this is like. I’m not putting my eggs in the blogging basket anymore. I’m putting them in the YouTube and the podcasting basket,

Doug: Yes. I think that covers that covers most of it. And the other thing, you know, for my psychology and the other pieces of the puzzle. So number one, am pivoting, right? So like I said, I’m moving away from some of my older courses and. I’m really unsure, like where I want to land. I love podcasting. So it was putting together like a podcasting bootcamp.

Cause I was like, this is what I’m talking about. People are asking me like every week about like how to do their show or some piece, and it’s not scalable for me to help people one at a time. So. That, that was the thought and everything previously was like leading back to the email list. So I just want to mention that like everything, the blog podcast, YouTube, it always led back to the email list where I can market other stuff, my own things, whatever I own that.

And super important. The other part is after a few years and I’m, I’m part of the like financial independence community. So, I’ve saved up pretty well and it takes the pressure off. So I don’t need to earn as much as I did. We’re getting older, Craig, for people that are just listening. I I’m bald, you know, so, you know, getting much older and I don’t have as much energy.

I want to go to bed early. I don’t want to like get up at six in the morning and then work late at night. So my priorities have shifted and luckily I put myself in a position where I have. A little breathing room and that’s really, really important. So what was the original question? I completely forgot.

Craig: No, I, I think you, you answered it. Yeah. I mean, the original question was like, is I’ll say multimedia content, right? The YouTube and podcasting kind of replacing the emphasis you put on blogging. I think yes. And for those reasons that you mentioned.

Doug: Yeah. So, so in the long run, I know that having a platform, which is more independent. So, you know, we’re, we’re on, we’re talking to YouTube, we’re on there and you are dependent on YouTube, but it is a little bit more open than some of the others, an email list. We own that podcasting. We own that. So as much as possible, I am sticking to those three main areas because it’s where I spent most of my time.

I think that’s what I’m good at. And with the email list, you really. You have a lot of flexibility on what you publish and what you promote. And I know that I don’t have to figure it out right now. I know I have a platform where I could pull people in and some people will come along. Some people won’t be interested in the pivot, but that’s okay too.

Craig: Let’s talk about getting older. I’m 42. I’ve been doing this, like you said, about a decade. I had a conversation with another founder who has already exited recently. And it was pretty enlightening because they were saying like, I just can’t, I just can’t do it anymore. I just can’t grind. I can’t, I can’t like go hard on these things.

Like, like I used to, and I thought about that. I was like, yeah, me too. Like, I just can’t, like I have, I’ve had a Chrome tab open for. Weeks of like, I want to audit our entire like inbound thing. Right. And it’s just sitting there and I’m like, this is an elephant, right? Like, how do I, how do I eat this elephant?

And I just can’t do it. So we’re just going to leave it like kind of half shitty for a while, I guess. But I, I. I look at being 42 and having done this for 10 years and saying, like, what is the play from here? Because I don’t want to start from scratch. I like, generally, like, I like my business a lot. But what’s the next evolution of me or Doug of you?

Cause you’re only, I mean, you’re my age, probably maybe a little younger. Like what is the next 20 years look like for us as we’re working? If we admit, like, we’re just not gonna do these things we did before, but we’re also not quitting the, and I don’t want to do the same thing. Right. That was, I put this on a Twitter.

Like my biggest regret from last year is I basically did the same thing as a year before. And that sucks. And so like this year, I’m definitely not doing that. I’m not starting over and I’m not retiring. So like what’s different in that middle lane, I guess, as a, my daughter put the other day, she said, you’re not old, but you’re not young.

Doug: Yeah. It’s a great question. We’ll spend the next 25 years trying to answer it, I think. But for me, I’ve been thinking about it a lot because Several of my friends, they actually retired early in their thirties or so. And, you know, one thing, and I think. You know, Craig, you and I identified this probably not all their problems were solved because they retired.

They realized they needed to, you know, work on themselves or they had, you know, something from childhood or whatever, everybody has their baggage. But like, just because they got out of their job and retired, they weren’t like magically happy and everything was solved. They still had to figure things out.

So along the way, I think I’ve been trying to do that. And maybe some of that came out with like me not trying to burn out on YouTube. And some other pieces because in, in our circles, it’s really easy to hear about our friends that are, you know, they’re growing faster. They figured something out or like, whatever we’re comparing ourselves to someone else.

It’s really hard to, to get out of that, but somehow I’ve like, okay, I don’t want to grow any bigger. I want to have a small team because that, that fits what I’m trying to do. So for me, I, I’m not a hundred percent sure, but luckily I have a couple pieces of things that I’ve worked on. I think it’s similar to your, you know, your personal blog, Craig, where you’re going to be able to like, look. I’m just making it up, but let’s say some, you get a great offer for castos and you have the opportunity to, to exit, like, you’ll be able to blog, like people will follow you there and you could turn that into whatever you want. And I think that’s perfect. Cause you can continue to podcast. You can speak right.

If you, if you want to travel a little bit, you could speak at conferences. You can do YouTube, you could do vlogs. Right. I, one. Project in my head, maybe in a few years, I’ll do this, you know, that show with Guy Fieri diners, drive ins and dives.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah.

Doug: I love all that crappy food. I could watch that show like all day long. I’d love to, you know, put together a 10. Show series, get a couple sponsors or just pay for it myself and just go on a road trip with a buddy and we check out some restaurants. Like that sounds like a blast and potentially there’s enough people in my audience where they would like, maybe check it out. So I think like we can make up our own pet projects with the skills that we’ve built and produce something, be creative and get something out of it and like help other people out too, right?

Sponsors. Could hop on or chamber of commerce for a specific city. They’d be like, Oh, that’s great. You’re going to feature like all these restaurants on our main street. Like I could probably get some connections and help out the city. So, so I think I’ll figure it out. What do you think of that?

Craig: Yeah. No, I was, I was kind of processing as you were talking there and, and if I had to, to, to summarize back, what I heard is in a respect you and I both have like our essential needs taken care of. And so we have the ability to really kind of create lifestyle businesses again, which is probably how we both started that that serve our current kind of needs, right?

Which is like travel and time and freedom and like. Fucking saving for college at this point because I haven’t done any of it, but like Yeah, no, I I totally agree. I mean that that’s really that’s where I and I talked with with mark in the last episode about this is like, yeah I mean castos is a great business and and I have no I have no vision of selling it, right?

But like nothing is forever. So at some point i’ll do something else and yeah I think that I think that right now I am taking some of my time to prepare myself and put myself in that position to To be ready for what’s next. Cause like, I think that’s just smart. I think there’s, I think in my episode 300, I talked about like the longer you’re a founder, you’re giving up a lot that you would be at the same caliber of person in a day job.

Right. And that’s like compensation and 401k matching and insurance and stress and all this kind of stuff. And so like, we both should like be paying ourselves more and just have more opportunity as the longer we’re a founder. And if you’re not, then you’re actually going backwards relative to being an employee, I think, because you’re fucking, you know, go be middle manager, right, at some company and then that like that, that can be like a pretty good job.

So, like, I guess I’m. And you are to write engineering that in, in different ways. And I think that’s real for people are relative age. Like that’s kind of the play is like, unless you’ve sold for 20 million and everything is good, you gotta, you gotta build that cushion in money and stress and lifestyle kind of some way.

Doug: For sure.

Craig: okay. So I just want to jump back and be kind of really, really practical about YouTube real quick. I’ll just share what I’ve been doing both for the Castos channel and for my personal channel, short videos. Like I know eight minutes is what you can put a mid roll in. So they’re all like 10 to 12 minutes.

All just like talking head, me talking about sales and marketing and being a founder and stuff like that. Castos channel, it’s about half that. What I call like success, like how to do a good podcast intro. What is an episode zero stuff like that? And then half like product stuff, right? Like we have new integration coming out.

So it was just me screen sharing like an integration. What, what kind of like formats are you, are you publishing right now? And like, what are you, what are you into?

Doug: So I want to follow up before I answer that. So for your videos that you’re doing, like the, you know, eight minutes or so, your, or is your goal to earn money from the ad revenue? Is that important to you?

Craig: No.

Doug: So yeah, and I, I have monetization off on most of my videos just as I’ve done that for a few years, just because I didn’t want other competitors basically advertising on my channel.

I wanted to sell my own right. So, and there’s like nonsense ads, right? So I didn’t want those playing most of the time right now. And for a couple of years, I’ve been essentially publishing my long form interviews, which are anywhere from like 45 minutes to an hour and a half, which typically don’t perform that well on YouTube handful of people check it out.

But a lot of people don’t want that long of a video. I mean, even me personally, that’s pretty long to like, sit down for me. That’s a, you know, I’ll listen to it as a podcast, as it’s intended that said it did. Help me just keep producing content on YouTube for several years without like burning out. And knowing that I was sacrificing views and, you know, shareability and like anything that could help.

Someone watched that, like it, it wasn’t happening. So I’m aiming, yeah, for probably like four to eight minutes or so for some of these shorter form videos. And typically I am trying to take what I would have in a like a grab bag, random episode for a podcast where I have like four disconnected dots where I would string them together.

I’m just taking like one of those and scripting it out. I am probably using. Some AI tool to help me tighten it up. And I’m just publishing that I’ve done a handful of those, but I have several ideas and those will perform better. People complimented me on like the straight to the point videos instead of my normal rambling style.

And because of AI, because I could just read it and not set up the teleprompter and all the other stuff,

Craig: Yeah. Yeah.

Doug: it. Remove some of the barriers. So I think I’ll be able to actually do that a little bit more and potentially, you know, feed the algorithm what it wants. And essentially that’s what the audience wants to.

So I’m trying to, you know, do what I need to do. And the key thing, the key thing is to make sure I. Have a lead magnet or some something more for at least a handful of the videos So I can fulfill like that portion of it because I you know growing the channel is kind of a vanity metric which Let’s come back to that in a second.

I’ve grown my channel, like a huge amount in the last like couple, maybe two months or so. But, but basically I’ll be doing this shorter form. Occasionally I do like a roundup style and like, Hey, the verge wrote this article about SEO. I actually interviewed that journalist. I think you probably saw that article out there.

Craig: hmm. Mm hmm.

Doug: And then I got a reaction from SEO. So I emailed some buddies and said, Hey, send me like two minutes. And those, those did really well. Cause it was kind of a hot topic. And then of course, everybody wants their opinion out there. So, you know, I mean, it’s the same idea as, as like old blog posts, right?

Just a roundup.

Craig: Yeah. No, I love that. I love that. Just to clarify your workflow. So you’re, you’re, you’re using AI to generate the script that you’re reading or are you writing the script out and then reading and delivering that?

Doug: It’s probably, so I haven’t set on the process. I don’t have an issue with AI. You know, writing the first draft and kind of like you mentioned for your blog post, you’ll go in and put it in your own words. And I, I usually don’t use any sophisticated vocabulary. So I’ll, I’ll pull out anything that doesn’t sound like me.

Craig: That’s the worst. Yeah.

Doug: So short, small syllables, right? Like just really simple.

Craig: Lots of cursing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Doug: Yeah. So that’s what I’m aiming for it. What, what else, as far as content for, for years or formats or different styles?

Craig: Yeah, I mean, that that’s really been it like for my personal channel. It’s just been talking head stuff. Like, uh, well, no, what I did is I I used I used some prompts to create like the three pillars that, that I want to be talking about. It kind of gave it like ideal listener persona and used to do some prompts to spit out like the three content pillars.

And then I said, okay, based on that. Give me, I think, 50 topic opportunities in each pillar based on that same ideal listener persona. And, and so I have a notion, I have a hundred something potential topics. And so when I want to talk about something, I go there, I pull one out. And I pop it in chat, GBT, and it gives me something to talk about.

So that’s the, and then follow largely the same thing as either a research and I skyscraper together the transcripts, or I just put it in there and say, suggest a, an outline and I kind of riff. But I think, you know what, I think the thing is. And again, it’s the opportunity is all of that is multiple times harder than writing a blog post, right?

Because you’re doing all of that, which is essentially the blog post, and then you’re recording it, and you have to have a nice camera and lights and, you know, fancy back light in the background, and then you have to have someone to edit it. And then you have to write, you know, the description, which is a little different.

And then you have to have the lead magnet, and you have to have the thumbnail and like all this shit. Like, it’s just, it’s 10 times the work of a blog post, I think

Doug: Right.

Craig: at least. Yeah

Doug: Well then I was going to ask you, then do you take, because you’ve done the work to do a blog post, basically, do you then publish the blog post and then link the two and okay.

Craig: that’s all on the same page.

Doug: Yeah. Yeah. And I know what you mean. Cause it. It’s like, Oh, you just flip on the camera, do what we talked about, but then you start layering things on there and it becomes so much more, so much more.

Craig: Yeah. I mean, we’re a media company too, right? I just hand it over to somebody and they do all that for me, but then that’s like, you know, that’s that’s you know Hundreds of dollars. So it’s not trivial. Yeah,

Doug: So a couple of things I want to circle back to that. I mentioned one was a YouTube growth and then I’m, I’m actually, I don’t think I told you this correct, but I’m, I’m launching a new podcast, which I’ll. I’ll explain in a minute, but I’m doing something a little bit different, which I’m right in the middle of the sort of beginning phase.

So it’s the stage where I’m like, did I make a big mistake by taking out a bunch more work, that sort of thing, but, but it should be fun. So

Craig: Yeah. Tell me about the YouTube growth Like where did you start? Where’d you go to? What do you attribute it to?

Doug: it was 39, 000 subscribers saying like. Mid November I’m at 95, 000 right now, by the time this goes live, it should be over a hundred and well, it sounds amazing, but it’s purely a vanity metric. In my opinion, I’ve been running ads on the promotion tab, which is under the content section and. A lot of the new subscribers and I’m not spending too much.

I can’t remember. I’ll eventually I’ll go and tally everything up, but it’s less than I was spending on like AdWords. It wasn’t really converting anything for, you know, a few months. Anyway, a lot of them are from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and. They are like, it’s like a thousand or 1, 500 new subscribers per day or something like that.

So, like I said, it’s purely a vanity metric and extra and I’m, I’m telling people, right? So like, if you see a channel that like blows up. We’re like, where are they from? Like what, what’s happening here, but it’s working right now. And there is some threshold where like some people are like, wow, this is a really big channel.

So I’m like playing along while it’s working and it doesn’t cost too much money. And I’ll get one of the silver plaques pretty soon, hopefully. And hopefully. You know me talking about it is not going to ruin the whole thing, but but basically that’s it It’s just some ads and I think it happens to be because a lot of the videos are viewed in those countries or something like that, so

Craig: Hmm. And so the, the thing you’re promoting is a video and it’s a video about a topic that’s kind of general enough to where a large group of people would be

Doug: It’s pretty it’s pretty specific Actually, i’m even doing like my live streams and those are really long and rambly and I chat with a Um, people in the chat there and those are getting a bunch of views. So if people want to go look at my channel and like, you could see the videos that I’m not running ads on.

Cause they just have like a few hundred views and yeah, it’s, it’s just a weird thing and like I said,

Craig: That’s cool.

Doug: was like, it’s working for now. I know the promotion tab was in beta for a bit. Have you played with that at all running ads on YouTube?

Craig: Not the, I, no, I’ll just say no. Yeah.

Doug: You can select the geographies or countries that you want to target. So the one thing I have tested is US, Canada, UK, and Australia, which typically, you know, there’s the big four and it’s whatever, 10 or 20 times more expensive per subscriber review. It’s just dramatically different. So, I mean, I see what’s happening and I think it’s worth it.

You know, if people are like, Hey, I want to boost my subscribers because it matters to you for some reason, I’m not here to judge anyone for that. And you could check it out. So it would be worth to worth it to test it

Craig: Yeah, I probably would. I probably would throw some, something at it. I think, you know, one of the things we ran a big kind of YouTube series on the podcast and we did five, five episodes all about YouTube. And the one, the one thing that I really got out of it was your content strategy for YouTube should be quite different than it is for a podcast where like this podcast will literally go forever.

And there’s, there’s no, there’s no meaning to any of it, right? It’s just, I want to talk to you. And then I’m talking to Spencer next. And I talked to Mark last week. Whereas the, the strategy I’m taking with my channel, cause I’m basically starting from scratch is like, I have an idea for like three playlists that I want to really.

Round out. And so that’s the next like 15 or 20 videos is like, I need enough to fill up those playlists. And those are like categories or, you know, whatever pillars, if you will, if you want to draw the blog analogy I, I kind of think like, and maybe it’s a little bit of imposter syndrome, like until I have that, I don’t want to do too much to like promote or optimize the channel because I just have work to do to fill those buckets up first.

Doug: enough.

Craig: Yeah.

Doug: that approach too, because it, I mean, it is like someone. Starting a blog and they’re looking at the topics they want to cover. They’re like, we need to cover this stuff. And I like that approach versus like a sort of a scattered random approach of whatever keywords kind of look good.

But like yours will make sense for someone to go through the playlist. That’s perfect.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t know. It is totally different though. It is totally different. I really like it, but, but it’s just hard. I mean, it’s just hard. And then there’s a fair amount of imposter syndrome, even for folks like us who’ve created a lot of content. It’s like, I look like an idiot. I sound stupid.

Editing is hard. Like, even though I don’t do it, like it’s all just, it’s a lot of work, but I, again, it’s the opportunity I think is the barrier to entry is, is pretty significant. So

Doug: It’s pretty fun though. I do. I do like the format. I like, I like the gear and the details and all that stuff. And I. I mean, I even like the idea of logging whenever I, you know, go out, go for a hike or do something, it’s always a pain to actually try to record this stuff. But in theory, I love the idea. I just need like a camera crew to follow me around or something.

Craig: There you go. There you go.

Doug: so yeah, the, the other thing I know we’re coming up towards the end, but I want to get your feedback on this. Are you good on, on

Craig: Yeah, yeah, good. Yep.

Doug: So I saw a lot of agencies. Typically in the marketing space or SEO space, they were starting podcasts in the last couple of years. And I felt like they were, they were just weren’t doing it right.

And a lot of them like started the show and then they quit after a little while. It’s tough, right? It’s tough to produce a show. And now everyone views YouTube is. Included, like if you’re starting a podcast, you got to put it on YouTube as well. And I thought, well, I’ve launched a couple of shows and I, I think I know what I’m doing.

So I was like, I want to start an SEO show in a marketing show that is focused on professionals in the audience, other agency owners, people that would speak at conferences and just be like a little bit more advanced than my existing show. And I thought I have a great network and what I’m going to do.

And this is where it gets a little fuzzy. I’m going to sell the show. So I want to start the show. I see there’s a need for it. Cause these companies are trying to start their shows, but they’re failing. So I was like, I could take what I know about marketing, podcasting. I have the tech down. I have the processes down.

So I should be able to launch it a little bit better than someone that doesn’t have that, even if they have a team. So my goal is to launch it in Q1 of 2024, hopefully get a nice splash at the launch and then publish weekly. And then hopefully sell it maybe by the end of the year, something like that. So I haven’t heard anyone trying this.

Have you,

Craig: Uh, so We have we’ve acquired a podcast. It did not have a youtube component. I I know of youtube channels being sold too. But no, we’ve not sold any of our content I I Really like the strategy though. I think for the right person. It’s really attractive because Yeah, there’s a lot of marketing people that aren’t great at this type of content and for them to buy the credibility that would come with a show like that.

I mean, that’s what we did, even though we’re in the space, we bought credibility when we bought three clips. Yeah, totally. It’s worth it.

Doug: there’s some, you know, hurdles and some serious problems, right? So I’m going to host the show and there would either be, you know, a transition or they’re going to hire a new host. Like it’s a problem to solve.

Craig: Yeah.

Doug: And I thought about, Oh, I could hire a host. But what if the founder wants that is buying it wants to host the show?

So it’s like, I can’t really predict. It’s like,

Craig: You’re probably going to have that transition time anyhow, so it might as well be you. And as long as you’re willing to stay on to help transition, I think, I think that’s fair. So you’re going to run the show till the end of the year. You got to plan another six months or something to, to transition and break someone else in.

Yeah, I mean, I think that was the thing. And then that, that kind of talks to like alignment, right. Of like you and this brand that might buy the show is like the stuff you talk about. The again, ideal listener persona all has to be. Perfectly lined up. But, but probably you’re talking on a topic and then in a way that enough people would align with it, I would suppose.

Doug: Yeah, I hope so. Yeah.

Craig: That’s cool. I love it. I built a cell podcast style. I like it. Yeah. Yeah. Doug, you’ve mentioned the channel a few times. Like what, what’s the channel? Where can folks go? Check it out.

Doug: Sure. So I have a couple of them. One’s just Doug Cunnington and that’s where I publish the majority of the videos that we’ve talked about here. There’s some affiliate marketing, there’s keyword research, there’s some random stuff as well. And then I have another show called Mile High Five and that’s one on personal finance and financial independence, which, you know, there’s really, I think there’s more of an overlap than we usually think about.

But most of the time, especially if you’re starting like a lifestyle type business, or you just don’t want a corporate job, really, you just want freedom. And that’s what the financial independence stuff really gets into. So if you want to take a break and take a sabbatical or whatever, you’re in a position where you can do it.

And if you get a new boss, you don’t like, you can. Say, ah, you know what? I’m going to take a couple of years off or whatever.

Craig: Yeah. I love it. I love it. Freedom, man. That’s what it’s all about. Yeah. Cool. Doug. Good to catch up. Thanks for, thanks for hopping on. Um, social media, good way to reach out or just want folks to go to YouTube to connect.

Doug: Yeah. Probably go to YouTube to connect. I have a newsletter as well, but all the links, uh, you’ll, you’ll find them over on the YouTube side.

Craig: Yep. Awesome. Cool, Doug. Have a good one. Thank you for coming on.

Doug: Thanks, man.

Craig: Cool. Thank you.

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