Want to learn how to create a profitable media business via the Amazon Influencer program?

Then don’t miss the episode below!

Thomas Smith joins the Niche Pursuits podcast today to share how he’s making good money with the Amazon Influencer Program.

He doesn’t stop there, though, as he also profits by repurposing those videos for YouTube and transcribing them into a blog!

He’s a long-time Youtuber, an Amazon Influencer Program member, and an expert in creating effective content.

And luckily for us, there’s no shortage of tips he’s willing to share. Here are just a few examples:

He discusses how the information conveyed in the videos far outweighs the importance of production values.

And he suggests finding low-competition or long-tail products to review, as they have a higher chance of standing out and driving sales (with examples that may surprise you).

To create better shoppable videos, Thomas advises focusing on using the product in its context of use and sharing genuine thoughts and opinions. Demonstrating how the product is used in real-life situations helps contextualize it for viewers and converts better.

Thomas also mentions how he uses Jungle Scout as a helpful resource for product research. And he emphasizes the value of authenticity and relatability in videos, as viewers prefer real people’s opinions over highly produced content.

He also mentions that the Amazon Influencer program offers various opportunities beyond shoppable videos, including live streaming, shoppable photos, and brand deals.

And to maximize reach and monetization potential, Thomas repurposes influencer content for other platforms like YouTube and blogs.

Overall, Thomas Smith provides really valuable insights and resources for creating successful influencer content. And his tips on authenticity, low-cost production, and providing useful information will help aspiring influencers stand out in the competitive market.

Check out the full interview below!


Topics Thomas Smith Covers

  • How Thomas got into marketing and blogging
  • Starting a YouTube channel in 2015
  • The number of videos he has in the Amazon Influencer Program
  • Making $6-8k per month from video content
  • Opportunities of the Influencer Program
  • The optimal length of videos
  • What the audience wants
  • Best products to review
  • Niching down on certain categories
  • Surprisingly low competition products
  • How to choose what to review
  • Tips for engaging and converting viewers
  • Repurposing content across platforms
  • His process for creating blog content
  • Amazon Inspire and other formats
  • Brand deals
  • The best way to shoot a video
  • And a whole lot more!


Jared: All right. Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman, and today we are joined by Thomas Smith. Welcome, Thomas. 

Thomas: Fantastic to be here. Thank you. 

Jared: It’s great to have you. You know, I think this might be darn near the first time I’ve ever interviewed somebody in my same state. You are in California, just like me.

Normally, I’m talking to somebody in Thailand or the UK or somewhere all around the world. 

Thomas: Nope. Even in the same time zone. Yeah, it’s perfect. I know, 

Jared: right. It’s great. So scheduling was easy for this one, but that’s not why we’re here. So we are talking all about your longstanding success with the Amazon Influencer program.

Now, we have talked recently on here about the, how to start, what it is, all this sort of stuff. Today’s, I certainly don’t want to call it a part two, but we’re, we’re really deep diving and getting into the nitty gritty. A lot of advanced tactics that you’ve learned over the years. So just to set the stage for when listening.

But you, you have a long, a long history of being an entrepreneur and being involved in the, in the online space. Let’s start by, I mean, spend a couple minutes catching us up on, on what you’re involved in, what you do, and then obviously we’ll, we’ll just zero in on Amazon Influencers for the, for the majority of it.

Thomas: Sure, absolutely. Yeah. So my, my background originally is actually in cognitive science. Um, believe it or not, I went to Johns Hopkins for that and studied artificial intelligence actually, which, you know, at the time was a super academic subject. And now obviously it’s becoming, uh, incredibly relevant. But, um, coming out of that, I started a, uh, a photography agency.

And we work with, uh, that’s what Gado Image is, G A D O. We work with, um, a bunch of big archives basically, uh, that have these huge collections of historical images. And, um, we do a bunch of SEO and use AI and, uh, and make that kind of accessible and licensable to people. And so that gave me a lot of, um, opportunity to work with these big organizations on a lot of sort of visual media, imagery, doing a lot of SEO work, kind of getting that stuff out there, learning what sells and how to, you know, sort of market those kind of visual materials.

Um, but, you know, even going further back than that, I’ve always really enjoyed doing product reviews. And I actually, back in 2006, started this blog, uh, it was at the time called, I think, DIY Home Automation. Um, and this was like the X10 days of home automation. Really early, like, uh, really rudimentary stuff.

The original website, you can, I think you can still find it on, uh, the Wayback Machine. But it was like hand coded, you know, uh, HTML tables. I mean, it was like the, the ugliest, uh, thing. But it was basically sharing my experiences with… Building my own home automation system and that sort of evolved alongside my main business and sort of taking some of the things I learned from my main business on the SEO side and, you know, working for these big visual archives, I was able to sort of take that blog and build it out into this brand of DIY life tech and we expanded beyond the, uh, the home automation space into sort of generally like home products and, and tech products and that kind of thing.

Yeah. I started up a bigger blog around that, but what it ultimately became was a YouTube channel, and it just lent itself so much to YouTube, with doing sort of product review videos about this stuff. I think I started that channel in 2015, um, and it was literally just me, you know, picking out my phone and talking about products.

And I look back at the original videos and they’re just so awful. I mean, they’re like, you know, there’s one where like I’m talking about a product and I didn’t know how to edit at the time. So I just like put the phone down in the middle of the video. Um, so it’s just like my desk, uh, for, for 10 seconds while I like adjust the, you know, the product and, uh, or unbox something.

Um, so they’re really, and I just talk in this monotone. It’s really, really awful. You shouldn’t, shouldn’t necessarily look back at your old stuff. Um, but it grew and, you know, it provided I think really useful information. to users. Um, and uh, I ended up doing on that channel, at this point it’s up to about I think 2100 videos.

Wow! And it’s gotten about, a bit over 7 million views over that time. So, it’s not huge in terms of, you know, there’s people out there who have channels that get millions of views per video, but it’s this sort of interesting, like, SEO play. There’s almost, it’s very, very minimal subscribers, I think about 9, 000 subscribers on the channel, and the vast majority of the traffic comes in via the video’s ranking in Google, and people clicking through, and then, obviously, since it’s very product centered, I always had this tie in to Amazon Associates, and, um, You know, and driving affiliate traffic there, too.

So that was something I’ve been working on for, I guess, about five years as of 2020. And I heard about the Amazon Influencer Program. I think Amazon had actually approached me at the time. I can’t remember exactly how I got established. But, um, you know, this, this program for people have seen the other episode, but, uh, a program where you can create product review videos or how to videos, unboxings, whatever it is, and you can upload them directly to Amazon and have them appear on the Amazon sales page as well as some other places and I can get into that, um, and then if people watch that video as part of their buying process for a product on Amazon and end up making a purchase, then you get a commission for that.

Um, and it just felt like such a no brainer when I discovered it. It was one of those things where you see it and you go like, Wow, this is, this is gonna be huge. Like I, you know, this is gonna be a big piece of my business. 

Jared: You’re already doing it too. I mean, you are basically creating these sorts of videos for your YouTube 

Thomas: channel.

Exactly. I had this backlog at the time, maybe 1, 200 videos or something like that. And I was like, okay, great. You know, I’ll just, I’ll take these, I’ll migrate them over. Uh, and, you know, we’ll see how this works. Um, and, uh, you know, it was a, it was a little more complicated than that. I can get into what the process was.

It didn’t turn out to be like the seamless thing. I ended up reshooting, uh, most of it, uh, for the, for the influencer channel or sort of not even reshooting, but pivoting the direction of my YouTube channel to create content that could also be used for influencers. Um, but that was, uh, November of 2020 that I started in that program and influencers.

Fast forward to today, I have 776 videos in Amazon Influencer as of the last time I checked. Um, I’m up to, again, 2, 100 YouTube videos and the whole sort of thing, I, I, I can’t share. Amazon doesn’t, uh, doesn’t like people to share any sort of proprietary data from within their platform, but I can share, you know, what I can see in my bank account, uh, across those two channels.

It’s about 6, 000 to 8, 000 per month in revenue, um, coming in there. And, uh, uh, that’s, that’s not all my profit. You know, there’s costs, as we’ll get into. Um, it’s evolved into a really nice kind of, uh, niche business or side hustle and, and, uh, something that complements now the, the other work I’m doing. 

Jared: I feel like we have, um, I’m like just hearing you walk through your expertise and what you’re involved in.

I feel like we have like three podcast episodes we could do from that. We could, we could do one on, I mean, we talk about AI so much. You’ve literally studied AI at a university that’s very well reputed. That could be one topic. Number two is. Your entire approach to YouTube, your ability to create 2100 views and the millions and millions of views, and then obviously that would be number two, but number three is probably what we’ll have to stay focused on today because it’s kind of scoped out, but it’s so exciting.

Congratulations and all the different things you’re involved in. Obviously you and I have a lot in common in terms of a photography of a background and a media background. You’re very well rounded, so I’m really excited to hear your approaches today to Amazon influencers because I think a lot of us and I’ll use this to set the stage.

A lot of us Maybe not me because I have that media background, but a lot of people listening are going to come at the Influencer Program from a content creator standpoint. And not saying you don’t because you have websites and you are involved in that, but you really come at it with an expertise in media and video creation.

So I think getting your insights into that will, will be a great lens for people to hear through. So, 

Thomas: yeah, I’m happy to share all of that. And I definitely agree. I think that this applies specifically today to the Influencer Program, but many of the same principles. That I’ll talk about in terms of, you know, what works for videos and what engages with audiences and all that and how to produce them.

Has worked successfully for me on YouTube for, you know, I guess about seven years now, right? Uh, seven, eight years. So, even if you’re not in the program yet, I think you should get on the Influencer Program if you want to do this kind of work. But hopefully, you know, what I shared today, I think it has a lot of relevance to, to video in general.

Jared: So let me just, before we dive into the details, let me try to draw a little bit of distinction or clarity. Just so people listening… Who don’t already have a YouTube channel, or aren’t looking to be doing this with YouTube. Maybe understand better, like, uh, you said it best. Amazon’s pretty clear, they don’t want a lot of information getting out about what you’re making on specifics.

But, you said, hey, 6, 000 or above is what you’re making between these two. Like, is the lion’s share of that coming from influencer videos? Or is it evenly split? Um, cause 776 videos is gonna take people some time. But put that in, maybe, some perspective for people so they can wrap their minds around how much of the revenue, uh, does tend to come from that.


Thomas: say the majority of it, uh, either comes from the Influencer Program or from the, some of the traffic I refer over to Amazon Associates, uh, from, from the YouTube videos that are repurposed, and we’ll get into that. A lot of the YouTube channel is now driven by the Influencer Channel. Um, so that’s another source of revenue.

But yeah, the majority of it is either from influencers or being driven by the content that’s created for that influencer channel. So yeah, it’s, it’s a huge opportunity. Bottom line, you know, definitely. It’s, it’s not like I’m a hugely successful YouTuber and this is a little tack onto it. The influencer program is the star of the show here.

Jared: Absolutely. All right, can’t wait to get into it. So again, you teased it and we’ll just say it at the outset so it’s over with. We had a great interview with Matt talking about like how to get in and all that. I mean, you need a social media following on, I think it’s one of four platforms like TikTok, YouTube, uh, Facebook, or Instagram, uh, somewhere between a thousand to 10, 000 is the rough idea.

Cause it also takes into consideration like engagement. So it’s not done in, it’s not like a well defined kind of thing, but you got to have a social media following to get accepted in. It’s an automated process. Once you get accepted in, you can apply, I think all the time, just until you get the number of followers needed.

Once you get accepted, then you have to have videos manually reviewed to be able to have shoppable videos and you’re making your money on shoppable videos. So with that out of the way, man, let’s talk about it. How did you build out 776 videos and tell us the details about how, you know, the approach you’re taking to the videos you’re creating for the influencer program.

Thomas: Absolutely. Yeah. So I think one of the, the sort of the key things that’s going to be different for this program versus people who are more maybe more used to building like an affiliate website, you have to have the product in hand. That’s a, a complete requirement. Like people try to heard of people trying to sort of cheat that process, like going to a store and shooting videos in a store and, and that’s a, that’s a quick way to, to get banned from the program.

It’s not a, not something that you should be doing. And, and Amazon’s very clear about that in their, their guidelines for the program even publicly. So you, it’s all, you have to have the product in hand. You have to actually be using it and have experience with it. Um, and that’s, uh, restrictive in some ways because there’s a large cost at a certain point to producing the content from, uh, you know, having those products in hand, and I can talk about that in a little bit, um, but it’s sort of freeing in a lot of ways because, um, you don’t have to rely as much on research, you don’t have to rely as much on, um, you know, sort of writing the best script or anything.

If you physically have the product and you’ve genuinely used it, Um, you have a big leg up because you can basically sit down and shoot a video is the way that I’ve approached it, you know, take a product that you’re, uh, you’ve used for a month or something, sit down for five minutes. Turn your phone on, uh, talk about, you know, what you like and dislike about it, and you’ve got a video at that point.

So my strategy, you know, I think there’s people who obsess over all the details, they want to have this like perfectly edited video, and they want to have, you know, wonderful music playing in the background and all these different cuts and credits and, you know, like, titles and a beautiful thumbnail and all that, and I’m sure that works for certain people.

My strategy on Amazon Influencers and on YouTube as well has been basically keep the, the challenge and the cost of producing a video as low as possible. And so, um, it’s, you know, literally like, again, pull out the phone, um, take a, take a product that I’ve used extensively, talk about it for between, usually between one to three minutes is the typical length, maybe up to five minutes.

Upload that, tag the product, and you’re good to go. And I think that approach of reducing the time that it takes to shoot these videos does a couple of things. Um, one, it lets you create a lot of content. So if you’re that sort of YouTube creator who needs like a week to make a video, it’s uh, it’s sort of restrictive.

You’re not gonna get to 776 videos there, or 2100 on, on YouTube. You have to be willing to sort of just dive in and, and start making the videos and, and to have a, um, an emphasis, I guess, more on the, the information you’re conveying about the product and less on the production values. But I think the second thing that I’ve discovered after doing this for years is that that’s actually what the audience wants.

Like, people are suspicious of these super glitzy, well produced videos because they just go, eh, he’s, you know, he’s with the brand. Like, he’s working with the brand. He isn’t, he’s not a real, you know, real guy trying this stuff out. Um, and they see these, like, very slick, well produced videos often uploaded by a brand or shared on a brand’s YouTube channel.

And that has a place. But what they’re coming, you know, to you for is, as an influencer or a YouTuber, is what does a real person think? And so the more you look and sound like a real person, paradoxically, it actually makes the videos perform better. So the videos that I’ve shot where I, like, edit and I do all this work, um, on making it look great, they don’t perform as well as the videos where it’s like, I pick out, you know, pull out the product, I put it on selfie mode, I yak about it for five minutes and I upload the video.

Those are the things that convert the best. 

Jared: I used to be a public speaker, um, and I would, uh, one year I went on tour, and so I gave the same talk every night. And, um, I, I mean, I became so, uh, not on purpose, I became so robotic about it. I mean, I’d tell the same jokes, and like, that’s just what you do. And I realized, I was actually told by someone who’d seen me speak before, they’re like, Hey, um, you’re a little methodical.

Like, the fun thing about you speaking in the past is, you’re a little whimsical, you kind of always have some joke, or in the moment, like, you always feel like you’re present, and you, you lost a bit of that. And I realized I had to pull back, like, I had to be unrobotic about something that I knew really well.

It almost sounds like what you’re talking about. You’re like, the best videos are the ones where, You’re not refined. You’re not polished. You’re not, uh, maybe doing a lot of things we typically will infuse into our, uh, call it web, website reviews, 

Thomas: right? Yeah, it’s like the short video where, you know, it’s early in the morning, your kids are still sleeping.

You’re like, ah, I think I’ll shoot a video, you know, before they wake up. I’ve got five minutes. I’ll just like grab something in the kitchen that I’ve used for a couple months. I didn’t even know it was on Amazon. You know, I’ll just like talk about it. But those are the ones that end up doing the best, uh, and driving the most sales.

It’s the stuff where you, you’re rehearsing it and thinking about it too much and it looks too polished, uh, that they don’t tend to do as well. Um, so that’s been my strategy is just keep the cost as low as possible and I think that’s something that people often, um, kind of get in their own way with video, both in this space and also for, you know, shooting videos for your, your niche site.

Um, they think, oh, it has to be beautiful, it has to be well produced, it’s going to reflect negatively on my brand if it doesn’t look good. And in my experience, you know, after shooting over 2, 000 of these kinds of videos, people don’t want that. Again, they want that raw quality. People, a lot of people have looked at this, my channel, and said, you know, it’s so, it’s so raw, I feel so authentic.

It’s like you yakking about stuff. Um, and, uh, and brands love that too. I’ll get into, you know, the sort of brand deals you can do with this kind of thing. They love that aesthetic too, because it’s the hardest thing, honestly, to duplicate with paid actors and a big budget, even if you throw a ton of money at producing a video as a brand.

You can’t really duplicate it, the more money you throw at it, the less it’s going to look like, you know, the guy in his garage who’s tried this thing for a month and just wants to tell you about it. So, lean into that. 

Jared: That’s saying something coming from you because you are a professional photographer working with Getty.

Like, you could produce really nice videos if you wanted. A lot of us couldn’t. A lot of people can’t do that and you’re saying, well don’t worry about it because it actually works better if you don’t. Like, I could produce really nice videos. I got all the equipment, I got all the expertise. And it works better.

What other trends have you found in your two and a half, over two and a half years I’m looking here, over two and a half years in the program. What other trends have you found lead to successful videos? What other things have you pulled out? Because their data is not great. They don’t give you a lot of data.

They don’t give you a lot of information. So you’re kind of left to experience really. Um, your experience is probably what gives the most indication of what works and doesn’t. 

Thomas: Yeah, I think the, uh, the biggest thing that I’ve found, um, that makes, uh, the biggest difference is, um, product selection. So, um, it’s sort of, to me, it’s very much akin to doing good keyword research in the, in the blogging space.

You can, um, shoot a video about a super popular product and, um, there’s going to be so many other videos about it that it’s going to be really hard for your video to stand out. Um, and so like, you know, I, I love Fitbits and I’ve done videos about my Fitbit. And they can do okay for a bit, but they inevitably get knocked off of the product page by somebody else who’s shot a newer video, a longer video, you know, probably a better video about their Fitbit, because everybody loves Fitbit, and everybody loves to talk about Fitbit, and there’s just so many, even though there’s a huge, you know, sort of the equivalent would be a huge search volume, there’s a huge volume of people buying Fitbits, Fitbits.

There’s a huge competition as well, so it’s sort of like you’re, you know, you’re dealing with the, almost the equivalent of the high DR sites that are going to just kick you out, the Forbes’s of the world that are going to prevent you from, from really ranking for that video. So what I’ve discovered is that the key, as with niche sites, is to find these sort of, um, almost like a long tail or a low competition product in the same way that you would find a long tail or low competition.

Keyword in that sort of space and, um, oftentimes that’s really unexpected stuff. Um, so, you know, one thing I found worked was paper towel holders. Um, and, you know, you would not think of that would be like the thing that would be your, your killer category. But for me, paper towel holders became this, uh, this like really high value area.

And I think it’s because everybody needs to buy one. You know, people might need to buy more than one. Um, there’s a lot out there. So people, you know, they’re, they’re, they want to look and see which one is the best. Um, but, uh, you know, nobody sits down and starts their day and goes. I would love to make a video, you know, a three minute video about my paper towel holder.

Like, nobody thinks to do it. So, there’s high search volume, um, because, you know, it’s a product everybody needs at some point. Um, there’s low competition because nobody wants to shoot that kind of, uh, that kind of content. And so if you find these sorts of things, then you can just run with it. And, uh, I think I discovered that by mistake just by going around my house.

And I think the way a lot of people start on influencers is they just run around and review everything in their house, which is a great way to do it. Um, you eventually run out and that’s where the costs start to escalate to, to sort of producing this content and we have to start to buy stuff. But, um, you know, I saw, hey, this, this video I made about my paper towel holder did great.

So I just started buying paper towel holders. And I think I ended up with like 15 of them. Um, so I’ve got paper towel holders in my garage. I’ve got wall mounted ones under my sink. I’ve got them on the countertop. I’ve got them in my kid’s art room. You know, it’s like everywhere there’s paper towel holders now.

Because that category worked. Um, and I’ve got a, that, that’s one that other people discovered. But, um, there’s others that I found that are sort of these basic products that people don’t think to review. Um, but that everybody buys. And that, that’s worked really well for me. Um, the other category that’s worked really well that I think was surprising to me is really high value products.

And you would think, okay, high value product, um, you know, I, I can share the commissions you get, you know, paid a commission that varies by the, the category, just like with associates, that’s public information, so I can, I can tell you that it’s, uh, you can go on Amazon influencers website and look at what the onsite commissions are, they’re lower than, um, the associates commission for offsite traffic, but, um, you know, there’s still categories where you can, you can earn, um, Uh, a solid commission on that, you would think, okay, given that I’m earning a percentage of the sale that the high value products would be sort of the most popular thing or the thing that would be hardest to compete.

And what I found is that because of that, and that’s certainly true in the traditional associate, you know, niche world, right, like you’re going to fill your product review articles with high value stuff, you know, mattresses are going to be the hardest thing to compete on because they’re high value, there’s low cost to recommending a high value product.

What I’ve discovered is different on YouTube and also on Amazon influencers is that because the cost of making a video about a high value product is higher because you have to have that product in hand. There’s fewer videos about those products and so they they tend to be less competition And then you got this killer sort of combination of low competition because most people aren’t going to buy that thing to review it Because it’s so expensive and high value when you do make a sale and so that’s another category.

It’s worked really well And and the example I give is You know, when I started working remotely, uh, after my, my first son was born, um, he’s six now. So I was sort of early to the remote work game. When I did that, I thought, you know, I’m going to be sitting all day at home. I had a, a nice, um, Herman Miller office chair at work.

Uh, I’ll, I’ll buy one of those for, for my house. And they’re crazy expensive. Yeah. They’re ridiculous. Um, it’s, it’s insane. They’re super the same one for like six years now. Um, and it was this huge investment at the time, but then I had the chair, and I thought, you know, whatever, I’ll just shoot, I’ll shoot a video about it.

Um, and that’s been one of my, you know, higher earning videos, because the chair is expensive, and most people aren’t going to have it, and I just happen to have it, and there’s not that many competing videos. And so, when somebody wants to hear all about my Herman Miller chair and make their buying decision, they often watch my video and convert.

So yeah, either low, low competition, high search volume types of products. Or high value products where not many other people are going to have a product. 

Jared: Man, that was an incredible deep dive. You’re right, there’s so many parallels to researching for website content. Yet, some of the model is different, right?

Because… You’re typically going to see the more expensive the product, the more competition for writing a website review on the topic because, um, because it’s just more lucrative, but you’re right in that on the influencer program, because so much of the values. Being put on in hand, usability, experience with the product, and that’s what the video is about, it almost creates a, like a barrier to entry in many ways.

Thomas: Absolutely, yeah. So it’s different from that, yeah, and different from that, where there’s really no cost if you’re not gonna actually try the product. I mean, I try the products for my associates, you know, or my, uh, niche websites. So I’m sort of that, that sucker that, like, doesn’t want to write the review without actually having tried it.

Um, but I know that, you know, that’s not common in the space. Um, so when there’s no cost to recommending a higher value product, Of course, you’re going to choose the most expensive thing you think you can rank for. Um, but yeah, this, this does create a barrier to entry. Um, and yeah, that can be very successful.

It does then, as I mentioned, create costs if you want to scale either your YouTube channel, um, or, you know, Amazon influencers, if you start to get into buying the products in order to review them, which I do. Um, then, you know, you’re going to be buying expensive stuff and hoping that you can make back the, uh, the investment.

I found that in general I can, um, but it definitely, you know, it cuts into that, that revenue figure that I mentioned at the beginning, certainly. Let’s 

Jared: talk a little bit more about competition. When I’m researching a keyword or a topic for my website, I will pretty much always start with a keyword research tool.

Whether it’s, uh, I mean, I don’t need to list off all of them, right? We know so many of them. We’ve had many of them on the podcast before. They’re great for different reasons. Um, you know, Spencer started Long Tail Pro many, many moons ago to find low competition keywords. And so you have these metrics that you use with tools.

I’m going to guess there are no or very limited tools available for the influencer keyword research or product research. Are there tools available? Is it just a matter of kind of hacking tools or maybe walk through like, what does a manual process look like? Like how do we actually determine some rough idea of if there’s competition or not?

For a specific product, we might want to make a video on. 

Thomas: Yeah, that’s a great question. So the, there is one tool, uh, it’s called Jungle Scout. I think, uh, Niche Pursuits has covered it. Uh, I know, I know you all have a review of it. Um, I, I did do a deep dive into that, uh, my own blog too. I’m just looking at that tool and how I use it.

But basically, it shows you, it’s a, it’s a research tool mainly, uh, geared towards FBA sellers, fulfillment by Amazon. People who are doing products, traditional product sales on, on Amazon. Um, and I’ve, I’ve dabbled in that in the past. I had a product on FBA at one point, so I knew the tool. Um, and you can basically do the equivalent of keyword research where you can see estimates as you would do in like an Ahrefs.

You can see estimates of sales volume for a product, um, beyond just sort of the, the Amazon sales rank. Um, so that’s a, a great tool to use. It is a paid tool. The free side of it, um, is, uh, more looking at… Existing data. So I will, I would recommend if you start with Amazon influencers, the first place to start is just review everything in your house because you don’t have to just review it.

Review everything. Go find every product you’ve purchased on Amazon. Go back in your bedroom and work downstairs. Yeah, exactly. Just go through, you know, just do it and you’ll be amazed how many products you’ll find hundreds probably in that way. Um, and some of them, if you have them for a while, may no longer be on Amazon.

There might be a older version, so you can’t do it with everything. But, you know, just do that with what you’ve got, then look at the data and see what performs well for you. And again, like, that’s how I discovered my highly lucrative paper towel holder. niche was, um, just reviewing my paper towel holder.

And then I saw, Hey, this really performs extremely well. I wonder if I could do more of it. So looking at the data, um, almost like looking in search console and seeing, you know, what, what you’re ranking for and then doing more of that, you can do the equivalent by looking at what you’re selling and then shooting more in the similar categories, buying products in that same space.

Even without a paid tool, you can look at the bestseller rank for a product in Amazon. It’s on the sales page. Um, you can, you have to sort of find it. It’s, it’s not really prominent, but if you look at the product detail section, you can see where it ranks relative to other products in the space. Um, you can see what products are being, have sponsored ads.

If a brand is buying ads for a product, um, that often means that they’re, you’re really, they’re really trying to market it and push, you know, more people to buy it. So that can be successful if you put in a category, like if you think, okay, I know a lot about cameras, you know, I’m a photographer, I know a lot about cameras.

I’ll put in, you know, Nikon, and then I’ll look at, like, what Nikon accessories are being promoted heavily. Um, that’s another, you know, strategy to try to find the stuff. Um, and starting with your own expertise, too, like, I can do a video about a camera accessory super fast, but I would not try to do a, you know, a makeup review or a fashion review or anything like that, because it’s just not a space I know.

Um, and so, you know, if I have a product in that space in my house, like I reviewed a, a fancy sunblock recently and it’s me being like, it’s organic, I think, and it’s, it’s, it’s lightweight, like I’m sure a fashion or a, you know, beauty products influencer would have way more interesting stuff to say about it, but, um, you know, starting with what, you know, I think makes it easier to shoot the videos and also easier to choose.

The products, um, and just look at what’s has a good, um, you know, selling rank and then look at the other videos. You can go on the product page, look at how many other influencer videos there are. Um, it’ll be called out, you know, it’ll say there’s ones that are a customer review, which is just somebody, you know, organically uploaded a review video.

Um, but you’ll see ones that will say something like influencer or, you know, receives commission is one of the things you’ll see on the, on the public side. Um, and that means that it’s, you know, somebody in the influencer program. And if you see a ton of competition for that product, it might still be worth it.

But, you know, again, like evaluating keywords, you know that it’s going to be harder to, you know, rank essentially for that. 

Jared: Are they using any data, like, like, for example, the scenario I just, you just shared. And I realize you might not know this, so if you don’t, that’s fine. But like the scenario you shared, like we know when a keyword is very competitive.

Online in the website world. Like we’re going to need to make a really good article, perhaps better than the competition that’s ranking right now, perhaps also do some off page things like build links, drive internal links, build topical authority around that. We would have to do all these things to stand a chance of beating out that competition.

Is it, is it, is there similar theories here? Like, I need to make a longer video, a better video, a, uh, you know, like, are there any metrics that go into this kind of stuff? Or is it Russian roulette? Like, well, it’s already fall, so we’ll just see who ends up there. You know, like, do you have any tips 

Thomas: on that?

It’s a total, total black box. It’s completely, that’s the thing with Amazon is like, you know, you, you’re, you’re in the program and you upload content. There’s not a lot of visibility into, um, why one particular thing does better other than just, you know, if it’s, again, these things I’ve noticed like lower competition overall within, within a product that has a lot of competition.

Why one video performs better than another or what the evaluation criteria for where it’s going to appear or where it’ll be placed. That’s a hundred percent on Amazon’s side. Um, there’s not a lot of visibility. The one thing I would say, and the reason I would say, to, uh, to have a YouTube channel alongside your influencer channel, or to grow an influencer channel from a YouTube channel, as I did, generally speaking, the stuff that does well with an audience on YouTube seems to do well with the audience on Amazon, too.

So I don’t know what metrics they’re using. And, and there’s not a lot of visibility into that, and the stuff that they do show, I, I, you know, I can’t really talk about necessarily. You can find it if you sign up and go in. Um, but YouTube is the complete opposite in terms of surfacing like every metric you could possibly imagine.

So I’ll often go in and look at videos that have performed really well on my YouTube channel, have high engagement, you know, longer watch times relative to the average, maybe a better click through ratio. Um, those are the videos that often perform well on influencers, Amazon Influencer too. And so I can start to learn from that a little bit like, you know, okay, maybe I need to start my video with, um, I just started faster.

You know, if it’s a, if it’s a product that has a lot of competition and people are clicking on a lot of different videos to do their research and I start with like, hi, I’m Tom, you know, here I am in my kitchen, they’re probably going to click away. But if I like, I’m thinking of an example, there was a, uh, Unbreakable, um, uh, wine glass that I reviewed and I thought, well, what’s the best way I can get people’s attention at the very beginning of the video.

So the first thing I did in the video is just drop the wine glass and it’s back and bounces and go bong, bong, bong on the ground. And then, uh, I started talking and say, Hey, this is an unbreakable wine glass. So like that grabbing people at the beginning, the same stuff that works on YouTube. I think works well there, too.

Um, yeah, that, that, that’s sort of the same principles apply, but it is just you upload it and Amazon works their Amazon magic. And you get a, you know, you get a report the next, next 

Jared: day. Okay, okay, fair enough. No, that’s, those are good tips. I mean, without trying to get that out of you, like, that’s a really good tip.

Like how to, you know, like. If you’re wondering how to make better videos, we’ve got a lot of podcast episodes on how to make great YouTube videos, right? So, that’s probably a great place to start. Similar concepts apply. And at some point, YouTube has figured out how to keep people engaged in their platform.

It sounds like that’s basically Amazon’s goal is, Hey, you’re interested in this product. Do you want to stay engaged with the product and learn more about it so you can hopefully buy it so we make 95% of the money or whatever the percentage is, you know? 

Thomas: Yeah, the difference I would say is that YouTube is very much about Yeah, keeping people on YouTube, keeping them watching videos, and it has to be compelling to the user.

Like, there has to be a reason that they’re doing that and not, you know, going to TikTok basically is YouTube’s endgame, right? Amazon influencers is a little bit different because the buyer is there to purchase something. So, you know, we talk about intent in the associates and the, uh, the affiliate space a lot.

Um, and that intent of the, of the, you know, the visitor is very important. And, um, you know, on YouTube, the intent is not necessarily there. So somebody might, uh, search on Google, you know, like, best unbreakable wine glass and find my review video, and then their intent is pretty high, but they might also just have gotten that recommended to them by YouTube’s algorithm because they like wine, or they, they’re throwing a party soon, or, you know, Google figured out they’re gonna do something.

that they might enjoy that video. And they’re not at that point in the buyer journey where they are ready to make a purchase. And so, YouTube is all about keeping them engaged, keeping them watching. Um, Amazon influencers, it’s a little different because they’re there to buy something. And so, often the questions that they’re asking are a lot more specific and a lot more, I guess, boring, I would say, for lack of a better word.

Um, you know, on YouTube it’s like, you have to get them engaged, you have to keep them interested, you have to give them a reason to keep watching your product review. On Amazon, they’re already there to look at the product, and so the stuff you’re answering is a lot less like, Why is this cool? Why is it interesting?

It’s literally like, What color is it? How big is it? You know, um, like, How durable is it? These very basic things about the product, I think, are more important, uh, there than on YouTube. And that’s… You know, everybody has the experience where you, like, you go on Amazon and you buy, um, like, I don’t know, a backpack.

And you think, this is gonna be great. I’m gonna, like, put all my stuff in this, I can take it on my next trip, um, it’s gonna be fantastic. And when it gets there, it’s like a backpack for a three year old. It’s, like, that big. Right? Or it’s a doll backpack. Or it’s, like, something that you totally didn’t expect.

Um, it’s different, you know, in some crucial way. And so I think when people are viewing these videos, they’re just trying to avoid that basic mistake. Like, it’s too big, it’s too small, it’s the wrong color. And so a lot of it is just, for influencers, it’s just showing them those basics about the product.

How heavy is it? How big is it? What color is it? Um, and so you don’t need to be as compelling. Maybe you need to grab them at the beginning if there’s a lot of competition, so they watch your video about those basics. But oftentimes it’s literally just they want to know the, the, the fundamentals of it that you can’t really convey so easily on a product page.

Jared: Yeah, I remember talking to somebody offline about this and, um, they were, they come at it more from the fashion side of things, right? Like they’re a fashion influencer. And, um, they, they said something very similar where they were like, yeah, you know, most of the stuff I review is, um, uh, clothing, but, you know, most of the reason they, they’ve determined a thousand videos in that most of the reason people watch the influencer videos is because they want to see what it looks like on a real person, not on a model, you know?

And it’s like, well, of course that dress looks great. That person’s a model. I. I have a receding hairline, well, I’m sure women don’t have that problem, but I do, and so, like, how does this look on me, you know, or whatever, it’s like, and they want to see it in action, so I think, yeah, it’s a good, it’s a good distinction to draw, like, the difference between the type of video you want to make, because Amazon is different than a TikTok, or a, um, uh, or Amazon shoppable videos, at least, are different than, like, a TikTok, a YouTube, or that sort of thing, so…

Thomas: Absolutely, yeah, it’s the basics, this is what it looks like. This is how you use it. Um, I can, I mean, I can talk more about what makes a great video on the platform or, you know, whatever, yeah, whatever is useful. 

Jared: I, okay, oh, I, I, okay, let me, I, maybe we’ll come back to this. Cause I have some questions now about the monetization side of things.

If we, I want to make sure we have time to get there. Cause I think people are going to have a lot of questions about, I mean, you’re at 776 videos. That’s a lot. Even if you’re doing quick videos. That’s a lot. I’m curious to know. So, how the monetization spreads out, if you can talk about that. Is this one of these things where every day you’re making your money and like a lot of videos are earning money?

Or is it more where you’re putting up 776 videos and I don’t know, like 50 of them have hit and that’s where the lion’s share of the income comes and the other 725 are duds, they never go anywhere. Like, you know, people understand this concept in terms of publishing content on their blog and the nature of which ones, how many of them need to hit and that sort of thing.

Like, what’s it like? On the Amazon shoppable video side of things. 

Thomas: Um, I would say one really good thing, it is very long tail. So it’s not one video earns the majority, at least for me, the majority of your revenue. It’s, it’s spread out, uh, fairly evenly across those videos. Which is great because you’re not, you know, you’re not beholden to one, uh, one specific video, you know, performing well to, to do well in the program.

Um, so that, that’s the first thing I would say. Um, the other, the other thing I’d say is, it is, it’s a bit of a churn because products change and brands always come out with new versions of products and new people come and create content and there’s only so many slots for each, you know, each product page only has so many videos on it.

Um, and uh, so videos that are on the older side tend to drop off after a certain amount of time. There is, Particularly on higher competition products, there is sort of a lifespan to the video, I’ve found, at least, you know, from my, my data, um, where it’ll, it’ll do great for a while and then, you know, drop off.

Sometimes they weirdly come back for reasons that, again, are totally opaque. But basically, like, you can’t, you can’t just create all the videos and then, like, sit back and retire to, you know, the Bahamas for, for, for the rest of your career. It’s, it is, you do have to keep uploading new content. And, and it’s sort of similar, like, updating old.

You know, old blog content in that way. So, yeah. What do 

Jared: you do? Like, when I update an old blog post, it drops out of, uh, the first spot, and I go in and I update it, right? And I add, I make it better. What do you do? Do you just delete the video and start over? Or, uh, I mean, there’s not much you can even optimize.

Is there? So, yeah. I mean, 

Thomas: oftentimes, sometimes I’ll delete the video. I rarely do that. You can upload, I mean, most people think of this as a review video platform, and that is a lot of it. But you can shoot a lot of different kinds of videos about a product. So you can do a straight up review where you just share your experiences, but you can also do an unboxing, you can do a, um, you know, a demo of a particular feature of the product, you can do a, um, you know, real world test of the product, like if it’s an air purifier.

You know, I’ve had, uh, I’ve done videos where, like, I took an air purifier that I had reviewed and done a general review of it, and I, like, I put it in my chicken shed and let it run, and chickens, if you don’t know, are, uh, are very dusty creatures. So it clogs up the air purifier, and you can see what parts of it fail, and it’s sort of like a big stress test for a purifier to do that.

And so you can do these videos, or you light a candle next to it and blow some smoke in there and see how well, uh, it’s, uh, it’s auto, um, uh, air quality detection sensor works. That kind of stuff. Like, I’ll do a follow up video that hones in on a particular feature, um, or I’ll do a, a retrospective. Like, I’ve had this for six months now.

Um, you know, I did an unboxing, or I did a, a initial first look. six months ago, and one thing is you can’t reference old videos on Amazon, so you have to treat it as if each one is new, but you can shoot a new video and say, you know, I’ve used this for six months. Here’s my thoughts after six months of use.

So follow ups, that kind of thing. That’s what I found is more effective than deleting and starting over, is just create some new kind of video about the same product, and that gives you a chance to sort of get back into the running for that product. Even different formats, like, I’ll do a long, uh, horizontal, long form video review of a product and then, um, you know, a few months later, if I’m starting to see it drop off, I’ll do a 30 second, uh, vertical video that’s catchier and, like, you know, quicker of me using the product in some interesting way, and that’s a way to sort of, like, get back into the, into the competition.

Sticking with 

Jared: the, the, the parallels or lack thereof to like the blogging side of the world. Is there such a thing as topical authority on Amazon influencers? In other words, like you’re, you’re the paper towel holder guy, right? Does that mean that if you did a bunch of paper towel reviews like Bounty and Dawn and Kirkland or whatever, like if you did a bunch of these, like, are you going to have a better chance of ranking because you’re the paper towel guy?

Or is it just kind of, have you not noticed any of those trends? I 

Thomas: haven’t seen anything yet suggesting that, which is great, because it means you can really review anything, and you don’t have to choose a niche at all, really. And also great, because who wants to be 

Jared: the paper towel guy? Yeah, 

Thomas: right, exactly.

I mean, I can, I’m not locked into that niche by having done it. So that, that’s the cool thing. It’s like you can review any product you have, and it might, one day it might be, you know, a blender,

and the next day it 

Jared: Okay. We are, you’re a great because you gave me so much to talk about here. Your, your, your talking points were a mile long and I have so much else to say, but we have to touch on the second side of this entire conversation, which we haven’t, which is you have an engine of Amazon influencer content, but how you’ve repurposed it to YouTube.

And then you’ve also created a blog out of this and. Um, I just, I want to transition into, uh, like this is just one layer of what you’ve done with it to create income streams from like the same type or same piece of content. So so much more we could talk about, but I want to leave enough space for us to talk about and transition into how you’re repurposing and what you’re doing with the single video you’re doing for influencers.

Thomas: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, you know, as with any, any kind of content, I think it’s a good practice to not have, not be totally relying on one channel to monetize it. Um, and once you’ve created a review video, what I’ve discovered is you can, you can repurpose it in several ways and it goes both ways as I’ll get into.

But, um, initially my, my YouTube channel drove, uh, the Amazon Influencers channel. What I discovered is that, um, it was easier to create influencer content first and then have that feedback to the YouTube channel. And there’s, uh, there’s a bunch of reasons and, you know, one of them is just the format on Amazon.

You can’t mention price, you can’t mention, um, previous videos, you can’t do a call to action at the end. There’s these restrictions on videos there and so repurposing the stuff that I had done for YouTube was tough because it had all that in it. So I started instead creating the influencer content first and, and basically, uh, creating it there and then, um, uploading all of those videos to my YouTube channel.

And so now I’d say about 90% of the videos on my YouTube channel are driven by the content I create for influencers. So I’ll write, I’ll do that review video for Amazon influencers, I’ll upload it to that platform. I’ll upload the same video to YouTube, and then I’ll create a bunch of supporting content around it in YouTube.

So if it’s the blender, you know, I’ll make the review video, the three minute review video. about the Blender. That goes into YouTube. Then I’ll create a bunch of, you know, how does this feature work? You know, like, what does this button do? Kinds of short videos on the YouTube channel that was sort of my original bread and butter.

And it creates a silo in the same way that you would, you know, do for a niche website. So essentially, the content from influencers now drives the first video in a series, essentially, on the YouTube channel. The other thing that I’ve done, though, that I’m really excited about Recently is, I then went from that and said, Hey, you know, I’ve created these like content silos in YouTube.

Why not make that into a blog? Um, and so I launched, uh, launched a blog. And I’m, I’m happy to share the URL because it’s sort of a, it’s, I don’t know, I’m finally sharing. It’s lifetechshorts. com. And it is a blog that’s completely fed by the YouTube channel using AI to transform the YouTube videos into blog posts.

And basically the way that works is when I upload a new video to the channel, again, starts on Amazon, influencers, flows through to YouTube. Um, uh, I have a Python script that downloads the video, it runs the extracts, the audio transcript or audio of the video. Um, runs that through Whisper, which is an open AI API for, um, doing transcriptions.

And it’s really, really good. It’s better than the YouTube transcript that creates a transcript of the video. Um, I then have a, a tie in to the GPT OpenAI system behind ChatGPT, essentially, that takes that, um, transcript and writes a blog post. It follows the intent of the video. So if it’s a how to, it writes a how to post.

If it’s a review, it writes a review post. It throws in things like pros and cons automatically based on the transcript. Um, it extracts, uh, thumbnails and images from the video and puts those into the blog post. As, uh, you know, illustrations. So you have original photos, essentially, that go along with it.

Um, and that all goes into a WordPress, uh, blog for that lifetechshorts domain. Um, I look at it and I look at everything to make sure it’s accurate. Uh, and read through it. And maybe shoot some better photos for certain ones. Uh, I use Link Whisperer to do, uh, internal linking and then I publish that. And, uh, it was a total experiment to see how that would work.

Um, and let’s see, I have some, some up to date data. In the last three months, I’m up to 19. 6 thousand search clicks. Um, on that blog. It’s about 300, over 300 pages now. Um, and it’s just like up and to the right at this point. Um, with that content. Yeah, I’m looking at it right now. Yeah, so you can see the, yeah, if you look at Ahrefs.

You’ve got some number one rankings. Yeah, number one rankings for a bunch of stuff. Um, and uh, you know, I think it’s like, if you just, Put, like, write me a review of a Swiffer wet chat, which is one of, you can, you can look and see, you can steal my, my pages if you want to, um, but, you know, if you go in there and, uh, and, and do that, you’re probably not going to get great, interesting content, but if you take the video transcript of me having really tried this product and used it and talking about what I like and dislike about it and feed that in and create a blog post using AI, it’s way faster than writing that post yourself and the, the EEAT part is built in and you have original photos go along with it.

You’ve got a video embedded in the post that’s perfectly relevant because the post is written from the video. So far, so good. You know, it’s been a really killer combination. And, uh, I’m, I’m super excited. I didn’t know how, if it would work, how it would work. Um, but it’s, it’s working, you know, uh, really well.

Jared: I’d open one of them, but I’m sure the video would start playing and that probably wouldn’t go well, given that we’re live. But, I mean, looking at an Ahrefs, it is fascinating. You’re exactly right. I mean… Um, there’s some very lucrative keywords in here that you are on the first page for. So, wow, what an art, uh, what a concept.

I mean, I’m guessing you had to do some, um, pretty good tweaking of, uh, the different processes along the way. Like, you’ve got quite a bit lined up there between Python and Whisper, ChatGPT, uh, uh, 4, and, and a couple things there. But, it sounds like you’ve really ironed out a good process for, I create a single video.

And then I’m able to repurpose that across a variety of channels. And really, um, what you’re doing is you’re, um, trying your best to harness the unique things that each platform wants, but from a MVP, a minimally viable product kind of standpoint. And it sounds like it’s absolutely brilliant. 

Thomas: Well, thank you.

Yeah, it’s been, it’s been really exciting. And I think the shift has been with getting the prompting right, which has taken, as you, as you alluded to, a really long time and a lot of trial and error. Um, and, uh, and, and also just, um, you know, the, the tech getting better, GPT 4 was a quantum leap forward in terms of its ability to get the point of the video from the transcript.

I find myself actually reading my own posts, like if it was a video I shot a long time ago and I forget what I said, I’d rather read the post than watch the video again, and that to me is the indicator that it’s actually helpful, like if I’m not, you know, bored to tears reading it, I actually go back and I’m like, oh, what did I think about that thing, oh yeah, you know, it does such a good job that it’s almost like reading if you gave the video to a really good writer and ask them to like write it up, and then you went back and went, Ah, this is so cool, like seeing my own words transformed in this way.

It actually is genuinely useful, and I think it’s been actually useful for, for visitors too, so I’m excited about that. I think it’s a model you could apply to almost any kind of YouTube channel, and just literally take, you know, if you’ve got a thousand videos. It’s not quite as easy as press the button, but, um, you know, you can very quickly create a thousand blog posts 

Jared: out of that.

I kind of want to just stop recording right now and go noodle on that idea. Yeah, try it out. It’s super fun, yeah. Such a great, so cool. My mind’s spinning. Uh, get back on track, Jared. Get back on track. Okay, so, um, well done. That’s all I, that’s all I’ll say about it. Well done. And I, I really hope you keep us updated.

By the way, Thomas is a good follow on Twitter. That’s how we started. I mean, you’re… Pretty interactive with the Niche Pursuits brand and, and, and stuff on Twitter. So, um, uh, maybe tell us there how it’s going. We’ll, we’ll stay in touch with you there. Um, what, since I teased it, what is your Twitter handle by the way?

Thomas: Uh, it’s TomSmith, T O M S M I T H 5 8 5. That’s my Twitter handle. Um, yeah. 

Jared: We’ll come back. I know there’s a couple of other ways people can follow you, but since I mentioned it, I thought I’d, I’d, I’d ask you for it right there. Okay, um, Uh, you mentioned in our talking points some of the things I want to get your opinion on because we’ve talked once already and this is the second time about the influencer program from like a shoppable video standpoint.

But a lot of people don’t realize, me included, until recently, that the influencer program is actually really wide in the different, we’ll call it sub programs Shoppable videos only being one of them. You teased, um, photos. Uh, live stream, uh, inspire, uh, and then I don’t know if it’s related, but brand deals like in our remaining time, what do we need to know about that?

Uh, cause maybe some people are going to be a little bit more attuned to one or the other, uh, shoppable videos only being one of the many things available. 

Thomas: Yeah, so there’s, yeah, there’s a lot of facets to the program. Um, Amazon live is really fun. It’s a live stream shopping platform. And it’s, once you’re in the influencer program, you can do a live stream shopping, you know, sort of thing.

So basically, you tag products and you, um, stream live. You can do it from your iPhone, you can do it from an external tool like OBS. Um, and, uh, you can basically have a live stream that appears on Amazon, and you have products that you can call out in the stream and demonstrate or talk about. And then if people click through on the product and make a purchase, you get a commission, just like from a shoppable video.

And, um, I did, I experimented with that, I’ve done, you know, many hours of livestream. It wasn’t quite the right fit for me, um, but if you’re like a super compelling, personality in terms of like you have some interesting aspect to you or if you’re in a space that lends itself to that like I know some influencers who do makeup tutorials, for example, and that’s a space where there’s like a great community.

People are super engaged with the live stream. It’s like doing a YouTube live stream, but people can click through and buy the product. There’s really robust, like, chat, people chime in, people build these incredible communities, and, uh, you know, so if you’re, like, if you love to talk to people, and you love to do live streams, you can monetize them through that quite successfully, and you have to sort of level up and build a following for that to work.

Which again, wasn’t my, my influence is like the, the quick and dirty, you know, make the videos as easily as you can. But that can work really great for people and it’s super easy to start out because you just grab some products around your house, you start streaming, you can see, you know, your performance as soon as the stream ends.

You can see how well you’ve done essentially, which is great. Um, it’s a great way to get started and I think a great like replacement if You’re looking for almost like an hourly thing to work on, um, where you sit down, you work on it more and you do better essentially. Livestream is great for that.

Shoppable photos, um, you can upload a photo and tag products in the photo. Um, again, it’s not 100% clear like where that gets surfaced, but it’s another way that you can, you can sell and Amazon has their own, you know, processes for that. Um, and then Inspire is a brand new tool. It’s, you can find it in your Amazon app now.

It’s almost like a TikTok style experience, um, with short vertical videos. that are shoppable and, um, they’re like under 30 seconds generally. They’re very much like TikTok format. So it’s like, you know, here’s my, I’m about to go on a trip. Here’s my 10 top travel products. Boom, boom, boom. You know, it’s very fast paced, um, and, uh, a little more like performative.

You know, you want to be on camera for that. You can totally be faceless for, for Amazon influencers, by the way. You don’t have to be on camera for most of the shoppable videos. Um, for that I think it’s, it’s more important, but I think it’s something they’re experimenting with, uh, so there, there’s a lot you can do with it beyond shoppable videos.

That’s where I’ve found success, but I know some super successful live stream, uh, influencers, and particularly as you do this more, you will get brands reaching out to you offering brand deals. Um, you can include an email on your influencer page and you will get way more than you want people reaching out saying, Hey, I got this product.

Can you make me a video? Um, I know influencers that charge substantial money for that for brands. I know people who do live streams where they include, you know, sponsored products, which is totally fine. You just mentioned that it’s sponsored in the video. Um, and that’s a whole other revenue stream. I don’t do a lot of it because again, I’m really emphasizing like, The product research and approaching this from a content creator perspective.

But if you love to work with brands or you have existing brand relationships, brands love Amazon influencers and that they, I’m sure you can, you know, build that into your, your brand, uh, deal offering. 

Jared: Okay. Yeah. I mean, common in some niches, certainly like, I know I hear about a lot in the food niche, recipe niche, that sort of thing.

So that, that’s. Okay, so there’s a wealth of, uh, the potential in terms of not just shoppable videos, but elsewhere. Um, okay, I’m going to finish off and we will circle back on it. You teased it and I was like, hold on, I got so much to get through, but let’s circle back. Just give us your high level, like fly through tips on how to make better shoppable videos.

We’ve touched on some facets already, but you mentioned you had a few other things that you could share with the remaining time we have. What down and dirty tips can you give us to make better videos since you have so much experience at what works and what doesn’t? 

Thomas: Yeah, I think the most important thing is use the product in its context of use.

Um, and that’s, that’s what I found is like one of the, the sort of killer things. Like, a lot of people think, okay, I’m going to sit down at my table, and I’m going to bring all the products to me, and I’m going to shoot videos. And that works for certain things. It’s better than not shooting a video at all.

But the best ones are where you go to, to the context where a product would be used, and actually use it, and make a video about that. And so like, if it’s a, if it’s a lemon juicer, go juice lemons and make lemonade with it, and shoot that. If it’s a blender, make a smoothie in it. Um, you know, if it’s, uh, a camera, take some photos outside in your yard, and then, like, show the photos that you took.

So showing the context of use. is, um, huge, and I think that makes a huge, huge difference. And your production values can be awful, your personality can be totally not conducive to this, you’re, you know, you’re, you can be like monotone, not speaking, as long as you’re showing the context of the product, it’s super useful to the audience.

Um, the other thing I would say is, talk about your thoughts and opinions on it. Because if someone’s watching this video, they’re on the Amazon page already. Like, they know it’s, they know it’s, uh, you know, what voltage it’s gonna use, if it’s a travel power converter. You know, they, they know, uh, what it’s compatible with and what it’s not.

That data is right there in front of them. What they want from you is the real person’s perspective. Was this useful? How did you use it in the real world? Um, what parts are good, what parts are not good. Um, don’t just say glowing things. Share the bad stuff too. Some of my most successful videos are where I talk about like, this thing is great at one thing, and it’s awful at this other thing, and you know, you should know that.

People, people buy it. It doesn’t, it doesn’t, you know, turn them away. So, real opinions, context of use, um, and uh, you know, basics. How much is away? What does it look like? You know, does it really match up to what you see on the product page? If you can do that, in, you know, a minute or two of shooting, organically, you don’t need to rehearse, you don’t need to write a script, you don’t need to even edit.

I don’t edit most of my videos, I just shoot them and upload them. Um, you don’t need, you know, fancy equipment or anything. If you can share that great information, then you’re gonna have a great video. Whew! 

Jared: Thomas, this was… packed. You, um, you brought so much information and, um… I mean, I think there’s, there’s something here for really everyone, like if you are not involved in influencer program and you need a target to get the number of followers, like there’s a lot of upside to say that you would benefit from having those followers even without the influencer program that would benefit the other project you might be working on.

Like you’ve got a niche website and you want to build a following for that to use to qualify for the Amazon influencer program. Then you talked about really the wealth of knowledge you have two and a half years of being in the shop the shoppable video side of the Amazon influencers, but then Just to see the parallels you’re creating in YouTube and then back to a website that’s clearly succeeding as well So this is like a full circle.

I loved how you related so much of it back to website building You clearly know that space very well But you’re just really succeeding in a lot of areas and you know going back to it like six thousand dollars a month Hired in some months that is a very reasonable side hustle for someone who’s a professional photographer by day So I mean people listening can really See, this is for what it is.

I think you did a great job. Thanks for sharing everything you did. Yeah, thank you. It’s been so much 

Thomas: fun. 

Jared: Where can people follow along? We’ve got your Twitter handle. You can say it again if you want. I kind of just threw that in the middle there. But where else can people kind of keep up with what you’re doing or maybe reach out if they have a question 

Thomas: or two for you?

Yeah, absolutely. So it’s TomSmith585. T O M S M I T H 5 A 5 Yeah, I try to share a lot of just updates on how my sites are doing. And I love sharing the URLs. I’m, I’m, again, you know, you can steal my content if you want to. Most people don’t want to shoot ten videos and make ten blog posts about paper towel holders.

So I think I’m probably okay, hopefully. Um, but the other, the other thing I started, I just launched a site to sort of share some of this about this particular business. Um, it’s nofrillsinfluencer. com. Um, litera brand new. There’s a, um, uh, a newsletter you can sign up. There’s not much on there yet, but if you sign up for the newsletter.

I’ve just tried to sort of take My core kind of concepts for how to create these videos pro tips useful stuff. I made a downloadable PDF It’s free sign up for the newsletter. You can download it And then I’ll start to share some more like deep dive stuff into how to you know How to repurpose YouTube videos to create a blog post using AI Some of the stuff I’ve talked about here, you know, I want to start to share some of the stuff more broadly so Brand new, not a lot there now, but go check it out, nofrillsinfluencer.

com and I’ll start to build out more there. But yeah, just follow me on Twitter and, um, uh, feel free to reach out if you have an interest too and, you know, doing some of this stuff with your own YouTube channel. I love to work with people and, uh, and, uh, you know, sort of help them do that kind of stuff. So, yeah, feel free to reach out and, uh, I’m looking forward 

Jared: to it.

Thomas, this is wonderful. Thank you so much for being on the podcast and until we get, until we catch up again next time, thank you. See you soon. 

Thomas: Yeah, thank you so much. It was great talking with you.


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