Are you ready to learn the secrets Elliott Hulse has used to create millions of YouTube subscribers?

In this interview, I interview Elliott about how he got started – and what he’d do differently if he was starting out today.

Elliott is probably one of the most prolific content producers that I know, especially when it comes to video. He has several popular YouTube channels, including Strength Camp and Become The Strongest Version of Yourself.

We are going to talk about all that, and how it’s helped him to develop his online platform.

Early Start on Content Marketing

Yuri: First off, welcome, Elliott. Can you quickly tell us who you are, what you do, and where readers can follow your work?

Elliott: Thank you, Yuri. It’s good to connect with you.

I’m a strength and conditioning coach. I played college football but I studied strength and conditioning.

Then, I was a personal trainer who decided to open my own business. I started training people in the parks in 2007 in what I called “strength camps” – I literally had a gym in my van and I’d dump all that stuff out in the park and train people there.

I eventually ended up in a warehouse and subsequently, over the years, we moved to bigger and bigger places.

As far as online is concerned, right from the beginning, I started publishing my workouts to be purchased online and I used content marketing to get my workout out there.

Yuri: How many YouTube videos do you have?

Elliott: Over 2,000.

Yuri: That’s awesome. I have 800 and people are like, “Wow!” But then I point to you and tell them, “You’ve got to see Elliott, he has thousands!”

When you were training clients in the strength camps, what was the moment or the process that you went through to realize it wasn’t making sense for you any more, and that you were going to spend more of your time on content delivery and offering programs online?

Lead Generation for New Clients

Elliott: When I first left the big box gym where I was training to become an independent trainer, I quickly realized that my lead source tried up.

I’m good at converting leads into sales, but I had no more leads. That’s because when you work at the gym they give you prospects that you can convert into clients.

I had to quickly learn how to market. This is back in 2007. I was broke. I didn’t have money for billboards, I didn’t have money for newspaper ads and things of that nature, the kinds of things you do with traditional brand marketing.

The Internet was just starting to really take off. I was in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at that time there was very little competition for me to rank high in Google.

Really, this was when people just started figuring out that they could search for things on Google.

Knowing that people were going to be looking for personal trainers in St. Petersburg, I created a website to rank for that. I decided to start taking some Internet marketing classes so that I could gather leads from that website, and bring them into my gym and then convert them into clients.

Along the way of learning how to get Internet marketing leads for my gym, I also discovered that I could publish my ideas in a digital format. And the very same way I was getting leads for people in St. Petersburg, I could create e-books or video products and sell what I’m doing at the gym – my workouts – to people all the world.

A light bulb went off and I was like, “This is a more manageable way for me to earn an income.”

Yuri: You’ve got a big family so it’s not like you are a single guy who can work 24 hours a day. I’m sure you love spending time with your kids and your wife and enjoying your family.

As you were starting this online journey was there a fear? Was there an internal dialogue, thinking, ‘Maybe I’m not good enough, maybe I don’t have anything of value to add here?

Was there ever that internal struggle, and if so, how did you overcome it?

No Choice But to Succeed

Elliott: You hit the nail on the head when you talk about my kids. Yes, there was a fear, but I had no doubt – because my fear was: I have to put food on the table.

I was running on fear and there was a fire under my ass but I couldn’t doubt myself. I had no time for that.

When you are fearful about whether your kids are going to eat, the ego gets very quickly put to the side.

Yuri: It’s the ultimate accountability.

Elliott: Right, it’s about survival. Whatever ill feelings I had – like a poor self-esteem – needed to disappear. I just decided that I was going to do what I had to do, and there was no room for those feelings even if they did creep in.

Video Made it Simple

Yuri:  For you, why is content important? Why not just do Google ads or paid traffic? Why did you try choose video and other content as your main way of getting yourself out there?

Elliott: I’ve got to be completely honest: It was easy.

When I created my first online product, I needed to get people to see it. Back then, squeeze pages were brand-new so I was cutting-edge.

I needed people to get to my little page which, back then, was just a little box. Everything above the fold. It was blue, it had some text, very basic. But I needed to drive traffic to that.

When I started making YouTube videos, talking about what I’m doing at the gym, I started getting a lot of clicks to that squeeze page, and then people were converting and then buying.

I quickly realized: Wow, the more I make these videos, the more traffic I drive to this page, the more my business grows.

Yuri: A pretty simple process.

Elliott: It was free. Easy and free, that’s what it was.

Providing Value Beyond the Gym

Yuri: What was the process? I know when some people think about developing videos and blog posts, they wonder how they first can come up with all the ideas and then, second, the actual content.

For you, was there a method to your madness or was it simply, here’s what I’m doing in the gym?

Elliott: Here’s the thing, I was confident that I was doing great work at my gym. Even before there was a YouTube or Internet marketing, while I was consulting with or training clients, I used to think to myself, boy it would be really good to have a camera here so could record this, because this is some good stuff.

I felt like, Man, I’m offering so much value to one person but if I had a camera here recording everything I’m saying, I could provide value to thousands or even millions.

Beyond just knowing that what I’m doing is worth watching, I also knew that I had a very good answers for a lot of people’s questions.

The easiest way to have a consistent source of stimulation for content creation is to simply answer questions.

That’s really how it really steamrolled, how it grew big, because I was just answering questions.

Yuri: Just thinking of objections, again, all of your videos are not professionally produced. For the most part, they are literally shot on a camera sitting on a tripod with your gym in the background.

Elliott: Yeah, the best ones.

Yuri: And most of your videos, at least the one I’ve seen, are more than 10 minutes long.

These are not two minutes of Elliott jumping around. You’re offering in-depth answers. You are a great orator. You speak and give your stance and philosophy on things.

That approach goes against what YouTube says – that the best videos are short and so forth.

Do you think that helps you stand out in this marketplace?

Do What Works for You

Elliott: I have come up with a new term recently: Youtooer.

These are people who just do what they see everybody else doing. For example, one of the things people do now are called jump cuts. So you see other people doing that, and suddenly you think, ‘I need to do that, too.’

But you can create wonderful content without all those edits if you brush up your presentation skills. Be charismatic.

Now I’ve got a whole team of professional cameras and editing guys that do the production for me. I’ve got to tell you, I feel far more disconnected from the work that I’m doing now than I did then when it was just me and it was “showtime.”

When you turn on that camera, it’s a matter of info-taining – giving people the best that you’ve got but doing it in such a way that they want to be engaged with you.

There are a lot of guys who are supersmart – 10 times smarter than me – and they call me out and call me all kinds of names and stuff, because they are jealous because nobody listens to them.

It’s because they’re boring.

Yuri: It’s so true. How many subscribers do you have on YouTube now – like 2 million plus?

Elliott: Yeah, between all the channels, it’s more than 2 million. Really two popular channels.

Yuri: If you haven’t watched Elliott’s videos on YouTube, just type in his name and you’ll see all his different videos and channels.

Just have a look at the way he’s doing things. Not that you have to copy him – just be yourself. Who you are on camera should reflect who you are in person.

That’s good, because everyone has that unique competitive advantage. Just be yourself: No one else can be you.

For people starting out, whether they are writing or doing video, what would be one simple tip you would give to people while they are producing their content?

Giving Away Your Best Stuff

Elliott: Oh man. I’ll share a little story with you. I’m sure you’re familiar with Matt Fury, right? Over the years I have studied Internet marketing, copywriting, and email marketing and Matt Fury was one of the guys I looked up to, early on.

About a year ago, I was able to have a meeting with him. He lives in Tampa. And he yells at me. He’s like, “I don’t get it with you and all the guys using social media now.”

See, he was an email marketer – a true direct response marketer, prior to social media, which has really changed things up in ways that are both good and bad.

He was like, “Why do you give away all your best stuff?” He was upset. “Why are you telling them all this stuff? Give them just enough to whet their palate, have them really questioning, leave them with more questions, leave them wanting a little bit more and then drive them to your offer.”

That makes sense as a marketer and as a business person. You don’t want to give away your best stuff.

I know from personal experience because I like astrology. I thought about this yesterday.

There are these women on YouTube and every month they make videos about what’s going on with Aries, etc., this week and this month.

I watch one woman every month. At the end of every video, she makes an offer. She says if you’d like a private reading, because that’s all the better – it’s an upgrade – go to my website.

I thought to myself, I am never going to hire her for a private reading because every month, I get exactly what I want when I watch her video.

I felt a little bad, but the fact is by giving your best stuff away, you are going to drive a lot of attention to yourself. You’re going to get a lot of people. Especially if your content’s good. A lot of people will be attracted to you.

If I were to do things a little differently now it would be a slight change of focus.

When I started, it was all about the numbers. My number one objective was more views, more subscribers, more views, and more subscribers.

Social Media Is (Probably) Not Your Business

Because, this is where got a little tricky. YouTube became a business, a part of my business, instead of a lead source.

This is where you could get confused and think that social media is a business.

And unless you are getting paid for your content directly, it’s not a business.

I think a lot of people can get confused with content marketing by giving away their best ideas and content and not getting paid for it. Because if you’re giving everything away, you’re also not leaving a true reason for people to click and buy from you.

If I were to give a tip to someone today – someone who isn’t a YouTuber (someone earning money because lots of people like watching them, which is a rare thing) – it’s to leave your viewers wanting a little more.

Show them your best and show them what you are capable of. But if you are a business and you are creating content to sell products or your services, then it is good principle to leave them wanting a little bit more – and having a good call to action so they can be interested in doing business with you.

Yuri: Great advice. This is been really good. Elliott, thanks again so much.

What’s the best website for people to check this stuff out?

Elliott:  Since we are talking about YouTube, just go to YouTube and search Elliott Hulse. I have an Elliott Hulse channel, which is me talking about lots of things related to life, and then there’s the strength camp channel, which is where I talk about strength.

Yuri: Yes, with some cool powerlifting and strongman stuff. Very cool.

For everyone reading, I hope you got some great value out of this.

Use Content to Build your Business

Remember, if you’re a health or fitness professional who wants to turn your expertise into a thriving online business, where you can impact more people, make more income and enjoy more freedom, this is for you.

Content is such a great tool and it is the future and I’ll show you exactly how to turn your expertise into a PROFITABLE online business. Just click the “invitation” below to hop on my next Health Content Mastery masterclass….

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