Check out our interview with popular sports content creator and Pittsburgh native Frank Michael Smith who gained over 1 million followers on TikTok in less than a year.

Frank knows all about excellent athletes. His father’s side of the family is full of them, from “Greenfield” Jimmy Smith, who won the 1919 World Series as an infielder for the Cincinnati Reds, to Billy Conn, light heavyweight world champion and member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and most recently 2016 Olympic medalist swimmer Leah Smith. Spending his entire life surrounded by people who love and excel at sports inspired Frank to become a well-rounded competitor, too. As a kid, he tried almost every sport, and found particular favor with basketball and golf.

Frank joined TikTok in April 2020, during the height of the pandemic, and quickly began sharing one minute long, flashy edited clips about anything and everything to do with top athletes and the sports industry as a whole. To date, his daily sports coverage has amassed over 1.7 million followers and more than 101.8 million likes on TikTok.

Aside from the world of sports, Frank broke into the music scene with his Snap Discover show Ridiculous Rap, which has 266k subscribers, where he discusses interesting stories about the wild world of hip-hop. Frank also shares a window into his own personality, daily life and how he views the worlds of sports in his weekly live show/podcast, Frank Michael Smith Show.

Follow Frank on IG @frankmichaelsmith & TikTok @frankmichaelsmith

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Focused, Patient, Ambitious

We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?

After graduating college in 2016, I was offered a job in sports media in 2017. I moved out to LA and got to work.

How has this changed your life?

The biggest life change has been control. I didn’t feel in control of my creativity, ambitions, or finances leading up to 2020. Venturing out on my own in 2020 afforded me control.

Now tell us about the huge TikTok success and what are you doing to keep it going and growing even more?

TikTok was one of the few experiments in my life that worked almost instantaneously. My first video received over 100k views. I made the decision to fine tune my process every day. 800 videos later I’m still improving.

Who influenced you and why did you choose to start making your TikTok videos?

I was heavily influenced by long form storytelling videos on YouTube. I knew storytelling would work on TikTok, but I had to approach it from an angle that matched TikTok’s values. I cut off all the fat, upped the pace, and improved the editing.

I started making them because I could do every step of the process myself. I had the skills to ideate, write, edit, and publish all on my own.

What do you think is the secret to having a successful TikTok account?

There is no secret. Anyone who tells you there is, is lying to you. The closest thing to a secret is having a genuine passion for whatever your account is about. You have to also be passionate about improving your process.

When you started your account, did you expect such a success?

I expected it to be very successful, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

Why did you decide to mainly do sports content and if you are thinking of expanding in the future to other channels or topics?

I’m genuinely passionate about sports. They’ve been a HUGE part of my life since I was a child. I’ve since added hip-hop stories into my account and my company owns and operates accounts that are completely different – food, global events, business, pop culture, etc.

What mindsets helped make you so successful?

My mindset has always been to focus on the task at hand. I’m often asked what my long term goals are. Do I want to sell my company? Do I want to go public one day? The honest answer is I don’t think about these outcomes. I focus on making better videos, and connecting deeper with my audience. Everything else will follow.

As a popular influencer you are followed by so many people, how do you feel about that pressure of always doing the right thing, and encouraging people to follow their dreams?

This pressure doesn’t weigh on me. Some of my videos are opinionated. I end them with “I’m Frank Michael Smith, and that’s my take.” It’s not rare for an opinion video to be met with massive backlash in the comment sections. None of this really matters. It’s all gone in a week. People move on.

Now tell us about your very popular Snap show “Ridiculous Rap” and your podcast & “Frank Michael Smith Show.”

These shows are very popular among high school age sports/music fans in America.

They’re both very similar to the videos on my TikTok. Essentially I stitch 3 of them together to make a roughly 3 minute show.

When did you decide to create your own podcast?

In 2020 I started to experiment with my podcast.

What is different from your podcast to other podcasts?

Right now I’m experimenting with shorter episode lengths. Instead of 30 minute episodes, we’ve been testing 7 minute episodes.

How often do you release new content?

Usually everyday. We never go more than 1 day without releasing.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

I love meeting people in person who watch my videos regularly. It’s always a special moment.

What book should every entrepreneur read?

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?

Not everything is going to happen for you when you want it to happen. Put in the work and the rewards will follow.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

Get started. The best way to learn is to get started and improve on the process. No sense in waiting around. No amount of books or tutorials is going to get you started.

If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

Not sure what the title would be. Something that revolves around betting on myself. That’s what I did, and it’s paid off so far.

What is your own definition of happiness?

I think happiness is heavily tied to purpose. I feel a true sense of purpose in my career and it leads to happiness.

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

I’m eager to make longer form content. We’ve had a hot start with this in 2023. In 5 years I hope to be much more comfortable and prolific with this type of work.

What do you think of Social Media overall?

It’s what you make it. If you don’t like it, then reconsider who you follow, or how much you use it. You’re in control.

What’s next for Frank Michael Smith in 2023?

More long form videos like my most recent – “NFL is Creating a European Division” on YouTube.

Where can we follow you?

@frankmichaelsmith everywhere except Twitter, I’m @frankmikesmith there


Book: Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

Quote: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” – John Madden

Movie: Bronx Tale

TV Series: Breaking Bad

Favorite Food: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Travel Destination: Kauai

Sports Team: Steelers