Brett Kingman on YouTube & Building a Business

Brett Kingman

From ‘The Mast’

This post comes direct from the latest White Flag Newsletter – ‘The Mast’. White Flag surrenders all our skills, knowledge and expertise to youSign up to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Brett Kingman, in my opinion, is ‘Oz Rock Royalty’.

Over the years Brett has toured and recorded with the likes of James Reyne, Daryl Braithwaite, Ross Wilson, Renee Geyer and Jenny Morris just to name a few. Brett has carved out such an impressive career as one of Australia’s top guitarist for hire.

In 2008, for fun, Brett and his daughter Sadie made a short YouTube video demonstrating a guitar effect pedal just for fun. It proved to be a hit and so the two made more. 7 years later, with over 1200 videos and more than 16 million views, Brett has become a YouTube celebrity.

In between touring and recording, Brett has built a business of his YouTube videos. With so much respect and loyalty from fans, Brett’s videos have become a stopping point in between customer and product purchase – people want to see what ‘Burgs’ can do with that gear before they even bother thinking about it.

Apart from being an incredible musician, Brett is one of the best guys I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with. Brett was kind enough to share his experience about building a business via YouTube.

What was the first Social Media platform that you really got into?

Back in 1989, a friend who was studying Computer Science at uni, and he introduced me to an early version of the internet called ‘Lynx’. Lynx was a Unix-based text-only interface which preceded graphic browsers like Netscape by a year or two, but I was hooked. From that day on I’ve sought out and tried to use, to my advantage, the cutting edge of computer based social interaction and media.


What was it about that platform that attracted you?

The geekiness, technology, mystique and its ability to connect me with others. It turned the world, with all of its previously unreachable corners and humans, into a virtual village in which everything could be at least looked at in real-time and therefore experienced in the virtual world, at least.


How did your YouTube Channel Start?

It started back in 2008 when my daughter Sadie and I thought it would be fun to make a video and upload it to YouTube. The first video we did was about a very expensive & famous overdrive pedal called the ‘Klon Centaur’. Sadie introduced the video and I demonstrated guitar pedal. It got a lot of attention and so we decided to make more. We are now up to 12,000 videos across various channels and over 16 million views.


When did you realise you could make money from what you were doing?

When guitar pedal manufacturers began requesting my YouTube demo services and when YouTube sent me the ‘YouTube Partnership’ email in 2009, a year after I started the channel.


What’s a ‘YouTube Partnership’ and how did that help?

When your YouTube channel reaches a certain amount of hits and is rising in popularity, YouTube takes notice. The channel becomes a potential advertising platform for them. You are then offered a cut of advertising revenue if you decide to become a YouTube Partner, which I did. The cut is small (they’ll never tell you exactly how much) but it’s worth it, nonetheless, because it’s just money for clicks. Easy!

Once the channel reaches the next level of their popularity gauge, you can elect to make some, or all, of your videos ‘subscriber’ based, meaning viewers can’t view them unless they pay. I have chosen not to do that at this time as my primary raison d’être was always community and fun based.

On top of this are various YouTube based ‘Networks’ that send you offers, often on a daily or weekly basis. These large networks offer advertising and promotion of your channel (more hits for you) in return for a cut of the advertising. How effective they are, I couldn’t say, because, again, I have chosen to remain independent.


How many platforms (and which ones) are you running today?

I rely solely on YouTube for my demonstration/review work but also use other social media such as Facebook, Twitter and occasionally Instagram to get the message through. Forums are interesting from a research point of view as well, especially to gauge current or future trends.


How much time do you spend on them a day?

Several hours, I would think. More if I’m uploading videos and corresponding with viewers. The correspondence that a sizeable internet presence generates can be overwhelming (in terms of time spent dealing with it). Often that time amounts to more than the time one spends generating the content that precedes it.


How much time do you spend preparing your content for social media?

If we’re talking about a YouTube video, I’ve worked out that it takes around 2 hours of work for every minute of video uploaded. That includes still photography, filming, editing, mastering, rendering and uploading. And then there’s the follow-up correspondence time. It’s a big job; bigger than most people realise, I think.
[Brett’s average video length is around 7 minutes. Therefore, around 14 hours per upload]


What platform are most effective for you in reaching potential ‘customers’ or ‘followers’?

YouTube and Facebook.


Which one do you enjoy the most?

Both have their charms. YouTube allows me to be completely and freely creative, while Facebook allows me to interact with friends and followers alike, generally on my terms. I don’t suffer fools or unkindness to others or myself. Perpetrators of either are quickly shown the door.


How do you handle negative feedback / comments?

Generally speaking, I’ll just remove the comment and block the user from all mediums if it’s abusive. Users often use the same handle for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc., so it’s not hard to hunt them down and remove them from your virtual life. It doesn’t happen often, fortunately – I try not to make enemies in this world – but when it does, I hold no quarter.


Any advice for others – businesses or entrepreneurs- that are wanting to be seen / heard / build a business using social media?

Be tenacious, prolific and always try to better yourself. Develop your own style and when others start to copy (and they will), shift the goalposts. Onwards and upwards! 🙂

You can check out Brett’s YouTube channel here and check out the work we did together.

Thanks Brett. You rock \m/

Sign Up to the White Flag Newsletter – ‘The Mast’

Interested in having articles like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign Up to our newsletter.