1.Tell us about yourself and your channel.
My name is Bandrew, and I run a channel called Podcastage that focuses on reviewing audio gear for people recording at home.
2. How did you get started on YouTube?
I launched my current YouTube channel in 2015, because the year prior I was researching microphones for a podcast and could not find the specific videos that I wanted. I had a little bit of experience recording at home, and figured I could create a channel and see if other folks were looking for the information that I was in search of.
3. What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie creator? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
There are so many bits that could be shared, but I’ll focus on an actionable item. Do not look at other creators and try to match their quality on day one. Instead, look at your current output, and identify one small thing that you can improve. Next time you make a piece of content, improve that thing, and once it’s published find one more thing to improve. It’s all about incremental improvements over time.
Avoid the advice, or maybe the tendency to pay for a bunch of content creator courses before starting. If you take a bunch of courses before starting, you have no idea what you don’t know and have no idea what questions to ask. Make content for a while, and then take those courses if you feel you still need them, and then you’ll be able to ask questions that will address your specific issues.
4. What is your favorite video/podcast you have ever made?
During 2020, I made a video with 10 tips on how to improve your vocal recordings which I am pretty proud of. A lot of the tips may seem simple for people who record, but during a year that a lot of people were forced into a position where they have to learn to capture their voice cleanly, I like to think that it helped a lot of folks. A lot of us who record can take for granted the stuff we learn through trial and error and easily forget to share that information with people who are new to recording.
5. What are some tools that allow you to be more effective at your craft?
The YouTube audience. This may sound like a cop out but they have shaped the format that I use for my videos. When I started, my videos were a few minutes long. Over the past 6 years people have left many a comment telling me that I’m stupid for leaving out test x,y, or z. Over that time, the input from the YouTube commenters really have been the most valuable tool for being more effective in providing useful information on the gear I am reviewing.
6. How do you continue to educate yourself in your craft? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
With recording, I think the best practice is to just record and then listen and then adjust. So that is the first step I take in learning a process. If I want to go a little bit deeper I go directly to YouTube to see if someone has made a video discussing the topic I’m researching. Then if they link some sources in the description, I’ll check those as well and try to get a better understanding of the topic.
7. What has been your biggest tool/method for subscriber growth?
The initial influx of subs that I got I think stemmed from being first to market. In 2015 there wasn’t a huge amount of channels making videos demoing and reviewing affordable microphones. So that in and of itself really kick started stuff. Then I think the consistency also helped because not many people are as dumb as me and are willing to buy thousands of dollars of gear just to make a video.
But currently, I take a different approach to YouTube than most other YouTubers. Most folks focus on algorithm based growth and discoverability. That’s never been my focus because the algorithm always changes. I don’t begin my videos asking for a sub or a like or anything, I try to provide value to the viewer and then at the end of the video I’ll ask for a subscription. Of course this leads to lower subscriber growth ,but I think that slow and steady wins the race.
8. Do you put much time into making your videos SEO friendly?
I do a little bit here. My video titles are all pretty standardized and I know they’re not the best for search or the algorithm. I title my videos in the way that I would search for a video while researching a piece of gear for purchase “Product X Review & Test compared to X, Y, Z”. In the description and keywords I do tend to use more descriptive words that may be searched, but I don’t think they really do much.
This is another area where I don’t think I’m self sabotaging, I just manage my expectations because I made a decision early on. I decided I wouldn’t name my videos “Best X For This Price” or ask provocative questions “This Mic Does WHAT?!”. I wanted to focus on being more of a resource channel than an entertainment channel, and that means there’s wide fluctuation in video performance depending on if there’s an interest in a product at the moment it goes live.
9. Is there a trend that you are seeing emerge in 2021? What excites you about it?
I think we’re seeing a trend in the gear that’s being developed and released to really focus on easy to use and feature packed. We’ve seen some great mics come out from Rode, Elgato, and Shure that are really cool options for remote work, and I think we’re going to see more products start to roll out that are focused on those who are forced to work remote.
10. When did your channel start to ‘pay off?’ In other words, when did your channel start to make you money?
I have always monetized my channel, but I didn’t start making anything substantial until after year one. But being that I buy almost everything I review, I had to dig myself out of a hole after that money started coming in. So I didn’t break even until 3 years in, and at that point I decided that instead of paying myself, I would just reinvest everything I made back in to the channel and get more cool stuff to review. Now in year six I finally made the decision to start paying myself, and as soon as I did that I decided to start another channel which I have to buy stuff to cover as well. So no money for me.
11. Have you created sponsored content? If you have, how did you get in contact with your sponsors?
I have only worked with two companies for proper sponsorships. One was a headset mic that I had reviewed and enjoyed and the other was with an audio retailer. In both instances the sponsors reached out to me to discuss the opportunities. Here’s another area where I may differ from others, but also may just be stupid. I turn down 99.999% of the sponsorship opportunities I get offered because I don’t think it adds value to the viewer of my videos. I also have concerns about working directly with audio gear manufacturers on sponsorships because even if I had a separate department handling those relationships, it would still create the illusion of a conflict of interest.
Something that’s important for creators to remember (mainly in the review arena) is that the only reason people watch us or listen to us is because we’ve developed trust with them. The moment you lose that, you’re doomed. It’s important to remember that at all times because it would be easy to get drawn in by a big pay day without thinking through the fact that it could destroy your reputation and make it so no one trusts a word out of your mouth. As independent creators, we don’t have the ability to behave the same way large tech publications behave as they have checks and balances and separation of departments; we don’t have that so we have to be better in order to build up and maintain that trust with our audience.
12. Anything else you’d like to share?
Yeah. If you’re a creator, leverage all the social media sites you want, but always have your own website and actively remind people it exists. Don’t exist solely on 3rd party platforms because they can disappear overnight and all your hard work would disappear with them. So build up your own space online and direct people there so they can find you. On that note check out my sites Podcastage.com / Bandrewscott.com / Geeksrising.com