There’s few people who absolutely love what they do and where they work, and Adetutu Laditan is one of them. The marketing specialist is in her ninth year working at Google, where she currently is a senior product manager for YouTube. Laditan describes herself as an artist at heart, which fits her role perfectly because she gets to interact with YouTube creators and design a platform that millions of creators use.
Before YouTube, Laditan worked in media strategy and sales, which she believes were integral in getting her to better understand the role she’s in now. The core functions of her role now are supporting the creator ecosystem—which she refers to as the engine of the platform—and ensuring that more users keep enjoying the platform.
For this edition of Centre Stage, I had a conversation with Laditan just after she had completed a run organised by her company. We discussed the different opportunities available to creators on YouTube and how they can better use the platform.
Video content is just as valuable as written content
AL: I love content and I love videos. I personally believe that I learn better from watching videos than from reading books or articles. For almost every book I want to read, there’s someone on YouTube who has done a summary I can watch and assimilate in thirty minutes. The power of video excites me, which is probably why I enjoy working with all the people who create this content I enjoy so much.
I’m also focused on getting more users to enjoy the value of content that creators put out on our platform. This means that we’re constantly working to lower barriers to access like data costs by working with telcos to provide more affordable data for viewers.
Challenges that African creators face when using video apps like YouTube
AL: We live in a time where African creators can build a global audience and get their content to different parts of the world. We at YouTube are working on our algorithm to facilitate this but creators also have a large role to play.
One challenge that they typically have is not being able to properly define their unique selling point(USP). What makes me stand out? The market is saturated and it’s easy to get drowned out, which is why it’s important to recognise why people will stick to your content for the long term. After discovering your USP, you need to find how to constantly reinvent yourself. This process requires you to look at the ecosystem first and ask yourself what you aspire to be. It could be anyone—local or international. After this, you want to find a creative approach that you own while also finding ways to innovate.
The second thing is the skill set. The power of the mobile phone has enabled more people to become creators. However, there’s an aspect that entails acquiring the right skill set to ensure that you shoot your videos well. Your videos need to be shot from good angles, and the sound needs to be clear. It’s also important to optimise to be found and ensure that the algorithm works in your favour. This means using the right tags and keywords.
Collaboration is key for creators looking to grow and monetise
A lot of YouTube creators struggle with knowing how to monetise, and the first thing they need to learn is knowing how to collaborate. If you’re at a point as a creator where you’re not making as much money, or your content isn’t doing so well, there are multiple things you can do. You can collaborate with another creator who has a great following because what tends to happen is that their community could be part of your community which can increase your own following. Collaboration is key for creators because you have a potential audience everywhere. You should actively reach out to work with other brands and creators, always.
There are several ways you can make money from content. One way is direct monetisation, like YouTube offers. You can also make money from brands, product placements etc. You can begin to create your own merchandise. There is all of that opportunity. This is sometimes a challenge for creators because it can be hard to understand the business of content. Before going on that journey, think of your strategy, phase it out into different steps that you need to take and then put a holistic plan to address employee growth.
Startups can do more on YouTube
AL: When people think about YouTube content, they often think it’s for an individual and all companies can do is pay for ads. We need to demystify what content is. Every startup should have a storytelling approach. You have to think of ways to educate and entertain your core audience in various ways. Think of your YouTube channel as your TV channel because that is essentially what it is.
As a startup, you can share stories of your entrepreneurial journey. Tell the world how you started and how you’re doing. Give your CEO an opportunity to inspire others. Talk about some of the trends you’re seeing in the market. This is an opportunity to own your narrative and develop quality content which enhances your position in the market. Now, people know what you do, and who you are and they understand why you do what you do. Content helps you drive not just engagement, but connection.
Another thing is that this is a cost-efficient approach. If you successfully build your YouTube channel, you are reducing the costs of marketing because you own the channel. Marketing is not cheap, and with marketing forms like TV and billboards, you cannot measure conversions to optimise in real-time.
We need more women in content creation
AL: I’m passionate about how we can get more female voices to create content. Right now a lot of women shy away from creating content in certain areas because they don’t want to be seen or feel like people are judging them. I don’t have a problem with women starting food channels or lifestyle channels, but women need to know that there are a lot more niches they can expand into.
I want to see more women in tech starting tech channels. I want more women to do gadget reviews or talk about investment on YouTube. Women have this knowledge and I’m really looking forward to them sharing it more. We spend time reading articles and you can take the knowledge you’ve gained and create a short video.
It’s important for us to be comfortable, as women, with using the power of technology to amplify our voices, tell better stories, and inspire others. It boosts your confidence, because the more you do it, the more you become confident to do other things.
Not to sound cliché, but I’m passionate about women and seeing women win. I was the chapter lead for one of our employee resource groups (ERGs) called Women Ad which was geared towards supporting women at Google, especially with career development and retention. I enjoy helping people piece together strategies and helping them succeed. I will continue to find ways to support women, whether as a creative, an entrepreneur, or as a tech enthusiast.
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…. to be continued
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