In the beginning, Big Water was just video production. What brought the business into online marketing and advertising was my clients would spend thousands of dollars, pour their souls into a video and only 200 people would see it. My heart would sink because in my other life as a Mom I was rocking the YouTube bandwidth with my kid's comp videos that had organically expanded to their friends and families and then into a side hustle that changed everything. 2010-18 Big Water Event Media, captured kids competing on the International Freeride (IFSA) competition circuit and at a very low cost would post to Youtube 24 hours after the event. I had no idea how far the reach would extend. Over time and purely by accident my posting schedule began disrupting schools, not only in Tahoe but in the bay area as well, getting as many as 8K organic views a week. Being a parent I moved the posting schedule to 2:30 PM to ease the Monday morning after a comp disruption.
The coup de resistance? A YouTube Partnership and once I googled “IFSA Squaw” and the results dominated 33 pages of nothing but Big Water Event Media videos. If only it was that easy today.
What I didn’t realize is that I began on a path that was disruptive to the then-current marketing system at a very early stage. I was an early adopter of brand and content marketing coupled with the millennial shift of people to connection marketing. Each of these videos averaged only 10 - 20 views but the sheer quantity racked in over 150K views over time. A couple of the kids went on to professional skiing and the influencer realms, and their fans rack up views still. The gift that keeps on giving.
So how does this story play out business today?
My journey was a lesson in capturing attention. Gary Vee's keynote on this subject. I built up a Youtube channel to reach the people I knew would connect. Because of the GoPro craze, especially in skiing, their attention was already there.
Made it easier for parents, no fumbling with cameras, no tech ability required, just give me your email, and a grandma-ready link arrived on Monday.
Bypassed release forms because I did not retain ownership I just provided the service to post. I’m a parent and I do not want anyone to own my kid's likeness. My clients felt the same.
Sold the opening 10 seconds of every video to sponsors. I put it to the parents. You can pay me $300 a video to cover production costs or skim over the first 10 seconds of logos. No one ever placed an order for an ad-free video. A savings of $250 with ads (I did make the ads look cool, like an X Event).
Why the early success?
I was early to the streaming video game and I produced up to 85 videos a week. In 8 years I posted over 2500 of these kids’ ski comp videos on the Big Water Channel. That kind of consistent content posting gets you noticed online and sponsors were eager to advertise. The first 10 seconds of every video financed both my kids at the international ski comp level.
Big Water Event Media stopped producing videos in 2018. Yesterday I saw one of the parents and she told me her kid’s videos continually pop up on her YouTube feed. Videos from 2012-14.
Video Content is a powerhouse of SEO that can take years to fade.
How did I get all those videos to post?
It was easier than you think. It is all about building a workflow that is sustainable. Capturing the footage was and is still the most time-consuming. Video and title templates I still create from scratch which keeps me on the cutting edge and original. But these days all the filters, titling, and fun templates are easily available with tons of tutorials on how to use the latest and greatest.
What was my takeaway?
Be open to change. Pay attention to where your client's attention lies. The Gary Vee talk above is worth watching. In 2010-20 YoutTube capitalized on audience search-based marketing that was the genius behind Red Bull which started as a soft drink company that sponsored events (advertising as an expense) and morphed into a Media Company that sells soft drinks. A company whose advertising was more profitable than the product.
Now TikTok has redefined social media to interest-based audiences rather than YouTube's search base audience or Meta's social engagement. The new Interest-based audience marketing is in the form of short videos. It’s a new concept that has arrived and all the big players are jockeying for position. Meta vs Youtube vs TikTok
Reach out for a talk over coffee or a hike I give information freely. I only ask to be paid when I do the work. email@example.com
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