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Road to 1 million subscribers with Cliff Brush and Brodie That Dood

Cliff Brush was an accountant and business consultant who occasionally shared videos of his dog, Brodie. Their popularity convinced Cliff to make a calculated risk and quit his job to become a creator full time.

Ask Cliff Brush what he does for a living and he’ll tell you that he runs social media for his three-year-old Goldendoodle, Brodie. Cliff shares his bond with Brodie and their travels together on his channel Brodie That Dood, which has over 3.3 million followers.

Originally, Cliff worked as an accountant and business consultant. Then, while working from home during the pandemic, he began posting more and more videos of Brodie online. Their popularity convinced Cliff to make a calculated risk and quit his job to become a creator full time.

We recently sat down with Cliff and asked him for his tips on building a sustainable creator career, making Shorts that go viral and staying motivated.

Play the long game

Cliff’s early videos centered on Brodie doing funny things, like dancing. He soon realized that this would get old quickly and he needed to evolve his content into something sustainable that would attract bigger brand partnerships. “I decided to insert myself and make it about the relationship between me and Brodie.”

As Cliff recalls, he received a lot of negative feedback. “People said, ‘Now he wants to be the star and make it about himself.’ But whenever you try something new, you’re going to get people who unfollow you. You have to weather that storm. There will be people who stay and want to continue the journey with you. And then you’ll start bringing in new people.”

Cliff’s gamble paid off in the long run. By adding a human element to his Brodie videos, he’s attracted sponsorships from both pet brands and lifestyle companies and amassed millions of subscribers.

Shorten your Shorts

You need to make your videos viewable, consumable and digestible for people who don’t know you.”

Cliff Brush

Cliff urges creators to look at the Shorts they’re producing and ask, “Am I creating something that’s actually interesting enough to warrant a one minute video?” A lot of the times, the answer is probably not. "The hardest part of being a creator is ‘throwing out your baby,’ or knowing when to cut down your content. In the back of your head you know how much time and sweat was put into your video. But guess what? It’s still too long.”

This is especially important for creators who want to reach the one million subscriber mark. Cliff reminds people that they’re not just producing content for their current followers and fans, who may be more tolerant of a scene that drags on too long. He says, “You need to make your videos viewable, consumable and digestible for people who don’t know you.”

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Amplify your content with music

Cliff spends a good amount of time on video editing to ensure all his content demonstrates his unique brand and style. And some of the post-production elements he stresses the most are the creative use of sound and strategically chosen background music.

“Have the song be part of your video’s story. When the sound peaks or when the beat drops, have a reveal or something meaningful happen," Cliff advises other creators. "Little details like that psychologically make people enjoy watching your video, which will increase rewatch time and make it more shareable.”

Use B-roll to avoid burnout

Like many other creators we’ve spoken with, Cliff stresses the importance of posting consistently and frequently to attract a larger following. However, he also knows how quickly burnout can happen. One trick he learned over the years is to build up archival or B-roll footage that he can use in a pinch.

“A lot of the videos Brodie and I do involve traveling and adventurous lifestyle stuff. So on every trip, I shoot new B-roll that I could use in all my videos moving forward. So in the future I might see a funny trend, and think, ‘Oh, I have footage for that.’ I’ll get it from my camera roll and edit it in 30 minutes without doing a full production.”

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Focus on what you love

Cliff understands that even with backup B-roll footage, people may still reach a point where they're sick of creating content, especially if it feels like they’re only doing something for social media exposure. To combat this, he encourages creators to start pushing their content themes to cover more and more of what they want to do in life. “I love to travel and I love hanging out with Brodie. So my mission is to make other people happy by creating consumable, shareable content around those things I enjoy.”

Cliff says he often motivates himself by thinking about what will bring joy to his audience. He shares a story of building a ball pit for puppies, something he never would have done if he wasn’t a creator. But, he says, “I knew I‘d be able to share that experience with others. And if it makes other people feel good, it makes me feel good.”

His efforts paid off, with the video receiving over 200 million views to date.