Thinking of starting a Youtube channel? Popular YouTuber Tumelo Mogale drops all the gems you need to know to make it big
The YouTube space in SA is growing at a significant pace and is becoming a lucrative industry that has seen some profit from it financially. From personal vlogs, to podcasts, to entertainment news, mystery channels and short films, the list is growing to be endless. Tumelo Mogale decided to start a YouTube channel after working a job he didn’t like and realised that he spent most of his time watching YouTube videos. He bought a camera four years ago but his channel, Bearleii Sober, has been running for two-and-half years. It’s a humorous channel with quality production value tailored in the form of short films with more than 26,000 subscribers. Mogale shares some YouTube wisdom that could help kickstart your career as a successful content creator.
Start with what you have and where you are
As far starting a channel is concerned, Mogale says people seem to think that “they need to have all these resources and equipment when, really, the most important thing about content is the personality behind it”. He says the device you use to shoot your content is not as important as the story you want to tell.
“The most important factor is the story, the storytelling [and] your personality. The camera, the lighting, the background [and all other gadgets and details], are cool to have,” he says, but he emphasises that sharing valuable information and being entertaining to watch are most important.
However, personalities differ and people often think they have to be extroverts or have lively personalities in order to thrive, but Mogale says, “As an introvert, share things that you are interested in.” He adds that the most important thing is how valuable the content is. “Am I entertained, educated, do I feel something? It has to tick one of those boxes. If it’s boring, people are not going to watch, no matter how good the camera, lighting, editing is.”
Mogale also says sometimes people think they need to collaborate with certain people because of what they think they might benefit from them, but he emphasises that executing your idea with whatever you have is the only way to get started.
Mogale says while your content may check the above “boxes”, the real magic is in consistency because YouTube monitors how people have been interacting with your channel. “If you’re not consistent, your numbers [drop] as time goes by” which, he says, results in your channel not being recommended to other users. He adds that consistency is entirely up to you but it also depends on the kind of content that you create as well as the amount of people needed to create that content, which will determine the frequency at which you post the content.
Prioritise passion over profit
Considering how profitable the medium has become in SA, Mogale cautions against prioritising profits but advises that you should instead think of it as a passion project. He says this is because, “the money that comes from YouTube takes a while, and you’re not going to make [as much money as you expect]. The only people that can make a living from YouTube are people who get hundreds of thousands of views”.
While most people may often know what they want their channel to be about, others have wide-ranging interests that they would like include in their content. However, figuring out how to tailor it in a manner that isn’t confusing can get creatively overwhelming. “If your personality is good, it doesn’t matter what your content is about. If people enjoy watching you, it doesn’t matter what your content is about. Your loyal fans will keep watching just because it’s you,” Mogale says.
He also says that it’s important, especially for beginners, to stick to whatever their content is because it’s the reason people visit your channel. “On the other hand, if you don’t have a brand and you’re coming up, get people used to the kind of content [you create]. But if you’re a technology reviewer, don’t now go and post about your day because your subscribers want to know about technology. But if it’s a personal channel then people will watch whatever you post,” he says.
Campaigning for subscribers
We’ve all seen and heard YouTubers ask their viewers to subscribe to their channel(s) and Mogale explains that while YouTube looks at the number of views you have instead of subscribers, subscribers are more likely to visit the channel again and view the content. YouTube also gives content creators awards, called YouTube Plaques, to recognise the most popular channels based on a channel’s subscriber count.
Content creators use social media to make people aware of their (sometimes new) channels and new episodes. Depending on the kind of content they create, creators sometimes struggle with knowing when to separate their personal brand with their channel. Mogale advises using one social media account, for personal use and content distribution because it makes it more convenient for your audience. But he also says that if a creator wants to have two accounts and they’re very passionate about their channel then they need to focus more on the business account. Mogale also admits that exceptions could include a creator branching out and doing content that’s different from what they were initially known for. For example, a beauty influencer creating tech content would most likely require a new channel because her personal account is branded for beauty.
Creating is quite an emotional process mainly because of the resources and personal investment in giving something life. “The biggest challenge from an emotional perspective is, you need to accept that some people will watch your content and not like it. You need to have thick skin,” Mogale says. He adds that the moment you put it out there, it has a life of its own and it’s no longer about you. Mogale also points out the importance of understanding that people perceive content based on their interests and the kind of content they consume. So you’ll have to accept the positives with the negatives.