Since my social media career began I’ve always been hungry to seek out (and be involved with!) amazing examples of social media being used above and beyond simply tools for content distribution – i.e. more than just tweeting links to latest press releases or a place you can pump out messages about why you’re greater than competitors. Social media has the potential to be and gives us the opportunity to be, so much more than that and you truly reap the benefits when it is, which is why creativity is always at the top of my advice giving and speech making! When you push the boundaries, look at how your communities use social and ask how you can use these channels to provide value – amazing things happen. The purpose of my guest blogs have always been to showcase this, with a particular objective (for now) to showcase businesses and organisations based here in Wiltshire, so it’s with great pleasure and excitement that this month Daniel Steinhardt of The Gig Rig and That Pedal Show wrote a piece for me about the phenomenal success of his YouTube channel…Enjoy.
Hi, my name is Daniel Steinhardt, in my professional life I’m a guitarist, small business owner, and dare I say it, entrepreneur. To be honest I don’t attach any real meaning to that word other than I’m a terrible employee so I had to find a different way of making money.
As I write this I’m watching our YouTube subscriber’s numbers, and any minute now we’re going to hit 50,000.
I’ve always been fascinated by the guitar, the physicality of it, the way it takes not one but two hands to create a note. Since the age of 5 I have been totally engrossed in the instrument, indeed far more than appropriate for my modicum of talent. The sound totally connected with me, and when I discovered that you could plug this thing into an amplifier and turn it up loud, well, that was pretty much the end of any other possible career for me.
One aspect of the sound of the electric guitar that I loved was the effect pedal. A little box that you can plug between your guitar and amp, and when you step on it, it creates a totally different sound. Distortion, compression, delay, reverb, chorus, phasing, flanging, the list goes on and on. And when you combine these pedals you can find some truly amazing and inspirational sounds. The issue at the time was if you wanted to create combinations you looked more like a professional tap dancer than a guitarist, so I came up with a solution that allowed guitar players to plug in all their effect pedals and pre-program combinations of these things. I found a business partner with complimentary skills and a company was born called ‘TheGigRig’, however, the challenge was, as this was a new concept, we needed to educate the market first, before we could really sell in any significant numbers. So we started a YouTube channel, posting instructional and product demo videos.
YouTube was great but we didn’t see any real significant numbers for a long time. The videos we’re fine, I spent ages trying to make them the best I could, but I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing. I just knew that seeing as our product was so niche, and only available direct online, not through retailers, a video presentation was the best chance my customers were to have to experience the unit without actually being in front of one. We carried on with meagre results for years, then we had our first incredible YouTube experience. I was asked to build a pedalboard for Ed O’Brien from Radiohead. I filmed the process and graciously Ed agreed that we could film him when he came to pick up the board. I really had no idea that people would like it but to date that particular video has had over 400,000 views. It was amazing, it gave the business a real boost, and I really thought ‘this is it, we’re on our way’. I thought surely all our new videos would get fantastic numbers. Improved, yes, but a long way from fantastic. I even did another video with Ed but it had barely a quarter views of the first. The head scratching continued.
2 years ago I was at a trade show in L.A. with a very good friend of mine who happens to be an amazing content creator. I was after some tips on how we could improve our channel but our conversation very quickly shifted to talking about gear and effect pedals, what was new, what was great, what we loved, and what was questionable. It something we’re both really passionate about. Then we had the moment that we will always be able to look back at and attribute our success to. Mick says to me, “This is what we should be filming, this, our conversation!”. We had no great ambition with it, we just thought we could literally film our conversation, show examples, and the most important decision we made right from the start, we wouldn’t be sales men, we wouldn’t take any money off anyone to demo products, we would only show what we wanted to show. There are other very successful YouTube channels that get paid to demo products, and they’re great but we wanted to do something different, the opinions on the show would be our own, not paid for. We would need to find a different way to generate revenue but we would work out the details later. We made a start and filmed the first episode of That Pedal Show.
After 10 months on TheGigRig channel we knew that That Pedal Show needed its own home. It took just 9 months from our first show on our new channel to hit, literally right now, 50k subscribers. With over 2.5 million views, That Pedal Show is now its own brand, and even though I’ve never sold any of the gear that my company makes on the show, it’s of course on there every week, and it’s had a very direct effect on our sales.
I realize now why the initial Ed video was so popular, it was his honest enthusiastic reaction to the pedalboard I made him. That Pedal Show is a success precisely for the reason that we’re not selling anything, we’re just speaking about things that we’re genuinely passionate about. It’s the genuine passion that comes across and connects with people.
We were invited to meet someone from YouTube who pointed out to us that our average watch time per video is over 12 and a half minutes, while the average view time on YouTube is less than a minute. So my only advice is engage with your audience over something you are genuinely passionate about, that’s where you’ll truly make a connection with people who care about the same things you do.
*If you know any businesses or organisations in Wiltshire using social media creatively I’d love to hear about them! Please get in touch…