YouTube Video Structure – What works!

What’s the best structure for your YouTube videos?

How do you get people to watch till the end?

In this video, I talk all about structuring your YouTube videos to be more effective.

Your YouTube Video Goal

YouTube Watch Time

The longer the watch time, the higher your rank is on YouTube

In the last video, we spoke about the importance of watch time.

If you can get people to watch your videos until the end, YouTube will start ranking you higher.

So, as you create your videos, the goal is to get the viewer to watch it till the very end.

To do that, you want to make sure to structure your video to hold the viewer’s attention.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

Tip 1: Start Strong!

Video Content Value

What value will they get from your content?

Here are some interesting numbers. There are 300 hours of video upload to YouTube every minute.

People watch almost 5 billion videos very day on the platform.

They are consuming a lot of content and as a result, are easily distracted.

Let the viewer know what you are covering in the first few seconds.

Focus on what’s in it for them – What value will they get?

At the beginning of this video, I asked 2 questions. These questions let you know right up front what value you’re gonna get from the video.

Tip 2: Have an Intro Video Clip/Animation

After your strong start, include a short introductory video clip/animation.

Short Intro

Include a short introduction of yourself after adding a short animation or intro clip

This does a few things:

  1. Shows a certain level of professionalism. It lets people know that you take your videos seriously.
  2. It includes key elements of branding. You can include your logo, colors or any other visual elements. I include my name to let people know who I am.
  3. It makes you look good. We all like to look good, don’t we?

Tip 3: Introduce Yourself

Once your animation is over, it’s time to let them know who you are and why they should listen to you.

This helps to provide validity to your videos.

You may also choose to invite them to subscribe to your channel here.

Tip 4: Jump into Your Content

Jump into your content

Be concise, provide value, and keep it engaging.

Now that you’ve done all the groundwork, let’s get right into the content.

Don’t go on and on. Provide them with the value they are looking for in a concise way.

Oh, and don’t forget to be engaging.

Tip 5: Give a Brief Recap (Optional)

Now that you’ve covered the good stuff, it’s a good idea to do a brief recap.

This will help to solidify key concepts in the viewer’s mind.

It also shows them that you delivered on the promises you made on the beginning.

Tip 6: Include a Call-to-action

Call to Action

Give a call to action to a product/service you offer.

You’ve delivered the value, and now they are ready to move on.

This is where you want to nudge them to the next logical step by giving a call-to-action.

What do you want them to DO next?

Tell them.

It can be as simple as asking them to like your video and subscribe to your channel.

Even better, create a free resource and provide it to them in exchange for them joining your email list.

This is a key step in helping you grow your business.

If you want to be a bit ambitious, feel free to let them know about a product or service you offer.

The conversions won’t be as great for that, but you’ll be bringing exposure to a key part of your business.

The YouTube Growth-Tracking Spreadsheet

If you’re trying to grow your YouTube channel, I have a gift for you.

I created a YouTube Growth-Tracking Spreadsheet to help you plan your channel growth.

Click here to get the spreadsheet

Join the Coaching Club

If you’re trying to build a blogging business, let me hold your hand.

Join the Become a Blogger coaching club.

Click here to find out more

Resources Mentioned


YouTube Video Structure

YouTube Video Structure – What works!

The post YouTube Video Structure – What works! appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.



8 Ways to Make Old and Boring Topics Feel New and Exciting Again

I get it.

You don’t want to be one of the millions of bloggers stuck in the land of sameness — indistinguishable as you parrot the same old advice everybody else does.

You want your voice to be heard, and you want it to feel vibrant, fresh and new.

But your blog topic feels threadbare, and you’ve got no bloody idea how to make it exciting again. Every angle has been rewritten, rehashed and reused. It bores you so much you’d rather poke your eye out with a stick of spaghetti than write another post.

So you search for answers on how to stand out.

But all you find is airy-fairy platitudes. Provide unique insights! Be interesting! Write in your own voice!

It’s all surface-level hoopla that lacks the substance and specifics you really need.

So I scoured the Internet in search of posts that felt new and exciting despite having well-trodden topics. And I unearthed a handful of practical tactics you could add to your repertoire.

Enough small talk. Let’s get into it …

Tactic #1: Turn Fluffy Concepts into Living, Breathing Characters

Procrastination. It’s a well-worn topic. It’s also a bit of an ethereal concept — untouchable, yet it touches us all.

But in this insanely viral post, Tim Urban skillfully brings procrastination to life by casting interesting characters to play the roles of emotions that live inside a procrastinator’s brain. See what I mean …

Procrastinator's Brain line drawing

Mel Wicks also did it when she created the Imp to play the role of Imposter Syndrome —  another fluffy concept.

I have a nagging voice inside my head that constantly reminds me of my unworthiness. It tells me to give up before I’m laughed off the Internet. That I’ll never compare to other writers — the real ones.


I call this voice the “Imp.” Her full name is Imposter Syndrome, and chances are you’ve already met. If you’ve ever had that dread of being outed as a fraud because you don’t stack up to other writers, you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome, and you have an Imp of your own.

Doing this makes reading about fluffy concepts much more fun and interesting for the reader. You bring the topic to life, as readers can visualize these characters better than ideas that only exist inside our minds.

So if you write about a topic that only exists in the abstract plane, consider breathing some life into it. Think of crazy names for concepts or aspects of problems that your readers may face, and cast human or animal characters in their roles.

Your readers will love it.

Tactic #2: Make Your Readers Choose a Side

Trump or Clinton? Yankees or Red Sox? Ebooks or paperbacks?

You can’t help but choose a side. It’s a natural reaction, and it’s one that you as the writer can play to your advantage. It’ll create standout content for even the most dreary topics.

Devise contrasting sides or categories and compare them to spark your reader’s attention.

Like this:

There are two types of bloggers in this world — let’s call them Sameness and Fearless. Sameness writes posts that are as functional and beige as an L.L. Bean parka. Fearless reveals his deepest thoughts and dares to try new things —  even though he may fail.

Take, for example, Elle Luna’s post, The Crossroads of Should and Must, in which she rockets interest levels to amazing heights by contrasting two paths we can choose to take. It’s a home run of a post that takes the well-trodden topic of “living life to the fullest” to an entirely new level.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

And then we have the $2 Billion Wall Street Journal Sales Letter, which is one of the most successful sales letters ever written:

The Wall Street Journal sales letter

It begins by introducing two young men, painting a picture of their near-identical happy lives, then throws in a surprising contrast to generate curiosity and emotion that makes it impossible to stop reading.

Contrasting two sides like this can be both engaging and persuasive. Readers will be swept up by the comparisons, and they’ll find themselves agreeing with the side you want them to pick.

So next time you write about a dreary topic, consider presenting two opposite sides, and force the reader to choose one.

Tactic #3: Make Them Laugh So Loud They Wake Up People in China

Humor is the perfect way to flip the script on a humdrum blog topic. Oli Gardner proved this point beautifully in his highly entertaining post on landing page optimization.

His setup was gold and left no doubt in the reader’s mind that the post was going to be an interesting ride.

Landing pages rule. Blah.
Homepages suck. Blah.
Do some A/B testing. Blah.
Base your optimization strategy on customer feedback. Blah.

All of those statements are true. But they sound boring and being boring is lame. It’s twenty fourteen and I refuse to be lame.

If you want to be a non-lame marketer, it’s really easy. Read this post, have a laugh, and treat everything I say as gospel.

And he certainly continued to deliver throughout the entire post.

The experienced adult readers amongst you might remember that “Shit. The condom broke!” moment. Yeah you do. You might also remember that it felt like a good time to run a test. #STDsArentFunny. Perhaps. But, as we go through this epic journey together today, I’ll show you exactly when and how you should really be testing.

But what if you’re not funny? Humor can’t be taught, right?

Not true.

Humor writing is a creative art, and, just like all creative arts, it has structure and formula. And all artistic endeavours are built on teachable skills and techniques. — Mark Shatz, Comedy Writing Secrets

Sure, some people seem to be born oozing raw comedic talent, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are doomed. You’ll have to do the legwork, but it’ll be worth it. Many of the most successful and memorable blog posts ever written contain humor or quirkiness.

Here are two of the simpler humor writing tricks to get you started.

Humor Technique #1: The Rule of Threes

Simply put, you write three statements. The first two are the setup, and they establish a thought pattern. Then you add a third, incongruent idea, which is your main point or punchline. Like this:

Let me predict a few things that will happen in the next year. Jon Snow will unite the Seven Kingdoms and save the world. The day you wash and wax your new Honda will be the day it rains. And your inbox will clog up with so many deathly uninteresting posts that you’d rather stab your hand with a freshly sharpened pencil than read another one.

The rule of three is a classic joke structure that you’ll see used by many comedy writers. Here are a couple of examples by the pros so you can see it in action.

Men are simple things. They can survive a whole weekend with only three things: beer, boxer shorts, and batteries for the remote control. — Diana Jordan
I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. — Jon Stewart
When you die there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. When my father dies, he’ll see the light, make his way toward it, and then flip it off to save electricity. — Harland Williams

See how that works?

Humor Technique #2: Ridiculous Exaggeration

Exaggeration is an age-old trick used to emphasize importance and evoke strong emotions. It’s also a powerful way to inject humor into a post. You can embellish or stretch everyday truths, over- or understate distance or size, and express extreme or ridiculous emotions.

Geraldine DeRuiter’s side-splitting post I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything is a good example, as it’s riddled with exaggeration. Just check out these entertaining quotes:

Like most things in my life, I’ve jumped in headfirst without putting any thought or research into it (this is also how I ended up taking a workout class called “Insanity.” Afterwards, I was drooling and delirious. So I guess it delivered).
Parenthetically, I really should stop listening to people just because they’re attractive. If Jeff Goldblum told me to get a bowl haircut and rob a bank, I totally would.
The cookies look exactly the same before they are digested as after. They are eternal and unchanging. As time passes, they don’t decline in quality or taste because they can’t. They’ve already started out at theoretical zero on that scale.

Hilarious, right?

To do this yourself, begin with a common situation, such as having dismal site traffic. Then play with how it makes you feel, what it makes you want to do, etc. Here are a few I came up with:

  • Dive into a pit of Kleenex and cry like a baby.
  • Send a fire-breathing dragon to incinerate Google HQ.
  • Run away and live in an igloo for the rest of your life.

You get the idea.

So dust off that funny bone and give it a go. It’s a hoot.

Tactic #4: Give Data-Driven Answers to Compelling Questions

In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger reveals the results of a study of New York Times articles. He discovered that science articles that discuss research results are more likely to go viral because “they frequently chronicle innovations and discoveries” that evoke a feeling of awe in readers.

In other words, readers love data-driven content.

So instead of approaching your topic the same way as everyone else, perform an experiment or run a survey and share the results with your readers in a post.

That’s what Mark Manson did when he crowdsourced his article, The Ultimate Relationship Guide to End All Relationship Guides™.

Rather than share his own opinion, he ran a survey by the people in his audience who were happily married for 10+ years that asked for their best relationship advice. He then turned the most common answers into an article.

The Ultimate Relationship Guide to End All Relationship Guides

BuzzSumo took another approach. They analyzed 100 million headlines to find the commonalities that popular headlines share and the ones unpopular ones share. Lots of content has been written about writing headlines, but data-backed insights like these are hard to come by.

Buzzsumo Top Headline Phrases

Of course, you may not have access to thousands of subscribers like Mark does, or to millions of headlines and their share counts, like BuzzSumo does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create data-driven content.

You could run a survey through Facebook Groups or forums. There are plenty of communities online that you could tap into. And hey, you might just go out into the real world and survey people on the street. That works too!

Or you could run a small-scale experiment of your own. For example, if you write about social skills, you could try different conversation openers with strangers and track their responses, seeing which ones work best.

Or, you know, you could grab data and research results from studies that have already been conducted.

Creating data-driven content takes work, but the end result will be a fascinating post that will stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Note: If you want to make your data look pretty, check out online chart creation programs such as chartgo, onlinecharttool, and


Tactic #5: Inject Your Post with a Healthy Dose of Attitude

There’s a powerful theme that appears in many wildly interesting posts — they all ooze head-flicking, hip-swaggering attitude.

They’re unmistakable because the writer totally embraces their irreverence. They’re written with wit and quirk. They’re unconventional, confrontational and bold. And they border on unreasonable as the writer dances on the edge of insult.

An undeniable strength and passion is woven through every word. There’s total conviction and unwavering commitment to the main idea.

David Wong nails it in his post, 5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Life (Without Knowing It):

What I hate about articles like this is that they’re always trying to guilt you into bettering yourself. “What are you doing sitting on your sofa eating ice cream, you lazy bag of Dorito farts! Get off your ass and go become the high-achieving superman you know you can be!” That pisses me off because I know exactly why I’m on the sofa eating ice cream. It’s because I’ve had a hard day and this makes me feel better, so fuck you. Even if what I’m doing is a frivolous waste of time, I’m doing it for a reason.

Johnny B. Truant also does it well in his post, The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying F**k About You (I mean, that title alone …) His irreverent message of “You don’t matter” hits hard, yet he turns it into something inspirational.

That means that although what you do doesn’t matter to the universe, it should matter one hell of a lot to YOU.

In fact, it should matter to you more than it currently does. If you knew how small you are and how short a time you have to do what you can, you wouldn’t waste time watching five fucking hours of TV a day. You wouldn’t waste time doing a job you hate. You wouldn’t waste the little time you have dealing with assholes, feeling sorry for yourself, or being timid about the things you’d really like to do.

And let’s not forget Jon Morrow’s How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers. He just flat-out calls his readers dumb and gets away with it.

Well, it’s not because you haven’t found the right traffic strategy. It’s not because you need to change your domain name. It’s not because the Google gods have turned against you and cursed you to wallow in anonymity forever.

It’s because you’re dumb.

And if you ever want a chance in hell of anyone listening to you, you’d better smarten up.

Any post you write with irreverence will stand head and shoulders above the masses. Nobody remembers a fence-sitting, white-bread boring post. They remember the hilarious rant in which the writer unleashes daggers of unspoken truth upon a popular idea or common situation. They remember the posts in which the writer says the things that everybody wishes they had the balls to say — but don’t.

Be willing to put your neck on the line. And be ready to piss a few people off along the way. You’re not a blogger to lull people to sleep. You’re a blogger because you’ve got amazing ideas that need to be heard.

Do this by kicking your emotions into a higher gear. Give yourself permission to write freely — not as you should, but as you want. Don’t be angry, be furious. Don’t be happy, be delirious. Don’t be annoyed, be completely pissed off.

Tactic #6: Snare Your Readers’ Attention with a Surprisingly Mismatched Tone

Let’s start by imagining that all your readers are Walking Dead zombies.

They’re stumbling through their days on autopilot, scrolling through their newsfeeds in a stupor. Your only hope is to shove something unexpected into their eyeballs and shock them back to the here and now.

Contrasting your tone with the topic is a fantastic way to inject interest into your post. You can:

  • Mismatch a story about disappointment with an appreciative tone.
  • Be annoyed by simplicity.
  • Find pleasure in the pain of something going wrong.
  • Write about something you hate as if you love it.

For example, like this …

Ahhhh, tax time. I’m truly astonished by the painful and grim stories of hate and loathing I hear in the weeks leading up to the financial year’s end. Why would any sane person hate a justified reason to never answer their cell phone and leave emails unopened, unanswered and unactioned for weeks on end? And then there’s the crazy-sweet pleasure of spending hours searching for that needle in the haystack of receipts — and then finding it. It sends me into excited fits of high-fiving anybody within a ten-foot radius.

And check out this hilarious post about the worry of thinking you have cancer. A topic that summons expectations of gravity and worry.

So This One Time I Thought I Had Breast Cancer—And the Doctor Was a Huge D*ck

So today I placed my boobs into a giant, hospital-grade George Foreman grill and held my breath as the nurse took the X-ray.

The headline piques interest, and the wry and unexpected tone of the opening sentence snares your attention and commits you to an irreversible free-fall until the end of the post.

Tactic #7: Predict the Future

The future is the devil we don’t know. And it’s cloaked in uncertainty.

Your readers desire for certainty about tomorrow is as guaranteed as day turns into night — and it can be used to your advantage.

Build your reader a safe haven of certainty by predicting the future as Jon did here by sharing his view on how to write great content in 2014.

Why Education Readers is No Longer Enough

There’s evidence everywhere to illustrate how not-so-interesting, written-to-death topics, such as content marketing, can continue to pull huge share counts every year by exposing trends for the immediate future.

Content Marketing Trends

Mike Blankenship also worked this tactic nicely in How to Write a Paragraph in 2017.

How to Write a Paragraph in 2017

But what if you don’t know the future?

Remember that none of us do. Chances are, however, that you know the history of your niche (if you don’t, get researching), you’ve checked out your competition, and you have an opinion about how things are evolving.  

So be bold. Write a future prediction that becomes a magnet for attention as it creates hope, generates discussion and encourages new ways of thinking for your reader. If you get it wrong, no one’s going to call you on it — it’ll just vanish into the fog of forgotten posts. (You can always delete it too.)

Tactic #8: Pepper Your Post with Quirky Visuals

You’ve probably heard that you should add visual content to your blog posts. And yes, adding infographics, screenshots or photographs can do a lot to liven up your posts… But you can also use visual content to add some whimsy and fun to your posts.

Several of the posts I’ve already featured as examples do this.

Take the aforementioned Medium post from Elle Luna, the Crossroads of Should and Must. She doesn’t just have her readers pick a side, her post is also full of line drawings like this:

Quirky line drawing visuals

The casual nature of these line drawings lifts the feeling from humdrum to fun and injects the post with an entertaining dose of personality and character. As soon as the reader scans the page, they instantly feel like they’re in for a treat.

Tim Urban also uses drawings in his post about procrastination (and every other post he writes).

Quirky line drawing visuals - 2

Line drawings are a great way to move away from the dry formality of graphs and screenshots, but they’re not your only option.

If you don’t feel that artistic — though you don’t have to be that artistic to draw a stick figure — you can also use other quirky imagery, like memes, cartoons and funny pictures. These can be found on the web or easily created with tools like Canva and other meme generators.

If you look back on Geraldine de Ruiter’s I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything, she interchanges the expected photos of food with images and GIFs like these:

Entertain readers with GIFs
Entertain readers with GIFs - 2

Dull topics are more likely to send your reader’s brain for a coffee break instead of paying full attention. Keep them riveted to their seats by entertaining them with unusual, surprising and vibrant visuals.

Time to Breathe New Life into Those Old and Boring Topics

No blog topic is too boring, too dull or too worn-out to ever be interesting again. It’s you, the writer, who has everything within you to make it interesting.

Because when you do, your voice will be heard and you’ll know you’re helping others as you share new ways of doing things, thinking, and approaching tasks, work or life.

Your posts will stand out from the masses of regurgitated ideas and cookie-cutter advice.

Your posts will open the doors of possibility for your readers, and let you shine brightly.

So which tactic are you going to try first? Pick one and start today.

Light up your blog topic with an explosion of freshness like only you can.

About the Author: Miranda Hill is a writer and coach who helps life-hungry souls get unstuck from the chaos of life. If you want to stop spinning your wheels, hopping from one thing to the next in search of answers, discover the 10 Mindset Secrets That Set Truly Successful Writers Apart and realise your full writing potential today.



How to Create a Blog Sales Funnel

Are you blogging as a business?

Are you making sure that you are creating processes that actually build your business over time?

In this episode, I share a step by step process for creating your blog sales funnel.


Listen to Episode

Building a sales funnel is a crucial part of building an online business.

A sales funnel is the visual representation of the customer journey, depicting the sales process from awareness to action.

Those are two essential elements of a sales funnel:

  • Awareness: If you are growing a blog, you are creating content to make people aware of your brand and what you have to offer.
  • Action: In the case of building a sales funnel, the action you are trying to get is the sale.

But here’s the problem…

When it comes to blogging, most content creators don’t create their content with the end in mind.

What ends up happening is we create content as it pops into our minds. By doing so, sales funnels never make it to the forefront of our minds.

Today, we will fix that.

Here are six steps you can take to create your blog sales funnel.

Step 1: Start with the action

Determine what your audience wants

Determine what your audience wants

Answer the following question – What do you want your audience to buy?

This can be a product/service that you offer or one that you promote as an affiliate. By understanding where you want people to end up, you’re going to be better able to get them there.

In understanding what you want them to buy, here are some questions you should answer:

Who is it for? What is his/her goals? What struggles will he or she encounter?

What problem does it solve?

Getting clear on these questions will help you in step 2.

Step 2: Create the right kind of content (awareness)

Now that you know who you’re trying to attract, it’s time to create the kind of content that will attract him/her.

Ask yourself what kind of content he/she is looking for. Keep the goals and struggles in mind as you answer this question.

right content

Create the right kind of content

Then, go out and create that kind of content. You can create articles, videos or podcast episodes.

EVERY piece of content is an opportunity to expose your audience to what you have to offer.

Here’s the key: EACH piece of content should offer significant value independent of that product/service.

Do the best you can to optimize each piece of content for the platform you’re posting it on and you will increase your chances of getting your content to more people.

Step 3: Create a free resource

products / services

Determine what products / services you can create / offer for your audience.

What can you create that can help him/her accomplish his/her goals or overcome a specific struggle.

Create that as a free resource so that you can entice your audience to get on your email list.

Some examples of what I’ve created are my Content Calendar and YouTube Growth Tracking spreadsheets.

Step 4: Include a call-to-action in all of your content

free resource

That next logical step is opting in to get your free resource.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Yes, you are creating the right kind of content to attract your audience.

However, there needs to be a next logical step from that content to getting to a deeper part of your funnel.

That next logical step is opting in to get your free resource.

Your job is to make it very clear that you have a free resource available. In other words, include a call-to-action.

In order to get access to that free resource, they need to get on your email list.

Give them the opportunity to do just that.

Step 5: Create a goal-directed autoresponder sequence

Goal-directed autoresponder sequence

Create a Goal-directed autoresponder sequence

The goal of this sequence is to get some of the people who subscribe to purchase your product/service.

So the content of the autoresponder sequence will be very important.

It’s important for you to provide value and share resources that will be helpful to your subscribers.

But it’s also important for you to make the pitch. Let them know about the product/service you are promoting and how it can help them on the journey.

One tool I’m going to be experimenting with is called Thrive Ultimatum from Thrive Themes.

It gives you the ability to run time-sensitive offers depending on when someone opts into your email list.

Step 6: Wash, Rinse and Repeat

Wash, Rinse and Repeat

Wash, Rinse and Repeat

Now that you’ve built out one funnel, it’s time to do the same thing again.

This can be for another product that’s at a similar price point, or (ideally) it would be something more expensive.

The principles are exactly the same.

Let’s bring this home

If you’re building a business, you have to build a system for generating sales. A sales funnel is a great way to do this.

Now that you’re equipped to build a funnel, get to work.

Resources Mentioned:


Blog Sales Funnel

How to Create a Blog Sales Funnel

The post How to Create a Blog Sales Funnel appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.


How to get Noticed on YouTube – YouTube Algorithm Explained

Do you want to get noticed on YouTube?

Wondering how you can use the YouTube algorithm to your advantage?

In this video, I share details about how the algorithm works and how you can set yourself up for success.

Background Info

YouTube is the #2 search engine

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world

YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world (I feel like all my YouTube content starts with that phrase).

It’s true, and like every search engine, an algorithm defines its functionality.

The algorithm determines what you rank for and how high you rank.

If you can understand exactly how the algorithm works, you have the secret of success.

But to understand how it works, you need to understand YouTube’s goals.

Follow the Money

YouTube is a video-sharing site. One of their main goals is to have you watch a lot of videos.

The more time you spend watching videos, the more ads you see.

The more ads you see, the more MONEY they make. It’s that simple.

YouTube the Search Engine

YouTube Search Engine

YouTube Search Engine

Any quality search engine will want to give the searcher exactly what they want.

If they get exactly what they want, they will use the platform more.

In YouTube’s case, that means they will watch for longer period of time.

And as already covered, that means more ads and more money. That makes YouTube happy.

Here’s the key, you want to do whatever you can to make their job easier.

As a search engine, they have two goals:

  • Show people exactly what they want
  • Have them watch more content

How to Give YouTube what YouTube Wants

Tip 1 – Optimize your Titles, descriptions and tags

Optimize your Titles, descriptions and tags

Optimize your Titles, descriptions and tags

These are the meta data of your videos and they are VERY important.

Your meta data does more to tell YouTube exactly what your video is about than any other factors.

Make sure to include all relevant keyword phrases in your meta data.

If your video is about “How blood flows through the heart”, don’t call the video “First heart video”.

That’s too vague. Get specific with your titles. Get detailed in your description.

And then include all relevant tags you can think of.

A great tool to help with this is TubeBuddy.

Tip 2 – Use Custom Thumbnails

90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube use custom thumbnails.

Why? Think about it.

When you do a YouTube search, you get a bunch of results. As you scroll through those results, some of the thumbnails stand out.

Custom thumbnails

Create custom thumbnails

You want to be one of those thumbnails that stand out (in a good way).

That increases the chances that people will actually click on your video.

Tip 3 – Deliver value

deliver value

Deliver value.

Do I have to say that? Maybe not, but I will.

If someone clicks to watch your video and it sucks, they will click away.

If it takes too long for you to get to the point, they’re gone.

By creating an engaging, value-filled video, you will get more people watching till the end.

In other words, you will increase the watch time.

Tip 4 – Give them EASY access to the next video

Doing this results in an increased session time. That’s the amount of time they spend watching videos in one sitting.

Here’s how you do this:

  • Create series of videos or related videos. This will make it easier for them to move from one video to the next.
  • use YouTube cards to get people from one video to other related videos.

Combine cards with verbal cues and you’ll get more people watching more videos.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Give YouTube what they want and you’ll increase your chances of success.

As you create more content, YouTube will test you out and start showing you in the search results.

Once they see that people stick around when they watch your videos, they will rank you higher.

Over time, your channel will grow in authority, and that’s exactly what you want.

So go ahead, start making videos and use those four tips. Then come back and let me know how it goes.

Resources Mentioned

  • TubeBuddy – a great tool to help with optimizing titles, descriptions, and tags.


The post How to get Noticed on YouTube – YouTube Algorithm Explained appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.


How to Make Money with Sponsored Content – with Monica Pruett

Do you think your audience is too small to start making money?

Are you curious about how you can make money with sponsored content?

In this interview, Monica Pruett shares a step by step plan for pitching, landing and creating awesome sponsored content.


Listen to the Episode:

About Monica Pruett

Monica Pruett

Monica Pruett, owner of The 6-Figure Blog

Monica Pruett, the founder of She shares encouraging posts for moms, easy recipes, preschool tools and ideas for family fun.

In 12 months, Monica pitched, landed and created 100 sponsored blog posts. This generated over $22,000 in income for her blog.

She started with only 5,000 subscribers and 25,000 page views. By the end of that year, she grew her blog to over 60,000 pageviews and 15,000 subscribers.

Now Monica teachers other bloggers how pitch, land, and create awesome sponsored content. She does this in her e-course – “9 Essential Steps to Rock Sponsored Posts” on her website

Click here to get her free guide

9 Essential Steps to ROCK Sponsored Posts

Monica’s 9 explains the steps using the following acronym: R.E.A.D. P.A.I.N.T.

Here are the steps:

R – Research

To be successful with sponsored content, you first have to do your research.

Google AnalyticsYou also need to know and understand your audience and what they are looking for.

A great place to start getting that insight is by digging into Google Analytics. By doing so, you can understand get a better understanding of:

  • What landing pages your audience is going to.
  • How they are leaving your blog.
  • Their demographic makeup

Monica also recommends doing a SWOT analysis. This will help you look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and Threats for you, your audience and the brands that you want to work with.

You want your sponsored content to be beneficial for your audience, the brands you work with, and your business.

E – Equipment

Investing in good equipment is a great way to create the kind of content brands look for.

If your images are mediocre, it will be harder to get brands to work with you.

Monica uses and recommends the Canon T6S. It has a flip screen and you can focus on the object with the touch of a finger.

This will save a lot of time in editing. Do what you need to do to save time.

A – Avatar

Create a well-defined avatar of your ideal reader/customer.

Create avatar

A well-defined avatar allows you to talk to the brand and say that you know your audience.

Use Google analytics to find out some demographic info. To take it to the next level, do a survey.

Even better, call up people who take your survey and ask them probing questions. What do they love about your blog? What challenges are they facing?

By having a well-defined avatar, you are also able to talk to the brand and say that you know your audience. The more you know, the more value that provides them.

It shows them that you are serious about your community.

D – Develop

Before you write your pitch, you need to develop an idea.

Develop an idea

Develop an idea

What experience do you want your audience to have? What do you want to showcase about the product?

Why would you recommend it to a friend? What is the USP of the product?

Do some more research on the product and see how it works.

It’s not just about you or the product. It’s about your audience.

P – Pitch

It’s time to pitch the brand. Make sure to include:

  • Pitch the Brand

    Pitch the Brand

    Let the brand know that you love their product/service. Tell them why you like what they do and what makes them special to you. Another thing you can do is what Monica calls “Having a party and inviting the brand”. In other words, create content around what they do and show them how much your audience enjoyed it.

  • Why you make a good fit? You did your research. Now it’s time to tell them how you and your blog fit into what they are trying to do.
  • Why your audience will love the idea. This works best if you have past posts about their product/service that did well with your audience. If you don’t have that kind of content, share from what you know about your audience.
  • When you think the post should go live (especially if it’s seasonal). If it’s seasonal, pitch way in advance (like 3 to 6 months).
  • Please respond by this particular date. If they don’t respond, you can follow up a week or so later.

Don’t get into pricing yet until you start to collaborate.

A – Audience appeal

Once you’ve won the pitch, it’s time to deliver on what you say you’re going to do.

Drive Audience Appeal

Drive Audience Appeal with giveaways, coupons, discounts, etc.

They will often have objectives. Ask them what those are.

Here are a few ideas of things that can help drive audience appeal:

  • Giveaways
  • Coupons
  • Printables
  • Stunning Photos
  • Good tips
  • Storytelling

These are the most popular (and easy) things to do that can increase your audience’s engagement.

Spread the word

Inform, share, and get the word out there about the post.

I – Inform

Now that you’ve created the content, it’s time to go crazy with sharing it. Do whatever you can to get the word out there about the post.

Monica recommends joining a few blogger groups to connect with other bloggers. These are key relationships that can help when it’s time to get the word out about your content.

Help others and you’ll find people who will want to share your content.


Connect with other bloggers and network.

N – Network

This goes beyond the sponsored content you create. Relationships are the key to taking your blog and business to the next level.

Go to conferences, meetups etc. Connect with other bloggers in your niche in person. Make friends. Network with brands.

This will not only expand your reach over time, but will also open up all kinds of opportunities.

T – Transform

If you do all the steps mentioned this far over and over again, be prepared for transformation.

Your audience will grow. Your opportunities will expand. And you will take your blog to the next level.

In Conclusion

9 Essential Steps to ROCK Sponsored Posts

9 Essential Steps to ROCK Sponsored Posts

It’s fascinating to see how Monica transformed her business using sponsored content.

And she outlined the steps very strategic way that anyone can follow.

If you want to experience what she experienced, I want to encourage you to TAKE ACTION!

You can start by downloading her 9 Step Guide to Rock Sponsored posts.

This will help you implement the steps she went through in this interview.

And be sure to listen to the interview. She shares a lot more that’s not covered in this post.


Resources Mentioned


The post How to Make Money with Sponsored Content – with Monica Pruett appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.


How to Plan Your YouTube Video Content

Do you ever struggle to come up with YouTube Video ideas?

In this video, I’ll share with you a step by step strategy for planning your YouTube Video content

Background Info

There are a few reasons why creating consistent content on YouTube is a great idea. Here are two:

  1. search engine YouTube

    YouTube is the second largest search engine, next to Google.

    YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. It’s second only to Google, which owns YouTube. People go there to search for all kinds of stuff.

  2. Unlike with Facebook video, your content can work for you for a very long time. Videos you made ten years ago can send you lots of traffic even today.

If you can create the right kind of content for your audience, it will be easier for people to find you.

Unfortunately, many people struggle to come up with ideas for videos. Why? Because they have no plan.

So, let’s create a plan.

Step 1. Do a brain dump of topic ideas

Brainstorm ideas

Step 1. Do a brain dump of topic ideas

Let’s start by making a quick list of 30-50+ content ideas.

If you understand who you’re trying to target, it shouldn’t be difficult to do this. The problem is that most people overthink this process.

Don’t do that.

Instead, throw stuff out there. Here are a few questions that can help prompt some of those ideas:

  • What is your target audience searching for? Remember – YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. You want to position yourself for people to find your content.
  • What is your target audience struggling with? This is a BIG one. When I’m struggling to figure something out, YouTube is one of the first places I go to find an answer. The same is true for your audience.
  • What sequence makes the most sense? This is one that most YouTubers don’t think about. If you create your videos in a logical sequence, it’s easier to get the viewer to go from one video to the next video. This increases the session time and helps your rankings.
  • What topics are trending? Talking about trending topics is a fantastic way to get yourself on your audience’s radar. If it’s trending, more people are searching for it. Ride that wave.

By thinking through these things, you’ll be able to come up with that list of 30-50+ ideas pretty.

Remember – don’t overthink it!

Step 2: Optimize Your Titles, Descriptions, and Tags

Do keyword search

Do keyword search

It’s time to refine your topics and come up with titles, descriptions and tags.

Do this in groups of 3 – 5 topics.

One of the best ways to do this is by doing some basic keyword research.

Don’t tune out quite yet. We’re going to keep it simple.

There are three tools you can use to help you with this process.

  • Google Keyword Planner. This is Google’s own tool for finding out how often people are searching for topics. It also shows you how competitive a keyword phrase is and gives you other topic ideas. The great thing is that this is data-based. No guessing involved.
  • YouTube’s built-in search. Go to YouTube and start typing something to search for. What you’ll notice is that it will autosuggest topics based on what you type. This will give you an idea of what people are actually searching for on YouTube.
  • TubeBuddy (my favorite). This is an advance tool that is for YouTube research and planning.

Using any of these tools can help you refine your titles, descriptions and tags. They can also help you come up with more ideas (in case you didn’t get enough in step 1).

Step 3: Create Your Outline

create outline

Plan what you’re going to say.

Have you ever searched for a topic on YouTube only to find a video where the creator rambles?

Instead of getting to the point and delivering value, he/she goes on and on?

DON’T be that guy/gal.

Plan what you’re going to say and say it.

Nothing more, nothing less.

An outline will help you do that.

Let’s wrap this up

You have the steps and that’s just the beginning. Now it’s time to start planning your content.

What are you waiting for. Go do it!

 Resources Mentioned


Plan YouTube Content

How to Plan Your YouTube Video Content

The post How to Plan Your YouTube Video Content appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.


8 Old-School Blogging Tactics That No Longer Work

You feel misguided.

When you started your blog, you thought you could just follow in the footsteps of your favorite blogger, right? Just publish great content and maybe spend some time on social media and you thought the readers would come.

But in reality, you find yourself grinding.

You stay up late after your 9-5 to write articles. You hustle for every single visitor. And you feel as if you’re spinning your wheels in a rut, not getting anywhere with your blog.

You wonder if it’s your writing. You wonder if it’s your topic. You wonder if maybe blogging just doesn’t work anymore.

But I have good news for you:

It’s not blogging that doesn’t work anymore. It’s these old-school blogging tactics that somehow still pop up online as effective methods of growing your blog.

Instead of throwing in the towel on blogging completely, throw in the towel on these outdated strategies and start upping your game (and your traffic) with what works today.

Tactic #1: Hoping “Great Content” Will Save Your Sorry Ass

You’ve been told that “content is king” and “if you build it, they will come.”

So you’ve spent countless hours building a hub of awesome content on your topic, and you just know it’s what your target audience is looking for.

Once upon a time, that might’ve been enough. People would’ve found you and spread the word about you.

But these days, everyone is writing amazing content. There are hordes of carefully crafted, ruthlessly researched, expertly written blog posts on every topic.

Readers won’t come looking for you. You need to go looking for them. You can’t do that if all you do is write, write, write.

What to Do Instead

Instead of spending all your time writing and publishing content, you need to spend more time getting that content in front of readers.

In fact, Derek Halpern suggests you should only spend 20% of your time creating great content, and 80% of your time promoting it.

So build relationships with influencers. Develop an outreach strategy to get links and shares. Repurpose your articles for maximum exposure.  

If you don’t, it won’t matter how amazing your content is; you’ll keep struggling to build an audience.

Tactic #2: Guest Blogging on Huge Media Sites for Traffic

It was July 2015, and I was so excited.

I had only launched Unsettle six months prior and Huffington Post accepted me as a contributor.

So I got to work. I researched Huffington Post’s business section to find the perfect topic. I stayed up late to write an article that I thought would resonate. Then I logged into my contributor dashboard, loaded the article, and pressed “publish.”

The next morning, I woke up early, excited to check my stats, and … crickets. I saw maybe 20 visitors from the article I’d worked so hard to write.

What happened?

The problem is that these huge media publications keep on growing in size and staff. And the more they grow, the less chance you have of drawing significant traffic from them. After all, it’s much harder to stand out when they publish thirty or more posts alongside yours.

Sure, if they happen to feature your post prominently on their front page, you may go viral and draw more traffic than you can handle. But you’re more likely to lose the traffic lottery than win it.

When it comes to guest blogging, you have much more reliable options.

What to Do Instead

Guest blogging is still hugely beneficial for bringing in traffic, email subscribers, and social proof.

But instead of targeting huge media sites like Huffington Post, you should target more specific, topic-based blogs. For example,if you’re a finance blogger, instead of guest blogging on MSN Money, you would target Budgets Are Sexy or The Penny Hoarder.

These blogs usually have large, engaged audiences specific to your topic.

Also, these kinds of blogs are often run by a single influencer. Guest blogging for them will help build your relationship, which can lead to them sharing your posts in the future. (This could end up sending you more traffic than the guest post itself.)

As for those huge media sites, the only reason to write for them is if you’d like to add your logo to your “featured on” list. You may not get a ton of traffic, but having written for these big websites does lend you credibility in the minds of many readers.

Tactic #3: Asking Readers to “Subscribe for Free Updates.” (Is It 2009?)

Listen, you can no longer expect people to give you their email in return for “free updates” or your “free newsletter.”

Subscribe for free updates

Yes, you’re supposed to grow your email list, but if you’re asking for emails without giving anything in return, you’re ignoring an important psychological societal norm: reciprocity.

This tactic may have worked in the past, but everybody knows the power of email marketing today, so every blog, website, and shop is vying for your visitor’s email address. You’ll see pathetic opt-in rates if you’re not offering anything concrete.

What to Do Instead

Instead of just asking outright for email addresses and hoping your readers are generous enough to cough them up, you need to give them something valuable in return.

That means creating an opt-in offer your visitors can’t refuse.

An opt-in offer is a free resource you provide related to your topic that you give away in exchange for an email address to incentivize email subscriptions (and rapidly grow your email list).

With the right opt-in offer, you’ll see your subscription rate go from a measly 1%–2% to an encouraging 5% or more.

Tactic #4: Trying to Build an Ad-Driven Media Empire

Back before the days of affiliate marketing and product creation, there were the days of advertising — one of the only ways bloggers of yesteryear could begin to monetize.

The idea was that you’d build a huge site with lots of pages ranking in Google, slap ads on them, and you’d see profit.

Now, even back in the day, the gains you’d get from ads were modest. Even then, you’d need a whole lot of people clicking your ads to make a decent living. But if you had enough pages ranking for profitable keywords, you could make it work.

These days, it’s even harder than it was before. Not only do you face a lot more competition, but most people have developed “banner blindness,” which means they pay so little attention to the ads on a page that they don’t even notice them.

Advertising is an ineffective (and unprofitable) means of monetizing your blog. Fortunately, you have much better options.

What to Do Instead

Blogging is more of a viable career than ever before.

But now, instead of relying on tacky display ads to earn you pennies for the hard work you do, you can earn much more by creating products, offering services, or selling online resources and courses.

Turn toward treating your blog as an actual business, and away from scammy monetization practices like advertising.

Tactic #5: Lurking in Comments Sections Looking for Traffic

Back in the day, the way to guarantee traffic was to leave comments on articles posted on other blogs in your niche.

If you left your comments in enough places, they could bring you significant amount of traffic. You’d just leave a link in the URL section of your comment, and wait for the traffic to roll in.

Why do you think you still see so much spam in comment sections? Because this used to work like gangbusters.

But now this no longer works. Nobody has time to comb through the comments section of an article and click the links to see if commenters have a blog they might want to follow.

What to Do Instead

Commenting on other people’s blogs is still an effective way to build relationships with other bloggers. If you connect with other bloggers in their comment sections enough, they learn your name and will recognize you.

Then, if you want to send them a pitch, or a link or share request, they will already have warmed to you. They will be a lot more receptive.

Of course, leaving half-hearted comments (“Nice article!” “I totally agree with your fifth point!”) isn’t the way to do it. You’ll actually have to read their articles and share which insights you gained from it, and if you have any additional ones to offer, mention those too. (Just make sure you don’t outright contradict them, if you want to build up your relationship with them.)

You want to be more like this:

Leave insightful comments

Tactic #6: Writing Y.A.R.P (Yet Another Roundup Post)

It seems as if every time you open your browser, you see another headline like this:

“32 Productivity Experts Reveal Their Morning Routines!”

This type of post is called a roundup post, where the blogger has reached out to several influencers and bloggers, asking them the same question to use their answers in an article.

This used to be an excellent strategy for getting your blog on the map. The influencers who contributed would get a backlink and a feature on your blog, and in turn they’d share the article with their social media followers.

But because they worked so well, everybody started doing them. So influencers’ inboxes are now flooded with the same old roundup questions from everybody and their dog. If they even respond with an answer (because a link is a link), they’re far less likely to share it today.

What to Do Instead

Featuring influencers in your niche is still a good way to put your blog on the map. Instead of asking a generic question and making a list post out of the answers, you can take one of two other approaches:

  1. Using influencers as case-study-style examples (without bothering them for their input). This is what I did with my Buffer guest post that ended up being one of the top pieces of content on the Buffer blog that year.
  2. Getting extremely creative and interesting with your question. Instead of just asking what the influencer’s favorite superfood is, get more creative to capture their interest and rise above the rest of the roundup questions in their inboxes. Bonus: this also appeals to more readers.

Both of these options allow you to reap the benefits of a roundup post without ending up on influencers’ hit lists (or being completely ignored).  

Tactic #7: Writing for Rankings (Rather Than Readers)

Not that long ago, bloggers could “game” the search engines.

You could write short, keyword-rich articles for your blog and actually rank. The more content you published, the more keywords you had the opportunity to rank for.

In fact, I wrote a blog called Suburban Finance, and because I wrote several articles about buying a house, I ranked in the top 50 for the search term “house.”

True story.

But since then, Google’s algorithm has become much more savvy.

See, Google’s business model relies on its users getting the search results they want — relevant, valuable content about whatever topic they’re searching for. So instead of valuing content based on quantity, Google uses measures of quality.

That means that it looks at factors like:

  • Dwell time” (how long a user will spend on the page)
  • Bounce rate (the percentage of users who leave your site after visiting one page)
  • Content richness (the length and depth of the search result)

These factors all show Google (and other search engines, not that they matter) that the result they displayed to their user was relevant and valuable.

What to Do Instead

Cranking out five 300-word blog posts per week so you can rank does not lead to relevant or valuable content.

Instead of becoming a content mill, hoping to rank for keywords, focus on creating quality content for the keywords you’re looking to rank for.

You must write for people. And people are looking for answers. When you write detailed, long-form content, it is more likely to have the answers they seek.

Tactic #8: Being a “Jack” of All Social Platforms (Instead of a Master of One)

It used to be standard practice to have a social media presence on every platform possible to cover your bases. But that’s no longer effective.

With the introduction of algorithms for many social platforms, your posts reach fewer of your followers than ever before, so blasting your blog posts to every social media platform won’t bring you much traffic at all.

If you have 1,000 likes and follows on your Facebook page, that used to mean you promote your blog posts in front of most of those followers, but now only 6% (and often far less) of your fans will even see your posts in their newsfeeds.

Facebook newsfeed
Facebook reach

Facebook isn’t the only social platform that has taken this approach. Instagram is the latest platform to follow suit.

To get your posts in front of more people on these platforms, you need to drum up engagement so the platform trusts that your followers want to see your posts.

But that’s nearly impossible to do unless you know the platform intimately and build up a strong presence. And it’s tough to do so if you are spreading yourself across every social network out there.

What to Do Instead

Focus on just one social media platform and promote your articles more heavily.

The only way to get more people to see and like your posts on social media  is to develop a deeper understanding of each platform and post on a regular basis so you can conquer those prohibitive algorithms.

How regularly?

CoSchedule says that it depends on the social platform, but here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Post to Facebook 1–2 times per day
  • Tweet 15 times per day
  • Instagram 2–3 times per day

Develop a deeper, more intimate knowledge of the social platform to truly benefit from social media marketing.

Wake Up and Ditch the Outdated Blogging Advice  

I bet you’ve thought it.

I know I have.

“If only I’d started sooner.”

You know, back when professional blogging wasn’t so popular. Back when the blogosphere wasn’t more competitive than the restaurant industry. Back when all you had to do to get traffic was post on Facebook every time you published a new post.

It’s tempting to write blogging off as one of those things you had to start back before it became popular.

But I have good news …

You can still make in the blogosphere. You just have to ditch the old-school blogging tactics that no longer work and lean into the new strategies.

And sit back and watch the traffic, readers, and subscribers roll in.

About the Author: Sarah Peterson writes insanely useful guides on marketing and entrepreneurship at  Get her report, 10 Free Tools That Reveal the Product Your Audience Is Begging For to finally start making money from your blog… the right way.