Welcome to episode 006 of the Blogger Genius Podcast. My guest is Ashlee Marie Prisbrey from the blog, Ashlee Marie.
Ashlee recognized that video could really take her business to the next level, so we talk about how to use video to differentiate yourself as a blogger.
In this episode we also discuss how to find the video platform that’s right for you.
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Transcript – How To Use Video To Differentiate Yourself as A Blogger:
Jillian: [00:00:10] Hey everyone, and thanks for coming back. I want to introduce my guests today who is a dear friend, and she is Ashlee from Ashlee Marie Cakes. We met a couple of years ago at a conference, and have been friends ever since. And she is not just a blogger. She is a YouTuber. So welcome to the show Ashlee!
Ashlee: [00:00:34] Thanks for having me.
Jumping into YouTube
Jillian: [00:00:35] So I want to launch in. And I want you to explain how you started, how you started your blog, how you jumped into YouTube. I have to say, I remember a couple of years ago you saying to me if you don’t get on YouTube you’re missing out.
Ashlee: [00:00:52] Yeah. Well, I actually I kind of fell into blogging an accident, but I chose to go into YouTubing, so it’s kind of a little bit different as I started each one. So I took some cake classes, I found that I loved it. I wanted to start a cake business but to really be able to market a cake business, I needed a website and I couldn’t afford one. So somebody told me about blogs, that it could be this free platform. So basically to get started it really was just a place for me to showcase my cakes, so that I could tell clients, just go to this website and you can see my stuff. And then I discovered food blogs. And I’m like, oh, well I have really great recipes. As long as I already have this site, I should add recipes to it. And then for a while I discover craft blogs, and I’m like, I’m super crafty like that, too and then it was a little overwhelming, and I’ve cut back to just food.
Jillian: [00:01:40] Wait, I just have to interrupt you for one second. Ashley does not just bake cakes. Ashley is what would I call you… a cake artist. You have to go check out what she does. These are not your typical cakes. These are insane. And if, in fact, you see stuff on social media, chances are you have stumbled upon one of her cakes.
Ashlee: [00:02:08] Yeah I tend to tell people when they say, oh you make cakes, you know, can you make a birthday cake? I’m like yeah sure. But I’m not quite sure you understand what I do. I carve cakes and it takes anywhere from two to seven days to create one of my cakes, and it’s you know you’re not getting a $15 Costco cake.
Jillian: [00:02:25] Can you share which ones have gone viral on Facebook or YouTube that you are most well known for.
Ashlee: [00:02:34] I do a lot of movie cakes. The Batman vs. Superman movie came out and I did a cake that from the outside just looks like a Superman fondant cake with his logo super simple. And then when you cut it away inside, the cake is the Batman Logo. And that went crazy viral on Facebook, with like a reach of 23 million in a week. It’s funny how each platform is so different though, because that one did fine on YouTube but not great. Whereas my Tamatoa cake went nuts on YouTube and barely made a dent on Facebook. So I think it goes to show the different audiences that are there, and their age levels and their interest levels, because YouTube is the millennials and the younger kids and YouTube kids love me. The largest demographic there is probably 10 to 14 year old. They just watch and rewatch my Disney cake videos, whereas on Facebook it’s been more of like the older nerds and geeks and stuff, who really love my stuff.
Jillian: [00:03:29] I just have to say that my 10 year old daughter knows you, not because of me, but has discovered you on YouTube and watches your videos.
Ashlee: [00:03:37] That’s really fun. My own kids don’t watch me on YouTube.
Jillian: [00:03:41] OK so explain how you started, and then somebody said you should get on YouTube?
Ashlee: [00:03:50] So I’ve been blogging for 10 years. I just had my 10 year anniversary of blogging. And around year 7 I guess I was, I go to blog conferences. I even spoke on Google Analytics and taught other bloggers how to, you know, analyze all of that stuff. And so I attended a ton of conferences, and I started noticing this trend in video speakers. There wasn’t a lot but there was always one. And I honestly would say, I’m not necessarily a great writer. I don’t feel confident in my writing abilities, but I’ve always loved the stage and I was a theater, music, dance major in college, and I’ve always loved performing. I think my first play onstage I was 18 months old, my mom shoved me on stage. But I’ve always loved that. And so I thought, oh this would be so much easier to get my cakes across, versus 40 gazillion pictures step by step, would be to just make a video. So I’m like this makes a lot of sense for me. I wonder if I could do it. And so I just kind of started taking the video classes at conferences, and then it just struck me that that I am kind of in the blogging world. I’m not one of the one percenters. I’m probably up in like the top 7 percent. But it’s hard to break past that.
How to differentiate yourself as a blogger with video
Ashlee: [00:04:58] And the difference between the one percenters and like the 7 percent range where I’m at, is a pretty big difference, and so I needed something to break me out, something to differentiate myself, and I thought, well none of these girls are doing video, and none of them have any plans to get into video. And if I’m the first one to hop over, that will make a lot of sense. And now, of course, everybody’s scrambling to get into video. And I’m so grateful that I already have like a leg up there. And yes so I just made the conscious decision that video is the future, and then the more classes that I attend and the more research that I do, and the more studies that came out, it just really emphasizes how much video is a part of he Internet now and is part of the future. And and I would say you know it’s not too late, but right, don’t wait any longer.
Jillian: [00:05:45] But I like how you describe that. That you said, OK I make cakes I make beautiful cakes. And in this cohort of food bloggers of cake designers. How do I differentiate myself? One is because of the content you make by it. Another is making a really conscious choice to say, I’m jump onto this platform where a lot of people aren’t yet, and I’m going to get a foothold and I’m going to build from there. So I feel like that was a very smart strategic move.
How to find a video platform that’s right for you
Ashlee: [00:06:16] One it’s also about knowing what you’re really good at. The top food bloggers are really amazing photographers and stagers, and I have a great creative eye, but that’s just not something that ever really came naturally to me. And video has really really come naturally to me. It’s really been an easy process to just get in front of the camera and talk. And so it’s really about playing up to what you’re good at and finding those things. Now at the same time if you don’t feel comfort in video I still think you can find a video platform out there that fits what you do at this point. Video is not optional. You need to do video. Yes. But there are a lot of ways to do video.
Ashlee: [00:06:54] You don’t have to be a YouTube cooking show to have video content you just need to find the video platform that you’re comfortable with and then go for it.
Jillian: [00:07:01] Can you walk through very briefly how you see that in terms of different platforms and different ways to use video?
Ashlee: [00:07:08] Oh yeah, for sure. So each platform kind of has its own, within each niche even, has its own style. You know YouTube is known for being educational. About 70 percent of searches on YouTube start with “how to” the largest search engine in the world. So it’s really about educating, and that’s my passion. Of course I would love a client who can pay me ten thousand dollars for a cake. Who wouldn’t? Buy at the end of the day, what I really love is when a mom comes to me, and sends me a picture, and says I used your tutorial, and I made this Batman cake for my son, that’s what I really love is teaching other people how to do it. So I started. I was just a mom who wanted to make cakes for my kids birthdays, and so passing that on to other people is what I really enjoy. And then same thing with my recipes side of my business is I’m a from scratch cook. You know, I don’t use CoolWhip. I don’t use cake mixes because I feel like it’s not hard to make really good food. And if I only have so many bites left in my life, then I don’t want to waste it on food that doesn’t taste good or is full of preservatives. For me, it’s more about the flavor, than like some stance against preservatives. I just like the way it tastes. Yeah. And so I want to educate other people that it’s not hard to cook from scratch. It’s just a little bit more time consuming.
Jillian: [00:08:23] OK so YouTube then is about educating, and that’s kind of your sweet spot.
[00:08:27] Yeah it is, it really is. It’s great for me. And then on the other side of things, Facebook. Facebook is really pushing the idea of really trying to get video content out there. But but the Facebook audience doesn’t care about being educated, they’re kind of older, they’re a little bit more relaxed. I mean if you’re like, oh I need to change my toilet. You don’t think. Let’s go to Facebook. Facebook is about entertaining. Facebook’s a great place to go for something short and sweet. If you want longer videos of people getting hurt you go back to YouTube.
Ashlee: [00:09:01] So Facebook is not known for its long form content, they’re trying to change that. But it’s hard to. Just because Facebook wants something doesn’t mean that the audience is right. So very interesting to see how that goes over the next couple of years. They really are rewarding longer content. But what the audience is looking for at this point over there is shorter, it’s more like seeing that trailer than the movie.
Jillian: [00:09:23] I love that. How would you describe Instagram?
Ashlee: [00:09:26] So Instagram is all about the porn. Yes. Both styles. Regular porn. But you know like food porn for me, I mean food, right. The recipe videos the Tasty style with hands that work so well on Facebook. I put those on Instagram and they do OK but they really don’t do great. What does really great on instagram is that shot of the chocolate being poured over and over.
Jillian: [00:09:54] Ooey gooey. The cheesy shot, the chocolate shot.
Jillian: [00:10:00] Something that you can really watch on repeat, that’s mesmerizing. You kind of want to just lounge and relax and enjoy. You don’t really care about necessarily being entertained or laughing or having that emotional connection like with Facebook, because you’re just scrolling through. And so if you stop on something it’s mesmerizing. That’s what does well.
Jillian: [00:10:21] And how long are your videos on Instagram?
Ashlee: [00:10:24] Well Instagram, they’re limited, right, you can only only be a minute. I even take off my end card like on Facebook. I’ll have an end card that will say, for more, watch Ashley Marie blah blah blah. And on Instagram, I don’t even bother with that. They don’t really care about the titles. They don’t care about the recipe ingredients. Usually for me not to take more time, I just copy and paste the same thing I put on Facebook over to Instagram just simply to have video content over there. But honestly, it would do better if it wasn’t the process, if it was just those money shots at the end. Over and over and over again. A big compilation of that bite of cake. 30 different bites of cake in a row.
Jillian: [00:11:04] Totally totally. I totally I’m there with you.
Thoughts on livestreaming video
Jillian: [00:11:10] Just before this we we’re talking about livestream. So tell me your your thoughts on that.
Ashlee: [00:11:17] So live streaming is also a little bit different on every platform, even from their own edited content. All the platforms are really pushing live stream right now because they’ve seen the trend, and what the experts are telling everybody is that lifestream is going to take over.
Ashlee: [00:11:33] We kind of have this voyeuristic personality as you know, as people as the human race right now. That’s why reality TV shows do so well, except reality TV shows aren’t really real. Even those are pretty scripted or re filmed or they have a plot in a storyline, so people are really enjoying and jumping over to continuing this voyeuristic style and wanting to see someone’s real life. And so lifestream does really well at that. Now from my content as a foodie, I’m not really sharing my kids and my life. Let’s face it, my life is pretty boring. I make cake every single day. But people like seeing glimpses and so I’m still doing educational live streaming, and I’m still doing a cooking show. But within that, instead of the nice edited smooth cooking show, because I’m launching live streaming next week, people are going to get the mistakes and the messes. And that’s kind of what they also want to see. They don’t just want to see the perfect recipe that works smoothly. They want to see, oh you guys I just spilled that everywhere.
Ashlee: [00:12:36] It’s boiling and it needs the salt right now! You know people absolutely enjoy a real mess and they’re really gravitating towards that.
Jillian: [00:12:45] I agree and I think that that is the difference between celebrities like real like movie celebrities, and then say YouTube celebrities. There’s much more of an intimacy and I think that people want that they want to connect, or feel like they’re connecting.
Ashlee: [00:13:02] Well and it makes things more emotional because my edited content isn’t necessarily bringing out a lot of emotion, other than that’s a cool cake. The livestreaming will add an element of, you can really see her personality! It connects a lot more to the audience and it makes them feel like they know you even better, which is what people want, because let’s face it because our world is turned into everybody on phones. Friendships are really being lost. Yes people are looking for that and they’re finding it through these live streams, that they feel like they’re connecting to someone even if they’re really not.
Jillian: [00:13:37] And I think that they want to see your rough edges. They want to see you mess up. Because I think you’re right. There’s a humanizing quality to that so.
Jillian: [00:13:49] So here’s my next question, will you talk a little bit about how you see your blog in relation to your business, and then also how you monetize your business.
How to monetize your blog and YouTube
Ashlee: [00:14:00] So for me the blog is the one thing that I own and I control over every other platform. I’m subjugated to whatever their whim is at the time. And so it’s my hub, it’s my central hub and like the spoke of a wheel, and everything leads back to the blog whether I’m collecting emails and then being able to sell product later, and funnel it, or just that one thing that you can control. And I think it’s important to have no matter what kind of influence you have, is to have that home base that you own, even if you’re not really using it.
Ashlee: [00:14:31] It’s important to have and collect everything from all of the other platforms in that one place, and offer it whether you have a membership site, or whether you’re just offering it for free and connecting, because at any given time, Facebook could shut you down. They technically control all of your content.
Jillian: [00:15:12] In truth we’re sharecroppers. You need to own your hub. You need to be the king of that domain.
Ashlee: [00:15:22] You know that all roads lead to Rome, all roads need to where you are collecting people’s emails, and then you can use that to your advantage later.
Jillian: [00:15:31] So how do you monetize?
Ashlee: [00:15:33] So the great thing about YouTube and blogging is that they monetize the same way, which is nice. Other social media platforms monetize differently so that you know you kind of have to learn all over again. But even though YouTube is like starting all over again, it still monetizes the same, but it’s a little bit different and in the amounts that they earn. So blogging, the easiest way for everybody to monetize obviously is ads, and you can also monetize with YouTube with ads as well, where Facebook and all the other platforms don’t offer that to creators. YouTube really appreciates the fact that the creators are what makes them, without it they’d be nothing. And so they they have great platforms for educating you, and they want to monetize for you, and they want to share this money with you. I really enjoy the platform for the way they treat their creators overall. OK. So ads. But too bad you don’t really start making money on Youtube ads until you’re really big. Because let’s face it, they have to deal with the advertisers themselves and advertisers don’t necessarily want to put an ad on a small channel. So it’s not that YouTube’s trying to withhold money from you, it’s that they’re still the wild west in ads. TV is still bringing in the bulk of the ad money and until advertisers recognize the powerhouse that is YouTube. That ad money is a little bit lower.
Ashlee: [00:16:49] I think it’s just a matter of time though before that really changes.
Jillian: [00:16:53] Oh absolutely. When you see those charts about how the money is moving you see advertisers are getting smarter. Advertisers are conservative so they’re not going to jump on the next new thing.
Ashlee: [00:17:04] But you know, in a study among U.S. teens eight out of 10 of the top 10 celebrities were US teens are YouTube stars. So it really is if you’re watching the trends it really is just a matter of time before that TV money, the billions that are spent in ads for the Super Bowl are getting moved over to YouTube. But the best part about that is if you have a business and you’re selling something now it is a great time to create your own ad that you could never get on TV. But you can get on YouTube and get in front of tons of viewers that way.
Ashlee: [00:17:35] I personally am not selling a product but I wish I was, just at this time of life it would be so great to have that. But anyway that’s kind of a side a side option. So Yes, a lot of bloggers can make a lot of money on simply ads, and not bother with sponsored content but if you really want to make money on YouTube you need to switch over to the sponsored type content. Now affiliate is an option for both, but in my niche, as a foodie, affiliate marketing is not really huge the way it is with like fashion or deal bloggers. And then on YouTube they’ve changed their analytics as a company is want to do that.
Ashlee: [00:18:14] And all of these platforms are becoming more mine mine mine mine mine and they don’t want you leaving. And so on YouTube watch time is the most important for your own metrics. But if you are the video that brings someone onto the platform and then they stay and binge watch for four hours, that’s called session time, and you get even more credit. And that will help your rankings and your internal visibility within YouTube a lot better than if you are the video that they leave on. And so I no longer have links off, like in my original videos you’ll see a lot of links up to my site and to affiliates. and hey it upped my affiliate money, btt not enough to make it worth people leaving the platform and getting dinged. So in all my new videos, I no longer link off of YouTube. Now once you’re huge on YouTube, go ahead and link right there if you want. That’s not going to hurt you. But when you’re trying to grow, I suggest not linking off site, so I feel it’s not really an option in my opinion for YouTube. So it really comes back down to the sponsored content. As a blogger, you know let’s say you’re charging a thousand dollars a blog post, it’d be awesome if you add video to it you can pretty much double that.
Curating your content for different social media platforms
Ashlee: [00:19:32] But if you’re offering a YouTube audience, you can make even more money because just adding video to your blog is one price point but adding that you have this whole other audience because every audience is different, people who love Facebook love Facebook. People who read blogs read blogs people who do YouTube do YouTube.
Ashlee: [00:19:47] They do not crossover anymore.
Jillian: [00:19:49] I completely agree and this was actually a hard lesson for me to learn at the beginning. My audiences are different on every single network.
Ashlee: [00:20:08] You really have to curate your content for each platform and find a way to monetize each platform or don’t bother with that platform.
Jillian: [00:20:14] Exactly, and find a way to speak to the audiences on the different platforms. But one message isn’t necessarily going to translate. I’m just going to say it’s why for MiloTree you want to be growing all your different platforms, especially the ones that are most important to you. You can’t just assume that somebody who is following you on Pinterest and sees that pin, is then going to go, Oh now I see it on Instagram. It’s a totally different audience.
Ashlee: [00:20:49] I used to worry about about putting the same content on all platforms, in a small period of time, and my audience going, OK we get it. You made a new cake, but then I quickly realized that they don’t cross over so it doesn’t matter. They don’t see it, so go ahead and put it out everywhere at the same time actually.
Jillian: [00:21:07] So is your goal to drive people back to your blog, or is it to keep them on YouTube because you’re monetizing on your blog and you’re monetizing on YouTube. So what traffic do you want to bring back back to your blog and what traffic are you trying to keep on YouTube.
Ashlee: [00:21:24] Really I’m collecting people’s emails, which happens on my blog because then you have newsletters, and you can sell stuff, I mean I eventually want a product line, and so I want an audience that wants to buy that, and I want to create super fans and super fans do tend to crossover from platform to platform and follow you. But that’s just kind of a secondary goal.
Ashlee: [00:21:43] My main goal is to grow every platform, not because it all leads back to one place but because it makes me look better to a brand, because a brand doesn’t just want to buy a spot on my blog anymore. They want to buy a spot on my blog and my YouTube channel and my Facebook page and my Instagram, and as long as you’re growing all of them, you look a lot better to a brand where if you’re a one, if you’re a one show pony, you know you only have Pinterest and that’s the bulk of your traffic. Sure a brand will pay you, but they’ll pay you a lot more if you’re bringing them different audiences and not just your blog.
Jillian: [00:22:14] I completely agree, it’s a whole package.
Ashlee: [00:22:17] I will say I’ve always focused on growing all of them, at the same time, and I have friends who grew just one platform. I will say they were so successful growing one platform that it brought up the other platforms, that they make a lot more money on that one platform than I did. If there is one platform that really speaks to you. Don’t feel too bad. Super focus on it because it will bring up your other platforms as you go. Just kind of naturally because you can cross pollinate. So if there’s one platform just really don’t get. It’s OK to drop that. Well-rounded doesn’t have to be every single thing. It’s just that if you have two audiences you can show people versus one, you’re going to make more money, if you have three audiences you can show them, you’re going to make more money. And what it really comes down to these days, is finding a good sponsor and being able to show them that you’re worth working with because you have an audience that will be great for their brand.
Shooting schedule for video
Jillian: [00:23:09] Absolutely. This is always fascinating to me. Your schedule. How you do your videos because for the longest time you were releasing one full… what 10 minute video a week?
Ashlee: [00:23:24] Sometimes longer. My most popular are like 20 minutes.
Jillian: [00:23:27] OK. So could you explain how you carve out your week?
Ashlee: [00:23:31] Oh it used to be so simple. I used to pretty much film like Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then I’d edit the next week Monday and Tuesday, and once I started video, my life pretty much revolved around around getting that video content out there, and then of course when I finished whatever I was doing I would also take pictures and put it on the blog. But that was always kind of a secondary thought because the worst part is always when you finished a cake at 2:00 a.m., and you have to wait until the next day to take pictures because for video, it’s all fake light, and for pictures your light needs to be all natural. I try to kind of finish up whatever I’m doing. You know my sweet spot for photos.
Ashlee: [00:24:17] But now over the last year I had a side hustle, which kind of changes my whole schedule up a little bit, and that’s been that’s been a little bit of a juggle. So I started creating the Facebook hand style videos for other food bloggers. You know it’s a great time to have that side business right now and it’s been awesome to bring in money and support my family. But it over took it. And you never want your side hustle to overtake your main focus. And it kind of overtook it for the last couple of months, so I now just I feel like I’m finally rebalanced, and getting back to focusing on my own brand.
Ashlee: [00:24:56] But hey we all do it. You know it’s easy to get caught up in just making the money now. Versus this will make me money down the road.
Jillian: [00:25:03] And I think there is something to the natural rhythms of things. I always say that balance is not something you stay in, balance is something you continually move through. You’re always course correcting. And as a blogger, as a mom, everything is always changing. And so you go, oh I found myself here. Do I like this place? Oh wait. I think I want to move this way, and I personally love that about what we do, which is all of a sudden you were saying that Facebook and YouTube want live content. Guess where you’re going to do? You’re going to start making live content. So it’s this continual process of finding that sweet spot.
Ashlee: [00:25:44] Well and what new thing you’re going to jump on, and that you’re going to ignore, and then you realize you shouldn’t have ignored it or right.
Ashlee: [00:25:50] I feel like there is no balance. It’s just jugglings.
Jillian: [00:25:54] And every so often you kind of go, oh look at me. Then all of a sudden you wait, I need to be doing this.
Jillian: [00:25:57] If I were to ask you what are you most excited about right now for your business. What would you say it is?
Relaunching your business
Ashlee: [00:26:05] I’m kind of I feel like I’m relaunching. I just re redid my logo, and I’m kicking off next week, I’m super excited about live streaming multi-camera, not my phone, really high end live streaming production out of my own kitchen by myself. To both Facebook and YouTube at the same time. So I hired a guy to turn my kitchen into a full blown streaming studio over the summer. That was my big project. We’re launching next week and I’m super excited about it, and knock on wood that it’s going to go as smooth as I hope it goes.
Jillian: [00:26:40] And what kind of content are you going to be creating in your life streaming?
Ashlee: [00:26:44] It’s going to mostly be recipes. There there will sometimes that it’s cakes, but my cakes are so time consuming, nobody wants to watch an 18 hour livestream of the cake slowly being built. That’s definitely better for my edited content, which I’ll still be doing. I’ll be doing both. I feel like there’s a place for both, especially with the type of content that I do. So yes, I’ve kind of taken the summer off, reassessing and rebalancing and get everything in place, and then I’m kinda kicking it off next week.
Jillian: [00:27:14] I love it. I will be watching.
Ashlee: [00:27:16] Going back to heavy posting and heavy videos, and edited, and the live streaming and everything else, and really putting my brand out there. I’m super excited about that. It’s kind of been weighing on me, and I’m glad to get back on the horse.
Jillian: [00:27:30] So you’ve been at this for 10 years?
Ashlee: [00:27:37] I just had my 10 year anniversary of blogging.
Jillian: [00:27:38] That’s amazing. I’ve seen so much and so much change. If you were to give a piece of advice to somebody who is just starting out, maybe just started the blog. What would you tell them?
Advice: Just start on video
Ashlee: [00:28:02] The first thing I would tell anybody starting out is is find your video sweet spot. Don’t wait till you put up a blog. There’s too much competition in the blogging space to feel like you’re going to get a good step up there before you get started in video. The only thing that’s going to differentiate you is to get started in video right away. Whether it’s just hands and Facebook, or or whether your personality is going to be great for live, and just kind of talking to people and answering questions, while you do what you do, or or if you feel more confident filming something and editing it and putting it out.
Ashlee: [00:28:37] Just simply start in video. I would even say start in video before you even start your blog. I’m helping my brother-in-law and sister start a family blogging channel, that they just launched some kind of consulting with that, and seeing how that goes. It’s different seeing it from another point of view because they still don’t even have their website. I’m like you need to buy the domain right. But we’re just we’re starting with just Instagram and YouTube, and we’re really pushing both of those platforms. And then once that grows, we’re going to eventually get them a site, and start collecting everything for that.
Ashlee: [00:29:11] But I would say find your video sweet spot first and foremost, and then worry about everything else. Worry about your branding and your look and your logo later. Everything’s on people’s phones so many people are focused on their desktop look, and I say don’t bother. I remember how much time and money I spent getting my desktop to look just right, and now, what, 10 percent of my audience is desktop.
Ashlee: [00:29:40] Everything needs to be mobile mobile first, so get comfortable with your personality, get comfortable with your work, and get comfortable on video.
Jillian: [00:29:48] What about though somebody says I don’t even know how to start. I don’t know how to do any of this stuff.
Ashlee: [00:29:54] Just go straight to live streaming then. And if you find that what you’re doing would be benefited by some editing, then you can move into that, and then you can start to edit but start with what you have to start with… your phone. Start with natural light. Start with Insta Stories, that’s an easy way to start live. Start with Facebook live. Great way to start with those two platforms. Live stream and find your voice at the beginning. The best part is you have such a small audience that you can play with them. Find not only the sweet spot that you’re comfortable with, but also that the audience is looking for, because when I first started, what I thought people wanted from me turned out to be different. I used to teach analytics, so I always thought that people were coming to me for my recipes, and then it turns out they were coming for my crochet patterns, and just staying in that was a huge bulk of my audience.
Ashlee: [00:30:47] Now my goal for the last five years has been to make my food audience my larger audience, and it’s worked but I had no idea that my audience wasn’t what I thought. And I kind of had to re-adjust and change. You can either go off of the audience you want, or you can take the audience that comes to you and change your own style.
Ashlee: [00:31:04] Both work. I could have stuck with just crochet, but that just wasn’t where my passion lies, so I switched over and just quit doing the crochet. Even though it was great at bringing in ad money.
Ashlee: [00:31:16] And I just said no I want to do food. I’m focused more and more on this, and and bring in that audience that I want.
Jillian: [00:31:24] So what I like about what you’re saying is we typically want to have our ducks in a row before we start. And I love that you are saying no, jump in.
Ashlee: [00:31:38] I studied video for a whole year before I launched. And to be fair, my first video is still my second most popular, but I just kick myself. If I had just started that year I would be so much bigger because I wouldn’t have wasted a year when everybody else was jumping on that platform . You know, every day that you wait, there’s 10-20 thousand more people getting in before you. So you just start and find your sweet spot. I look back at my first video, I’m like, oh my word. I was so dead it was so boring. And people watch these. Just start.
Jillian: [00:32:22] And willing for it to suck. It’s OK. It’s it’s really OK.
Ashlee: [00:32:31] And if you find that you don’t like something, don’t push it, don’t force it because the audience will see that. If you really don’t like trying to answer people’s questions at the same time that you’re making a recipe, or you don’t like how you make a fool of yourself because you’re a control freak, like I am. Then switch over to edited. But you don’t give up just because you don’t like one video platform, there are so many different ways to do this.
Ashlee: [00:32:55] Each platform has a different audience, so maybe you don’t like the Facebook audience. Maybe you just don’t like the people who are on there and how they’re responding to you but maybe you love the Instagram audience, or maybe you really love the YouTube audience.
Ashlee: [00:33:10] Periscope is still kind of hanging on by a thread. Maybe that’s your thing.
Jillian: [00:33:15] Snapchat if you’re young.
Ashlee: [00:33:18] And Shonduras. He’s the largest Snapchatter, and he switched over to YouTube and has over a million subscribers on YouTube this year. You know once you’re successful on one platform ,that will easily transfer over to other platforms, because you will feel more confident and you will know what you’re doing.
Don’t focus on every single platform at once
Ashlee: [00:33:34] So at the beginning don’t try to focus on getting every single platform. I mean I get told my brother to get your name everywhere so nobody else will take it out from under you. But just f find that place that you really love, and then grow from there. Big Instagrammers are now moving on to something else. If you don’t, if you hit that sweet spot and you’re big in one platform, but you don’t add other platforms you’ll never grow past that. You hit that plateau. But if you continue to expand as you get comfortable, and as you grow, each platform will open up more opportunities, and more audiences. You’ll look better to brands, and at the end of the day why are we doing this if it’s not to bring in the money? My equipment is not cheap. I need to pay for it.
Jillian: [00:34:15] So Ashlee Marie, please tell people how they can find you see your incredible videos, see your live streams. How how can people connect with you?
Ashlee: [00:34:27] Well my web site itself is ashleemarie.com but believe it or not Ashlee Marie is a really popular name, and so it was taken on all social media.
Jillian: [00:34:36] Let’s spell it. A S H L E E.
Ashlee: [00:34:38] Even with my weird spelling my parents thought, oh this will be a girl spelling. Nobody else got that memo. They were trying so hard to be creative. I thought oh this will be great. Nobody else will have it. Even that is taken, so I added on the “cakes.” So it’s AshleeMarieCakes on Instagram or Facebook. And my YouTube channel. and then it’s AshleeMarieCake on Twitter and Pinterest, because they only allow so many characters.
Jillian: [00:35:06] Great. And your live streaming, if people want to see what you’re doing?
Ashlee: [00:35:12] We’re going to try Thursdays for now. We’re going to start on the twenty first. Next week is Thursday the 21st, I think it’s is going to be the launch day for the first one and then after that we’re going to try Thursdays. We’re going to kind of A/B test at the beginning just to get started, and see when the audience is interested. I’ll probably do a morning one weekend an evening one week, go back and forth until we kind of find people. And then if Thursday doesn’t work out, we might switch to Wednesdays. But we’re going to start with Thursdays for now, and then I’m going to keep putting out edited content on my YouTube channel on Saturdays, and hopelessly add Tuesdays as well, this fourth quarter.
Jillian: [00:35:50] You are a busy lady. Well, I just have to say thank you so much for all that you’ve shared. You’re always a wealth of knowledge. In fact, when I have questions about YouTube or video, you are the first person I contact.
Ashlee: [00:36:06] I’m happy to help. I really am.
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