RIZKNOWS.com started because Jeff Rizzo, like so many content creators, spotted a gap in the market.
“I started reviewing wearable technology because there weren’t many people doing it. The wearable tech industry was small, but growing very quickly and I thought that it would be the perfect category to start with.”
That led him to start the YouTube channel RIZKNOWS back in September 2013. It’s since scaled to many millions of views per month, 220k+ subscribers and more than 52 million views across all the videos on the site. For Jeff, the aim hasn’t changed since he started out:
“I just wanted to be three things: helpful, entertaining and concise. Of course, I eventually planned on making money, but I figured if I dialed in those three items, the money would come.”
As the audience has grown, so has the amount of content produced.
“In early 2016 I started a website where I could promote content from my YouTube channel, but the website was terrible. As the year went on, I was lucky enough to bring on a business partner, an investor, and an employee to really ramp things up. We invested in a brand new website that was search-optimized. We also focused on improving the overall quality of our content. Lastly, we’ve grown the type of content that we cover, to include deals and longer-form written content which are still very new for us, but I think that we’re doing a good job and trying to get better everyday. We’ve expanded outside of wearable tech into eletronics more generally, home goods and sports and outdoor products. Things have exploded for us and we’re beating our own records every month, granted we’re still talking about fairly small numbers overall.”
The size of the audience and content produced may have changed, but Jeff is clear that one thing that hasn’t changed is his content creation process.
“It’s almost still the same. We try to keep our finger on the pulse of the various industries that we cover so we know when stuff is being released. We get the products as soon as we can and then start testing. When we feel ready and sufficiently understand the product, we go live with written or video content, or both.”
“Having several million YouTube views a month means we also get thousands of comments. We read most of them and some of our best content suggestions now actually come from the viewers and subscribers. They’ve helped us make some big changes and having user generated suggestions is actually very fruitful in terms of producing cool content.”
Jeff’s very clear about where he draws the line on sponsored vs. monetized commerce content.
“We don’t produce much in the way of sponsored content. Whenever something is sponsored, however, we’re very transparent about it. One neat upside to putting out sponsored content is that it allows us to showcase a smaller product or company that we normally wouldn’t have been able to since we couldn’t have earned a return on our invested time.”
As far as their content more generally, RIZKNOWS strives to be helpful, not salesy.
“We never tell someone they should do something. We want people to make their own decisions, but at the end of the day if you’re spending $1,000 on a mattress or $200 on a running watch, you want to know that you’ve made the right decision. So really our content is about a learning experience. People can educate themselves about products and also save money on them.”
RIZKNOWS uses a simple approach to monetization that mostly involves affiliate marketing. They keep their website and content relatively ad-free so consumers can find the information that they need without being bogged down by intrusive and annoying ads that clutter their site. A big part of their monetization is using Skimlinks to create links and add them to their YouTube videos and website content. As soon as someone clicks on a referral link, goes to a merchant’s website and makes a purchase RIZKNOWS may earn a commission on the sale. Their philosophy is that since they were creating commerce content anyway, all their doing is earning money that they previously didn’t know existed. If readers come to the site, get educated about a purchase and go on to make one, the reader and retailer both win, so why not the publisher too?
Since mid-2016, they’ve worked with Skimlinks to power their content monetization efforts.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done,” says Jeff. “It allows you to canvas the world, you can monetize every site out there and it means that I can produce more and create better content.”
“I can’t tell you how helpful it has been and how thankful I am that Skimlinks exists. We can use the offers page to find deals to feature, which we use most days and thanks to the tracking we can figure out where people are clicking, and where we’re making money and optimize as a result. If we keep doing what we’re doing I think we’re just going to keep trending upwards.”
If you want to monetize your YouTube channel too, or perhaps another social media channel, check out our social media guide here