TikToker Evan The Card Guy describes his content strategy

We turn to some popular YouTubers to try their best Tips and Tricks to be successful and as a pioneer on the Internet to better understand the ups and downs of life.

This week we spoke to Evan Alberto, aka Card Guy (@thecardguy). A TikToker with over 16.7 million followers, Alberto is known for card tricks, magic, social experimentation and sweepstakes videos. He also has over 4 million total followers across YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Alberto started making card and magic trick videos around 2019. He saw success with what he calls “interactive magic” – performing and explaining magic directly to on-screen viewers. In his other successful videos, he approaches strangers in public for magic trick reactions, social experiments, and gifts of prizes and money.

Since his rise to TikTok fame, Alberto has worked with big companies like Jack in the Box, Hyundai, and Arby’s for paid partnerships. Alberto also recently released a deck of cards called It’s tough alongside games and entertainment company Barry & Jason.

In an interview with Passionfruit, Alberto detailed how he got started with TikTok, his successful viral video formats, how he plans videos with strangers, his monetization strategy, the development of his new card game, and more.

The following interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.

How did you start as a YouTuber?

I went to college and majored in business administration. In the meantime, I worked as a janitor at a car dealership just to earn extra money on the weekends when I wasn’t in class. And then TikTok came out. … If [it] came out, I thought, “Well, this is another opportunity to show my magic.”

Many YouTubers have this story that they always wanted to be a YouTuber and they grew up wanting to be a YouTuber. That was never the case with me. I kind of did it just for fun and as soon as it started to increase I got hooked and just kept going until I finally got to the point where I had the option to leave school and my job and just do it full on make. Time.

What was your first viral video?

I did a card trick with an old friend. It looked very open. It looked like we didn’t know each other. And I have this rule with me, even if I’m making a magic video with friends or family, I never want to fake a reaction. So the whole video was real. But I think the reason it did well was because it looked very natural. We did it in a mall and it looked like he could pass as a stranger and it was just a cool video. So that got half a million views and for me it was like, whoa, half a million people just saw that and it was my fifth video.

Some people make videos for a year and then get their first good one. But I always tell people just keep going. You don’t know if your next one will be huge.

What was your strategy in your early days? Was there a specific video format you thought might be good?

Since I was just starting out, I wasn’t ready for it [going] viral. It just happened. But more and more I just learned what was going well and that was the strategy. … I started doing what I like to call interactive magic or interactive content. I feel like that really gained traction for me in the beginning as I perform a magic trick on the screen to make it feel like you’re there. So that’s where I started, with things like optical illusions and puzzles, things that the audience can feel involved in.

What is the process when you include strangers in your videos? How much of this is planned in advance?

Every video that it’s a stranger, it’s really a stranger, whether it’s magic or I’m doing something sane where I’m giving away money or something. What I always do is I go up to them first and say, “Hey, I make videos and I want to do something with you somehow. Would you mind if I had you on camera?” And then they say, 95% of the time, “No thanks.”

It’s important to have permission to get them on camera. Once I do that, the only thing that’s kinda wrong is I’m like, ‘Okay, just don’t look at me. I’ll come up to you with the camera.” …I prefer to ask first, just so the first interaction is very authentic and they’re in good headspace.

What are some of the different ways you’ve monetized? What works best for you?

It’s an interesting conversation because when it comes to monetization on social media, all platforms are different. Some are better than others. … In the beginning I started making money with TikTok live streams. I would perform magic live for my audience. … which made good money and allowed me to quit my job, but it was very draining.

So eventually I started getting brand deals and stuff. That was a good part of my income. And then where I was really best was YouTube and Snapchat, which is funny because they’re not my biggest platforms, but they only pay per view the best. So I really focused my time on that, especially last year, and it paid off really well.

How did you determine who to work with to develop your card game? It’s tough?

I’ve worked with Wheelhouse [an entertainment company] on a podcast, and the podcast was about fun challenges. I did magic for the guests and it was a lot of fun. The whole theme was just happy fun games almost like a game show slash podcast which was really cool. And when we started thinking about names, a few years ago this is the name It’s tough resulted.

Later we decided to use this IP as a matter of principle [intellectual property] and go, oh what if we did something with that name, instead of just a podcast, we made it a deck of cards or a deck of cards. … Eventually, Wheelhouse brought me together with Barry & Jason who make games. We started coming up with ideas for this game and now it is what it is now which I think is a super fun card game.

What did you learn through the making of the game?

It sounds cheesy, but stay true to yourself. … [The game is] very brand appropriate. It’s very lighthearted and fun. I think when you’re trying to make products, when you’re trying to do anything as a creator, it’s important to be true to yourself. … As a caster, it’s really important to me that the cards feel really good. I don’t want them to feel like you everyday people U.N Cards… They are not intended to be shuffled or played with like a Bicycle deck. I don’t even know how they did it, but somehow they came into contact with Bicycle, so kudos to them. And the cards are actually made by Bicycle themselves.

What are your goals at the moment?

I always tell people I want to be the next David Blaine, kind of like the face of magic. The person who, when you think of magic, think of card type. But it’s interesting because it’s changed over time, because there are other things I like to do besides magic. I like making videos that are funny or healthy and I don’t see why I can’t do both. … So keep growing my social network and really lean into the magic too.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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