Laura LeBoutillier was working at her parents’ garden center in Eastern Oregon, and husband Aaron was working at the local cable company. Their lives changed when Aaron bought a new camera that happened to also take video and a relative suggested he use it to make instructional ones with Laura as the on-camera expert.
So in June of 2014 the couple launched a YouTube channel called Garden Answer and decided to give it a while to succeed. Then just before their trial period was over someone recommended the videos to the folks at Proven Winners, who liked what they saw and decided to hire Laura and Aaron to do videos for them.
As PW’s Director of Marketing Marshall Dirks told Greenhouse Grower, the couple “had a half million followers on their Garden Answer Facebook page and more than 32 million views on their videos in the two years they had been making these videos.” So he traveled to meet them and “made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: being paid to make these same videos, full time.”
And you’ll be happy to learn that they’re not commercials, or even infomercials. Many don’t mention PW plants at all. The couple controls the content of the videos and their focus seems to be simply promoting and teaching gardening, based on Laura’s knowledge and experience.
So welcome to video marketing! The strategy of creating valuable content that people will share through social media is red-hot. With garden shows on television either cancelled or converted to outdoor decorating, instructional videos by gardening companies could go a long way toward filling the void.
With the success of Garden Answer, Aaron was able to quit his job with the cable company and focus exclusively on making videos. Laura continues to write and perform in the videos, but keeps her hand in the gardening biz through her work at the family garden center. They make two or three videos a week for PW and their other clients, a growing roster that now includes Espoma, Gardener’s Supply, My Fairy Gardens and The Succulent Source.
Traffic stats don’t lie, and viewers LOVE Laura’s video about identifying hydrangeas – actually, any video about hydrangeas – and “DIY Bird Seed Wreath.” And her new “5 Best” series on various topics, like this one about tools, has been an instant hit.
As a curator of videos I’ve watched a bunch of Laura’s and selected 16 of them to include in the Good Gardening collection – the most of any source. That’s because she really knows gardening, and as an on-camera teacher, the girl’s got talent!
What it Takes
So what does it take to earn a living today making instructional gardening videos, besides knowing our stuff and being great on camera? Apparently, some serious gear – check out Aaron’s. He’s come a long way since that first point-and-shoot experiment.