Imagine if every minute of your video content received for 30 minutes of viewing in real time. This isn’t just a dream for Brad McCallum from Calgary, Alberta — it’s his reality, thanks to his YouTube channel’s success. Let Jimmy Burgess lead you through the steps of this Calgary-based realtor’s approach to achieving YouTube success.

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This post was updated Nov. 13, 2023.

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Picture this: for every real-time minute, 30 minutes of your video content is watched. That’s the reality for Brad McCallum from Calgary, Alberta, thanks to his successful YouTube channel. His top-notch listing videos have not only built an impressive business but also demonstrate a strategy he believes can work in almost any market.

How he got started

Brad McCallum started in real estate nearly five years ago. After roughly one and a half years in the business, he came to the realization that there was absolutely no reason anyone should work with him. The truth was that he had very little experience, he wasn’t a local expert, and he didn’t know how to negotiate.

At that point, he realized he needed something bigger than just his ego to attract clients. This led him away from the question, what’s in it for me? And led him to the question, what’s in it for them? This shift in mentality was the spark he needed to upload his first listing video to YouTube three and a half years ago.

The consistency of uploading quality listing videos over the past three and a half years led to explosive growth in his business and over 31,000 YouTube subscribers. These results didn’t happen overnight, but McCallum understood the compounding effect that video would bring to his business.

The following is the process McCallum uses to create some of the most engaging listing videos ever produced.

Don’t have a YouTube presence? Here’s how to get started.

Decide where to post videos

McCallum utilizes YouTube as the hosting site for his videos. He does this understanding YouTube is the second largest search platform in the world behind Google. Since Google owns YouTube, his videos are showing up in Google searches as well. By positioning his videos on YouTube, it broadens his ability to have his ideal clients discover him and his content.

Decide which videos to post

“It all starts with understanding what YouTube wants. If you give YouTube what it wants, they will reward you with more organic view opportunities. YouTube wants viewers to stay on the platform, and they want increased watch time. By creating engaging and entertaining content that keeps viewers on the platform longer, you will be rewarded with algorithmic juice that leads to more views,” McCallum said.

Start your videos with a hook

Because the goal is to increase watch time, compelling content is critical. This all starts with a hook at the beginning of the video to keep the viewer engaged. McCallum said, “My videos start with an understanding that I need to hook the viewer’s attention within the first 5-10 seconds of the video.”

He stated the hook could be the use of visuals like fireworks, engaging questions, or something that piques their interest.

Here are a few examples of engaging questions or opening lines that might hook your YouTube viewers’ attention:

  • Is the housing market in Calgary crashing?
  • Can you still sell your house at a high price or is it too late?
  • How much house can you buy for $2,000 per month?
  • Today, I’m going to show you a mega-mansion with an indoor pool.
  • Today, we are going to give you a tour of the home Leonardo DiCaprio stayed in while filming The Revenant.

By utilizing a captivating or interesting hook at the beginning, you increase the likelihood that the viewer will be intrigued enough to continue watching your video.

Keep viewers engaged right after the hook

Once you’ve captured the viewer’s attention with the hook, now you need to keep them engaged. McCallum strategically places cinematic highlight shots of the home’s best amenities early in his videos to keep the viewer engaged.

“Once I’ve gotten them past the first 10 seconds or so of the video, then I want to get them to 30-35 seconds into the video. This comes through showing 10-15 seconds worth of quick clips showcasing the home’s highlights right after the hook. Most agents like to hold off on showing the best parts of the home until the end, thinking viewers will stick around to see them,” he said.

“The problem is only 15 percent of the viewers stick around until the end of most videos. If they love the highlights, then they will stick around for the other details like the number of bedrooms, square footage and types of finishes in the home.”

Many of the highlights can be shot with quick pans or clips of the highlights of the best amenities of the home. A couple second pan of the outdoor living space, a quick drone flyover showing the privacy or a quick view of an amazing kitchen. When you can string together a number of these highlight clips, the viewer stays engaged due to a desire to see more details about the highlighted amenities.

Share who your video is for

“The next 20 seconds or so, I go right into who this home might be ideal for with an intro along the lines of, if you’ve been looking for a home in (this) community west of Calgary because you want to be close to the mountains, near great shops and restaurants, and close to some of our city’s best schools, then this might be the home for you,” he said.

As he is speaking about highlights, like being close to the mountains, he has B-Roll footage of the mountains edited into the video. This provides a depth of experience in the video that keeps the viewer engaged and desiring to see more. He then leads the viewer into the home, where he provides the details of the home.

Compound the exposure through other platforms

Although YouTube is the platform where the video is hosted, there are several additional platforms that can be utilized to maximize the exposure of the home. “Short-form video is huge today, so while we are shooting the full video, we are thinking about what we need for those shorter videos to drive people to the full video,” he said.

“Understanding we need vertical content for Instagram, we may adjust the camera to shoot our clips vertically for that platform. For Instagram, we might shoot a four to 6-second intro like, ‘Want to see inside a $1.2 million home just outside Calgary? Check this out.’ Then short quick clips on the highlights,” he said.

McCallum suggests planning to shoot a short video for an Instagram Reel, TikTok, and an invitation video for an open house for Facebook while you are at the home shooting the full video. Because you are already at the home with your videographer, take advantage of the opportunity to shoot video content for all the platforms you utilize.

McCallum also takes advantage of the ability to chop his full video up into smaller pieces of content that can be utilized on other social media platforms. Because he already has a highly produced video, these smaller clips of the longer video make great content pieces that pique his followers’ interest to see the full video on YouTube.

The process of building authority in your local market can be achieved through video. But it is often hard to be something unless you first see something. If you’re looking for a model to follow, look no further than Brad McCallum and his YouTube channel.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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