… Yes you can! And I will share how.
A week ago I headed out to the YouTube Space in London to explore the studio and all the company has to offer us as Africans. And the answer to that exploration is: A LOT.
The good news is, YouTube is officially launched in eight African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and Senegal. Which means if you’re in any of these countries you can earn money from your page being popular.
We heard from someone in a lesser discussed category – a content uploader (not primarily a content creator) and his story moved us to tears.
Creators make and produce fresh and original content for YouTube. But never mind, if you’re more the business type, content uploaders have the rights to videos they share, but they may not be the creators.
Here’s the story of Murphy Ben International. How they work is that they get exclusive rights to content from the creators/owners for YouTube.
Please STOP what you’re doing for this dose of inspiration. ???#MurphyBenInternational – @aforevo.tv started from NOTHING 4/5 years ago. Literally nothing. He heard about YouTube from a friend and borrowed a laptop to start uploading and dubbing movies, while running around to get licenses from filmmakers. He soon had to get his brother and cousin to start helping. Soon after they moved out of their house to an office. He told his employees who were then earning 20-30k a month that they will become car and house owners … they didn’t believe him. Now the company owns a seven floor building in Ikeja, has 250 employees and specializes in dubbing #Nollywood movies for French speaking West African countries, subtitling, and dubbing of movies into major Nigerian languages too. It all started on YouTube … #BeInspired #BNViewsYouTube #YouTube4Africa #BellaNaija
If you’re brainstorming your next move, there are so many types of YouTubers, let me mention some popular Nigerian kinds so it gives you an idea.
The big players include broadcasters who update their YouTube everyday like Channels TV, Sahara Reporters and co. They also include online only stations like Ndani TV and of course the extremely popular Nollywood movie channels and Nigerian artistes’ music videos.
Now for you sitting at home thinking up how to be a YouTube star, here are a few of the most popular types.
Relationship Vloggers – they give advice and share personal stories like Toke Moments with Toke Makinwa, couples are very popular
Lifestyle Vloggers – thay talk about their lives and share tips and tricks for better living e.g. Sisi Yemmie who has cooking tutorials and more
Talk Shows – They discuss different hot topics, sometimes with invited guests, e.g. Akah Bants by Akah Nnani, So You Wanna Get Married by Dolapo Sijuwade.
Comedy Skits – Nigerians love to laugh. Mark Angel Comedy is Nigeria’s most subscribed YouTube creator channel!
Makeup – Tutorials, product hauls and reviews. A lot of Nigerians in the diaspora are killing the game with millions of views, like Jackie Aina.
Family-centered Content – Animations, nursery rhymes etc., like Culture Tree TV.
Did You Know? There is also a “YouTube Kids” app just for family entertainment. It has amazing settings like you can set it to stop playing after a certain amount of time (so the kids don’t think it’s you taking their playtime away).
There are also avid video gamers, fitness trainers, dancers and many more. YouTube can be expensive or cheap as you want to make it. Some people like to use their computer cameras on the go, while some invest in sets and expensive cameras.
I haven’t mentioned all – not by a long shot. If there are YouTubers you know and love and think other BN-ers should watch out for, please mention them in the comments!
And that’s where the YouTube Spaces come in.
The one in London is one of less than 10 in the world, and hopefully there will be one coming to Africa soon. They are in countries that create a lot of content (rather than where there are a lot of consumers) which makes sense. So Nigeria will be a perfect candidate 🙂
If you have over 1,000 YouTube subscribers, you can attend free trainings, events, and use the cafe that has free food and drinks.
If you have over 10,000 subscribers, no matter where you are based, you can walk into any YouTube Space and book studios to record in, borrow equipment like cameras, tripods and lights, all for free.
Here are some of the spaces –
Despite the odds against us *cough* no light *cough* expensive data, “In 2016, YouTube mobile watch time in Nigeria increased by 150%” says SSA YouTube Partnership Manager Teju Ajani.
So there is an audience waiting for you. And to me, what was even cooler was how YouTube opens doors for its creators internationally. I know couples abroad who make it a weekly date to catch up with Sisi Yemmie Weekly. And my guess was confirmed –
Nigeria is always in the top 3 viewer countries for Arsenal TV. Let that sink in… the magic of YouTube is you develop audiences from all over the world. 60% of YT creators’ viewers are not where they are. Q & A with Director of YouTube Europe and Middle East – Ben McOwen Wilson #YouTube4Africa #BNViewsYouTube
Nigeria is always a top viewer of international stations too, like Arsenal TV!
When it comes to the self-starters, young people (like Nigerian Eman Kellam whose video pranking his dad he got a girl pregnant at 16 went viral – (“Funke!” “Apostle must hear about this!”) we talked to them about some of the challenges of being a YouTuber (it ain’t all lights, camera, fun and games).
They talked about –
- Knowing your worth when brands approach you, being confident to charge accordingly.
- Being natural even when you’re paid to review something – watchers are skeptics and don’t like inorganic content.
- Paving the way for other African YouTubers and people of colour by collaborating and spreading the word about them.
- Make the best of your space – use somewhere with a lot of light, no matter how small where you live is, that’ll be the most flattering place.
- Be consistent.
The two Nigerians on the panel, EstareLive and EmanKellam had these kind words for the BN fam.
… and just like THAT, my YouTube Space London tour was over. But not before a stop at the world’s only YouTube store, which sells merchandise from YouTube stars.
We also went to the world-famous wax museum Madame Tussaud’s, where there’s a section just for YouTube stars – I recognized Zoella sitting on her bed, and I saw many children taking photos with them… so the hype is definitely real.
When it comes to being a millionaire – YouTube style, just remember, you don’t need to be a YouTube star to make it big on the platform.
You also don’t need to start “big”, just start in your small space – it could be on a bed like Zoella, start today, and you could be big one day – on YouTube and in the ‘real’ world – they are one and the same nowadays.