It’s almost 2024, and you’re looking to go all-in on YouTube this next year. But you don’t want to go it alone. You’ve heard of Video Ranking Academy, or VRA, from Sean Cannell, the Think Media YouTube channel, and others. But is it worth the price of admission? Will it really help you start and make money from a YouTube channel?
After many years on YouTube, with the help of VRA and the Think Media team, I have finally found a niche and have been able to make my first $100 on YouTube. I love the course so much that I became an affiliate and FINALLY sat down to write a review of Video Ranking Academy.
This post is a Video Ranking Academy review.
Video Ranking Academy Review
What is Video Ranking Academy?
Video Ranking Academy, or VRA, is the flagship video course from Sean Cannell (rhymes with YouTube channel) and the Think Media team. The course has been around since about 2017 (at least that’s when I bought it) and has evolved over the years to include a Foundations and Masters section. It even includes a masterclass on YouTube shorts.
What does Video Ranking Academy include?
Whenever you buy the course, the flagship course is always included. As you can see in my screenshots, I have a lot of the smaller courses from Think Media in my course library. You could say I’m a super student! Depending on the time of year you buy the course, and what is offered in the bundle, you could get another five courses in addition to VRA. In the past, they have also included tickets to their in-person event, Grow With Video Live (I’ve been twice, and it’s a great conference).
So, it’s hard to say what the bundle will include at any given time. When I bought the course back in 2017, it was on the back of his (Cannell’s) affiliate offer to buy Chalene Johnson’s course, Marketing Impact Academy (MIA). Because I took advantage of that offer six years ago, I could join a small group with Sean and work through my channel ideas.
You also get a workbook in the form of a PDF that you can print at home. You can also send it off to be printed at an office supply store. The workbook is currently 92 pages so you might want to send that out to be printed.
Is Video Ranking Academy for beginners?
Yes and No. Whether or not you have a channel is irrelevant. You can get started on the right path with VRA and improve your existing content and channel with the same system. Think Media has a proprietary 7R system to help you build and scale your channel. While you can find out more about the 7R system in many of his free web classes and on the Think Media YouTube channel, Video Ranking Academy goes deep into the framework.
Does Video Ranking Academy teach me how to edit videos?
No. This is not a course to learn editing or thumbnail design. This course is about ranking videos and getting them to appear in search results on YouTube. Think of it like SEO (search engine optimization) for YouTube. There are free videos on the Think Media channel that go into depth on editing videos and making thumbnails. That content is free, of course.
How many VRA students have silver or gold play buttons?
I have no idea. However, that’s not the mission of the course or Think Media. As stated on their website, the mission of Think Media is “to help 10,000 purpose-driven people go full-time doing what they love and making an impact through the power of video.” I don’t know how close they are to this goal, but they are working hard to achieve it. Some notable success stories are included at the end of this blog post.
Is the course up to date?
Yes, in as much as it can be for such a large course. This year, 2023, marked a massive release of updates to VRA, including VRA Masters. Check the Think Media channel for the most up-to-date information outside of VRA. If you are a VRA member, then you know they bring us the latest in YouTube news each month.
Will Think Media/Sean Cannell audit my channel?
In the past, there wasn’t a clear path to getting your channel audited and reviewed. Due to the size of the VRA community, it was hard to give people the attention they desired on their channels. That’s why they introduced the ability to pay for an in-depth channel audit at a discounted price. I promise it is a steal compared to hiring Sean or someone else on the team outside of VRA.
Also, if you join VRA Elite (an upper level of VRA), your membership includes two audits per 12-month period at the time of this writing. I am also in VRA Elite. That is a new membership level introduced earlier this year.
Why did it take you so long to make $100 with your channel? Does that mean the course is bad?
This is not a reflection on the course at all. In fact, I was the one holding myself back.
I couldn’t settle on just one topic for my channel, and some topics I thought would work were fundamentally misaligned with my passion, proficiency, and ability to make a profit. I also had huge cases of imposter syndrome and shiny object syndrome. Every time I thought I wasn’t good enough to make a channel work, I switched niches and basically started all over again. I never gave any channel idea long enough to work – until Savvy Budget Girl.
It took me 366 days and 97 videos to fully monetize the Savvy Budget Girl YouTube channel with 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours. While that’s not the only way to make money on YouTube, it’s a significant milestone. I might have gotten there faster if I had been more consistent. But again, that’s a “me” issue, not a course issue.
By the way, if you’re a viewer of the channel, I would like to thank you for enabling me to reach that milestone and more. Thank you for the time you’ve invested in me and my content.
What is the cost of Video Ranking Academy?
If you just go to the sales page, expect to pay around $4000 for VRA. However, Think Media often runs sales throughout the year. You can get VRA in a bundle for much less during sale periods with some pretty sweet bonuses. Bonuses sometimes include a starter kit, Niche Finder, Camera Confidence, and other courses to help you succeed. Previous sales had VRA at only $997 or 12 payments of $97.
Is there an online community for Video Ranking Academy?
Yes! The Facebook group is one of the best parts about being in the #VRAfam! I have volunteered as a moderator in the group for about three years, and it’s great to see the way in which the community helps each other and gives support. This is also the place for monthly training and Q&As.
Do you get lifetime access to Video Ranking Academy?
Yes, at the time of this writing. However, I know this will change. So, if you’re thinking about purchasing the course, click this link to purchase Video Ranking Academy and lock in that lifetime deal.
Is there a money-back guarantee?
Yes. You have 30 days to love it, or you get your money back. I think that’s a pretty sweet deal, considering you get access to the full course even if you’re doing the 12-payment option.
Should you buy Video Ranking Academy?
Yes and no. This course isn’t for everyone! If you’re looking for solid mindset strategies and tactics to level up your channel and succeed at YouTube, then this is the place for you. Video Ranking Academy is the most comprehensive YouTube course I’ve taken, and it has enabled me to make money from my channel.
However, if you’re simply looking for lists of tips and hacks without a solid strategy, then save your money. Sean goes deep into this course, and it is constantly being updated. Also, if you’re looking for shortcuts without doing the work, this course isn’t for you either. And if you would rather keep piecing together bits of free content from the interwebs, then this course isn’t for you either.
I believe in the course, and I believe you can use Video Ranking Academy to succeed on YouTube. It worked for me and can work for you as well!