Would you take advice on how to create engaging online content from someone once known as Jimbo the Partyman?
If not, it’s time to reconsider because family entertainment business CEO James Sinclair, who was earning a six-figure sum when he was in his teens, now generates more than £20 million in revenue and has an unbeatable passion for helping entrepreneurs soar to success.
James initially started out as a children’s entertainer and magician (age 15) but within a few years was no longer willing to trade his time for money. He now owns a chain of children’s playcentres, day nurseries, outdoor farm visitor attractions (Partyman Group of companies), and runs the digital membership platform Entrepreneurs University.
I invited James onto our Interviews With Experts podcast so you can find out first hand how to pull the rabbit out of the hat when it comes to creating brilliant content that converts your audience into paying customers.
The first thing I wanted to know was where James had uncovered such strong ambition in his teenage years.
James: “My mum died when I was very young. I had to sink or swim. I decided to swim and that was a big benefit to me. Running your own business is tough but rewarding if you have the correct philosophies, systems and processes in place and can build a team; that enables you to focus on the sales and marketing which will help your business continue to grow.”
At Write Business Results (WBR) we support aspiring authors to write and publish their books (and create podcasts and blogs) so they can build their personal brand; I was keen to hear James’ philosophy on content creation.
The power of content
James: “I’ve been doing it prolifically for years now. I have someone videoing me and I make content all the time. Every year that you delay making content, the more content goes onto YouTube, the more books there are, the more stuff there is on Facebook to compete with. You have to get onto these platforms as soon as you can and you have to make a lot. I don’t think you see a return on your content marketing until you’ve made a considerable amount.
The first 50 videos I made on YouTube were okay, but the next 50 yielded way more in terms of leads and awareness. The last 50 videos that we shared out of the most recent 600 that we’ve made got more results than the first 550 on YouTube! It’s the same on our podcasts and everything else that we do.
We use content marketing across all of our platforms as a way of getting customers into our business.”
Know your customers
It’s relatively easy to create content but identifying the right content and sharing it in a way that turns your fans into paying customers is entirely different. James explained the importance of refining your strategy.
James: “When I look back I probably wasn’t very good in those first 20 videos or so; they were way too entertaining because that was my background and what I knew how to do. But if you look at my most recent ones compared to the early ones you can see that I now understand what my audience wants. It has to be more about them than about me but it takes time to work all that stuff out.”
Having started out as a magician it’s understandable that James would be attracted to using a highly visual platform such as YouTube (even though he’s not sharing the same sort of tricks anymore!), but that wasn’t the only reason.
Minutes versus seconds
James: “People go onto social media channels for seconds at a time then they disappear off to make a cup of tea, answer the phone or focus on the next thing but YouTube trumps everything. It has an average of 14 minutes per session of focused engagement. Plus, when people subscribe they are notified about your new videos and you have their direct attention.
It’s not as busy as other platforms and well-documented video can be leveraged. An Instagram story disappears after 24 hours but we’ve got YouTube videos from two years ago that people are still watching; you do the work once and it continues to pay, which is also the great thing about books [James has written three], you write it once and it continues to work for you for another 20+ years.
We have lengthy debates in the office about the best thumbnail image to use for the video because if you get it wrong you don’t get the clicks. In many ways the thumbnail is more important than the video because we’re relying on it to grab attention. The leverage on YouTube, books and podcasts is incredibly powerful; any business that doesn’t create content needs to start now.”
At WBR we regularly debate the best cover for each book because it’s obvious that readers do judge a book by its cover and we want to create the most enticing one! We’re a small, but perfectly formed, team and since James shared such juicy content I couldn’t resist asking him how he finds the time to manage his 1,000+ staff
Get the right support
James: “Entrepreneurs are not made to manage people. You need to use my business rule: entrepreneurship plus management equals success (E+M=S). You need someone who can come up with a war plan, then you need the generals to look after the soldiers. If you try to do it all it’s disastrous, you’ll end up with no life. You can’t be some flipping superhero who does all the picking and packing and accounting. Get the help you need even if that means sacrificing your own income for a few months; it’s worth it.”
In this blog James has shared some brilliant insights around creating the best content including start now, know and make it all about your audience, choose the right platform for you and get the right support.
If you’re a busy entrepreneur who would love to learn how to create amazing content that converts your audience to paying customers, join the WBR community.