What Casey Neistat and His Daily Vlog Taught Me about Startup Marketing

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By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)

There are three types of people, those who love Casey Neistat, those who don’t get Casey Neistat, and those who live under a rock and have never heard of Casey Neistat.

Casey Neistat - 6/1/2015 - New York, New York - 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards - Arrivals held at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***

I subscribe to the first group, this post is written for the second group, and as far as the third group? Where have you been? Open YouTube, search for Casey, and watch… Thank me later!

And now, a little background. Approximately a year ago, I was at Techcrunch Disrupt in New York. Among the many celebrity speakers, Casey walked into the room and the crowd responded as if Elvis had arrived.

I had previously heard of Casey from the tech press talking about his startup, Beme.

At that point, I was part of the second group, I didn’t get the fascination. Then I started watching Casey on YouTube and within a matter of days, I was hooked.

For those who still don’t know who Casey is, he is a video blogger who has the fastest growing channel on Youtube. He has transformed himself from a young troublemaker of a kid to a full-blown celebrity.

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I am not sure exactly how to emphasize how influential Casey is, besides saying that he works with some of the leading brands in the world and as soon as he wears an article of clothing in one of his videos that article sells out almost instantly.

Casey has made some very viral videos including one about a $21,000 plane ticket, and one about a human carrying drone. That was his last insane project.

Big news recently when CNN announced that they will be acquiring Casey and the Beme team, but prior to that, Casey was producing a daily video blog on YouTube which I consumed daily.

When trying to explain to colleagues why they must watch Casey, I always get the same question, “What does he vlog about?”

I proceed to explain that he generates content about life, including career, family, a whole lot of vegan food, and many many gadgets. That is when the person I’m speaking to looks at me with an overly confused expression on their face, as if to say “Um, ok, and I should waste my time watching him because…?”

Of course more often than not, that person does end up watching Casey and like me, does end up falling in love and getting slightly addicted to Casey’s content. I thought to myself, this is a very interesting lesson to me, the entrepreneurs I work with, and startups in general.

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After all, Casey is producing highly distributed content and has become a global brand of unprecedented proportions, and yet, all he does is talk about life. Anyone can talk about life!

Of course Casey now has access to highly advanced photography equipment including drones, advanced cameras, 360 cameras and much more. But that was not always the case… Casey began his career by using all his savings and buying his very first camera with which he filmed his first movie that ended up selling to HBO for a whole lotta dough.

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What are some lessons we as entrepreneurs can learn from Casey Neistat’s successful career?

Content Wins

Again, if you do not watch Casey’s videos, I highly recommend you do. The type of content Casey generates on a daily basis for the past several years is nothing short of brilliant. The creativity that goes into his actual production is astounding. Whether it’s the drone photography, the soundtrack, the energy level, the charisma, or any other component of his videos. Brilliant.

The content is engaging, slightly addictive, and you have to stick around to see what comes next. There is no reason you, as an entrepreneur, as a startup, cannot generate creative content.

Casey did not come with some fancy Hollywood producer to produce these videos. He came with his creativity, his extremely insane work ethic, and a whole lot of passion. And he nailed it. You can too…

Consistency is Key

I am sure many marketers would disagree with this statement, but I stand by it. If you have to choose between generating long-form content once a month, or daily blog posts that are easy to consume, I choose B.

Quantity, at least in terms of the way the Internet works, is often more important than quality.

Casey, day in and day out, for years, despite paying a heavy price in his personal life, generated extremely high-quality video content for his audience. Consistency is everything.

I don’t care if you’re blogging, vlogging, podcasting, or just generating content on the social web, if I follow you, I want consistently good content.

On the other hand, if you generate a fantastic article with 5000 words, and I read it, and enjoy it, and then the next day I come back to your blog and there is nothing there, you lost me.

It is a sad reality, but no one said it would be easy. You need to capture, retain, and re-engage your audience every day, sometimes every hour.

It’s all about Creativity

As I mentioned above, Casey never generated content about deep philosophical issues, or world peace. All Casey did was told a good story. It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it.

On a practical level, what that means for you is if you are not creative, then find someone who is to manage your content as a startup. Because at the end of the day, no one is interested in a good story unless it’s told in an engaging manner. Casey wrote the book on engaging content.

The Only Thing Stopping You is… You

I remember several years ago there was a meme going around Facebook talking about all the excuses that Steve Jobs had, and yet how he went on to change the world. The same is true for Casey.


I’m not going to go into detail because he has generated many videos on the topic, but Casey did not have an easy childhood, nor did he have access to resources a.k.a. money when he started his career. Casey had many excuses to sit back, be lazy, and not do anything significant. Despite that, Casey went on to inspire millions of people on the Internet.

Not to sound too much like Gary Vaynerchuk, but if you want something, and you’re truly passionate about it, there is no reason to not go after it and achieve it.

Casey taught me that, and has personally inspired me to take my photography/video production up a notch. I am a little bit weak on the consistency point I mentioned above, but my video editing skills are not quite on par with Casey’s. Yet!

Pay Attention to Trends

Casey started his video career in mainstream media, but quickly transitioned to YouTube after realizing that is where the puck is going.

For example, if your content strategy is focused on one platform and you see the market telling you that another platform, such as Snapchat, is exploding, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your strategy.

While consistency is super important, as stated above, you don’t work in an abyss, and it is important to keep your finger on the pulse of the market. What is your audience telling you? What do they want and how do they want it? Be agile, be flexible, which leads me to my next point.

Werk, Werk, Werk!

If you think you work hard, try editing hours of footage into a 15 minute video every day for 700 days straight. Casey’s work ethic is absolutely unparalleled, and what we see now is the return on the tremendous investment.

Often it is human nature to see the result of something and assume that result just came to be. That is never the case. For example, on a much smaller scale, when it comes to me, people now see the ROI of my many many years of blogging, which for those many years generated absolutely no returns. They see the result, but they like to ignore the investment.

I am not going to give you the whole shpiel about hustle and grind, but if you think sustainable success is achieved with no hard work, I have some news for you. Yes, Casey is now a mega celebrity with fame and fortune, but he started from nothing, from less than nothing, and built it up with his own hands.

I am not sure if you can tell, but I am somewhat of a Casey fan boy. But that’s the thing! I am not alone. There are millions of Casey fanboys around the world.

That, perhaps, is the final and most important lesson Casey can teach us all. Be personable, be relatable, be likable, be approachable. That is how you build a world-class brand!

It is January 4th, 2017 and my whole FB feed is full of New Years resolutions. Mine is to meet Casey and give the guy a hug. He might even convince me to go vegan. Ok, let’s not get carried away, even Casey’s influence has its limits

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hilzfuld

Hillel is Co Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at ZCast, a company taking on the pain of modern audio broadcasting. Hillel also blogs for many influential sites including TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat, and others.

Additionally, Hillel mentors startups across Israel in different accelerators including The Google Launchpad, the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, Techstars, The Junction, and more.

Hillel has been named Israel’s top marketer, has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, and many others and was recently added by Google to its marketing experts program. You can find and talk to Hillel on Twitter. He is @Hilzfuld.