Get ready to unlock the secrets of starting a successful YouTube channel as we chat with Katie Steckley, a social media pro who turned her hobby into a thriving full-time career. From growing her subscriber base to navigating the ever-changing world of YouTube algorithms, Katie has learned lessons that are invaluable for anyone looking to start their own channel, be it travel, family, or anything in between.
Join us as we dive into the nitty-gritty of content creation, exploring the differences between educational and travel vlogs, the impact of short-form content, and finding the perfect balance between catering to the algorithm and keeping your creative spirit alive. Katie also shares her personal experience overcoming burnout, the importance of taking breaks for mental health, and the pressures of YouTube contracts and sponsorships.
As we wrap up, we'll cover essential gear and tech recommendations for starting your YouTube journey, and discuss the significance of community interaction and personal satisfaction in creating content. With Katie's insights and advice, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the exciting world of YouTube and make your mark on the platform. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to learn from a true YouTube expert!
Katie's camera: Sony ZV-1
Katie's camera microphone: Rode VideoMicro
Chris and Sara's camera: Sony A7Siii
Youtube (tech and social media): https://www.youtube.com/katie
Youtube (travel channel): https://www.youtube.com/@KatieandDan
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katiesteckly/ (@katiesteckly)
Call or text us a question or comment: +1 (423) 825-9572
Get inspired by world travelers Chris and Sara with "What No One Tells You," their conversational podcast. Each episode is a fun chat with friends sharing personal experiences, insider tips, and riveting stories. The show is elevated by amazing guests from Youtubers, ultra marathoners, bloggers, and adventurers who bring their unique energy and perspectives to the table. With Chris and Sara, you're sure to feel a part of the group, ready to embark on a new adventure. Explore the world one story at a time and join the conversation today.
Hey y'all! We're Chris + Sara (or as you know us, Let’s Be Us), a husband and wife digital nomad travel duo currently working and traveling full time with our pup, Kramer. We've always dreamed of traveling full time, and in May of 2018 we took the leap and made it happen! Today we're balancing work and fun everywhere between the Pacific and Atlantic. From hiking and cycling to tacos and coffee, we're trying to see and experience as much of this world as we can! While our home is currently on wheels in our DIY Sprinter van, our travels take us all around the world.Be sure to hit subscribe here on Youtube and follow along on Instagram for more daily fun! Oh, and be sure to say hi while you're here. :)
NOTE: There were 3 speakers identified in this transcript. Podium recommends using "Find and Replace" to change the speaker label to the appropriate name. Speaker separation errors can arise when multiple speakers speak simultaneously.
0:00:00 - Sara
Today is a fun one.
0:00:01 - Chris
Today is a fun one because we get to talk about one of my favorite topics of all time.
0:00:05 - Sara
You like to geek out about this a little bit?
0:00:06 - Chris
I love to geek out about YouTube. Love it.
0:00:09 - Sara
YouTube's a science. Yeah, it's fun and it's a fun way to be creative, but it's also it's an algorithm And I think that it's. it's enticing to figure out, like, what works and what doesn't. Chris loves that. I don't love it, but he loves it. So today we have a fun guest. Her name is Katie Steckley and she's one of our newer friends. We met her at Sony Camera Camp, actually back in March. Katie is YouTube social media pro. She knows everything about social media. We know this is a travel podcast, but there is a rhyme and a reason to why we're having her on.
0:00:35 - Chris
She doesn't just tell you how to grow your YouTube and Instagram, all of that jazz. She actually travels by van too.
0:00:42 - Sara
We really wanted to have her on the podcast because a lot of people do ask how do I start a YouTube channel? They want to do a travel channel, or maybe they just want to know how to start a channel, or to how to film and document, because they want to record their family's memories and they're going to release to the world. And so we want to have Katie on, because Katie knows it really well And Katie knows what it's like to be a traveler and to use these skills And so she's going to share with us her YouTube insight. So if you're just curious about, like, what happens behind the scenes on YouTube or Instagram or any of that kind of stuff, katie is a wealth of knowledge on all things camera reviews, tech reviews, social media strategies, everything over on her channel. But today, specifically, she's going to talk with us about starting a YouTube channel, because I feel like that is the most asked question we get on our channel.
0:01:23 - Chris
So people want to know what to do. People want to know how do you do this, how can you travel and put it on YouTube And Katie really dives into that and kind of good the best practices, but also some things that you may not hear anywhere else. All right, so let's just get into it.
Katie, i'm so excited that you're here because, one, we met you just a few weeks ago at Sony Camp, and that was a lot of fun, but, two, we're going to be talking about a topic that I love talking about a lot, and that's YouTube and all things considered, So thank you for being here.
0:02:00 - Katie Steckly
Thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited to chat with you guys.
0:02:04 - Sara
Yeah, you are a YouTube expert. Besides running two YouTube channels of your own, one of those channels is teaching others about social media and a lot about YouTube, so I feel like you are the perfect guest to have on here to talk about, like learning to start a YouTube channel.
0:02:20 - Chris
Yeah, people ask us all the time. They're like how do you start a YouTube? do all this, and we're like we're the worst examples that they should be asking. Yeah, we didn't do it the normal way, the conventional way, Yeah so tell us your story Like how did you get on YouTube, What do you do All that good stuff?
0:02:34 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, so I started my current YouTube channel back in the olden days of 2011. So I was actually on YouTube a little bit before then, but my current channel I started in 2011. So I was like kind of an awkward, like preteen at that time And I kind of originally just got started because I was watching a lot of YouTube and kind of pursuing my like nerdy interests through finding like a community online. So I grew up in a really small town, kind of rural area and some of the interests that I had I didn't really have friends at school that wanted to like nerd out with me about like Harry Potter and stuff like that. So I started making YouTube videos as a way to kind of express those interests and, yeah, watch videos from other people on similar topics. So that's really what originally got me into it. And then from there I just kind of kept making videos about whatever I was interested in throughout high school and university. So I was making vlogs and complaining about math class and just all those teenage things. Like whatever I kind of cared about at the time, i would make YouTube videos about it. So I did that through high school and university And during that time YouTube also changed a lot. So I kind of started to see a lot of creators start to go from just doing it as a hobby to having this as a career. So I kind of realized like, oh, this is something that you can do and like make money off of it. Like that seems really, you know, aspirational to me and because I always love doing it for fun. So as I got into university and I started like doing internships and seeing what the 9 to 5 life could potentially look like, it just inspired me even more to pursue YouTube and try to turn that into a career.
And by the time I graduated from university, the full time YouTuber like was well established as like a potential career path online. So I was like, okay, this is what I want to do. But I kind of ran into a problem which was I didn't have that many subscribers When I graduated. I only had like I want to say like 1500 YouTube subscribers or something. So I knew that wasn't going to be enough for me to start getting a ton of brand deals and like make a full time income off of it.
And so at that point I was like, okay, how can I do this kind of YouTube thing without actually having a big audience Like, how can I turn that into a job? And so that's when I started experimenting with freelancing. So I started making videos for local businesses. I would like film home tours for, like real estate agents. I shot weddings, basically anything that, like somebody would pay me to do. If I use my camera, i would do it. And so that's how I got into like, the world of creative freelancing, which has now eventually grown to my agency.
And then during that time, my YouTube channel started to grow further. So I kind of realized like, oh, what's been the common theme and everything that I've done on YouTube? I always started to kind of find my niche And I realized like, oh, what I'm really passionate about is just creating and like helping other people express themselves creatively through, you know, online media. So then I started making videos on my main channel about, like, how to grow on Instagram and Instagram story hacks and that kind of thing, and that's really when my channels are to grow. And then that eventually turned into the income stream that it is now with brand deals and everything else associated with it.
So that's kind of my career in a nutshell. I started out as a very nerdy, cringy teenager and I'm still a little bit nerdy and cringy, but you know, now I get paid to do it.
0:06:00 - Sara
So love it. You said something I wanted to ask about That was going to be my next question, actually And you said on your main YouTube channel So people may know you from your more information based channel, but you also have a vlog channel, so can you differentiate between the two?
0:06:14 - Katie Steckly
Yeah for sure. So what I refer to as my main channel is just yeah, it's Katie Steclis, so youtubecom slash Katie and that's where I share my social media tips And that's my main like income source. But in 2020, i actually started a vlog channel and it's called Katie and Dan in a van, because my husband's name is Dan And we bought and converted a Ram pro master into a camper van in the fall of 2020. And that was just a dream of mine for a long time And I was like I want to document this And I always had kind of aspirations to be a travel vlogger back in the day. I mean, like who hasn't dreamt of that at one point, i think?
0:06:51 - Chris
0:06:52 - Sara
So that's kind of me pursuing that Yeah. I always forget that you have a van Like I know you're travel, chilling everything, and then every time we see you I'm like, oh yeah, she's a van lifer too. We just have so many van lifers in our community. No, so I love it.
0:07:04 - Chris
People are probably listening because they they want to start a youtube channel, or maybe they already have one and they're trying to grow it. They're trying to get to where you're at, like you know you've got money, like a living associated with what you're publishing. So I'm assuming make correct me if I'm wrong I'm assuming that the main channel that you're teaching people how to do it, that's the main channel. That's where you're making the most money. But then your travel vlogs that you're traveling around Is that still making like income for you? Is that like? what does that look like in this structure?
0:07:35 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, so it's interesting that you ask, because actually just last week my vlog channel got monetized. Yeah, that's very exciting.
0:07:42 - Chris
0:07:44 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, thank you. That's a recent development for me. So yeah, for context, for anybody listening, my main channel has 200,000 subscribers and Katie and Dan in a van just has recently surpassed 1500 subscribers, so it's like a little baby channel. But it's just been monetized. I think we've made like $15 off of it so far, so feeling good about that.
0:08:05 - Sara
That's a burrito somewhere. Yeah, thank you.
0:08:08 - Katie Steckly
So yeah, it's definitely. I mean, i started it as something just to do for fun And I kind of got to the point where for so long my YouTube channel like back when I was a student was a hobby, like something that I did for fun, and then, when it became my job, obviously there's different pressures associated with that And you kind of feel the need to watch the analytics a bit closer and follow what the audience demand is and obviously create stuff that's compatible with, like brand sponsorship And I feel like super, super grateful to be able to create YouTube content on that scale. But I was kind of missing, like what about just making vlogs for fun? that, like you know, doesn't really matter. You know how it performs. So that was kind of part of my original intention with the vlog channel and being able to share our travels with our family back home. But it is very exciting that it's growing into a little bit of a side business, i guess.
0:08:57 - Sara
Yeah, and I want to ask about them. So is there a different? do you take different strategies for both of the channels, cause I know they're very different in content? Is it like one's experimental for you You kind of like test ideas and then one's consistent, like what does that look like running two different channels?
0:09:10 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i definitely have different approaches for them. So, for my main like educational channel, i really try to focus on kind of FAQs or like going based on what I'm hearing from my audience and even going on struggles that I've had as a creator and like how I've overcome them. So, yeah, it's very much you know how to a little bit tutorial, but also, yeah, strategies that I've learned and I'm kind of trying to share with others to make their creator journey a little bit easier. So that's kind of how I think about developing content for my main channel.
Then, when it comes to the travel vlog channel, at first it was totally like there's no strategy. It was just like, oh, let's pick up the camera and film to show you know our family, what we're up to while we're traveling in our van. But more recently we kind of got more excited about like how can we like really tell a story and make something that would be worth watching, even if you had no idea who we were? So we started kind of developing like, okay, we're going to go to like whatever city and let's say, like Valencia, spain or whatever is one of our recent vlogs, and you know, then we ask ourselves, like what is interesting about Valencia, like what kind of story can we tell there? What would the title and thumbnail be? And then we try to keep that in the back of our minds as we're, like you know, going around and vlogging our experience of the place.
So yeah, it's definitely two very different approaches, because I don't know when you're, when you're creating something that's just educational, it's very much like, okay, i've got the title and thumbnail and like I write a script based on that, like I know exactly how the video is going to play out before I ever start filming. But from the vlog side of things, i try to put a story to it ahead of time so that it can be more structured and a little bit more intentional. But ultimately you can't predict what your experience is going to be or what's going to happen, so you kind of have to figure out some of that after the fact. So it's a balance of pre-production and, you know, just going with the flow in the moment.
0:11:03 - Chris
We know that well, we know that very well.
0:11:06 - Sara
So many times we go with an idea and then just get scrapped because the experience is nothing like we think. But that's part of the fun in YouTube is just that's the creation process when you're doing travel.
0:11:15 - Chris
But well, and that's why we got excited about doing a podcast, because we're like, oh, now we can actually. We feel like we can actually plan and like move forward. I'm like this is how normal people create things like different genres of people. Yeah, so I mean yeah the whole travel vlog is I mean it's all dependent on what you experience to? because if it's not, happening then?
0:11:37 - Sara
yeah, different challenges with each one, but for growth especially. but that's kind of one of my next questions is okay, so we're in 2023. YouTube is. I think social media in general is going through a lot of change, but YouTube in general is going through a lot of change and has been for the last year or two with short form content, and I think when people are looking at content creation right now and trying to start a channel, i know what I keep hearing over and over is do short form content. You have to be doing YouTube shorts right now. So you, as a professional on the side, what is your? what are your thoughts on short form content? Is it a must? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you do because you have to do it? What do you think about it?
0:12:13 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i feel like this is an area where my like thoughts are continuing to evolve, because I think going into the beginning of the year, i was very much sold on like yeah, it's all about shorts, like I'm going to really blow up my YouTube channel by posting a lot of shorts, and I think what I've come to realize over the past couple of months is that I really get the vibe that somehow kind of like on this like invisible back end of YouTube, you almost have like a different subscriber count for your shorts versus for your main content.
Like I know they've they've made changes and they've like said this publicly that the two algorithms are kind of more interconnected. So people who see your shorts will ultimately get your long-form stuff in their home page and then they're recommended. But at the same time, in my own experience and I've heard this from other people too I don't know how much crossover there truly is. Like I feel like you see channels that are like super, super successful With short form and then they kind of post their long-form video and it's like Where are all the viewers? and vice versa. So, like for me, i've been posting long form obviously for a long time And I see like a certain level of performance with that, but then with my short form content I would be happy to like get the same number of views that like my worst performing long Video gets.
0:13:26 - Sara
You know what I mean.
0:13:27 - Katie Steckly
So it's like there's a whole different bar for success, at least on my channel. But I think a lot of other experience, others experiences too that you can't expect to have the same results From your shorts that you do from your long form. Now I don't think that means that it's like not worth pursuing short form content If it's something you're excited about and you think that your audience is going to like, but I don't think that it's a hundred percent Like the exact same audience is going to see both. I think there is kind of a difference there.
0:13:52 - Sara
Yeah, I agree with that completely one hundred percent.
We've seen a lot of people and especially in our niche to travel. Some people are just killing it with shorts And you can tell that that is their bread and butter. And, yes, you can see the numbers translate to some of their, their long form videos. But it seems like that that's really where their audience, their sub numbers, coming from is those shorts. So I, but you can tell like the long form they're struggling with. And then vice versa, we're seeing a lot of people who have been making long form content videos for years and their shorts like they just cannot get that momentum. And I don't I'm like you. I kind of feel like there is Maybe you're like you too conspiracy where we think like there is that secret number on the back and like they are separating them out. But it definitely feels like that because it I don't know I mean, i don't know what are your thoughts on this? like I, it's frustrating because I don't feel like we fully. Yeah, it's frustrating.
0:14:38 - Chris
And then it's, it's very, because, even from a creating standpoint, you know, we, we create long form content, and that's kind of how our mindset is. And then You know, creating short form content, i'm like, okay, it's a different part of the brain, and so you try to trick your brain into creating something flashy and snappy and really fast and, and Sometimes it goes against every gut feeling that you have. You're like I don't like this, but maybe somebody else will, and And then you do it, and then it spikes and then it's just dead and you're like well, that was a lot of work for 200 views. You know, it just wasn't a lot. Yeah, i feel like people get caught up in it and in shorts like even us, you know, because we It recently it's just been pounded in our heads everywhere on social media You have to do reels, you have to do short, you have to do all of the short form content and I feel like it's Ness, it's like a necessary evil, but it I don't even know where I'm going with this.
0:15:32 - Sara
I think I mean I don't know I don't correct me for wrong because, key, You know more about this like you study this stuff all the time and half the time Chris and I just throw and stuff stuff at the wall and hoping that it sticks, but It feels like short form content for me. You're, chris, is right like we don't think that way. We're getting better about making our brains think that way. It's like a whole nother muscle We have to flex. But for me, as a long-form creator, i feel like I'm usually writing novels or something and now I'm being forced to make like a short story And I just it's not quite the same form of creation. Like I, it's totally. I don't want to say it's not video creating, but it's a totally different kind of video creating like I. It almost feels like I personally wish YouTube had pulled them apart, but that's not the topic of this conversation.
We can't get you advice for working with YouTube, but for me it's a. It's a weird thing We're being told to do.
0:16:18 - Chris
Yeah, so if we were, if we were starting out, i mean, what is that what you would recommend? Would you recommend somebody starting out? Just do shorts or do long? I mean, do do everything like what I mean. What do you think?
0:16:29 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i think, like what you guys are getting at is a really, really good point about how it really is a different creative process Entirely to create short form video versus long-form video, and that's why it is very interesting to me that They are kind of like blended together both on YouTube, i mean, i I personally feel like shorts was just created because YouTube was like, oh my gosh, we got to get on this like vertical short form thing. Everybody else is doing it, so we have to. So I don't necessarily think it was like the most well thought out platform ever, because it is such a different vibe like the idea of like tick-tock is so different than And traditionally, youtube has been. So I kind of feel like I Don't know. I think that there are some really successful hybrid creators, but I also think that for somebody totally starting out, they should, you know, lean towards whatever you feel most Passionate about.
So if you feel like you really love watching tick-tock and that's kind of your main Platform where you consume content and you think you'd be good at making tick-tocks, then maybe lean into the short form stuff and just really pursue that and not necessarily pressure yourself to do both like right off The hop, because I do think it is like a really different Muscle and I think for a long time I was struggling to figure out. You know How can I do both? I'm used to making longer videos. How do I do this whole, you know, tick-tock or reels or shorts thing, and especially because originally tick-tock was so Trends oriented and it still is to some extent and reels as well, but I was trying to, like, force my niche to fit into. It's kind of like, you know, a square peg and a round hole or whatever.
It's like how do I make my content fit into this whole like trendy, like doing dances kind of thing, and I did that for a while and you know, whatever I throw myself wholeheartedly into whatever challenge. But it's like a little bit awkward, didn't fully fit until Recently, like the end of last year. In the beginning of this year, i kind of experimented with just essentially making shorter YouTube videos but filming them vertically. That's kind of how I started thinking about it and that's been very Successful for me on reels especially. It's been mildly successful on tick-tock, but for whatever reason on Instagram, like it's really accelerated my growth. So like I started this year with around like 35,000 Instagram followers and I just recently passed 75,000.
So that's been like unprecedented growth for me, like I had never seen that kind of growth on Instagram before, and it's just from literally taking the same vibe, same style that I make in my YouTube videos, but only, like you know, taking on a topic that would take me like a minute and a half to discuss, but like adding b-roll, adding graphics, like the same way that I would to a YouTube video, but just a lot shorter and more fast-paced. So that's worked out well for me. I feel like I probably should lean into like using those same reels and posting them on YouTube shorts as well, but I'm kind of like super suspicious and nervous about my YouTube channel, so I avoid like too crazy of experimentation, but Yeah.
So I feel like it is such a mindset thing. Ultimately, when it comes to balancing long form and short form, you kind of have to figure out what your approach is going to be for both, and I would say it's okay to, especially when you're just getting started, focus on one or the other and not, like, try to spread yourself too thin. Yeah, that's good advice.
0:19:37 - Chris
Yeah, good advice. I think a lot of people, us included, do that. We. I feel like we Like you try to get everything, you try to like meet everybody's needs, and then you're you end up not helping anybody and you're stressed out And you're like, yeah, it's just so. Focus on one thing.
0:19:53 - Sara
Focus on one thing, yeah, i just. I think, at the end of the day, though, like, we all want to grow, because, even though they're saying, like YouTube, the sub numbers become such a vanity number because, you know, people are growing crazy Sub numbers just from shorts and all the long form, people out here were like is that the same, is it really? and I don't want to say it isn't, you know, but it definitely feels different, like YouTube's changed, but we all want to grow at the end of the day. So I think we're all going to try whatever we can, but the reminder that, at the end of the day, you have to do what you're passionate about, like that's. You got to be true, to like what you want, which that may sound cheesy, but it's true.
So so true and it's not the only. I shouldn't say short form or long form, like there's not just one perfect way to grow on YouTube, which kind of leads me to my next question, which is SEO on YouTube. What are your thoughts on SEO on YouTube in 2023? Is that still a thing that we should consider?
0:20:39 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, I think that is something like so interesting to consider, because when I Originally was really growing on YouTube, it was completely an SEO based strategy. I was just like, how can I show up in search? How can I, you know, get people to find my tutorials by a search? And I think there still is some benefit to that, depending on the type of content that you make. But in my experience, i think that Sometimes if you lean too much into Search which it definitely works right, like optimizing your videos, using like titles that are going to help you show up in search, all of that kind of stuff like it does, it does let you show up in search. You know, like that, that is true.
But the problem with almost leaning too much into search traffic, i have found is that you end up kind of developing a pretty Like transactional audience rather than like what I would call a relational audience. So I personally have found that I think, like my subscriber count is pretty inflated Compared to what my actual community is, and part of that is because I've leaned so much into search traffic in the past And kind of generated viewers that came to me because they wanted to watch like one tutorial on how to make a tick talk And then didn't really care about what I was making after that. So I think that's really the danger of Really leaning hard into SEO because it can get you through the process, because it can get you that traffic. But it might just be traffic that kind of cares about watching that tutorial, like watching that travel guide, and then saying, okay, you know what, i don't care about these people, i don't need to like watch their videos anymore Because I got what I needed from it, whereas I think if you kind of lean into other discovery methods, like the home page especially, then you can kind of Build more of a relationship with people and especially if you can Bring your personality into the videos, tell a really strong story, then you can actually start to build a community, rather than My kind of approach in the past on youtube, which was just making the most concise, the most to the point tutorial possible So that I wouldn't lose anybody's attention, so I could show up and search as much as possible.
You know that does get you views and it will probably even get you subscribers, but it might not be people that are going to watch all your videos week after week. So I think that's the kind of like benefit but danger of of SEO optimization is like it can help you get further reach, but it might not necessarily be reach that converts into like a real community.
0:22:51 - Sara
That's interesting, and do you think that would vary from, like, niche to niche, because I know you're very information-based like Do you? do you think certain niches to play more into the SEO than others?
0:23:01 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i think. I do think that, like education based channels are going to have an easier time even doing SEO optimization because you know I mean travel to some extent you can, because people are searching for guides to certain locations but especially just like general lifestyle, like vloggers, i think, would have a very hard time. Even you know what would you label it that would show up and search other than your typical, like morning routine or you know, apartment tour or whatever. So I do think that SEO can be more helpful for, like, some niches, that where you can easily label it and people actually are searching for it. And then, on the other side of that same coin, some channels are probably going to have an easier time optimizing for the homepage as well, if you're kind of more story ended and you can like come up with, flash your headlines and that kind of thing. But, that being said, i think that if you get creative enough, no matter what your subject matter is, you can figure out ways to spin it in either direction.
0:23:56 - Chris
That was really good information. I kind of want to dive back into, like your, your second channel, and you said something interesting to me that you know you just wanted to make videos, you wanted to be creative, but now it's monetized and now you're you're making money. you know, and so have you as there been a stress or any anxiety or that that comes with it, of like now it's not just creating, now it's slowly becoming a business, because I mean, for us, we started off trying to create memories and doing that and now it's evolved into this, like weird, it's still our memories but we're making money and, like you know, it's everything involved. So, with your second channel, are you feeling that or have you kind of offset that with your, your main channel?
0:24:44 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i think this is going to become like a more and more like big question in my mind in the coming years.
I mean fingers crossed that the channel keeps growing.
I don't know like if it for sure will, but right now it's such a small like stream of income and like it doesn't even really compare to my you know, social media agency and my main work as a, as a creator, and then also, like my husband has a full time job. So we're not like looking at, you know, trying to make our travel channel into like a full time gig right now. It's definitely like in the back of our minds, right, wouldn't it be fun to just, you know, be able to vlog your life? I know from like hearing other people's experiences there's definitely downsides to that being like your full time thing as well. So I don't know I think it's going to be like a bit of a debate if we, if we can continue to grow the channel, if we ever would decide to make that our full time thing, because there is something really special about like not worrying too much about the views, though, that being said, like even on a small scale, it still is so exciting to see a one out of 10 in YouTube studio.
You know, even if it is only, like you know, oh, 25 views in the first 24 hours, but it's one out of 10. So, oh my gosh, that's incredible, That's great. So I feel like I can definitely feel like the sway of the, the algorithm, like you know, pulling me in already in terms of like thinking about what kind of content to make, But at the same time, it's so different from what I make on my like main, you know, social media tips channel, that it's kind of a fun, new, creative challenge. So it still does have that kind of like fun, exciting, like hobby feeling to me, even if part of that hobby is like trying to figure out what will perform on YouTube, just because it's such a different style of video than I normally make.
0:26:23 - Chris
You created a video a while ago. you were answering think media. I think think media came out with a video and said vlogs are dead And you had a response to that, and I think the mindset behind what they were saying is that YouTube has slowly transitioned from watching people live their life to now you're just kind of getting answers, and so I feel like they were persuading people. when they start a YouTube channel, like hey, you need to niche it down, and you're answering answers, you're doing all that. No one really cares about you or your life or where you go. So can you like, what are your thoughts on that? Like, if I'm starting a channel today, does it need to be like super informational or can it still have the like travel blog kind of vibe or, you know, lifestyle vibe?
0:27:08 - Katie Steckly
I feel like this is such an interesting conversation because so much of what you see of like people that do the same kind of thing as me, which is like give social media tips, like if you look up pretty much any YouTube video, that's about how to start and grow a YouTube channel, they'll be like niche down as strictly as you can like have a very narrow niche, answer FAQs, seo, optimized Like that's the main advice that a lot of people are giving And I do think that was like a quick and effective way to grow a channel, like probably like around when I started, you know, like mid to like late 2010s kind of thing. But I think that what we're starting to see now and what like I've observed in myself and also lots of other people in my niche that like grew at the same time is a lot of people get really burnt out off of doing that, off of just like week after week putting out like another how to get a thousand followers on Instagram style of video. Like it feels very tiresome after a while to just keep trying to optimize for search, keep answering those FAQs, and for a lot of us, the reason why we even started on YouTube is probably because we kind of secretly wanted to be a lifestyle vlogger. You know, like a lot of people want to be able to just share their lives and gain an audience off of that Like. I'll be honest and saying that's my initial dream, as, like, in being a YouTuber was not to make search engine friendly videos about social media strategy. You know, like I wanted to be able to be creative and kind of connect with other people that had similar interests.
I think a lot of people have that desire, but, you know, thought, oh well, if I just SEO, optimize the crap out of my channel, like I'll grow and I can make a business and whatever. But I think in like 2023, what we're starting to see is that, as you know, the homepage and like recommendations is becoming more and more significant and people who search for stuff on YouTube, they don't necessarily end up subscribing to a channel. Or even if they do subscribe, like how much does subscriptions really mean now that, like, the homepage is kind of the primary way to find content? I think that we're seeing a shift where like entertainment content and like vlog style content can still definitely help you grow. It's just not going to be in the same way that like people maybe once imagined So and I feel like we even talked about this a little bit at camera camp of like how there used to be kind of this vibe of like oh, we'll just pick up the camera and like see whatever happens, and like then you put that up as like your daily vlog, and now we're all kind of thinking ahead of time well, what's the title going to be?
What's the thumbnail going to be? Like how are we going to make a title that's like I survived for 24 hours in these conditions, or like the real truth about this city, or I went to the craziest festival on earth, like it's really conceptual now, and I think that there's a time and place for that. I think there is still, you know, some demand for just like more chill vlogs, if you want to call it that. But I guess, to wrap all this up, what I'm saying is, i do think vlogs can still be an effective way to grow, but you kind of need to layer on this extra bit of like storytelling or like sort of concept above and beyond, just like day in my life kind of thing, in order to use the homepage to grow.
0:30:10 - Sara
Yeah, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think flip side reverse of that works too. Like you need the information, but you need your personality, too, to stand out And cause, like even we. like we're like you, like we want to share our lives, like we started it for our memories and everything. but we also fall into the trap of like we know that by making travel guides, by doing a food tour of a city or whatever, and you know, doing all the SEO. like we know that that will do well, but it also I don't like doing that.
So it's just a fine balance of like how much do you do in the same video, how much SEO do you do, how much do you feed the algorithm? And then how much do you do Cause you love?
0:30:45 - Katie Steckly
it Feed your soul.
0:30:45 - Sara
Yeah, and that's I mean cause. At the end of the day, it's creative. You know, like we love doing it. But I think that yeah.
0:30:51 - Chris
I think it's a balance. Yeah, and it's encouraging to hear you say that there's still a place for those kind of like low fly, low fly blogs, you know like, because I mean the amount of times that Sara and I have thought about. All right, we just need to do a 24 hour challenge, you know, lock ourselves in the basement while I do something crazy.
0:31:08 - Sara
You know, and I know our audience would be like what the heck are you two doing?
0:31:12 - Chris
Yeah, so off brand.
0:31:15 - Katie Steckly
I was just going to say I do think like. So every time I like make a YouTube video where I talk about the importance of like concept and storytelling and having like a title that really grabs attention and, like you know, building a really um pacey story into your vlog, cause I do think that for the most part, that that is really effective for growth. But I always end up having comments on those videos saying I love watching just regular old day in the life, i love watching people who aren't really doing anything that interesting. So I think there are people out there that that just really love their relaxing vibe of of seeing somebody you know live their everyday life. And I and I do think in those cases, if we're honest, then your everyday life does need to be, to at least somebody out there, a bit aspirational or interesting in some way And, and you know, aspirational or interesting means something different to everybody.
So you can probably find you know an audience out there. But I do think that is like a pretty significant component of the lifestyle. Space is like a little bit of escapism, a little bit of like seeing how somebody different from you lives And traditionally people that have been successful in just like generic. You know, lifestyle logging it's because they, you know, maybe have a really beautiful home or have a really great sense of style or, you know, even like getting to travel is like you know something that's such a privilege and like a lot of people don't get to experience to the extent that you know, like the three of us do, so like it's aspirational in that sense. So, yeah, that's my thoughts. I do think that the more chill low five log can perform well, but you got to have like an audience for it, basically somebody that would care about your kind of life.
0:32:48 - Sara
That's good advice. Yeah, i completely agree. So we've talked about the, i guess, the actual YouTube side of it. You know the structure of what you need on the platform itself, but can we pull back and talk about you don't even have the channel name picked out or anything but like, let's start with the gear. Like what, what would you recommend? Like we know, you know your tech, we met you at Sony camp and you know your tech. Well, um, what do you recommend for somebody starting out? I mean, what's the basic?
0:33:14 - Chris
Yeah, what's the basic, but then also, yeah, what's the basic.
0:33:21 - Katie Steckly
Well, it is time for me to be an absolute show for Sony, because I do love my recommendation.
Ok, well, let's back up a minute.
If you are a complete beginner and you are maybe even feeling tentative about investing any kind of money into your YouTube little side creative project, then I would say getting started with what you have Using your phone is a perfect place to start, and I know that might be cliche, but I like to bring it up every time because, truly, you don't need to pour a lot of money into this if you just want to have some fun and figure out. If you even like making YouTube videos, because it's very fun to watch YouTube videos, but you might realize when you start making them that it's not the same experience, it's just watching them. So, definitely, i think, get started with whatever you have iPhones, whatever they have great cameras now. But if you are wanting to move beyond that and try out some other gear, my number one recommendation is the Sony ZV-1. Great little vlogging camera. I use it for all of my travel vlog content, but I also film some main channel videos with it. I actually have mine sitting right here for whoever is on video.
0:34:29 - Sara
But it's so small, it's so cute. I know It's like the mic is bigger than it.
0:34:33 - Katie Steckly
It is yes. And then this is the Rode Video Micro, which is a really affordable shotgun mic that doesn't have a battery or anything, so you can just plug it in. You don't have to worry about replacing batteries or charging it, and I love the audio on this. I find it's very crisp, and I've tried other shotgun mics and this is still my favorite, so that's my go-to vlogging setup.
0:34:54 - Chris
We always get nervous when people ask us about our gear because we've got a Sony A7S3. And that's an expensive camera And that's not including the lens. And then when they ask us, we tell them we always try to give this disclaimer of don't go buy it because we don't know, especially when you're first starting. you're right.
0:35:12 - Sara
It's not entry level.
0:35:13 - Chris
It's not entry level. And if you drop $5,000 on a camera setup and then you make one video, oh, i would feel so bad And you've got to grow into it too.
0:35:24 - Sara
And we still haven't even grown into our cameras by any means. I mean, these cameras still have far more capabilities than we've even gotten to. But yeah, i think, like you said I know it's a cliche, but start with what you have. I mean, i can't tell you how many times we've been running through a food market or something and we don't have our camera, but we have our phone in our pocket. Or I mean, we've run an entire marathon before and we didn't carry our big camera. I think we had a GoPro and we used an iPhone an old iPhone.
And then you get by with what you have. I think one thing that people do overlook, though, is sound. Quality Like sound is really important, so and I mean even putting a microphone on a phone we do our voiceovers in our videos, sometimes in a hotel room. We'll just put this little like tiny microphone on the bottom and it changes it. It makes it sound so much better Totally.
0:36:10 - Katie Steckly
I think like audio quality makes a huge difference and that tends to be like a rather like affordable upgrade you can make. Like getting like a little shotgun mic for your phone is a lot cheaper than even buying the Sony ZV-1, which is kind of more on the like affordable end, i would say, of that you know. quality of camera.
0:36:26 - Chris
At what point in somebody's YouTube journey should they invest into a camera? You know like, all right, they've made a couple of videos they started getting like is there a you know a level that you're like? yeah, you should probably level up now.
0:36:38 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i think like it doesn't even necessarily have to be tied to your ability to make money. I mean, if that is important to you and you want to be like a sound business investment, then you know, maybe wait until you've earned enough off of your YouTube channel to invest or whatever. But that's not personally what I did. I started buying cameras I mean well, back when I started my YouTube channel, like smartphone cameras were not that great, so it was kind of a different time. But I think if you have, like made a few videos on your phone and you've really enjoyed it and you're starting to feel like, oh, there's maybe something more that I could do if I did improve my gear or like I would really appreciate. Just like, personally, i would feel more satisfied by the quality of my videos If I was able to increase it, then that might be a good sign that you're ready to kind of invest and try something new.
Because, like the thing is for me, even as, like a literal professional YouTuber, i could probably do pretty much everything that I need to do like on my phone. If I really wanted to, i could film my you know little sit down like talk about Instagram growth on my phone and it would be functional. But it's kind of like for my own personal creative satisfaction. I, like you know, a higher quality look. I want to be able to make my videos look a certain way, have a certain depth of field, whatever, and so I've upgraded my gear in order to achieve that.
So I feel like it's kind of more of a creative question than a practical one, because realistically, like, you could run a very financially successful YouTube channel off of just the phone that you already have. But if you feel like you would be happier with your result, then you can start investing in other gear. And I mean, to some extent, there are some things that you can only achieve with certain cameras. If you want to like film underwater, or if you want to get aerial shots, obviously you need a drone to do that. Or if you want 360 footage, then you need a 360 camera. But yeah, i think a lot of it's just based on your own like creative desires and how you would feel about the outcome of your video.
0:38:25 - Sara
Yeah, that's true.
0:38:26 - Chris
Real quick. What do you use to edit your videos?
0:38:29 - Sara
That's my next question.
0:38:29 - Chris
I was going to ask about tools and software and everything So go ahead, Love it.
0:38:33 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, so I edit with Adobe Premiere Pro. That's what I learned to edit with back in high school, So I've just kind of always been comfortable with it, even though I do have a Mac. So I know a lot of people are like get on Final Cut, it'll be so much better. But I am a Premiere Pro girlie till the end. So are we? Yeah, yeah, so are we? Get on Mac.
0:38:52 - Chris
Yeah, i grew up editing on Final Cut, but then I do so many after effects like motion graphics and everything. It just made sense to you know, stay with Premiere. Editing is one part. Filming is one part of YouTube, and I think one thing that a lot of people overlook on YouTube is the community aspect and interacting with your community. And I'm wondering we. So when we started our YouTube channel, our very first video went viral and we weren't prepared for it. We didn't know what we were doing. We didn't. We knew that people commented on YouTube videos, but we didn't know that they would comment crazy things on YouTube videos. And so I'm wondering you know for you interacting with, are there any good practices you know, when it comes to interacting with your community, the people that are following you, all that Chas.
0:39:44 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, i feel like I'm really fortunate to receive like very positive comments.
Like I don't know like if it's the vibe of my channel or the niche that I'm in, but like most people are very sweet and encouraging in my comment section And I just try my best to like reply to as many of them as I can, especially when a video has first been published.
That's kind of when I'll prioritize replying to comments. But I do kind of have like a little bit of a rule, just for my own mental health, that like once a video has far surpassed that like if the views on a video has far surpassed the number of like, followers or subscribers that I have on that platform, i'll kind of stop looking at the comments because that to me has indicated just in terms of like their views that I normally get. It's very typical for me to get less views on a videos than I actually have of subscribers, right? So if I have a video on YouTube that gets like way more than 200,000 views, i'll probably not pay as close attention to the comments because at that point it might start getting a little bit mean or a little bit weird, especially I find that on Instagram and TikTok On YouTube it's not as common, but on the short form platforms it's like yeah, if a video goes viral, there's probably gonna be some like kind of mean stuff in there.
Cause that means it's gone beyond my like, actual community and followers. So then I'll stop kind of looking and replying cause otherwise it might be a bad path to go down.
0:41:07 - Sara
Yeah, that's a good tip. When we first it's our first video went viral, like Chris said, and I've never seen people use the words that they've used and the sentence structure they used over it And I was just like what is happening?
0:41:18 - Chris
It was disgusting, i ran it.
0:41:20 - Sara
99.9% of the people online are so kind. They really are encouraging. At least on YouTube, we've never been viral in anything short form, so I don't know what that's like, but I've heard not good things about that, actually Especially TikTok, yeah.
0:41:32 - Katie Steckly
0:41:32 - Sara
Okay, it's good to know. So we're not getting on TikTok. We were not on TikTok yet I'm scared to TikTok.
0:41:38 - Katie Steckly
Was that your van tour, or what? The video went so viral for you Okay?
0:41:43 - Sara
It was a weird bunch of weird bubbles.
0:41:45 - Chris
Yeah, like the van was. So we made it like an MTV style Cribs van tour.
0:41:51 - Sara
We thought it'd be funny.
0:41:52 - Chris
We thought it and so what nobody realizes is that we actually filmed it at Disney World's campground And that's so people they think we're off-grid filming this. we're like no, mickey Mouse, literally right outside our door And we filmed it. and then, Sara's, were you in overalls?
0:42:08 - Sara
I was in overalls and I have so many overalls and I'm not ashamed.
0:42:11 - Chris
Yeah, and so Sara's in our overalls and we have all these texts and all that. and then we had two IMAX inside the van And that's what I think, got people's interest. And then it just blew up And we were like, oh wow, 1000 views, This is cool, this is awesome. And we this is our very first video and that was Sara's very first time interacting with YouTube. She's not really.
0:42:34 - Sara
I didn't watch YouTube. I still don't really watch that much YouTube. If I go to YouTube, I'm looking for an answer. Yeah, and so this was her first time interacting with people.
0:42:42 - Chris
And then all the comments, all the troll comments, started coming in and I'm like, oh no, this is not typical, this is not what we want, but there's.
0:42:49 - Sara
I was bringing it up to say, there's the place in YouTube where you can block certain words And took us a couple days. but after that, when we just copied and pasted a recommended list on Google that we found and just everywhere, it gets put in that list and then YouTube will hold those comments for review. So that's a nice little barrier as far as like the social aspect of it that we kind of put up for ourselves.
This kind of leads into another question we had and I saw you posted a video about this recently on mental health in YouTube. What is your advice? I mean just as creators not even the troll comments, because most people are very nice and you just sort of learn to roll with the punches, even though occasionally it does hurt. But for us especially, the creating process you put a lot of pressure on yourself to make everything the best And YouTube alone on the back end uses a lot of ready analytics and down arrows and you're constantly reminded this video's not performing. you're down your stats. How do you manage all of that? I know it's a very loaded question, but what is your advice for mental health in YouTube?
0:43:47 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, and that has definitely been a huge part of my journey is trying to figure out how to let go of some of that stuff, because it's tough, Like for me, especially in my case but I know a lot of YouTubers will feel this way because in order to kind of be consistent enough to eventually be successful on YouTube, you have to really really care about it. But for me, being a full-time YouTuber was a dream that I had for a decade, Like ever since I was a young teenager, and it even became a thing that people would make money on YouTube. It's what I dreamed of doing. So I've always just cared more about my YouTube channel than like pretty much anything else. You know, like that's just for me it became a real, um, almost like analog for my own worth as a person, which is not what you want to have. But, like you know, for me it's like, Oh, one out of 10. Yay, that means I'm a worthwhile human. Oh, my gosh, I hate myself. And so that, you know, obviously is a very unhealthy position to be in, And I think, especially too, when you can kind of get into that what I was talking about before, like the transactional audience, where you're like making stuff for the sake of the algorithm.
I kind of got to a point in like the summer of of 2021, where I really felt like, Oh my gosh, I don't even like the videos that I'm making, I'm just making these for the sake of the algorithm. And then the algorithm doesn't even really like them. So, like, what is the point of all of this? Um, and I was just so completely burnt out, like the idea of even, you know, filming a video or whatever just completely like overwhelmed me, And so at that point I was like I'm just going to pivot my channel, I'm going to start making whatever I want and like not, you know, care about anything anymore. But at the same time, I felt very conflicted about that, because my entire business was built on my YouTube channel. Even my social media marketing agency, like our clients find us through my social content. So I knew it was like a big kind of risk to take to just pivot my channel, And anyway I did that for like three months And eventually I kind of realized like I don't, it wasn't really fulfilling me either. To just like kind of make. I actually started doing a little bit of van life stuff on my main channel And then after I started a second channel for it, but I realized that that didn't really fix anything for me to just do this hard pivot, Um and kind of like run away from my my sort of like insecurities or whatever. And I actually like kind of found myself eventually, like probably three months after, like giving up on social media tips, having a few ideas of like maybe it'd be fun actually to make a video about like this thing that's happening on Instagram or, you know, I'd actually be interested in making like this kind of a video about like YouTube tips, Um. And so I slowly kind of transitioned back into my original content, but in a way that felt a lot more authentic and kind of fun for me. So, still talking about that subject matter that I knew my audience was there for, but doing it in a more creative way that I found more fulfilling.
And I think my big lesson from that whole like dramatic moment of summer 2021, where I was like everybody, I quit the Instagram tips, you know, and then kind of walking back on that, what I learned was like, instead of just making this like radical choice to be like I'm changing my whole career trajectory, I should have just like taken a break and maybe like taken a few weeks off of making videos, Cause I think I was so, so attached to this idea of like, okay, well, I have to keep going on YouTube. Like I absolutely have to keep posting. So I got to post something different, So then I'll feel better about what I'm posting And it's like, girl, you should just take a week off, because I like, literally, would never, ever like take any time off from from posting, Um, and so I think, and yeah, what I learned from that is just like you need to like rest instead of quitting. And I think, for some people, quitting looks like just giving up on, you know, their channel entirely and being like I'm not going to keep posting cause I'm just so burnt out.
For me, what quitting looked like was doing this hard pivot and just like posting you know van life vlogs on a channel that was about Instagram growth, Um, and it would have been, you know, probably more restorative for me to just not post for three months rather than really try to post this other kind of content, Um, you know, and then and then just come back to it or whatever. So, yeah, I think that that's been. My biggest lesson is like learn when it's time to rest, instead of just like having this existential crisis and trying to change your life overnight, Like it's okay to just like take a vacation. Thank you.
0:48:04 - Sara
0:48:07 - Katie Steckly
Maybe I'm just like a very dramatic person, but I've always kind of been like that where I'm like I'm a little bit unsatisfied. Maybe I'm going to change my name and move to a new country.
0:48:14 - Sara
Oh my gosh, Whoa, whoa chill. You just need to take off me. Yes, I get it.
0:48:20 - Katie Steckly
Yeah, It's like how about just go take a bath and read a book?
0:48:24 - Sara
Seriously, that's probably what we all need a little more often.
0:48:26 - Katie Steckly
0:48:27 - Sara
Have you ever taken a break? Like I mean, i know you, you pivoted a little bit for a while, but what are your thoughts on just taking a break, cause I mean, we've been forced to take breaks lately, um, when we haven't wanted to, just cause life has been crazy. But um, in those moments when we've been forced to and we're stressed after a few weeks, we sort of feel that like tension, you know subside, like there's. It's like this balance of our channel needs the content, but also this is probably what we need right now in the season Like, have you ever taken a break and how did that?
0:48:55 - Katie Steckly
go. Yeah. So since I kind of pivoted my content back in like the fall of 2021, I have maybe missed posting like one week, So I really have like been. I mean, obviously I haven't taken my own advice of just take a break, but I think I found like a little bit more of a, a balance of like um, a feeling good about the videos I was making. Um, but I will say very recently I um I came back from like a big trip. I was in Spain and Portugal for two months and then, coming back, we were on camera camp right away And then I was left like very stressed with like batching a bunch of content ahead of that so that I could still meet my brand deadlines.
Because the thing is part of what keeps me so consistent is cause I have sponsorships booked into pretty much every YouTube video I do.
So it's like, well, I have to post this because I have a contract saying I will post a video that day, So that like really keeps me accountable. But what I've I've realized and what I'm going to implement next time I have, you know, like a big trip where I'm, I know I'm going to be in kind of like a transitional state is just not taking a brand deal for those weeks and just taking time off, Cause I've, yeah, put a lot of pressure on myself to like do all of this batching ahead. So I'll be like making YouTube videos like a month in advance, to be posting when I'm going to be away, And it's like you know what. It'd be okay to just not post for those weeks, Like it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Um, so that's definitely something I'm going to do more often, like later this year when I have travel plans or whatever. Cause, yeah, it's just not worth it to like really stress yourself out for like one YouTube upload you know, yeah, that's how we are.
0:50:27 - Sara
I mean we, yeah, we, we dream of batching content, cause I always feel like that would help us a little bit, but maybe it doesn't.
0:50:35 - Chris
I mean, obviously, i stress everywhere, but I think that's the hardest thing is like it'll be okay if you take a break, right, That's the hardest thing to grasp, because when you're doing YouTube full time or it's as a business like I've been freelance for we've been freelance for 15 years, you know, over 15 years And if you're not working, you're not making money, Like that's just what it comes down to Exactly.
And it's really hard to break that mentality, especially like when you see everybody else crushing it. there are all the whole hustle culture. They're like you know, you want to make money, you got to grind it till you find it and just like you just keep going And it's yeah yeah, i think. I think YouTube needs more of that And I would love to see YouTube implement like a creator on break tab or something like that.
0:51:23 - Katie Steckly
You know if there were, if they're listening right now, please, renee, if you're, yeah, just Yeah, exactly I feel like there would be so much benefit in YouTube studio just allowing you to toggle on and off the little colorful arrows, because I like live and die by those little indicators. Like it's not good how much that affects me seeing, like even right now on my you know main dashboard, like those three metrics that like it's like your whole channel under the subscriber count. all of mine are just little green checkmarks right now And I'm like please turn into a green arrow. Yeah.
0:51:53 - Sara
Please turn into a green arrow. You know what I?
0:51:54 - Katie Steckly
mean, And like they could just really like affects you in such a silly little thing. but it'd be great to even just not have that because, honestly, if I just saw the numbers, I would not even I don't remember what those exact numbers are in terms of, like, Oh, my watch time from the last 28 days, So if there was no indicator next to it, I would have no idea whether it was better or worse.
And then you know what, maybe I'd be like a happier person but, like, especially because taking a break will for most people like completely like be correlated with those numbers going down, then it can be very hard to let yourself do that Cause you know if you post one less video in a month then your watch time is going to be lower, your views are going to be lower, your AdSense is going to be lower. And if you normally do brand deals, like for me, not posting a video in any given week, you know that's like a substantial loss in income then because normally you know I would have that. So, yeah, it can be tough to kind of have all that stuff in one hand but say you know what my, my rest is like worth all of that and more probably. But it can be hard to weigh that out just with, like, the pressures of all that stuff.
0:52:54 - Sara
Yeah, for sure, absolutely. We feel that. I mean, the last couple of months have been our worst analytics ever And we're coming out of it finally a little bit, but, man, it does put anxiety on your like. Oh my gosh, i've got to create content, but then at the end of the day, like if you're taking a break, you need the break.
0:53:09 - Katie Steckly
And I think we came back.
0:53:10 - Sara
We're coming back more rested than what we've been, and I think, since pre COVID, which COVID hit a year into our YouTube career. So I mean, like I feel like we're kind of like on the mend a little bit and it's just. A break is good, yeah, it's needed.
0:53:22 - Chris
And you know you mentioned and this is an entirely different topic and you could dedicate hours to it you know about brand deals and working with, you know different companies and you know trying to figure out your self worth and like the word through your YouTube channel and like and all of that. So, but I feel like a lot of people when they start out you know YouTube channel, that's what they see. They see the brand deals. They're like Oh, i want forward to sponsor this or I want, you know, epidemic sound or whoever to do this. But I don't necessarily think that's a good approach because I it takes a long time for one these brands to reach out, but then to a lot of these brands will take advantage of smaller creators and their worth and what they're putting. So I mean real briefly, like, do you have any guidelines on, like, making YouTube your business? I obviously you make money from AdSense, but then like, when do you integrate the brands and when do you do all of that?
0:54:18 - Katie Steckly
I feel like for me, i kind of waited to well. I didn't wait I don't know that long, but like I waited until I got brand deals coming to me that were things that I like genuinely loved and wanted to promote, rather than like seeking out whatever random opportunity I would maybe get some money from. And I feel like I was really lucky because I actually got my first brand deal when I had just like think about like 3000 subscribers so not a lot But shut up to Storyblocks. I feel like Storyblocks must have been like at their very beginning of their kind of like influencer kind of campaign. This was like I want to say late 2018 or something, so like a long time ago, but anyway.
0:54:56 - Sara
So I work with.
0:54:59 - Katie Steckly
Storyblocks now, which is funny And I'm like, well, I'm getting them a lot more views than I did on that first video For me.
When I got that like email from them, first of all I was like, is this real? And then, second of all, i was like, oh yeah, look, i use Storyblocks like I would love to promote them. So I feel like if you can make sure that you feel really aligned about the brands that you are promoting, that's a really good first step. And I think that you know there is room to like go out and pitch brands, but for the most part, the reality is the majority of creators are getting brand deals from brands reaching out to them. So I think it's more effective just to kind of focus on the discoverability of your content rather than trying to go out and do a ton of pitching.
And then, yeah, beyond that, i think there's other creative ways to monetize, like if you can make affiliate links for stuff that you would promote. Otherwise, if you're not at the stage to get brand deals yet or even consider like, is there some kind of other you know, maybe digital product you can offer, like a little ebook or like for me it's like notion templates, like I sell a lot of notion templates like content calendars, that kind of thing, or even like a little workshop or like live event that you'd maybe sell tickets to. I think there's a lot of really creative ways for creators to kind of start making money outside of just waiting for the brand deals to come in. That's good advice.
0:56:13 - Sara
Katie, thank you so much. I know we're yeah, we're coming up on time here, so is that a do you?
0:56:18 - Katie Steckly
talk for like hours.
0:56:20 - Chris
Yeah, we could talk for hours and.
0:56:22 - Katie Steckly
I love information.
0:56:23 - Chris
I love that you did give examples of different ways to make money, because we've always been. I remember this analogy of like you know, you have different buckets and like you know, and so you know, maybe Storyblocks paid you really good this month and then, but you didn't make any money on affiliate, so you but you're okay, but then the next month you didn't get any money from Storyblocks, but you have all this affiliate money And so it's always nice to have all these different buckets of money like you're not Scrooge.
McDuck, but they all it all pennies. It adds up after a while.
0:56:51 - Katie Steckly
Totally Yeah, diversifying your income is so important for creators because it can be so volatile. Yeah, especially self employed.
0:56:58 - Chris
So, before we wrap up, is there anything, any last statement, anything that you just want to say for anybody starting a YouTube in the YouTube world, whatever? like this is your time to shine. Like what do you want to say?
0:57:11 - Katie Steckly
I would say, if you're out there thinking of starting a YouTube channel, especially if you've been considering doing it for a while, this is your sign that you've been waiting for. You should start And, just like, follow your creativity, follow your passion. There's a time to be strategic and that can definitely help you grow. But I think the most important thing is that you kind of don't let the analytics tell your shine and you stay true to what you really care about and what you really want to share And just go out there and find that community. I found it so fulfilling to get to meet other folks through YouTube that you know also live in vans or also care about camera gear or whatever. It's just so, so fulfilling to meet other people that you share values and interests with, and I think that's one of the biggest benefits of starting to grow an online community. So just go after it.
0:58:00 - Sara
That's my advice, That's good advice. I'm like passionate. now I'm excited.
0:58:03 - Chris
I'm like let's go create something right now, get in the talk, talk and go like thank you, Katie.
0:58:08 - Sara
And Katie, where can people find you?
0:58:10 - Katie Steckly
online So you can find all of my Instagram and YouTube strategy tips. At youtubecom slash Katie or just search Katie Steclid on YouTube And you can follow me on Instagram at Katie Steclid. And if you do like travel content what you probably do if you're listening then you can check out my travel vlog channel, which is Katie and Dan in a van. I love it.
0:58:33 - Sara
And also can we take a second and recognize how long you've been on YouTube, that you have youtubecom slash Katie?
0:58:38 - Chris
That's pretty impressive, actually I like to flex that at every chance.
0:58:42 - Sara
You said that earlier She meant Katie Steclid, and then you said it again, i was like oh no, she really meant Katie.
0:58:47 - Chris
That's really impressive. That is impressive.
0:58:49 - Sara
Man, long game. And there's something to be said about like pushing through the burnout just to keep creating, like, if you can do it, like just yeah, don't lose that. But, Katie, thank you so much. We will link all of your information down below. Thank you for being here, and maybe we'll have you back again someday, because this conversation could go for hours.
I would love to Thanks so much for having me. Thanks for listening to what no one tells you with Chris and Sara. You have a comment or question that you want answered on the air? Be sure to send us a message to hello at christensaracom or you can call or text our phone number at 423-825-9572. Thanks for listening.
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