My Hustle: 6 Kenyan YouTubers share key lessons on growing an audience

According to a ViewScape report in 2018, Kenyans spend an average of 6-7 hours watching videos. The YouTube space is growing fast with many vloggers and YouTubers coming up. The Sauce spoke to 6 Kenyan YouTubers to get their views on what it takes to keep their audiences engaged and the tips they have for aspiring YouTubers.

Brian Kimani
He is on the leading edge as a travel and lifestyle YouTuber. He shares interesting places to visit in Kenya which many of us might overlook.

What motivates you to keep posting?
The art of creativity and sharing my travel experiences around Kenya, motivates me… also comments and feedback from my subscribers and viewers motivate me to make more; that greatly impacts my content and ideas. The challenge of making a new vlog better than the last one is also something that motivates me.

What tips do you have for aspiring YouTubers?
1. Don’t worry about having the best of the best equipment/cameras, start with what you have a smartphone. Be consistent and grow into much bigger and better equipment.
2. Learn video editing by watching tutorials on YouTube. You’ll get better with every edit. Don’t compare your edits with other creators. They’ve been on the platform longer. With consistency, you’ll improve and have your own unique editing style that will resonate with your audience.
3. Try not to let negative comments or criticism affect you too much. Take in constructive criticism and use it to improve your content.
4. Most importantly create videos or vlogs that you like, don’t create videos you think people will like, you have to be passionate about your ideas first before anyone else.

Ahmed Khan
He is a Mombasa-based vlogger who gets over 30,000 views for his short skits. He focuses mostly on humorous episodes about life.

What motivates you to keep posting?
I’m motivated when my peers see me as their role model. They say because they see me working hard they also work hard to showcase their talents rather than sitting idle and engaging themselves in unnecessary things. It’s also encouraging when I read comments and messages from my subscribers and followers telling me how bad their day was but my videos make their day better.
That’s why I make interesting videos because I don’t want to discourage these people. Putting a smile on someone’s face is my goal.

What tips do you have for aspiring YouTubers?
Social media comes with a lot of challenges but those challenges should not make you give up. You don’t have to worry about what people are going to say as long as you have something that makes you happy thus sharing it. People are there to support you. Don’t let anyone discourage you, show them that you can do it. Work hard, deliver quality content, do not worry about what equipment you have, trust yourself and never give up and always be consistent to grow because consistency is key!!!

Anita Nkatha
She runs a YouTube channel called the IV Sisters. Her focus is on lifestyle points such as travel as well as having conversations that are aimed at exploring different perspectives such as toxic masculinity.

What motivates you to keep posting?
Honestly, I’d just say having a tunnel vision. My sisters and I have a clear cut reason why we are posting the content that we are. We chose to do it and to always continue doing it regardless of whether we have 1 subscriber or 1 million.

What tips do you have for aspiring YouTubers?
Best advice, don’t compare your content to others unless it’s to help inspire your own ideas. Try to be consistent and most importantly if you have a creative block, it’s okay to take a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself, get back online when you’re at your best mentally.

Swahiligal
She is a digital content creator and when she started getting traction, people realized she never showed her face in her videos. She later explained her reason for doing so in one of her vlogs. Her channel focuses on her travel and lifestyle experiences around the coastal region and especially Lamu.

What tips do you have for aspiring YouTubers?
My advice to upcoming YouTubers is to stay true to yourself. Your style, your focus, and even your audience may change but you are the only constant in this entire thing so build the channel around you; what you stand for and what you believe. Everything else falls in place as you practice and improve.

Levis Ryan
He is a charismatic and funny YouTuber focusing on quick-witted humor around different life experiences. He has managed to grow a sizeable audience with over 10,000 subscribers.

What motivates you to keep posting?
What motivates me to keep uploading is my subscribers. They are the ones we do this for after all.

What tips do you have for aspiring YouTubers?
My advice to any new YouTuber is not to give up. Building up an audience can take time. Do YouTube for the right reasons and not for the vanity of being popular or getting rich quick because it’s going to disappoint you.
Are you opening a YouTube channel anytime soon? Do you already have one? Take some key points from our interviewees grow. You can also drop your YouTube link on our comment section.

Evelyn Ngugi
She runs a YouTube channel called “Evelyn from The Internets” which has seen her get featured on international websites such as ManRepeller. The Texas-based Kenyan YouTuber focuses on humor to deliver reviews and other life experiences on her channel.

What motivates you to keep posting?
I decided to take YouTube more seriously when I realized it could help me achieve my goals elsewhere. When I realized I didn’t have to “be a YouTuber” in the stereotypical sense in order to make a little money from it or use it as a creative outlet. I’ve put my YouTube channel on my resume since I was in college 5+ years ago and I believe it’s always been an asset.

What tips do you have for aspiring YouTubers?
1. Find your voice – those qualities that make you unique will also help you cultivate a community that will root for you in all you do – not just YouTube.
2. Don’t stress out – this is just a website. There are more important things in your life than a website, right? Make sure you’re not losing sight of yourself and your relationships in the name of “consistent upload schedule” or “staying relevant”.

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