We are so excited to JJ Yosh joining us on this episode of #Influencer. We first met JJ when he partnered with us on our Honitos x Bespoke and Noble Oak social campaigns.
JJ is a multifaceted entrepeneur who is not only an influencer and content creator, but a TV-host, adventure filmmaker, producer, and owner of Higher Earth Media, an entertainment and film production company based out of Boulder, Colorado which strives to educate, empower, and inspire people around the world to help build a more sustainable path for our current and future generations.
JJ is also a mountaineer, backcountry chef, and avid backpacker who explores some of the most captivating places on earth.
What inspired your passion for backpacking, camping and the outdoors?
Yeah, my journey into the back packing world started when I was little, very little in Lake Tahoe, my parents had a house and then we’d go there quite often. And I would go explore the backyard.
There was a Creek nearby and I would actually have to force my younger siblings to go with me. It wasn’t until college where I didn’t have to force people to go outside with me. And I joined an outdoors club and I found my passion for nature and wilderness really came alive and I got to do some of my first camping and backpacking trips.
And, you know, there’s like a love and hate when it comes to backpacking because you’re carrying all of your food and gear with you on your back. And there are definitely moments where you’re like, why am I doing this? I remember that was the first time I went backpacking and was like, why did I just pay to do this?
And then I don’t know, after the trip, it’s kind of like, you get to that top of the mountain and it’s like such a hard journey getting there, but then you actually get there and you’re like, Oh my God, Yeah, this was so worth it. And I came back from my backpacking trip, my first one, and I was like, okay, I’m doing another one.
And so I just kept doing one after the other. And it just it eventually evolved into what it is today, filming them and, and making a career out of it.
How does someone like you and this passion for back backpacking & camping get involved in the influencer marketing space and as a content creator?
When I first got involved in the influencer space, it wasn’t necessarily intentional. This where we live in a very fast world was social media, especially, and it was something that kind of evolved.
it really started for me in the outdoors. I went on a lot outdoor trips and I would take photos of my experiences and video clips. And then early on I reached out to different sponsors, like different companies, outdoor companies and I would kind of pitch them my ideas of trips that I was going to go on.
And you know, it started as product trades and later it evolved into actually paid work where I was taking photos and video for these outdoor companies. And then when social media emerged, just in the last really the last five years it’s really boomed. That’s when I was able to monetize my passion really into a full time career.
And actually now I have like a full team to be able to do that. As I was saying it. This is a really fast paced environment and things are constantly changing. So the advice I could give to somebody who wants to do it now is very different than what I did then. And, and even my approach now it’s changing because things just are every month, there’s a new app out.
We just have to constantly jump on it. But I think for the most part, If I was to give advice to somebody who wants to get into influencing and in the social media space, I think the, the most important part in where to start is figuring out what your brand is and what your mission is. I think so often people are constantly trying to be somebody else and we live, you know, the social media is a very saturated market right now.
And the only way you’re going to stand out is if you are a hundred percent true to yourself, authentic, and the way to do that is like, really figure out what are, let’s just say three unique things about you that, that, that maybe not everyone else has. And then when you put those three unique things together, it creates just such a rare combination that no one else out there is going to have those three things combined together and that, that really coalesces into your brand.
So I think that’s the most important thing with getting into social media.
For someone new, would you recommend that they do the barters in the beginning where they refuse to do the barters and how does a newbie even go about finding the right people at a brand?
Well, again, I’m going to go back to the piece of advice I just gave before about really identifying your brand.
And because again, if you’re just doing this to get sponsors and to build likes on your profile and, i f you don’t have the right intention, no matter what your approach is, it’s not going to work. You have to live and breathe this and this isn’t a part-time gig. I mean, this is something that you have to be obsessed with.
You have to love it. And I think that’s a very important thing. And that’s actually what is going to help you get through the doors of these brands that you hit up because you’re right. These brands are inundated by inquiries. On a daily basis, if not minute to minute. And so the only way you’re going to stand out to these brands is, is by being, having a very captivating story.
And that is when I had no experience and I had no resources. I mean, we’re, we’re talking like right when I’m fresh out of college how did I get through the doors? Well, I started. Picking up the phone calling these brands they didn’t know who the hell I was. And, but the, the thing that I had though was I had passion.
I, I was so excited and thrill about this. This journey that it was about to take was actually, I was actually going to the Alaska. This was in 2007 and I was so excited about the trip that I was about to take that the brands could hear it in my voice. And I literally just started calling them.
There’s no, no, in my book. And. Yeah, I would definitely say product exchanges when you’re first starting are key because you gotta, you have to build experience. And, and if you’re really doing this for the right reason, and you really love what you’re doing you’re going to do this, regardless of, if you get, you get paid or you get products or you get recognition, or you get anything, you’re going to do it because this is so aligned with who you are that you’re going to do it.
And, and, and, and the walls of your house where no one can see. And that’s how, you know, you really love something when you still do it, no matter. Who’s watching.
Tell us about some of the new apps or new tools that you’re playing with when it comes to social?
Yeah. We might as well talk about it. Computer apps. They’re like appetizers that you eat. There’s so many, there’s so many appetizers, the right.
So every day I like right this exact moment, I am, I am trained to maintain my tick talk. Facebook Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. And now there’s YouTube shorts that just came out like in the last couple of months. Now there is Clubhouse.
There’s just so many apps that I’m trying to like juggle them all around and figure out where I put my time. It is, it is a. This is a full-time job for anyone that is wondering, you know, it’s an ultra full-time job. You can’t do this on your own. So I’m just trying to think of like what sort of advice I can give when it comes to what, what your, what, where you should be putting your energy with the apps right now.
Because beyond just the social media apps, which I just mentioned those ones, then there’s all of these. Social media app tools that help you to manage all these
So that is something I am every day constantly asking myself where should I be focusing my energy. Shit. Should I put more time in a tech talk today? Or should I put more time in a YouTube today? You know?
So I’ve working with my team on a daily basis and literally a daily basis is what this is part of like our strategy. And we discuss where should we be putting our time? Today, should it be more in this app or this app? And we do discuss the longevity of these apps and which ones are trending more right now.
And how can we how can we cross over where, where we’re creating content for one platform, but we’re able to the other platforms. So yeah, these are questions that are very important and Will be that are a part of our conversation. Okay. So I’m going to ask you the question. So which platform do you personally like the best?
Like, are you allowed to say the answer to that, your contracts with any platform? I think the one that I personally play around with Would be tick talk and, and that’s, there’s a lot of promise with tic-tac. It’s also frustrating lately because the algorithm has been changing. And one of the great things about Tik TOK in the beginning was the algorithm was the algorithm in the beginning favored.
Favored us as the audience. Whereas with Instagram, you know, the, the algorithm, doesn’t, it favors more of the advertisers. It seems like. So well favors the advertisers who pay. That’s what I meant. Yeah. Yeah. So so yeah, I think to talk I really do enjoy this short form content and, and I go.
Down rabbit bulls often when I’m watching on Tik TOK, like I’m like, okay, I just need to go on and take talk just for a moment so I can find the song that I’m going to use for Simon’s next video. And then I ended up. I ended up like getting caught in this rabbit hole of all, you know, you ended up like, okay, an hour just passed.
How and how did I get on this video?
So I try to limit my time.
Where do you see any trends in video? What do you think’s happening with video, particularly on YouTube?
I definitely think you know, content is getting shorter and shorter.
People’s attention spans are pretty limited. So short content is King right now. I think that from what I’ve seen, the more raw videos with less editing seem to be the ones that. Are more captivating for people because it’s real. I think I think people for the most part are kind of tired of Hollywood and, and the mass, the mass media.
So they want to feel, they want to see things that are real and relatable. And I think this overly produced world that we’ve we’ve grown up in is. Not as trusted as it used to be. So when you see content that’s more raw and like it was just filmed and was not hardly any editing was done to it. That seems to be really.
The most popular content that you see on, especially on Tik TOK and even YouTube people want to see real moments. They don’t, they don’t want to be fooled and tricked anymore. And so I think that’s kind of, what’s trending right now. And then obviously there’s little trends that are, are Each week, there’s always a new trend.
Whether it’s on Tik TOK or YouTube, where everyone’s like imitating that song and, and that action with the, with the trends. So that’s, that’s always changing, but I think just in general, it’s just about real content. That’s. That’s that just happened to be captured in the moment the camera just happened to be rolling when you know, some crazy event was happening and then people are able to witness that, you know, we’re all like collectively capturing all of these moments around the world and now sharing them.
So it’s, it’s really opening up a window into. Culture is that we never were exposed to before. And I think that’s kind of the interesting thing with all of it.
How did COVID impact what you do? Whether it’s on a content creation side or on a sponsorship side, I’m sure that it was just madness for you with everyone being outdoors.
Yeah. I mean, unfortunately COVID we, everyone was affected by it and including myself and there’s no, there’s no escaping that. And we were affected, I mean, we. My business was already operating through my property. We already have our office on sites, so we w we were still able to work here and it didn’t really change our, our work day to day, but we definitely saw a huge decrease in brand content that.
Cause a lot of the money that we, we receive comes from brands that pay us to create video content and photo content, and the budgets were tightened significantly. And, and, and we started to go through the cancel culture where brands were very. They didn’t know what was okay to post the result is there’s all these moments where you’re like, I don’t know if it’s okay to post today.
If that’s going to look, it’s kind of like, you know, someone dies and you’re kind of like, okay, should I even. Should I even smile. Is it going to look bad? And I’m smiling today. You have to like, think about everything you’re posting because it’s going to look disrespectful. So that’s the industry that we’re in.
So we’re hugely affected by things that are going on in the world because if the brands can’t. Posts then they can’t pay us to create content. So we were affected that way. And then also in the probable sense, a lot of the work that we received before COVID was traveling. I mean, I, I would go out of the country several times a year and that was the main part of kind of what we were doing was just traveling to all these locations and that had to stop.
So we we utilized my backyard a lot more. And fortunately I have a pretty amazing landscape around me, so that wasn’t too bad. We were able to, you know, I think with anything, whether it be COVID or any other sort of tragedies or events that happen, you have to be able to adapt a good business person is someone who is constantly looking for new sources of revenue, new ways of making business and R and R, and is someone who’s open to.
Adapting and changing because nothing will always, nothing will ever be the same. So you have to always be changing. And so that is something and it’s also about, yeah, it’s also about changing the type of content.
I think just COVID in general, just sped up a lot of things that trends that were, we were heading that direction already, but it just maybe sped it up a little bit more, including the just the type of content people wanted.
I think especially after COVID people are very much more wanting to do their own research into everything don’t trust what your seeing necessarily in the media or the news. You really just want to look into everything yourself. And so that’s where this whole con real content has come about, where I think people really want to see real life stories and real life content, too.
To, to be able to do the research on their own. So I think that also plays into that.
I know that you’re not content creator you know, on these digitals, but you’re a TV host and an adventure filmmaker. Could you tell us a little bit more about the other things that you do?
Yeah, I, I started in this industry with be more on-screen talents doing TV hosting and, and also acting and filmmaking and my big project before.
Before my social media was this movie. I spent almost 10 years of my life making called ancient tomorrow. And it really it was a movie that was very dear to my heart. It was connected to my passions of ancient civilizations and it had a little touch of conspiracy theory in there. Definitely adventure and coming of age and, and.
That that was a project that definitely took a good portion of my life to create. And I definitely really love to create content that’s cinematic. Motional has you know, a good story to it. So. Even as a content creator today my team and I really try to make sure that we have storylines.
We, we would do that for the brands that we work with. And so the, my filmmaking has kind of leaked into my content creators side. But I think right now, Making short form content is just a lot easier than making a full, full length film, like ancient tomorrow’s. So my focus has been more on short form content.
But, but I will definitely say that my passion still. Reside in long form filmmaking. It’s just, that’s kind of taken a pause for right now. So, but hopefully it’ll get back to that point again.
Name, an influencer you love to follow, but hate to admit that you do.
I follow Marshall Mosher sure a lot. And he probably already knows that as well, but he is one of my adventure friends. And as I was saying earlier, like I, I’m very intrigued right now by real people. And. People that I, and even people that I know. So I, I think I tend to follow people that I know more just because they’re more real to me and Moodle over the fake Hollywood.
So I’m kind of just been more looking into following people that that I know personally or in somewhat connected to. And Marshall is an incredible adventure. He is also a. Business entrepreneur, he’s creating this virtual reality, helping people to get over their own fears of, and their jobs and their own personal lives.
And so he is about to launch this virtual reality. Team-building system that he has. And but if you go and follow him, Marshall Moshe, he has just, he just loves the most incredible, authentic adventure lifestyle. I mean, one moment he is paragliding the next moment. He’s skiing and snowboarding the next minute.
He’s hang-gliding. I think that I’ve experienced that with my own profile. There’s so many people that may be in a mobile situation where they’re bedridden or some something else is preventing them from actually being able to experience those sorts of adventures.
So, so I think virtual reality in that case can be great to be able to. Experienced that. And, and, and also some people just don’t want to, don’t want to lose their life falling, falling to their death, you know? So this provides another way to do that, you know, without having to panic attack midair, but yes.