If you’re not familiar with the extremely talented Kevin Caron, I’m happy to introduce you to him today. Kevin is one of ADC’s best-selling sculptors. His award-winning and critically acclaimed sculptures created out of fabricated steel are world-renowned. Though he is now a famous and recognized working artist, Kevin’s path to success was less traditional than most. A self-taught sculptor, Kevin first learned his way around the machine shop while serving in the United United States Navy. Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, Kevin managed a car repair shop and even built his own vehicle. While making a privacy screen out of steel, Kevin discovered he had a creative side that he wanted to explore. That was just the beginning, of course. But, by 2006 Kevin became a full-time working artist.
And just as his path to becoming an artist was unconventional, Kevin took an unconventional path to promoting his work as well. While many artists guard their techniques and worry about others copying them, Kevin decided early on to share with his audience as much as he could about his process and techniques. And, let me tell you, it’s paid dividends. One of the ways he promotes his work is through his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/kevincaron), which has an incredible following. So in keeping with Kevin’s generous spirit, I’m going to share with you what he shared with me about how he uses the social sharing platform YouTube to promote and sell his work.
How Artist Kevin Caron Uses Youtube to Promote His Work
At first, he started making short videos with a still camera and only posted videos sporadically. The plan was to cover what was going on in the studio that week. However, at first “no one cared,” he said. What changed?
“We eventually got a regular schedule going – being predictable seems to build an audience, but still only posted a new video weekly. It also became clear that people were more interested in how-to, instructional videos, so that became the focus,” he says.
As expected, it took patience and diligence. After just one year, the channel began to take off. But, at the time a year to grow an audience took some perseverance and some looking on the bright-side when subscriptions were slow. “What kept me going was that the videos gave me an opportunity to speak, something I needed to be good at for public art presentations.”
Ten years later, Kevin has more than 44,000 subscribers and 450 videos. (See! Posting just once a week adds up.) He now has more than 11.8 million views collectively! Besides building a subscription following, he has also benefited in several ways. He says:
1) I have gotten a lot more comfortable in front of a camera and a crowd.
2) I also earn recurring revenue ($500 - $600 a month) from YouTube advertising.
3) I get a lot of love from Google, which has led to many sales and commissions. Everyone knows Google is the top search engine. YouTube is #2, and Google owns it. I believe the addition of a video every week to my website as well as my YouTube channel keeps me high in a search.
4) I get many thousands of dollars of free equipment from companies that want to expose their products to a qualified audience. (We are very careful how we handle this)
Besides those incredible benefits, which has increased his bottom line as well as his exposure, he’s also come away with a few other pieces of wisdom to share. He advises:
- Replying to comments is critical. Have a standard of what is and isn't acceptable. For me, if anyone makes a personal attack on anyone or uses foul language, they are banned.
- You need to post regularly. You can schedule posts and midweek is always better than weekends, Mondays or Fridays.
- Keep your videos short. It helps, too, to have enough subjects to cover if you just look at one aspect at a time. For instance, if you're a painter and want to share tips, focus on color selection in one video, application technique in another, etc. You may be able to break those down even further into more topics.
- Don't worry too much about production values because YouTube viewers don't expect much, but make sure the sound is clear—turn off the background radio—and include action. Just talking isn't very exciting to watch.
- Always include a call to action at the end. Once they've finished watching, what do you want viewers to do next? Go to your website? Call you? Find you on Facebook? Have a clear idea of your goals so you know what you want them to do.
- Organize your videos into playlists and be sure to write a descriptive title with valuable keywords as well as a description and keywords themselves. This helps people find you.
- Promote your videos on social media. If you struggle with what to post to Facebook, Twitter, etc., here's a good thing to let people know about! You can also embed your videos on your own site, which keeps it updated, too.
- Have a plan and give it a chance. I usually give a marketing initiative six months before evaluating its value.
- Watch your statistics. YouTube offers incredible analytics. Figure out what people want and give them more of that as long as it is in keeping with your goals.
Kevin is one of the most generous artists I know and proof that when share your expertise, you’ll be rewarded in a multitude of ways. As a firm believer in helping others succeed, I’ve pulled together a team of experts who will be sharing their “secrets” and insider tips to help you market and promote your work in more depth at our Success Summit in June. I hope you can join me!