In today’s episode, Allan welcomes back Brendan Kane. Brendan is the founder and CEO of Hook Point Agency. Since 2005 Brendan has helped the largest brands and celebrities in the world reverse engineer how to make content go viral. Allan and Brendan discuss why quality, not quantity, is most important when building content on social media. In addition, research plays an important role when creating content. It’s important to get smarter about how you construct your content to hold attention longer than others. The more work you put into understanding it, the better you’re going to be.
Follow Brendan on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendankane/ or visit his webpage https://hookpoint.com/
Hey, everyone, Welcome to The Business Growth Pod. I’m your host, Allan Draper. I’m excited for our episode. Today.
We’re actually welcoming a guest back Brendan Kane, he is the founder and CEO of Hook Point Agency. And check this out since 2005, Brendan has helped the largest brands and celebrities in the world, reverse engineer, how to make content go viral. Brendan and his team at hook point, have generated 60 billion views and 100 plus million followers for the content they have worked on. Welcome back to the show Brandon.
Glad to have you. Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s pleasure to connect with you, again, Elon, and everybody that’s tuning in for this. For sure. So tell me a little bit about what you’re currently working on. And what you know, your goals are for the next five or 10 years, I’d love to hear about the trajectory that you’re taking, and, and things that matter in your life. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s fascinating the world that we find ourselves in today, because I can remember when I started in social media in 2005, there’s a few million people on these platforms. And you fast forward to today, there’s 4 billion people on social media, pushing upwards of 200 billion messages into the world every day. So now we’ve just got so much competition and so much noise to fight against, that we’re just really excited to work with people that have the ability to transform the world in a positive way to get their message to be heard. So over the past seven or eight years, we’ve been developing a viral content engineering process to really engineer virality. Most people think it’s luck. But it’s actually a science. And we’ve proven that time and time again, just with our track record of working with with companies. So that’s really the core focus with us is to help content creators, creatives, get their hard work to pay off in terms of the performance of the the content they’re producing. So I’ve heard it said that, you know, the three main factors and probably in this order, are speed, volume, and then the quality of the content. Would you agree with that? Where do you differ, I only agree with the last, it’s all about quality. So if we think about virality, it’s really controlled by one thing, it’s the algorithms, they control all reach and distribution of your content. And when we think about the algorithms, there’s a lot of myths out there, one of the biggest myths is the algorithms will suppress your reach to get you to pay for ads to boost performance. That’s simply not true. Because if it was, nobody would ever go viral. There were no content that would be out there. The algorithms really only care about one thing and one thing only. And that’s retention, meaning the longer people spend on these platforms, the more ads they can serve in this, the more profit they generate. So at the end of the day, both you and I are their product, we are the responsibility of creating that content now. Because the algorithms have billions of pieces of content to choose from. They want to be super selective of what is the content that I can see to the widest possible audience, and still hold their attention for as long as possible. So that’s where it’s like speed and frequency really don’t come into play. Because if your content is not Grabbing and holding attention, whether you’re producing it fast or producing many different pieces of content on a consistent basis, that doesn’t contribute to virality. So we’re a firm believer in quality over quantity, but paying attention to the nuances that build retention, because again, because there’s so much choice for the algorithms but also
From the interviewers, like when we scroll through Instagram or YouTube or Tik Tok, or whatever platform we’re on, there’s so much content, as we know. And we can just quickly move to the next one and move to the next one. So there’s a lot of nuances in terms of how you construct your content, to effectively grabbing attention to hold attention longer than all the other competing content creators out there. Would you say that there’s any, you know, just in terms of producing volume of content, separating? You know, from what it sounds like? You’re saying, you know, the idea that just volume is going to increase visibility? Would you say that volume could be helpful, just in terms of finding out what does and doesn’t work? Or are you more concerned with being very deliberate and planning everything out? And making sure you know, that you’re executing on the plan, as opposed to just you know, having a shotgun effect with it? Yeah, it’s a great question. So you mentioned something really important? How do you figure out what works and what doesn’t work. And the core part of our process that’s so effective is, it always starts with research. So what that means is we go out into social media, and we mined publicly available data on who’s going viral. And then we break down the nuances, we have over 50, different performance indicators that we’re looking at, like tonality, pacing, number of edits, first three seconds thumbnails, captions, and we’re intently studying the best content creators in the world, and determining what is causing them to be so successful. So that we can apply it to the content that we’re working on. The challenge is most people when they go into frequency, is they’re just in the zone of churning out as much content as possible, in hopes that something is going to break through. And if something does break through, they don’t have a firm understanding of what caused it to break through. So then they go back to churning out a lot of content again, hoping for another breakthrough performance. So that’s where, you know, a lot of the learning can take place before you produce a single piece of content by studying other content creators, and what is going viral today, in addition to what are the things that detract from virality. So you’ve mentioned something that I think is a great starting point. And that is, you study the successful on social media, you study and you look at what the folks who are very successful are doing. And I think that’s a moving target a little bit. How do we first in the very first place? How do we identify who the successful are? Like, are we just talking views? Are we talking interaction engagement? What are we looking at, to determine who our target should be to learn from? Yeah, it’s well, first off how you find these accounts is just by being a consumer of social media, and that this is a big part of the work that we do for our clients. But what we’re looking for is more of that, the view baseline, but we also measure the correlation between views and engagement, because we just want to knock out if people are using paid to boost their views, because then that I have nothing against people doing that if they want to do it. We can talk about why I think it’s not helpful to a brand. But we want to just knock out ones that are not driven by purely organic. And one of the big things that we do in our process, and that we stress is if we take a large content creator, that is doing a lot of views, has a lot of followers. Well, we have a gold silver bronze research process. So we can take an account of format or brand. And what we do is gold is their highest performers. So these are the standout performers. So let’s just say for the sake of this, well, I can say we broke down a tic tac account by a guy named Hunter prosper. And his gold was like 30 to 40 million views. And then we looked at his silver, which is his average, which is around a million views. And then his bronze is underperformers, which is around 100,000 views. And what we have to do to really understand and dissect what is causing it to go viral. We look at the goals and we set hypotheses of what these performance drivers are again, it can be very nuanced, the way it’s edited the tonality, the pacing, but then we have to check in the silver and bronze to ensure that those hypotheses don’t show up there. Because if they do, then we know that that’s the reason that it’s not causing it to go viral. So we have to knock it out, knock it out and then go back to that. But we don’t just look at like follower account because follower account. You can have accounts with a lot of followers, but they’re not getting the views that are correlative to the audience they have which means they haven’t really mastered their content in terms of going viral. In addition, if you will get an account
Like an Amazon or an apple, like those accounts are driven by external factors, meaning they didn’t grow those huge followings based on social media, they grew their audience based on product loyalty, brand loyalty, all of the television and external advertising as they do product endorsements and things of that nature. Yeah, you know, to be honest, something that I’m personally struggling with right now is getting
my own followers to, you know, getting my content in front of my own followers. And I think, you know, it’s something that I’m really trying to get into the details at this point. But, you know, I think it’s, would you say that as time goes on, it’s going to become more difficult to get the views and to get the exposure? Even though there are tools like your company out there that can help is it just is it just this mass volume that’s causing the issue with with visibility 100%. It’s the level of volume of content that’s produced that causes the issue. So when you think about your account, your followers are probably following a few 100. Other accounts, if not a few 1000 accounts. So what that means is, you’re competing for space in their feed against all that other content. And then you’ll see YouTube and Tiktok. And recently, Instagram, what they’re doing is seeding content that accounts that you don’t follow, because they know that content can hold attention longer. So is it a challenge? Yes, absolutely will continue to be a challenge. Yes. But it is a winnable challenge. Because again, if you can get smarter about how to construct your content to hold attention longer than others, you can win at the highest level. And 99.9% of content creators are not doing the research, not learning these nuances. So the more work that you put in to understanding that the better off that you’re going to be and it is it is a winnable battle. Are you finding that it’s more valuable to look at prospective or target accounts, and analyze those than it is to look at how your own content is performing? Or would you recommend that you break down both your own and the accounts that you’re trying to be like into those different categories that you mentioned earlier? Yeah, I would focus heavily on the beginning of analyzing other accounts, because looking at your own account, is not really going to bear fruit because you’re looking for breakout performance. And if you haven’t had that breakout performance, then you’re not going to get that level of detail. But one of the exercises that we take our clients through is, when we do that research and insights of what’s going viral, we identify a key reference. And then again, we’re not really looking at the content when we’re working at the context. So we can look at somebody that talks about clinical psychology or taxes or finance, and still apply principles to any industry, because again, we don’t really care about the content more about how they’re telling their story. So we’ll identify that key reference, and pull out those performance drivers. And then the client will produce their piece of content. And then what we have them do is put their piece of content side by side with a reference and play them to see well, what are the differences? What did we get right? What did we miss? So that’s really kind of how I would analyze the content that you’re producing as really a great exercise. Because, again, if you’re just paying attention to your content and underperforming, you’re not really going to figure out how to break through. Yeah, and that makes sense. So if I’m, for example, looking for to identify maybe a handful of brands on social media, am I am I trying to hone in on a brand that matches what I’m trying to accomplish? Or can I go across industries, and use an example from, you know, any field to improve my social media? What would you recommend with that? Well, listen, if you have references that are close to what you’re doing that is performing that absolutely use them, but you don’t want to look at a reference, again, that may have a lot of followers. But the number of views and engagement is super low because you’re not going to learn anything. But again, as I mentioned, you can learn so much from other accounts in other industries, because we’re not paying attention to the message that they’re delivering, but the way they’re delivering that message. So oftentimes when we’re working with clients, we always have to extend that research because the competitive landscape is not performing. So if you’re again looking at competitors or people in your industry and they’re
under performing, and you’re trying to glean insights from them? Well, those insights are going to lead to underperforming content. So that’s where typically, we look at content creators in all fields. Because there’s always something that you can learn from them. Yeah. 100%. What are you identifying right now? In terms of, you know, somebody that says, they come to you? And they’re like, Hey, I’m working on my personal brand, whatever that means. What are some of the things that that individual should be working on and focused on in order to improve the visibility of their personal brand with their social content? Yeah, again, it always starts with that research process, because you can’t go viral. If you don’t understand why things go viral. And to dive in deeper, your goal as a content creator, is twofold. How do I stop the scroll. And then once I stopped the scroll, how do I hold attention for as long as possible. So a few mistakes that people are making in that is, one, the first three seconds is super critical to stopping that scroll. And oftentimes, the people that do understand that, what the mistake that they’ll make is they’ll try and cram so much in to the first three seconds. So they may have a meme card, then they’re talking, then they have captions, and then they’re moving. And then the viewer doesn’t know what to focus on. Thus, they feel like they’re getting left behind, and then we’ll move on. So we always pay attention to visual hierarchy of what should the focus be. The other big thing is, you want to set a clear expectation for the viewer, in those first few seconds of what they can expect from that video, to say this is something worth watching. So to give you an example, a really successful video on YouTube, is from a guy named Graham Stefan that teaches finance to millennials. Now, finance is typically not a sexy subject, but his most viewed videos how I bought a Tesla for $78. So there’s a clear expectation that he is setting in those first few seconds of what the video is about. So he’s effectively grabbing attention. Now he needs to effectively tell a story to hold that attention. So if you watch that video, he doesn’t reveal the math until like eight or nine minutes in of how he actually did it. But that doesn’t mean that he’s filling it with fluff. You know, he’s taking people on a journey of explaining why he did it, why it’s important in these things. So another big mistake that people make is the tonality. And the pacing of content is typically very flat and monotone. So there’ll be, you know, talking in a specific voice the entire time, or the movement will be a very specific pacing, and won’t fluctuate. But if we look at the best content in the world, even a great analogy is movies. If you really watch a movie, what do they do is they build tension, they release tension, they build tension, release tension. So that’s a lot of the most successful YouTubers use what’s called Jenga theory. And Jenga, if you know is the game that you put on the table with all the blocks, each person goes around the table and pulls out a block. So what’s happening in the game is the same thing that movies do and the top content creators use is, you know, first off, what the end result of the game is, is the tower falls, you just don’t know who’s going to cause it to fall, how it’s going to fall. So each block that’s pulling out, there’s a sense of tension, is it going to fall? And then once it comes out successfully, it releases that tension. And then the next person goes, and again, you’re building tension, is it gonna fall with this block coming out, and then you’re releasing tension. And that’s a big part of effective storytelling with content. You know, when you mentioned the $78 Tesla, it made me think, you know, there’s some content out there, that it doesn’t actually produce what it promises in the beginning, right? Or it’s hyperbole or whatever. What’s the balance there, of trying to grab somebody’s attention within that first three seconds, and actually delivering on what that initial offer promises? Yeah, so there’s two things with it. There are people that do that tactic, and still tell an effective story, but don’t reveal what they promised, which is just going to destroy brand credibility. So it’s not going to lead to somebody following the account, or somebody is falling account, it’s going to lead to distrust an unfolding account. But then there’s others that are still trying to tempt clickbait, where they may set a clear expectation, but their storytelling isn’t on par with the expectation. So they’ll drop out of the video super quick. And then the algorithm picks up on that super quick and knows that they’re not holding attention, so it just doesn’t serve the goal that they’re trying to do. I think that’s what a lot of creators run into right this conundrum of
have. And now I want to go watch that video, because I want to know, when you watch that video, you’ll see the amount of value. Um, he is a great content creator, He’s a great storyteller, he provides a tremendous amount of value with it. But he knows he needs to hold attention. So that’s why he waits till eight or nine minutes and to reveal the math, but it’s not done in a kind of misleading way. It’s, it’s the same thing as like, if you go watch Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible. It’s like, you know, the end outcome that he’s gonna beat the bad guy. But he doesn’t beat the bad guy in the first three minutes. Because if he did, then you wouldn’t watch the rest of the movie. So it’s telling that kind of story to take them on on an interesting and an emotional journey. Do you think it’s okay? When you’re creating content with that it would be valuable for the Creator, to have a headline, have something that grabs that first three seconds, grabs your attention during that first three seconds, in a way that, you know, and shares content that’s valuable to the consumer, but not necessarily on par with what that initial attention grabbing sentence or structure was? Do you think there’s any dichotomy there? Or is it okay, as long as that value is there for the consumer? Well, I think you have to tie it in, in some way. So we do use a tool sometimes. And I’m not saying use it all the time of subverting expectations. So like an example of that would be, so there’s the old saying, don’t sweat the small stuff. So we had a video that went viral where the meme card said sweat the small stuff. So what we’re doing is subverting the expectation, and then explaining the reasoning behind it. And it could be different than what the meme card says, like if I were to say, meditation is a scam. And then I said, Have you ever felt like meditation is a scam? Well, if that’s you, I really feel your pain. And I thought that way, because everybody would tell me to clear my head. And every time I would sit down my mind would race. And I really felt it was a scam until I met met the Zen Buddhist monk, who taught me these three key pins principles. So again, with that title, is I’m not really talking about the fact that meditation is a scam. I’m talking about that a lot of people out there think it’s something that doesn’t work, but I’m gonna explain why it actually does work. So that’s a way that you could do it, I would never set an expectation and never deliver on it and never explain why you don’t deliver on it. Because that’s just a recipe of even again, if you’re an effective storytelling, maybe you build retention, but the level of trust is going to be kind of destroyed with that audience. And it’s not going to yield the long term results that you’re looking for. Shifting gears a bit here, Brendon, as we’re wrapping up, just a couple of minutes left. You know, I’m kind of on this path of, you know, I’m an entrepreneur, I own a bunch of businesses that take up a lot of my time, that don’t have anything to do with this podcast, they don’t have anything to do with any personal brand I’m trying to develop or whatever. And one thing as I’m putting some pieces around me, producers and content creators and videographers, one thing that I’m learning Brendon is, it takes a lot of time, and I’ve been successful in business, but creating content and creating successful content is it’s a skill. And before, I used to think that, you know, it was luck, or it didn’t require a bunch of work, like you could use weird editing tricks or whatever. And I’m learning because it takes so much of my time that the Creator, the voice of the brand, really has to get better in order to be efficient. And I’m on that path. And I’m To be frank, I’m in the beginning stages where I’m really struggling to get the amount of content quality content in the same amount of time that somebody that’s more experienced, is able to get, what tips do you have for just being able to kind of shorten that learning curve and become more efficient with the actual production side of it, not necessarily the research, but the actual production of the content. But I think the first thing is slow down. Don’t feel this pressure that I’ve got to produce content to get something out the door, because that’s just a recipe for disaster, then you’re going to be spending all this time and not yielding the results and then you’re going to get crater fatigue or creative burnout. So I’d rather see you spend two or three weeks on a single video then trying to produce a video every single day. So I think that’s the biggest thing. And then the second thing is and we train a lot of teams, and it’s like if you don’t have the time
Time yourself, then you need to ensure that the team around you understands these things so that they can guide you when it’s time to create content. They can direct you on these things, they can point things out to you, of where you’re going astray, or things that need to change. But again, everything starts with the research once you do the research. And that’s why kind of our core company, that’s all we focus on is the research and insight. It cuts out a lot of that time, it cuts out, you could spend years figuring this stuff out. But if you have these granular insights delivered to you or somebody on your team that’s able to do that. It cuts that learning curve dramatically, because you’re really studying the market and understanding why things are working or why things aren’t working. Yeah, that and I mean, for somebody like me, for somebody, like a lot of my listeners, that time is very crucial. And when you get to a certain level of business, you realize you don’t necessarily want to learn new skills from the beginning, you really read I recently read a book called who not how, and Dan Sullivan talks about this concept of putting people around you, as opposed to you trying to figure it out yourself. And I agree with that. 100%. Brendon, where can people reach out if they want to learn more about all the great things that you’re producing and and doing for your clients? Yeah, I think that the most interesting place to start is to go to go viral dot hook point.com. Again, that’s go viral that hook point.com That’s where we have a membership program, where every week we’re delivering these research and insights for you. We’re breaking down content creators, viral formats, viral brands, and actually doing the research for the clients. Then if they want to get in touch with us, the best place is just go to hook point.com. Love it. I actually just finished reading hook point, how to stand out in a three second world. I bought a bunch of copies that I’m given away. Well, I appreciate it. Yeah, 100%. I love that book. So for my listeners, go to my website, you can schedule a 15 minute appointment with yours truly. And I’m going to be giving away those books to the first group of people that schedule an appointment. For those who don’t buy the book anyway. This is where marketing for your company, whatever your company is, this is where it’s headed. This is where it’s at, actually, it’s going to continue to evolve. But make sure that you check out Brendan, he has done some incredible things. The stories that he shares and hook point are incredible. He has real life examples. And he you know sends you back to his website to check out videos and examples to learn from him. And so I highly recommend you get that book. Go grab it today. Thanks so much Brandon. This has been a real treat for us to have you on today. We wish you nothing but luck and success in the future, my man. Appreciate it. Thank you.
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