Welcome to the first episode of BEHIND THE SCENES! This will be a, frankly, sporadic show, as we’ll schedule and record shows depending on other schedules and activities. But the point will be to bring you insights into how some of the top marketers and bloggers are doing the things that they’re doing.
On today’s episode, we’re introducing Jeff Sieh and Manly Pinterest Tips. (Originally recorded July 3, 2015.)
In this show, you can listen in as Jeff shares how he started and, more importantly, how the show and program evolved and pivoted into a thriving HOA series, podcast, website and business!
If you have a great broadcast and would like to be interviewed,
or would like to suggest another broadcaster you enjoy and would like to learn more about,
please leave a comment below!
Here’s the transcription:
Mike: Hey everyone, welcome to Behind the Scenes with The Manly Pinterest Tips Show. Now I first met Jeff Sieh through our exchanges on Google+ in 2013. And we immediately identified on a number of levels our interest in Star Wars, our appreciation for excellent facial hair, and our passion for exploring social media. Now since then, Jeff has gone on to launch two HOA series, a podcast, a video podcast, a new website, an incredible brand, and a thriving Pinterest community and following. In short, Jeff has become the embodiment of Manly Pinterest pinning. And we’re here today to get a backstage pass to how Jeff got started and how he manages to put so many moving parts into planned motion. So please welcome, Jeff Sieh. Hey Jeff.
Jeff: Hey Mike. Thanks for having me on. This is awesome. I appreciate you interviewing me for the behind the scenes look of the show.
Mike: Yeah, my pleasure, my pleasure. So now, give us a little more background if you don’t mind on how you got into Pinterest, and why you chose Pinterest tips.
Jeff: Well when we first started I was a couple years ago, I had a company here called His Design where I kind of locally do internet marketing and digital stuff, commercials and all that kind of stuff. But I decided I better start doing what I’ve been telling my clients to do and really figure out the social media thing. So I really put some effort into social media, got onto Google+, really was able to engage there with you. I think as soon as I kind of got on there we started connecting and I was reading your posts and stuff. And one day I was trying to get into blogging more and started doing a blog and I wrote a Google+ post called Manly Pinterest tip #1 and it was about sharing a secret board with your daughter. And it really did well. And I was like wow, this is really crazy. And earlier I started diving into Pinterest because I was driving back from a long road trip and I heard Cynthia Sanchez on Michael Stelzner’s podcast talk about this Pinterest thing and so I got on it and was playing with it and then did that secret board with my daughter and then wrote about. And people loved it. I think I did up to five of those Manly Pinterest tips posts and then Les Dossey said, “Hey, you need to do a show.” And this is when the Google Hangouts really started coming into their own and everybody was wanting to do something and so I invited you and Les and Wayne Harman and Stefan Hernanyin and the cool thing for me was everybody had a lot more followers on Google+ than I did and so I just leapt into these guys saying, “Yeah, we’d love to.” And so we did, I think it’s like seven or eight episodes of the first edition of the Manly Pinterest Tips Show and then we talked and said let’s try just doing the Manly Show so we can talk about other things other than Pinterest and we did probably the same amount, five to eight. We were doing it about I think twice a month was our schedule that we did when we were doing the shows. And that was great. And then some people said, “Hey, we like the Manly Pinterest tips thing, why don’t you bring that back?” And so I said okay. And so I started a show where I would interview Pinterest experts and did that for a while and eventually beginning of this year, I turned that also into a podcast which has done really well as well. So that’s kind of the short run down of everything.
Mike: Yeah, it’s been fantastic. I feel like a very big part of this journey.
Jeff: Yeah, you have been. You were from the very beginning.
Mike: So tell me a little bit more about when you made that transition from the group show that we were doing to kind of going off on your own. So we kind of went from Genesis to Phil Collins here where you’re doing your own thing and you actually took the brand I think to a whole other level which your website and the branding and the audio and everything.
Jeff: Well I think it was because mainly because I really wanted…and I was really nervous when I first started Manly Pinterest Tips because I thought women would be upset because a lot of them, that was their network. I saw it as a way for me; it was a way to stand out because there are tons of social media experts. And I knew all of them. I mean I love Pinterest, I do Facebook advertising – it’s huge for a lot of my clients and so I’m in all of them but I would be competing in places like Jay Bear and these other big ones and I knew I couldn’t stand out there. I like Pinterest. I see a huge opportunity there because it does drive a lot of traffic and people don’t know that and I could teach. And also I decided to when I started the show was to grow a beard because I was like okay; I’m going to do a personal branding experiment. I said I’ll try it for a year. A good beard takes about a year to do. And if it doesn’t work I can always shave it off. And my wife was cool with it. So when I was doing that I decided I’m going to pivot.
Jeff: It was a tough decision to pivot kind of my business and spend time on that and the reason I went from the group show is because I knew from talking to you guys and I kind of polled you guys, I knew you guys couldn’t do a weekly show. I knew that just wasn’t in something you guys could do. I thought in the long term I needed to do a podcast and I needed those to hit every week and so that’s kind of the main reason I went into going back and launching it as a one-man show interviewing an expert.
Mike: That’s great. And you mentioned podcasts which is great because I want to know, and I know people listening want to know, what’s kind of your process? Because you said you’ve got a podcast and that you’re doing HOA’s and I probably blogged about it but kind of help us understand how you go about deciding what you’re going to do in a show, who you’re going to invite and turning that into a successful podcast series.
Jeff: Right, well the main thing is when I started, I already had kind of a bank of shows I already had when I started the podcast so it was really great for me that I didn’t have to sit there and build content. I really had it from doing the shows and so what I do is I’m huge, for any of my stuff, my graphics or anything, I’m big on repurposing. I kind of followed Ryan Hanley’s model because that’s what he was doing is he does a Google+ hangout and then he turned into a podcast. For me that made sense because I do a lot of video, having the video and audio, I can hit two different audiences. And so it was kind of a no brainer for me. I mean, you do lose some audio quality and some of the diehard podcasters will ripe about that but one of the things I do at the beginning of all my shows is I say, “This is a part of a Google Hangout I did with Mike Allton, where the live audience can ask questions during the interview. So I pre-empted with saying this is why it’s going to sound this way. And I haven’t had any complaints about it at all because of that. But, repurposing it is huge and what I do is I just download my Hangout show that I do and I have a bumper that I put on the beginning and the end. I check and make sure there aren’t any big pauses or Google hiccupped a little bit when the recording happened, and I just do that and upload it and create a title and it becomes a blog post and so it’s really a great way for me to repurpose stuff.
Mike: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Now, I’m new to HOA broadcasts and that sort of thing so one of the things that I’ve been wondering that a couple of people have is once you’re finished with this kind of an HOA and you’ve got the video now on YouTube, what can you do with that? Are you able to edit and replace that video? Can you download it and cut it up and do different things with it? What are the options?
Jeff: You have all sorts of options and cutting it up is another great way to repurpose it. I found that a good question and answer is about one and a half or two and a half minutes. And that’s a perfect length for some YouTube videos. People like the short form content. And so you can actually take those down, cut them up, and have a whole other video series for people who want to watch things slow. I don’t do it as much as I need to. It’s just because of the bandwidth right now. But one thing I do, do is when I have a VA kind of go through and take care of my shown ups. They watch it and they pull out the questions that I ask and also what they do for me which is great is they pull out quotes that they think are highlighted. So if we did something and you said, “Hootsuite is one of the best ways to boost your content across all social media.” Well they would capture that quote but they’d give me a timestamp with it too so I could go back to that video and I could chop it up and if it’s short enough, it’s great for Instagram because Instagram is 15 seconds. And so a little quote like that can work great on Instagram. So thinking about how you can repurpose stuff from the very beginning is very key. And we had talked about this as well, when I had my intros and outros and some calls-to-actions professionally done for my podcast, is I went ahead and paid extra for what’s called a dry version which means there’s no effects with it. It’s just a guy in his booming voice going, “ManlyPinterestTips.com”. Because I knew that I could use that for videos later and it would be hard to edit with all the sound effects and the music embed in between all of that. So getting that allows me to do all these different intros and little bits of video and stuff. In fact, if you go to my Twitter profile, what’s pinned there is one that I’ve created using those dry videos. So it’s telling them this might make your voice deeper if you go and give me a review on iTunes which is kind of a funny thing but people love it. But that’s because I was able to repurpose that intro.
Mike: I remember you giving me some of those samples and listening to them.
Jeff: And that’s the great thing about collaborating and that’s the other thing I would say when you’re putting together a product or a podcast is the importance of collaboration because I sent that to because I sent that to you and said, does this work? What do you think? And I sent it to some other people. I mean my logo came about which I get a lot of comments on. The first one I did was a horrid choking a Smurf blue kind of thing. It was horrible. So we said no, try red. And I did and that’s what works and that’s what a lot of people notice especially on iTunes when they see my podcast symbol.
Mike: Yeah it definitely stands out, that’s no doubt. And speaking of branding, tell us a little about your background.
Jeff: Oh yeah, my background back there.
Mike: What’s behind you?
Jeff: The background I actually, and if you watch the earlier HOAs and even then the early Manly Pinterest Tips show I didn’t have that. It was just my office. And I was watching YouTube shows and one thing I’m always trying is what can I do to stand out? What makes me different? I’m not saying that, but different enough that people notice. And I saw on YouTube Good Mythical Morning and they have a really cool set behind them and I’m like I wonder if I can do that. And my kids had gotten me that glowing sign, the Man Cave, for Father’s Day one year and I said I wonder if I could make a set really easy. And this is actually a background from Lowes. It’s like barn siding and then I put three pieces together with hinges and then stained it and then went to Hobby Lobby and Michael’s and bought all the rest of the signs and spent a weekend putting it together. And we actually would be looking in the camera and putting them on the screen. This is funny, I’ll show you. This is not really straight up and down. I have it on a hook. That’s really straight up and down but because of the video it looks weird so I have a little hook I put it on so the perspective looks right. And then really above my head, there’s nothing. It’s just right here and so we put it together. And it actually folds up if I ever need to move it for clients or something like that. But we probably spent $200, maybe $300 with all the signs. And then it just works.
Mike: That’s a fantastic point. Taking the time to look at the details and paying attention to how you looked on camera, most of the tips if you read a lot of blogs about HOAs and filming, they’ll talk about lighting and that sort of thing. But understanding that when you’re doing these kinds of shows, what’s behind you is seen. It’s very visible and it helps add or subtract to the character or persona that you’re portraying.
Jeff: And when I started, a lot of people were doing the logos behind them, having all of the behind the logo thing and that’s fine, and I thought at first actually about doing that and I was looking at researching how to do a good background. But I though man, I want to do a set. I came from a theatre or fan festival and said I want a real set. It’s a pain in the rear because it takes up a lot of space but it’s worth it I think in the end.
Mike: That’s awesome. One of the kind of related questions, tell us about the equipment that you’re using because I know a lot of people are concerned. They want to use their built-in mic or their built-in camera on their laptop. Tell us why that’s such a horrible idea.
Jeff: Well actually when we first started before Hangouts, I think we did it even before they went HD, I think we were doing it when we first started the show because I was using my onboard stuff. And then I wanted to take it to the next level so I got the Logitech 920 camera which is a great HD camera. We’ve actually taken it and we did our cooking show that one time that I had where one was on the grill and the other one was on my face and so even before you get a good camera because a lot of the stuff on your iMac or the camera on there is good enough to use, but the audio is really important. People will forgive bad video but audio they won’t. And so this is a Yeti Blue microphone and this is the actual Pro Version which is black. It lets me plug in professional XLR mics to it. It’s the little soundboard that I have. It’s nothing special. The regular USB Yeti mic is great as well. And so it’s just on a little pivot stand so I could pivot it out of the way when I’m working. So it works really well.
Mike: I’ve got the ARS Technica. It’s on an arm. It’s actually above my monitor. But one of the things that came with it that I still don’t understand what it’s for and you’ve got one, it’s that shock thing.
Jeff: This thing?
Mike: No, not the pop-filter, but the microphone goes into the shock ring. What is that shock ring for exactly?
Jeff: It’s so that if you bump it or move it, the mic…you don’t hear a pop from somebody banging it. You can actually move it and you’re not going to have the vibration of something happening. And other people ask what this is, this is a pop filter so when I hit my Ps it doesn’t, it gives you a little protection. Anyway, those are some of the tools. That and I download every episode. I know Google backs it up on to YouTube but I always want to have my own copy because I want to own it. I don’t want Google to say, “You can’t have this anymore. You violated my terms.” So, after every show I have a hard drive specifically dedicated to my show and so I back up that and then it also goes back. I don’t just trust one back up source. I also back it up to the cloud as well.
Mike: That’s a really good tip. I didn’t think about that. Because we’ve both known people that have had their Google account or their YouTube account shut down. And it may have been for no good reason, just a mistake on Google’s part but until it’s restored you don’t have access to any of your content and if it’s never restored, it’s all gone.
Jeff: And Chef Dennis, he was hacked. And he had to go through that whole thing right before his blogger’s conference which was a nightmare. So I’m very…and plus I need it for my podcast and I want to have all of that stuff as well. And so I always have a backup of it.
Mike: Yeah, good tip. One other final area I wanted to delve into a little was just when it comes to audience. What tips or techniques or tricks or suggestions do you have when it comes to building an audience, keeping your audience engaged? Are there any things you do before or after the show that you’ve seen other HOA hosts do and kind of have imparted those techniques into your repertoire?
Jeff: Yeah, I do a countdown before my lives how starts. I have it set up with Hootsuite actually on Twitter. I usually say, ‘hey there is a show coming up”, the day before. And then the morning of the show I have it scheduled, “hey, there is a live show today”. Mine are usually at 2 PM central and I say, “The show’s coming up with Mike Allton. At 2 PM central we will be talking about Hootsuite”. Or whatever; and then an hour before I have it scheduled so it says, “hey starting in an hour”. And then I have one that goes, “starting in five minutes”. And so I promote the show that way. And then people will retweet that and I always thank them. When somebody says, “I liked the show or I loved the show with you and Mike.” I don’t just say “thank you”. I say, “Hey thanks for watching. I really appreciate it. What was your favourite part?” Or something like that. “What did you like the best? What resonated with you?” To try and extend that conversation and it’s not just on Twitter, it’s on any network. Answer your comments on Google+, I mean that’s kind of a given. If people are interacting with you, you want to interact back. But yeah and then the same thing. If somebody really likes my show and I can tell, I will ask them, “Hey thanks for liking my show. Do you mind going and giving me a review on iTunes?” And they almost always do that and that’s really big for podcasters is getting that subscription rating and review on iTunes and so if they love my show and I can tell they’re a fan, I have no problem asking them and I’ve never had somebody go, “You jerk! You shouldn’t have asked me that.” No, they never have done that. I think that’s fine. And then I mean, I have people asking me for stuff I probably should charge for but if it doesn’t take much time to do, I don’t mind saying, “Hey, I have an article here” or “Peg has this really great article on Instagram”, if you’re trying to cross-promote or if I could answer it real quick, I’ll just do it. So being helpful is the way to grow your audience too. I’m actually growing my audience faster with my downloads on iTunes than I am with YouTube or by video. But I just think it’s because people can watch it passively. And I know a lot of businesses say, just figure out one network and concentrate on that, which is great advice and I give that to clients. But if you can be on multiple ones, you can get a lot of benefit from it and so I try to be everywhere. I try to have a presence on Twitter and Facebook and on Google+, Pinterest, I’m not really on Tumblr or some of those other ones but, and LinkedIn. But the more places you are, the more places people find you.
Mike: Yeah, that’s absolute true. And you’ve got that at a benefit of having the multi-media content so that you can take a snippet of your video and post it to Instagram or Vine. I don’t know if you’re doing Vine.
Mike: And you’re on iTunes which I’m not. People say I’m everywhere but I’m not on iTunes because I don’t have a podcast. But you are so that’s pretty cool.
Jeff: One cool tip that I’ll give people who are thinking about maybe starting a podcast and I’m sure the other networks will too but Liveson is a big audio-hoster for podcasts. They’re actually going to be a destination that you’ll be able to send your podcast straight to Spotify which is a whole other audience. I predict that when that launches, it’s going to be the number two places where people find podcasts. And so when you’re comparing different places if you’re starting to do a podcast, should I do Soundcloud, should I do Liveson or whatever, think about that destination for Spotify because that will be a big deal.
Mike: That’s excellent. So we’ve talked about how you’ve gotten to where you are today, what’s coming up next for the Manly Pinterest tips? Do you have any big plans? Are you speaking at live events anywhere? What’s going on?
Jeff: Yeah I’m actually speaking at the end of this month, it is July, I can’t believe it is July. At the end of this month I’m speaking at Podcast Movement which I was just honored to be asked to do and I’ll be speaking on doing visual media like Instagram and Pinterest, and how to boost your podcasts using that. And then there’s some other cool stuff coming up. I’m actually going to be speaking at the Social Media Success Summit on Pinterest along with some other great people, Vincent Eng and Cynthia Sanchez. So yeah, stuff is happening. And the podcast still, it keeps going out there. We’re doing a…Lisa Meredith and Vincent Eng and I are putting together a visual social media conference that will be happening in October as well. It’s a two-day thing and we’ve got some great speakers like Peg and Rebecca and some other ones that will be there as well. So yeah there’s stuff happening. Visual media is growing. I mean blogging is not dead at all. But having great images to go with your blog can take it to the next level as well. So there’s just a lot of exciting stuff happening and then Periscope. We didn’t even talk about that but I’ve started – I don’t get on there and just, “Hey watch me eat or watch me brush my teeth or watch TV with me.” No, I don’t do that. But I have been using it as like a short, “Hey, I’m getting ready to interview Mike Allton on today’s show. I’d love for you to come by. We’re going to be talking about Hootsuite and using email to boost your blog and if you’d like to ask him questions, we can’t talk on this but find me on Twitter.” So I’ll do that kind of stuff more as a broadcast thing because to me it’s so hard for me to answer questions. It breaks the flow. Hey, Mike nice to see you. Hey, Shannon what are you doing, you know? When you’re trying to say something and they want you to get responded to so it’s kind of a weird thing but I’ve been using that also. Always look for ways to promote your content because it’s noisy out there. And you don’t have to be spammy. But think of some…I think everybody has a creative bug in them somewhere. It may be buried deep but a lot of people are better at a lot of other stuff that I’m not and so either collaborate with them, learn from them, but everyone can be creative and put their own unique angle on getting their content out.
Mike: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. Video or graphics, these are not my strengths. I like to write, I really do and I like to educate people through my writing so blogging will never be dead for me.
Jeff: And you’re writing had its own unique style and that means you have your own unique fans because I love your posts when you weave history into that because I know that’s a passion of yours. And that’s something that only you – I mean other people may write about history but you’re the only one who can maybe tie it into social media or how this certain thing works. And so that’s something unique that your voice says. And so everybody has that. It’s just there’s a great quote that I always do from John Acuff and I’ll probably screw it up because I don’t have it in front of me, but I love it so much. He goes, “90% perfect and shared with the world is always better than 100% perfect and stuck in your head.” And that was huge for me because video, blogging, and putting yourself out there on social media is scary because you’re always like these people are going to hate it. I’m a horrible person. No one is going to listen to me. And at first it feels like that. It really does. But pushing through that, there’s so much benefit that happens. Even when you get those trolls and idiots on social media, pushing through that, the benefits outweigh all the fear that you have on doing that.
Mike: Yeah, so finally, what can you tell us about the beard? Will it have its own show?
Jeff: The beard will not have its own show. This is actually…it was a year in March. My kids for Father’s Day really wanted to get me those little
Jeff: things that dwarves wore in Lord of the Rings where they braid it and they can have the little metal tips at the end but they were sold out. I don’t know how long. It’s kind of stuck with my brand. My wife still likes it so we’ll see. It definitely gets recognized.
Mike: That really is the deciding factor isn’t it? Once the wife’s done with it…
Jeff: You get rid of it.
Mike: Have a nice trip!
Jeff: And it’s funny and I didn’t really think about this until later but you think about all the big social media personalities, they all have something. I mean Jeff Golden has a bald head and those orange glasses. Jay Bear wears the crazy suits. They all have some little thing to them and so I just thought that was interesting. Well now I’ve got a beard so we’ll see.
Mike: I know, I need something.
Jeff: No, you’ve got the goatee. You’re there.
Mike: I’ve got a bit of a bead and a bald head.
Jeff: I didn’t realise how great it would be. There’s Gandalf so that’s cool.
Mike: So for those of you watching, I put a link to ManlyPinterestTips.com in the comments. But Jeff tell us where else people can go to find you, how do they get you on iTunes, how does that work?
Jeff: Yeah, the best way to find me is at ManlyPinterestTips.com and then I’m on almost all the platforms, Facebook, Google+, I really love engaging here, and iTunes you can just search for Manly Pinterest tips. I haven’t updated for a while but I have some great little video show that I did called Manly Mondays, that’s still on there and then the show that comes out weekly is Manly Pinterest Tips and that’s there as well because we’re always adding testosterone one pin at a time.
Mike: That you are. So I want to thank you Jeff and I want to thank everyone who’s been watching whether their watching it live or in a replay. And I hope if you’re watching this before Monday, you’ll have a chance to tune in Monday afternoon when I’m going to be interviewing Guy Kawasaki, Mia Voss, and Kenneth Manesse Sr. about entrepreneurship. So until then have a great 4th of July weekend and thanks for tuning in!