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How did Harry Campbell build one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the ridesharing/mobility space by starting with a personal blog?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Harry Campbell, better known as "The Rideshare Guy" shares the story of how a personal blog that he started when he left his engineering career to drive for Lyft evolved to become a full fledged media platform for the rideshare and mobility industry - all in just four years.
From blogging, to podcasting, a successful YouTube channel, a book, online courses and more, Harry has built a platform that has a loyal following and is attracting the attention of industry juggernauts include Uber, Lyft, Bird and Lime.
This week's episode of The Inbound Success Podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, IMPACT Live, the most immersive and high energy learning experience for marketers and business leaders. IMPACT Live takes place August 6-7, 2019 in Hartford Connecticut and features keynote speakers including world-renowned Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith and Drift CEO and Founder David Cancel.
Inbound Success Podcast listeners can save 10% off the price of tickets with the code "SUCCESS".
Some highlights from my conversation with Harry include:
Harry started The Rideshare Guy in 2014 as a blog, and today it has grown into a full fledged media platform for the rideshare and mobility industry that encompasses the blog, a podcast, a successful YouTube channel, a book, paid courses, consulting and more.
Today, he has more than 75,000 email subscribers on the blog, gets 500,000+ page views a month, has a YouTube channel with 35,000+ subscribers and 400,000+ views a month, and a podcast that gets 10,000+ downloads a month.
The Rideshare Guy has built a strong brand in the rideshare/mobility industry and now Harry is monetizing that through sponsorships and consulting with companies like Uber and Lyft.
Harry is not a marketer by training, but believes that the best SEO strategy is to listen to your audience's questions and answer them in your content. That is exactly what he has done on his blog, podcast and YouTube channel.
His goal is to get to the point where his audience can find him on any platform simply by searching "The Rideshare Guy," but he also recognizes the importance of owning your audience so he is always trying to drive his audience back to his site where he can capture them as an email subscribers.
Harry attributes much of his success to consistency and says this is where most marketers and entrepreneurs fail. Creating great content takes perseverance and work, but it pays off in the long run.
Resources from this episode:
Save 10% off the price of tickets to IMPACT Live with promo code "SUCCESS"
Listen to the podcast to learn how Harry went from blogger to rideshare entrepreneur.
Kathleen Booth (Host):Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host Kathleen Booth, and this week my guest is Harry Campbell who is "the guy" behind the successful blog and podcast, The Rideshare Guy. Welcome Harry.
Harry Campbell (Guest):Thanks Kathleen. I'm excited to be here and ready to chat
Harry and Kathleen recording this episode
Kathleen: You have quite the following online. In case some of my listeners aren't familiar with you or your site, tell them a little bit about what The Rideshare Guy is.
About The Rideshare Guy
Harry: Sure. So The Rideshare Guy is a blog that I started back in 2014. I started driving for Uber and Lyft on the side, just really kind of to check it out and see how much money I could make and what the experience was like. And I kind of quickly realized that there are a whole bunch of other people in the same boat as me.
And so I started blogging about my experience as a driver and I later started a podcast and then a YouTube channel, and today we've got all three of those plus more.
And behind the scenes we do a lot of work with the companies directly, whether it's through advertising, sponsored content, working with insurance agents, consulting, advising, pretty much anything and everything and really kind of, it all comes back to that first hand experience as a driver and really providing content to our audience that is based off first hand experience.
I've been driving for Uber and Lyft since 2014 and we've got a series of contributors, all of which who also are driving for Uber and Lyft or doing other services like Postmates, Door Dash, charging scooters for Bird right now, so that's kind of really the type of content that we're creating. It's really all for the workers in this gig economy.
About the Rideshare Industry
Kathleen: It's so fascinating because I think so many people have experienced these companies as users of the service, but there is such a huge population of people also that drive or that work behind the scenes. How big is that audience for you?
Harry: Yeah, definitely and I think that's kind of the surprising thing with obviously everyone at this point knows about Uber and Lyft or has maybe heard about it. Maybe not everyone has taken a ride, but I think that the numbers are pretty astonishing, I think Uber is doing 15 million rides a day around the world and in order to power all of those rides there are a whole bunch of drivers.
So there's about one to two million - I think they say - Uber and Lyft drivers in the United States and that's sort of the biggest, I would say industry in the gig economy ride share driving.
But there's a whole number of companies beyond that. A lot of drivers, they end up, they either start with Uber or Lyft, a lot of them will add services over time or you might have friends who are delivering food or groceries or charging scooters, and I guess it all falls under the umbrella of the gig economy.
Kathleen: Yeah, I'm somebody who, I always like to know the story behind the story, so every time I take an Uber or a Lyft I'm always grilling the driver.
Like "How long have you been driving? What's your experience been? What brought you to this?" And what fascinates me about it is just, I guess, it's different than if you were to jump in a taxi.
I feel like Uber and Lyft attracts such an incredibly diverse set of people -people who have driven taxis in the past but also I've ridden in rides where the driver was a retired executive who just said, "I got bored in retirement, and I couldn't just sit home."
I love this because I get to talk to interesting people. And they've had interesting lives and there are so many different reasons that people seem to come to that job in particular.
Harry: Yeah, surprisingly actually, a majority of my audience on the blog are sort of in the baby boomer category, and those were the reasons that we hear from a lot of those drivers that they need a little extra income combined with social security or their pension or their 401K. Other drivers tell me they're bored during the day and they need a little something to do in retirement.
And then of course other drivers tell me that their wives just want them out of the house.
So it kind of really ranges the gamut there but that's kind of the unique thing about this industry is you have a lot of different people like you said from diverse backgrounds, doing it for different reasons.
And I think that it's what creates a lot of opportunity for someone like me to come in and really just educate and provide value and content to all these different people coming at it from different angles but sort of still after a lot of the same things. And that's the flexible schedule when it comes to driving, of course the money, everyone cares about how much money they're making and everything else that the job might entail.
How Harry Grew The Rideshare Guy From a Blog Into a Booming Business
Kathleen: Tell me again, when did you start the blog?
Harry: So I started the blog all the way back in 2014 and it was honestly only a couple weeks after I started driving for Lyft, so they almost came hand in hand. I started driving for Lyft and within a couple weeks The Rideshare Guy the blog at least, was born.
Kathleen: That's great. And fast forward to today. So now you said you have the blog, the podcast, the YouTube channel, the book. What kind of a following do you have? Can you put some numbers behind that just to give it some context?
Harry: Yeah for sure. So the blog, and of course I've been doing it for I guess almost five years now, so quite a while. It definitely didn't happen overnight. But the blog is kind of our main traffic source - main property, I guess you would say.
And we've got about 75,000 email subscribers on the blog and we get around 500,000 page views a month coming to the blog.
The YouTube channel we've got 35,000 subscribers there and I believe around 400,000 YouTube views a month.
The podcast, we release episodes every couple weeks there and then also a course, which is a paid course for drivers, and then of course a new book that is a book.
Kathleen: Yeah. So it sounds like you're really at this point building a platform for Uber and Lyft drivers.
Harry: Yeah I think really the goal is to be in lots of different mediums, and I kind of joke with people but when they ask me how they can contact me, I say basically just go to any box on the internet and type in "The Rideshare Guy," and I want to pop up.
And that's kind of been my overarching content strategy. And one thing that I've found that is really unique in creating content is that a lot of people like to consume their content in their own way. We found that our audiences on the blog, podcast and YouTube are actually very mutually exclusive.
So you've got a lot of people who like reading the blog and like getting emails, but they're never on our YouTube channel, and sort of vice versa. And of course with the podcast, people are listening at the gym or whatever, or on their way to work, and they don't necessarily like reading the blog.
So we've sort of leveraged that. In the past year especially that's been one of my big focuses, is when we do these kinds of much bigger pieces on the blog or bigger experiments or projects, we kind of try to leverage it across all of our different content sources.
I think this is a trend that a lot of bloggers are starting to realize that are on multiple platforms, but I think it's just a good way to invest a lot in content, because really good content is tough and expensive if you're paying someone, and then kind of leverage it across multiple platforms, get a little better return on your investment there.
Kathleen: That makes sense because your audience by definition is a very mobile audience. Their job is getting in a car or going out and charging scooters, what have you. So it makes sense that your best play would be to provide them with a way of connecting to the content no matter where they are or where they're going.
Harry: To be honest, I thought that my podcast would. Iinitially the idea was I wanted to start a blog and a podcast, and I thought the podcast would totally be a smash hit because all these drivers are in their car and they're always in the car.
For whatever reason though the podcast still does well -I think we're over ten thousand total downloads a month on the podcast - but relative to our other platforms and other big podcasts out there I think it's still much lower performing, I guess you would say than the other platforms we've built, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
I still consistently do episodes and interview people and its been great for my business, but just sort of, it's interesting sometimes how things play out.
Kathleen: Yeah, well ten thousand downloads a month is nothing to sneeze about. That's pretty good. But you obviously have quite large followings in all of your other channels, so I understand why that seems small comparatively.
What I like about what you're doing is it kind of, to me, is the definition of "inbound," which is you really started purely just by educating and informing. And it sounds like what has followed are more opportunities because your audience has steered you in the direction of, now it's a book and now it's this other thing, and I think that's what happens when inbound is done well.
You build the audience, you develop the trust, and so much can come from that. So that's pretty cool to see.
Harry: Yeah I actually really love the title of your podcast, because I think "inbound" is kind of my strategy in life and in business specifically. I always think it's so much more powerful as I'm sure, as you've talked about in the past I'm sure, and maybe the overall thesis of your podcast.
But when you have people, when you can make it known that you're the person to talk to, that you're the expert, that you're the one who knows the most about it, and there's a lot of ways to do that of course.
But then when advertisers want to find someone in this space, whatever box they go and type, "rideshare" or "Uber driver", whatever it might be, you pop up and I think that it's just so, it's been very powerful in my business to have those inbound leads and those people that want to work with me as opposed to me trying to sell someone else on this new industry, this ride share thing and me having to explain to someone who says, "Is this a fad?"
And I say "No, they do 15 million rides a day around the world, obviously it's not a fad right?" And so I think when you're working with people that you kind of have to make that first sale and then you have to make the second sale of actually working with you is a lot tougher.
Kathleen: Yeah. Now I'm personally really curious about your YouTube channel. Because on this podcast, I talk to lots of different content creators and marketers and you're successful on many channels but one of the ones that I think really confounds most marketers is YouTube.
You hear so much about the potential on there. What's unbelievable to me is that the highest earning YouTuber, isn't he like a seven year old boy this year?
Harry: Yeah I think you're right, Ryan's Toys or something like that?
Kathleen: He unboxes toys. My 12 year old is now seeming like much less of a high achiever than I thought he was. 🤣🤣
In some ways it can seem so accessible, but I think what happens is marketers get started, they don't see this wild success and they think, "what am I doing wrong?"
So tell me a little bit more about your YouTube channel. How long ago did you start it and what kind of content are you putting on there?
Harry: Yeah, so we started around 2015. So like I said it wasn't the initial thing we started with, but I kind of noticed that other YouTubers were being successful with rideshare content and rideshare topics.
And frankly, the reason why I started it was just because it was something I didn't know a lot about and it was also something that I wanted to learn.
That's kind of how a lot of the initiatives I've done in my business have come about. The blog, the podcast - I had never done a podcast before, I listened to a bunch of podcasts, I wanted to try it - the book, I had never done a book before, I wanted to try it.
And so with YouTube, it was definitely an experiment but I think also at the same time I saw a ton of business opportunity, business potential, and I didn't know what it would be or how we would make money or what we could do with it. But I definitely know one thing - that if you have the following, if you gain the audience's trust in large numbers, the opportunities always seem to come your way if you're open and looking.
So I started it in 2015 and really kind of my strategy at the beginning was just to create good, consistent, simplistic content, and if you go to my YouTube channel, a lot of the videos that I did in the early days were really just me kind of like I am now, sitting behind my computer with my webcam - HD webcam, nothing crazy but nothing amazing - and recording audio.
Sometimes I would record the videos from my phone and just kind of answering, we spent a lot of time thinking about the topics and the questions that we were answering. But very casual, one take, and not a ton of editing, or no editing at all, and just starting to put the content out there and see what people thought.
Kathleen: And how long did it take before you started to see traction in terms of subscribers?
Harry: Well I think that it definitely wasn't right off the bat.
But one thing that I like about YouTube is if you're kind of using either an SEO strategy or maybe kind of a what I call a content marketing strategy to kind of create topics and find content, you can actually do pretty well right off the bat because you're sort of using YouTube's built in search power.
YouTube is probably one of the top few search engines in the world, whether people realize it or not, and when you go out and write a blog post and you release it on your own personal blog, no one's going to read that unless you really go out there and actively market it.
And the big difference with YouTube, is that of course there's still lots of benefits to having a big channel and audience and things like that, but you can release videos that are on topics that are really interesting or really new or really important, maybe if its low competition though right, if it's something that not a lot of other people are covering, you can gain traction that way.
And so I think what I saw is that there were some YouTubers out there but there weren't a ton and I also kind of knew from my experience as a driver, I knew the topics that were important, because I was going out there driving. What were the things that I cared most about?
And I was talking to a lot of drivers on my blog and getting a lot of email feedback and I kept noticing that the same three or four or five questions were coming up, so we started answering a lot of those in YouTube videos.
So that was kind of how I started and it was definitely, with my YouTube channel it's been slow and steady growth. There hasn't been any one thing that's really capitulated it or anything like that, it's just been kind of slow and steady.
Kathleen: Now I just want to clarify. So when you mentioned having a YouTube SEO strategy, is the strategy primarily what you just described, which is really having your eye on the questions people are asking and simply answering those? Or do you have like another way of approaching YouTube SEO?
Harry: Yeah, so I would say that for the first three or four years my SEO strategy was I didn't really have an SEO strategy. It was SEO based but it wasn't like I was going out there and doing key word research. That really isn't my thing.
And I think when you're creating content online, you kind of have to understand what are your strengths what are your weaknesses, and also just what do you like doing. Because creating content is tough and it takes a lot of time.
I wasn't an SEO guy at all. The thought of doing keyword research and comparing my channel to others and stuffing my videos with keywords sounded terrible to me. I did not want to do that.
There's definitely a lot of people who go down that route and are successful, but there is, like with everything, there's multiple ways to be successful.
And so for me, I was doing it more based off of the interactions I was having with drivers, and the questions they were asking me there. And I'm sure that a lot of those questions they were asking probably matched up well to keyword research that I could have done, but I just kind of went about it in a different way.
So that was kind of my SEO strategy if that makes sense.
Kathleen: That makes total sense. One of my mentors is a man named Marcus Sheridan who's also part owner of IMPACT, the company that I work for, and he's written a book called, They Ask, You Answer, which is basically his whole approach to how he built his business. He was in the swimming pool industry.
But the same concept. It was "I hear people asking these questions, I'm just going to answer them in my blog."
Harry: Yeah exactly.
Kathleen: And I think the same applies to YouTube. If ten people are asking it, there's probably another hundred to a thousand out there who are googling it. And they're going to eventually find your content.
So I like that strategy a lot.
Now, over time your YouTube strategy has evolved. You mentioned in the beginning it was simple videos filmed on your webcam. It was you answering questions. Walk me through what that evolution has been like.
Harry: Sure. So I think that the nice thing about my industry and my niche is that it really is kind of primarily content and value that people are looking for. I mean of course, nice and pretty videos and cool graphics and things like that can only help, but you also have to kind of think about your return on investment and really your return on time at the start.
And I think that's one of the nice things about being kind of a personal creator, is that people don't expect nearly as much when it comes to snazzy graphics and things like that versus a business. Or someone who's trying to really build more of that type of business presence.
So that's one of the big advantages that I think sort of solo creator or solo marketers might have, is kind of building that personal brand.
And so for me, we spent a lot of time thinking about the topics, scripting them out and then recording, though that was actually the easy part, relatively. It was just me sitting there with a webcam and recording these videos.
And over time though, I kind of know myself and myself doesn't like doing the same thing over and over and over. Kind of like any probably good entrepreneur, and so after a little while I started thinking about "Hey, how can I get other contributors on this channel?"
And even though the channel is The Rideshare Guy, it's me. I didn't think that it would be that weird if I started having other contributors contributing content that was similar but maybe from their own perspective.
And so that's kind of how I've been able to continue growing the channel while staying kind of interested and excited and kind of keeping that high quality content.
So now, I've got kind of two other regular contributors but I do use my team of bloggers and writers over on the blog side. I'm always asking, "Hey does anyone want to do a video?" Because I'm trying to invest a lot in YouTube content creation right now.
And so basically, there's three main contributors - me and two others to the YouTube channel - and we'll have a contribution here and there doing interviews on YouTube.
That's kind of how the nuts and bolts of the channel now work, and for a lot of the videos that I'm doing these days, it's typically bigger projects - topics that I think are going to be really interesting or unique - and for that I might have, I have a local videographer here in Los Angeles and I'll bring him out for the day. Lately we've been covering a lot of the Bird e-scooters kind of phenomenon which is popping up in a lot of these cities.
We're releasing videos and they're getting tens of thousands of views very quickly and so for me it's kind of like "Okay, this is a topic that I can invest a little more time and energy and money into," so we're doing more reviews of scooters and walk throughs and things like that, that are a little bit more high level production, but I think the results are showing its worth it.
Kathleen: Nice. And do you do any off-channel promotion of the content for YouTube? So like how are you getting those videos out into the wild and getting people in front of them?
Harry: Yeah, so I think that's one area where a lot of people, even with YouTube there's sort of this tendency that since you do have this built in power of YouTube that you release things and then hopefully people will see, and that actually does happen.
I've seen that. I'm looking at my top ten videos right now and I see things like "How to use the Uber driver app," "My number one piece of advice for new Uber and Lyft drivers," and these were topics or videos that I had no idea would perform this well.
It's just something in YouTube's algorithm suggested these videos, moved it up to the top or maybe a lot of people were searching, but I imagine, "My number one piece of advice for new Uber drivers," maybe people are searching that, maybe they're not.
But I think off-channel promotion is huge, so some of the ways that I did that of course I had my blog. I was sending people back to my blog from the YouTube channel and I think that's one big area because even when I've got 35,000 subscribers and I release a new video right now today, not every subscriber gets notified of my new videos.
If a video's a real dud it might only have four or five hundred views right at the start, and that's because either YouTube isn't sending it to my subscribers or maybe not everyone has opted in to get notifications, and a whole bunch of different reasons and things really just out of my control.
So that's one of the reasons why I like having an email list that's more associated with my blog. But we do have segmented people who have opted in from YouTube and things like that.
So I think kind of building that email list has been huge and that way you can - if you're releasing new videos regularly - you can send out an email to your 5,000 subscribers in addition to them potentially getting a notification on YouTube. So that kind of off channel marketing there.
And really what I would call that category is kind of "owning your subscribers" and doing as much as you can that doesn't rely on YouTube.
If you have an email list of 5,000 people, you 100% own that for the most part, right? I mean you can literally export a CSV and you own that list. You can take it to whoever you want, you can do whatever you want with it.
And then I think in promotion in general, this is one area where it's tough to do really good organic promotion without being too spammy, but this is one area I'm happy to get into.
We're always looking, especially on, we're doing two to three videos a week so not every video we're doing a ton of promotion on. But I think that if I had more time or a bigger team I definitely would be and then for the videos where we are, where I think it could be a really big video or I invested a lot of time or money, we're always doing promotion there.
Kathleen: So am I hearing you correctly, that you have two subscriber lists? You have, I think you said earlier, you have one list that subscribes to the blog and then is it a separate list that is essentially YouTube subscribers who've opted in to get an email update about the YouTube channel?
Harry: Yeah, so really what it is, is we've got one.
So I use ConvertKit for my email subscribers and so we've got 75,000 total email subscribers. Really what we do is kind of segment within those subscribers.
So for example, ten thousand of those actually opted in to only receive information about Bird charging.
So we've got 65,000 rideshare, 10,000 Bird. And then within kind of that 65,000 segment, since we're doing kind of, actively doing YouTube videos and things like that, once in a while we'll send out a YouTube video to all 65,000 people. We'll see who clicks on it or we'll see who opens it and then we add them to a separate YouTube list.
And now when I go and do YouTube Lives I'll send them a heads up, "Hey, I'm doing a YouTube Live today" and so it's sort of kind of like a hack together segment I guess you could say.
Maybe not the best way to do it but I think it's a lot, there's a lot going on in the business, so I like that it's relatively simple to do it this way.
Kathleen: So what kind of content are you creating for YouTube Live?
Harry: So my YouTube Live is actually something that we do every single month and I've been doing it for almost two years without fail.
And one other thing that I think I've been really good at in my business, is kind of creating content consistently. I think that consistency is one area where a lot of people struggle because, like I said, it's hard to create even two videos a week for four years in a row.
I think that often, if you can just outlast other people when you're creating content online, whether you're a small individual or even an agency or someone at a higher level, it's hard to commit resources to doing something for years at a time when you may not always see the results initially or in the first year.
I think that ability to outlast people has really served me well in my business.
And so for the YouTube Lives for example, I'm doing YouTube Llives every single month. It's not on the same day, or it is on the same day. It's Tuesdays but it's not the same, first Monday of every month. My schedule, I'm not that devoted, but I do it every single month and these YouTube lives are pretty simple.
It's just me. I kind of, I go over some of the top news stories we've seen and then a couple of the latest app updates and then I just open it up, 45 minutes of full question and answers with all of my subscribers and people we've emailed.
So for example we just did one last week, Tuesday at four p.m. and I think we got up to around 130, or maybe it was even 160 people, watching live. This one did pretty well. I think it ended up being 2,500 views after the fact. So after it had about 2,500 or maybe even 3,000 people who watched it after the fact.
And this is an hour YouTube Live so it's sort of a lot longer than the typical five to seven minute video and so I know that we always see a really big boost in our stats, like subscribers and watch time of course, and all the other YouTube metrics that people look at when we do these YouTube Lives.
Harry: But it's a fun experience for me personally and I'm happy to go more into it but that's kind of the gist of it.
Kathleen: Yeah that sounds neat, it almost sounds like you're doing a talk show.
Harry: Yeah, no, honestly one of the things, it's funny because I'm even now, I'm not really doing the videos where I sit behind the camera and just answer people's questions anymore.
The videos I'm participating in my channel now are the bigger ones where I have the videographer or we're doing a sponsored video or something like that and I was kind of trying to think of a way where I could keep doing casual content.
One of the nice things about the YouTube Lives is that there is preparation but I'm really just answering people's questions. Since I've been doing this for five years there's nothing that I can't handle, and of course by teaching other people you also reinforce a lot of these skills and principals in your head too.
So that's been one of the nice things about the YouTube Lives is they're actually pretty fun and they don't require a ton of prep work on my end at least.
Kathleen: Well I love what you said about consistency because I think you make a really important point there. And I have found that very much to be true.
I mean before I did what I do now, I owned a marketing agency and I worked with tons of clients and everybody wants results. But I think the thing that most people get wrong is they either don't stick with it or they don't stick with it consistently.
And you're right, it's hard. I mean I'm on, this is going to be episode seventy something of my podcast.
Harry: Which is great.
Kathleen: It's great, yeah, but that's not even nearly as long as you've been going.
I made a commitment to myself that I would never miss one and I publish every Monday at 11:30 in the morning. Last year, Monday fell, or Christmas fell on a Monday and New Years Day fell on a Monday. But I still published. It was like "If you're going to be consistent, you got to keep doing it," right?
Harry: Yeah, and I mean I'm even looking at my content calendar right now and throughout the holidays we'll be publishing. It may not be our biggest and best pieces ever but we're still publishing on all the days that fall on Christmas, Christmas Eve.
And I think that's actually one area where you can start to excel, because I mean, most people are going to take those days off and most people are not going to be creating content in those days. So you almost, even though there's probably less eyeballs out there, you're going to be one of the only people doing it on those days.
And so I think that consistency has been huge, and then of course the content you're creating, it's really, it comes from that place of providing value. Answering people's questions or providing resources.
And that's either based off my own experience doing the things that I'm talking about or just talking to tens of thousands of drivers over the years.
Kathleen: Yeah we talk a lot at my company about building a habit. We're really building a publisher business model here.
Which I really think is what you've done as well, and the best publishers are successful at building a habit within their audience, no matter where that habit may occur.
Whether someone's listening to your content on a podcast, watching it on YouTube or reading it on your blog, they have a habit and they keep coming back. That person is of tremendous value to you as a publisher.
And the problem with a habit is if on your end you break it by not publishing, then it makes it harder for them to keep the habit on their end.
Harry: Yeah, and I think it also really starts to boost kind of the word-of-mouth marketing. I think this is one of the famed or everyone likes to put the word-of-mouth marketing on a platform and it's hard to track, which I think also means a lot of people don't often invest in the things that will get you the word-of-mouth marketing.
I think what the platforms I'm doing and kind of a lot of sort of my initiatives are really feeding into that word of mouth.
For example right, if I'm doing this every month, doing my YouTube Lives, and I'm responding to everyone who emails me and answering their questions, which is also kind of another unique thing that we do.
Then people really start to say, "Hey this guy is a resource, this is someone we trust and this is someone when I do come across another driver I'm going to tell them about it."
One of the cool things I noticed with launching my book is that a book is very tangible and it's something that everybody knows.
Everyone knows what a book is, whereas not everyone knows that there are YouTube channels out there and that you can make money off of YouTube, that people are creating content and courses and things like that.
And so I've noticed one of the nice things about launching my book is now a lot of people are saying "Hey I heard about your blog from a friend, he told me you had a book." Or "I heard about your book" is what they're usually saying.
And so kind of that tangibility factor has been cool with the book.
And then of course it feeds in to all of these other platforms. And maybe 99 or maybe 90% of the people who read the book aren't going to watch YouTube, but if we release a book and ten percent of the buyers of the book want to check us out on YouTube, which is very likely, then now we've gained subscribers from that channel too.
Kathleen: Yeah books are tremendous legitimizers.
Kathleen: It's amazing what a difference that makes, when you can say, "I have written a book."
Harry: Yeah, I like to joke with people that now my wife's parents I think kind of understand what I do. I think before they were a little unclear if I was driving for Uber or CEO of Uber or what I was doing. Now they know.
What Lies Ahead for The Rideshare Guy?
Kathleen: That's so funny. So you've built this incredible following, you've got all these different channels. When you look forward into the next year or so, what, where are you going to be putting your time?
Harry: Yeah, I mean I think that I've got a list of five or ten things that I want to do, kind of everything from redesigning my site to trying out new partnerships, new projects.
And I think for me it's really kind of keeping the business on cruise control. And so over time I've kind of gone from creating all the content, to managing people who are creating content, to now I've actually hired someone who I call my chief of staff, so who's helping me with hiring of new writers, or new YouTube contributors.
Keeping it still small, kind of a small, lean team. But I really like continuing on the path we're on with content so that's going to be four articles a week, two to three videos a week, one podcast every two to three weeks, the course, the books, and really kind of continuing on that path.
Kind of what I call putting the content on cruise control, maintaining same quality and same content schedule and everything like that, but really leveraging a lot of what that content gets me.
And so that might be, for example, working with companies who want to market to Uber and Lyft drivers. So this is kind of falling under consulting and advising, which I've started doing.
So there's sort of like, really what I'm trying to leverage now in the next year is kind of that insight and access to rideshare drivers. We've got 75,000 people on our email list and we've also got a lot of insight because we've, I've done all these services. People on my team have done all these services. I've worked with dozens of companies on marketing campaigns, consulting, everything.
So really trying to leverage that access and insight into other either industries or niches, all related to rideshare and mobility topics.
But just kind of keeping my options open and exploring what's there, but ultimately, it is going to come back to people that want to work with me.
Maybe there's autonomous vehicle companies that say "Hey, we want to figure out, what are our autonomous needs to handle? How are we going to handle it when someone pukes in the back of an Uber or a Lyft?"
Kathleen: Oh yuck.
Harry: What are drivers doing now?
Kathleen: Those are the things you never think about as a passenger, unless of course you're the drunk passenger who's throwing up.
Harry: And that's the thing. In the future, when there's no driver, you're not going to want to be a passenger who gets into a car and sees a mess in the seat in front of you.
Really just kind of exploring those opportunities.
I think that there's always three things that I look for in any new project or partnership and it's something that's interesting and exciting to me. Maybe it's something I've never done before, something that has a business opportunity where hopefully I'll make money. And third that I'm providing value to someone, whether it's my audience or drivers or others.
Kathleen: And you're already starting to see the fruits of that I believe, because you've got some sponsors. You've got, you're able to monetize your YouTube channel so those kinds of things sound like they're already paying off.
Harry: Yeah definitely. I mean, I think that at a certain point - I built the business you're providing a ton of value to your audience - at a certain point, you kind of want to reap some of that value, I guess you would say. Maybe that's not the best way to put it, but...
I'm doing this to pay the bills and so I do need to eventually find a way to make money. So I'm definitely looking and really kind of exploring what are the best products and services, the companies that make the most sense for my audience but also have some business opportunity for me?
And so for YouTube for example, I believe we're doing about fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars a month in ad revenue, so that's basically sort of, basic YouTube ads which is great. But I also pay some of my YouTube contributors anywhere from a hundred to two hundred bucks a video.
So I kind of, is almost a wash there.
But as far as direct monetization on the YouTube channel, yeah, we are doing sponsored videos.
So for example, I just did a campaign with Uber actually which was the first campaign we ever did with them. They had a new driver app that they released. This was something that maybe wasn't on the top of the list of driver complaints. If you ask what drivers care about, they might not have said "We want a new app" but this was something Uber was doing anyways. And of course, as you might imagine, they made a bunch of positive improvements and changed this to help drivers and changed that.
And so for me, when they asked if I wanted to partner up on a video to promote the new driver app, it was kind of a no brainer for me because this was something that's going to benefit drivers and I could kind of work with them there.
So we did a big campaign around that on my YouTube channel where we created a video, interviewed a driver and then charged them for it.
Kathleen: I love it. It sounds like there's a lot of interesting potential especially because the industry is changing so quickly. When you started, it was really just Uber and Lyft and you've already mentioned Bird and Lime and autonomous vehicles, and who knows what's going to be happening in a year or two years and beyond, so it will be fascinating to see where you take it.
Harry: Yeah, definitely. I'm excited for the future.
Kathleen's Two Questions
Kathleen: Yeah. Now before we wrap up, there are two questions I always like to ask all of my guests.
The first one is, you're somebody who's doing inbound marketing really well just kind of instinctively and naturally with The Rideshare Guy.
Company or individual, who do you think is doing inbound marketing well right now? Is there someone else out there who is a great example of best practice?
Harry: Yeah. I think that, I mean, there's definitely a few other blogs that I follow. I mean, I take a lot of inspiration from The Points Guy, if you couldn't tell from my name, The Rideshare Guy.
Kathleen: He's the one that talks about like airline points and things?
Harry: Yeah, travel and miles and points and things like that. And I think they do a great job of covering the industry, but at the same time there's a lot of potential business opportunities in the travel space, whether it's airlines and the miles and of course the credit cards.
And so I think they are a nice mix of people that are providing a ton of value and I come across, whenever I bring them up with people not in the industry or just friends and family, a lot of people have actually heard of this website. The Points Guy.
They've looked up an article or they've seen them on Facebook, and I think that kind of wide appeal is pretty cool for something that doesn't have the notoriety of like a USA Today or a New York Times.
Kathleen: Yeah I would agree with that. I think they've done a really nice job with their Facebook advertising because I've been targeted quite a few times, and it does get to the point where I keep seeing this, I should click through and read it.
Harry: Maybe I should check it out. Exactly.
Kathleen: So second question - and this I'm kind of fascinated to hear what you have to say because it sounds like you're very self taught as a marketer - the world of digital marketing is changing really quickly. So how do you stay up to date and keep yourself educated on all of the new developments?
Harry: For sure. So I think there's two main things that I do. And the first one is, one of the digital online marketers I've been following ever since the get go, and really even before I started The Rideshare Guy, is Pat Flynn, who runs the Smart, Passive Income podcast and for whatever reason he just seems to cover all of the topics that I am working on, right?
When I wanted to try and get hired as a freelance writer and contribute on news sites, he had a podcast episode about that. When I wanted to start a course, he had a podcast episode about that. When I was thinking about doing an in person event, he's been going through that exact same process.
So when it comes to learning from online or digital marketing experts, he's kind of my go-to resource. Then I think the other big thing that I do is really just talking to other bloggers in my industry and other industries, other niches.
I'm very collaborative. I don't look at anyone, whether they're in my industry or not, as competition, because I know that if I go out - let's say there's a hundred rideshare bloggers and YouTubers I know - that if I go out and establish relationships with all one hundred of them, or maybe that's not reasonable, but whatever is reasonable, other people are not going to be willing to do that.
Most people are going to see them as competition or not want to give away their secrets.
I just go and think, how can I provide value to these other bloggers that are YouTubers? We feature other YouTubers on one of our, on our core site. We've got ten thousand email subscribers there and every week or two, we'll send out basically a top YouTube video from another YouTuber just to kind of share good content and establish good relationships there.
And so I'm always very collaborative in that sense. And then I think that you start hearing about other, hey, what opportunities, they give you a heads up "Oh well I'm working with this new company, they've been great, my audience loves them" or "Hey, I'm having this problem, what did you do in this situation?"
And so I think that's been really nice, and then I really also like talking to people in other industries and just seeing what they're up to.
I'm about to meet with a guy in a couple days that has a big Tesla channel and it's kind of not really related to what I'm doing but he's got a big Tesla YouTube channel and I just kind of want to see how they're making money, how they work with their audience, how they come up with content ideas. I'm sure that there'll be some synergies and some really interesting things I can learn from him and vice versa.
Kathleen: Yeah, it definitely pays to get outside of your own bubble.
Harry: Yeah, exactly.
Kathleen: Which is why I love interviewing somebody like you because you're not necessarily a marketer but you do a ton of marketing, like your expertise is in rideshare and just, you know.
Harry: Yeah it's funny, I wouldn't call myself a marketer but probably half of my job is marketing, so.
Kathleen: Yeah, I mean you are a marketer who maybe doesn't lead publicly as a marketer but I think a lot of the best content creators are.
How To Reach Harry Campbell
Kathleen: So interesting! Definitely if you're listening, check out the blog which is The Rideshare Guy.
Harry, can you tell the audience if they want to learn more about what you're doing online, check out some of your different online properties, where should they go?
Harry: Yeah sure. Well I think as mentioned, find your favorite platform online, that little search box, and type "The Rideshare Guy" in and I should pop up. If I don't though, definitely send me an email and let me know.
And then I also have a podcast of my own that is a little more wide ranging. We cover a lot of wide ranging rideshare and mobility topics but interview kind of everyone from drivers who are starting their own business based off their rideshare connections, to entrepreneurs and CEO's who are starting new companies, all loosely attached to rideshare and mobility. But definitely wide ranging and kind of really just interesting people that I want to talk to.
So lots of ways to find me and would love to hear from you if you have any questions.
Kathleen: Fantastic, so you heard it, I will put those, the email address and those links in the show notes. So if you're curious and you want to connect with Harry online, check the show notes out. That's all we have for this week.
You Know What To Do Next...
Kathleen: If you're listening and you enjoyed what you heard, you know what to do.
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