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The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective app.
Google Play: https://cavnesshr.co/262dc
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Social Media links for Josh Below!!
Josh’s Book Recommendation!!!
Is the Steve Jobs biography and “You're a bad ass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero
Resources from Josh!!!
I can give someone my unofficial e-book that I'm working on. And to another person if they're interested, a YouTube crash course. Reach out to Josh on his social media above for this great offer.
Jason: Welcome to the cavnesssHR podcast. Our guest today is Josh Kotoff. Josh are you ready to be great today?
Josh: Yeah I'm ready to be great.
Jason: Josh is an SEO expert and YouTube strategist that teachers his craft virtually and in person through Snapchat and college campuses. He has worked with national brands like Live Nation where he manages a talent database for rankings on booking your favorite bands artists or speakers for events with over 1200 pages. Ranking on the first pages of Google. Taking his skills in SEO and translate into YouTube strategy for helping channels to grow, rank their videos and perform programming schedules. He currently managers 5 media accounts grossing over 6 million views a month. But most of all Josh loves to teach, share stories and encourage everyone to turn their passion into the work and do that work from anywhere in the world they want to be. Josh, thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.
Josh: Thank you for inviting me. I'm really happy to be on the first video episode. And the fact that you reached out was really fun. Because I just landed in Seattle a few days ago and was like, if anyone's in the area wants to do something meet up for business contact something. Then I get immediate message from you.
Jason: Yeah. Funny thing I was messing around on snapchat open Snapmaps and seen Josh here. So I reached out to him and sent a message hey you want to be on the podcast? He said yes. First time I had ever done that and it is paying off great. So Josh you have a lot of things going on. What are you focusing on right now.
Josh: I want to say I'm focusing mainly on SEO because I've gone back to my roots. SEO is my roots that's where I got started. That's where I've developed all my other side jobs because of it. Because I went through a time of basically running an agency and teaching everyone wearing too many different hats. Now I'm scaling back and I'm pretty much just doing SEO and YouTube. I'm having a lot of fun with that.
Jason: So how did you get started?
Josh: Well it's a funny story. I am a stubborn person. I like to work the way I want to work and I value my freedom more than money when it comes down to it. Because I want to be able to work on my hobbies and my passions and just have fun with it. So I've only had one real job and that was Starbucks. I worked at Starbucks for two weeks. It was horrible. Then I quit and that same day I went door to door in like a one mile radius knocking on businesses saying do you need a website. I started building WordPress websites for 300 bucks. And I just been doing that ever since. Right when I was in college I was the youngest person to enter one of the SEO internships they had. I did well and they invited me back to teach it and I taught it for the next two and a half years. Worked briefly at an agency over there and then I learned what I don't want to be like in a SEO agency. I learned all the things of the qualities of a boss I want to be like. Then from there I just kept working on my stuff. College was too expensive and too crowded. So I dropped out and I've been on my own ever since and I've been doing SEO for probably about 7 years. Web development 7 years, YouTube about 5 years and just been having a lot of fun along the way.
Jason: What do most small businesses get wrong about social media what are they doing wrong?
Josh: I think the number one thing is not every business needs to be on social media. That's the first thing. I have plumbers and dentists and mattress store calling me saying I need to be on social media. I need funny pictures. I need to be personable I'm like you can. But like as a mattress store. Unless you're making a full on marketing campaign with like big deal sales mascot's whatever you want to do. I don't exactly see it translating because it's social when it comes to personalities, public figures. Yes, that's what you can do if you're just doing ad campaigns. That's fine. You can do targeted stuff with most of the people I talked to for businesses want social media that's content based. I always warn them. It's not your it's not up your alley it's not what you need to do. I warned this one client we did a three month case study project for elderly diapers. They were adamant about being on Facebook. Three separate times I turned them down I went. You do not need to be on Facebook, they were like we do. We really do. We want our elder diapers to be on Facebook. It's basically like a penis sleeve for old men. I'm like you don't need that. They wore me down. I said yes they did three months and they paid me and were like we now know why we don't need to be on it. Like I tried to tell you.
Jason: That's a great story. When a business comes to you and they say we want to be on all social media. What do you tell them. How does that work.
Josh: Well first off I tell them do they understand how much money that would cost. Because if they want every platform, daily updates and that's unique content. Because what we do as an agency is we'll build out a month's worth content. But we stagger it. We do the waterfall style content where we'll take say we make 20 pieces of media. We'll go three go here three go here three go here and then they rotate throughout the month. So you're not on the same platform watching all the same content. Because what's the point of following the same account if posting their posting the exact same thing every day. That's why with my Instagram it's usually a day or two behind. Just because I don't want to foot it the night . That's about that I make them take a step back look at their business demographic look at the current strategy and help them decide what's going to be the best. Because you know I work in Hollywood a lot. There's plenty of agencies which just take the money and run and charge you five grand just to start. I'm here to help businesses and also make sure I'm not working or overworking myself. So I'll go, no you don't need me on Twitter, because I personally don't like Twitter. It's great for automating coupons or something, but it's just it's not for businesses anymore. If they're on Instagram. Cool. But you need photo shoots and content. This is going to be the cost. I have a lot of companies who go can we be on snapchat. I go you don't need to on snapchat unless you have a dedicated team to it. Just having fun in the office being a great personality awesome. But there's a lot of creative and liability issues that you can get mixed in there because who knows what they can it really show to the public.
Jason: You covered this a little bit. But how do you disqualify a business. Because every customer is not a good customer. How do you do it.
Josh: Well first off they need to have manageable goals. If someone comes to me and goes I need a million followers on YouTube. I go, no It's not going to work. You might be a career coach. But you're not releasing videos and in a type of a way that will let you get to that sort of growth. I guess what it comes down to the main thing is are they willing to learn. Can I educate them because no matter what client I approach. I educate them more than anything. I am the person that will sit down with a client and I will tell them pretty much my whole strategy. What I'm doing for them and exactly what SEO does. What I would recommend. I pull up on the computer show their competitors and all that and I'm happy to give away information. Because when you're giving something away giving education and they see value it. That's an intrinsic relationship that's established and also a lot of people I know were too afraid to just give away their secrets. They're like oh it's like a salesman tactic. You get a buy in for more. First off they're not the expert you are. They're coming to you for a reason. They can write down everything you said but they can only remember half of it. Or even apply like 10 percent of it. So there's no danger there. So as long as they're willing to learn and like understanding that this is long term stuff. SEO is long term growth. Social media's long term growth. I dispel any rumors about growth hacking or anything like that. Because, yeah I know agencies who just buy viewers or something like that. But that doesn't convert. It's great for the first month. What do you do after that.
Jason: Is their any sort of business you target?.
Josh: It's been mainly a video game type of YouTubers. Because there are big streamers and they have a lot of fun with their type of communities and they're very consistent in the way they keep coming back. But for business itself. I've been leaning more towards the restaurant industry because my background was in restaurant marketing. Then I help with franchises establishing their concepts, their portfolios and their online strategy and kind of my dream type of contract where I have a few setup like that. Where after the main strategy is built for the main business and the corporate in the franchising the licensing all that type of stuff. They pass on my SEO cost to each franchise so we can give targeted and localized the results for that store and it doesn't cost them anything. They just roll it into the royalty cost.
Jason: That's great and I am guessing your nationwide?
Josh: Yeah yeah. I've spoke at probably 12 colleges across the country and virtually spoke to more. I'm planning to speak on one of them in England, through Australia through virtual. I would love for them will fly me there, but it's not going to happen. And yet with my job with SEO and YouTube really as long as the time zone is not crazy I can do it anywhere in the world I love it in Seattle because there is Wi-Fi everywhere, so that's really nice.
Jason: So let's suppose as a person out there who graduated from college and they want to do what you are doing. What advice would you have for them?
Josh: It's just a long term process. That's all it is. There's no barrier besides learning it. That's it. Because you can go on Amazon you can see the top 10 books in any subject top 10. Read them every day in three months you'll know everything you need to know because they're going to start repeating themselves. I've done that with YouTube books, SEO books, motivation books. After a while they all start to sound the same the same type of tactics and then just reading an article or two a day doing that. The biggest thing will be probably just getting that first foot in the door. Like when I was doing my first few contracts hundred bucks a month for SEO minimum please pay me. I need to learn. I need to get the analytics. I've read about it and then that's why I disagree with certain things like Tai Lopez or anyone else where they go right out the gate you come out because it's three four or five grand strategy and like. That's not saying you don't deserve that. I'm saying as a first client especially in your infant's infancy steps you don't know how to handle client relations. Coming off book learning and that's the one type of thing I bring to colleges. I don't teach the book learning. I teach practical type of things. I will walk through my experiences with clients. I have a fun story about how it was me vs. a whole team a marketing team of students for this one contract bid for Baja Fresh and that the students were really. Should I just tell the story? So I worked with a will fee, Baja Fresh and a bunch of other ones.
Josh: I did their training videos, franchise marketing, store marketing stuff like that. I was down in Irvine in California for meeting with Baja Fresh and there was the big conference room and then it was me and this group of marketing students. All seniors, it's part of their thesis and they are really excited cause they're like this can be our first paid job. It's going to be great. I'm a pretty casual guy. I just have my button up and it's kind of like I'm sitting now on my phone just kind of checking things out. I didn't bring anything with me. We had a call with them the day before and just said I just let him know I approach things a little bit differently. On the other hand there are four students. Suit, tie, business skirts ready. Each of them had binders. They were decked out. And I'm like. Huh. OK so for whatever reason when they went to talk to the marketing board and the CEO. They left the conference room door open. I don't know if that's just what it was because it was hot or something. But I got to listen to them walk through their presentation and it felt like a book report. I could see the board members just going. OK. All they did was say what's wrong what's wrong, what's wrong, and give definitions that they've learned in class. I was like kind of just sitting there going oh no no no no. Because before we're sitting next to each other and we're like oh what are you here for, I'm like Oh I'm here for the marketing bid.
Jason: They don't mean to be snooty. But they're ready, they're like this guy. Where are your materials. I don't have any and they're like yeah we're ready oh we got this and then so they went on for like 15 minutes and they all sat down there like we're good we're good. I'm like OK. So they sat back down and they were staying and then they called me and door was still open. So I sat there and went, so what do you need? I started off the interview and then the other kids are just like what's going on over there and they're like oh do you have any materials. I'm like no I kind of do this all the time. So I'm here to answer any questions. I looked you up online and you've been doing this this and this. But I would suggest this and I start talking about how they can incorporate different in-store techniques preference chipotle all that type of things kind of everything the other students didn't do and it was a little satisfying. But it is a prime example of all the students coming out of marketing thinking they can start their own social media agencies thinking they could start their own SEO. They were just taking book learning and definitions throwing it at people and people can smell that bullshit. You could know when you're being sold to or just regurgitating information. All they had to do to save it would just be like proposed solutions not just point out problems. That's just what I do when it comes down to it.
Josh: So if you're if you're a student or you want to start something research it approach it timidly, be humble in the beginning. Because the world doesn't owe you anything.
Josh: It's business, I's rather have you learn how to manage and talk to clients and create that lifecycle. Instead of charging someone 3, 4 grand then it falling apart a month later and then you feed the bad reputation that a lot of social media companies have or something like that. Because we all know 10 people online who is like I have an agency the agency Instagram and the agency thing we post inspirational quotes every day. Why are we not making money.
Jason: It seems like there are thousands of social media agencies out there. How do you determine the best one for you and get through all the noise?
Josh: At this point really is just word of mouth. That's how I get all my clients now. That's the way I prefer it because I rather do in person meetings. I've gotten a few leads through my site and through my other contacts. But cold leads like that I don't really care because I can't gauge what they're into. Social Media takes a long time. That's why we scaled back a little bit we only have two social media clients right now and the rest are just SEO. Because SEO leads to more passive income and that's great. It just takes forever to setup.
Jason: Josh talk about a time you were successful. What you learned from this success and we can learn from your success?
Josh: Let's see. Well I've got more failures than successes. But I'm on the upswing right now. So I think one of my favorite successes is when I really started to Work with a new group of YouTubers. It was the first time they saw real value in it. I was able to put together a really big report. I was able to put together all the analytics case studies. Because I'm really good at outlining designing reports and then I had them sit down and there was like a few other YouTubers from the building.
Josh: So we'd like a full room and I was doing a presentation because I was clearly passionate about it. It was received well that's how I got most of my YouTube contracts that day. And they pay. That's the good thing YouTubers don't make a lot of money right now. Especially with all the ad issues going on. It's on the upswing slowly but so it meant a lot. When I was able to put my quote out there they went no. How about this? It was higher than I expected. That made me feel incredibly valued. So I always chase that feeling if it's possible. I would love I'd love to meet the type of people that value value everything and your information, your input, so much that they're willing to invest in you versus just write you off like a service. So I guess the lesson from that too is, no matter where you're speaking or what you're doing with it, let your passion shine through. Don't sell don't do anything over over share if you need to, but as long as you're passionate about it. I don't want it people coming off and treating it like it's just another job.
Jason: For YouTube ads is it true the ad has to play the whole way for the person to get money for it or how does that work?
Josh: Before what was called the ad apocalypse. The basic ad rate was roughly zero point zero or four cent. So every thousand views is roughly 4 bucks. If you were really good YouTuber. Now it's like almost half that. Because when YouTube realized OK anyone could just click ads and then they're finding out it's on like gang videos, ISIS videos all these things. Coca-Cola is pairing up the like that's not what we want. They fixed all that now with a bunch of community guidelines and you have to have a certain amount of subscribers and views to be eligible for monetization. So that's good. But no you don't have to finish the video. But the longer the watch time is the more valuable the ads get. So we got the overlay ads which are just like the flat rate and the 25 cents something like that. That's pretty high for just an average YouTuber where you get the middle video which is great. That usually varies on the type of ad you put it like a skippable ad, the non skippable which they're pushing a lot because it's a newer type of ad format. Ten to 15 seconds can't skip it. They usually have higher production quality because they want you to finish it. But sometimes people just leave videos because tthey don't want to do that. But they're pushing the non skippable ads because it pays more for YouTubers because they're trying to catch up because the more money they can make they can skim off the top. So the longer the video runs on YouTube the more valuable the ads get overall. That's why certain long form podcasts on YouTube are doing very well with minimal ads. Because they usually have the in podcasts ads. So it goes hand in hand. It's all about watch time now.
Jason: Ok, Josh, next talk about a time you failed in the past, what you learned from this and what we can learn from this?
Josh: Well there's a lot of failures. Honestly, though the one of the biggest ones is going to be the one that's coming up and I take it as a failure of I'm getting rid of my office. It's bittersweet because I've had that office for two and a half years. I had a full team in it too when we started. We got up to six people were in there every day. I'm training people and doing all that. But you know over time some people either realize that this entrepreneurial lifestyle is not for them. Other ones just kind of find other opportunities or maybe it's not stable enough for them. The few that did stay on I've trained so well that now they all work remote. Now it's just me and I get bored and now I'm realizing that end of an era is over. During that month I lost one of my biggest clients. Not because anything I did. Because they had some restaurant issues that they didn't get a license for something silly like oh we need it we'll pay you when we have the money. So pause everything like that, plus although realizing the office stuff going down that's kind of hit hard. So I had to take I have a partnership with an agency right now so it just took a really big hit to my pride and pride my deadly sin.
Josh: I'm not crazy about it but it's going to be a big thing. I know it's going to hurt. I've got to sell everything in the office and I am going to be upset because I worked so long and so hard to get to that point. I had pictures when we all went to Ikea. I'm like man we're young. Oh my gosh. Just like drop $800 and we built everything. It was the funnest part of my life. It was perfect. And it's going to be gone. It's bittersweet. I understand that it was good while it lasted. The next one will be even better. It also comes down to a different type of lifestyle. Yes I want an office but right now with where I'm getting and trying to move to Seattle and everything and traveling a lot I might just have to go back to the cafes/We work space type of deal. You know it hurts. I take it as a defeat. Some people go no you are going to save money. Like. I really liked that office. It was a big personal moment for me.
Jason: That's a great story. Can you tell us about someone who's helped in the past and how the helped you.
Josh: So honestly the biggest thing you can do in life is give your peers or someone below you a chance. If you are an honest person that's the rarest thing to find. Working in Hollywood, dime a dozen scumbags. Everyone does the Hollywood deals will shake your hand and cross their fingers behind your back.
Josh: I used to work on a lot of film sets and I met this guy who basically became my mentor, David Fletcher. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidfrankfletcherjr/ He was the first one to really just give me a chance because he went through the same exact things I went through. We worked on a few films that he was a producer. Then he brought me on as assistant producer we developed this relationship. He was like what do you do? I do YouTube and websites. He went OK, here's a little project that we need for the movie that we're making. Go ahead and start making this. Okay cool. No pay for it, but I was like it's experience. Sure. I'm going to do it. Worked out well we developed the little working relationship and then he just always went, I wish there was something else I can do for you. I will let you know. So cut to like eight months later I was in the third semester in a row in the first week of college I was in my junior year because every time I went back to college. It was so crowded that I couldn't get the classes I needed. I am someone who did all the APs in high school and everything so I came in with two years basically done. But to the college system I went, no no no stay here we need you to pay money. You're not a priority because you're already on track. So I needed all the 301 and 401 classes.
Josh: But I was not the right age for it. So for all the other students to graduate on track. They moved me down priority. So for three semesters in a row I couldn't get the classes I needed and all the schools said was take an elective. I'm not paying like two thousand dollars just for a single elective. I got really upset. So I was coming out of my last class that was waitlisted. So I showed up, but there's four other people in front of me. I'm like it's just packed. I'm not going to get this class for the third semester in a row. I'm not going to go to school. I'm trying. I was so angry and I was sitting there in the food court just at my wits end. And I get a call from David Fletcher and he goes, do you want a job? I go what is it? He goes hey I got a job at Live Nation for you. They're opening a new talent database division and they need someone to head it. Pays not great right now but we'll see where it goes. I don't have a car at that time either. So I shambled things together and I made it there the next day for my interview and I've been working for Live Nation ever since. They taught me how to do all that remote things and even till today. Me and him just work on projects together. So I owe a lot to him. The best thing is no matter what age you are giving people younger or older a chance you can be a mentor to anyone. Just be real. Just be honest with them. Don't dangle a carrot or any incentives just present the opportunity and if they're serious. Let them chase after it.
Jason: I am a firm believer that everyone needs a mentor. Regardless of position or age, everyone needs one. Plus a mentor isn't just for you to tell them all the good things you are doing. They should be for when you mess up. Like, Josh I did this stupid thing at work and I might be getting fired. What do I do?
Jason: Josh, tell us something about yourself that most people don't know. Your close family and close friend know. But most people don't know this about you.
Josh: I'm pretty open on Snapchat so I because I love vlogging. It was really hard in the beginning. Because I didn't like the way I looked on camera or anything like that. Something people don't know? You know people say I'm a nerd. But then they don't understand the depth of how big of a nerd I am. You know Lord Of The Rings Star Wars,
Josh: But I know the entire lore all 12 to 15 years an extended universe lore of Bionicle. People go wait wait that lego thing from a long time ago.
Josh: Yeah I know way too much. I never show my collection. But, I've got way too much. I've got probably all 600 figures in pristine condition and everything.
Jason: That's a different level right there.
Josh: Oh yes. It is my passion. So that's a snippet because I don't show it. Because I go it's not presented right.
Jason: I understand you have a book to recommend.
Josh: Oh I got a lot of books I got too many bookshelves. But I'm currently reading two. One of them is the Steve Jobs biography. The one that's like 800 pages long. Love that book it's just a really good motivation. A lot of people just think these role models that they put up there are their heroes just like infallible all this type of stuff. No Steve Jobs was an asshole and was a little weird. But it's the story and the passion behind that really drives it. The other one is you're a bad ass at making money. That one I don't agree with all of it. But it has a good mindset value of you are worth something. So I read that when I was first coming out of my ok I'm done doing this for experience. I'm done doing this for exposure. I deserve to be paid. That book came across my way and really just solidified the mindset gave me some of confidence going OK. Now I know what a plan for, now I can put a number to my name.
Jason: Will you be able to give a free gift or resource to the listeners?
Josh: I can give someone my unofficial e-book that I'm working on. And to another person if they're interested, a YouTube crash course.
Jason: That is very valuable.
Josh: It would be like a one on one skype call and I'd be like hey. Don't screenshot this because this is a YouTubers account. But this is what you do. I'll be able to answer questions about YouTube. As long as they're not like how do I become famous for playing Minecraft or something like that. I get way too many messages like that.
Jason: Can you share your social media so people can reach out to you?
Josh: The main thing is my Snapchat and Mrscifiguy. But me and my assistant and a close friend Hannah. She's also a kick ass designer and my social media manager started a new Instagram just called the motivation team and we were having a lot of fun with that. That's where we're sharing some of our insights or stories and differing a little bit more from the Snapchat so you can go ahead and follow me on Snapchat and then follow that Instagram as well.
Jason: From your point of view, what social medias are the best.
Josh: Right now I think it's honestly Instagram as much as their algorithm sucks their ad targets are on point. Facebook ads have gone down the toilet because they changed everything. You can't you can't reach any of your base now without paying. We did a bunch of experiments. We were able to live like three months ago we were all the post and reach like 50 percent of the like base. Now you get 5 percent maybe. But you throw in the minimum of five dollars you hit your full target. So Facebook is just money grabbing. Instagram's clean and it's great for business and it's micro content which is awesome. I don't understand companies that use Snapchat for business unless you're an agency or people like us who teach and we run things and we have a lot of fun with it because it's a personality base. Then LinkedIn got the huge update last year where it's more like Facebook and it looks like Twitter.
Jason: All these videos on LinkedIn now. I look at my feed and video, video, video. You know do they really know what they talking about.
Josh: It's just too crowded. I like LinkedIn and I like that you can go for it and put your content out there what you're an expert in. But everyone's also doing that too. It's depending on your social circle and it's really small and really concentrated. Because everyone wants to sell to each other. But everyone also knows everyone else as a business person. They don't really want to buy from each other. But I think the best platform to circle back from my little tangent is Instagram right now. You just need good aesthetics, good photos, clean graphics that's all you need.
Jason: So Josh we are coming to the end of talk. Do you have any last minute wisdom or advice on anything you want to talk about.
Josh: My main thing is don't regurgitate information if you're reading a book. Go ahead and write down things for yourself. Especially when it comes down to like presenting the clients or just making network connections in life. My biggest issue at colleges is breaking people out of the college mindset. I don't care what your final grade score is. I don't care how many courses you've taken and the marketing thing. I dropped out of school because I couldn't pay it and the marketing I was learning wasn't teaching anything that was current. Even the schools today don't really teach anything super current Because you can't write a textbook on something that changes every six months. So I would say just focus on being practical. Put yourself out there even if you have some bad relationships with clients in the beginning you're going to learn. I'd rather have you have those experiences now. Than down the line when you get a really big opportunity because you've been waiting for it and you just don't know how to handle it.
Jason: Thank you Josh for being here. I really appreciate it.
Josh: Loved being here. Thank you for inviting me.
Jason: Too our viewers, thank you for your time as well. We know your time is valuable and remember to be great every day.