Rising Stars: Michael Sneeden Wants to Make an Impact Through Video Content
Sneeden is currently senior video producer at Men’s Health.
Michael Sneeden, senior video producer at Men’s Health, has read every issue of the magazine since he was 16. However, it was after getting dumped in college, and noticing that his ex had begun dating “muscular types,” that Sneeden decided to pick up the 2011 Men’s Health Training Guide. They got back together and have now been dating for six years.
The 25-year-old has learned everything about nutrition and proper exercise from reading the magazine. After moving to Los Angeles and interning with CollegeHumor.com for a short time, Sneeden applied to join the Men’s Health video team. He sent his resume twice, contacted HR, emailed the current video producer (twice), messaged him on LinkedIn and attempted to call his office.
After a few interviews, he was hired in December 2014. “I was brought on as the assistant video producer; our departmental team of two published around 20 mainly talking-head fitness videos per month,” he says. “We became more ambitious, adding a third to our team, and doubling our publish count in the year that followed.”
Since taking over as senior video producer last May, a lot has changed for Men’s Health Video. Most notably, new editor-in-chief Matt Bean united the previously isolated print and digital teams. Also, the video vertical changed its focus from just fitness to what Sneeden describes as a more appropriate split between fitness, food, style, profiles and celebrity.
In his time with the brand though, he describes his proudest moment as finding the story of Collin Clarke, an amateur bodybuilder with Down’s syndrome. Sneeden tells min it gave him great satisfaction to give that story the attention it deserved. “Collin was an inspiration not to just to me, but to the 31 million people that watched our profile on him,” he says.
Sneeden is driven by the fact that Men’s Health is actually helping people. The brand does this, not just by bringing stories like Collin Clarke’s to light, but in a variety of ways. He admits that an instructional video on the best way to do a kettlebell swing may seem insignificant to some, but results like improved physical fitness and less pain during aging need to be considered.
“Men’s Health is a positive force in the world,” he says. “We’re providing tools for men to lead better lives in areas beyond fitness; we cover everything our viewers and readers need advice on, from how to eat better to how to dress better. Simply put, we offer an array of useful information for all kinds of men.”
And Sneeden believes the biggest opportunity in media right now is to listen closely to and understand the desires of readers. While it’s never been easier to produce and release content, it has also never been easier to find out exactly what audiences want. “Doing so can be as simple as reading comments on social media or can entail analyzing the trove of statistics that all of these content platforms provide,” he says.
Right now at Men’s Health though, MH Films—the brand’s first real attempt at episodic longform content—is what has Sneeden really excited. A new film is released concurrently with every issue of the magazine. The brand’s debut film was “24 Hours with The Mountain,” where Men’s Health followed Hafthor Bjornsson, one of the strongest men in the world and star of “Game of Thrones,” as he ate, trained and played with his tiny Pomeranian dog.
Sneeden has no plans of leaving Men’s Health and, over the next few years, hopes to continue having a real impact on the brand. He says he has a lot of ideas that go beyond video that have to do with finding more ways to make men better in every facet of their lives.
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min’s Rising Stars Awards is looking to single out the next generation of media superstars—the editors, writers, social media pros, bloggers, brand leaders, marketers, salespeople, and others who are laying the groundwork for the evolution and future success of magazine brands. Find out more—early bird deadline to enter the competition is on Friday, September 15.