The Amazing Julie Perry’s Story
All I can say when I hear the name Julie Perry the only word that comes to mind immediately is – AWESOME! When you read her story below I know you are going to feel the same way.
Share this with your friends because what Julie has been able to achieve and the challenges she has overcome to get back out there in front of the camera is nothing short of inspirational. Next time you start thinking of giving up – come back and read this blog because Julie’s story will make you get back out there and just do it!
Who is Julie Perry and for those who don’t know you, how did you get started online?
I got started online back in late 2004 when I was working as VP of Marketing for a book publishing company in Denver, CO, when in an effort to take our book publicity activities online, I purchased ―33 Days to Online Profits‖ by Internet marketers Jim Edwards & Yanik Silver. Not only did the information in this ebook ignite my company‘s online book marketing efforts, but it inspired me to write my own ebook and try to sell it online. Jim and Yanik preached ―write about what you know, so I chose to write a guide on how to become a private mega yacht stewardess (something I did from 1998-2001, after graduating college).
Early in the writing process, Jim emailed his list announcing he‘d be speaking at Stu McLaren‘s ―Idea Incubator event (Feb 2005); I jumped at the chance to meet him in person. Lo and behold, also speaking at the event were Armand Morin and Alex Mandossian, and after hearing them speak, I was inspired to purchase a ticket to Armand‘s Big Seminar (April 2005). Once I got there and was exposed to Internet marketers like Michel Fortin and Paul Colligan, I was hooked! And actually, it was at that same Big Seminar event that I met David Hancock of Morgan James Publishing.
David became intrigued by the concept of my ebook, and after reading what I had of a manuscript to that point, he made me an offer to publish it in hard copy format—a much bigger project than I‘d anticipated, but itwas an incredible opportunity I was thrilled to accept. While writing my book, ―The Insiders‘ Guide to Becoming a Yacht Stewardess: Confessions from My Years Afloat with the Rich and Famous (part how – to/part memoir), I supported myself with Internet copywriting gigs (I studied Michel Fortin religiously) orchestrating email marketing campaigns and hosting teleseminars for a number of clients. Once my book came out in 2006, I delved full force into social media to promote it. Soon I was making a majority of my sales as a direct result of a MySpace page I set up (www.myspace.com/yachta), and my obsession with socialmedia began!
How did you get involved in YouTube marketing and what is it that you love so much for both your own marketing and your client‟s marketing?
Shortly after my yachting book came out, I was contacted by a couple entrepreneurs who wanted to create an online social network similar to MySpace, but one devoted to the recreational boating industry niche. They hired me as VP of Marketing for their start-up company, and I helped them develop and launch The Boaters.com online social community from scratch.
Now, when I started working with them in February 2007, our goal was to launch in July, but along the way, we had a few programming glitches that set us back. When we realized we would probably not be able launch until September (the end of the boating season for most Americans), we came up with the idea to launch a video podcast in the short run; our goal was to use it as bait—to build an online audience of boat owners and enthusiasts whom we could eventually invite to join our social network when it launched. Inspired by video podcasts such as ―Rocketboom and ―GeekBrief TV, we produced video ―newscasts, 5-7 minutes in length, featuring boating news three times a week.
The initial plan was to distribute them on our vlog, TheBoaters.TV (now defunct), BUT, because I was responsible for not just writing and hosting the shows, but also selling advertising and sponsorships, I began looking for ways we could maximize our viewership numbers (after all, I had to write the media kit). To do this, I turned to iTunes and online video distribution sites, including YouTube, yes, but also 22 other online video sites (such as DailyMotion, Vimeo, Blip, and many others who have since folded). Anywhere I could find to upload our episodes, I did it. (I think this is key to new media distribution: your audience wants to consume your content on THEIR terms, so you must make your content available far and wide.)
In the end, our video marketing strategy for TheBoaters TV was a success! By the time we launched TheBoaters.com social network in September 2007, we not only had thousands of fans of the show who immediately registered to build user profiles, but we‘d also built a large enough consistent viewership across all our channels (the vlog, iTunes, and all the video content sites) that we were able to sell sponsorships, advertising, and product placement spots on the show. With regard to YouTube, while it wasn‘t the only destination for our audience to catch our episodes (many still went direct to the vlog), I would say it was the prime spot for new audiences to discover us. For me, that‘s the magic of YouTube.
So with that type of success, what happened with the show and website?
Well by late December 2007, we were at the height of our success: The Boaters.com had over 60,000 registered users, ads were starting to sell, and we were on episode 73 of TheBoaters.TV. Too, my hosted episodes of the show (episodes 1 -73) had received over 500,000 views on YouTube alone.
But then tragedy struck:
While taking a pedicab (a bicycle-driven rickshaw) ride on New Year‘s Eve in Fort Lauderdale, the vehicle I was in was struck by a car—a hit-and-run driver, as a matter of fact. I was ejected from the pedicab and flew head-first into a bridge, snapping my clavicle, fracturing my pelvis, and worst of all, fracturing my skull. My head injury resulted in the loss of hearing in my right ear and nerve damage to my 7th cranial nerve, which paralyzed my face on the right side. Needless to say, there was no more ―on camera time in my future. In fact, I was unable to work for nine months post-accident, because the back pain I endured left me unable to type for more than 20 minutes every few hours (which meant there was no falling back on my copywriting skills).
With no ability to work to support myself, I was forced to move back to my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, where I moved in with my parents while I recovered. It was a horribly depressing time, and while nine months later, my facial paralysis had yet to show any sign of improvement, I was at least able to get back online working. My luck turned around when a good friend, Internet marketer Brad Fallon (StomperNet), offered me some freelance work teaching his team the YouTube strategies I‘d developed while marketing TheBoaters.TV. He was so impressed with what I knew that he said, ―Julie, you need to get this information out there—you need to create a product that teaches this stuff! Brad put me in touch with Paul Colligan, whom I already knew from Internet Marketing seminars (note: it pays to go to live events and network!). And so it went that in October 2008, Paul and I held a webinar for his New Media Inner Circle group introducing them to my YouTube marketing tips. The feedback was so great that we decided to give a couple more, record them, and then release the entire event as a DVD tutorial. Thus, ―YouTube Secret Weapon was born (named after the nickname Brad‘s team gave me after receiving my YouTube coaching).
What have you done with YouTube Secret Weapon since then?
Since that time, Paul and I re-launched YouTube Secret Weapon (YTSW) twice in 2009, have held over 10 bonus webinars for our customers, and in 2010, we released a 2.0 version made up of over 6 hours of updated content, including advanced strategies and case studies based on my work with private clients‘ successes. All the hard work certainly paid off, and the money we made on YTSW allowed me to pay off over $35,000 debt from my accident. (That‘s right. Because it was a hit-and run, there was no one to recover damages from, I was denied disability AND unemployment, and the owner of the pedicab we‘d been riding didn‘t even have insurance to cover our accident!). In the end, I definitely look back at the whole YTSW experience as one where I was able to make lemonade out of lemons.
Meanwhile, the rewards keep coming: I was recently included in Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars by Mitch Meyerson (Entrepreneur Press, August 2010), where I contributed the YouTube chapter. I was also thrilled to join two of my original online video heroes, the creator of ―Rocketboom, Andrew Baron, and the co-creator of ―Ask a Ninja, Ken Nichols, on a YouTube panel discussion at the 2010 BlogWorld event in Las Vegas.
What is your current business and is social media a big part of what you do?
Well, about a year ago, I found myself getting a little bored. As much as I loved working one-on-one with freelance clients and holding regular update webinars for our YTSW customers, I really missed being out of the house, working as part of a larger team, and having a more regular routine. (Left to my own devices, I become a workaholic and tend to work 24/7.) I was also finally at a point in my recovery process that, after practically hiding from the world for nearly two years, I longed to get back out there and start participating again.
So I began applying to local ad agencies and PR firms here in Indy. I was fortunate enough to land the most outstanding opportunity at BLASTmedia—a national PR firm with offices in Indianapolis and San Francisco. Here‘s the coolest part: BLAST was looking to add a social media element to their PR service offerings. They hired me as Social Media Director, and I was tasked with creating and launching their entire social media department from scratch! This was perfect, as I was able to work in a full-time, agency position but still be somewhat entrepreneurial.
Here we are 11 months later, and since I was brought on back in January, we‘ve been contracted by over 17 brand to develop and implement their social media campaigns on an ongoing basis. Better yet, the department I created has grown to a team of seven, as I‘m hiring my 6th and 7th team members this month. I also continue to promote and update YTSW 2.0 with my partner, Paul Colligan. Working with a wide variety of major brands at BLASTmedia each day keeps me ―in the trenches so I can stay on top of the latest developments and learn what works (and what doesn‘t). This helps me to keep the YouTube content we teach fresh and up-to-date. (Ah, and with regard to YouTube, my BLASTmedia team has just been KILLING IT…Talk about case studies.) So yes, I definitely love my job!
BLASTmedia‟s YouTube channel: http://www.YouTube.com/BLASTmediaPR
YouTube Secret Weapon YouTube channel: http://www.YouTube.com/YTSecretWeapon
Find me on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/JuliePerry