Jake Drake is a multimedia producer based in San Diego, California. He has been directing and producing livestreams for over 10 years. Jake works with clients ranging from small startups to companies like Google, The Washington Post, and Pinterest. Through his work, Jake has generated over $6.1M in revenue for his clients.
In this episode, learn what a video hook is and why it’s important for watch time, and converting viewers. Hear examples of opening hooks that you can apply to your content and livestreams to grab attention. Uncover what influential Twitch streamers do well to engage their audience. Discover how to avoid coming across too salesy or manipulative on platforms like TikTok to make marketing a win-win for you and your viewers. Gain an understanding of how emotion plays a role in developing hooks. Find out what livestream developments Jake hopes for and predicts in 2023. Get ideas for making live videos based on current (and upcoming) trends, including “weird” content experiments you can use to stand out.
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The US livestreaming market is expected to hit $25 billion by 2023. That’s why now is the time to build your skills, understand the medium, and ensure that your livestreams are successful.
Mastering The Art Of The Video Hook With Jake Drake
I can’t get over how great your mic sounds, Nicolas. It catches me off guard because it’s so good, these microphones. We are talking about microphones before we started recording with our special guest who is Jake Drake. He is a multimedia producer based in San Diego, California, who has been directing and producing livestreams for several years. There’s a lot to talk about with him.
Jake works with clients ranging from small startups to companies like Google, The Washington Post, and Pinterest. Through his work, Jake has generated over $6.1 million in revenue for his clients so we can’t wait to know all about that. We’re going to get into some of the details about his work, what he’s learned from it, some case studies and so much more. Before we jump into that conversation, Nicolas has a brief update on what’s going on behind the scenes at eStreamly.
I’m so excited to have you, Jake. It’s going to be a cool conversation. In terms of what’s new and up and coming at eStreamly, there are two things that I want to tell you. I started to experiment with the live eCommerce shorts. Those are five minutes livestream that I publish on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. I’m doing it twice a week. We are talking about one specific topic that either folks in the audience have asked me many questions about or in the community. We dive into the topic for five minutes. Those are meant to be consumables that you can bring on. I don’t know if I’m going to put that on the show, but so far, it’s a test. We’re playing with that.
The other thing is I want to remind the audience that we have a community at Community.eStreamly.com. This is the place for you to hang out with others who are passionate about the livestream shopping space. If you are curious about what’s going on in the space and you want to meet like-minded people that are passionate about this space and want to grow with you, feel free to be there. It was a small community at the time. We have about 30 people, but there’s a lot of value in people sharing their life and some of the special tips that they got. There are overlays or BS. There are plenty of things there like marketing tools and so forth. It’s free. Feel free to jump in.
Jake, one of the things that you specialize in is video hooks. I’m curious if you could start by defining what a hook is and maybe provide one of your favorite examples in your work.
The hook is probably one of the most important things that you can do with your video. In terms of video, a hook is an opening statement. It’s a device to grab your viewer’s attention. You use your hook to share the most important information about your video. You’re telling what the viewers hope to learn from this video, why it’s worth their time, and why they should stick around and watch your video.The hook is one of the most important things that you can do with your video. It’s an opening statement. Click To Tweet
There could be a few different examples of what a hook might look like. Probably the most common hook you could use in a video is introducing a problem and then presenting some solution. This can be great for products or services, especially if you are trying to sell a particular product or service that hits a particular pain point.
Another good example could potentially be a direct audience call-out. This could be something like, “Are you a young professional looking to make $1,000 a month,” or something like that. This is particularly useful when for your hook, you can call out very specific aspects of your audience. This is very helpful if you know a lot about your audience. If you do know that they’re young professionals or they’re looking to make more money on the side for whatever it is that they’re doing, that’s a very helpful thing.
What’s great about hooks and why they’re so important is you’re trying to grab people’s attention. We have so much content that’s bombarding us all the time, whether that be on social media, for livestreams and television, or anything. It seems like from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, we’re constantly bombarded by all kinds of content.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s that you as a marketer, a producer, and a business owner have to put in a lot more effort and time to grab people’s attention. You need to grab people’s attention within the first 3 to 5 seconds. It’s what we’re looking at. Your goal with a hook is two things. The reason the hook is important is that you can grab people’s attention and tell them why they should be listening to and watching your content, buying your product, or whatever that might be.
You’re also using this hook to disrupt a pattern. This applies well to social media. Think of your typical interaction on social media where you’re absentmindedly scrolling through your timeline, whether you’re on TikTok, Instagram, or some other platform. The goal of the hook is to stop that person in their tracks so that they can disrupt that pattern of scrolling and more passive action and get hooked on your content.
I wonder. If you are a brand or producing video, what does it take to create a hook? Do you feel that it’s a lot of effort or it should naturally come? How do you go after creating that hook?
Hooks honestly can take quite a lot of time because it’s such a short thing. Your hook is only a few seconds of something that you say at the top of your video or livestream. It seems like at the surface that it’s a very simple thing to do, but it’s quite complicated because for it to be simple and easily consumed, you have to know a lot about your audience, what their pain points are, what frustrates them, what makes them happy and what makes them feel like they’re heard and valued.
Depending on the particular angle of the hook that you take, you have to tease that part and figure out why. That takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of crafting and time. Over time, you get to the point, especially if you’re working with a very particular audience, where it starts to become more second nature, but it takes a lot of time to craft.
Would you say that someone that produces video content will have a better ally by working and spending more time on finding the best hook or creating the video itself? If you had to quantify, do you think that they have better money spent on making the best hook ever or having the best video ever? It’s out of security.
In many ways, I don’t necessarily think it’s one or the other. It’s more like one informs the other. If you spend a lot of time and effort perfecting that hook, that will positively impact and help inform your video so that you can have the best video for your audience. I don’t necessarily think that it’s one or the other where you’re spending most of your time on your hook or video. Having that solid hook helps improve your video that much more.
Speaking of hook in the context of livestream, you had a lot of experience with livestreaming as well. This is something we’ve talked about and that’s what our audience loves to know about. I wonder. Are hooks even feasible in a livestream? If so, what are the differences with an existing video? How do you create a hook on a livestream?
Hooks are possible on livestreams. The biggest difference is the frequency with which you use them. For example, when you’re thinking of an already fully edited pre-produced video that you might watch on YouTube, your primary goal with the hook is to put it right in the front of the video. That’s where your focus should be so that you can bring in that fever with the hopes that they’re going to be able to watch the rest of your video.
Livestreams are a little bit trickier because if you have a 1-hour long, 2-hour, 3-hour, or 4-hour long stream or even longer, then you’re going to have to constantly remind folks to pay attention and be involved. With a hook on a livestream, thinking about a similar, not only do you need to bring up your hook more often. Say once every 30 minutes, you need to remind people why they’re watching and why this is important.
You also need to craft multiple hooks for a livestream. An example of this might be doing a livestream with two hooks. The first hook could be a focus on the product itself if you’re trying to sell a product or the service if you’re trying to sell a service. Also focusing on why this product is helpful and why it’s addressing pain points to your customer. A second hook that you could do is a hook that gets your audience involved. A good example of that could be looking at Twitch streamers.
If you’re a streamer on Twitch and you have a five-hour long livestream or something like that, what a lot of influential Twitch streamers do well is to constantly remind and push the audience to engage with the livestream. They’re constantly reminding people to talk in the comment section, post pictures, emojis, comments, reactions, and all kinds of things like that to get people engaged. We know with livestreams, the more someone is engaged, the more likely they are to stay on your livestream for longer.With livestreams, the more someone is engaged, the more likely they are to stay on your stream for longer. Click To Tweet
What you’re saying is there are two ways of thinking about this. There’s the way of what problem you’re solving, what product, and why people are engaging with the video altogether. That’s one way of doing the hook. The other one is by getting the engagement of the crowd that is watching you. By having them engage, they hook each other because they want to communicate and discuss.
It gets me thinking about how this could go a couple of different ways with hooks. Hooks are great when you’re tapping into the psychology of the viewer and understanding what it takes to get somebody’s attention. When somebody is online, they’re looking for something that gets their attention. You’re doing them a favor and a service.
I feel this way all the time on TikTok, but there’s also a little bit of a fine line between when something like a hook or marketing in general feels a little too contrived and manipulative perhaps, which is a strong word. Some people are focused on the benefits for them as the creator versus the benefit for the audience. I’m curious. How do you navigate that fine line so that everybody’s winning and everyone’s getting a benefit from this and it doesn’t feel like it’s too salesy, for example?
I’m glad you brought that up. You brought up TikTok as well. It’s especially on TikTok, but it’s safe to say this across many different platforms and mediums. We are seeing quite a lot of hooks that are very salesy, can be very manipulative, and in some cases are straight-up lies that are not factual. A lot of these hooks, from a technical standpoint, are designed very well that get you to watch.
It crosses that line because you would be doing things like, for example, giving people information that’s not truthful, manipulating their emotions, and making them angry, upset, or afraid to drive viewership. Thinking about writing this line, how do you find that balance where you want to get folks to watch your video so that all this time and effort is not put to waste? You can entertain and inform your audience, but you also don’t want to manipulate them.
A big part of it is not treating your audience like test subjects that can be pushed around. What I mean by that is not giving folks hooks that are purposely misleading, emotionally charged, and things of that nature. You want to give people a reason to care, but you don’t want to manipulate or upset them in any way. You also want to be very truthful. It’s presenting your product, service, or video whatever the goal of that hook might be in a way that is truthful, honest, and not manipulative so that you’re finding that balance and not crossing that line for the sake of views.
It made me think about some of those videos that you can sometimes find on Facebook. I’m sure we all have seen some of those ten-minute videos that say, “Watch until the end. Something is going to happen.” Every time I see that, the first thing I do is go on the comment and the first commentary is, “There’s nothing happening at the end.”
There are so many of those, but they got thought of as a view, engagement, and everything. In the end, as a brand owner, you have to decide where are the boundaries for the content that you want to produce. Do you want to cross that line? Maybe then, how do you make it a fun place or something where people get value by smiling at the end?
It is getting that emotion of anger. The worst that can happen is that people consume the content and feel angry about the content because they didn’t get what they wanted. They feel hooked to it. You have to deliver some thought of value. I do agree with that, but there’s nothing wrong about having a deceptive hook as long as you get something of value that is not anger in my point of view. I’ll play with that.
One of the things that make me think about this is there was a live that went on Facebook by someone in the community. It’s fascinating what she’s doing. She’s talking about those products. Her frame is very specific. There’s a part of the screen you can’t see. She has her inventory behind so you see that she’s in a warehouse or something. She’s taking the product and the product is bigger than the actual frame.
She’s moving the product along the thing, but you never see the whole product. You only see a piece of it. She’s asking, “What do you think? Is it inside?” People start to guess. She’s opening it up and people go through all emotions because you have some that are disappointed and some that are excited. She’s talking about her emotion and life stories.
People are moved through emotions and that’s a nice way of hooking the audience during the live. She’s leading that conversation toward the end saying, “How much do you think I should be selling this product?” That’s the teaser. She started with, “How much do you think I should be selling this thing for?” She finished up with everyone describing the product and people showing that.
In some way, you feel that with the whole live, you were played with emotion and I enjoy that. I got value because my emotion went all over the place. Did I get something out of it at the end? Yes. It’s a product and has a price. It’s cool. Maybe I bought it, but that’s not the type of product I would buy. I enjoyed it. In the end, that’s the fine line.
Our recommendation is to make sure that you still provide value in how you go after it so people don’t leave the video and say, “I lost my time,” and feel anger. As long as you play with personal emotion, maybe that’s where the challenge is. My joy is probably your anger or vice versa. That’s also where it’s come to be tricky. I don’t know. Do you feel that emotion is something that you’re trying to play a lot when you create a hook?
Generally, no. I try to avoid it if possible, but I sit on one end of the spectrum, whereas other folks might be more willing. Depending on what their product or service is, it might make a lot more sense to tie into emotion and play with that. On my end, it’s more like you don’t want to falsely manipulate emotions.
I like that example that you gave where this founder or business owner is showing bits and pieces of the product and playing up that anticipation and those emotions of excitement but is not playing to any negative emotions like fear, anger, hate, or anything like that. What you described seems a good example of being able to point to people’s emotions and use people’s emotions but also not to upright manipulate them and give them false information, hope, or anything like that.
Jake, you’ve had so much experience in the world of livestreaming. I’m curious. Where do you think it’s going as we’re ending 2022 and moving into a new year in 2023? What do you envision for the next stages of that given some of the things that you’ve been discussing? We have all these tips, tricks, strategies, and best practices. There is a fine line. Some of them get overused and some of them are used for negative purposes that might push us into trying new things, experimenting, and evolving. What are you hoping for and/or what are you predicting for 2023?
As far as predictions go, one of the things that potentially sticks out for me is seeing a variety in livestreaming duration. It is potentially one of the big things where over the last few years, there’s been a big emphasis on mid-range livestreams where you’re thinking of a livestream that might be 1 hour, 90 minutes in length, or something like that.
It’s something attuned to what you might see on traditional television or what you might hear on radio programs, radio dramas, or something like that. It’s something that’s trying to stick more closely to what you might see in traditional media. What we’re seeing is producers, founders, and creators playing with the extreme ends of things. What I mean by that is short livestreams, 10 to 15 minutes in length that are packed with content and information. Also, to do those frequently, multiple times a week, or sometimes even multiple times a day, depending on what’s going on.
The other side of the spectrum is you have these marathon livestreams. The closest that I can think of is if you’re thinking of selling a series of products or going back to Twitch livestreams, if you are a gamer of some type. We’re seeing a lot of streamers on that extreme as well, where you’re seeing 4, 5, or 6-hour-long livestreams.
In that case, the emphasis is more on experience. It’s something that you put on and might be watching the livestream in the background as you’re working, cooking dinner or doing something else. In this scenario, say there’s a product that comes up that interests you or service, then you go and make that purchase. If you’re watching a Twitch streamer and they’re playing one of your favorite games or they make a comment that you think is funny, then you go over to your computer and type something in the comment section.
On this extreme end of the livestreaming spectrum, this is more of an experience, but it’s almost ambient in a way. It’s integrated into your life. It’s less of a thing that you sit down and actively watch. It’s more something that’s on in the background as you go throughout your day. With livestreaming, if I were to make a prediction, we would see things like that more playing with the extreme sides of the durations of livestreams. It’s short heavy content livestreams, 10 to 15 minutes, and then very long experience ambient type livestreams.
I didn’t realize I was trendy because we launched the short live eCommerce, and it’s five minutes. That’s funny you say that. On the other hand, it made me think about something. Maybe you have seen this student during the pandemic. It was Pomodoro. He was doing eight hours a day livestream of himself reading his book. He built an audience.
You see the guy for eight hours studying. He’s taking breaks every 60 minutes. During his breaks, he’s talking for five minutes to his audience. What was interesting is that it doesn’t say when he’s going to take the break. During the pandemic, he had so many people watching for eight hours. What was crazy is after every end of the livestream, I remember seeing some folks in the comments saying at what section he was at the minute where he was interacting so people can jump in on that specifically. I love that you’re pointing that out because there is certainly some interesting play with the lens of the live. Going with the extreme, it is something that I haven’t thought about. It’s interesting and cool.
It’s wild how much things have changed. To your point about this streamer studying, I’ve seen similar things where people are sleeping for eight hours, gardening for multiple hours at a time, or whatever it might be. It’s what would be considered pretty mundane. The amazing thing about those long marathon livestreams is in a way, you’re creating a bit of a community where everyone’s doing the same thing all at once. You’re all watching this person study, sleep, or whatever it might be. It’s amazing to see how people get connected with that.
For the audience, we had spoken about that maybe 20 or 25 episodes ago. If you remember Whitney, one of the things that I feel at some point someone should try and no one has tried so far is people brands that have a retail store. They should be having a stream on their retail store running at the whole lens of their store opening hours. When they see someone coming on the floor and they are not attending, they should show up and start to engage.
There’s nothing that prevents you to do that. You can make a nice setup of your store and then livestream your store all the time so people can see and shop. When someone engages with you digitally and you are available, then it’s a good opportunity for you to try to engage that person. Yet we haven’t seen anyone doing that.
On that idea of a long-length extreme livestream, I’d love someone to try to experiment with that because there is probably something to dig into there. I don’t know what you feel. It might not be on brand and that’s probably the challenge but for maybe a solopreneur or someone that is more looking to experiment with that thing, that’s maybe an opportunity to see how your audience may engage. We know that people love to watch content. Social media is an algorithm. The more content you feed them, the happier they will be. There’s no more content than streaming yourself eight hours a day every day.
I love all these ideas. It goes back to one of the biggest pieces of advice that we’ve heard over and over again on the show, which is willing to experiment until you figure out what works and create content consistently until you figure out what works. Adding to that, Nicolas, the thinking outside the box, trying out things that may seem unusual or weird. You’re wondering yourself, “Will anybody like this?” You won’t know until you try it. You also have to try it over and over again because sometimes people miss it the first time.
There’s an episode we’ve referred to a bunch. I believe it was Dr. ELO who said that he was going live over and over again until the audience started to show up. A lot of people aren’t willing to do that because they think if they do it once and it doesn’t work, then they’ve failed. That means it’s not a good idea. The consistency says so much about all of this.
Sometimes, somebody might not think it’s a good idea. Your audience might think, “This is weird. Why am I watching somebody sleep,” but then they start to become curious about the fact that it’s weird and different so that piques their curiosity. You have all these people doing videos about sleeping, and suddenly, it seems like it’s working.
I don’t know if you can market an eCommerce product effectively while sleeping unless it’s a mattress. That would be a great idea for a mattress company to show somebody looking how comfortable they are using the mattress, pillows, or sheets. We should try that out, Nicolas. Can you partner with a bed-related company and encourage them to do an eight-hour livestream of somebody sleeping?
Apparently, my wife keeps telling me that I’m always rotating when I’m on my bed. I don’t know if I’m sleeping so there will be activity because I’m always moving. Compared to others, that’s amazing.
Maybe that would be an amazing way to advertise eStreamly. “Nicolas, the Cofounder, tries out weird livestreaming trends.” You’re doing it to show people that you’re willing to try anything to see what works for livestreaming.
To close on that weird thing, I went back to that Pomodoro livestream. This guy has over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube. Some of his lives are over one million views. It’s weird, but people consume it. When we say it’s weird, it’s literally eight hours of watching someone reading a book. I love that idea of ending on those tryouts. You’ll never know what’s going to happen. Maybe it’s a dumb idea, but maybe it’s not that dumb and it could work. I’m not going to livestream myself for eight hours sleeping. I won’t do that.
I was hoping that was going to be our 2023 kickoff, Nicolas. One thing we were talking about before we started recording was based on Jake’s experience at The Washington Post. I was sharing how that company, which I never thought much about as a publication before, has won over me because of the weird things they tried on TikTok. They’re wise, especially one of the people that work at the company.
He was doing videos at his home during the pandemic. Some people might think, “This is unprofessional or too quirky.” The quirkiness stood out. He is somebody that I think of when I think of successful TikTok campaigns. Sometimes, you have to be willing to go outside the box as an employee of the company or even the founder or cofounder like Nicolas.
When people see somebody willing to do something strange to capture their attention, be more engaged, curious, and all of that, that says a lot more. As you’ve said many times, Nicolas, sometimes the founder of a company is going to do a much better job in a livestream than hiring someone else. You might need to take your own advice, Nicolas, and get weird, instead of trying to convince somebody else to do it. I’m just saying.
People love that uniqueness. They latch onto it. The sky’s the limit as far as creativity goes.People love uniqueness. They latch onto it. The sky's the limit as far as creativity goes. Click To Tweet
We have a weird accent. I thought it was going to be enough, but it sounds like it’s not so I’ll have to find new things.
Weird is in the ears of the beholder in terms of an accent. I don’t think it’s weird at all. It’s about where you’re coming from. This is a fun note to end on. Thank you, Jake, for playing along with us and getting weird with us towards the end. You shared so much wisdom. We talked about hooks for the first time in depth so thanks for exploring that with us. I hope that it offered the reader a lot of value.
We are working on social clips so if you come over to the eStreamly social accounts, you can see little nuggets that are shareable or that can remind you of some of the biggest takeaways from this episode. If you want to go a step further, give us a little holiday gift. We would be so grateful for anyone who wants to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, write on Spotify or even send us an email. If you’re not on either of those platforms, give us a little testimonial. We can feature you on our website or private community. We’re honored to have you as a reader. We will be back with another episode. See you then.