With a focus and background in social media and influencer marketing, Joe Cox and Megan Zander discuss the surprises that came out of this year’s SXSW and the future of creator and influencer marketin…Read More
Demian Ross, Business Development Manager for Social Media Examiner, set out to start something new nearly 200 days ago. A simple idea to help him accomplish a goal, record a video a day and release them for 300 days.
Over that time, he has learned so much about himself, the state of social media, and the how important being authentic is in our modern digital era.
In this episode, Demian and Joe discuss this new platform for Demian and the lessons he has learned, how they have changed his life, and what marketers can apply them to their work in social media.
Listen to the show
Demian Ross: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Explicit Content Podcast. This is the Social Media Edition. I'm Demian Ross and I'm sitting here with Joe Cox.
Joe Cox: Hello.
Demian Ross: Actually, I'm not in Joe's basement, so ... Or I should say, make it sound really professional, I'm not in Joe's studio. Joe is in Kansas, and currently, I am in Oregon.
Joe Cox: Yes, I'm not in the mobile studio. I am not there. But we feel like we are.
Demian Ross: I'm still in the witness protection, so I'm ... I got to move every week. Every week.
So, hopefully you had a chance to listen to number one. We break down kind of, who we are and what we're gonna be talking about. But just so you are just recapped real quick, we're gonna talk about the human ups and downs of social media, and social media marketing, specifically. That's really the crutch of this podcast, is we both don't consider ourselves experts in the practice of social media marketing, but we do find ourselves really understanding how to win, and just be human, and be a really good brand online. And we like to talk about that stuff. And we hope you enjoy listening to it.
Joe Cox: That's right. This is episode two, so it's gonna be, just ... It's going to be so much better than the episode before that, because we're so ... We've had time to really sit on it, and learn play by plays. That was really helpful. Thank you for that idea, Demian. And I feel ... I feel ready to go for number two. And ...
Demian Ross: I feel so much more experienced. I was really like a newbie, a month ago ... When we recorded number one. Now I feel like I'm just an old pro at this. How come Rick Dees hasn't called to talk to me.
Joe Cox: Right. Can you believe Trump? What he did.
Demian Ross: That's because it doesn't matter.
Joe Cox: It doesn't-
Demian Ross: That's what's funny because no matter when you hear this, that will make sense.
Joe Cox: Right. Can't believe it. So, number two, and this one ... We talked a little bit about ... We talked a little bit about what was kind of going on in the news.
Demian Ross: I can't believe you just said number two. And I'm 12 years old and I laughed it. Like go number two, and I laugh at it. Oh, let's start that again. I can't be on record laughing at number two.
Joe Cox: That's ... THat's why our podcast is out podcast. We will always laugh at number two. Number two.
Demian Ross: It is, it is. Our podcast is number two.
Joe Cox: And if that's cool, I'll just go by Number Two from now on. It'll be fine. It's very Star Trek Next Generation.
Demian Ross: Yeah, I love it.
Joe Cox: Yeah, it's really the human side of ... Of... Of social media. We feel like marketers, it's been so much going on and there's been so much growth that we've got off the path. And ... And we've gone off the path with a lot of buzz words and what, and things that are really just advertising and talking about the really deep tactics of all the things that are social media. And we've kind of lost our way. And it is a tough world to ... To ... As a marketer to walk through. And we hope that this podcast is something that really helps fine tune and reminds you that the reason we're all there is because, of the people that we make product for and want to sell products and services for and we probably should work on having a deeper relationship with them, and that is really what social is about.
This podcast, we're going to really go deep dive into a project that Demian has been working on for, I guess , it would be you know, 150 days. And something that he's going to be bring out to be actually 300 days. It is called Road To 300, and it is a video series where he is making these recordings ... Video recordings that he's posting up on social, every single day. And really, it's not necessarily talking about marketing. But, talking about him, his beliefs, articulating ideas, and why he's doing things and where he's at in life. And, it's been really cool to watch that happen over the last hundred days.
As I've gotten to know him personally, I've really only met him personally, once. But, I feel like we ... You know, I feel a lot closer. So, it is something that he's been working on, and we thought it was a great thing to be able to deep dive into. Talk a little bit of why he's doing it, what brought him to that, what it actually is. And we really think it's going to help marketers. Because, for me, it is this ... This idea of ... Especially with social media, it's about eating your own dog food. It is about the things you are saying, things that you are telling clients. The things that you are preaching. For us, more so than any other part of marketing, you really kind of got ... Got to get your hands dirty, and you got to make it. Because, if you get away from it too long and you're not doing it and making it, something else happens and you're not really sure. And it's really hard to be in a room and not have that confidence when you're talking about it. So, it was something that really inspired me, and I wanted to dive deeper into it. And since we have Demian here, as a co-host, I thought that this was a perfect time to do so.
So, let's talk about Road to 300 a little bit deeper. And, why did you start it, and what is it?
Demian Ross: Yeah, so ... I really started it for two reasons. One is, I'm a sales guy. I spend most of my time in SalesForce documents, you know. Reading though newsletters, trying to find ways to grow relationships and it's sucky work if you really think about spending most of your day in Sales Force. That's not someone's dream. And so I thought, you know, I'm a marketer too. So I thought it would be fun to have a creative outlet. And some sort of discipline type project. Because, I don't do, kind of, the same thing everyday. And so I thought this would be interesting, I'm just going to go at it from a creative aspect. I'm just going to have some fun, and ... Literally, that's how I started. I put my iPhone on the counter, and I just was like, "Hey , I want to do a daily video where I talk about my life and I track these three goals."
So, the reason it's called 300, is I have three goals that I want to hit a hundred percent of. So, three times a hundred, is ... Or three plus ... No it's three times yeah, so three ... I went to L.A. High. Three times one hundred is 300. So that's where the Road to 300 came from. Originally, it was 400, and one of the goals I was like "Ahhh. I can't really do it." And so, now we're at 300. And ... Which is, literally, how the Ten Commandments started. It was 20 of them, and they just, didn't want to do the extra ten. So, F.Y.I, that's where I got that from, it's biblical.
Joe Cox: That's history, that's history. That's good history there.
Demian Ross: So, it was that. And then it was also, I wanted to get known in the space. But not ... I want to get known in the space from my potential sponsors. And the way to do that, I felt, was what if I started creating stuff, and learning the back end of things. Which is another reason I'm ... You know ... When Jeff reached out and said "Hey, would you like to be part of this podcast?" I was like, "Yes, because I want to learn this part of the industry. Because this ... These are the people that I'm reaching out to. And you know, once you know the equipment and you know what's going on, then there's just a better conversation. So that was part of it. I didn't know what would happen, would happen. That's for sure.
Like ... Because again, I didn't go into it for views, or likes, or to become a creator. Or anything of that nature. I went in it for I want to learn more about the industry, and I want to have a creative outlet. And I think, that's the secret sauce to what's going on with me, is that I didn't go into it with that and that's why I've been able to do it everyday. And remember, the idea was to only do 300 within a year. And right now I'm on track, depending when this goes out and I haven't slipped off the track, that I'm on track to do 365 in a year. And what's crazy, and I haven't really talked about it is, if I do hit it, it will be the first day of social media marketing world. Which will be day 365. It was really to kind of like, watch me going into this process.
The videos have changed a lot since the beginning. And that was really based on what people were responding to and the comments and what they would say. And I'd be like, "Oh, okay. Well maybe I should be doing more of that. Maybe I should be saying more of this." So I've let it kind of evolve, based on the feedback, which has been really good because it's ... It's definately ... If you've watched any of them. Go back and watch one, two and three. I mean, they're completely different, and you can almost watch how the series morphs into what it is today.
Joe Cox: So, what was, for you, what was on that ... You know, understand that it was ... It was more person that it was an outward facing piece, even personal branding. It was more personal toward the success metrics you had on it. But what were you going into it saying, like "What does success look like?" Was it just the consistency of it?
Demian Ross: Yeah, I think if I could be where ... And really, the only reason I didn't call it ... You know, or the goal wasn't 365 videos in one year, was just because of the lifestyle. You know, traveling the country, there's times where internet isn't always that great. And I was like ... I would give myself a little 65 day buffer. But, I just got done reading the book, Known, by Mark Schaefer. And I was reading and thinking to myself, "You know what, as a sales guy I still have to be known." There still has to be relationships, whether it's ... You know ... I'm ... I'm ... You know, connecting personally with potential sponsors or current sponsors on Facebook, or LinkedIn.
I've just got to be creating something. I'm not a writer. Writing is so painful, and awful for me. And I don't know if I had a reading, learning kind of disability but my mind doesn't work well with writing words, as much as I do very great with the speaking of the words, obviously. So, for me it was like, it was just so ... Two ... 2D, and I feel like I'm really kind of a 3D guy. Like even a podcast is hard because I feel like, you know, my facial expressions, my movement. Like all of that kind of adds to the art. And I really did, I would say within a couple of episodes, I was like, "Man, this really is art." Like, you're really ... You're creating something. And to do it every day ...
And then I learned really fast, I don't know how to tell a story. Like I was really surprised. And ... And remember, that was kind of ... You know ... there's so many back end parts of it. Everyone's like why don't you do a weekly vlog, you're traveling the country. You could totally do that. And I just didn't know how to tell a story. You know, like taking bits from a week and tying it all in together and making it something. I just didn't know how to do that. So I thought, you know, if I do this ... Like ... Where I just set up a camera on a tripod and I talk into the camera, and I don't really try to bring in drone work or B Roll music. Even thought I have brought those things in from time to time. If I wasn't trying to do it like everyone else's vlog, maybe I can learn how to tell an interesting story, and really hone in my editing. And it just ... I had no ... Like ... Honestly, it sounds so bad. But if nobody watched it, I didn't really care. Because at the end of the day, I just wanted to learn this craft. That's really why I went into it.
And I've ... I've ... I've tried to go into it before with the idea of I'm going to get a million views, I'm going to start making money on YouTube. And then, you know, that crashes really quick when you go into that mindset. And so, I stayed away from that. I will ... I can't say I predicted the success that it's had. Where it's been, you know ... Hey, I want to invite you onto this podcast to talk. I'd like to invite you to this even to speak about it. Recently, my name was mentioned with some creators, that have been doing it for a long time. Where like maybe the average subs were, you know, 150,000 let's say, on YouTube, if you took everyone. And then there's some that are in that name, that were like half a million subs. And I have 240 I think, at the time. Not thousand, like 2-4-0. Like, tomorrow I'll have 241, you know what I mean? And it really meant a lot. Because I said, "okay, look. People still get it. It's about the art. It's about what you're putting out there as opposed to how many subs or likes you get." Like, that doesn't ... That doesn't define the art.
And I think it's weird that I really went into this whole artist kind of thing, with it. And you know, I come from an artist background. Both my parents are in television and so I get it. And I really like it as just a creative outlet. And because I made that the bar, the Matrix, the ... Everything else is really just falling into place. And I saw a big pivot around episode 30-ish, just in me, where I was like I got to do these every day. Like, that was ... I'm addicted. Do you ever hear those assholes that talk about once you go to the gym for 30 days, it's addicting? I'm like, there's no way going to the gym becomes addicting. But if ... If you're seeing that kind of results that I've seen in 30 days of video, I get it. Like, I really got addicted.
Where ... Somewhere in the 80's and 90's, actually it was the 90's. I was on a road to social trip. You know, you're working during the day, then you're just playing at night. And there were times where I had to leave the actual plane to go shoot, record and edit one of these videos. Where we'd be like ... At a karaoke bar you know, just having a ball. And I'd be like I got to go outside for a little while. Because I hadn't shot or edited it yet, and I didn't want to mess up on my days. So, it really does teach you discipline in a way that maybe you just don't have in your life. And so, there's that byproduct of it that I love. I'm learning the industry from the inside out, which I think is really important if you're going to be in this industry. I think anytime that you can ...
A coach once told me, this was kind of funny. When I was trying to get better at basketball, a coach said you should go coach a youth league team. And I didn't listen to his advice. And then when I was older and my kids were starting to play ball and I coached it, I was like, "Oh shit, this is what he meant." Because I'm outside of the bubble looking in from a players' perspective. And you just start seeing the entire court, everything. I was like, "Oh." And I took that kind of mindset into this video project. It's allowing me to see everything that's outside of the bubble that I think I know. And it blew me away.
Joe Cox: Yeah, that's where we'll ... Really want to dig in is for marketers out there. For the sale team out there. For ... Saying what does this have to do with me. I really had my "Ah-ha" moment, you know ... A. Whenever you were talking of hey this is really ... Not really for the views. It's for something else. It's for learning. It's for discipline. It's for this ... So marketers out there, other people, what can they gleam from and what have you gleamed specifically from doing this that's helped you in your job? Has it helped in your job? Has there been stuff that you've been able to bring over? Has it ... Has it affected anything in what you do for a paycheck?
Demian Ross: Yeah, so at the time of this recording I have not signed a contract because of Road to 300, which is totally fine because again, that wasn't the byproduct. But, I'm engaging with prospects in a way I never have. Where, you know ... They're liking, they're commenting, they're DM-ing. Become friends from previous years sponsorships and they're following me on these different platforms. Or I'm following them as well too, it's not just a one way street. And they engagement is so much better than the typical email, "Hey, it's Demian, checking in with you, just wondering if you've thought about your you know ... Marketing goals for 2019?" You know what I mean?
Joe Cox: Yep.
Demian Ross: I'm staying in contact with them without these goofy emails that sales people have to do all the time. Or these just weird DM's where, you know ... "Hey, was thinking of you and thought this would be cool ...." What I was really surprised was the outreach from, "Hey if you're ever going to be in my area, I'd love to be on a Road to 300." And I was like that was interesting. I mean, again. Remember, you guys, the ... The ... The views are very low. I mean probably my most viewed is 118, which is probably like over a thousand views. The rest are in that four to five hundred kind of range. But the comments, and obviously the DM's and just the relationship building aspect of it is, I mean, just par none. I mean it's been amazing. Like I ... And just goofy stuff where I been at events.
I have had three really weird moments so far. One is I was on a Skype call with someone, in freaking Canada. And she was introducing me to the guy that was in her apartment, a client. And the guy's like, "Hey, I know you. You're Road to 300." I was like you're kidding me? To Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answer Man, did a vlog about my vlog. And like, within a couple of days, I was in the Portland Airport. And that gal came up to me and she's like, "Hey you're Cliff's friend, right? You're Demian." And wanted to take a selfie with me. Which was really funny because the lady next to me wanted to take a selfie with me and had no clue. She just saw one person wanted to take a picture, so then obviously someone else would.
Joe Cox: Oh humans.
Demian Ross: Which was really weird.
Joe Cox: I love it.
Demian Ross: Yes, without a doubt.
And the third is just being at events and just being where you know ... It's a conversation starter. Where you know ... People would be like, "Oh this is Demian, he's recorded a video every day for the last ..." You know ... At the time I was at the event, it was you know ... A hundred and ten days. And he's like he's done 110 videos, and they're like oh my gosh, wow.
I did have a weird situation at Social Media Denver, I was being introduced to someone and they're like he's done this video series, and they guy was like how many subs do you have. And I was like oh fuck you. And his face was like hysterical. He looked at me like, "Wait, did he just say that?" And I was like, this is what's wrong with this. This is ... How many subs do you have is the 2018 what kind of ... 2085 what kind of car do you drive. You know what I mean? You know, that's not what you want to lead out with. And it ... You know, and again. I honestly, I hope I would've said that if I had a million subs. I hope I would've said F you. At the same time, maybe because it was only ... I had like a 150 that'd piss me off. But I just felt like that was the wrong ... Like, what does that matter? Why are you trying to validate ... Look at my art, look at my video series before you try to, you know ... Figure it out.
And that was funny, that was one of the things I really liked about Cliff's vlog. As he was talking about me, kind of live vlogging, he was like you know ... I wonder how many subs he has. I really hope he doesn't have a lot of subs. He just started this, I hope it's not something where he's gained the system over. And he was like, "Oh my gosh, yeah the views and everything are right there." And ... And you guys, I'm a marketer, but I'm not doing anything, like I don't really even put hashtags, you know what I mean? I'm not doing anything to like, I'm to boosting anything. I'm just letting it be 100% organic. Just again, because it's a good byproduct of figuring this stuff out.
So no sales as of yet. Really good relationship builder. I think even in my space, not THE MySpace, but my sp ... Whatever, you know what I'm saying. Nobody's on MySpace. But in the social media world, and conventions, having something like this and then kind of your name getting dropped into like a potential speaker situation is really helpful too. Because, you know I want to build relationships with the brands that are sponsoring the events. And if you're a speaker as opposed to a sales person, it just breaks down a wall.
And I'm a really chill, relaxed salesperson. I'm never going to put a hard press on anyone. I don't want to talk anyone into ... You know, what's the saying? You could sell ice to an Eskimo? I would never do that. Like, why would I want an Eskimo to get home and his wife's like, "Why'd you buy ice, you moron?" You know, I wouldn't want to do that. I'd want to see a heater to that guy, where he melts his house down. So maybe that was a bad ... Bad analogy. But, you know what I mean. Where I feel like that's what it's doing. It's breaking down barriers and walls, and people are coming at me in a way that I just didn't expect. That really is a way ...
If anyone's got a big company, and you're listening. I think you should encourage these side hustles. Especially with your sales people. Remember, I'm a salesperson. And I'm videotaping myself opening the shower door and like ... Coming out of a box, and you know ... Sliding down a hill in White Sands, New Mexico. Or climbing over a wall. Like, these are goofy things. But you know, there's part of me that is goofy. And ... I'll be honest, Will Smith, I thank you, brother. For starting a YouTube channel where you're 50 years old and you're still goofy as all hell. It's not just a character on TV. Because it just allowed me to be goofy.
And I will say again. Another byproduct was ... I don't know if you had this moment. But I used to really follow Casey Neistat ... His story telling is just phenomenal and I couldn't believe. I was just watching every episode after episode, because I found him maybe like a year or two into his journey. And just went back and just hit play and let them play though. I just had them in the background while I was working, blah blah blah.
And what I was baffled by was when I started noticing that like 12 to 15 year old boys and girls loved him. And I was like why am I watching him, if they love him. It's so weird. Then I started thinking what are the 20's and 30's watching? You know ... And I don't think there's a space, at least I didn't, for a 47 year old man to be, you know for all purposes, vlogging. But there obviously is because there's people that want to look and see someone they can relate to. And I was like, "Oh, this is actually really cool." Because a lot of my ... The people that interact with and engage with it are in their 30's and 40's. So they're in that kind of group. And I really like that. And it's just really-
So they're in that kind of group, and I really like that. It's just kind of built kind of a cool bond and relationship that I don't think I could have done from a blog post, or funny tweets, or anything like that. And then I was doing that, but it wasn't bringing this type of engagement, and that's what I was looking for. I was looking for the engagement.
Joe Cox: And I like that it's, for you, video was the medium that really worked for who you are. And you started there by, "Hey, this is what I've got. And this is my best way to articulate what's going on in my head. And this is the way to best articulate the content and the message, is through this." And it sounds like instead of saying, "Hey, everybody's talking about video. I'm going to go and shoot video." You picked the thing that was right for you, and yourself, to communicate with others. And picked that first. To me that's a huge lesson because it's not just doing the thing because it's the most popular thing, and right now there's a lot going on with video, and it's video is everywhere, and I don't know if it'll ever stop growing. I don't know if it's possible. It's definitely a thing. But it seems like you came to it from a place of, "This is just the medium that fits me, and fits what I want to say."
Without a doubt.
Joe Cox: And for marketers, that is to be taken as aim first. Really know who you are, and if you're doing it for yourself, if you're doing it for a brand, know your voice, and know what the best way to communicate that is. Instead of just trying to go after a tactic first because that's what everybody's talking about.
Demian Ross: Exactly. I feel for me, too, one of the things I battle is I hear people say, "Well, Damien, it worked out for you because you're funny." But there's plenty of people doing really great video that aren't funny. "Well, you're traveling the country and you're always in different cool locations." I honestly could shoot these locations if I lived back in Los Angeles. It would take a little bit of a car ride. Nothing crazy. But I got to be honest, there's time when I wish I just had a simple studio setup and I didn't have to ... That's part of the creative process. Part of the anxiety is, I want to find a cool backdrop. And then even when I get lazy and I shoot stuff inside the RV, I try to get really creative in that. And it just builds this ... It really does. You're working a muscle that I think all sales people should be working.
So, yeah. I'm all for the video, or wherever you find yourself the strongest. To get out there and do that first, as opposed to ... I'm in hundred of videos before I decide to start and be part of a podcast. And so it wasn't like ... I bet you I could have done many at the same time. "Oh, I could take the audio out, and just put it up there as a podcast." But I was like, "No, I really want to figure out this video art." And I still haven't. I'm still working it. But it's been an amazing ride for sure.
Joe Cox: What scratches out for, especially a sales team, I think we are scratching at this idea, and it's a really big one, which really is an awesome example for why this podcast exists, is let's get back to really why we're here. And why everyone really went to social in the first place. Why it caused such a disruption as it did, and it still is doing, is because of the ability to build relationship. Because the ability to have impact to somebody, because it's as close as we can get to a human, one-on-one if we were together physically. It's really close, and video even closer to that.
I'd say that the idea that a sales team would act like this, which to me is a pull, pulling people in and pulling conversation by making something and putting something of value out there. And having something for people to warm up to so that it's a more natural conversation than where 90% of the world is right now. Which is a push. Which is just push our wares onto them. Like you said, it's tough. And it feels unnatural, even when you're saying those things. We've all seen those, been a part of those emails or calls. Or, at the same time, had to do that. It could be an opportunity that is really big for us to look at sales in a different kind of way. I think that really gets to the point of why we're doing this. Is there something bigger here? We don't need to just look at social, or influence, and content creators, or the content that we make as just marketing. And we don't really need to just see it as just a play like it has been for the last 100 years, which is region frequency and advertising.
Demian Ross: Without a doubt. It's such a weird moment right now. This is meta. So I got a little tweet alert that I got mentioned at the digital summit in Denver. So, Brian Fanzo's doing a talk and he's showing one of my videos. So I don't know who's even in that audience. You know what I mean? And who's listening. I'll listen to it later and figure out what he said, but it's a photo of Damien Ross ... You can't do that in any other way. I can't buy my way into that. And it's like, that's where ... When people ask me, "Is it worth all the time and energy?"
And I want people to know that it literally takes me ... I probably record anywhere five to 10 minutes now. Where before I was really trying to strategically stay under a minute. I wanted these to be able to be on Instagram and just be in the timeline. But then I just was like, "I have more to say than a minute." And so they run kind of as a preview. But now I just let it go wherever it goes. If it's a minute, great. If it's five-ish is where I try to kinda stop it. Or, I'm sorry, it takes me about five to 10 minutes to record it. And then depending on if I set things correctly, how much editing ... Because it's a jump-cut style, if you've never watched it. And I just jump back and forth, but then I really do my best to keep it in that four-minute kind of slot. And that's where just some of the craft is.
You know what I've learned, too, through this, is I'm learning to talk better. Because I'm very much an "and" and "um" kind of person.
Joe Cox: Right.
Demian Ross: And I'm learning how to get my thoughts together. I'm learning how to articulate a response. And as a sales guy that spends a lot of time on the phone, I've always considered myself a good communicator. But once you see it on video ... One of the things I found out on video is, I don't consider myself to be a smiler or a laugher, and I smile and laugh a lot in the videos. Like I've been able to screencap a bunch of smile photos. There's not a lot of photos of me smiling, but in this video series I've been able to do that. Because it's bringing me a lot of joy. I really enjoy doing them.
Joe Cox: Let's talk-
Demian Ross: How do you put a dollar on joy? How?
Joe Cox: How?
Demian Ross: Build-A-Bear.
Joe Cox: I want to go into the discipline thing, because I think that's really important. Not just for us as humans, and what we need to work on personally, but for marketers. I would say the hardest thing about doing content for a brand, for doing it for yourself and your own brand, doing it for whatever you're putting it out there for, is consistency. Is being able to put it out there and to stick with it. To sell it in, and to get that thing going, and constantly do it. You used a method which is kind of the chain method, from Jerry Seinfeld, if you see his documentary. It's like, don't break the chain. Once you get the chain going, then you won't break it. Do you feel now that you're not going to break that?
Demian Ross: No, it's a good point. I feel like there's an A, B, and C for every idea. And I'm a natural delegator. So when you have no one to delegate to, you become a natural procrastinator, is what I've noticed. I've done really well when I've had a team with me. I'm a solo sales guy, granted I worked for a team, and there's a team. But they're not focused on Damien sales. And so for me, I did give myself an out. I gave myself a 65-day out within a year, which is a lot. That's a lot of missed opportunities, and I still wouldn't break it. But I would say that, really, after about 30 days ... And there's studies behind this, where you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. Where now it's ...
There was a night when it was 10: 00 p.m. and I hadn't recorded one, and I was like, "You know what, I got to do it. I just got to find a way to push through it. As long as I get it done before midnight, that counts." And so I pushed through. It wasn't loading fast enough. I was like, "No, it's going to load at 12: 01, this is going to suck." And I did have a situation, too, where I was kind of heartbroken. I didn't make something public on YouTube when I uploaded it. It went public on all the other channels, but for whatever reason I missed a day on YouTube. And I had someone that was like, "Hey, Damien, I didn't see your video. What's going on?" And I was like, "I did, I put ... Oh, it's private still. My bad. Let me hit public. There it is. You can see it was there."
So it's really helped me, because I need that. The only thing I've done consistently is, sober, 21 years. Pretty good dad, for 27 years. And this series. And I've tried all kinds of things, and it just would fall out. But, again, if I went to it with, "It's got to be views. It's got to close deals. It's got to get my name out there." And if I went in to it with all that, I probably would have gave up. But I went into it with, "I just want to learn the craft. I just want to have some fun." I want to share Damien, who's ... I know the lifestyle looks amazing, but I spend 80% of my time inside this RV. And I could anywhere else, like anyone, too, and spend 80% of my time in my house. And I don't get out a lot, that this helped that, too. Because I have to get out at least every day and go find a cool place to shoot.
So, anybody can do it, which is great. It's just if you go in with a weird objective, whether it's a marketing brand or anything like that, if you go into it with, "We have to have this many likes," there's that part that's negative. The other part that I think is, stuff that I've been talking about lately is this side hustle to drive your main hustle. I mean, when Jeff talked to me about doing this podcast, I was like, "This is a side hustle piece that can really benefit my main hustle." If there's a way to, or if we felt like talking to a brand that I have a relationship with, we can bring them on as a guest. And it's a value to them, but it's a value to our listeners.
I feel like those things are important, and I feel like companies get worried. "Oh, we have to control it. It has to be on our website. We have to control the copy of it." And it's like, no you don't. You have these people that you've hired. Trust them. You've hired them, so you should be able to trust them. And then let them doing things that might be way outside of the box. I mean, one of my videos I did was basically, "Who put you in the box? That's the question." Who put you where you think you can't do these things? Even that tweet today, it's Brian Fanzo talking about how, here's a guy that's coming out of the shower. And I keep saying that, "In the shower." I was wearing a bathing suit, so relax. And it shows in the outtakes.
Joe Cox: Unfortunately.
Demian Ross: The idea was you can create content anywhere, at any time. And I was using the time I was in the shower to create some content. And it just was, you know, an idea proving a point. Where you don't need all this blocked time to create this cool content.
But it has helped me in my personal life. So I wanted to make some physical change. I have no problem talking about it. At the time of this recording, I am 253 pounds. I was 258 a week ago. I've lost five pounds in a week, but you know, it's sugar and carbs. Getting rid of that. It's getting back to the gym. But for me it's just a belly fat issue. It's very unhealthy for guys getting into their 50s, I'm three years away from that, to have any kind of belly fat. At least as much as you can get rid of. But this has made me feel like I can actually do it this time. It's a different feeling because it's like, I just want to work out 200 times in the next year. And I'm already on eight of 200, and I just feel like that kind of mindset ... In a year I can have 165 days where I don't work out, but I want 200 days within that year where I do work out. And I've got to tell you, it's been a mind shift, where I almost feel like I can do anything.
And I know people around me that have been like, "Well, Damien can do it." And I love that. I think that's fine. And people were like, "I've seen the success it's brought Damien. I'm going to start doing it." I didn't know that that would be a byproduct of it. I didn't know people would reach out and be like, "Hey, teach me how to do this. How are you doing this? What does it take to do this? What kind of equipment are you using?" All that kind of stuff. And I was actually even surprised at some of the caliber of people that have asked me, I just thought that they would never ask me. They would never humble themselves to be like ... Their online prestige is so much higher than mine, why would they lower themselves to ask me what mic I'm using? You know, kind of a thing. It's humbled me in a way that's good. It's brought me back to, "Okay, there's still some decent humanity. We're not all just trying to live off our likes and followers." And it's been a phenomenal journey. That kind of stuff I just never imagined happening, that's happening.
And I do know, within in the year, I can guarantee you that a deal has come out of doing this video series. That I will gain sponsorships ... Again, the know-like-trust, I will gain sponsorships trust. As much as I work for a great brand, I did naively think that, when I got the job, that I'll just call anyone that has anything to do with social media and just be like, "Hey, I work for Social Media Marketing World. Here's our expo hall. Here's the prices. Send me a check." And that's how the relationship and conversation, but they still want to trust me. That's what's interesting. They still have to have a relationship with me, and that's really hard to do with email and phone calls. It's so one-dimensional, really. And This video is 3D. And it's really helped with the KLT, the know-like-trust. There's a lot of people that know and like me, and are starting to trust me because of this video series.
Joe Cox: I am one of those people that you've inspired, right. So, what I dig about it is it's a format that anybody can take. Here's what it is, the great killer of ideas in this world that I come from, from brand and from agency, is that it's this chase of perfection. Right? It's the chase of, "Yeah, we could do it, but we can't do it big enough. We can do it, but we want to make it ... If we're going to go into podcasting, if we're going to go into video making, we want to go big. We want to go big production. We want to make it as big as possible. And we set it so high for ourselves because we deserve that, or the brand deserves that."
Instead of saying, "Let's start a lot of things up and see what takes, and see what we can learn." Because what I see is for you, you learn a lot in 100 days because you did something. You have momentum. You learn from that, and things get better as you learn. We all know that. We all know that that's the way that it works. When we put on our marketing hats, and we go to work in corporate America, or in agency life, for some reason that gets sucked out of us. And I'd say this episode, if nothing more, if we get one person to be able to start making that content, and push the button, and to be able to say, "Hey, I'm selling this to other people. I'm talking this to other people. So I'm going to start to do it myself." Or if we can get somebody even higher up to say, "Hey, our brand isn't that precious. There's nothing that precious about our brand that we can't, as a person, just like a person, start something out. Start something out small and learn from that." Because let me tell you, it's the only way you're going to learn. Or you're going to pay a shit load for it later. You're going to pay a lot for it later when you're way far behind everybody.
Because let me tell you, when Red Bull started making content ... When any brand out there, that is known for the most kick-ass content that you've ever seen, they didn't get there on day one. They've done it from the beginning, or they've done it and messed up, and did it again until they learned. And now it just looks easy, right. But it just takes time.
So today I feel, not only personally as a marketer, do your side hustle. If you don't love, exactly, the thing you do, then do something that you get energy from. And make that, and see how that energizes your hustle.
On the other side of it. If you're a brand, take some chances. I hope that brand's can ... It's the preciousness that always drives me. This can be really powerful, and I really believe a brand, if you want to get good at video content, if you want to get good at things, stop taking yourself so seriously and learn something from the people that are doing the vlogging. Do something and bring something over. And don't put yourself that you have to do TV-quality, or production, whenever you go in front of people.
Speaker 1: We want to thank Rev.com for being a sponsor of the show, and helping us bring transcripts and captions to the enterprise marketer and explicit content podcast shows. For more information about Rev, and to get $10 off your first order, visit emktr.co/rev.
Demian Ross: I will tell you that your first video is your worst video, 100%. I will say that there's that same fake it 'til you make it, which I think is total bullshit. I think you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. I think that's a better one. I think everyone, really any director, any producer, any writer, nobody likes their first stuff any more. They look back at it, they're embarrassed. They don't want ... You've see where you're on a talk show and they bring in some famous person's first commercials that they did in their 20s, and they're just terrified and horrified just how bad and awful they are. They're art was so bad. So you just start, and you do get a lot better. And it doesn't take as long of a learning curve as you think it does. But I'm telling you, just stick with it.
And That's what I really talk about, too. You just have to be consistent. And I'm not going to decide what your consistency is. That's up to you. I'd say at least needs to be weekly, if you're listening, like that. I think it's really important, but if you want to do daily, you want to do hourly, you can do it. And I think it just needs to stick, in the sense that it needs to be able to stay somewhere for a long time. So whether it's YouTube or something of that nature, where people can find it and go back.
Because that's what's impressed me is when people have found ... Especially around 118. 118, if you want to see kind of a pivot, I set down to record something and it turned left on me. And I started talking about going broke, and losing my house, and displacing my kids. You just, even a suicidal thought. And I really started crying on camera. Which, you know, even my son texted me the next day and said, "Dad, I don't think I've ever seen you cry." So he's got that on video to watch. And that was the hardest "Press to Post" button I've ever pressed. It was easy to record it. It was easy to share it with a couple close friends. "What do you guys think? Should I do this?" Even my roommate Nikki, while she was sitting with me. As soon as I finished the edit, I was like, "Hey, come over here, Blue." I call her Blue. "Come over here, Blue, and take a look at this, and just tell me what you think." And once I got a couple of that kind of reassurance, which I needed, I need that circle, then I pushed the damn button on posting it and it went ... Not viral, in any means, but it went to a place where it opened up a lot of conversations, which I think is really powerful about this.
But what I shot the next day, 119, is I just realized how addicting that could become. Because it was the most watched video, the most commented, shared, liked, DMed causing video that I've done. And you start saying, or I could see as a marketer, "Oh, okay, well what did we do there? Let's do more of that." Now you're reverse faking because you're not that kind of vulnerable all the time. And nobody needs to be, because that would just be a downer. But, that was part of what I was talking about. I just never saw the human side of my friends on social media, so no one that was in their 40s was going broke, and losing their house, and displacing their kids. But in actuality, now that I've posted this video, and people with say to me, "You won't believe this. In 2016, I was going through the same thing." Or 2014.
And again I'll bring my sobriety into it. The one thing I liked about going to meetings in the first five years of getting sober was, I was meeting people who were either sober a really long time, so I knew there was hope in that. Or people that were just getting started, and I could help them understand that, you know, "Hey, I've been sober two years. I've been sober four years. You're gonna get there, and this is where it comes from." It's the same thing with creation. Creating some really great content is, you can meet people who have done it for a long time, and have had really great success. And you can meet people who have done it, they're just starting, and now you're encouraging the other way. But encouraging people is very encouraging to you. And so it's just a weird hu-
Encouraging people is very encouraging to you, and so it's just a weird human dynamic. It does bring the human back to it, which I've really enjoyed. Like you said, I don't think there is a better platform to allow people to get to know you then … If it can't be face to face then it's video, and video is really powerful for you to get to know someone 100%.
Joe Cox: There is a reason. As you talk, super powerful, man, and I appreciate you’re telling us the story, and I appreciate that this is our first couple of episodes in because it tells a lot about you. It helps build out what your makeup is, and when people want to go and find out more, they can check out the back episodes and it's not going to take them six weeks like Game of Thrones, right?
Demian Ross: Right.
Joe Cox: It's just too much time. I think it's super inspiring and powerful and, again, sits exactly where … The reason social was so powerful, it didn't get invented. We were just going and looking for technology to help us communicate better and more like we do when we are together. We're really building technology to help us to close that gap. It’s stories like these, whether you feel like if it's affecting your 2019 marketing plan or not, it's stories like these impactful things that you should check out. If you don't usually, you should check it out. You should look at it and you should really get to the bottom of why these things are so powerful and why they can be so powerful. Because through all this connection, we stop thinking about the me, me, me’s and we start talking about, hey, how much value can we put out?
It sounds to me like that is coming back to you tenfold, that what you're putting out to people that you're not even really caring what the numbers are. You're getting that value back a ton. It's just super powerful. I'm glad to be doing the podcast with you.
Demian Ross: Yeah, me too. I think for me, one of the things is there is people that will say, and I appreciate it where it's like that really resonated with me. I appreciate you saying it. I really, selfishly, I said it for myself. I want to say it and just have it out loud and have it documented that that's how I feel, and I need to hear it, and I just am saying it like into a mirror in a sense. It's just such a bonus when it's helping someone else out. I think that's where part of the idea of this podcast was how do we make it more human?
I will talk about one of the bad side effects of the video series is that I feel like my company and other companies are like, “Okay, but now how do we do that where we rinse and repeat it for the brand?” I'm like, I don't think you can because I don't think people really want to connect with the brand that deeply, and the brand doesn't have that kind of story and pain and hurt, but I think you can connect with creators. To your point, Joe, you can connect with creators that have had that kind of story and let your brand be part of their story, but to try to just create the same magic. It just bugs me out when people are trying to say let's rinse and repeat this, and you just can't sometimes.
That's the thing I think that scares people too. Let's say from a sales staff, you might have 10 people, maybe only three could really pull off a video series like this. Don't make the other seven try. Just let them do what they do. Maybe they are really great at just phone calls and emails and they kill it, but let people do what works for them. I don't get it. That's the thing that I think I've learned, is that people are like, “Oh, my boss would never let me.” I'm like, “Why? It works. It builds relationships. You're in the relationship business. Why would that not be?” Every salesperson is in the KLT, know, like, trust business. I don't care if you work for Apple. You still are.
That to me is insane that you would want to try to control someone's ability to do anything that would build trust. I get that there's times I don't have my shirt on and there's times where … For those of you that aren't able to see me, I'm tatted pretty much head to torso. There's times where I cuss when it makes sense. I don't just do it for the effect of it, but there's times where it comes out. I’ve removed a lot of them when I'm editing. I could see how it's like I'm part of the brand, but it's also that's me at an event. It's not like you're not getting someone different.
I don't get why you would want to try to control it in video. If you're not going to go with me to an event and be like, “Demian, you can't say that. You can't wear that. No, no, you've got to cover those tattoos.” Because I don't do that at an event. That's the weird part for me that we still have, even in 2018, this culture of I want you to think outside the box, but really stay in the box.
Joe Cox: Right. There has been this veil, right? There's been this veil to be like it's pretty easy to be somebody a little bit different at work than it is at home. It's bit of a transition period for sure. I do think we're really getting into a place where it's not all … I'm not saying it's for every brand, for every bank or whoever is out there, but what it shows is that people, the consumer, the user and the public, there's not a veil. I'll tell you especially with Millennial and Gen Z. The veil of different people being completely different is a strange. They want you to be authentic and true to yourself.
I think that's where you're going to get the most, as a brand or as a content creator, where you're going to get, like you said, you're going to get the most out of your video. It doesn't mean that you have to cry every single time. It doesn't mean you have to say things that are outrageous. It just means that the closer you can get to yourself, people see that mirror and themselves and people want to spend time with that piece of content. Any marketer can learn from that. If you're going to work …
I thought it was going to be a video episode and it's not. To me, it's more of a content creator episode tenfold. It is. It's a content creator episode because what it should teach your brand is that why it's so powerful to be able to team up and it's not so that you can be in the middle of a video and hold up Clorox bleach. It is not so you can use Kleenexes when next time you have an emotional moment and tilt the box that way. It is to say that you want to make something happen in culture as a brand. If you want to do that in an authentic way, you don't always have to be the star. In fact, you're rarely ever the star.
That is why we are sitting on a mountain of opportunity with all these content creators and brands, but they haven't figured out the API between each other because the brand wants too much control and the creator knows their audience and he is not willing to give that control up. I do see with IGTV with just the growth of this, if you go to VidCon, you'll completely understand what this looks like, is that we are on this new world and the younger generation gets it. They get what's going on. They want to see authentic people that they can identify with.
You said today was super strong. Just because it's just been happening with younger people, it doesn't mean that people that are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s aren't just as thirsty for that content. Right?
Demian Ross: No doubt.
Joe Cox: There's a big offer, huge opportunities for anyone. There's really no excuse if this is something that you would want to do or if you're a brand that wants to help people do this and help sponsor that and help partner in that.
Demian Ross: I think what you were talking about earlier too, one of the examples I like to give in this idea of you can take something that's really working great and then really screw it up, is Casey's UPS driver, Marlan. Honestly, when that was going down and every once a while you're like, Marlan would … Well, first of all, I know the name of a UPS driver in New York.
Joe Cox: Yeah, I like that.
Demian Ross: Can we just talk about just how insane that is? Let's also say that there were times where he would test stuff out with Casey, and I was just going to be like, this guy is going to get fired. That was literally my thought process. UPS is going to fire this guy.
Joe Cox: They're not going to get it.
Demian Ross: You're right. They’re just like how much … This guy is the face. He's such a genuine single father, who loved his sister. They did a GoFundMe campaign when Marlan finally talked about how his sister was really sick and they didn't have the money to help. I want to say they raised a quarter million dollars, Casey's fan base. It was insane. I think he tried to do his own blog for a while. I think it died off, which is fine, but I'm just so glad UPS didn't try to start the Marlan blog. Do you know what I mean? Try to step on it. i'm also glad they didn't-
Joe Cox: Stop.
Demian Ross: Obviously, he's like … Yeah, where it's like, oh, Marlan, they made me sign a nondisclosure. I can't be on these shows anymore, blah, blah, blah. Because it really does just make UPS human. The guy is phenomenal. It's like, why wouldn't they want that? I could see big corporate being like, “Oh no, no, no, we can't have that.” You see and if you become a fan of Casey, you see where UPS drivers approach him and talk to him and have said how they've done their own content and they're creating their own stuff. I do know there's … Just in weird content creation that I've been out.
I was in Page, Arizona, and I was doing a hike and they said no GoPro cameras were allowed. I just thought that was so weird that they're saying no GoPros. There's so many other camera brands. Did this place get mad at GoPros? I guess they just felt that GoPros were just running film from beginning to the end and it was showing this hike and now no one would want to go on the hike that they've seen the video. I literally told the guy that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The video is going to make people want to come and go on this hike. Nobody is at the point where they've been like, “Oh, I watched a really cool GoPro YouTube video. I don't have to experience that myself now.” I feel like that's the kind of this mentality. This is a national park. That's how stupid they are.
Joe Cox: This is going to be something we're going to be hearing more and more of because the bar has been so low for brands until this time. What we're coming up on is just how you behave and how you communicate. Even having that sign tells us how little you understand of what is going on in the world and how little you understand how people are communicating and having eyes to those things of the same people that are going on these hikes and appreciating the things that you bring to them. It’s going to hurt. Right now, the bar is super low so people laugh and scoff, kick it off, like you are with this hike. That was ridiculous. Bigger brands, it's going to start hurting because you're going to get called to the map of what you believe. I would say-
Demian Ross: Yeah, I think there's some LA restaurants that don't want you to take photos of their food. I'm like, “You know how many great restaurants I have found?” Granted, I'm embarrassed too when I lift up my camera and take a photo of food and post it. I do it though sometimes, but I'm like, this is the best advertising. I honestly believe Starbucks misspells her name on purpose just so you'll post a photo of them. My name is Marc with a C and it comes back Carc. They did that on purpose so that way you'll post it.
That's the part that I think is getting weird too, is that we start mocking and making fun of people that are maybe creating the same content that everyone else is. I mock people that take photos when they get on an airplane. I think it's funny that that's the standard photo. Just do it differently. Show the funny side of it. You don't have to announce every time you're on a flight.
Joe Cox: I’m flying now. You do see, and I do too. We travel a lot. I travel a lot for work. I always am like, okay, it’s grounding to me because I'm like, okay, for some people, this is freaking awesome and this is a completely outside of the norm. We really have to take a minute to say. That gives us that empathy that we need to say, hey, everybody is on a different trip and has different experiences and wherever they are in that journey, this is must be a fantastic journey of the hallway of the southwest flight.
Demian Ross: Exactly. That's where it's like … I think there's nothing wrong with sharing that you're going somewhere. I just think find a creative way to share it differently than everyone else's. Same with food. If it's a really good restaurant, I would love to see a photo of it. I do this funny little series I used to do and I don't do as much where it was like I would timestamp from the plate to the empty plate, the full plate to this.
Joe Cox: That’s good.
Demian Ross: I just would start picture and two minutes later, it's all gone, and I’d post that picture and be like, “I ate that whole burrito in three minutes.” Again, I'm showcasing the restaurant. I’m tagging it and all that kind of stuff, but I'm just making some funny different kind of content out of it rather than everyone else that has the one up, look at me, I'm in first class now and that kind of stuff. I just want to end with, or at least make sure that I'm saying this, that starting is the hardest thing. I'm going to quote him wrong because I always get it wrong, that perfection is a fairy tale and control is an illusion. That's a Brian Fanzo quote, who I just got done doing a 10-day trip with us. It really stuck. He obviously has pressed the damn button.
Those little three things have really stuck with me that better is … Good is good enough, so just if you're good with it, just post it. You'll be fine. You'll forget about it in a day. That different is better than better, so just being you is better than trying to figure out something that's better. Just be different, and I guarantee you, you're different. That is going to be better than better. That's a Sally Hogshead quote, I believe.
I think those things are really important just to have that. I love that you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. I think it's so important and you're going to learn so much on the Road to 300. I'm just kidding. You're going to lose so much on the road to doing this type of content, whether it's podcast, whether it's writing, blogging, photos, videos, whatever it is, your stories, IGTV, whatever it is that you're putting out. You're going to learn so much on just the road of creation that you'll be amazed what happens just within. Give yourself 10 weeks if you're doing something weekly. Just do 10 of something.
I know you even talked about, Joe, you're getting things in the can before you release it. It's really smart because it'll let you have some lows and you still have enough to continue with your consistency because the sticky factor, things that stick that people want to listen to and share, the sticky factor is really important, but the consistency is the biggest factor of any factor. It takes a while before the consistency pays off, so please stick with it. You'll be stoked you did.
Joe Cox: You bring that inspiration to people. I will bring the hey, ding-dong. If you're coming and trying to get a job doing social media for a brand or an agency, what do you think? The first thing I'm going to look at is what are you doing for your own brand? Do you know how you operate these channels? Do you know what they're all about? Have you sold anything online? Have you shared anything online? Have you done something consistently? Because I'll tell you, I come about it very, very rarely, and I've hired a lot of people for some really large brands for social media, some big jobs. You got to eat your own dog food. You have to be able to make always.
The further you get away from making and the further you get away from that, the further I think you get away from the thing itself. I'm learning that a ton right now. It's again super powerful. Thanks for sharing your story. I think that wraps up about, what was that, 20, 25 minutes?
Demian Ross: I will say that I think something we haven't done at the end of the show is obviously I'd love to connect with anyone that's watching this. I would. I mean truly connect. I'm not looking for followers. I'm looking for people that it can be a two-way street and we can connect and get to know each other. It's Demian Ross really, every word D-E-M-I-A-N R-O-S-S. Whether it's YouTube or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, that's where I play, and I love to hear your thoughts on the podcast too. I think that that's a really great example.
Episode 10, episode 20, episode 30 of this podcast, it's going to be so different. I hope people, if you're listening to two right now, and there's a ton of these, just fast forward real quick and go listen to 30 and see how it's progressed and how crappy we were in the beginning and how we've really fine-tuned our craft. I think that's what's important.
Joe Cox: It’s a journey. It's all about the journey. It's not about the destination. It is about going and improving and going through. What makes you a stronger swimmer are the shitty waves at first. It's going to be ugly so just do it and go for it. That goes for brands, people, some dogs. I will sign us out because you've done an excellent job. Again, huge shout out and thank you to the folks at Enterprise Marketer for being the power source of this, giving us the equipment and the ability to share our stories and our podcast online for you guys to download. Thank you a ton for listening. Demian, thanks for being my brother from another mother. We'll see everybody next time.
Thank you for listening to the Explicit Content Podcast. For more information, check out enterprisemarketer.com.