TubeTalk: Your YouTube How-To Guide

Dominating Your YouTube Niche with Richard Corbett from Wheels2Walking

July 02, 2020 Liron Segev; Richard Corbett Season 3 Episode 219
TubeTalk: Your YouTube How-To Guide
Dominating Your YouTube Niche with Richard Corbett from Wheels2Walking
Chapters
TubeTalk: Your YouTube How-To Guide
Dominating Your YouTube Niche with Richard Corbett from Wheels2Walking
Jul 02, 2020 Season 3 Episode 219
Liron Segev; Richard Corbett

"I don't want to be pigeonholed" is something I hear often from YouTubers.
I find this strange.
Being pigeonholed essentially means that you are THE expert on a topic, why would you NOT want to be that?

Being niche on YouTube means that you become known for that niche. So whenever people want that info, they instantly know where to look!

But how do you dominate a niche? Is YouTube too saturated so every niche is taken?

I chat with Shorty Award winner, Richard Corbett from Wheels2Walking, about his inspiring story and how he created an amazing channel!

On today's TubeTalk episode you will learn:

  • How circumstances can lead to inspiration
  • How to focus on your audience and deal with haters
  • How you are the brand in your niche
  • How to collaborate with other channels

Make sure you check out Richard's channels here:
Website: https://Wheels2Walking.com
YouTube: https://YouTube.com/wheels2walking
Instagram: https://Instagram.com/wheels2walking
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/wheels2walking


This show is hosted by Liron Segev who is a Tech Blogger, YouTuber, and the Director of customer success at vidIQ. If you have any questions, please feel free to email liron@vidiq.com

Show Notes Transcript

"I don't want to be pigeonholed" is something I hear often from YouTubers.
I find this strange.
Being pigeonholed essentially means that you are THE expert on a topic, why would you NOT want to be that?

Being niche on YouTube means that you become known for that niche. So whenever people want that info, they instantly know where to look!

But how do you dominate a niche? Is YouTube too saturated so every niche is taken?

I chat with Shorty Award winner, Richard Corbett from Wheels2Walking, about his inspiring story and how he created an amazing channel!

On today's TubeTalk episode you will learn:

  • How circumstances can lead to inspiration
  • How to focus on your audience and deal with haters
  • How you are the brand in your niche
  • How to collaborate with other channels

Make sure you check out Richard's channels here:
Website: https://Wheels2Walking.com
YouTube: https://YouTube.com/wheels2walking
Instagram: https://Instagram.com/wheels2walking
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/wheels2walking


This show is hosted by Liron Segev who is a Tech Blogger, YouTuber, and the Director of customer success at vidIQ. If you have any questions, please feel free to email liron@vidiq.com

Liron Segev:

We all talk about dominating your niche, being niche within your niche, being able to own that topic, and today's guest on Tube Talk has done exactly that. Not only does he have a super inspirational story, but he's got some amazing tips and tricks to share with us. So if you want to know how to dominate your niche, well, this episode is for you. Let's do this.

And welcome to another episode of Tube Talk. My name is Liron Segev. I'm a tech blogger, a YouTuber, and the director of customer success here at Vid IQ, where every day we help creators big and small level up their channels, get more subscribers, more views in less time. So dominating a niche on YouTube seems to be pretty darn difficult, and that's one of those common things that we hear all the time, saying it's too saturated, it's too late, I'm never going to make it. Well I'm here to tell you that that is not true. So today I'm sitting with Richard Corbett, who's going to be telling us all about his channel and how he managed to dominate any entire niche, and on top of which he won a Shorty Award. Insane staff. This is incredible. You guys are going to dig it. Richard, welcome to Tube Talk.

Richard Corbett:

Hi Liron. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here.

Liron Segev:

So we've got to start at the top. So I always like to start with this question, who is Richard in a tweet?

Richard Corbett:

Oh, that's complicated, but I'll just give you my little spiel that I tell people when I meet them in person. So what I say is I make videos for newly injured wheelchair users to help them improve their quality of life and regain independence. My primary target audience is new wheelchair users, and really what inspired me to do that was when I first got hurt, I was frantically searching the internet, and at the time YouTube wasn't very big and Facebook wasn't even doing videos, and I was looking for what my future could look like, what my life could look like, and I unfortunately didn't find anything, and through the consecutive years I made a bunch of really bad decisions and a lot of bad mistakes and went down a long and rocky path, and luckily I've made it out of that dark place and I can now share my experience, strength, and hope with people, hoping to prevent them from making all the mistakes that I made.

Liron Segev:

So I love this. Now I normally save this bit to the end when I say to you, "Hey, where can people find you?" But I think it's important for people to fire up your channel whilst they're listening to us. So what is your YouTube channel so people can go to it right now?

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, if you want to just jump on YouTube and type in Wheels2Walking. So Wheels2Walking.

Liron Segev:

All right. So now that they're doing that, take us through your YouTube channel. If I go to your YouTube channel now, what can I expect to find? And maybe give us a bit of a backstory. What happened?

Richard Corbett:

So January 18, 2010, I was out for a run, and here in Atlanta, Georgia, we have underground parking decks, and I ... through an exhaust vent where they kind of let out all the carbon oxide so no one suffocates or passes out, I fell into one of those holes. I fell 50 feet, broke both my legs, smashed my spine in a bunch of different places, split my sternum open, and my elbow had turned to powder and that left me with a spinal cord injury and I was paralyzed from the waist down, and luckily I had no internal injuries and no brain injuries, but a very long road to recovery, and when I was in the hospital, like I'd briefly mentioned earlier, I was searching around trying to find what my future could look like.

Richard Corbett:

So I would search words like wheelchair or paraplegic or spinal cord injury, because those were words that related to who I am or how I identified or how my injury had identified, and unfortunately I didn't find much. There wasn't a lot of information out there. The only way I was actually able to make it out of that was through a pretty terrible mental health crisis where I had a really insane manic episode and the police got involved and I was basically arrested into a mental health institution, and while being there, I was able to cope and get therapy and get properly medicated and learn how to deal with my mind that I had so long neglected, and it was another three years after that, and I found myself really ashamed of my past. I'm like, "Okay, I'm this guy in a wheelchair, but I don't want people to know that story. I also have mental health issues. I don't want people to know about that. I've got a past drug addiction. I don't want them to know about that."

Richard Corbett:

So I pretty much made myself invisible online. I wanted to be completely invisible. I had no social media presence. I had nothing, and it was I want to say the summer of 2017, my nephew came into town and my sister wanted to see what we were up to. So I downloaded Instagram and we started just kind of doing the little Instagram stories about what we were up to and I just really fell in love with Instagram. I liked what was going on there and I started uploading some little workout videos here and there, and when I would go to a concert or I'd take a picture, but even still, I was pretty shy about showing the wheelchair and I was pretty shy about talking about my past and whatnot.

Richard Corbett:

Then I was invited onto a friend of mine's podcast, who's actually now my producer and partner at Wheels2Walking, and he for the very first time gave me the opportunity to tell my story publicly from the top to the bottom, and in that moment I realized that, "Wow, I think I've got something special here. I just need to find a place to say it. I've got a great story. I've got a lot to say, but I don't know where I want to say it," and at the time I was pretty heavily watching Casey Neistat and I really loved his perspective on life and his daily vlogs, and he used to always talk about you don't have to be an interesting person, you just have to have a unique perspective, and I thought, "Okay, I've got a unique perspective. Let me grab a little Cannon G7X and a little Gorilla pod and just kind of start filming the things that I already do, but I do differently cause I'm a wheelchair user."

Richard Corbett:

So if that's grocery shopping or if that's driving or if that's going to a concert, I just wanted to kind of show what I was doing, and those videos responded really, really well, and this was before I understood tags, titles, descriptions, thumbnails. I didn't know anything. I was just slapping it on the website and seeing if people would watch it, and they were, and they were responding phenomenally, to the point where I took a step back and I go, "Oh, this might be my thing. I could probably turn this into a career. I could probably turn this into a business," and I looked real deeply into all the people that were regularly uploading inside the wheelchair niche and I knew that I could do better. I knew I could do a lot better, and so I got my producer Andrew along, and he's the one who shoots and edits all the videos, because it's kind of difficult to shoot a video while you're pushing a wheelchair at the same time.

Liron Segev:

Yes.

Richard Corbett:

And we strive for consistent, quality content that is educational and entertaining, and the type of stuff that you can find on our page is everything from daily activities of living, to adaptive wheelchair adventures, things about a wheelchair relationship advice, or even just guides to buying stuff for your wheelchair. I also have a really fun playlist called wheelchair basics, which is everything from how to push her wheelchair, how to do wheelies, how to do transfers, how to do maintenance on your wheelchair, because I really deeply feel for the lack of knowledge there is.

Liron Segev:

Yes.

Richard Corbett:

Because no one thinks they're going to get paralyzed. No one thinks they're going to be a wheelchair user. No one prepares for this. It happens in the blink of an eye. It just ... boom, it's there, and I wanted to make sure that no one had to go through what I went through with the lack of resources. So from the very beginning, I strived to be the result that came up whenever people would search for those things that I was searching for when I first got hurt. So if you kind of see how I strategically use the titles, they're usually in the form of questions, because a lot of times people are asking questions to YouTube or asking questions to Google and whatnot.

Liron Segev:

Wow, okay. So I mean there was a lot of looking out there to seeing what's available and then deciding, "Hold on, I can do this better. I can do it in my own style. I'm unique. I'm going to share my point of view," which I love that. That's the mistake a lot of people are making today. They want to be like a Casey Neistat, so they copy Casey. They wanted to be a Peter McKinnon and do amazing videography, but instead of being themselves, they're being a carbon copy of Peter McKinnon, And that's the mistake. You didn't do that. You wanted to make your content, make it your own, make it from your point of view, your perspective, and you knew you could do better, and that's great. It's about dominating and owning the content and making content first, and I love what you said earlier that it was, "I knew nothing about YouTube, but I knew about the content and I made content and people loved it."

Liron Segev:

And I think that is a critical, critical message to all that are out there. We're so busy trying to work a hack or an algorithm or a way that YouTube will send us more love, where a lot of people are simply forgetting that quality content will always win, because people love it, they share it, they give all their beautiful signals to YouTube, YouTube then distributes it. So I think you've done ... whether by accident or on purpose, but it seems like there was some purpose, there was a mission, but you went full into this and I think giving people a perspective into your daily life, I think that's great. That is something that we need. Are you still finding that there is almost a stigma associated with a wheelchair or are you finding the people are much more in a different head space these days?

Richard Corbett:

I think in general, in public, all people with disabilities are looked at as mysteries, and a lot of people are genuinely curious, and I know this because people look and stare and point and will walk up to me and ask me very abrupt, obtrusive questions, and a lot of those things, I also try to put into my content as well, because one of the big things that I wanted to do with the channel was to hopefully normalize and de-stigmatize disability and wheelchair users, because I'm the same guy. I'm just sitting down. My wheels are my legs. It doesn't change anything. I'm fiercely independent. I'm very confident. I can work really hard. I'm not any of these stereotypes that you see in Hollywood or stereotypes that maybe you saw as a child. Maybe you saw a grandparent or an elderly person, and that's just not who I am.

Richard Corbett:

I'm the type of individual who ... I work out every day. I have a loving relationship. I live alone. I have pets. I'm greatly connected with my family. I'm a contributing member of society. I've got a job. I think I break all the stereotypes. So that is something that I wanted to put out there as well, because there seems to be this stigma around it, very similar to ... I think there's stigma around mental health and I think there's stigma around addiction, and although the wheelchair is just the first thing you see and the wheelchair is the thing that I mainly talk about in my videos, I very frequently, especially on Instagram and also through a series of emails, I've written called The Untold Story, I talk a lot about my challenges and struggles and difficulties with mental health and with addiction, because my story is not uncommon, unfortunately, and I hope to make it uncommon.

Richard Corbett:

I hope that when people are laid up in the hospital, either a peer or a physical therapist or a doctor, or maybe just by their own volition, searching on the internet, going, "Can I have a kid as a wheelchair user? Can I drive as a wheelchair user? Can I go to concerts? Can I go grocery shopping? Can I get a girlfriend?" All these questions, because our future was taken from us. It was, in a blink of a moment, gone. Every vision we had for the future was vanished, and that's a really sad place to be. There's a lot of hope that vanishes with that and I aspire to make sure that no one else had to feel that way, because I remember how horrible it was for me.

Liron Segev:

Because at the end of the day, you can have loving people around you, but if you yourself aren't feeling it, that's still your life, and the fact that you have this outlet and you're openly sharing it, I think that's inspiring and a lot of people will really, really kind of resonate with the story. "There is hope for my future." How is your audience and your community that you're building around your channel? Are you finding you're getting lots of love? Are you finding you're getting hater?

Richard Corbett:

I've got a mix of everything. So I am what I would consider myself a lot of sub genres. So first of all, on YouTube, I'm a guy. That's the first thing, and second, I'm a wheelchair user. Third, I'm a person with a disability. We could go down the list, and the thing is in the world of disability, very similar to the world of LGBTQ+, because there's a lot of diversity, there's a lot of quarreling within the communities. So there are certain things about who I am and what I do and what I say that will get nitpicked to the ground and completely ripped to shreds, and people have special private Facebook groups where all they do is just trash talk me all day, but on the other side of that, I've got a very, very, very strong community of people on my side that I've been fortunate enough and lucky enough to be in a position to quite literally change their lives for the good forever.

Richard Corbett:

So I never really get bothered too much with the people that are real negative or haters or don't like what I'm doing, because I think if they just took enough time to stop and look and listen and pay attention to what I'm doing, they would know that I've got a really big heart. The biggest controversial thing about me is that I have the ability to stand and walk sometimes, and I was able to achieve that with about two and a half years of extremely intensive physical therapy, and even though I do have the ability to stand and walk, I still choose to use the wheelchair because it is way more effective and it's way more efficient. I have more freedom. I have more independence. I am way more happy and complete as a human being as a wheelchair user versus trying to walk around on crutches and being really slow and not being able to carry things and being in a lot of pain.

Richard Corbett:

And I've got a couple of videos where I address that, and those are the videos that usually people are the most upset about, which I find interesting, because ... so I'm able to do the thing that they can't. However, that's the one thing that they have been trying hard to do for years and years and years and years, and I was in a unique position where for the first six years of my injury ... and I've got a whole video about this ... I wasn't able to walk at all, and it was only after I got cleaned up off the drugs, I got my mental health right, I got my nutrition right, I started working out, did my body start to wake up, and so I have the perspective of both sides. I have the perspective of the person who doesn't have the option to stand and walk, but now I have the perspective of someone who can, and even more recently in December, I was hit by a car and that two and a half years of progress has pretty much gone away because I got my leg broken. I'm still healing up from that right now.

Liron Segev:

Well if it's not one thing, it's another.

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, it's a lot of ebbs and flows, and I'm actually in the process of cultivating a new video right now. So I've got one video that's why I use a wheelchair if I can walk. I've got another video that's why a wheelchair is better than walking, and I'm currently working on the third version, because my mobility has changed to the point where walking is an option, but it is beyond excruciating that I don't even mess with it anymore. It's just something that I don't even play with, and it would take another two and a half years probably to fix, and I'm currently really busy with my relationship with my girlfriend and my YouTube channel right now.

Liron Segev:

Yes, with life, with life as a whole, right?

Richard Corbett:

Absolutely. Yeah, and I tell that, I teach that a lot to my guys. I say, "Hey, listen, when you first get hurt, you are going to want to walk again, and that's good. You need to have that ambition. You need to have that drive, but don't forget about the rest of your life. You don't have to have your legs back in order to get your life back. You can have a new compelling future without the need to walk," and the evidence is my videos. You can look, you can see it, you can watch that.

Liron Segev:

That's critical, critical, and this is what YouTube is such a great platform. You're working on three amazing videos as we speak, right now recording those podcasts. You've got a whole library of anything and everything, from beginnings, you've got automated wheelchairs, you got hacks and tricks. You've got absolutely every single thing that somebody would want to know, that if they're in that position, look at this, it is possible, but you got a good community around you, and so good that you won a Shorty Award. So we have to address that. So tell me -

Richard Corbett:

Yes, let's please.

Liron Segev:

- how many subscribers have you got on your channel as of the time of recording this?

Richard Corbett:

Right now I have 79,000.

Liron Segev:

Just so we're clear, Shorty Awards is like ... would you say it's like the Oscars for YouTubers and content creators?

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, I would say it's the equivalent of the Oscars or the Grammy's or the Academy Awards or something along those lines for -

Liron Segev:

It's a big deal.

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, and not just for YouTube, for all of social media.

Liron Segev:

Yes. It is a big deal. Shorties are a huge thing that if you are nominated for a Shorty, it means somebody has seen you, has acknowledged you, and the community has acknowledged you, but you did one better. You weren't just nominated, you won the Shorty.

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, it was crazy. I remember one afternoon we just got done shooting a video and I was with my producer and I was on Instagram and I go, "Dude, Shorty Awards just followed us," and he goes, "Nu-uh." I do, "Yeah, they did," and I go, "That's kind of cool," and I didn't think much of it, and then I got a comment on one of my videos three or four days later that was like, "Alert! Announcement, everyone. Richard has been nominated for a Shorty Award in the health and wellness category. Go vote for him now," and I go, "You've got to be kidding me." I went to look and sure enough, I was there, and I was alongside some titans, and I thought to myself, "No way I'm going to be able to pull this off, but you know what? Getting nominated is cool enough. I'm going to do this to the best of my ability."

Richard Corbett:

So I put out a video saying, "Hey, everybody, I've been nominated. This is how you can vote. Yada, yada, whatever. It's such a great honor," and we just left it that, and then we got an announcement that we made it to the finals, and again, I was kind of baffled. I thought, "No way. Now we can say that not only we're nominated, but we also have the finalists," and due to COVID-19 and everything that's going on, unfortunately we couldn't go to New York City. We couldn't be a part of the ceremony. We couldn't do all the networking. The producer of Shorty Awards reached out to me and in as lawyer language as he possibly could, basically said, "Hey, you won, don't tell anybody. We're going to send you a package and could you send an acceptance video to us?"

Richard Corbett:

And I just couldn't believe it. I said, "You've got to be kidding me. This is insane. How in the world did I just win a Shorty Award and I don't even have a silver play button yet?" I haven't even hit my 100K mark yet, and that's insane to me, because I think people on YouTube, there's certain milestones we hit. Our first 1000, our first trending page, or at least our first browse or suggested video, all these little milestones that we reach. Okay, there's the silver play button, but some way, somehow with the combination of the consistent quality content that we've put out and the fierce loyalty of my audience, we were able to get the attention of the Realtime Academy and they thought that we were worthy. So what do you know? Here we are.

Liron Segev:

Wow. Wow. Wow. Congrats. I think that is huge, huge, huge and it's a good inspiration, but I'm not surprised. If you think about your story and everything that you're putting out there into the world, this is just part of that journey. It's not about, "Hey, when I get to a million subscribers, I'm going to start inspiring people," or, "When I get to 500,000, I'll start doing brand deals." You're just proving that time and time again, making good content, authentic content that is you, that you're proud to stand behind, stands the test of time, and this is yet another indicator that not only your audience loves you, but now you've got that recognition. What I really loved was your acceptance speech and the parts that you made in your own video on your channel. You said my "My Shorty Award came broken. Look, even my Shorty Award is disabled." I thought that was classic.

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, it was a perfect situation. I couldn't help but laugh and think to myself, "Oh, perfect, a disabled Shorty Award for a disabled YouTuber."

Liron Segev:

That's just brilliant. If somebody says to you now, "Look, I'd love to share my story. I'd love to share my message, but man, everything is so saturated. I can never stand out." What do you say to that person?

Richard Corbett:

Well, I just try to explain to them that they are the niche, and you have to kind of break yourself down in marketing terms as to who you are. So for example, I have a friend and he's into fitness and cooking and he's a Southern boy who wears flannels and cowboy hats, and he was having a hard time making his way into the fitness niche and he had tried a bunch of different ways and he's going, "Man, this thing is so saturated. How in the world can I get attention? No one's paying attention. No one wants to do my cookbook. Yada, yada," and I just looked at him and I said, "How are you not cowboy fit right now? So you mean to tell me that every country boy who used to be fat, who wants to be skinny, just like you, that's your story, you mean to tell me that you can't sing along to country songs, you can't wear a cowboy hat and you can't work out and cook at the same time?"

Richard Corbett:

That is your niche, in the same way for me ... so I'm a male, 18-34, who's an active paraplegic wheelchair user with a spinal cord injury. So you can take three to four things about yourself and who you are, and then always strategically use those terms in your titles, in your tags, in your content, in your branding, in your messaging, and now he's doing great because he decided, "You know what, I'm going to be the dude with his shirt off, wearing a cowboy hat, flipping pancakes to country music while teaching you how to work out at the same time." So a lot of people don't realize they don't have to pick a niche, they are the niche. You just have to figure out who you are in marketing terms and then go from there.

Liron Segev:

That is superb. My favorite expression is, "Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken."

Richard Corbett:

Yes.

Liron Segev:

And that's what it boils down to. You managed to pick out the qualities that it's him and just expose those and just say, "Hey, use those. Use those to your advantage. That is who you are, and therefore people are going to fall in love with that and they're going to subscribe if you make good content, authentic content that is you." Perfect.

Richard Corbett:

Yeah, and we did research. We looked all up and down every social media platform using the keywords and search terms that we described to him and we couldn't find anything, and I said, "There you go. There's your hole." I think small is big these days. I think the smaller you are, the more you can do, and I really think that tiny audiences are not to be underestimated in any way, shape, or form.

Liron Segev:

Completely. Completely. The micro influencer is big these days. It's a loyal following, loyal audience. You don't have to have bazillions of followers. Collaborations, are you into them? Are you not into them? Do you think you should be working other channels? Or do you think you should just be doing your own thing? Any advice on those?

Richard Corbett:

I think you should collaborate with everyone, even if they're not someone who's big on social media or even has their own YouTube channel, because if you can find someone else that is also in your niche and introduce your audience to them, your audience is more willing to trust you because you are not afraid to show and work with other people. We're in a unique place right now where authenticity and vulnerability is being rewarded. There was a time when fakeness and inauthenticity was rewarded, and the best way that I can tell my story to my audience is to tell my story to the people I'm collaborating with, and the people I'm collaborating with can tell their story to me and therefore tell their story to my audience, and I try to collaborate with anyone I possibly can.

Richard Corbett:

I like collaborating with other wheelchair users because that's primarily my niche, and I like trying to do any type of adaptive action adventure or even just a conversation, but I think it shouldn't be a competition. I think it should be a collaboration, and I think a rising tide raises all ships and it shouldn't be any type of fear, because if you hang onto something, if you're really selfish with something, if you don't share, then no one will share with you, and I tried to do my best to uplift my community as much as possible.

Liron Segev:

So you've hit all the right tips. You've given us all great information. If people want to find out more, they want to follow your journey, they want to see what you're up to, see how you do that pull up on chains with your wheelchair still attached ... that's amazing.

Richard Corbett:

Thanks.

Liron Segev:

Where can people find you? Hit us up with some links here.

Richard Corbett:

The best place to jump to is my website. That's Wheels2Walking. That has all access to all of my social medias. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, all Wheels2Walking. Same with Patreon, and also I've got a podcast as well. So if you enjoyed listening to this podcast and you're a podcast listener and you've made it all the way to the end, go check out the Wheels2Walking podcast, and you can also find that at wheels2walking.com/podcast.

Liron Segev:

Fantastic, and guys, of course everything will be in the show notes and the transcription. So if you want to, just simply clickity click on those links. So Richard, thank you very much for hanging out with us. It's been really, really awesome. Lots of amazing, valuable tips. Cannot wait to see what you come up with next. A hundred thousand is around the corner, right?

Richard Corbett:

Yeah. We've got about 21,000 to go, but honestly I'm not counting. I'm just enjoying making consistent quality content for everyone, and I really appreciate you having me on the show and look forward to catching up with you later, Liron.

Liron Segev:

Absolutely, and guys, for the rest of you still hanging out here, make sure you hit that subscribe button in your favorite podcast application. Don't forget to share this episode with at least one other creator who is perhaps a bit confused, a bit lost along the journey, think that maybe they're in a situation that's very unique to them and they cannot make any headways. This will inspire them greatly to get off that couch and shoot that video. Upload, that's the most important thing. Thanks for hanging out and we'll catch you on the next episode of Tube Talk.