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We all have that one person who lit the fire in our bellies to start creating content.

For me, that was ​Peter Mckinnon​.

This bloke.

peter mckinnon

He’s a Canadian YouTuber and renowned photographer/videographer with almost 6 million subscribers as of writing this.

He barely had a few hundred thousand when I started following him.

What a journey!

He’s also the one who convinced me to drop $10,000 on a Canon 1DX Mark 2 (A camera no beginner should be buying).

That’s how I got my start as a photographer and videographer.

You can see some of my videos on my ​Youtube​.

While I don’t practice this skill set anymore…

Here 6 valuable lessons I learned from him.

(these can all be applied to writing…)

1. Teaching a new skill

The majority of his videos had only one goal in mind.


They were never boring.

I learned something new each time.

2. Easy-to-follow format

What are they?

Lists and How-tos.

It worked in videos and it sure as hell works in the written word.


For a few reasons:

  • Organizes the chaos with structured information.
  • Enhances memory by enumerating items.
  • Provides a clear start and finish for content completion.
  • Breaks monotony with visually appealing structures.
  • Sparks curiosity and combats the fear of missing out.
  • Streamlines reading with scannable content.
  • Celebrates small wins by ticking off items.
  • Connects with readers through relatable experiences.
  • Guides better decision-making with clear options.

This makes it super digestible and easy for viewers/readers to follow.

Like this one 🙂

3. Edutain

Nobody likes a boring teacher.

Think about your time in school.

How many GOOD and entertaining teachers did you encounter?

For me, I can count them with 1 hand.

If you can’t keep attention, you’re not getting an audience.

Peter does this EXTREMELY well.

But in video.

4. Speak to one person

In all of Peter’s videos, no matter if it was his first or latest…

He always makes it seem like he’s talking to me.

Like a friend sitting across the table only separated by a computer screen.

You feel more:

  • Engaged
  • Invested
  • Reciprocative

Everything that’s needed to prime your audience for a sale.

(I did buy a few digital Adobe Lightroom presets from him back in the day…)

One simple trick to achieve this with writing is using a first or second-person perspective.

These include words like I, me, my, mine, you, your, and yours.

Like how I’m speaking to you right now.

5. Add humor

Be funny!

Peter’s personality and his laughter are infectious.

He cracks jokes all the time.

Some might be lame, but he manages to use it as a self-deprecative opportunity to weave in another joke.


Do that with your writing or video.

But try not to be cringe.

If you think your punchline might be lame…

Do what he does by acknowledging it or deflecting it with something else.

6. Show the outcome first

Always give the value immediately.

No matter what kind of content it is, show the audience the final outcome in the intro.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Let them know they’re in the right place
  • Sparks curiosity to continue consuming your content
  • Increase retention rate
  • Prevents “pogo-sticking” (this an SEO term that describes quickly selecting a different link due to unsatisfactory content.)

Imagine searching for an apple pie recipe but having to wait till the middle before seeing it.

I’d be pissed.

So, give value upfront and lead them deeper.

Alright, that’s all I have for you.

See you in the next issue!



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Brendan Aw

I’m Brendan, Founder of brendanaw.com, where I help individuals build a monetizable personal brand, a curious mind, and a fulfilled life. I spent 6 years as a marketing executive across various high-growth startups in E-com, Web3, Marketing Agency, Finance, and E-sports. I now run my family’s 7-figure crystal chandelier business in Cambodia and share my online creator journey. I hold a B.Com from the University of New South Wales, majoring in Accounting and Finance, and have a background in Data Science.

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