Nick's Strength and Power / YouTube
Nick's Strength and Power / YouTube
Bodybuilding media have evolved far beyond the DIY fanzines on which the industry was built. And while there is currently no shortage of sporting outlets, it's not just the typical magazines and websites that dominated the 80's, 90's and 2000's. A new generation of commentators has surfaced on YouTube and social media to keep fans up-to-date on the latest news, rumors and news coverage. Although many of these names started making videos purely as a hobby, a few were able to break through and successfully use the culture, becoming legitimate names in the industry and leading a full-fledged career. Pioneer is the 26-year-old Nick Miller, creator of the YouTube channel Nick's Strength and Power.
Millers YouTube is currently one of the most frequently used outlets with over 740,000 subscribers and over 300 million hits In bodybuilding media, new videos have typically reached more than 1
We met Miller to talk about the origins of his channel, the industry response to his videos, and the mistakes he learned from on the way.
M & F : How did the idea for the station come about? And how big is a part of your life now?
Nick Miller: Originally, I started my channel in 2012 with the goal of only filming my workouts and progress in the gym. It was more of a place for me to archive my progress and receive feedback from other people. But I follow bodybuilding and go to shows since 2009. From time to time, I upload videos that feature big shows I've attended, especially the Arnold Classic in Ohio. I noticed pretty quickly that these contest coverage videos have many more views than the other ones of my videos. Finally, I focused more on creating bodybuilding videos than on myself.
The station has become a massive part of my life. In terms of income, it was my full-time job and my main source of income for 2017, 2018 and now 2019. The YouTube revenue for my channel (excluding sponsorship and advertising content) is in the six-digit range. [From] 2012-2016 (the beginning) I did almost nothing. Maybe like $ 100 a year or something. It all started as a hobby, with no expectation of ever having an actual income from it. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in health sciences in the spring of 2017, and by that time I've already earned a lot more than I would have done in an entry-level job in this field. time.
When did you notice that your videos were really on the rise?
In the beginning, the main focus of my channel was bodybuilding history. The main inspiration for this was my father. My dad had given me tons of old-school bodybuilding books, magazines, and even a few videos and was very interested in the history of the sport. When I realized that there was a big demand for bodybuilding videos, I wanted to tell stories about the history of bodybuilding. So most of my early content was about telling stories about old-school bodybuilders and bodybuilding contests. (In addition, many commentators had mentioned that they enjoyed my videos because of my voice.)
The first massive growth I experienced on my channel was when I had my first "viral video". The video was titled "What happened to Scott Steiner's Chest? "And there were about 5 million views. This month, my channel almost doubled with almost 50,000 subscribers. At that moment, I realized that a big key to growth is not just consistent uploading, but also the occasional emergence of "viral" topics that increase the number of views and subscribers. As I write this, over 725,000 subscribers in my channel are viewed 300 million times. The first time I realized that my channel really became something was the Arnold Classic Expo 2016, where people approached me and asked for photos.
I'm constantly changing my content and adjusting it to what the onlookers want to see. I've developed from bodybuilding history to intense coverage of competitions and have now become a mix of daily news and current events, videos and competition coverage. I've found that current events are the most sustainable form of video that many people want to see. History videos are finite, but there's always a new story to talk about in current events.
What is the time required and what is it like to stay up to date around the clock?
I think many people have no idea how much time is spent on delivering a channel of this size and publishing daily content. Honestly, it's a 24/7 job, but as far as the actual time frame is concerned, nothing has to be done for at least five to six hours a day other than to search for videos, stories, videos, read comments, respond to comments etc. Most in-channels of my size work with employees or some kind of staff to help them with comments, research, brainstorming, and editing. But I'm the only person who runs my channel. I have no employees, only me, in an office with three computers. Which I do not mind at all; In fact, I enjoy it and I am grateful that I am in the position I am in.
And obviously I love the bodybuilding sport, so I enjoy being so involved in the community and in current events.
What was the biggest mistake you made early?
The biggest mistake I make while posting so many videos may be that I'm reporting misinformation or not researching enough about a topic. But with nearly 2,000 videos uploaded to my channel, it's almost impossible to make everything perfect. But this is what I work on every day to make sure I do my best research before making a video on a topic.
How much hate (or love) did you get? the bodybuilders themselves? What's the worst thing that one of them said to him?
Surprisingly, the response from the pros was overwhelmingly positive. Because I go to exhibitions, I have to meet the bodybuilders I'm making videos about. And I've never met a bodybuilder who personally told me something negative. And I pretty much hit everyone. Jay Cutler is one of the guys that sets me apart. When I met him at the Arnold Classic this year, he made a video with me and said a lot of positive things about me and my channel. He even said he subscribed to himself and check every day for the latest bodybuilding news. Or at this year's Indy Pro, for example, professionals came up to me and introduced themselves, and even some who seemed excited to meet me. And that was a surreal feeling.
Also in terms of social media, it was mostly positive. On Instagram, the vast majority of top professionals follow me on Instagram and I have regular conversations with many of them, whether they are open bodybuilders, classic competitors or men's competitors. I am in direct contact with many of them. Some of them even ask me for advice on how to expand their own YouTube channels, and I'm happy to help. The biggest minus was the situation with Phil Heath, but for the most part almost no negativity of the pros.
Talk a little bit about the problem you had with Phil Heath. Was there any concern that this could affect your access to other bodybuilders in the future?
The problem with Phil was not a badge of honor for me at all. I reported a story that was public and was posted by a public figure (NFL player, Jimmy Kennedy) about another public figure (Phil Heath). Ignoring the details, this NFL player accused Phil of stealing from him. So I made a video about the story. I did not voice my opinion, made any allegations and made it clear that everything was just an accusation. As always, a story came out and I reported it on my channel. Shortly after the video was released, Phil sent me a direct message that I would learn about the video from his lawyer. And in fact, his lawyer sent me an essentially threatening email in the sense of "remove video or else". I felt like I was not doing anything wrong, and I had the right to report the story. So I did not take the video down. I want you to know that I did not intend to defame Phil, and I'm confident that no part of my video can be considered defamation. That was almost a year ago, and I never heard from Phil or his lawyers after that. But I will say that several professionals have contacted me to represent my site.
However, I think if Phil had followed me and sued me, it would have legitimized my channel's impact on the bodybuilding world. Not necessarily a badge of honor, but I do not believe that ever in the history of bodybuilding a Mr. Olympia has sued a member of the media.
Do things out of your control – such as changing YouTube algorithms – make you nervous?
As YouTube keeps changing, algorithms are always in the back of your mind. There is a sense that as creators, they lack "job security" because they change their policies and algorithms so often. But at the end of the day, I really enjoy what I do, and even if I'm massively rewarded or totally demonized by the algorithms, I would still be making videos because I love it.
What's next? ?
I hope that 1 million subscribers will be reached next. I want to help bodybuilding reach a new audience, and there's never been a bodybuilding reporting channel to reach 1 million subscribers, and I plan to be the first. I also want to start traveling to more shows and cover more shows personally. At the moment I only visit a handful of pro shows and some amateur shows a year. But I enjoy it more and more every year because so many people want to meet me.
Another big plan I have for my channel after attaining 1 million is to start interviews. It's something I've held back because I did not want bodybuilders to use them for views. I want them to feel that they are gaining something by entering my channel. And if I had over 1 million subscribers, the publicity they would gain through a job interview might be even more useful to them than mine. Just as actors and musicians perform on talk shows when they want to introduce themselves or a movie or project they are working on. So I want to do that in the form of a podcast. Perhaps something similar to the Joe Rogan Experience . Build a professional studio and everything.