Lessons from building a blog to 10,000 subscribers in a year (video course)
This blog now has 10,000 email subscribers. In order to celebrate I’d like to try something a little different: a free video course.
Inspired by my friends over at Fizzle I’ve been wanting to start recording videos for training. I’ve done a little bit for Authority, but that was just using an HD webcam. It wasn’t the best quality.
At BaconBiz in the beginning of the summer I met Chris and Brendan from Wistia. Their video hosting platform is fantastic, but how they use video to promote, market, and teach is even more inspiring. When they offered to give away a free lighting kit I was sold. It was time to setup a home studio.
With the lighting kit coming from Wistia, I asked Caleb Wojcik about other camera gear. After discussions with him, here’s what I ended up with (affiliate links):
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
- SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod with Panhead (615-315)
- Canon EOS Rebel T5i 18.0 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 3-inch Touchscreen and Full HD Movie Mode (Body Only)
- SanDisk Extreme 16 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 45MB/s SDSDX-016G-AFFP
- Rode VideoMic Pro VMP Shotgun Microphone
Total cost was under $2,000 for the entire setup. For a backdrop I bought a piece of hardboard from Home Depot (had them cut it down to 6″ x 4″ to fit my room), then primed and painted it with chalkboard paint. I like the slight texture it gives the background over a flat black or grey color. For future videos I may draw on it more.
Overall the setup has worked great, though I did make a few mistakes.
Caleb told me to use the stock 18-35mm lens I already have to determine which fixed zoom lens would work well in my room. I ignored that advice and just bought a 50mm lens. Oops. In order to get the right framing at 50mm I have to push the camera all the way back against the wall. That means that my camera mounted shotgun mic is further away so the sound quality isn’t as good. Moral of the story, figure out which lens works best for your room before purchasing (and listen to Caleb).
It would be better to record the audio on a separate device, then use a boom to get the microphone at the right spot. Oh well, I’ll improve the setup later.
Also I am recording at home—with a 2 year old—so recording has to be timed to when he is sleeping or out of the house. Since I’m recording short videos it hasn’t been an issue, but a separate, quieter location would be nice.
For more on setting up your own studio check out the Wistia Learning Center.
At a previous software company I worked at we built a tool to deliver video courses in short 2-3 minute videos, one per day. I loved it. You could learn about something new (photography, health, business, etc), in just a few minutes a day. Unfortunately the platform never took off (long story), and I eventually quit.
I still loved the idea of video training dripped out in small chunks, so when it was time to shoot some video, a series of short lessons was where I wanted to start.
Best of all, ConvertKit has the functionality to power this. Subscribe and each day morning (11:00 AM EST) you will get a new video lesson delivered to your inbox. Each one is short (between 2 and 4 minutes) and packed with the most important ideas I’ve learned.
Enough about my setup, on to the actual content. These are the 10 most valuable ideas I’ve learned in building my blog and email list to over 10,000 subscribers (now 10,274). Here are the video lessons:
- Teach everything you know
- Average speed
- Use email, not social
- Price based on value
- Use tiered pricing to triple revenue
- Establishing expertise
- Be definitive
- Real feedback requires a credit card
- Launch sequences matter
- Be personal and authentic
You’ll receive one video each day for 10 days. To sign up for the series, and get the first lesson instantly, sign up below.