Real Estate YouTube Spotlight: Will Friedner of “Living in Montana”

real estate youtube case study for realtors
Founder of InboundREM an inbound marketing lead generation company focused on SEO. Blogger. Real Estate SEO expert. Real Estate Lead Generation expert. Real estate online marketing fanatic. Podcaster. Occasional public speaker and frequent vlogger.

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🥇Model Real Estate Agent YouTuber for Going Viral

“95% of my leads come from YouTube, and about 95% of my YouTube traffic is from one video…I should have started a YouTube channel 10 years ago.”

Will’s YouTube Channel “Living in Montana” is another great example of a real estate YouTuber with immediate and explosive success. After 10 months, his channel had gained 36,000 subscribers and over 3 million views. After another year, those numbers doubled.

The majority of his success is due to one viral video that he created in the infancy of his channel. Read on to find out how he (somewhat inadvertently) hacked the system.

Millions of Views for Under $500

If you’d like to listen to the podcast, check it out on Apple Podcasts. It explains in detail how Will managed to create a super viral video and generated 2500 channel subscriptions in a single day with $60 of video equipment and a few hundred on editing software.

But you can find all the highlights and more here.

How to Recreate the Success of “Living in Montana”

1. Amazing YouTube SEO Hack

The first thing I notice about Will’s real estate YouTube channel is how a single video is so dominant that it drives all the digital marketing leads his small brokerage of 3 people needs.

The video has 3.5 million views, even though Montana only has 1 million residents. Find that video above.

It’s no coincidence that the channel name and top video title share the phrase “Living in Montana”.

So what happened? Well, in his modesty, Will tends to attribute his success to luck when interviewed. But the fact is, whether knowingly or unknowingly, he set himself up to go viral.

Living in Montana

See how the TOP 10 YouTube video results for “Living in Montana” belong to Will’s channel? Recreate his success by naming your channel after a juicy search term for your market. Use a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs to research.

Using SEO Metrics

Ahrefs reports that 1100 people search YouTube every month for this phrase. Two years ago, when Will first published the now-viral video, there was no YouTube content targeting this super juicy keyword. He created a channel name based around this single keyword.

Then he created a 7-minute video talking about Montana’s disadvantages like dangerous animals, the problems with local laws, treacherous weather, everyday inconveniences, and change-resistant people. He titled it using the same keyword, and the rest is history.

Setting up the channel and posting that single video probably took about one day of work. It’s my understanding that he didn’t name the channel or video in light of keyword or SEO research.

But the tactic worked all the same. Naming your channel and videos in response to the juiciest local keywords can be extremely fruitful.

You can read more about the best way to name your YouTube channel, agency/brokerage, and URL in this article on the best real estate company names.

2. The Power of Transparency

Interestingly, this video was actually based on why people shouldn’t move to Montana. With the onslaught of COVID, Will was faced with a flood of interest in relocating to the country without people being prepared for the realities. The video was a candid response.

That presents an interesting paradox. When you openly talk about the negatives, people will respond to your authenticity.

People moving from other areas to your market want two main things: extensive local tours and honest opinions about local lifestyle. No real estate YouTube channel is complete without these elements.

“[Apart from my best video], the videos that do the best are the ones where I just tour a town in Montana.”

3. Finger On the Pulse

Will is the first to say he’s the happy winner of the YouTube lottery. His viral video, then, makes for a great case study because he’s a beginner. Based on the interviews (including mine below), Will is perhaps a bit too modest about his YouTube success.

He tends to view his viral video as a chance stroke of luck. But actually his instinct to respond to the wave of interest created by COVID was essential to placing his channel in prime position to blow up.

In other words, one of the greatest keys for a beginner real estate YouTuber to break open the algorithm is creating videos that are trend-aware and hyper-current.

It’s easy to use the education online to create a roadmap to YouTube success. Generally speaking, it’s a great path to take. But don’t forget that YouTube is a highly dynamic and trend-sensitive platform.

While brainstorming for YouTube video ideas, it’s important to consider patterns in conversations you have with locals and those considering moving to your area.

4. Be an Embodiment of Your Local Lifestyle

Another interesting phenomenon that comes to mind is how lots of highly successful agents have personalities formed by their local society. The U.S. is not a monolith. Every corner has its own personality types, and those areas attract people who meld with those particular lifestyles.

When you listen to Will, you feel that he’s an embodiment of local lifestyle. When you’re formed by your local environment, you become something of a poster child for your market.

That’s equally true for current residents and out-of-state leads. Locals who treasure your region will also treasure you for being a product of that area. Non-locals who are actually suited to your region will be attracted to your personality for the same reason.

So what does that mean for your YouTube efforts? Let the aspects of your personality that are generated from your region shine in your marketing.

5. Stop Overthinking Your Video Personality

“Luckily for your listeners [on the podcast], I have a face for radio. I’m not exactly Brad Pitt. Like most everybody, I don’t get up in the morning and want to film myself or take selfies.”

Will is a Joker Jones for that one. But his wonderful self-deprecating humor aside, he’s totally right. Will is a salt-of-the-earth, rurally-raised, humble person. You don’t need to love being in front of the camera to be a highly-successful real estate YouTuber.

Just make a few videos, get over the stage fright, start gaining a little traction, and then naturally fall into geeking out about this kind of content marketing. I can almost promise that once you get past the initial fear, it becomes so easy to get wonderfully obsessive about creating video content.

6. Rural Markets Are Completely Under-Optimized

“Being rural, Montana tends to be about 5 years behind the times when it comes to technology.”

If you target a rural or countryside market, you’re in prime position to outstrip all of your competitors by harnessing the power of YouTube lead generation. Even 2 years after his video started going viral, all of the competing realtors in Montana still have not tried to recreate Will’s success.

That remains true of many non-metropolitan real estate markets around the US. Visit the Living in Montana YouTube channel to see how simple and genuinely enjoyable it can be.

“All of my contact information is available on YouTube. If you want to get in contact, I’m happy to geek out about anything YouTube.”

Additional Resources

Want more powerful Real Estate YouTuber spotlights? Check out our article on Krista Mashore or Jordan Schilleci. Or even better, check out our list of the best real estate YouTubers for agents and investors.

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