Content Creators: Q&A with Andile Mathobela
Q: How would you define self-distribution?
A: I would define self-distribution as a unique way of disseminating content without using traditional forms of marketing, especially if you’re an independent content creator without budget. When we started zkhiphani.com, we were three broke students and we had to come up with creative ways of pushing the zkhiphani brand, so, we resorted to guerrilla marketing. We went to events and took pictures of young people, we gave them the “to view your photo” promo cards and encouraged them to go download their pictures on the website, it worked like crazy, zkhiphani became a household name in a few months.
Q: Why did you establish or start your content platform?
A: Back in 2009, there was no platform that created 100 percent South African content, we wanted to change that, more importantly, we wanted to create a digital platform for the youth by youth, it was about time that young black South Africans started telling their stories through their own mediums and we wanted to be the generation that started that revolution.
Q: How did you prepare for this venture?
A: I studied media and journalism.
Q: What was required for you to establish the platform? Take us through the process.
A: I had to understand how the digital world worked, with my journalism background, I approached two other like minded students (Ally Fathana and Bonga Mpungose) who had a brand agency and I asked them to design an online magazine for me and we entered into a partnership. Together, we built the website and launched, and the rest is history.
Q: How important is research throughout the various phases? Beginning to Growth Level.
A: In the beginning, I would say, research the basics on how to start the business and how to keep it going, that’s all. Do more research as you go through different levels, because, I feel, too much research discourages many people to start their journey because too much information exposes you to how hard it really is to start something from scracth, but if you take it step by step, it doesn’t seem like it’s a mission and a half, take it easy, I feel.
Q: Do you need to be passionate about the subject matter of your platform? And why?
A: Yeah I think its pivotal to be passionate about the subject matter of your platform because that will keep you going when you aren’t making money, platforms take forever to make profti, but if you enjoy what you are doing then it doesn’t feel like a job therefore you won’t be tempted to quit. It should be fun to create content, if it isn’t then stop what you’re doing and focus on something that excites you, I mean look, zkhiphani is a youth platform and we cover entertatinment news and we get most of our content from events, so we basically party for a living, I can never get tired of that, never.
Q: How do you make sure that your platform stands out from anything else that’s on the Internet?
A: To be honest, we didn’t think too hard when we were doing our branding, we just did what we felt was appropriate and real at that moment and the branding was born, our corporate identiy has red, black and white, if you are a young black South African, those colours speak to you because they are relatable. Also, our tone is just different, our articles are written in a specific manner, so is our photos and videos, our tonality is uniquely South African, We just have that thing man, the trick is to be yourself.
Q: What are some of your favourite content platforms?
A: I don’t fucking with nothing else besides zkhiphani to be honest with you.
Q: Most people use YouTube as a means of distribution, how can one take advantage of this platform to gain content views or eyeballs?
A: Use YouTube as a marketing tool to drive eyeballs to your platform, if you rely entirely on YouTube as a means of distribution, what will you do if let’s say they one day decide to shut down their company? Don’t play yourself.
Q: What tools can people use to make sure that they nail the branding part of their platforms?
A: There are many tools to mention, the most powerful tool for me is google, just google: What tools to use to nail branding on my platform. Thank me later.
Q: What platforms or channel references that you can give to our audience to look at?
Q: What is your understanding of content monetization in the content creation space?
A: There are many forms of content monetization: Banners, Google Ads, Branded Content, PR and AD Agency campaigns, programmatic sales networks etc
Q: What do creators or beginners need to consider in order to be suitable for monetization?
A: You need to curate special content for a specific audience that no other publication can cater for, brands will pay you money to get to an audience that only you have access to. Be unique.
Q: Have you monetized any of your content? If so, how did you position your platform for monetization?
A: Yeah! We create content for the broad South African youth, nobody is doing that on our scale locally, that is why brands trust us with their budgets.
Q: What are the different ways of monetizing your content?
A: Branded content and PR/AD Agency Campaigns.
Q: In the content creation space, what do advertisers look for? From a content perspective as well as business.
Q: How much can you charge advertisers? And how do you determine this?
A: It all depends on your reach and unique product offering.