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An Interview with Brandon Hassler

Tell us about yourself and your channel.

My name is Brandon and I’m really just your average dad who loves technology and is lucky enough to have a YouTube channel (Tech Audit TV) that people watch. When I’m not creating content or obsessing over the latest tech deals, I can usually be found either hanging out with my wife and two kids, on a nice long hike in the Utah mountains, or playing some late night Warzone with my friends and community.

How did you get started on YouTube?

I’m insanely ADHD and entrepreneurial so I can’t just be doing one thing. I decided to start my own YouTube channel on the side as a creative outlet that allowed me to talk more about my passion for technology and play around with video production.

The initial plan was to review software/apps. My first video was a “Slack vs. Asana” video and not much happened and I stopped making videos. 8 months later I looked at my analytics and saw that my first video had nearly 20k views. I kept experimenting and then had another video pop off. Just kept repeating that process of experimenting with ideas and now I’m here.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie creator? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?

When you are starting out, don’t get caught up in all the “tips and tricks” on how to grow on YouTube. Make sure your thumbnails are catchy and your titles are clickable. Beyond that, just create, and be consistent with it. Ignore the low views and focus on building a database of videos. Your first videos won’t be great, and that is perfectly okay.

In terms of advice to ignore, I would say “having a schedule” is largely overrated outside of streaming. Yes, be consistent, but having to post on a certain day and time really isn’t going to be the difference maker in your growth. If you’re due for a new video tomorrow but you know that if you just had an extra day or two to make the video that much better, then take the extra day or two! I can’t name a single schedule of my favorite creators and some of my best performing videos have been sporadic uploads.

What is your favorite video you have ever made?

I would say it’s a tie between “6 Reasons to Go Pixel 2 Over the iPhone X” and “Secretlab Titan 2020 Review: Worth $400?”. In terms of creativity, different camera shots and storytelling, I had a lot of fun applying that to the Secretlab video. What I loved about the Pixel vs iPhone video is it proved you don’t need nice gear to have a hit video. I didn’t record a single piece of video for that and recorded the audio on a cheap Blue Snowball microphone. 1.4 million views later, that video alone has made over $10,000 in ad revenue which is just bonkers.

What are some tools that allow you to be more effective at your craft?

Adobe Creative Cloud allows me to take care of all the visual content and Notion is where I run most of the business. All of my planning, scripting and productivity for the business are all handled in that single app. Discord isn’t a tool per se, but having that direct access to the community has been huge for both promoting new content as well as getting direct feedback from my most active viewers.

How do you continue to educate yourself in your craft? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?

It’s a little bit of everything, honestly. The biggest learning channel for me has been simply creating content. No better way to learn YouTube than to see what content does well and what doesn’t. I’m also a student of other channels. I will talk to creators and often know more about their channel than they do. I love finding similar creators to me and studying how they do what they do, what videos/topics do well, etc

Next to creating and experimenting with content, the next biggest thing has been listening to my audience and literally asking them what they want. I think too often creators bang their heads against a wall trying to think of the next video when the answers are often in the comment section (of either their own videos or similar creator channels).

What has been your biggest tool for subscriber growth?

Outside of creating more and more videos, I think running polls in the YouTube Community tab is one of the most underrated ways to get feedback for future videos. That type of info can be huge for your growth. Don’t just post a question saying “What videos do you want to see next?” Instead, use the poll feature to give them options of different videos you are thinking about. Even better is to not talk about videos at all. Rather than ask my audience what products they are interested in, I did a poll saying “You can only upgrade ONE thing” and the options were things like monitor, chair, keyboard/mouse, desk, etc. It’s a more fun way to ask “what products should I be covering more?”. The response was amazing, and the answers were different than I thought they would be.

Do you put much time into making your videos SEO friendly?

I think what most consider “SEO” for YouTube is largely outdated. Titles, tags, and descriptions are largely irrelevant to SEO because they are so easily manipulated by the creator. Much of my SEO happens within the video itself. If I want to rank for “budget webcam” you better believe I’m going to include that phrase several times throughout my script because I know Google is going to put more weight into the audio it pulls from the video to figure out what the video topic is. I still do my research on what phrases are being searched, but I don’t let that hijack my video title if I can think of a more user-friendly/clickable title.

Mr. Beast is a great example creating content for the user, not for search. I’m much more focused right now in getting my videos in the suggested videos section than in search results.

Is there a trend that you are seeing emerge in 2021? What excites you about it?

I’m seeing more and more creators dabble in streaming and I don’t see that slowing down. We’ve all heard the phrase that people come for the content and stay for the personality. Streaming helps you keep your audience engaged, especially those who enjoy your personality.

What I like about this trend is it’s going to force streaming platforms to improve their technology and it’s helping people see that it isn’t “streaming vs creating videos” but rather that the two compliment each other very well.

When did your channel start to ‘pay off?’ In other words, when did your channel start to make you money?

Pretty early on my channel started to get some AdSense money rolling in. Just seeing stuff like a $110 deposit in my account for a month was so awesome. Then I started to take Amazon’s affiliate program seriously and included links to the products I was already talking about in my video descriptions and that was fun to see another small revenue stream come in.

One of the turning points in my revenue was discovering Geniuslink. Roughly 50% of my audience is international. When I replaced all of my video description links with Geniuslinks, my affiliate revenue from Amazon literally tripled overnight. I had no clue how much money I had been missing out on! Not only does that money help with the channel growth (investing in more products) but even the click data I can see is super helpful to see what my audience is clicking on (and what they are NOT clicking on).

Have you created sponsored content? If you have, how did you get in contact with your sponsors?

I have! I’ve been very fortunate to have all of my paid integrations with brands be inbound deals, meaning they always reached out to me. I think the key is to make your contact information very clear across your profiles and to have a media kit. Even if you have never done a brand deal, you’re likely doing affiliate marketing. Use that data to show potential sponsors how much revenue you have generated for various brands. That data in a media kit is far more valuable than your subscriber count because it shows the brand that your audience can provide that brand a return on their investment.