YouTube Pro Channel Manager Tips With Tom Martin

Tom Martin from Pro Channel Manager helps people manage their YouTube channels like pros and to go pro with their own YouTube channels. Tom also runs Channel Fuel which has managed channels like BBC and Endemol.

GUEST: Tom Martin | Pro Channel Manager | Pro Channel Manager Academy | Channel Fuel

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HOST: The Video Marketing Value Podcast is hosted by:
– Dane Golden of VidiUp.tv and VidTarget.io | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube
– Renee Teeley of VideoExplained and ReneeTeeley.com | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQ, MorningFame, Rev.com, and other products and services we recommend.

TRANSCRIPT

Tom Martin:
And it needs to be optimized for the platform so that it can be found and enjoyed. And then once it gets enjoyed, then the snowball effect can take off where you’ve got good watch time on your videos, so you’ll get more organic reach. There’s no good making the world’s best video if it’s not even halfway optimized.

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the Video Marketing Value Podcast. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners, just like you get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden from VidiUp.tv where we help you up your game on YouTube for business and transform your viewers into loyal customers. I’ve started a new business called VidTarget.io where we help you save time and money through more targeted YouTube ads. Renee Teeley, my cohost, is on assignment today, so she will not be here. But, we do want to remind you, the listener, that you can always go into the show notes on the app you’re listening right now and follow along. You can click on the transcript or get the links that we’re talking about. So, make sure you can do that. Today, we have a special guest, Tom Martin from Pro Channel Manager. Welcome, Tom.

Tom Martin:
Hello, thank you for having me. Does this count as a first appearance or is this a third appearance? Because, you’ve rebranded a few times. Is this brand new podcast, would you say?

Dane Golden:
We keep changing the name of the podcast, so let’s say it’s the first time of a long time friend. You also are rebranding, people may know you from Channelfuel.co and they may have seen you at VidSummit and other conferences talking about YouTube optimization. But, we asked you on today because you are recognized as one of the world’s best YouTube channel managers. You can put that on your website, by the way, Dane Golden says one of the world’s best YouTube channel managers.

Tom Martin:
And I’m going to put the word best in bold because that really popped in my ears there, so that’s going to be bold and underlined as well.

Dane Golden:
You’ve managed channels for BBC, Endemol, and now you’ve started Pro Channel Manager. Is this a good topic for today?

Tom Martin:
Very good topic. Yeah, so Channel Fuel is my service business, like agency and Pro Channel Manager is my education business, helping people to become pro channel managers and helping them to go pro with their own YouTube channel, so that’s the way I separate the two halves.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Tell us some of the shows you’ve worked on and the scope of some of the views that you’ve gotten and the turnaround you’ve done like, billions of views that, billions of views this, millions of subscribers here. Give us some of that type of stuff and some of the shows we might know you worked on.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. I’ve been very, very lucky to work on some incredible brands, so like Doctor Who, which I launched back in 2012. It’s now over a million subscribers. I think when I left it, it was probably only about half a million, but that was about, wow, that was about five years ago now. Top Gear, you might have heard it, it’s a car show. I’m not sure how big it is in the states, I think it did actually have-

Dane Golden:
Ginormous.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So, I actually took that at one point into the top 100 most subscribed YouTube channels, which is pretty cool. And then, went on to work on Sherlock, launched that channel, which is pretty cool, a lot of the BBC Natural History stuff with David Attenborough, Planet Earth and Blue Planet, stuff like that. Then, probably, the biggest wins that I’ve had would be probably on Mr. Bean, which is globally recognized as a daily phenomenon. And yeah, so when I took over strategy for the company that had the Mr. Bean channel, it was doing about 25 million views a month, which is pretty amazing, but not so great for such a big brand.

Tom Martin:
By the time that I’d left a year and a bit later, it was doing about a 160 million views a month. And we’d gone from 3 million subscribers to almost 10, and it crossed 10 just after I left. And now I think it’s on about 22 million subscribers. So, it took about eight years to get to 3 million and it took maybe three, four years now to be at 22 million from now, so pretty big growth. So yeah, that’s going to my gravestone for sure.

Dane Golden:
Hopefully not too soon. Let me ask a question, so in exchange for being this digital mastermind who brings attention to these famous brands on the most modern medium, do you get to go to good parties or do they just lock you in a corner and say, stay on your laptop. I really want to know this.

Tom Martin:
Well, I think as years go by, because there’s obviously a connection with a public service body at the BBC, the parties got less and less as years went by.

Dane Golden:
Oh, that’s very sad.

Tom Martin:
I did have some pretty cool experiences. So, I got to see the Doctor filming on the set of the TARDIS, which is probably wasted on me not being a huge Doctor Who fan, but there are Doctor Who fans that would kill for that opportunity. I got driven around the Top Gear track by the Stig himself, which was pretty cool. And I got to travel to Anaheim for VidCon and South of France and Europe.

Dane Golden:
So, who is the Stig?

Tom Martin:
I still don’t know, he didn’t talk to me.

Dane Golden:
If you don’t know the show, he’s a famously anonymous driver.

Tom Martin:
Yeah, and he stayed that way. And that’s not me being secretive, he did not say a word to me. I tried to get him to talk to me, he did not want to talk to me.

Dane Golden:
So, you said that making great content is an art and making it discoverable is a science. What do you mean by that?

Tom Martin:
So I think as YouTube becomes more and more competitive, and I don’t even know what the latest that is, I think it’s something like 600 hours get uploaded every minute or something outrageous like that. It’s just so hard to cut through and get noticed that making a masterpiece on its own in isolation is not good enough, and it needs to be optimized for the platform so that it can be found and enjoyed. And then once it gets enjoyed, then the snowball effect can take off where you’ve got good watch time on your videos, so you’ll get more organic reach, more organic views. You’ll be suggested and discovered more often.
So, pretty much what I’m saying is there’s no good making the world’s best video if it’s not even halfway optimized. On the flip side of that, optimization is not a cure for bad videos. I’ve seen average videos that do very, very well because of optimization, but if it’s terrible, there’s no cure for that.

Dane Golden:
It’s interesting, I bet you have some interesting perspective having worked with TV people because on the one hand, there’s probably a perception that getting views on YouTube is easy, you just upload something. But on the other hand, they do come from this world of ratings. Did they think what you did was easy, hard, what?

Tom Martin:
I think we started off very, very strongly, and so we set expectations that then had to be lived up to, so targets were raised every year. And working at a big corporation like that, you can imagine there’s a lot of stakeholders that are interested, so lots and lots and lots of meetings and meetings about organizing future meetings, one of the reasons I left the corporate world. So yeah, they’re very interested in every now and then you’d get an email that said, can you tell me how many people watched this in the Czech Republic last year or that kind of stuff. Or, what’s our click through rate on this and that kind of stuff. So yeah, people are very, very interested and I think the better we did, more was asked of us because people sat up and took notice.

Tom Martin:
Now, when we first started, we were really, really feeding on scraps. And then by the time I was leaving, we had YouTube original productions that we were making and we had a massive production team, whereas before it was me and somebody else just chopping up our TV shows into clips. So yeah, it’s definitely taken on much, much more importance, not just to the companies that I’ve worked for, but the whole media space in general, because they realize that. And it’s something that we try to teach them is, don’t try and bring people to your .com necessarily every single time. But, it’s important to go where the eyeballs already are.

Dane Golden:
Well, I think it was a, I don’t know if it’s the same in the UK, but Matt Geelan said that, listen in TV, they do all these pilots and only a few of them ever survive past one video, essentially. And yet, a lot of people who upload videos assume that no matter what their channel’s about, no matter what they’re talking about, it should get tons and tons of views and engagement, and that’s just wrong, right?

Tom Martin:
Yeah, I think this is one of the most common things that I try to talk to people about. They come to me and they say, we want to launch essentially a TV show for YouTube or a web series and what can we expect? And my answer is usually, not much, especially if you’re saying, we’re going to make 10 episodes and we’re going to do one a week, and then … And I’ll say, well, then what? You can’t upload 10 episodes in isolation and expect to get results because YouTube doesn’t work that way. I’m sure you’ve said on many, many episodes before, YouTube rewards channels that upload consistently, at least once a week, for years and years and years. So, my question or my statement is, what is your strategy beyond those 10 episodes? What are you doing for the other 42 weeks of the year minimum?

Dane Golden:
Right, right. And I had you on my YouTube channel, we recorded a long time ago, but I posted it recently and I’ll link to that in the show notes.

Tom Martin:
That is a good video.

Dane Golden:
Yeah, it was so much fun. What is Pro Channel Manager all about and why did you start it? I know this is a new project business for you. Tell me more about it.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So, I started off differently I’d say for most people that work in the YouTube space in that, it wasn’t like I had my own channel and all of a sudden it started making money and then I had a business. I had zero experience of working on YouTube before I got my first job at the BBC.

Dane Golden:
Your experience was, you’re hired, now go to work.

Tom Martin:
Yeah, that was it. That was it, yeah. Here’s the deep end, jump in.

Dane Golden:
You really sold yourself on this project by the way, to do with no experience. And they put you in charge of some of the biggest channels in the country.

Tom Martin:
Exactly, yeah. That really was the deep end, that was a learning experience. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of YouTube education, so there was a little bit of training from YouTube themself. I think Tim Schmoyer maybe was doing some videos for Real SEO, just about maybe, there weren’t the big channels like yours and Nick Nimmin’s and Roberto Blake’s of the world, [inaudible 00:12:43], no, those guys just weren’t around. So, it was all self-taught, trial and error, just uploading thousands and thousands of videos to see what works and what doesn’t. And throughout the years, I’ve been really close to that industry, so I know a lot of the other channel managers that are working at the other big media companies and big networks across the world and stuff like that.

Tom Martin:
One thing that was very apparent to me, especially in the last few years, since I left the industry is that I’m constantly getting contacted and saying, do you know any good channel managers? Do you know anyone that … We need to hire somebody. That is a service that I offer, but sometimes they need huge scale that I can’t offer. And it was just clear from talking to people in the industry that there’s just a massive lack of professional channel managers, people that are trained to run other people’s channels, which is crazy, because there’s a whole army of people out there trying to be pro YouTubers. And this is a great, great way to have a career in YouTube, even if you’re still growing your own channel is to work for somebody else and run their channel.

Tom Martin:
And so, I got fed up of being asked and also now, I need people to help me run channels that I’m being hired to run. So, there’s this industry wide problem, which is where do I find someone that’s well-trained? So, one of the main aims of Pro Channel Manager is to actually give birth to this new generation of well-trained YouTube channel managers that are ready to hire either, you can take them in house or they’ll be doing freelance work for clients running their YouTube channels, for small businesses maybe. Also, if you’ve just hired a channel manager, but you don’t really know, you’re not an expert, just get them a subscriptions approach and a manager, and hopefully that’s the longterm aim for sure.

Tom Martin:
And then the other half is, me and you, Dane are in a lot of Facebook groups around YouTube, we know the forums and there is a lot of free education. There’s a of free forums, community, but a lot of it is beginners and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s not really a space where you can go to talk about advanced stuff, where you can get answers from people that are at your level, above your level.

Dane Golden:
Yeah, it’s hard.

Tom Martin:
I know, it’s very hard to find anyone above your level doing this, that’s obvious. But yeah, so it’s part training, part community, really for semipro professional YouTube channel managers and those looking to get into the industry who want high level tactical [crosstalk 00:15:34]-

Dane Golden:
I think this is a great idea. I think this is exciting. I really want to be a part of this group. This is my jam, these are just my kind of nerds.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. And the conversations at the moment is, be a longterm we have, [inaudible 00:15:51], at the moment we have 28 members in the community, and between the 28 of us, we have a combined subscriber account of 146 million subscribers. So, some real heavy hitters and people that are working on channels, but some people that work in content ID and copyright specialists, and we’ve got people in Japan and in Australia and in the UK and in the US, so it’s a really good mix and it’s early so far, but I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to growing it and seeing how it shapes up into the future, yeah. And of course, there’s a seat at the table for you Dane, of course.

Dane Golden:
Oh, that’s awesome. That’s great. Let me know after the podcast.

Tom Martin:
For sure.

Dane Golden:
So help me understand, so when I go to the Pro Channel Manager website, there’s the Academy. Is that what you were just discussing or is that something different again?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. And so, the Academy is what I’m talking about. So Pro Channel Managers.com is where my Pro Channel Manager podcast lives and at some point there’ll be some blogs and the contact stuff and the free training, but yeah, there’ll be a link there to the Academy, which is where you’ll find that the preorder probably by the time this goes out, the preorder for the courses and the community as well.

Dane Golden:
Great.

Tom Martin:
And there’ll be some free resources there as well.

Dane Golden:
Great. And well, including the podcast, now you’re on at least two podcasts, not including being a guest on this podcast. Tell us about those.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So, as I’m very entrenched in the YouTube industry side of things, so more along networks and content ID and copyright and all great things like that, video distribution. So, I’m a cohost with my good friend, Carlos Pacheco, who’s another grizzly bidded, YouTube industry veteran. Been running channels for years and years and years, and we always bounced into each other. I think back in, for something crazy like five years ago, we met and we’re like, we should do a podcast. And yeah, and it took five years, but yeah, that’s a bit more aimed at people that are working in the industry. I’m told it’s a bit like inside baseball, but I’ve got no idea what that is because we don’t have inside baseball. We don’t even have baseball.

Dane Golden:
It’s just not cricket grommet. Did that work? Was that helpful?

Tom Martin:
That was extremely offensive Dane, extremely offensive, but I’ll forgive you. And then, Pro Channel Manager podcast is more aimed at, again, it’s a pro level YouTubers. So, like how to stuff, but a bit more advanced, so it’s not going to be like how to get more subscribers that kind of stuff. It’s going to be more technical. We’re going to have some interviews, we’ve got some really great interviews lined up, but they’re not going to be like, tell us your story. It’s going to be, give us 10 tips that we can use to take action today. So yeah, that’s really exciting. We’ve got a couple of episodes already out, we’ve got a couple more dropping this week, so yeah, Pro Channel Manager and whatever podcast app of your choice, you can find it.

Dane Golden:
Now, great. And when I had you recently on my YouTube podcast, and you have so many tips, but I just want to sum those up a bit, even though that in itself, the video was the high point of several different topics. You talked about being consistent on YouTube and there’s more than one type of consistency. Could you sum that up, but this won’t be in great detail, but just to give an example.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So, I gave a talk recently and it was called the 3Cs of YouTube growth. And I always say, yeah, the 3Cs are the real keys to growing any YouTube channel. And the 3Cs all happen to be the same word, consistency, consistency, consistency, but they are different consistency. So we’ve got consistency of upload, we’ve got consistency of topic, and we’ve got consistency of metadata. So consistency of upload is you need to be prepared to make and release at least one video a week for at least the next three, four, five years.

Tom Martin:
That’s my general mantra to most people, and be prepared for people to still not to be listening.
It doesn’t mean that it’s going to take that long, but you have to have the attitude well, I’m going to have to persevere because it’s tough and it gets tougher every day that you wait to start. Consistency of channel strategy or consistency of topic, choose one niche, focus solely on that niche and become the authority in your space because YouTube loves authorities. YouTube loves subject matter experts because when they send a searcher or a viewer to a subject matter expert, they know that the person going there is going to get the answer to their question. And when people get answers to their questions, they watch more videos and that means that YouTube can serve more ads and collect more data, which is what makes them happy, which is what makes them money. And if you make YouTube happy, they’ll send you more traffic.

Dane Golden:
Before you get to metadata, let me narrow in on that subject matter expert concept. So, I’m a YouTube expert, good enough? Is that a subject matter expert or is it more because I help marketers and business owners optimize their YouTube channels, is that really the subject matter that I’m focused on? When you say subject matter, how narrow should it be?

Tom Martin:
It depends. It depends how competitive it is. So, if you came to me today and said, “I’m starting a channel to help people with their YouTube channels.” I’d say, well, first of all, I’d do a bit of research, which we’ll come on. But, I’d say, it’s probably too competitive, so you need to find the niche within your niche. So you have, you’ve said, I’m going to help people with video marketing on YouTube, not just general video, and you’re going to be aimed at a certain audience, which is small businesses.

Tom Martin:
So, that’s perfect. The only problem is, well, so there’s two problems. One, you go too broad and it’s too competitive. Two, you go too niche and the audience might just not be there. Not you specifically, one may find a niche that it’s just too small, wherever it’s like stamp collecting, stamp collecting is probably quite good actually, but wherever it may be.

Dane Golden:
Although with some businesses and clients I work with, for instance, if they’re a B2B tech company that happens to, their yearly income from a single client’s going to be about 100,000, $200, 000, well, you may very well having a niche of several 100 views per video. That may be just the right size.

Tom Martin:
Absolutely. Again, it’s what is your end goal for the channel? I always say, yeah, if you’re selling luxury yachts, you only need one person a year to see that one video to pay for your entire YouTube production and distribution for the entire year. But it depends, if you’re selling buttons then you might need a couple of million viewers a year. So yeah, and I think that brings up another good point as well, Dane is one, know your end goal before you get started. And two, know your monetization strategy before you get started. So, is it getting people through the doors of your brick and mortar business? Is it selling t-shirts? Is it just AdSense? I’m assuming from your audience is not, but if it is, if you do happen to be listening, then you’re going to need to hit real scale to make a living from AdSense alone.

Dane Golden:
And let’s talk about consistency of metadata. First of maybe someone doesn’t know what metadata is, so explain that, please.

Tom Martin:
So when I’m talking about metadata, I’m talking about what the information you put in when you upload a video and essentially it’s any text or copy that can be read or indexed by YouTube. So, titles, tags, descriptions, and I’d also throw into that the transcripts or the subtitle files for a video.

Dane Golden:
And so, how do you stay consistent with that?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So, I’m probably going to get a little bit nerdy, but I’ll try not to go too far down the wormhole, but.

Dane Golden:
You get paid very highly for doing this and your conference speaking engagements are very well attended for just this topic, but just a summary overview.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to do some research to see what people are searching for around our niche. And there are a number of tools on the market. I won’t go into that at this point, but basically we want a tool that can tell us what people are searching for on YouTube specifically. And we’re looking for keywords and key phrases that are getting searched for quite highly, but are not very competitive, underserved by the market. Then, we’re going to take those keywords and we are going to make sure they are visible in our tags, title descriptions, subtitle files. But we’re not just going to be happy to say, okay, here’s video X, we’re going to optimize that video and release it into the wild and fingers crossed.

Tom Martin:
That’s how it was done back in the olden days, whatever that may be to you. To me, that was 2011, 2012, and it worked because there wasn’t that much competition. YouTube wasn’t as smart as it is today, it’s machine learning and artificial intelligence, so that worked. But now what we’re doing instead of trying to rank one single video, what we’re trying to do is to have a consistent system of metadata across our entire catalog of videos. And what we’re trying to do is to engineer the relationships between our own videos, because you’re going to hear a lot of experts talk about, we want to rank in search, let’s rank in search. And yes, that is important, especially when you first get started, because that’s how you get discovered.

Tom Martin:
But as you start to grow, and if you want to hit real scale and real growth on YouTube, search is going to probably end up being about 10 to 15% of your traffic, because the real traffic is going to come from suggested views, the views on the suggested sidebar and things like homescreen and browse features. And specifically in my experience has really been dominated by suggested, obviously that’s changing as YouTube changes the platform. And so what we do by having a consistent system of metadata across all of our videos, that means we’re having certain chunks of tags and copy that are very similar or identical across our videos. And what we’re doing there is we’re saying to YouTube, if someone is enjoying this video or is watching a lot of this video, we’ve got a whole channel over here that’s got very, very similar metadata. So, these videos are very similar to the one they’re watching, so suggest those next.

Dane Golden:
So, I’m going to stop you there. So, when you say suggest that next, that really means that in a lot of places, but in particularly in the suggested videos area, which is on the right hand side or on the bottom on mobile, your other videos are most likely to be prominent next to a video that someone’s currently watching.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. And that’s really how a YouTube channel grows is by dominating that. And then that also then leads to people watching more of your videos, which then leads you to getting on the home page more and into, when people first open their apps or their desktop being recommended like straight away in the home feed kind of thing.

Dane Golden:
And you don’t have to tell us how the whole thing works. They should pay you to join Pro Channel Manager, and you’re going to cover these type of things in Pro Channel Manager, right?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. So these, my flagship course is all about keyword research, doing that research and then building up this three tiered system where we’re aiming really to engineer relationships between our own videos and then really trying to grow suggested views. That’s really my wheelhouse and what I’ve been working towards developing that system over the last eight years, the thousands of videos that I’ve uploaded really.

Dane Golden:
Now, if there was one thing that most YouTube channel managers get wrong without realizing, do you have an answer for that question?

Tom Martin:
I have a few, but actual, do you mean just the everyday YouTuber or do you mean [crosstalk 00:29:47] pros?

Dane Golden:
Yes. Well, you can answer any way you like.

Tom Martin:
Okay. Well, first of all, just caveat by saying there is no concrete evidence of I’m right and anyone else is wrong that says something different from me.

Dane Golden:
I say you’re right, that’s good enough.

Tom Martin:
I just teach what has worked for me and continues to work for me today. So I’d say the number one mistake that the average YouTuber makes is that they just go off and make videos based on what they think people want and what they want to make and what they want to promote without really knowing what the audience for a fact want. And you can get that information by doing some keyword research, using whatever tools that you may want to use. I’d say at the pro level, I’d say the biggest mistake is probably getting comfortable. You have some success, so you just keep doing the same things, but you’re not testing yourself, constantly checking your analytics, getting yourself feedback, because YouTube’s got a very good way of all of a sudden biting you in the backside and your views fall off a cliff because you’ve just done the same thing for the last seven years. And then all of a sudden you wake up and you’re like, my channel’s not doing so well anymore.
We see it all the time like my friend Carlos as well, my cohost. We see it all the time, like, well, you’ve been doing the same thing for 10 years and you have not really changed anything, but everyone else is evolving. So yeah, don’t get comfortable. And I think there’s a famous saying, what got you from there to here won’t necessarily get you to where you want to go.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. Tom Martin, how can people find out more about you and Pro Channel Manager?

Tom Martin:
Yeah, the best way to do that is to visit prochannelmanager.com, there you’ll find links to the podcast and to the community and the Academy. And if you want to hear me sometimes talk about YouTube and sometimes talk about Kung Fu movies and soccer, you can follow me on Twitter @channel_fuel.

Dane Golden:
We had another guy on recently, another British guy who has a channel that is about martial arts, Asten Regis is his name. I don’t know if you know him.

Tom Martin:
No, but I will be looking him off as soon as I hang up from here, for sure.

Dane Golden:
Yeah, cool guy. Excellent, thanks Tom Martin. My name is Dane Golden, my cohost is Renee Teeley. She’s not on this week, she’s on assignment, but we want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. I want to invite you to review us on Apple Podcasts, it helps other cool people just like you, find and enjoy our video of marketing tips. You can do that right now on the app you’re listening to, by clicking, you scroll down, click more episodes, scroll down again to the bottom, and click, write a review. Renee and I do this podcast and our various other YouTube videos and projects because we love helping marketers and businesses just like you to YouTube and video marketing better. Thanks to our special guest, Tom Martin.

Tom Martin:
Thank you, Dane.

Dane Golden:
Thank you. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.