Justin is known online as That Christian Vlogger, and brands himself as an online missionary. In 18 months he has amassed 40K YouTube subscribers. He shares his story and strategies when it comes to YouTube.
What’s In This Session?
- Why Justin turned to YouTube to become a digital missionary (7:34)
- The true definition of the word “vlog” (12:36)
- How Justin grew from 0 to 40,000 subscribers in 18 months (15:00)
- Dissecting what it takes to get 100,000+ views on a YouTube video (20:39)
- Pro tips for YouTube keyword research (24:03)
- The perfect anatomy of a YouTube video (31:38)
- The most important metric that YouTube tracks (and why it’s so important) (35:21)
- Best strategies for YouTube titles & thumbnails (39:51)
Show Notes & Resources Mentioned
3 Instant Takeaways
- Millennials disproportionately trust individuals over institutions. Logging gave Justin a great platform from which to share his faith because it was him, an individual, talking about it and living it out. This helps millennials connect more willingly with his message.
- Be relevant to your target audience. This doesn’t mean avoiding truth or “watering down” the gospel. It means making the truth of who Jesus is applicable to the situations people find themselves in every single day. Some of Justin’s most viewed videos were on dating, and the reason for this is that dating is something millennials spend a lot of time thinking about because it is a part of their day to day life.
- Ask yourself why someone would want to watch a video. Is it because they’re asking a specific question? Are they looking for a different perspective on an issue? It might be different for different videos, but by being aware of this you can give your videos focus. Remember to promise the value you will be offering up front at the beginning of the video.
The Full Transcript
Brady: This is the Pro Church podcast, session number 189, How A Christian Blogger Gained 40,000 YouTube Subscribers in 18 Months with Justin Khoe.
Well, hey there Pro Church Nation, and welcome to the Pro Church podcast. You’re now part of a small group of pioneering churches doing everything we can to seize the 167 hours beyond our Sunday services. Why? Well, because we’re living through the biggest communications shift in the last 500 [00:00:30] years, and what got us here won’t get us there. I’m Brady, your host, and this is session number 189. You can find the show notes for this session at ProChurchTools.com/189, and in this session of the podcast, we’re joined by Justin Khoe, talking about YouTube and how to grow your channel fast, real fast. So, let’s do it.
[00:01:00] Well, hey there Pro Church Nation. Welcome back to another session of the Pro Church Podcast. This is Brady, your host. Great to have you along for this 189th session.
We like to start off each and every session of the Pro Church Podcast by sharing with you a pro tip or a practical tool that you can begin using in your church or ministry right away, and we don’t have any sponsorships on this podcast. We’ve done more than 200 sessions. No sponsors, nothing like that.
But [00:01:30] today, I do want to tell you about … Well, not a sponsor, but about one of our own products that is now officially live, StoryTape.com, and the reason I’m telling you about it now is because today is the final day to join StoryTape with our decreased, lowest ever, never again going to be available launch week pricing. Our prices are going up Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 at midnight. So, the day this podcast goes live, the StoryTape prices increase at midnight eastern. So, [00:02:00] if you’re listening afterwards, launch week pricing has expired, but still head over to StoryTape. You can browse through our thousands upon thousands of clips for free, look at all that we have to offer.
If you are listening to this the day that it’s released before midnight eastern, 11:59 eastern standard time … Actually I think we’re in eastern daylight savings time, EDT, instead of EST. Regardless, not entirely important, head over to StoryTape.com. Sign up for a plan, and you’ll lock in that lowest price ever.
What is StoryTape? Briefly, it’s our unlimited [00:02:30] stock video platform. It’s a subscription based stock footage platform, where instead of having to pay $200 to $500 per clip, you get to download unlimited stock video clips, 4K ProRes, 10 bit. Oh, and we add a thousand new clips every single month. What’s cool is that we shoot our clips in groups that we call scenes, so now you can be the director. You can craft your story with the perfect narrative, download as many clips as you need from the same looking scene, where all the clips will match together perfectly, same subject matter, same time of day. Piece it all together [00:03:00] to tell the story you want.
It’s been so cool during this first week seeing the videos that churches and ministries are already creating using our footage. I saw a Christmas program, a promo for a Christmas experience called Wrapped. I saw a mini movie with Psalm 23 on it. A couple other videos where they were in video announcements in B roll using that footage.
It’s been so great. We’ve been working on this platform for so long. We’ve put so much of our heart and soul into it, and to see that art in the world helping churches and ministries, [00:03:30] it’s pretty special. We’d love for you to be a part of it. Today is the final day where you can join with launch pricing.
To compare, because we have been getting a lot of questions about which plan should I choose? What’s the best plan? I was on Shutterstock the other day, and Shutterstock is probably the biggest stock video platform out there, at least when it comes to use and catalog, library. They’re massive. And their best value deal … So, if you go and you try to buy one clip, it’s going to cost between $200 and $500. So, they had this deal, where instead of paying [00:04:00] for one clip, you can get a bundle. So, their best deal, and it has this big banner on it. It’s like best value. 25 clips, okay, 25 clips, 4K resolution, 25 4K clips for, get this, $3,979. So, you get 25 4K clips for about four grand American.
To put that in perspective, that would give you about two years subscription on our unlimited plan at StoryTape. We add a thousand clips every month. So, by the time two years [00:04:30] has gone by, our library will have about 30,000 clips, and you have unlimited access to all of them. So, 30,000 4K clips versus 25 4K clips. This is the pricing structure of the stock footage industry. It is insane, and that’s why we built StoryTape, to give churches access to footage that they never had before. I don’t know what church can afford four grand for 25 clips. It’s just insanity, and, again, that’s their best value deal.
And all the big sites are the same. Film Supply, Dissolve, Shutterstock, and this isn’t a rip on them. It’s just simply saying that stock [00:05:00] footage has been overpriced for a long time, and we’re here to change that.
So, head over to StoryTape.com. Get in before the deadline. If you’re the type of person that waits until the last minute, look, we’ve all been there, but time is running out. Midnight tonight, launch pricing ends. Prices increase, never again to decrease.
Thanks for being a part, everyone that has joined. It’s been great interacting with you, seeing what you’re making. Can’t wait to see all that happens as we continue to build out the library and add more, and more, and more.
Speaking of video, it’s the subject of this session of the Pro Church Podcast, as [00:05:30] well. We’re welcoming to the show Justin Khoe, and Justin terms himself a digital missionary. He’s known online as That Christian Vlogger. That’s his YouTube channel. His YouTube videos have been seen around the world by over a million people, and in 18 months, he’s amassed more than 40,000 YouTube subscribers, and YouTube is, in my opinion, a forgotten platform for churches. We don’t really consider it, and we definitely don’t use it the way it’s meant to be used, and really that’s what this session of the podcast is about. We talk about why Justin turned [00:06:00] to YouTube to become a digital missionary. We talk about the true definition of the word of vlog, how Justin grew from zero to 40,000 subscribers in 18 months.
Dissecting what it takes to get 100,000 plus of views on a YouTube video, both Justin and I have done that. So, we talked about what made our videos get that many views. What was it about that specific video? We talked about pro tips for YouTube keyword research, the perfect anatomy of a YouTube video, the most important metric that YouTube tracks, and why it’s so important for you to care about, and finally, best strategies [00:06:30] for YouTube titles and thumbnails. There’s plenty of great stuff in this session. Both Justin and I have been diving deep into YouTube, and so we pretty much share everything that we know on that subject in this session.
So, I hope you enjoy it. We’ll be back in just a moment with my interview with Justin Khoe.
Well, hey there Pro Church Nation. Welcome to an other session of the Pro Church Podcast. Today, we’re welcoming to the show Justin Khoe. Justin, what’s up?
Justin Khoe: Hey, Brady. It’s good to see you, man. Thanks for having me on.
Brady: It’s great to have you. You have been blowing up on YouTube, and this is a [00:07:00] different segment than what we would normally do on the Pro Church Podcast. A lot of times we’re talking about church leaders, and pastors, and we’re bringing on people that are working directly within churches, and what you’re doing is a type of digital discipleship that’s beyond that. You like to term yourself a digital missionary, which is very cool. You’ve got a YouTube channel that’s known as That Christian Vlogger. It’s the name of the channel. Close to 40,000 subscribers now, and I think that you’ve only been at it for a little more [00:07:30] than a year. Correct me if I’m wrong. But can you talk a little bit about your channel, what you’re up to?
Justin Khoe: Yeah, exactly. So, you nailed it. I’ve been doing it about a year and a half. I put out videos, sometimes twice a week, as many as five times a week, and really what my niche is, and what I’m trying to accomplish is I’m trying to reach Christian millennials, or at least people who maybe even loosely consider themselves be Christians.
When I was in high school, I was really just struggling with direction, just floating through life. [00:08:00] I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience, but people asked me what’s my passion? What’s my purpose in life, and I really had no question, and so when people asked me what I would do later on in college, I just said, “I’ll be a dentist.” The reason why I said that was because my dad was a dentist, and I figured there really is nothing that enjoy in life, other than video games, which wasn’t really a career choice for me.
But I said if I’m going to be miserable no matter what I’m doing, I might as well be rich, and that’s the life that I resigned myself to, but it was shortly after then [00:08:30] that I came to faith in Christ, and I committed my life to Him, and everything changed from there. Really my goal with channel is to help young people, who might have been in a stage of life kind of like me, who were in the late high school, early college life, trying to figure things out, and really questioning whether or not they still want to retain that ancient faith that their parents handed down to them or not, and so I’m trying to speak life into that kind of a dark area.
Brady: So, let me great this straight, Justin. You were [00:09:00] a millennial with an existential crisis?
Justin Khoe: Yes.
Brady: [crosstalk 00:09:05]
Justin Khoe: Right. Never happens. Never happens.
Brady: So, you said it’s about 18 months ago that you started this channel. What was the catalyst for you saying, “Okay, you know what? I need to do something. Maybe I’ll try YouTube,” because for a lot of people, that can seem almost just as silly as video games.
Justin Khoe: Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes it is just that silly. I was actually teaching at a [00:09:30] Bible college in Philadelphia, and the college was very, very, very small, but I loved it. I was teaching a class size of maybe about a dozen students, and it was just so much fun to see their eyes light up, and to see them just come alive as the scriptures were being taught to them. I thought to myself, “If it’s worth doing it for one person, wouldn’t it be more worth it to do it for ten people, or to do it for a hundred people, or to do it for a thousand people perhaps?”
When I thought about the power of social media, I realized [00:10:00] that’s really where people spend their time, and if I really wanted to share that message, and if it really is about the impact of the gospel, then I really need to figure out how can I get that in front of as many people as possible, and it just seemed that YouTube was a very natural extension of that, because I would spend, I don’t know. I don’t know what you do Brady, but I spend maybe five or more hours every single day on YouTube, and I know that’s fairly standard for a lot of millennials. Maybe I’m on the outlier or on the higher end [00:10:30] of things.
That’s where a lot of people spend time, and so if I wanted to take that message to people, I need to go where they were at.
Brady: It’s interesting that you mentioned time spent on YouTube, because I’m just beginning to watch more and more YouTube channels.
Justin Khoe: Oh, be careful. Black hole.
Brady: Well, that’s what I was getting at, is because I employ right now eight millennials full time, and I see how much time they spend on YouTube, and I always thought it was crazy, because some of them … I would say one, two, three … [00:11:00] All of them? Like they spend so much time watching YouTube videos, and so like you said, digital missionary, going to where the people are. Was “mission” something that you had a passion for for a while, like something that’s been a thread throughout your entire life, or was this endeavor something that was unusual, kind of different for you?
Justin Khoe: This was definitely something that has been deep seated for a while. Ever since I committed my life to the Lord, after [00:11:30] that season of life I just described to you in high school, I got involved with mission work as a young person. I got involved with different evangelism programs at my church, it offered, and so I’ve been doing ministry now for the last 10 years. I’ve done some of the more traditional stuff. A lot of people would cringe when you think about I’ve done the door-to-door stuff. I did that for 10 years, where I would go for eight hours a day knocking on doors, praying with people, offering religious literature, kind of like what Mormons and Jehovah’s Witness do, but hopefully [00:12:00] a little bit more socially acceptable.
But I’ve done ministry for 10 years. I’ve preached across the country. I’ve preached internationally, and so I’ve always had a very, very strong passion from the moment that God really touched my heart. I wanted to help other people have that experience, because I’ve found that life with Jesus was really that much better, and so I’ve been trying to convince other people, or just demonstrate that to other people, who might be a little skeptical about it.
Brady: The name [00:12:30] of your channel is That Christian Vlogger. For those that are still unfamiliar with the term vlog, could you best define it for us?
Justin Khoe: Yeah. A vlog is like the video version, and that’s what it means, video blog. A blog is a written form of content online. So, if you ever read an article from a news website or a person sharing their testimony, or their story, or whatever life experience they might have, that’s usually a written form. That’s blog. On YouTube, we call the equivalent a vlogger, someone who does that through video.
Brady: [00:13:00] And the reason that I say for those that are still unfamiliar, is because vlogging is still I would say now just on the precipice of gaining more mainstream attention, but I’m typing in the show notes right now the word vlog, and my mac is convinced that I’m trying to write the word flog. That’s interesting, because normally vlog gets corrected to blog. I’ve never seen it get corrected to flog, which is a little violent, but we’ll go with it.
But it’s still a new type of phenomenon, and it’s a new type [00:13:30] of medium that’s huge amongst millennials, but might not be for those that are a little older. But we’re watching less TV. I’m trying to think like the NBA, when we record this, is back today, and I love basketball, and so I’m going to be watching a lot of that. But since the NBA ended, I have not watched very much … A little bit of Netflix, but not that much. I watch a lot more YouTube than I do TV, and that’s being the way that millennials are consuming video, because video is still here to stay, but the way and where we’re consuming it is a bit different.
You said that [00:14:00] you’re producing videos once or twice a week?
Justin Khoe: Minimum twice a week, sometimes as many as five times a week.
Brady: Okay, cool. A couple more things about yourself, for those that are unaware. You are married, correct?
Justin Khoe: Correct.
Brady: How long have you been married?
Justin Khoe: We’ve been married for a little over two years now.
Brady: Okay. You said you’ve been at this for a decade of ministry. How old are you?
Justin Khoe: I am 27, so literally at 17 year old, when I first committed my life to the Lord, like literally just months later [00:14:30] I got involved with doing ministry right away. They just threw me in and saw if I could sink or swim, and I’ve been keeping my head above water more or less since then.
Brady: Very nice. Very nice. The final thing that I wanted to ask was I think you have some type of body building in your past or present. Is that true, also?
Justin Khoe: Not body building, which is a common misconception, but the sport of weight lifting. So, you see those guys on the Olympics, where they throw the weight over their head. The clean and jerk and the snatch are the two competitive lifts. [00:15:00] I used to compete in the sport of weight lifting for a little while. I’ve since had a shoulder surgery in an unrelated accident. But, yeah, I used to compete. It was a lot of fun.
Brady: Awesome. Okay. I think that provides enough context for me and for Pro Church Nation to dive into what I want to spend the bulk of this conversation on, which is really talking about ways to use YouTube to reach people, as simple as that.
Justin Khoe: Absolutely.
Brady: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It is crazy [00:15:30] popular amongst millennials, and interestingly, I just read this. We’ve talked a ton about millennials within Pro Church Tools content, a lot on the YouTube channel. In fact, we have a full course, free mini course on the church and millennials, if you go to YouTube.com/ProChurchTools. But one thing that I read while I was a recent Europe vacation. We were in Greece. I was reading this article. It said that the age of 26 is now the most popular … The population that is the biggest cohort, age group, age number really in the world, and so you don’t quite make it, Justin. I’m sorry. But my wife [00:16:00] and I do. We are both 26, and we’re just beginning now to see brands really turn their attention toward millennials, because we’re not buying things the way that previous generations have. Sears in Canada just closed down finally. It’s like things the way they used to be are not the way that things they are.
It’s what we talk about all the time at Pro Church Tools. It’s a new world, and I think Justin is one of the best examples of a Christian who is taking hold of that new world, and in 18 months has gone from zero to 40,000 plus subscribers on his YouTube [00:16:30] channel, which is huge.
So, Justin, I want to dive into some of the specifics of creating great individual videos, getting good content and good ideas for videos, but before that, do you want to just talk about your general strategy to how you’re creating videos, and how you think you’ve been able to go from zero to 40,000 in a niche of Christianity so much, so fast?
Justin Khoe: Yeah. Definitely, absolutely. So, what I try very hard to do is I try to have my YouTube channel be an extension of [00:17:00] my experience with God. Other people have suggested to me for years upon years, one thing that you could really do that will help your spiritual walk is to do journaling, and to do prayer journaling and things like that. I’ve tried it maybe a dozen times, and each time I’ve done it, I’ve never really gotten past page three. I always start it, and then I stop it. It has never fit with me.
But for some reason, the video format actually works for me. It’s a great way for me to share my thoughts, my ideas, my own personal experience, and that’s really where I start from with my channel, [00:17:30] and I think that this is actually really advantageous for a lot of people that are listening here. I would assume that a good chunk of people listening right now, maybe you’re not the head pastor of your church. Maybe you are, but I’m guessing that a percentage aren’t, and the reason why I think that’s actually an advantage is because young people, millennials especially, at least I could speak for myself and my friends, we have a certain disproportionate distrust towards institutions, and a disproportionate trust towards individuals, and what I mean by that is we are far more likely [00:18:00] to believe something that is said if it comes from an influential person, and we’re far more likely to distrust that exact same statement if it comes from an institution. There’s just this skepticism with authority I guess in our generation, and that’s not necessarily a great trait to have, but it’s the reality.
Why that’s an advantage is that even if you don’t have the power in your church to start something at your local church, you can still start something with YouTube. You can do your own personal [00:18:30] thing, and I think that actually may work better in the long term, because you’re able to share your own personal journey, your own story, your own experience.
That’s what my vlog is, is an extension of my life. It’s a way for me to share my story and my reflections, and how I try to I guess weave God into every moment of my life, or to I guess recognize God in every moment of my life.
Brady: I think the biggest thing that stood out to me in what you just said was that millennials have a disproportionate distrust towards institutions, [00:19:00] and a disproportionate trust towards individuals, and there’s a reason that all of my social accounts are either Brady Shearer or Pro Church Tools with Brady Shearer, is because I want people to know there’s a person here. It’s not just some no-name brand, Pro Church Tools. There’s a real person here, and I’ve found great success with that humanizing our brand and removing that generic institutional label that I think can hinder more than it helps, as you eluded to.
Now, what [00:19:30] I find interesting is I always love to go to a YouTube verse channel, and look at their most popular videos. I recently had the first video on our YouTube channel go “Christian viral.” It was a video on Elevation Church, and it’s all about why you shouldn’t copy Elevation Church. I had this conversation with a church. They said, “We want to build an app, because Elevation does,” and I was like, “Elevation spent 100K on their app. Don’t build an app just because Elevation did,” and now templatized [00:20:00] apps have been banned from the Apple App Store, and now if you had an app like that, you would get kicked out.
So, it worked out, but it’s funny seeing a video go viral, because you’re like, “What made this go viral?” I’ve created so many videos. We have I think not too many, but more than 200 on our channel, and to see that one be the one that went viral, I was like, “Really? That one? All right. I guess I’ll take it,” but that’s kind of like what happens with videos. With all content really, you do as much as you can to create quality, but you’re not [00:20:30] really the one that determines what gets super popular and what doesn’t.
When I look at the most popular videos on your channel, the most popular one with 111,000 views. Eight months ago you published this. It’s called Why Many Christian Girls Remain Single. You’ve got another one with 100,000 views, Should Christians Kiss Before Marriage? You’ve got one with close to 100,000 views saying A Guys Perspective on Christian Modesty, and then another one, 67,000 views, How to Study the Bible for Beginners, Five [00:21:00] Tips.
Do you want to talk at all about the videos that have become the most popular, how you’ve managed that, the surely angry comments, because YouTube comments are a dumpster of human depravity? Any thoughts there?
Justin Khoe: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, one of the things that I really try to do is I try to make Christianity practical. Not that there’s no value in a deeper amount of theology, or studying prophesy, or any of that kind of stuff, because I’m very interested in those things as well. But the thing that I try to emphasize on [00:21:30] my channel is how should I live my life as a Christian, and the reason why I think about this is because I think about what will have a greater impact in a young person’s life? The bad relationships I guess I could say it as, the difficult ones, the mistakes that we make, those are the things that have a bigger impact in our life, compared to, “Oh, do I understand what the third toe on the right foot of some prophesy, some [00:22:00] beast in prophesy,” or something like that. That might be interesting to study, but that seldom changes lives.
When I put out videos like that, and I was actually surprised as to why some of these dating videos really blew up, and I think the reason why is because that’s a thing that young people are actually thinking about. That’s a thing that they’re dealing with and they’re wrestling with, and it’s really interesting to get the feedback from these videos. I’ve had people after these videos literally message me and say, “You know what, Justin? I want to thank you so much, because I’ve been praying about this relationship that I’ve been in. I know [00:22:30] that this isn’t a good relationship. I know that this isn’t God’s best for me, and really I should be focusing on other things, but I’ve been waiting on making the decision to pull that trigger, but your video gave me confidence to do it, and now I’m going to dedicate the next year of my life to focusing on growing my relationship with God.”
I think about what could I accomplish in speaking life into a young person’s life. That probably is one of the more profound things that I could have done to serve that young person. When I think about what I could talk about, I want [00:23:00] to talk about the things that young people actually will listen to, but actually will implement as well, and so that’s why I try and focus on practical issues, and it just turns out that most young people in high school and college, we are all wondering about dating, and relationships, and sex, and things like that, and that tends to be the more popular subjects on YouTube, at least right now.
Brady: I wanted to ask you a little bit more about the technical side of prepping videos. There is a ton that goes into really figuring out which videos are [00:23:30] going to … I guess I’d say this. There’s two sides. There’s one side of YouTube that I see that’s the vlogging side, vlogging culture, which is basically like I’m going to create as much content as I can, an extension of what you’ve said so far, “My YouTube channel is just an extension of my life, and I’m just talking about things that matter to me, and I create great thumbnails, and I use good intrigue and curiosity in my titles, and then we’ll see what happens and what doesn’t.”
Then there’s another side that is very technical [00:24:00] and really targeted. It’s like we’re going to do keyword research. We’re going to find key terms within YouTube that have a decent amount of search, but not too many good videos that are serving the need of those that are searching for this keyword. We’re going to make a video on it. We’re going to promote it. We’re going to properly tag it, create a great thumbnail. It’s going to be a certain length as to maximize watch time, YouTube’s most important metric that they track, and then we’re not going to create as much content, but we’re going to create more targeted stuff, so as we can, at least as much as possible, [00:24:30] control the process of views, subscribers, gaining and growing a channel, and figuring out what goes big and what doesn’t.
Where would you say that you fall on that spectrum?
Justin Khoe: I tend to wallow between both of those. Certainly there have been seasons where I have just been focused really on the SEO, the search engine optimization, just like the strategic component of it, and I think there’s a lot of value in that in growing an audience. There’s a lot of value in that, in just helping other people discover your channel.
Then on [00:25:00] the other end of the spectrum, I tend to do some projects that are entirely for me and my family, and I guess my really dedicated viewers. Two weekends ago, my wife and I actually got to go up towards your end of the country. I was up in Nova Scotia, and we had a little weekend getaway. I vlogged the experience, and just documented it, so that way I could have a home movie that I could look back on, and watch, and just have fond memories.
Does that necessarily serve the needs of my community? Not really, because that’s not going to change [00:25:30] anyone’s life. That’s not going to help them fall more in love with Jesus necessarily, but it was something that was very important me for me to do creatively, to feel refreshed and ready to go back at the channel with a new vigor.
But then on a second hand thing, that actually, also, I think in a roundabout way does serve to strengthen my community, because, again, we were talking about that millennials especially feel a strong attraction to individuals as opposed to institutions, and so while it might not actually be talking about the Bible [00:26:00] or some spiritual content, for them to see what my wife and I do on a weekend and to hang and just to feel like they were there, it creates a stronger tie, a stronger bond with the audience and with myself, which I think does ultimately serve the purpose of what we’re trying to do online.
Brady: If I’m hearing you correctly, we’re talking about the distinction and the difference between going deep versus going wide, and I think that it doesn’t need to be an either/or, that both/and is probably the best approach, allow some variance to your channel, [00:26:30] the ones that are more targeted and really thought out, versus the ones that are more spontaneous, and that for your hardcore fans, that’s not going to get as much of a wide reach, but it’s going to have a deeper reach with the people that you really care about.
I think about podcasting very similarly. My podcast don’t get nearly as many downloads as listens as maybe a blog post that ranks number one in Google, and yet those that listen to the podcast are the ones that are our biggest fans, versus someone who just stumbles across an article through a Google search, and so both/and, going deep and going wide, [00:27:00] and the importance of both, I really like that.
I think what I found most interesting, Justin, when I visited your channel and I saw your most popular uploads, was the one that said Bible Study for Beginners. I think you published this about a year ago. It’s got 70,000 issue views. The reason that I found it fascinating was because we have a course on YouTube that I wrote a couple of years ago inside one of our training courses, and in it, I talk about how to generate limitless video ideas for YouTube, and how to find keywords, and the example that I used was, look, if you’re going [00:27:30] to find a keyword on YouTube to create a video around, look for one that has a monthly search volume between let’s say 500 and 100,000, because that’s what I think is a pretty good sweet spot.
Basically you want to find a keyword that has enough volume of search that it’s worth creating a video for, but not so high volume that you’re going to get lost in the noise, and the example that I used in this lesson was the keyword Bible study tools, because it had a search volume that was high enough, and I said, “Someone needs to make [00:28:00] a video,” and this was two years ago. I said, “Someone needs to make a video with the keyword Bible study tools, because it’s got a huge amount of search, and no one has made a video on this,” and I was like any church that’s watching this course, you have the chance to be the number one video that ranks for this, and now, if you search Bible study tools into Google, and a lot of people are, you’re probably coming up for that or some type of variance, like study the Bible, or how to read the Bible, best Bible translations … There are so [00:28:30] many that are right around there.
I think this is a huge opportunity for churches, if they’re willing to take it, because so many people … Like I said, second biggest search engine in the world. What have you used when it comes to tools for search engine keyword search for YouTube in particular? Do you just use Google keyword tool or something different, because I know there are some YouTube specific ones, also?
Justin Khoe: Yeah. I definitely usually start with Ad Word Planner, which is I think we’re talking about the same thing, where it gives [00:29:00] you an actual number, on average, this is the number of people who search for it on a given month. That’s a really great way to start, but then really what I actually end up spending most of my time, is just typing into the YouTube search bar. If you open up an incognito window, so that way it doesn’t take into account your previous search history and all that kind of stuff, it will just simply aggregate the most commonly searched questions. So, you could go into YouTube right now and type in Bible study or something like that, and it will try [00:29:30] to autocomplete your phrase. Those are the phrases that Google thinks you are looking for, because millions upon millions of other people presumably have looked for that same thing.
That’s usually a really great way to know where is the conversation happening, and this is really important, because, as Christians, we have a lot of Christian language, that to the initiated, they might never recognize. What is the propitiation of our sins? What is the atonement? We have all these bigger words that we feel really smart [00:30:00] when we use, but to the average person who is just wondering about that, they will never look for that. Rather than talking about the atonement, maybe can God forgive me, or does God hate me, or something along those lines is probably the way that the common person would type that into a search bar should they be inclined to look for information on that subject.
The YouTube search bar has been the most helpful thing for me.
Brady: Yeah. It seems so simple and free, and yet I’ve, also, found it to be the best. You just type something in, and then Google, [00:30:30] YouTube is going to autofill for you. You mentioned Google Keyword Planner. I’ve used something called YT, YT standing for YouTube, YTCockpit, which they tout themselves as the only YouTube specific keyword planning, and keyword tracking, and keyword searching tool. Their UI is really poor, but it’s been helpful to get pretty good estimations on how much search volume is within YouTube itself, and then you can, also, do keyword tracking once you’ve targeted a keyword, and then actually [00:31:00] want to see how it performs over time using something like TubeBuddy, or Vidiq, which are the two big names when it comes to just channel optimization analytics, and just tracking third party tools for YouTube. So, lots of great tools for YouTube keyword research.
Let’s talk about the anatomy of an actual video, Justin, because I think it’s important to know and for Pro Church Nation to know that the first 15 seconds of your video are really the most important, because it’s in those first 15 [00:31:30] seconds that a viewer is going to decide, “Is this video worth the four, 10, 15 minutes that I’m going to invest in it or not?” Can you talk to us about how you structure your videos, and the anatomy of That Christian Vlogger video that you’re posting?
Justin Khoe: Yeah. So, what I try to do is I try to understand why would someone want to watch a video. Is it because they’re asking a question? Is it because they’re interested on a particular perspective on this subject, or do they want to just engage with say my life? [00:32:00] It might be different for different people, and it’s certainly different for different videos, but I try to be as aware of that as I can be, and then within the first I want to say five to 10 seconds, never more than that, I try to make sure that value is promised in those first couple of seconds.
Let’s say we’re doing the one of the Bible Study Tips, or whatever the case is. A really great intro for that would be, “Hey, do you have any questions about how to study the Bible better? Are you looking for tips on how to [00:32:30] improve your personal Bible study? Well, in this video, I’m going to give you five practical tips,” something like that. It makes it very clear that, “Hey, exactly what I was searching for. This is what this video is about,” and then I can do my, “Everybody, welcome to the channel. I’m so and so.” You can give your personal pitch or whatever the case is.
But I think what a lot of people do is they miss this, and so a common mistake that I’ve seen with churches in particular is they upload their Sunday sermon, they upload their weekend sermon to YouTube or whatever the case is, and they just leave it as is, [00:33:00] and they include everything. They include their church announcements. They include their worship. They include their prayer time. They include so much stuff that it’s about 20 to 25 minutes before the sermon actually begins, and when the sermon does begin, there’s no context as to what the sermon is about, who is it for, why would I be interested in listening to it.
What I find is that’s a huge mistake, is just uploading your church service to your website, because no one cares at that point. Why should [00:33:30] they pay attention, and so I would say cut all of that out, and maybe even … This is going to sound blasphemous, cut out the prayer. Cut out the opening prayer, because that’s not why someone came to your YouTube channel. They didn’t come to hear that, and I think that if you open with a prayer, then they’re likely to click away, because they’re not getting the information that they were looking for as quickly as they want it to come. It doesn’t mean that prayer is not important, but it does mean that your sensitive as to what they’re looking for in that moment.
Brady: [00:34:00] How long do you try to get your videos to be?
Justin Khoe: I try to make them as long as I can, without ever going over the amount of content that I have for the video.
Brady: That is exactly what every hermeneutics and preaching professor told me in Bible college. How long should a sermon be? As long as it needs to be. What does that mean?
Justin Khoe: I guess I would say if you have two minutes worth of content, deliver it in two minutes. I try to err on the shorter [00:34:30] side of things. Just deliver your content in a succinct way, especially while you’re starting. If you’re just starting out your channel and you’re trying to grow an audience, I would say don’t ever really go over six or seven minutes. That would be on the longer end of things.
Now that I have an audience, I can create videos that are on the 15 to 20 to 30 minute range of things, and I find that my audience hangs in, because I’ve developed enough rapport with my audience that they’re interested in listening to it.
So, I guess it depends on what season of [00:35:00] ministry you are, and then, also, again, what is the purpose of the video? Is the purpose of the video to attract new viewers, people who aren’t familiar, because they’re finding that specific video through a search? If that’s the case, it needs to be shorter. If you’re continuing a conversation that’s been ongoing or on your channel for weeks and months, then it could be longer and it’s not going to be that big of a deal.
Brady: What’s interesting, and I just discovered this recently, and I probably should have known before, was that the most important metric to YouTube is watch time. [00:35:30] I used to think if we just put the right tags in, obviously likes, thumbs up are important, comments, how many views you’re getting, how many subscribers your channel has, the cache of your channel overall. But it’s been told to me by a number of different authorities in the space now, including our mutual friend, [Shawn Kannell 00:35:48], it’s like the most important metric is watch time.
So, if your video is five minutes long and people are watching four minutes, that’s great, but that’s still only four minutes, and this is what I’ve been told recently, [00:36:00] which is fascinating, is longer videos are better. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes overall in a video. That’s what people have found to be the sweet spot for maximizing watch time, and, also, maximizing watch time percentage, which is, also, important.
But let’s say you have a four minute video. A lot of my videos on Pro Church Tools’ YouTube channel are about four minutes long. The maximum watch time, if someone watched 100% of that is going to be four minutes. Now, if I have a 15 minute video, the maximum watch time of that can be [00:36:30] so much longer, three, four times as long as the other video, and let’s say my overall watch time is about 50%. That means that the 15 minute video is going to get like four times as much watch time as the other. Even if people don’t watch through the whole thing, it’s still going to perform so much better, and that’s what YouTube wants, not so much the percentage of watch time, but overall watch time, because they want their viewers to be on the YouTube platform as much as possible.
Is this something that you think about at all, because it’s been blowing my mind recently, and I’m like once these videos that we’ve already recorded [00:37:00] are done, I’m going to start doing longer, more in-depth ones, probably less frequently, but for the purpose of upping that watch time.
Justin Khoe: Yeah. I actually try to do a mixture of that, and I’ve heard the same statistics thrown out, and I’ve experienced it. That is true. When I do a video, like I did a series that was some of the first series of videos that really did well, was a series of videos that I did on homosexuality, where I interviewed a friend of mine, who is an openly gay Christian, [00:37:30] and that video is 27 minutes long. That was one of the first videos on my channel to really gain some outside traction, outside of my friends, family, church members kind of thing.
What I took from that is that, yes, longer videos really do matter, but then I’ve, also, had longer videos that really tank. But what matters more than anything else, than the length of the video, is the content. Is it interesting? Is it engaging? No pastor is ever going to say that their sermon, or their video, or whatever the case is isn’t interesting, but I [00:38:00] think you have a network of friends and people who are really openly honest with you, like, “No, Justin, that video actually was kind of weak. It was kind of lame,” and if you’re not blindsided by that, then you can really improve and grow, and I think that’s probably one of the more important takeaways.
But beyond that, what I did with that series of videos is that I had my longer series, where I have the 27 one, and there was another 20 minute one, and I think there’s another 15 minute one, but I, also, had the shorter one. This is the one that was more [00:38:30] easily clickable.
One thing that I think we’re missing in this equation of should the videos be long, should the videos be short, is the social psychology. If I’m looking for something, am I likely to click on a 30 minute video? Probably not, because I don’t want to invest that much time, especially if it’s a network that I’ve never really invested any time in before.
So, what I did is actually I had a five minute teaser to the subject, and I had the longer form content, and in the teaser, I gave enough value that the video in and of itself could perform on its own. [00:39:00] But I, also, said, “Hey, I have an entire series on this if you want to dive deeper,” and I gave good intent as to why they would want to click on that.
So, what I would do if I was in your position or someone else’s position, you have the longer form of content, because that’s what you’re producing, but, also, try and create some smaller forms that could be more the teasers of it, that’s easier to click on. It’s less of a commitment, and then point traffic towards your longer videos there.
Brady: Yeah. That’s [00:39:30] a great point. Again, you’re hitting back to that idea that we talked about earlier, both/and, not either/or, which I think is a huge win. So, great stuff again.
Okay. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else that I want to tackle. You mentioned this earlier when it came to … You know what? Instead of that, let me ask you this. Titles and thumbnails for videos. I’ve heard it said that if watch time is the most important metric, you should be spending a ton of your time … Watch time, it doesn’t matter if you can’t get someone to click on your video to begin with. [00:40:00] Titles and thumbnails. I notice that you’ve changed a bit on your channel. You’re gone from different styles of thumbnails. The one that you’re using now is more of a red background, nice and bright, big text, like white and black text, and then obviously someone’s face, which is huge. Can you talk about your strategy for titles and thumbnails?
Justin Khoe: Yeah. When I first started, I figured if I show my face, no one really cares. I’m not one of those stereotypical attractive females online. [00:40:30] This is just the reality. If you show a scantily clad, attractive woman, that gets clicks, whether or not the title is good or not, or whether the content is good.
I don’t really think that’s ethical for Christian channels to do, and so I couldn’t really leverage that.
Brady: What if you did lifting, just you and giant muscles, like always lifting?
Justin Khoe: I don’t know. Maybe it would. I have to give it a shot maybe.
Brady: It’s true to you. You are a weightlifter.
Justin Khoe: There you go.
Brady: Were I guess.
Justin Khoe: Right. Yeah. Was. Unfortunately, [00:41:00] after marriage, man, things started to change.
Brady: I hear you.
Justin Khoe: But when I first started, I realized that there wasn’t enough social cash for me to put my face on something and people to be interested in watching, and so most of my early videos were definitely search oriented, what were the topics people were looking for, and so I reflected my thumbnails to show that, to be all about the subject matter, and you could almost not even see me at all. I found out that those types of titles [00:41:30] worked really great for a search.
Lately, my goal has been to create more of a personal connection with my audience, and less of, “Oh, this is just a really great resource that I go to when I have questions.” But more of like, “Hey, I like hanging out with Justin and Emily. I think they’re cool, and I like to engage in the conversation,” and so that’s why I’ve been emphasizing more of my personal … Literally my face on some of the thumbnails.
But what I’ve been coached on, what I’ve been told is that actually doing the face thing actually really helps out a lot, [00:42:00] because people really, for whatever reason, click on that more than anything else, because they’re looking for a connection.
One thing that a mentor was telling me is make sure your face is big enough, so that people can see the whites of your eyes. If not, then your face is still way too small. That’s something that’s been really interesting, and then they, also, said do the bright colors, the rainbow vomit type of feel, where it’s like all kinds of colors. For whatever reason, that attracts people’s attention.
It’s interesting. My father, [00:42:30] he was commenting about the change in thumbnails. He was like, “I really don’t like your thumbnails.” I’m like, “Well, this is, unfortunately, one of the necessary evils to getting the videos clicked on and to getting them launched.”
Brady: YouTube is that way, and it drives me crazy, because we just launched the new StoryTape YouTube channel, and it has three thousand subscribers now. It’s been a great start in the first week or so, and I had our designers put together specific thumbnail templates that we could populate, so bit text, [00:43:00] nice and contrasting stuff. I’m trying to find the balance between what I know YouTube likes, but I can only make them so ugly before I just can’t anymore.
Justin Khoe: Yeah. What I think would be nice though is that you can do that with YouTube, but I’m assuming when you go on Facebook and your other socials, you’re not promoting the YouTube link. You’re promoting your website that has the video embedded. So, you can upload a thumbnail that you like, a thumbnail that will work off of YouTube to [00:43:30] promote your YouTube videos. Does that make sense?
Brady: Yeah, of course.
Justin Khoe: You can send them to ProChurchTools.com/InterviewWithWhatever kind of a thing. But then that thumbnail is something that is more true to how you want the style and the feel to make it look more professional, whatever the case is, and you can have that be the social image that is shared around … Or sent through your emails and things like that.
Brady: Right, the best of both worlds. Awesome. Okay. This has been a great conversation, [00:44:00] Justin. I know that we’ve covered so much in terms of YouTube. Obviously the biggest call to action that you can throw to Pro Church Nation would be to subscribe to your channel. Can you give us the pitch if someone’s listening, and they’ve developed a bit of a rapport with you over these last 40 minutes, why would we want to subscribe to That Christian Vlogger on YouTube?
Justin Khoe: Yeah. What I find is the most encouraging way that people are consuming my content is that they’re actually doing it with their families, and so if you are a parent who has teens, or if you have college aged kids or something [00:44:30] like that, a lot of people have been using it as a discussion starter for a family worship or something along those lines. If you happen to be in my target demographic of late high school, early college, I think it would be really helpful. I talk a lot about how do you know who God has created you to be, how do you discover your gifts, things like that, and so that’s really fun.
But a project that I would appreciate your guys’ prayers on, something I’m really working towards for 2018, I have this ambitious goal that I’m working towards of spending 2018 doing 12 mission trips with my wife in 12 [00:45:00] months, and traveling the world, and really highlighting what God is doing around the world, and showing how can we get involved with different types of missions and stuff like that. So, I’m working on that plan, and I think that’s going to be a fun journey to really follow.
The first trip we have put out is in January. We’re going to be going to Haiti, where my brother-in-law runs an apparel company, and the problem with a lot of apparel companies is that they do slave labor for producing their shirts or whatever. [00:45:30] Well, he employs local orphans and people who are at-risk youth or whatever the case is, and he pays them an above living wage, pays them really well for the local economy, and really just helps get people on their feet. We’re going to down to Haiti and tell that story obviously with the hurricane from a few years back, and just telling the story, and just telling the story of what God is doing there, and how we can make a difference in that way.
We’re going to be trying to tell a lot of stories in 2018, and if that sounds like something that would be interesting to you, we’d love to have you along for the journey for sure, or [00:46:00] if you run any missions organizations and have ideas for other trips, I’d love to talk to you about it.
Brady: Love it. What’s the easiest way to get to your channel?
Justin Khoe: You can literally just type in Christian Vlogger into Google, and I think I rank number one for most of that, or if you want to email me, you can email me at Justin at ThatChristianVlogger.com, or visit the website, ThatChristianVlogger.com.
Brady: That Christian Vlogger, type in Christian Vlogger into Google. It’s number one for me.
Justin Khoe: There you go.
Brady: Then there is a couple angry articles about Christian Vloggers, [00:46:30] but those aren’t you.
Justin Khoe: Those are not me.
Brady: Those are not Justin. Also, ProphesyU for putting together, not just one, but entire playlists on gay Christianity. I went to the video that has the most popular one, I think it’s like 50,000 views, and it has more than 1,000 comments, and every single one is just pure vitriol. In one of my videos on millennials, I mention homosexuality and how Christians disagree on it. I just mention it as a preface to the topic of the video, and yesterday I got a comment from [00:47:00] someone saying, “No one disagrees. Everyone knows it’s wrong, and if you don’t believe that, you’re not a Christian,” and I just responded, “Bro, there are better things to do with your time. Just don’t bother. Just don’t brother,” and he’s like, “Read Romans 1.” Why are you spending your time doing this? Go spread hope and love. It just wasn’t even the topic of the video.
Anyway, I applaud you for making a video [00:47:30] based on what you wanted to make and on your convictions, and dealing with the fallout from it, because on something that’s so controversial like that, it’s inescapable to avoid controversy and angry people.
Justin Khoe: Yeah. I appreciate that. I think the people to take the time to listen, they’re actually going to find that actually wasn’t that controversial at all, and it’s only the people who actually don’t listen and comment before watching, they’re the ones that get angry, because the entire message of that is I hold [00:48:00] the more traditional sense on marriage and sexuality, and clearly my gay Christian friend doesn’t. We’re going to table who is right and who is wrong, and we’re going to just talk about how do we love each other, and what does it look like to be in fellowship with each other, and how can I encourage you, how can you encourage me, what can I learn from you, what can you learn from me, and we’re going to do that, and we’re going to table the discussion of who is right, who is wrong, and here’s the verses why I think that you’re going to hell, and why I’m judgmental or whatever the case was. It was a great conversation, really, really valuable.
But I think that if you take the time to listen, [00:48:30] that there’s less to be angry about most of the time.
Brady: What a novel concept, talking and putting love first. Anyway, thanks for coming on the show, Justin. It’s been a blast. Pro Church Nation salutes you, and this was super helpful for so many. So, thanks again.
Justin Khoe: Thank you very much for having me.
Brady: All right. There you have it, my interview with Justin Khoe. To do a quick recap, we talked about why Justin turned to YouTube to become a digital missionary, the true definition of the word vlog, how Justin grew from zero to 40K subscribers [00:49:00] in a little over a year and a half, dissecting what it takes to get a YouTube video that gets more than 100,000 views, pro tips for YouTube keyword research, and really how important that is to getting a video discovered within the YouTube search engine, the second largest search engine in the world, the perfect anatomy of a YouTube video, the most important metric that YouTube tracks and why that’s so important, and finally, best strategies for YouTube titles and thumbnails.
A big thank you to Justin for jumping on the Pro Church Podcast and sharing with us so much of his great, great knowledge, [00:49:30] and I, also, just want to … Let’s just address the elephant in the room right now. That is my extremely low voice, which is definitely lower right now than it was in the interview with Justin. I have no idea what this is. I’m not sick. I’m going to blame my toddler, because it’s always her fault when something happens in the house where people get a bug. I’m not sick. I don’t feel unwell. My throat doesn’t even really hurt that much, but I can definitely speak lower than normal. I’m going to wrack this up to maybe the launch of StoryTape and the busyness of that all. [00:50:00] I feel like Phoebe from Friends, when her voice drops and suddenly she feels like her singing becomes that much better, my sticky shoes, if you remember that episode. If not, just blow by that.
Either way, hopefully you’ve been able to put up with it. It’s scratchy. It’s kind of nasty. I don’t love it. So, I’m just going to breeze through the rest of this podcast. We do like to read a review of the week every single week, so I’m not going to pass over that. This review comes from Josh [Bialto 00:50:30], [00:50:30] sorry, Josh. I’ve got no chance on this.
Five stars. He says, “I listen to a lot of podcasts, and the content that Brady and his team shares is second to none. It’s helped me as a leader to lead our church farther and faster.” Thank you, Josh, for that review inside of Apple Podcasts. Five stars means the world, and helps us get this podcast into the hands and ears of more people.
The final things I’ll say before we sign off for today and I give my voice a break is that final reminder, StoryTape pricing increases tonight, midnight eastern. Join us. If you’re listening to this after the fact, join us. [00:51:00] Just get inside StoryTape. We’re going to help you increase the type of … Well, increase the quality of videos you’re making, but, also, increase the frequency of videos that you’re creating, because we’re going to give you so much footage, and this is going to help you reach so many more people. That’s we talked about on last week’s session of the Pro Church Podcast, the 207X video framework, and how video can help increase your organic reach on average, when we did our case study, 27 times for churches. But you need to be creating quality video, and you need to be doing it at scale, and Story Tape is the perfect platform to [00:51:30] allow for that.
So, if you don’t have $4,000 to pay for 25 clips, because no one does, head over to StoryTape.com. Join us. We’ll see you on the inside. Thanks for listening, Pro Church Nation. We love you. We appreciate you, and we’ll talk real soon.