On Sunday, I completed a marathon goal when I published at least one short-form video every day of 2023. I’ve received many questions since, from how I did it to the impact of this accomplishment on my business.
Meaningful measurement is complicated, but what I can say is this: Publishing at least one video every day had a significant positive impact on my business.
Before we get to the impact, let’s take a step back to help explain how we got here…
I started my website in August of 2011, and I reached profitability in a little over a year. It was a rather rapid ascent considering I wasn’t setting out to start a business and I had never started a business before.
My business would soon reached heights I never dreamed of. It allowed me the flexibility to fulfill a life goal: Actively participate in the lives of my three young sons.
As I had never started a business before, I also hadn’t set out to create a business that would last a decade or longer. As a result, I surely made some mistakes. I mostly maintained the same template every year, refusing to make dramatic changes.
My blog made my business go, and that was a blessing. I am most comfortable as a writer, and the fact that I could attract significant business by writing tutorials was a lucky combination.
But that didn’t work forever. While my blog is still an important part of my business, it doesn’t attract the traffic that it once did. Organic search referrals once exceeded more than 10,000 per day, and that number is a fraction today.
Through 2019, though, I was still doing just fine. I built a cushion, and a drop in effectiveness wasn’t the blinking red light that it probably should have been.
COVID hit in 2020 at the worst possible time. Things were already on a slow downward trajectory. But I found this time impacted me in ways that I did not expect. When I heard from people suffering, I lost any desire to sell to them. I only wanted to create free content.
There were likely other emotional factors, but I lost some passion that year. That downward trend accelerated through 2021 and into 2022. And at that point, something desperately needed to change.
I was also completing my 16th and final year as a baseball coach, as my youngest son was moving on to high school. This role had taken quite a bit of my time and mental space, but that was about to change.
I had resisted short-form video — and all video — for years. When I recorded, I avoided showing my face. I didn’t think I needed to do anything but blog. I made every excuse to avoid it.
But now, I had no choice. I had to do it, and it couldn’t be halfway.
The Initial Commitment
I created a handful of videos during September of 2022, but it wasn’t until September 30 that I truly committed to it. I use this as the start date because it was the day when I embraced creating bad videos.
Create stuff that sucks!
I was intimidated by the format until this point. I didn’t know how to create a short-form video — or how to make a good one. I realized that I never would know that without creating a whole lot of videos, many that wouldn’t be any good. And I’d need to be okay with that.
I then created 70 videos in October. It was a painful experience. I didn’t know what I was doing, so it easily took me two hours per video, which meant spending an average of six hours per day on this. I was doing barely anything else.
But with each video, I learned something. I learned the things that I liked and didn’t like. I found a process for creating my videos. And I figured out what software and hardware I needed to create the videos I wanted to create.
It all took time. But the end of 2022 was important to helping me figure out how I wanted to create these videos. And that was only possible by creating a whole lot of them to give me many opportunities to learn.
The 2023 Strategy
I vividly remember a pivotal moment when I decided that I was going to create the most followed account on TikTok related to advanced Meta advertising. I told my wife this, and I even got emotional voicing it. But I truly believed it would happen.
To build off of this initial commitment, I set out to publish at least one video every day of 2023. I knew that the only way I could benefit from this format was to keep creating — and create a lot.
Here are a few of the things that came together as we went…
1. Video Length.
I didn’t have a goal length in the beginning, but I’d eventually settle on 60 seconds or less. This allowed me to create a video that would work on multiple platforms (more on that in a moment). It also forced me to be concise and allowed me to break up thoughts into multiple videos.
2. Running List of Topics.
My biggest adversary would be a lack of inspiration. I’d need to keep an active list of topics so that there was always something to record a video about.
When I had an idea, I wrote it down in my Notes app. Once I published that video, I’d remove it.
In the beginning, I had a general idea of what I’d talk about and maybe some bullet points. But I found this made editing a challenge, and I’d often fail to express things the way I wanted.
That led me to scripting. By scripting out my videos, I found a character count (just over 1,000) that I knew would put me right around 60 seconds.
I wouldn’t read that script, but I’d memorize a line and then say it to the camera. I would then edit those lines together. I’d be very conscious of how I’d start and end lines and saying them as naturally and conversationally as possible.
4. External Editing.
I found that I was most comfortable editing videos from my laptop, as opposed to within the TikTok app (which was my initial focus). This became important. Since I edited externally, I could then upload the same file to multiple platforms without a watermark.
I use Screenflow for editing and CapCut for captions, but I don’t want you to worry much about that. Neither may be ideal, but they work for me. I’ve used Screenflow for more than a decade, so I quickly found a system for using it to create the videos I want.
My initial focus was only on TikTok. But as I went, I decided to experiment with publishing those same videos elsewhere. That started with Facebook and Instagram Reels, but expanded to YouTube Shorts and even LinkedIn. I experimented with Pinterest and a couple of other random video apps, but I’d abandon them after a couple of months.
6. My Website
Initially, I’d embed a related video at the bottom of my blog posts. Eventually, I decided to create a custom post type for all of my videos. This allowed me to add a short blog post that accompanied each video, which was embedded from YouTube.
If you’re following along, that means that my videos are now appearing in six locations:
- Facebook Reels
- Instagram Reels
- YouTube Shorts
This is the group of people who can potentially see your ads. You help influence this by adjusting age, gender, location, detailed targeting (interests and behaviors), custom audiences, and more. More Growth
Since I publish the same video on five different social channels, let’s take a closer look at how this approach drove the growth of each audience. Also keep in mind that these videos make up most of my publishing schedule to each channel.
I do share blog post links to Facebook and LinkedIn, but otherwise the publishing behavior should be nearly identical for each platform.
TikTok may have been my strongest channel, which is really saying something. I had more than 5,700 followers by the end of 2022 and another 22,760 (more than 28,000 in all) by the end of 2023.
I should note that while I used some ads in 2022, all of this growth in 2023 was organic.
Facebook is my oldest social presence, since I started it in November of 2011. It has also grown to more than 196,000 followers (187,000 page likes).
But that growth stagnated in recent years. In fact, my number of page likes actually dropped in 2021. By starting these videos, I added 2,600 page likes in 2022 and 3,241 in 2023. That may not seem significant, but it was a complete turnaround.
I added more than 4,800 followers to Instagram in 2023, which nearly doubled my total. This is a big deal since I previously didn’t publish to Instagram, choosing to only use it as an ad A placement is a location where your ad is shown. Examples include Facebook’s mobile Feed, Messenger, Instagram feed, Audience Network, right-hand column, and more. More.
Instagram was not a viable platform for me until I started sharing Reels every day.
I actually started my channel in 2012. I used it here and there, often publishing webinars and other slide-first videos. I didn’t start publishing on a daily basis until 2023.
My subscriber count grew by more than 4,500 in 2023 to nearly 19,000. I added only 800 in 2022. The views are where it gets interesting.
I nearly abandoned YouTube when I started this strategy because I’d often get such a small number of views on my videos. But this grew every single month. Here’s what my views look like lifetime.
But take a look at what it looks like by month in 2023…
That’s an increase every month. What I found was that my videos often didn’t do great immediately, but YouTube attracted more views from search later on. So the increase in volume provided more opportunities for these views.
I started experimenting with LinkedIn as a social channel in 2021, but I abandoned it before returning to it with these daily videos. It didn’t seem like a great fit for short-form videos, but I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.
I added 10,000 followers to LinkedIn in 2023, increasing to more than 17,000. I’ve also found that my videos are starting to get more engagement there than most of my other channels.
“Your Likes and Comments are Low”
First, I understand that the reaction to what I say may be that these numbers aren’t that impressive. It’s similar to a comment I’ll get occasionally from nay-sayers that my videos don’t get the likes and comments that they think would make this worthwhile.
It’s important to understand that I’m sharing the same video file to all of these channels. I’m not creating a unique video for each platform. As a result, this is best measured by looking at the overall impact — not from just one video or one platform.
Keep in mind that TikTok is the only platform that I would have been actively publishing to on a daily basis. I was only using Facebook for links. I never published to Instagram. I rarely published to YouTube or LinkedIn.
Thanks to these videos, I added nearly 50,000 followers to these five channels combined. In 2022, I added about 16,000. That means my growth rate more than tripled, and that also understands that I started these videos during the final three months of 2022.
The most important thing is this: Thanks to these daily videos, my audience was growing far more than it had in recent years, and I was reaching more people than I was, too.
I should also note that I don’t actually want to go viral. I know that’s what everyone who doesn’t go viral says, but it’s true. I don’t monetize my videos, which would make going viral more desirable. My only goal is to Reach measures the number of Accounts Center Accounts (formerly users) that saw your ads at least once. You can have one account reached with multiple impressions. More my ideal audience as often as possible to eventually drive them to my services.
If you’re like me, you’re not wowed by follower counts. I really don’t care that much about them, but it is one way to measure my impact. Of course, that’s not why I believe so strongly in this approach.
A few things have happened that hasn’t been happening the past few years during my downturn.
Over and over, when people have signed up for my membership or I’m conducting a one-on-one, I’m told that they took that step because of my videos. They felt like they knew me, which made them comfortable making that commitment.
In some cases, these are people who have long been on my email list, but they hadn’t seen me for years. They thought I disappeared. And then my videos started appearing in their feeds.
This has also led to new opportunities. I’ve been given several public speaking offers which had gone silent until 2023. I spoke at Social Media Marketing World for seven straight years through 2020, but I haven’t been invited to speak anywhere since. That is, until now. I’m returning to SMMW, and I’ve had several other offers as well.
I’m Only Getting Started
I am 100% sold on this approach and I know that my commitment to short-form video has been pivotal for my business. But I also know that the results I’ve seen so far are only the beginning.
I’ve often heard that it can take two to three years to truly gain traction with a new format. While I started gaining traction pretty quickly with my blog, it was in that two to three year window when I hit my stride.
While I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far, it could still be better. And I’m confident it will be due to the trends I’m seeing.
I’m going to continue publishing at least one video every day to these channels in 2024. I will publish more when I can.
And one day, maybe not in 2024, I will have the most followed TikTok account related to advanced Meta advertising. I’m confident of that.
Most importantly, I hope that it will lead to the business growth, opportunities, and flexibility I was seeing from 2014 to 2018. For the first time in a very long time, I’m confident that it’s a realistic goal.
You Can Do This, Too
One reason I’m sharing this is because I want to help others do what I’ve done. Something that’s been frustrating is seeing so many people start creating their own videos and then quit. Even some people who were very good at what they were doing.
People measure the wrong things. They have unrealistic expectations. They care too much about going viral. All of these things are motivations to quit.
I hope my story provides some inspiration if you’ve thought at all about taking on short-form video in 2024. You can do this!
Have you considered taking on short-form video?
Let me know in the comments below!